Spinach, Mushroom & Cheese Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the dish
  • 8 cups rustic Italian bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 5 cups)
  • 4 ounces Gruyere, shredded on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

Directions:

1.  Grease a 9-by-13-inch (3-quart) casserole dish with oil.
2.  Toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread to the skillet, and cook, tossing occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Return the toasted bread to the bowl to cool.
3.  Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the mushrooms in one layer (resist the urge to stir right away), and cook until they start to brown, about 3 minutes; stir, then continue to brown for 2 minutes more. Add the garlic, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper, stir continuously for 1 minute, then fold in the spinach and another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4.  Place half the bread cubes in the prepared casserole dish, and sprinkle them with half each of the Gruyere and Parmesan. Add the mushroom-spinach mixture in an even layer. Top with the remaining bread cubes, Gruyere and Parmesan.
5.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours up to overnight. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
6.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the casserole until the custard is set and the top is golden brown, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
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Chinese Pork Meatball

The five-spice powder infuses the char siew with its unmistakable flavor, and I love charring the outside just a bit for that seared barbecue crispness.
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 20 meatballs Calories: 91 cal
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 pinches ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, cornstarch, ginger,garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper, and mix well.
  2. Roll 1 heaping tablespoon of pork mixture into a ball and continue until all the pork mixture is used.
  3. In a wok over medium heat, heat the peanut oil. Using a wok spatula, spread the oil to coat enough of the wok surface to fry about 10 meatballs at a time. Lower the meatballs into the wok in batches.
  4. Cook without moving for about 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are cooked through. Use the spatula to carefully rotate the meatballs to cook on the other sides.
  5. Keep rotating the meatballs gently until cooked through.
  6. Serving Tip For a heavenly dipping sauce, combine equal parts low-sodium soy sauce and honey.
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Sausage Penne Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • Enough whiskey to deglaze the pan
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can cannellini beans (15.5 ounce) drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup shredded provolone
Instructions:
  1. Brown sausage in large saucepan. Add onion and cook until soft; approximately 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook additional 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted; approximately 3-4 minutes. Drain any excess grease. Add whiskey and using spoon remove brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add chicken broth and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  2. Add beans, oregano, basil, parsley and water. Bring to a low boil. Add penne pasta and cook for about 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Turn soup to low.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Combine melted butter with flour creating smooth paste (also known as a roux). Add slowly to the soup and stir. Continue cooking on low until slightly thickened.
  5. Divide soup between 4 ovenproof bowls. Top with slice of Swiss cheese and 1/4 cup provel. Bake on cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Turn oven to broil and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.
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Broccoli & Mock Rice Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large bag of riced Cauliflower (Or 1 large head you have riced yourself)
  • 16 oz bag frozen broccoli cuts
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian five cheese blend shredded
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally, lightly coat in olive oil and place on baking sheet. Liberally season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. While chicken is baking, place prepared riced cauliflower in a large bowl. Add frozen broccoli cuts, chopping some of the larger pieces in half.
  4. Remove chicken from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While chicken is cooling, add sea salt, melted butter, onion powder, garlic powder, shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the shredded Italian five cheese blend to the large bowl.
  6. Mix everything together.
  7. Carefully cut baked chicken into cubes. Toss with broccoli/cauliflower mixture and transfer to 9 x 13 inch (3 quart) baking dish or larger.
  8. Top with ½ cup shredded Italian mix cheese.
  9. Bake in oven for 50 minutes.
  10. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Top with some diced chives, a dollop of ranch dressing and enjoy!
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Mexican Chicken, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Skillet

(This one skillet dish is deliciously different, hearty and healthy!)
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, par-cooked and diced (see note on par-cooking)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounce can diced green chiles
  • 1/3 cup salsa or red enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese or colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large (10-12 inch) cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. In a small bowl combine all of the spices.
  3. When the skillet is hot add in the chicken and spread into an even layer, then sprinkle with half of the spice blend.
  4. Sauté the chicken for approximately 3 minutes then add in the onion.
  5. Continue to cook for several more minutes or until the onion has softened and the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Lower the heat to medium and add in the remaining spice blend, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, black beans, green chiles and salsa or enchilada sauce.
  7. Stir together and cook until the mixture is heated through, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  8. Squeeze the lime juice over everything then top with the shredded cheese.
  9. Cover with a lid or lay a piece of foil on top of the skillet until the cheese has melted.
  10. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • To par-cook a sweet potato, cut it in half lengthwise and place it in a shallow microwave safe dish or bowl cut side down. Pour a 1/4 cup of water in the dish, cover the dish with a piece of plastic wrap and poke a couple of holes in the top of the plastic to allow the steam to escape. Microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on the size or until the sweet potato is tender, but not fully cooked.
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Ham Cheese and Spinach Puffs

These puffy squares are beautiful for a weekend brunch or a light lunch or dinner. Enjoy!
Makes 8:
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (240ml) warm milk
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 lb cooked ham, diced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
1. Cut the puff pastry sheets into 5-inch (13cm) squares. Set aside in the refrigerator. Pre-heat your oven to 400°F(200°C).
2. For the bechamel sauce: Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add flour and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes pale golden with a slightly nutty aroma.
3. Pour warm milk in 2 steps, stirring constantly with wooden spoon and whisk until smooth. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly along the bottom of the saucepan until boiling, about 7 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to low. Simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. If you still have lumps, use your immersion blender.
5. Stir in spinach and cook for 1 minute. Add ham and cheese and stir well. Set aside.
6. Arrange the puff pastry squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dollop 1 or 2 tablespoons of the bechamel mixture, top with grated cheese and close the pockets by folding the corners on top.
7. Make an egg wash using an egg and 1 coffee spoon of cold water. Brush the puff pastry and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve immediately with a crisp salad.
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Crescent Roll Tomato Basil Squares

(This is a delicious , fresh tasting way to use your garden tomatoes. Serve with a nice salad, and dinner is served in a flash!)
Ingredients:
  • 1 package Crescent Rolls
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 garden fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • 2/3 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
Directions
  1. In a bowl, combine 1 cup mozzarella, mayonnaise, Parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  2. Roll out Crescent Roll dough on a baking sheet lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. Form dough into a 14×9″ rectangle. Sprinkle crust evenly with remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
  3. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer over crust. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over tomatoes.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and bubbly. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter and place on a serving platter. Serve warm.
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Pineapple BBQ Meatballs

Ingredients:
  • ½ bag of Meatballs
  • 1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays (small)
  • 1 20 oz pineapple chunk with juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
Appliance Needed:
  • Crockpot
Instructions:
  1. Place your meatballs into the slower cooker. There’s no problem with putting frozen, thawed, or uncooked homemade meatballs. It’s basically up to you.
  2. Pour the BBQ sauce, pineapple chunks in juice, and brown sugar in the slow cooker. If you want to mix the two first before putting them into the slower cooker, that is fine, too.
  3. Cook it in the slow cooker on high for 1 hours, then, turn down the slower cooker to low and cook for another 2-3 hours or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
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Peach Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup peach nectar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cup diced peaches
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease bundt pan with shortening.
  2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar in the bundt pan and toss it around until it cover the pan. With an electric mixer, mix cake mix, peach nectar, oil, eggs and sugar until combined.
  3. Sprinkle diced peaches with flour and toss until they are coated. Stir the diced peaches into the batter.
  4. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Turn cake out on a serving plate and dust the top with powdered sugar.
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Spinach Feta & Artichoke Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, all excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped artichokes (from canned), drained and patted dry
  • 1/3 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl combine spinach, scallions, artichoke, red pepper, garlic and dill. Pour into the casserole dish spreading evenly.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix in feta cheese and pour over vegetables.
  4. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, 32 to 35 minutes.
  5. Let stand 8 to 10 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces.
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