Perfect for Saturday brunch…

Thank you Pillsbury for making my Saturday morning! A girlfriend was coming over for brunch in about an hour and I opened the refrigerator to pull out the ingredients to make a frittata… and I realized I had forgotten to purchase more eggs when I was at the grocery store. As you may or may not know, you can’t make much of a frittata with only 2 eggs… hmm… NOW WHAT?!

Pillsbury to the rescue!!! I went searching online and found the perfect recipe: Hashbrown Egg Cups.

Brunch ended up being a complete success … we got to choose from fresh fruit, fresh baked banana muffins and my personal favorite… oh yeah, and the piping hot hasbrown egg cups.

So, in this post I’ll show you how I made the hashbrown egg cups… it’s so easy! And my friend can vouch for how yummy they were… and comforting and filling and cute … all at the same time!

I started by combining prepared hashbrowns, grated cheese, green onions and salt/pepper.

Then I greased the oven-safe bowl and added the hashbrown/cheese mixture by shaping it and pressing it aganst the walls, to create a cup shape.

I placed the bowls on a baking sheet and slid them into a preheated oven…

Following Pillsbury’s instructions, the hashbrowns baked for a while. In the meantime I scrambled the eggs and counted the minutes…

When the time was right I added the scrambled egg and topped it with a tad more grated cheese.

You want to make these… I promise!

And yes, I do believe we’ll be having some for dinner this week too… ‘cuz we’re “breakfast for dinner” kind of people.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…


RECIPE: Maid-Rite Sandwich

What exactly is a Maid-Rite sandwich? It’s the sandwich made famous by the restaurant chain by the same name, based in Iowa. While there recipe might be a highly guarded secret… this is my version.

I love to taste something and then try to recreate it, or make it my own. Tonight we have my version of the midwestern favorite! We start with just a few ingredients…. and it comes together pretty quickly. Let it simmer for an hour… and make your sandwich, topping it with your favorite condiments.

Come with me on a journey to Iowa, where it all started…

Brown the ground beef and onion…

Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder (or the garlic cloves if that’s what you’re using)…

Add the “W” sauce… and the soy sauce…

… and the water… and a good stir.

Place a cover on it and allow to simmer for at least an hour.

Place some meat mixture on top of toasted buns… add cheese if desired. Or prepare to top the loose meat with ketchup, mustard and pickles.

Or if you like green olives as much as I do, add some diced olives as relish. Oh man… they add a buttery taste, amazingly enough…

4 for the sandwich and 1 for the cook!

Yummy in my tummy!

Thank you, Iowa! I owe ya one…

Maid Rites

1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb. ground beef
½ onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon THICK Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup water

In canola oil, brown the ground beef, onion and garlic together. Drain. Add “W” sauce, soy sauce, salt/pepper and water.

Simmer for at least 1 hour. Serve on buns with mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc.

Confession: I like diced green olives on just about ANYTHING!!! (except maybe waffles…)

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Lunch on a day off…

There’s something about a day off that just, well … makes my day!

To celebrate… I made fresh guacamole!

Do I have a recipe for guacamole? NOPE!

It’s different each time I make it. Today’s “guac” had finely diced red onion, tomato and cilantro in it. I seasoned it with a very tiny pinch of kosher salt.

Sometimes I add seasoned salt and black pepper…

Sometimes I even add a touch of cayenne powder or a dash of hot sauce…

However, I NEVER EVER add lemon juice. It brings back bad memories of when I worked in a mexican restaurant and they over-loaded it with lemon juice (so that it wouldn’t turn brown, I’m sure). But when you’re eating it immediately there’s no point in adding lemon juice… it just masks the good guac flavor.

Yes, all I had for lunch today was guac, a few slices of tomato and some cheese and chips. So, what?!

How do you like YOUR guacamole?

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Sunday lunch…

Today I enjoyed my provolone panini and grilled asparagus as I sat down to watch a movie (“The Men Who Stare at Goats”, from Netflix – hysterical so far, in a dark and very “odd” sort of way).

My movie continues and I am on the computer to do a little blogging, plan out the afternoon and the rest of the chores I have to do today, this week…. and when I’m going to run all of the necessary errands, etc.

We have house guests next weekend… and I’m looking forward to it! But I’ve got a lot to do between now and then.

First… I’ll watch the rest of this movie and try to figure out what it’s talking about … but first I need to take the cookies out of the oven.

I love my life!!!

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Attempt #2 – Croque-Monsieur aka Croccante Signore

Check out Attempt #1: Croque-Monsieur <— click on this link… The first attempt taught me to not over-brown the bread. It will crisp up even more under the broiler. And here is attempt #2. And I learned some more valuable lessons here.

Lesson #1… there IS such a thing as “too much of a good thing”!

I used a little too much prosciutto (which made it too salty). I used a little to much provolone (which it made it just a little to rich.)

And I used a little too much bechamel sauce (which made it too soggy).

These are supposed to be crispy sandwiches… so, I’d say attempt #2 flopped.

I couldn’t even eat the whole sandwich.

But the lessons were well worth it… I have a really good feeling about attempt #3!!! Stay tuned…

And yes, I think I’ll be calling this my “Croccante Signore”… since I’m bent on using italian ingredients.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

my take on Croque-Monsieur… attempt #1

Croque-Monsieur… literally translated from French, the “Crispy Mister”

From what I understand it’s the french take on a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Make the sandwich, toast the buttered-bread in a pan, topped with bechamel sauce and placed under the broiler to crisp it up even more.

As you can see, my “Misters” got a little TOO crispy.

But dang!!!

This sandwich was fantastic!! I love the flakyness and crispness of the french bread. And that bechamel… out of this world!

I could get used to this!!!

I’m going to make another attempt at it tomorrow. But I promise not to burn them this time. I’ll keep you posted w/ the outcome.

However, I stopped dead in my tracks when I realized this was starting to look more like an italian sandwiches with the provolone and the prosciutto! So it can’t technically be a croque-monsieur. So translating “crispy mister” into italian finds me at the title of “Croccante Signore”… hmm, I like the sound of that!

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

A brunch and a new quiche

This morning I hosted a brunch for a small group of gals. We laughed. We sat around. We laughed some more.

But more importantly we enjoyed Lemon Deluxe Bars, a new quiche (recipe below), banana bread and some fresh fruit. Oh yeah… and maybe a mimosa (or two)!

Well you might remember another quiche… but in my opinion, this is much better without the sausage. So here’s the recipe for the best Chile Relleno Quiche you’ll ever taste! You can thank me later…

Chile Rellenos Quiche
Recipe handed down from a friend of Gramma H’s

10 large eggs
1 pint cottage cheese (any style)
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 drops of Tabasco sauce
½ cup flour
1 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded
7 ounce can of diced green chiles, undrained
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

In a blender, blend the following ingredients – eggs, cottage cheese, baking powder, Tabasco sauce and flour.

In a large bowl, combine jack cheese, green chiles and butter. Add blended mixture to bowl and mix well.

Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish and pour in mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 25-30 minutes.

You’ll want to make this tomorrow…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

An Easy Panini…

Another quick and yummy summer lunch… Bruschetta Panini.

4 ingredients, 5 minutes, 6x more goodness than a plain ol’ sandwich…

But don’t take my word for it… try it for yourself!

You’ll need a cast iron grill pan and a cast iron panini press. And then, honestly, it can’t get much easier than this.

Set the heat on the cast iron grill pan on medium-high heat. And then layer your bread with your favorite ingredients. I used pesto, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. First, take two fresh slices of good sourdough bread… and slathered on some pesto.

You can find my preferred pesto at Trader Joe’s. (While I’m thinking of it, a shout out to TJ’s: THANK YOU for making my life so easy!)

Then I added cheese on both sides … putting it on both sides helps to hold the sandwich together (like a really yummy glue holding it all together).

Next, I layered the tomatoes on one side…

And that’s all…

There’s no real need to add butter (as if you’d do on a grilled cheese sandwich)… just place that sandwich in the hot grill pan and put the panini press on top.

Make sure to press down pretty hard on the panini press… (if you don’t want to buy a panini press you could always use a garden brick, or two, wrapped in aluminum foil). Paninis are meant to be smushed together… like my technical terminology?

In about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, it will be time to turn the sandwich over to grill the other side. See?

Put the panini press back on and press down hard…

1 1/2 – 2 minutes later… you have an easy panini! I could tell mine was just about ready because I heard some sizzling. The cheese was oozing out of one corner and hitting the hot grill pan… oh yeah, baby!


So, there’s no real recipe here… just an idea. And maybe my idea will inspire you to use your own ingredients. What are YOUR favorite panini ingredients?

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

the PERFECT (yummy and quick) summer lunch…

It hit 90 degrees F here this weekend (which doesn’t make me very happy – I’m more of a cold-weather gal)… in fact, let me ask: am I the only one who plans my summer meals around how long it would require me to stand in front of a hot stove? I CANNOT stand the heat!

So on to more positive things… I took the opportunity to make a yummy, quick summer lunch.

(Um, have I said yet how yummy and quick this was?! )

First, asparagus in my (NEW) cast iron grill pan… drizzle with a lil’ bit of olive oil and garlic salt.

Next, panko-crusted shrimp. But this isn’t just any ol’ plain panko crust… to the panko I added onion powder, garlic salt and chili powder. Just adds a few layers of flavor … they aren’t over-powering flavors, just a background of flavor.

Quick steps for panko-crusted anything…

1) One egg, beaten. Place shrimp (or anything else, for that matter) in egg and thoroughly coat it. 2) Transfer to separate bowl that has panko in it (don’t forget to season it for some extra flavor). 3) Toss shrimp in the panko a few times to ensure it is completely covered.
4) Transfer shrimp to medium-hot saute pan with a bit of olive oil in it so it fries up nicely.
And last …
5) Once fried on both sides, transfer shrimp to paper towel to drain off excess oil.

And voila…

Aren’t those beautiful!

Quick sprinkle of kosher salt (not too much – just a touch)… and it’s ready to plate!

So let’s take another look at it…

You could sprinkle some lemon juice over the top … but I didn’t have any lemons on hand. So I hit it with a few sprinkles of orange zest.

Wow… I’m a genius! (baa haa haa!!!) What a great flavor layer! Try it for yourself…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…