Bananas Foster Cheesecake

I have set fruit on fire before. Remember peaches foster?

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

(And in case you are wondering this flame was produced in my mother’s kitchen. Yes she was concerned.)

I honestly believe that any soft fruit could be used in this type of application. Pears are one I haven’t tried yet but I think would be spectacular. Plums would also probably be tasty. Apples maybe if they were sliced thin enough and cooked long enough.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

All in all though we are talking about fruit cooked in butter, rum, and brown sugar.  Then set on fire. What is not to love?

When perusing my cookbooks for a cake to make my brother in law for his birthday we stumbled on a recipe for a banana foster cheesecake. Um. Yes please.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

The recipe was a bit extravagant and I finally decided to look for another one when it called for cooking the cheesecake in a water bath. I just don’t have the patience for that. Besides the very idea totally stressed me out. I quickly went on the hunt for another recipe and was rewarded with this incredibly simple one.

In all reality I was already stressed out because we are in the height of canning season. Tuna, tomato sauce, salsa, and peaches have all been processed this past week and put up for the winter. I love getting it all done but it truly makes me a crazy person at times. Mercifully it is done and now all I have left is apple sauce and maybe grape jelly.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

So with the week I was already spending in the kitchen adding a daunting cheesecake recipe made me cranky. But you know what?  After making this I wondered why DON’T I make cheesecake more often? I keep thinking it is hard and every time I make it I am reminded that it is in fact pretty easy. I am not an expert at it by any means but it is delicious and no one who ate it complained.

So happy happy birthday Ryan. I am glad you picked this dessert and I am glad I stuck with it despite the crazy week.

And in case of the apocalypse come to my house. We are well stocked.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Bananas Foster Cheesecake (serves 10-12 easily)
Adapted from Will Cook for Smiles

For Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
5 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

For Cheesecake:
2 medium bananas, sliced
4 tbs butter
3 tbs dark brown sugar
4 tbs light rum
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 8-oz cream cheese bricks
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of bananas foster sauce form above
2 tbs sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbs corn starch

For Topping:
3 medium bananas, sliced in 8
3 tbs butter
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs light rum

Grease a 9-inch spring form, set aside. Preheat the oven to 325.
For crust: Crush the graham crackers to fine crumbs. A bottom of a glass works great. Mix in the sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Stir very well. Press graham crackers into the pan, evenly, all over the bottom and about half way up the side. Set Aside
In a medium pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat, add sugar and cinnamon and stir well. Add banana slices and saute for about a minute. Pouring carefully, add the rum. The alcohol may ignite on its own, but if it does not then use a long match or lighter to ignite it. Cook until flame dies out. Take out the bananas and layer them evenly over the crust. Set the juice aside to cool down.
For Cheesecake
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at the time, beating after each addition. Add the corn starch, vanilla extract, sour cream, and the bananas foster sauce. Make sure that all ingredients are well combined. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan with crust and bananas. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely.
For Topping:
In a medium pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat, add 2 tbs dark brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and stir well. Add banana pieces and saute for about a minute. Pouring carefully, add the rum. The alcohol may ignite on its own, but if it does not then use a long match or lighter to ignite it. Cook until flame dies out. Top the cooled cheesecake with the warm topping. Serve immediately.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Tuna Roll Ups

I start work this week.

Type those very words have brought tears to my eyes. It has been a hard to come to decision. I have been a stay at home mama since April last year. One year and five months. I am so incredibly grateful for all the time I have had at home with Little.

Tuna Roll Ups- delicious and easy weeknight dinner

Can we talk about my feelings for a moment? We are about to get super honest here. Mothering doesn’t come naturally to me. I miss working- project completion, adult interaction, mental stimulation, etc etc. I feel like a bit of a failure as a mom that I WANT to go to work. Sorting out daycare, getting work clothes altered so they fit, planning how our week is going to look has all been a huge challenge. I want to go to work but my heart wants to stay home. But staying home makes me a bit crazy. But getting ready to go back to work is making me a bit crazier.

Tuna Roll Ups- delicious and easy weeknight dinner

It will be fine. That’s my mantra. It is only 20 hours a week and it is only four days a week. I bet after a month of this we will find a quiet rhythm and we will all be happier. In the meantime cut me some slack. There will be tears. I will most likely eat way too much chocolate and drink too much coffee.

One thing I am doing to help my sanity is plan out dinner. Lots of foods I know Little enjoys and eats easily along with what I consider to be comfort foods. Nathan is headed off into another long juice fast so it will be cooking for just Little and me.

Tuna Roll Ups- delicious and easy weeknight dinner

Last night was comfort food. It was an overcast cool August day that hinted fall is coming. These tuna roll ups were on the regular menu rotation when I was a kid and I hope Little grows up loving them as much as I do. Such a simple dinner that can be thrown together in minutes for a hot homemade dinner that is faster than take out. Certainly a must for a soon to be working mama.

Tuna Roll Ups- delicious and easy weeknight dinner

Ps. Can we please note the fact that I am not a “add a can of cream of whatever soup” type of cook. This is one of my FEW exceptions. I love the cream of portabella mushroom soup from Trader Joes. I can live with most of the ingredients in it.

Tuna Roll Ups- delicious and easy weeknight dinner

One year ago today: Brownies Plain and Simple

Tuna Rolls Ups (makes 6)
Biscuit recipe from Joy of Cooking, rest is my own

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt
5-6 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
One can of tuna
1 egg
6 small slices of cheddar cheese
1 box/can of cream of mushroom soup

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt thoroughly into a large bowl. Drop in 5-6 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces. Cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender, tossing the pieces with the flour mixture to coat and separate them as you work. Continue to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Do not allow the butter to melt or or form a paste with the flour. Add 3/4 cup of milk all at once and mix with a rubber spatula until most of the dry ingredients are moistened. With a lightly floured hand, gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl 5 to 10 times, turning and pressing any loose pieces into the dough each time until they adhere and the bowl is fairly clean.

Dump out the dough onto the floured counter and pat into a disk. Gently roll out to about 12 x 8 rectangle. Cut into six pieces. In a small bowl mix the drained tuna with the egg. On each square place a small piece of cheese then top with 1/6 of the tuna/egg mixture. Gently fold each square around the filling pinching the edges to seal. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. While the roll ups are baking place the soup in a sauce pan and only add half the recommended amount of liquid (so it is thick). Once biscuits are done allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve in a bowl topped with the soup.

Tuna Roll Ups- delicious and easy weeknight dinner

Crepes

Years ago when Nathan bought me my beautiful le Creuset pot we were unknowingly entered in a drawing at said store. A week later I got a call completely out of the blue saying I had won a le Creuset crepe pan.

Simple homemade crepes

Wait what?

Of course I’ll take it!

So then I learned to make crepes. There really isn’t anything to learn really. It does take a bit to get the feel of how much batter to put in the pan and when to flip but otherwise I feel that crepes might be easier than pancakes. Certainly easier than waffles.

The really cool part? Totally a customization dinner. Littles don’t like the green? Then ham and cheese for them. I loaded mine with Gruyere, ham, dijon mustard, and arugula.

Simple homemade crepes

Good thing I have a tiny smidge of self control or I would have eaten three of these in rapid succession.

Although this was technically a savory recipe I reserved some of the batter for making dessert crepes. It worked wonderfully. I simply cooked them, folded them in to triangles, then squeezed on some lemon juice and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Simple homemade crepes

Sorry there aren’t any pictures of those. They kinda disappeared as fast as I made them.

I can’t believe we don’t have this for dinner more often. Definitely working these into the menu more often. I am imagining ones filled with roasted veggies or scrambled eggs and bacon or or or….

Yum.

Simple homemade crepes

One year ago today: Pea pesto and rhubarb crisp

Savory Crepes (makes 5)
From Joy of Cooking

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend till smooth. Pour the batter into a pitcher or other container with a pouring lip. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes or in refrigerate for up to 2 days. (This allows the flour to thoroughly absorb the liquid and gives the gluten in the flour a chance to relax.) Place a nonstick or seasoned crepe pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little unsalted butter. Stir the batter and pour about 2 tablespoons into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so that the batter forms an even, very thin layer. Cook until the top is set and the underside is golden. Turn the crepe over, using a spatula or your fingers (fingers work best here) and cook until the second side is lightly browned. If you are adding savory toppings you can do so now to allow the cheese to melt, ham to warm up, greens to wilt, etc. or remove the crepe to a piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the crepes, buttering the pan and stirring the batter before starting each one.

Simple homemade crepes

Cucumber Feta Tomato Salad

Dear Little,

Please sleep.

Love, Your Mama.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

Yes, I have a toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night. This sweet child of mine has flat out NEVER slept what us adults would consider well. The heat, changes in our daily routine, teeth, and extra hours of daylight have, of late, made for a few long long nights.

It doesn’t help that wake up time for him is somewhere right around 6 am regardless of when he falls asleep. Sigh.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

So as I have mentioned before (on this salad post) lunch around here is usually quick, heavy on the veg, and eaten while the toddler naps and I catch up on facebook. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

Before you tell me to go nap you should know I have already taken one today. And yesterday. And the day before.

All I can say is I can’t wait till he is a teenager and I have to drag him out of bed in the morning. It will be poetic justice.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

On another note I love salads and believe they are perfect summer food. Well salads and barbecuing. You don’t have to stand over a hot stove. Fresh veggies are at the peak of the season. Salads don’t tend to give you a bogged down too full feeling.

All around yum.

I feel silly actually writing a recipe out for this. Feel free to adapt as you see fit. I bet it would be lovely with goat cheese too if that is your thing.

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

One year ago today: Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad (serves 2 as entrees 4 as sides)
Mine

2 medium cucumbers peeled, halved, and sliced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes halved
1/4 sweet onion diced
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
splash of white wine vinegar

Combine the veggies and cheese in bowl. Sprinkle with salt, drizzle on the olive oil, then splash lightly with the vinegar. Best eaten immediately.

 

Risotto Milanese

We have chatted about risotto before. Remember? I became obsessed with mastering it because of Hell’s kitchen? Ok cool. We are on the same page.

Since then I have discovered Master Chef. Now I feel knowing how to make risotto isn’t enough…. I feel the need to master eggs benedict along with a host of other things. And apparently macaroons which I have made so may batches of and we are just NOT friends.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the sauteed veggies and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Master Chef audition each contestant gets 5 minutes to finish and plate a dish for the three judges.  I have spent alot of time mulling over what I would make seeing as Gordon Ramsey is one of them. This week I am convinced it would be this risotto. I am sure it will change in a couple of weeks.

Risotto Milanese

Yes. I currently think I would be brave enough to make a risotto for Gordon Ramsey. I think this risotto would be good enough to at least get me past the first hurdle to being the next Master Chef. But lets be honest here. I would probably melt into a tiny puddle of goo just from being in his presence that I would be useless.

Risotto Milanese

Wouldn’t you?

Oh well. I highly doubt I am going on Master Chef any time soon.

At least I can make this delicious risotto for my family and friends. The saffron flavor is amazing and intense. It is perfect served as a main with some simple steamed veggies.

Do you watch Master Chef? What would you make for that opening dish?

Risotto Milanese

One year ago today: Peanut Butter Pie

Risotto Milanese (serves four small entrees)
From the Joy of Cooking

1 small onion chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine (serve the rest with dinner)
5 cups chicken stock
1 generous pinch saffron threads
Salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter

Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto.

Put the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. The the saffron threads and crush them between your fingers and add to the simmering pot. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and the butter. Salt to taste. Serve to Gordon Ramsey.

Ps. Someone really really enjoyed this…Risotto Milanese

Hamburgers

Please don’t get offended that I am sharing this with you.

I used to believe hamburgers were ground beef patted into a disk and thrown on the grill. Then I met my husband.

The first time he took ground beef, dumped it on a bowl, and threw in ingredients at random I was more than skeptical. Slowly over the past nearly eight years he has perfected his recipe.

The hamburger perfected

Let me tell you- it is amazing. I absolutely love his burgers. They are full of flavor without being in your face about it. The oatmeal helps it stay moist on the grill and the tabasco gives it just a suggestion of spice.

An absolute fave around here. Wanna know what I love even more? This is entirely his own doing. No recipe to base it off of. No replication from something he had this one time. When I asked him about it he said he simply added what he thought would taste good.

The hamburger perfected

And of boy does it taste good.

So while you cannot have my husband you can have these delicious burgers. Either come over and we will make them for you or make them yourself. Either way I promise you will never make plain burgers again.

The hamburger perfected

 

One year ago today: Sausage Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells.

Hamburgers (makes 4 burgers)
From Nathan

1 lb grass feed ground beef
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon tabasco
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup rolled oats

Dump all of the ingredients into a bowl. Mix well. With your hands divide into four portions then pat into burgers about 5 inches across. Cook either in a pan or preferable on the grill till your desired doneness. If you like top with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, and ketchup. Enjoy summer.

The hamburger perfected

Risotto Primavera

I can’t believe we haven’t talked risotto.

Ok that’s a half truth. I did make that amazing farro and cauliflower risotto and share it with you. But we haven’t had a chat about basic simple amazing risotto.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

(I added the above picture so you realize what a MESS I make when I am cooking. Yes my pictures may be pretty but know there is chaos behind the lens)

If hard pressed I would say my true foray into the world of becoming a better cook began way back in 2005 when Hell’s Kitchen first aired. The premise of the reality show is Gordon Ramsey (swoon!) take a bunch of wanna be chefs, puts them through the ringer, eliminates them one at a time, then eventually crowns one a winner and gives them their own restaurant. I only watched that first season but I learned on huge thing- none of them could make risotto.

Terrified I might wind up on the show someday (completely rational I know) I decided if Chef Ramsey was going to yell at me for something it wouldn’t be for my lack of ability to make risotto. My Joy of Cooking cookbook and I had a date in the kitchen and I taught myself how to make it. The best part? I had never even had risotto. I was just fumbling through trying to figure it out.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

What did I learn? It is absurdly easy. All it takes is time, patience, really good ingredients, and lots and lots of tasting. In the course of cooking a batch of risotto I probably taste it 10-15 times, each time biting down on a grain of rice looking for that perfect al dente softness and crunch.

We have discussed good ingredients on here so many times I feel I have beat you over the head with this subject but here it goes again. When you have a recipe, like risotto, that uses so few ingredients use the very best you can afford. Pick up a GOOD cheese and a bottle of wine you would enjoy drinking. I also feel arborio rice is a must. It is fairly inexpensive (comparatively) in the bulk bins at my grocery store. Use your own homemade chicken stock or something with a very short list of ingredients.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

So back to Chef Ramsey. If I were to be on Hell’s Kitchen tomorrow I would make a mean risotto. I promise. It would be cooked perfectly as well as properly seasoned.

Now my ability to cook steaks might get me in trouble but risotto will not.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

Risotto Primavera (serves 4-6 depending on if it is a side or entree)
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking- essentially a basic risotto with veggies.

Note: Risotto is not an exact science but is rather based on feel. As stated above taste taste taste then taste some more. Some days your risotto will take 4 cups of chicken stock then the next take 5. Channel your inner chef and trust your instincts.

4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
6 oz green beans cut into 1 inch pieces
6 oz zucchini chopped
8 oz asparagus end removed and chopped in to 1 inch pieces
1 tbs olive oil

Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat till hot. Add the asparagus, beans and zucchini and sautee for about 5 minutes until they are bright green and just starting to soften. Set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, the sauteed veggies and salt and pepper to taste.

Risotto primavera. Great use up all those spring veggies dish.

On Delivering Dinner

Hopefully we have been friends for a bit. If not no worries. I’m always happy to make new friends.

If we have been friends for a awhile one thing you will know about me is my reaction to pretty much any major life event is to throw food at it. Not literally but figuratively. You moved? Had a death in your family? New baby? Generally speaking an awful week? Birthday? Anniversary? I’m there with food in hand.

On delivering dinner

Over the years I feel I have become a bit of an expert on what to take to people. There are a few things I try to take into consideration:

1. I never make anything for a someone I wouldn’t feed my family. Good food but also good for you (well besides the cookies maybe). This means whole grains, locally sourced meats, as much organic produce as I can afford, little or no refined oils

2. Aim to include veggies. So often I feel when people drop off dinner the dishes are rich and calorie laden. I always pick main dishes that are chocked full of veggies.

3. Include something for breakfast. Ages ago I read a post about delivering dinner to a new mom and it suggested to take breakfast foods along with the dinner. I tend to make something like muffins or scones for an easy next day breakfast.

4. If you can just bring along some plain fresh fruit- apples, watermelon, grapes, strawberries. you know- whatever is in season. When we are in the midst of a life changing event I don’t think we tend to eat well. Wash and cut up the fruit for easy, mindless snacking.

5. Always ALWAYS ask about allergies, aversions, preferences before deciding on your menu. I don’t like blue cheese but you wouldn’t know that unless you asked. Or know me well.

6. Don’t break the bank. The reason I have such a deep repertoire of recipes is I cook and deliver based on what is in season, on sale, or on hand. Most meals I deliver cost me less than $10 to make. The entire meal- fruit, breakfast, and entree.

7. Only deliver on dishes and in tupperware you don’t want or need back. The last thing these people need is to keep track of your stuff. Make sure they know they don’t need to wash or return anything.

Do you ever make and deliver food to friends and family? This little blog has a long list of recipes that are perfect for delivery. Here is a list of my favorites:

Casseroles:

Black bean and spinach enchiladas

Black bean and spinach enchiladas– Healthy and hearty. I actually delivered this to a new mama yesterday.

lighter tuna noodle casserole

Tuna noodle casserole– First reference #5 above. Not everyone loves tuna casserole BUT if they do this lighter version is packed full of veggies and is sure to please!

chicken or turkey biscuit pot pie

Chicken or turkey biscuit pot pie– A twist on pot pie that is a bit quicker to prepare. Still a showstopper and again loaded with veg.

Baked penne bolognese

Baked penne with bolognese– This dish packs a veggie punch without you realizing it. Plus there isn’t anything out there as hearty or heartwarming as homemade pasta sauce.

Baked mac and cheese

Baked mac and cheese– This recipe offers two ways to make it- both with veggies! And who doesn’t love homemade mac and cheese? Fascists that’s who.

Easy to reheat dinner:

Easy veggie curry

Easy veggie curry– Perfect vegan or vegetarian dish. Make brown rice for an extra hearty fiber punch.

Lentils, sausage and swiss chard

Lentils, sausage and swiss chard– Yes this sounds a bit unusual but make it and I promise the recipient will be impressed. This basic dish has so much flavor.

Soups:

Broccoli cheese soup

Broccoli cheese soup– Loads of veggies in this lighter version of an all around classic. Be sure to include bread for dipping!

Beef barley stew

Beef barley stew– Veggies, meat, barley. Yum. Stick to your ribs soul food.

Saffron chicken veggie soup

Saffron chicken veggie soup– Did you know saffron is a mood booster? Ideal dish if someone if having a particularly hard time.

Leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup– One of our standby faves for weeknight dinner. Simple mild soup made with nourishing chicken or veggie broth. A must make for anyone recovering from illness.

Sweet potato quinoa chili

Sweet potato quinoa chili– Another great recipe for the vegetarian or vegan. Be sure to make cornbread (suggested recipe below).

Breakfasts:

Banana bread

Banana bread– Does this really need an explanation? A classic favorite.

Cranberry orange muffins

Cranberry orange muffins– Perfect around the holiday season or if you have frozen cranberries lurking in your freezer.

Homemade granola

Homemade granola version one or version two– Cereal lovingly made by someone else is always a welcome treat.

blueberry-muffins

Blueberry muffins– I make this recipe so often I have it memorized. First time I made them was to deliver to a friend at the hospital right after she had her baby.

Sides (to go with soups or casseroles!):

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

Brown butter rosemary cornbread– I think this would go great with the sweet potato quinoa chili. Just sayin.

Artisan bread

Artisan bread– This bread is no effort at all on your part and is a stunner. Sure beats spending $5 on a loaf at the store.

Cheddar scallion drop biscuits

Cheddar scallion drop biscuits– Ridiculously cheesy and flavorful biscuits. Goes great with the saffron veggies soup.

 

I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration. What are your favorite recipes to deliver?

 

 

Roasted Pepper and Feta Scones

I know I have mentioned many times on here that I try and follow a pretty tight budget. It is hard work but I love the freedom (yes!) to easily save for bigger purchases. Knowing whether or not I can buy something by counting the cash in my wallet is wonderful.

Not wanting to settle for just having less because I don’t have as much money I am finding ways to stretch my dollars. I used to coupon ALOT. Not so much these days. Sure I still watch for sales and stock up when prices are low but the new way I have found to make my grocery budget go further is a local mama co-op.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

A co-op (per wikipedia) is simply “an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit.” In this case the mutual benefit is rock bottom prices on some of the best food around. A selfless mama heads up the crazy produce buy and helps us all put together a massive all oroganic order every week. The quality of the produce is unbelievable. I have been ruined for the ordinary.

Sure, some of the produce is a bit more expensive than conventional (the asparagus I ordered this week is cheaper at Freddies but isn’t organic) but I love getting all my produce once a week, seeing these other lovely mamas, and being part of a fabulous community that works hard to feed our families well for less.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

These gorgeous tiny peppers were part of the buy last week. Under $2 for a pound of organic mini peppers. Booyah.

Little got a hold of the clamshell earlier in the week and ate one straight. They were THAT sweet.

However, I over ordered a bit last week and, while I used a few early in the week, by the weekend these were forgotten in the back of the fridge and needing to be used.

Happily this recipe had been waiting in the wings for a couple of weeks now. Sure it called for red peppers but these tiny beauties roasted up perfectly.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

And the finished scones? Yum. Yum. Yum.

On another note…. In case you are wondering the answer is yes- scones are clearly my new thing (orange poppy seed scones anyone?). In fact I have a fun “lets get together and take lovely pictures of food” party planned with a friend on Friday morning. And you guessed it- I’m making scones. Savory again but yes more scones.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

Roasted Pepper and Feta Scones (makes 8)
Adapted from Joy the Baker

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peppers
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Turn your oven on to broil and place the top rack as high as it will go. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and slide under the broiler. Broil for 5-8 minutes per side till nice and toasty. Remove to a bowl and quickly cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam and cool for about 20 minutes. Peel the skins off and coarsely chop.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease a large (9 or 10-inch) cast iron skillet with butter and set aside (a cake pan would do as well or you can simply roll out, slice, and bake as biscuits)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the cold butter and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. In a small bowl, beat together egg and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir with till barely mixed.  Before the mixture is entirely incorporated, add red pepper and feta cheese.  Dump mixture out onto a clean work surface and gently knead together.  If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.  The dough should be moist but still shaggy.  Gather pat in to an 8-inch round. Do not overwork.

Transfer dough to prepared pan.  Use a serrated knife to mark an inch deep X into the dough.  Brush generously with buttermilk and top with cracked black peppercorns and flaky salt.  Place in the oven and allow to bake for 32-35 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden color and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing.  Serve warm.

Roasted pepper and Feta Scones

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Sorry things are quiet around here. It has been a sad week as my father-in-law passed away peacefully on Sunday morning. This will be the only post this week as we are slowing the pace of life way down and spending time with loved ones. See you next week.

This was yet another case of starting to follow a recipe, realizing it wasn’t going to turn out the way I wanted, and improvising (AKA throwing things in the pot).

A lighter version of broccoli cheese soup

It was so incredibly good. Healthy? Eh. I can’t decide. It is a lot of veggies and when you divide all the cream and cheese between each serving I don’t think it is THAT bad for you. I feel my adaptation of it is infinitely healthier than the cream laden version I based this recipe off of.

The best part? It is incredibly comforting. Hearty food that feeds your soul as well as your tummy. Exactly what we are needing these days.

A lighter version of broccoli cheese soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup (makes 6 servings)

1 onion,diced
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
3 cups chicken broth
3 bunches of broccoli cut into florets
3 cups grated cheese (I used white cheddar)
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes till translucent, then sprinkle the flour over the top. Whisk to combine and cook for 1 minute or so, then pour in milk and half-and-half whisking all the while. Add the broccoli, chicken stock, a small dash of salt, and plenty of black pepper. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Stir in cheese and allow to melt.

Taste seasonings and adjust if needed. Puree well either in a blender or with your immersion blender. Serve with more cheese sprinkled on top.

A lighter version of broccoli cheese soup