Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bacon, Spinach, and Cheddar Quiche

A simple quiche loaded with crispy bacon, spinach, and lots of cheese! Thanks to a storebought crust, this quiche is easy to toss together.

Several years ago, the Charlotte area had a snow/ice incident that kept us trapped in the house for a few days. Because our house is on a hill, and the driveway was solid ice, we weren't going anywhere (safely). Unfortunately, I balked at the weather reports/overreactions and didn't pick up a single thing at the grocery store... which resulted in us eating buttered noodles for Valentine's Day dinner. Memories, right??

So this year, when they hyped up our snowstorm and said to expect significant snowfall, I hit the store like every good southerner. Since I was going to (potentially) be home several days in a row, a quiche for breakfast made it to the menu. Originally, I was going to stick with spinach and cheese but then my husband fried up some bacon and it jumped right into my quiche. It ended up being one of my favorite quiche combinations ever!

This quiche is cheesy, smoky, and loaded with flavors. The spinach and bacon almost serve as a double crust with the delicate egg layer on top - it's so good !

Oh - that significant snowstorm? We barely got a dusting ;)

Note: be careful to squeeze the heck out of that frozen spinach! You want it as dry as possible so your quiche isn't watery.

 Bacon, Spinach, and Cheddar Quiche
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half or milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out crust and place in a 9-inch pie pan; bake for 8 minutes.

After the crust has baked 8 minutes, remove it from the oven and layer the spinach in the bottom. Top with the crumbled bacon followed by the cheese.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk/half & half, salt, and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set in the middle. If the crust begins to brown too quickly, cover the edges with strips of foil.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Monte Cristo Poppers

Crispy dough balls are stuffed with turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, then sprinkled with powdered sugar, and dunked in raspberry preserves. All the greatness of a Monte Cristo sandwich in a snack size!

We always end up at a Super Bowl party (though I belong more with the we're-just-here-for-the-food folks!) and I am already thinking about what tasty snacks I'll be bringing. My husband is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and though they had a great season, unfortunately we won't be rooting them on the first Sunday in February. On the upside, that means the game won't be near as stressful to watch this year! I've gotten in the habit of bringing these poppers to Super Bowl parties. They usually aren't similar to any other dish brought and they disappear in a flash!

Making them is easy but does take a bit of time. You're frying them (I never said they were healthy!) and since they cook quickly, I find it easier to go ahead and prep them all and then fry them in batches. Trying to stuff some while frying others has not gone over well for me in the past. The dough will stretch quite well so keep stuffing until you can't stuff anymore!

Note: unless you need a full pound of meat/cheese, let the deli counter just sell you the 1/2 lb - plus you can have them cut it very thin!

 Monte Cristo Poppers
1 8-count package of flaky biscuits
1/2 lb deli ham, thinly sliced
1/2 lb deli turkey, thinly sliced
1/2 lb Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 lb cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
powdered sugar, for dusting
raspberry preserves, for serving
vegetable oil, for frying

Using the palm of your hand, flatten out a biscuit and then cut it into 4 pieces. Flatten each piece into a small circle. Repeat with remaining biscuits until you have 32 pieces.

Stack a few slices of both meats and both cheeses and tightly roll it together. Cut the roll into smaller pieces and place each piece in the center of a dough circle. Wrap the dough around the rolled up meat/cheese until it's completely sealed. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all 32 pieces are stuffed and sealed.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add enough oil for it to be around 2 inches deep. Heat to 350 degrees and then add the poppers, a few at a time, and fry until they are browned all over. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Repeat until all poppers are fried.

Serve warm with raspberry preserves for dipping.

Source: adapted from Oh Bite It

To help prepare for your Super Bowl parties, I've teamed up with my football blogger friends for one final collaboration to bring you some brilliant game day recipe ideas! We've made appetizers, entrees, desserts, and even drinks!

Note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos, or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans - and we want to share our love for our teams, the game, and the food that brings us all together on game day.

Classic Potato Salad by Celebrating Family
Chili Cheese Burritos by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Fruit Spring Rolls with Key Lime Cheesecake Dip by Body Rebooted
Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders by Dash of Herbs
Mediterranean Seven Layer Dip by The Culinary Compass
Chicks in a Blanket with Apricot Sauce by Mom's Messy Miracles
Jalapeno Pale Ale Chili by Beer Girl Cooks
Jalapeno Popper Pull Apart Bread by The Life Jolie
Sausage Pepperoni Pizza Dip by Feast + West
Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls by Family Food on the Table
Mini Bacon Ranch Cheese Balls by Honey & Birch
Cookie Dough Cheese Ball by Bread Booze Bacon
Hawaiian Pizza Jalapeno Poppers by Love & Flour
Meatloaf Sliders by Foodtastic Mom
Wonton Taco Cups by A Mind Full Mom
Pancetta and Smoked Mozzarella Arancini by The Secret Ingredient Is
Bean and Cheese Taco Bites by The BakerMama
Monte Cristo Poppers by See Aimee Cook
Chile Beer Sangria by Cake 'n Knife
Low Carb Stuffed Crust Pizza by Sustaining the Powers
Puff Pastry Pizza Bites by The Mexitalian
No Churn Pistachio Baklava Ice Cream by Club Narwhal
Roasted Jalapeno Poppers by Off the Eaten Path
Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese by Hello Little Home
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Wings by Around My Family Table
Gluten Free Bread Sticks by What A Girl Eats
Cheesy Beef Dip by Polka Dotted Blue Jay
Buffalo Chicken Deviled Eggs by The Crumby Cupcake
Greek Meatballs by Two Places at Once
Baked Taco Empanadas by Simplify, Live, Love
Cheese Sticks by Coffee Love Travel
Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Meatballs by West via Midwest
Puff Pastry Bacon Pizza Twists by 2 Cookin Mamas
Skillet Chicken Queso Dip by foodbyjonister
Spicy Sausage Rolls by Peanut Blossom
Protein Dark Chocolate Truffles by The Creative Bite
Chickpea Pepper Cheese Poppers by Bucket List Tummy
Maple Cranberry Apple Sangria by Order in the Kitchen
Meyer Lemon Shandies by The Speckled Palate
Game Day Fried Deviled Eggs with Chow Chow Relish by For the Love of Food
Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls by Simple and Savory
Pimento Mac and Cheese Squares by Lauren's Kitchen
Pastrami Nachos by A Little Gathering
Shrimp Ceviche Dip by Glisten and Grace
Football Bourbon Balls + Boozy Lemonade by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Apple Cider Mimosas With A Sparkly Sugar Rim by And She Cooks
Pulled Pork Stuffed Corn Dogs by Nik Snacks
Easy Pepperoni Rolls by Me and My Pink Mixer
Real Boneless Chicken Wings by Macheesmo
Califlower Tater Tots by Living Well Kitchen
Cheeseburger Naan Pizza by Shaws Simple Swaps
Red Velvet Ginger Rum Balls by Cafe Terra
Crab Rangoon by Brunch-n-Bites
Sweet n' Spicy BBQ Popcorn by Life's Ambrosia
Buffalo Chicken Rolls by Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Crowd Pleasing Steak Fajita Dip by Lizzy is Dizzy
Sriracha Hummus Pinwheel Sandwiches by Casa de Crews
Simlple Meatball Sub Sliders by Loaves & Dishes
Maple-Mustard Bacon Chicken Bites by An Oregon Cottage
Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese & Honey Mustard Dipping Sauces by A Simpler Grace
Ricotta Stuffed Sausage Meatballs by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Skillet Lasagna (30 minute meal!)

All the deliciousness of a traditional lasagna - but in one pan and just 30 minutes! This family friendly pasta will soon become part of your regular dinner rotation.

I first blogged this recipe over 4 years ago, right after we moved into our new home here in Charlotte and were trying to get settled after a whirlwind summer. It may have actually been the first dinner I cooked here! Since then, we've had it occasionally when I needed something flavorful and easy to get on the table. It's so good and was deserving of a better photo!

You quickly saute onions and seasonings before adding ground beef to brown. Once browned, stir in dried pasta and canned tomatoes, cover, and let cook until the pasta is tender. Add three kinds of cheese, broil until browned and gooey, and serve. So easy!

One pan, 30 minutes, delish!

Skillet Lasagna 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 lb ground beef
10 (curly-edged) lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces
3 (14.5 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil
Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, stirring often and using a wooden spoon to break up the meat, about 3 to 5 minutes, or until it's no longer pink.

Scatter the pasta in the skillet, then pour the tomatoes over the top. Stir, increase the heat to medium-high, and cover. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, 20 minutes (stirring often is important!).

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in half the mozzarella, half the Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the ricotta. Dot the remaining ricotta over the noodles in tablespoons, then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Transfer to the oven and broil until the cheese melts and is starting to brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with basil, and serve.

Source: adapted from Pink Parsley

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Green Bean Casserole (from scratch!)

Scratch made green bean casserole is easy to make and loads tastier than the canned version! This green bean casserole is the BEST version I've ever made!

Y'all. I could eat this for dinner, all by itself, straight from the pan. I adore green bean casserole - it's by far my favorite holiday side dish. And yes, I know, it traditionally shows up about once a year, right next to the turkey and stuffing, but I don't see why you have to wait all year to enjoy the deliciousness that is green bean casserole. Especially when it's so easy! This version is heaps healthier and SO much tastier than a canned version.

Cooking up comfort food these cold, winter days? This would be perfect alongside a roast chicken, pork tenderloin, or pork roast.

Green Bean Casserole
1.5 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed and longer beans snapped in half
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large portabello mushroom caps, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half & half
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
6 ounces french fried onions
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and boil for 5 minutes. Drain into a colander and then plunge into a large bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process). Drain and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, around 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking another 2 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over top, stir to combine, and cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and whisk to combine. Add the half & half and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, around 6-8 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully stir in drained green beans until well combined. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top followed by french fried onions.

Bake until bubbly, around 20 minutes. If your onions begin to burn, simply cover the pan with foil.

Source: adapted from The Novice Chef

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bacon and Chipotle Corn Pudding

A delicious twist on the traditional corn pudding! Thanks to bacon and chipotle chiles, this version is smoky and just a tad spicy. Plus cheese! Lots and lots of cheese! The best part? It's all made in one pan!

I was so disappointed yesterday when I woke to.... rain. The meteorologists seemed certain we'd see substantial snow but of course, mother nature had a different idea. We finally did get a pretty coating of the white stuff but certainly nothing impressive. The upside is that we planned to stay in all weekend so my kitchen was overstocked with goodies and I've been cranking out tasty things to nosh on. Plus we have zipped through our Netflix watch list!

If you're also in the south, and were lucky enough to get a thick layer of snow this weekend, please enjoy it for me!

Meanwhile, I'll be over here drowning my disappointment in this corn pudding. While corn pudding often shows up at BBQ's, I think it's perfectly fitting as a cold weather comfort food. Especially this version, with bacon and chipotle! It's super simple to throw together in your cast iron skillet and has such a delicious smoky flavor. Did I mention the cheese?

We had this alongside ribs but have also made it as an addition to our Thanksgiving table. It goes with a huge variety of "main" dishes making it incredibly versatile.

Kitchen tip: after using the 2 chipotle chiles, divide the remaining chiles (and sauce) into ice cube trays. Freeze, then pop into a freezer bag. You'll never have to toss a mostly full can of chiles again!

Bacon & Chipotle Corn Pudding
5 slices of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 chipotle chiles in adobo (from a can), minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt, to taste
3 eggs
1 cup half & half
2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease left in the pan.

Add the corn and chipotle chiles to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the corn is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat and stir in the cumin, nutmeg, cornmeal, and baking powder. Add salt to taste.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half & half, and cooked bacon. Pour over the corn and stir until well blended. Top with cheese and bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pudding is set.

Before serving, pour the lime juice over top. Serve warm.

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan's Family Table

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Yippee Casserole

Ground beef, au gratin potatoes, corn, and loads of cheese mean this easy casserole will soon be a family favorite!

This recipe is actually from my husband - and it's one of his favorite meals! Years ago, when he was in college, he came across the recipe in a magazine. The tagline on the recipe was something like "your kids will go yippee for dinner!" and the recipe became known as "yippee casserole" from then on.

Though some food snobs might turn their nose up to the use of processed foods, it really is tasty and great to have on hand for those busy nights when you just need to get dinner on the table. Unfortunately, it's not the most photogenic of dishes, either!

I like to throw a big dollop of sour cream on top but it's certainly optional.

Yippee Casserole
1 box au gratin potatoes
2 and 1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup milk
1/2 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400. In an ungreased 2 quart baking dish, stir together the dried potatoes, potato sauce mix, boiling water, corn, and milk. Stir in the browned beef and 3/4 cup cheese. Bake uncovered 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Lobster Etouffee

Cajun comfort food made easy! This creamy dish is loaded with lobster and best served over hot cooked rice. While it can be spicy, you can easily tweak the heat to your taste. This is one of our favorites - it's so flavorful!

Clearly, I am the world's worst food blogger. With my last post being back before HALLOWEEN, I missed two huge food holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas! I was out of town two weeks in November and once I was back, it was Advent! My work seriously triples during the Advent season so blogging was put on the back burner.

Right now, Charlotte is cold and wet. Really, it's miserable. On those cold, damp days, all I want is comfort food! This lobster etouffee is perfect!

It's a very simple recipe to make so don't be intimidated. The ingredient list is longer than some of my normal recipes but it's mostly pantry staples and spices that have been beginning to be used. I used lobster, as I had some on hand I needed to use, but you could easily sub in shrimp or crawfish.

Lobster Etouffee

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, plus 4 tablespoons reserved
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or to taste
1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish
3-5 dashes hot sauce or to taste
1 8-ounce jar clam juice
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (don't drain!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound or 4 cups lobster meat (can substitute crawfish or shrimp)

To make the roux, melt together the butter and the oil in a large Dutch oven over low heat. Whisk the flour into the melted butter/oil and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture becomes a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15-20 minutes. Don't be tempted to increase the heat - leave it on low.

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook over low heat until the vegetables are limp, about 5 minutes.

Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste. Stir until combined and then add the clam juice, chicken stock or broth, tomatoes with their juice, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until mixture thickens.

Add the lobster meat and cook for 3-5 minutes, being careful to not overcook. Remove from heat and add the 4 tablespoons reserved butter and stir to melt.

Garnish with the green onions, parsley, and serve over steamed rice.

Source: Foodie Crush

See Aimee Cook

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