Thursday, March 5, 2009

Toast and Jam Sandwich

This isn't really a recipe, it's more of a cute kid thing.

Eric has decided he likes toast a lot, mostly because he can make it with limited adult help. Adult instructions are in parenthesis.

2 slices of bread, preferably white (Eric's favorite)
real butter
strawberry jam

(Take bread out of package and hand to Eric. Eric will adjust the toaster settings himself and place bread into the slots.) Toast bread in toaster until desired toastiness.

(Remove hot toast from toaster and place on a plate. Hold so Eric can spread toppings easily.) Spread about 1 tablespoon of butter on each slice of toast. Spread about 1 tablespoon of jam on each slice.

(Put away butter and jam.) Assemble into a sandwich or eat separately and enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jenny's Quesadilla Recipe

Food. Ah, food. I've had a weird relationship with you lately. Some days nothing sounds good, but I know we all need to eat. I'm tired of eggs. We've had way too much food with eggs. Breakfast burritos, egg salad sandwiches, fried egg sandwiches, omelets, quiches, frittata. BLEH.

Today I'm sharing my recipe for quesadillas. I got creative with the sauce and placed layered, thin slices of avocado on top. Eric had fun dabbing the sauce on top of his wedges. It was cute when he'd take a bite and go "Spicy!" and then dig in. Eric actually likes spicy food!

flour tortillas, 2 per person (1 for a kiddo)
shredded cheese, either cheddar or a Mexican blend
sour cream
other optional items: leftover shredded or chopped meat, onion, cilantro, refried beans

1. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add about 1 tsp of oil to the pan. When hot, place one tortilla in the pan. Immediately top with shredded cheese and other optional ingredients. Place second tortilla on top.
2. In a small bowl combine about 1 tablespoon salsa with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Mix well.
3. Cook quesadilla until bottom tortilla is desired level of crispy, golden brownness. Flip and cook other side.
4. Transfer to cutting board and cut into wedges with a pizza wheel.
5. Top wedges with thin slices of avocado and salsa-sour cream mixture.
6. Enjoy!

Note: For a kid size quesadilla, put filling on one half of the tortilla in the pan and fold over in half. Cook, until desired done-ness and flip to cook the top.

Basic Waffle Recipe

Waffles. I love them. I love anything that is soaked in maple syrup. I've been using this recipe for years to rave reviews. A note to ensure puffiness: Make sure your baking powder is fresh and that you beat the wet ingredients separately before adding to the dry ingredients. This keeps them from going flat.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon oil
Pinch salt
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat waffle iron.

2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend water, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry and blend until lumpy. Add oil and mix until mostly smooth.

3. Spray iron with nonstick spray and use about ½ cup of batter per waffle. The exact amount will vary depending on the depth of the waffle wells.

4. Cook about 4 minutes, but this can also vary depending on your iron. I usually go by smell. When they start to smell toasty, I’ll peek and see if they are done.

5. Serve with butter and maple syrup or strawberries and whipped cream. Makes about 10 Belgian waffles in my Krups waffle iron.

Zuppa Toscana - Potato Sausage Soup

I know there are plenty of Olive Garden fans out there, my dad being one of them. I have tried and tweaked and come up with my own clone version of O.G.'s Zuppa Toscana. It's good. And not just because I said so. Many other people have agreed. A lllooooonnnnggg time ago, I took a pot to a Mary Kay dinner and everyone loved it. Yes, I was a Mary Kay lady. But that is its own story so back to the soup.

The highlight of my soup is using homemade sausage. Justin's family has a sausage recipe and I've had the honor of making it. It is a traditional Italian sausage in the Northern Italian style i.e. no fennel. I've seen similar recipes listed on recipe sites, but they are usually considered French. I doubt anyone is ambitious enough to want to make homemade sausage, so I will not bother posting it. I will say making it is very labor-intensive. It took most of a day to grind, mix, and stuff the casings, then another couple days in the fridge for the sausages to dry cure. (But hey if you want it, let me know. More power and stuff like that.)

Feel free to substitute whatever sausage you like, such as 12 breakfast links, or 1 lb. bulk sausage, or a small tube of Jimmy Dean. I often use sage or hot flavored Jimmy Dean when we don't have homemade sausage on hand.

4 links Costa sausage, casing removed, or 1 lb. of any sausage you like
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
4 large kale leaves, stems removed and chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
4 shakes red pepper flakes (optional if you don't like the heat)
1 dash ground thyme
1 dash ground sage
1 cup cream or half-and-half
Fresh romano or parmigiano cheese

1. Brown the sausage in a 6 Qt. stockpot with the onion. Cook until meat is brown and onion is translucent. Drain off excess fat. Add butter, bacon, and garlic and cook another minute.

2. Add chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let cook 15-30 minutes. (If your potato pieces are small, go for 15, if large go for 30 minutes).

3. Add parsley, kale, thyme, sage, and red pepper. Cook until kale has wilted, about 10 minutes.

4. Add cream last. Bring back to a simmer, then serve. If you continue boiling once the cream has been added, it will eventually separate and the soup will look curdled. It will taste fine, but the appearance isn't so great. Garnish with fresh grated cheese. Serve with French bread.

Substituting other ingredients is fine. Make this soup your own! Just keep in mind, as with any variations, it will not be identical to Olive Garden, but I'm sure it will be tasty.
No fresh bacon on hand? Use 1/4 cup Hormel bacon bits or crumbled precooked bacon.
No fresh garlic? Use a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar.
No canned chicken stock? Use 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules or (2 cubes).
No cream on hand? Use milk.
Don't feel like kale? Cool, use spinach.

Berry Peach Smoothie

Berry Peach Smoothie

I was inspired and threw some stuff in the blender to make a breakfast smoothie. Yum! I will need to make this again. Now if I can just get the kiddo to hold still and try it.

1/3 to 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 banana
1 - 6 oz container light peach yogurt
1 - 4 oz. can peaches in light syrup
3 c. ice
1 c. milk (or more to desired consistency)
optional - 1 package of strawberry smoothie mix (it makes it extra sweet and frothy)

1. Put ice in blender, then berries, other fruit, yogurt, and milk.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Enjoy!

This made enough for 2 adults and 1 kiddo (roughly 30 oz.)