Friday, September 28, 2012

Paula Deen's Brunch stuffed bell peppers

I love to watch the Food Network but I don't get a chance very often as I'm just way too busy.  Yesterday, however, I caught a great episode of Paula Deen and she presented a fabulous twist on stuffed bell peppers that really caught my attention!

I love the traditional stuffed bell peppers, but Paula made "brunch stuffed peppers", meaning the ingredients were ones you'd normally serve for breakfast.  I love the concept of these peppers for breakast, brunch OR dinner.  We all have those "breakfast for dinner" nights where we just need something quick and breakfast food sounds good.  These would be PERFECT for such evenings.

Be sure to garnish the top, after they come out of the oven, with more chopped bacon, some more shredded cheese and some chopped green onion--this will make the presentation much more appealing.  Enjoy!

Brunch Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 yellow bell peppers (use any color you'd like)
1 cup frozen country style hash browns, thawed
1/2 (16-ounce) package bacon, cooked and crumbled *(reserve some extra bacon for the top)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese blend, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup biscuit mix (I'd use Bisquick or something similar--whatever you have)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the top 1/2-inch of each pepper. Discard the tops and seeds. Arrange the peppers, cut side up, in an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Fill the bottom of each pepper evenly with hash browns and bacon.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, milk, baking mix, sour cream, green onion, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined. Evenly distribute the egg mixture into each pepper. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out dry, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with cheese & extra bacon and serve immediately.

Monday, September 24, 2012

DIY Coffee Drinks

Stay cool (and caffeinated) with these coffee drinks YOU can make from home!

Mocha Frap

1 1/2 C strong brewed coffee, chilled
1 1/4 C 2% milk
1/2 C jarred fudge sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 C ice cubes
4 Tbsp. whipped cream
4 tsp. chocolate sprinkles, if desired

In a blender, combine the coffee, milk, fudge sauce, sugar and ice. 
Pour into 2 tall glasses.  Top with whipped cream and the sprinkles (in my case, I favor more fudge sauce drizzled over the top in lieu of the sprinkles)

Cookies 'n Cream Frap

4 scoops vanilla ice cream
2 C strong brewed coffee, chilled
5 oreos, coarsely chopped, divided (I won't tell if you use twice as
1 C 2% milk
1 C ice cubes
4 Tbsp. whipped cream

In a blender, combine the ice cream, coffee, half of the chopped Oreos, milk and ice.  Blend until smooth. 
Pour into 2 tall glasses.  Top with whipped cream and the rest of the Oreos.

Iced Cappuccino

2 C 2% milk
2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 ice cubes
*Ground cinnamon for sprinkling, if desired

In a blender, combine the milk, syrup, espresso powder, sugar and ice.  Blend until smooth.
Pour into 2 tall glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Broccoli Chowder with Cheddar Toast

The last few days here have been very breezy and cool, which definitely makes it feel like Fall is in the air.  I LOVE Fall and the gorgeous colors that come with it, and I always look forward to cooking warm, comfort food again.  Soup recipes always come in handy because at least in my home I can make them stretch for a couple of nights since there's just the two of us.  I hope you enjoy this one!

Broccoli Chowder with Cheddar Toast

2 strips bacon, thinly sliced (ummm....are they joking?!  I'd triple this, at a minimum)
2 Tbsp. unsalted buter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 C milk
4 small red-skinned potatoes (about 6 oz.), quartered
1/2 head broccoli (about 10 oz.), broken into florets, stem peeled and sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbstp. dijon mustard
1 baguette, sliced into 8 1/4-inch thick pieces
4 oz. cheddar (or your favorite....I think gruyere) cheese, cut into 8 thin slices

Cook the bacon in the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until it renders slightly, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic and celery seed and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.  Scatter the flour over the mixture and stir to coat.  Gradually add the broth and the milk, whisking until smooth.

Add the potatoes and sliced broccoli stem; increase the heat to medium and simmer, covered, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli florets and season with 1/2 tsp. salt.  Continue cooking, uncovered, at a rapid simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper part of the oven and preheat the broiler to high.  Spread the mustard on each piece of baguette and top with a slice of cheese.  Place on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts; serve with the soup.

Serves: 4

Saturday, September 22, 2012

French Dipped Sandwiches

Do you love French Dipped sandwiches as much as hubby and I do??  To be honest, we've been just buying them @ Arby's and for fast food they are really good in my opinion.
That's about to change, though.  I think the time and effort involved to make them from home is more than worth it!

French Dipped Sandwiches

1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 small leek, which and light-green parts ONLY, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
2 lbs. beef top round roast
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 C beef broth
6 French rolls

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Combine  the chopped vegetables, garlic and thyme in a large roasting pan.  Rub the dried herbs and spices all over the beef; season generously with salt and pepper.  Place the beef fat-side up on the vegetables and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130 degrees, about 45 minutes.  Remove the meat from the pan, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

While the meat is resting, put the roasting pan on the stove and cook the vegetables over high heat until they are browned but not burnt and the liquid is evaporated;  pour off any excess fat.  Add the beef broth to the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits that cling to the bottom.  Transfer the liquid and vegetables to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 30 minutes.  Strain the sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

Trim any excess far from the beef and thinly slice.  Have the rolls horizontally and warm in the oven.  Dip the bottom of each roll in the sauce and top with some of the beef; dip the cut side of each roll top in the sauce and place on each sandwich. 

Makes 6 sandwiches

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mortadella Stromboli

Stromboli are like calzones but are oblong and sliced before serving

Mortadella Stromboli

1 1/2 C coarsely grated swiss or gruyere cheese (6 oz.)
1 C thinly sliced string cheese (4 oz.)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1 (13.8 oz.) package refrigerated pizza dough
10 fresh basil leaves
3/4 C pitted green or black olives, roughly chopped
1/2 C tomato saucve
1/4 lb. sliced mortadella, cut into 1/2" wide ribbons

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix 1 cup of the swiss cheese with the string cheese. 

Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.  Unroll the dough, cut in half to make two 6 x 9 inch pieces and place on the prepared pan.

Spread half of the mised cheese along one long side of each rectangle, leaving an inch border between the cheese and dough edge.  Top each mound of cheese with half of the basil, a quarter of the olives, 1/4 c tomato sauce and a third of the mortadella.  Fold the dough over the filling lengthwise, pressing the edges to seal.  Make slits in the top of the dough to allow steam to escape during baking.

Bake the stromboli until brown, about 15 minutes; remove from the oven.  Brush each with olive oil, then scatter the remaining olives, mortadella and cheese on top.  Return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts and the crust is golden.  Rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4.