Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spinach and Bacon Gratin with Hardboiled Eggs

My family finished off this dish in one sitting.  Kids included.  It wasn't my favorite dinner, but had just enough cheese and bacon to keep everyone coming back for more.  And it can be made ahead of time, which is a big bonus for me these days.

adapted from this recipe

2 10oz. packages frozen spinach
4-5 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
two shakes ground nutmeg
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Monteray Jack cheese, grated
4 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (just add a little herbs de provence or italian seasoning if you want to make your own or buy plain bread crumbs)

Thaw spinach and squeeze well, draining off as much liquid as you can.  Put in a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat a medium skillet on medium high and add chopped bacon (my kitchen scissors are perfect for cutting it up).  Cooke 1-2 minutes, then add onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are starting to brown and bacon is beginning to crisp.  Drain grease if you want to, or don't.  Either way, add bacon mixture to spinach and stir well.

Warm milk either on stove or in microwave until steaming.  Set aside.  Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Whisk in flour and continue whisking until clumps are gone, about one minute.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk.  Whisk until smooth, then return to heat and bring to a low simmer.  Simmer 2-3 minutes until starting to thicken.  Add to spinach bowl and mix well to combine.

Pour spinach mixture into round casserole dish and even out the surface.  Sprinkle surface with grated cheese.  Cut hardboiled eggs in half and place on surface of cheese, cut side up.  Press eggs into mixture until level with the spinach.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil.

You can made this ahead of time.  Leave off bread crumbs and olive oil and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  When ready to bake, sprinkle on bread crumbs, drizzle olive oil and follow the rest of the directions.  

Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned on top.  Broil for 1-2 minutes if you want the bread crumbs extra crispy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Couscous Chicken Salad

I saw this recipe on Alana's blog and knew immediately that I would love it.  And I did!  I made a few changes as I threw it all together and I would have tried out some pine nuts if I had some.  I'll be taking this to the next potluck/brunch/get-together thing I attend.  It was good both room temperature and cold the next day.  Light lemony flavors were a delicious welcome to Spring!

2 cups chicken broth
1 box uncooked couscous
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
4-5 diced scallions, greens included
2 large crisp apples, cored and diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
Lettuce leaves
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

Prepare couscous according to directions on box, using chicken broth instead of water.  The directions should go something like this: In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add couscous.  Stir, cover, and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and let cool. You should have about 2 cups of cooked couscous.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, coriander, mustard, garlic, and pepper; mix well. 

In a large bowl, combine cooled couscous, chicken, green onions, apple, and celery. Add olive oil mixture; toss to coat all ingredients. Serve on a bed of lettuce. Garnish with parsley. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chickpea Veggie Burger

I love my sister's creativity.  It just seems to spill out of her, and this recipe is the perfect example of that.  Not only can she just make stuff up, she makes it look super yummy, too!  Thanks for posting today, Aubyn.

First of all, congrats to Ang on the birth of her beautiful baby girl! I am a proud Aunty once again =)  Secondly, I want to say how much I love this food blog! My sister is a fabulous cook, and I can say first hand that I have loved everything she has ever cooked for me! Even when I was doubtful of her odd flavor/ingredient combinations!  My top 3 "Let's Eat" recipes are: the chocolate chip cookies (I get asked for the recipe almost every time I make these!), the chicken enchiladas, and the italian pot pie (this makes a regular appearance at our dinner table).  Without further ado, here is my recipe. I made this up one evening because I needed to use up some chick peas and fresh rosemary. 

(makes approximately 6 patties)

1 can of chick peas, mashed with a potato masher
1/2 of a red pepper, chopped finely
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
handful of green onions, chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. 
Form into medium sized patties.
Heat up some olive oil in a saucepan.
Fry patties in the oil for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
Serve in a bun or on a salad. (I also froze some for an easy kid/adult lunch option)

(I apologize for the vague, non-professional instructions.....I usually just kind of guess at these things!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Veggie Sloppy Joes

My kids have always been decent eaters, but there are some things (read: vegetables) that seem to be a bit of a challenge to get them to eat in large amounts. So, a few years back I got the cookbook Deceptively Delicious ( and have enjoyed looking through it and getting ideas for slightly more wholesome versions of popular original recipes. I’m not really into just feeding kids “hidden” vegetables, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to add them in whenever you can!  This is my favorite take on Sloppy Joes, though I often change it up and try adding different things. Hope you enjoy it! 

Veggie Sloppy Joes 
2 lbs. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup red peppers, diced
½ cup yellow squash puree
1 cup ketchup
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. yellow mustard
2 T. brown sugar

-Brown meat with onion and garlic, drain grease.
-Add seasonings and chopped carrots and peppers and simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 
-Add remaining ingredients, stir until combined, then and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
-Serve hot on toasted buns…we like ours with cheese and pickles.
-This is a large enough recipe to feed our family of four and have enough leftovers for another meal, though you could easily just make half a recipe as well. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Balsamic Chicken with Goat Cheese

This is one of my favorite recipes to serve for company.  It's incredibly flavorful and anything with goat cheese seems fancy.  If you live near a Costco, that is where you'll find the best price on goat cheese.  Enjoy!

Mash together in a bowl:
1/2 lb. goat cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 package fresh basil, minced (dried will not work for this)

3 chicken breasts sliced thin to make 6 thin breasts
salt and pepper

Saute chicken in olive oil over medium heat.
Cook until almost done. Remove from heat and place in baking dish.
Cover with the cheese mixture and place in oven @ 350 until cheese is melted. ~10min

Into the pan the chicken was cooked in, add:
1 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

Cook until reduced to syrupy consistency.
Add 1/2 stick butter (cut into pats)
Remove from heat and swirl until melted.

Pour over chicken and serve with rice, couscous or roasted potatoes.
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