Thyme for Frittata

As Janna mentioned in her Easy Cheesy recipe, our sweet friend, Caty, asked for ideas for some throw together meals. Since Janna went the pasta route, I decided to go a different direction and make a Frittata.

Frittata is a very simple but elegant dish. The only thing you absolutely need is eggs, and a little imagination. For this dish, I used what I had on hand, but also highlighted some substitutes that would go equally well. After making it, the only thing I would change about this dish is the addition of some feta cheese. That would have brought it all together, but I didn’t have any in the fridge. It was delicious, none the less.
~Joanie

Ingredients:
1 lb +/- of sausage (Subs: diced ham, chopped bacon, chicken, or meat of choice. You can also completely omit meat from this dish and it’s just as good!)
2 Cups Asparagus, chopped into 1 in. pieces (Subs: broccoli, spinach)
1 Cup sliced mushrooms (Subs: chilies, jalepenos)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS butter
6 eggs
2 Cups shredded hashbrown style potatoes (Subs: diced potato, sweet potato)
1/2 Cup shredded sharp white cheddar (Subs: any cheddar variety, parmesan, feta, or none at all)
1 Shallot, chopped (Subs: 1/4 cup any onion variety)
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/3 tsp ground thyme (Subs: Parsley, cilantro, basil)
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
In a large skillet, brown meat (skip this step if you’re using pre-cooked meat). Drain excess grease. Add garlic, veggies, and butter to the meat skillet and saute until veggies are heated through but still crisp (this will vary depending on the veggies you use, 5-10 minutes).

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, potatoes, cheese, shallots and spices. Set aside.

Spray and oven-safe dish with non-stick spray and transfer meat and veggies into it (skip this step if using an oven safe skillet or cast iron pan).
Pour egg mixture over the meat mixture. Use a spatula to help the egg soak into the dish. The goal is for the egg to bind all the other ingredients together.

Place dish in a 450 degree oven on the middle rack for 15 minutes. If the top is not golden, you can broil it for a bit at the end, but watch it very carefully! Let it sit a minute or two, then cut and serve! Serves about 8.

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Easy Cheesy Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Janna:  A few weeks ago, one of Joanie and my good friends gave us a challenge.  She said she has trouble coming up with meals with things that she has on hand, without having to run to the store for ingredients, and without an actual recipe to follow.  She challenged us to look in our cupboards and come up with a meal, just from what we already have.  So Caty, here they are, our “straight from the cupboard” meals.  Hope you enjoy and get inspired, i know I was inspired and may even do this regularly!

I chose to go the Italian route, A,  because EVERYONE has pasta in their cupboards (if you don’t, it’s about $1.00 a pound), and B, Italian food is so easy and simple, and it’s BETTER when you keep it simple, so here it goes.  While I was putting this together I kept thinking of other things I could add (but didn’t have on hand)  So I will go ahead and list those things as well, so you have a wide range of ingredients to work with, or maybe it’ll inspire you to come up with your own additions!

Ingredients:

1 lb pasta, any kind will do, chunky sauce works better with short, shaped pasta like a shell, corkscrew or bowtie, but I used linguine because that’s what I had on hand.

*You could also add meat to this dish if you wanted, hamburger, italian sausage, chorizo, ground turkey, ground chicken.  I’d use about ½ lb of meat in this dish.

½ onion, chopped  (you can also add green, red or yellow bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, you could use stewed if you don’t have diced, just give them a rough chop.  You can use the diced tomatoes that have herbs already added.
⅓ of a 4oz can of fire roasted diced green chilies.  (More if you like it spicier).
2 garlic cloves minced (you can use garlic powder, about ½ tsp or to taste.
½ of a 15 oz can of black olives, roughly chopped
¼-1/2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 Tbs Olive oil
Parmesan or feta cheese

Directions:
In a medium saucepan saute the onions (and other veggies if you’re using them) in the olive oil for a few minutes until tender.  If you’re using meat, brown the meat with the onion (and veggies), drain fat out and return to pan.  In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions.  I cook 1-2 minutes less for al dente.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chilis, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes until hot and steamy.  Adjust salt, pepper and  green chilies to your liking.

Plate some of your cooked pasta and scoop some of the sauce over it.  Shred some fresh mozzarella, parmesan or Feta cheese over top, enjoy!

Makes about 6 servings, serve with a tossed salad and a glass of red wine and enjoy!

Pork Curry

Janna:  Curry is probably my husband Erik’s favorite foods.  Erik has been asking for curry for weeks now, so I decided to make him suffer no longer with a curry dinner!!  This curry is pretty simple to make, I use a good red curry paste instead of all the different spices because it’s easier, cheaper and I think the taste is better.  You may have to do a little searching for the red curry paste and the fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves, the kaffir lime leaves you can leave out if need be and just use fresh basil, but they do add another layer of delicious flavor.  If you have a local Asian Market in your area, they will surely have what you need.

In this recipe I’m using pork, but in the past I have used chicken, steak, tofu and also duck, which are all fantastic!  You can make it vegetarian by just adding more vegetables or tofu in place of the meat (though I don’t think fish sauce or curry paste are vegetarian, curry paste is made with shrimp paste).  Red, yellow and green peppers, onion, green onion, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, potato, water chestnuts, baby corn are all great additions to this dish!  Feel free to play around with the veggies and let me know what you used and how it turned out!  Serve this curry over rice (brown or white)  cook the rice according to package directions.  This recipe makes about 8 large servings.  This dish is spicy, on a scale of 1-10 I’d call it a 5, you can make it spicier by adding more chili paste, cayenne pepper or I’ve even chopped fresh jalapenos in it!

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil
4-5 Tbs red curry paste
1 1/2 lb boneless pork chops or pork loin, cubed
1 green bell pepper, cut in large chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks or an assortment of bell peppers
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
2 zucchini, sliced
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
4-5 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
2 cans coconut milk
4 green onions, thinly sliced (use white and part of the green)
1 can pineapple tidbits
1 can bamboo shoots
3 Tbs fish sauce (plus more to add later if needed)

Pour olive oil in large frying pan, add curry paste and stir, heat until sizzling and aromatic.

Add the meat and cook through, turning meat occasionally.

Add vegetables and kaffir lime leaves and basil leaves, cook until veggies are tender.

Add coconut milk and bring to simmer.

Add pineapple, bamboo shoots and fish sauce.

Serve over rice and garnish with basil leaves, enjoy!

White Chicken Chili

I LOVE beans.  I could eat them raw right out of the can.  In fact, I have.  I also love cumin and cilantro, as you may have already gathered from my other recipes.  This soup is like my perfect meal, and so easy to make.  It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but most of it is pretty ordinary stuff.  Don’t fret about the green chilies, they are NOT hot.  This soup has been 7-year-old approved so you can confidently serve it to your little ones.  

You can EASILY make this a vegetarian recipe by omitting the chicken and adding more beans or rice.  I’ve done that and it’s just as amazing.  You can also use dried beans, which is a little more work, but for convenience sake I just used the canned variety.  ~Joanie

Makes about 8 servings.

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Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 cans white beans, great northern beans, or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
32 oz chicken broth
2 4oz cans Chopped Green Chilies
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp lime zest
½ Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ Cup Whipping Cream
1 Cup (8 oz) Sour Cream

For garnishing:  Green onion, jalapeno, cheese

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.  Saute garlic until golden, then add onion and cook until soft.  Add chicken, cook until chicken is no longer pink.

Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings.  Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.  The soup may look a little “muddy” at this point, but carry on.  Trust me.

Remove from heat.

Before you add the cream and sour cream, you will need to temper it so that it doesn’t curdle.  Scoop a little bit of soup out into a separate bowl, add cream to this small portion and stir.  Add that portion back into the soup pot.  Repeat this process with the sour cream.  If the soup is too cool after this, you can heat it back up, but heat slowly.

Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro, and/or cheese.  I like to eat my chili with a few  chili-cheese fritos.  They are the perfect compliment to this creamy, zesty soup.

Fried Oysters

Here’s another awesome oyster recipe from Sarah Goedhart! You can’t have too many oysters on Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air!

Ingredients:

1 Jar fresh Pacific oysters
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
1/3 cup AP flour
2 tbsp blackened seasoning
¾ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Vegetable oil for frying

Hot Sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Ketchup
4 tablespoons of horseradish
1-2 tsp of blackened seasoning

Directions:

Rinse oysters and pat dry. Set aside. Mix together the egg and milk in a small bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the AP flour and blackened seasoning. In another bowl mix Panko breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning.

To coat oysters, first dip them in the egg mixture, then coat them with the flour mixture and dust off excess flour. Lastly place in Panko mixture. Repeat until all oysters are coated then put them on a plate. Cover coated oysters with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil to to 375 degrees F. Once oil is hot place all oysters in pan and fry for 1-3 minutes or until golden brown on each side.

Place on plate with paper towels to drain and cool. Serve with hot sauce.

Oysters with Champagne Sauce

Janna: Oysters are one of the most well known aphrodisiacs, that’s why it was a must to include an oyster recipe or two on Valentine’s Day! These are pretty simple to make, and so delicious! Instead of champagne, Sarah recommends Gruet sparkling wine, it’s from New Mexico and is quite delicious and so is the price! You can find it for about $15.00 a bottle. The sparkling wine also goes perfectly with this recipe!

This is a recipe is from Sarah Goedhart, we hope you enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup champagne or sparkling wine
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground white pepper
Rock salt to serve
12 oysters, such as wild Pacific
Fresh chives, chopped
Tabasco sauce

Directions:

Place the champagne and shallot in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the cream and season with white pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until reduced by half and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Preheat grill on high. Scatter rock salt over the base of 2 small heatproof serving dishes. Arrange the oysters on the rock salt. Add a dash of hot sauce to each oyster. Pour the cream mixture evenly among the oysters. Cook under broiler for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

Crispy Kale Chips

These crispy greens are an interesting alternative to fattening potato chips, and a flavorful way to get more vegetables into your diet.  They have a simple, earthy flavor and a delicate crunch.  They are also naturally gluten free, and the fat in the olive oil helps your body absorb the vitamins.  Not bad for a few minutes of prep!  Just be sure to check your teeth when you’re done munching! ~Joanie

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Ingredients:

Large bunch of curly kale

2 TBS Olive Oil +/-

Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Baking Sheet

Directions:

Wash your kale, then dry it THOROUGHLY.  I use my salad spinner, then a clean towel to dab off any excess water.  If there is any water left, your kale will steam instead of roast, which will turn them brown and keep them from getting crispy.

Once kale is clean and dry, remove the spines and tear into pieces a bit larger than bite sized (they will shrink) and spread out on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, then get your hands in there and make sure every piece is lightly coated.  Sprinkle with just a little bit of salt.  Be careful because these are easy to over-season, you can always add a sprinkle of salt at the end.

  

Bake in a 275 degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.  Chips should come out crispy!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasoning  combinations.  Garlic or onion powder would be great, as would a little black pepper.  I sprinkled a little parmesan over mine when they were finished and it was yummy!  Let me know what variations you try!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies You Will Ever Eat!!!!

Janna:  I’m not kidding when I tell you these will be the most fantastic chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat!  They are easy and fun to make (my kids always take over), and they stay moist and chewy!  I’ve done variations on these cookies like, adding caramel bits, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, nuts or coconut!   If you decide to use peanut butter chips may I suggest you use milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet as milk chocolate and peanut butter compliment each other better!  The sky’s the limit!!!

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 package vanilla instant pudding powder (3.4 oz)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  (My oven is electric and tends to run hot so I set the dial at 350 degrees.  See notes below on varying oven temperatures.)

In large bowl combine flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt, set aside.  In stand mixer, beat butter, both sugars and vanilla until creamy.

Add eggs and blend well, beat in flour mixture about a cup at a time.  Stir in chocolate chips.



Using a spoon or cookie scoop, make about 1 ½ inch portions and place onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.   Watch for cookie dough bandits!!


Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.  Test cookies by lightly pressing with your finger on to the top, if it looks or feels too doughy cook them for an additional minute.  Remember that once the cookies are out of the oven they will continue to bake a little until they cool, it’s okay if they look slightly underdone.  If you like your cookies a little crunchier, bake for an additional minute or so but watch them closely.

Makes about 36 2-inch cookies.

Varying oven degrees are tricky.  I’ve been baking these cookies for years and the bake time changes dramatically with each oven, from about 8 minutes to up to 13 depending on your oven.  If you’re unsure about how your oven heats, invest in an oven thermometer.
I know you and your family will enjoy these, mine never last more than a day!  The vanilla pudding mix, adds a delicious vanilla flavor and also keeps the cookie soft and chewy even if over-baked.  This recipe is easily doubled and stores well in the freezer baked or unbaked.