#Recipes, Comfort Dish, Holiday, Sides

Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

Who doesn’t like potatoes? They are so versatile and can be transformed into so many delicious dishes. I especially love potatoes with my steak. Steak and potatoes are 2 of my favorite combinations. This past weekend I made my Mom’s Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes. They are so delicious and so simple to make. She use to make them a lot while I was growing up for Christmas Eve but since have changed it up slightly. However, these are definitely about to make a comeback in my house.

Now I know blue cheese is definitely an acquired taste. Not everyone likes it. Feel free to use as much or as little of the blue cheese as you’d like. Or, you can skip it all together and use any other cheese just the same.

Give this recipe a try. It’s definitely great for a crowd and can be made ahead of time for dinner hosting. Less time in the kitchen when your guests arrive is always a bonus and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Blue Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 large russet potatoes
¾ cup sour cream
5 T melted butter
½ cup crumbled blue cheese (more or less depending on taste)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Directions: Clean potatoes and poke holes in the top with a fork so the steam is able to escape. Bake potatoes in oven at 375° for 1 and ½ or 1 hour and 45 minutes. To make sure potatoes are done, you’ll want to stick a fork in them to make sure they go in easily without too much pressure.

Once cooked, remove potatoes from the oven and let cool till you are able to work hold them. Easily slice off the tops of the potatoes and scoop out the insides and add into a medium bowl. You will want to leave very little potato inside so the potatoes will hold their shape. Don’t go to deep as to tear the potato skin.

In the bowl of the potatoes add in sour cream, melted butter, blue cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork to remove any lumps. You can also use a hand mixer if you’d like the really smooth and whipped texture. Once all mixed together you want to scoop the potato mixture back into the potato skins.

Place back in the oven at 375° for 30 minutes. Let sit a few minutes once you remove from the oven. So they can set. These are also great to make ahead of time. You can make the night before and put in the refrigerator until ready to use. Just add another 15-25 minutes cooking time as the potatoes will be cold when you bake them.

You can completely omit the potatoes skins all together if you are making for a large crowd. Just put the potato mixture into a deep oven safe dish and bake.

Note: My pictures only show 3 potatoes, that’s because one of them was not good. But this recipe is in fact for 4 potatoes.

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Comfort Dish, Meatless, Quick Meals, Soup

French Onion Soup with Garlic Crostini & Swiss Cheese

Happy December! I made French Onion soup for the first time in years. It’s a super easy soup to make. You don’t need a lot of ingredients or time to make this. I almost feel like it’s healthier compared to most soups because there is no cream and yes there is butter but I cut back on that as well.

This is perfect for lunches or with a salad for dinner. It’s nice and warm for those cold winter nights. What’s better than soup and bread? This recipe has BOTH!

French Onion Soup with Garlic Croutons and Swiss Cheese

Ingredients:
5T butter
6 large sweet onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large bay leafs
6 sprigs of thyme
3 T flour
1 ½ cups wine (I used white)
2- 32 oz cartons beef broth, no salt added
3 t salt
2 t pepper

Croutons:
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 loaf crusty French bread
2 T olive oil
½ T parsley
2 t garlic powder
Sprinkle: salt and pepper

Toppings:
Swiss cheese

Directions:

In a large soup pot, melt butter on medium heat. Add sliced onions and garlic and mix well. Add in the bay leafs and 3 of the thyme sprigs. The other 3 sprigs, remove the herb and sprinkle in the mixture. Cook on medium low heat until onions are tender and caramelized. This may take 30-40 minutes for the amount of onions we are using. I covered the pan and let them cook down mixing every 10-12 minutes. They will cook down, don’t worry if they seem to take up the whole pot. (That’s what happened to me.)

After onions have cooked down and are soft and starting to caramelize remove some of the liquid and add to a small bowl and mix with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix well to remove lumps. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Add in the flour mixture and the wine and whisk well. Cook on medium heat about 10-15 minutes mixing half way through with a whisk. A whisk will help make sure the flour mixture gets broken up. Add in the beef broth and salt and pepper and stir, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering make the croutons for the top of the soup. Slice the bread into ½ inch pieces. In a small bowl add oil, parsley, garlic powder, fresh garlic and salt and pepper and mix well. Single layer the slices of bread on baking pan covered with foil. Brunch the bread with olive oil mixture. Bake at 400° in the oven 12-15 minutes. It’s okay if they get hard, they will soften once added to the soup.

To serve ladle soup into bowl add 2-3 slices of bread and top with sprinkle of Swiss cheese. If you wish, you can add to an oven save bowl and put under the broiler for a few minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly. I made this for lunches, so I just add in the bread slices and top with some cheese once the soup is heated through and the cheese melts perfectly. Enjoy!

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#Recipes, Comfort Dish, Keto, Leftovers, Low Carb, Mexican, Quick Meals, Sides, Tacos

Simple Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Simple Mexican Cauliflower Rice

I’ve never been a big fan of cauliflower unless it was smothered with gooey cheese. However, while trying to eat Keto I’ve now become obsessed with making cauliflower rice.  I must say though I cheat a little and buy the frozen already riced cauliflower.  It honestly comes out just as good to me.  It’s a quicker and easier alternative.  Hey anything to save a mess, am I right?  Cutting up cauliflower is the worse! J

I’ve done a few different rice recipes but this one I just made is probably one of my favorites.  I made this to make a taco “bowl” instead of using white or brown rice.  Give it a try. It’s only a few ingredients and yet the flavor is fantastic.  See below for the taco “bowl” I made with the rice. I also put the recipe for all the items in the bowl.

Simple Mexican Cauliflower Rice
3 servings

Ingredients:
12 oz, frozen cauliflower rice
2 T Butter
½ – ¾ cup shredded cheese (I used Mexican mix)
¼ cup chunky salsa
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 t low sodium taco seasoning (more to taste)
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ lime, juiced
½ T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
Sprinkle salt and pepper

Directions: Cook cauliflower rice in the microwave according to package but reduce the cook time by 2 minutes.  Heat a medium sauté pan on high heat.  Add oil and let heat a minute before adding in the onion and garlic.  Sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add in the cauliflower rice, butter and taco season, garlic and onion powder.  Add the salsa and lime juice and stir.  Let cook covered 4-5 minutes.  Add the shredded cheese and mix until fully melted, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle in cilantro and serve immediately.

Skirt Steak Taco Bowl

Ingredients:
Mexican Cauliflower rice, (see recipe above)
9 oz cooked protein, ( I used skirt steak)
½ red onion, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
½ cup shredded cheese
1 jalapeño, diced (remove seeds and membrane for less heat)
8 black olives, sliced
6 T guacamole
3 T sour cream
Optional: Tortilla chips for serving.

Directions: If you want low carb tortilla chips, bake your own using low carb tortillas. Cut tortilla into triangles, brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.  Watch the chips close as they will get brown quickly.  Remove from the oven and let cool so they can crisp up.

To assemble your bowl, start with 4 oz of Mexican cauliflower rice, top with steak, and toppings. Serve with guacamole and sour cream on the side and tortilla chips for dipping. Enjoy!

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Chicken, Comfort Dish, Complete Meal, Easy & Quick, Healthy

Chicken, Potato and Asparagus Bake

This recipe is my new favorite chicken recipe.  It’s so simple and yet is a well rounded dinner.  It’s has a protein, a starch and a veggie.  I’m always looking for that go to, easy week night meal.  Well here it is.

I made this recipe and I immediately knew it would be something I’d make again and again.  This recipe can be made with both chicken breasts or chicken thighs.  I choice a boneless and skinless chicken thigh because it’s much juicer and it was something I had on hand.  Chicken breasts can also be used, you just need to adjust the cooking times.

I added asparagus and mini potatoes but feel free to adjust to whatever vegetable you have in your pantry.  Check it out!

Chicken, Potato and Asparagus Bake

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 bunch asparagus, chopped in 1 inch pieces
15-20 mini potatoes, sliced in half or whole
2-3 T Olive oil
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t paprika
1 t chili powder
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven 375.  Heat a medium cast iron skillet or regular skillet on medium high heat.  Season chicken thighs on both sides with garlic and onion powder, paprika, chili powder and salt and pepper.

Add 1/2 T of olive oil to the pan and let heat 1 minute.  Brown chicken on both sides.  Brown all chicken and set aside.

In a medium bowl add the asparagus and potatoes and coat with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and garlic and onion powder.

Add the chicken to the bottom of a large baking pan.  Add the chopped asparagus and potatoes on top of the chicken.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until vegetables are fork tender and chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven, season potatoes and asparagus with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes:  The chicken cook times may vary.  Adjust accordingly.  Cut the potatoes in half to cook them quicker.  If you use larger potatoes they may need to be quartered.  Chicken breasts will take a bit longer to cook especially depending on the size of the breast.  Browning chicken first isn’t a mandatory step but it’s definitely one that will enhance the flavors.

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Comfort Dish, Pasta, Veggies

Mushroom Duxelle Lasagna

Who doesn’t like a nice cheesy lasagna? That’s exactly what we have here. It’s a cheesy lasagna with a yummy mushroom duxelle filling. The first time I made mushroom duxelle was for beef wellington. I loved it so much I decided to try to put in this dish. It came out delicious and I had to share.

For the record, mushroom duxelle is like a mushroom paste or mixture made from mushrooms, onions or shallots with herbs and usually sautéed in butter. If you enjoy mushrooms, this recipe is for you. I could seriously eat the mushroom duxelle right out of the pan.

Try this recipe for a different spin on lasagna.

Mushroom Duxelle Lasagna

8-12 lasagna noodles, boiled al dente
20 oz mushrooms, (I used white button)
1 shallot, rough chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 t fresh parsley
2 T butter
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 t dried basil
15 oz ricotta cheese
¾ cup shredded Italian cheeses, (I used a lasagna mix)
8-10 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced evenly
3/4-1 cup tomato sauce, (Any kind of your choice, more or less to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Extras:
Cooking spray
Large loaf pan

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. In a food processor add mushrooms, garlic and shallot. Pulse until very finely chopped. Season mixture with fresh parsley, salt and pepper.

Heat a medium sauté pan on medium heat. Add the butter until it melts, then add in the mushroom mixture and cook on medium high heat mixing often until all the water cooks out. This may take 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl add the mushroom mixture, ricotta, garlic and onion powder and basil and mix well. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Completely spray the large loaf pan with cooking spray. Spoon some sauce on the bottom of the pan, add 2 lasagna noodles to bottom and top with sprinkle of shredded cheese next add the mushroom mixture evenly and add 2-3 slices of fresh mozzarella lengthwise. Top with a little sauce and add lasagna noodles and complete the steps with the remaining ingredients. You should end with the fresh mozzarella and sauce.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil, bake in the oven 35-45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.

Let the lasagna sit 10-15 minute for it to settle before cutting and serving. Serve with garlic bread.

Notes: Use whatever mushrooms you have on hand, it’s delicious even if you use regular button mushrooms. Feel for to use more or less sauce. I like less sauce so I don’t use too much. You can double this recipe and make it in a larger pan. I choose to make in a large loaf pan because I was only making enough for 1 meal for 2 people. Make sure to get as much water out of the mushrooms as possible so it won’t affect the lasagna. In a pinch you can use no boil lasagna noodles. Just bake the lasagna according to the package.

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Comfort Dish, Family Recipes, Peppers

Italian Sausage & Peppers with Potatoes

One of my family’s favorite dishes is Italian Sausage & Peppers!! It has always been a favorite in my family since I was little. My grandparents,made Italian sausage and peppers often. I think at every major party in my family my Mom would make sausage and peppers. It was one of my Dad’s favorite meals, he LOVED his sausage and peppers.

I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years and removed the stewed tomatoes. (For those of you just tuning in, I don’t care for cooked tomatoes so I try to avoid them as much as I can) Sausage and peppers is really rather easy. It may be a little more prep but it’s really very simple. This is a great dish for a dinner party or for a crowd. You can make this ahead of time and then just pop in the oven and you have little to do when your guest arrive.

There are a few ways you can make this. My family use to make with green peppers and stewed tomatoes. It made a delicious juice that you could dip your crusty bread in. It was heaven!! I have changed it to my liking and now i use colored peppers, onions and I actually put in some potatoes. I personally like color bell peppers better than the green because they are less bitter and have a sweeter taste. I hope your family will enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

Italian Sausage and Pepper

Ingreidents:
5-6 Italian sausage links (Mild or Spicy), chopped or left whole
1 large onion, cut into strips
2 red peppers, cut in strips
2 yellow peppers, cut in strips
2 orange peppers, cut in strips
1, 14 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)
1 T olive oil
6 golden potatoes or multi colored potatoes, cut in half or fourths depending on size
2 t oregano
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
Sprinkle: Salt & Pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 375°. Bake sausage for 15 minutes in a large oven safe pan. After times up remove sausage and set aside.

Add in peppers, onions and potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic and onion powder. Mix well. Add into oven for 30 minutes mixing half way through.

After 30 minutes add sausage back into the pan and add diced tomatoes (if you’re using) and cook another 20-25 minutes mixing half way through. Make sure sausage is completely cooked. Peppers should be soft and tender. Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper. Serve sausage with peppers, onions and potatoes and a nice chunk of crusty bread. Enjoy!

Note: This recipe freezes well. Cutting sausage in half or big chunks will make the sausage cook faster. If you choose to do that, just reduce the initial cook time for the sausage.

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Comfort Dish, Easy & Quick, Kid Fun, Starters

Puff Pastry Hot Dogs

Talk about a fun appetizer or quick fun dinner.  These puff pastry hot dogs are quick to make and simply delicious.  This is sure to be a hit at any gathering.  You can cut the hot dogs in half to make smaller ones vs the full hot dogs.  Check out the recipe below.

Puff Pastry Hot Dogs

Ingredients:
8 hot dogs, any kind
1 sheet pre-made puff pastry, thawed but cold
1 egg
Sprinkle: coarse salt
Mustard for serving

Directions: Preheat oven 400. Roll out puff pastry to make it slightly bigger.  Pat dry the hot dogs.  Using a knife or a pizza cutter cut into half inch strips.  Using 2 strips of the puff pastry wrap the hot dog, slightly overlapping.  You can also just use thicker strips of the puff pastry if you’d rather.  Place on a greased baking dish.

Once all the hot dogs are wrapped place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes for the puff pastry to slightly chill again.

Whisk egg in small bowl.  Remove the hot dogs from the refrigerator and brush the puff pastry with the egg and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake in the oven 20 minutes until golden brown.  Serve immediately with a side of mustard.

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