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*All recipes on this blog (unless otherwise noted) are Martha Stewart's from the Everyday Food Cookbooks here and here, they are not my own. If other than this I will post links to the recipes or indicate that they are originals*

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Perfect Breakfast Re-Visited

I promise I will have a real post for you soon.  Work was crazy the last 3 days, I haven't cooked a ton, but I am making dinner tonight and as promised will share the Herbed Chicken and balsamic potatoes with you all very soon!
In the mean time, I just couldn't help but share my breakfast with you.
Sometimes it is the simple things in life that make us happy.
That is definitely the case for me with this simple, yet always satisfying breakfast.
Egg in the hole, bird's nest, bull's eye eggs, toad in a hole (what?), frog in a hole (okay, really? come on), one eye'd monsters, nest eggs, ect.
Regardless of what you call it, it is one of my absolute favorite breakfasts around
The best part?  It takes about 2 min to make!
If you have never tried this, you're crazy!
Grab an egg and a piece of bread and do it NOW!
I have blogged about this before, but check out the improvement in the photo's, almost hard to look back at the old ones.

One piece of bread
One egg
Butter your bread, then use a ring mold or simply the top of a glass to cut a circular hole in your piece of bread.  Heat a small skillet and place your holey piece of bread in the skillet.  Fill the hole with your egg.  Sprinkle with S&P.  Allow to cook until whites of the egg has just set and bread has browned, then flip and cook just long enough for the bread to brown.  You can cook longer if you don't like your egg runny, in which case you are probably weird.  Don't forget to fry up your little circle of bread also, I swear its the best part! 
Serves 1.

And I couldn't resist showcasing my absolute favorite part of every morning!

Camping edition

Last weekend we went camping.
Logan did a lot of fishing, I did a lot of reading and in general we just RELAXED together.
Which, really does not happen very often with our current schedules.
For dinner we opted for Brats (nothing fancy) with chips and salsa.  
Of course we also had many MANY s'mores, including ones with Reese's, YUM.
I brought snacks and lots of yummy food including chicken salad for lunch the next day.
Just thought I would share these pics with you with the holiday weekend coming up I'm sure many of you are planning camping trips, don't let the food fall by the wayside.

Wanted to leave you with a couple of my favorite photos from the weekend.

I'm sure you would all agree, there is just something about a man and his dog!

Love these two!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cucumber Salad Re-Do

Usually I do not repeat meals, unless they are REALLY good, or REALLY easy.
This falls in the latter category.
But also I just HAD to re-do this meal, because last time I made it my pictures were crap.
The last time, it was dark and I took the pictures inside, with crappy lighting and they were awful.
Side note: I worried about winter time, I'll have to get quite creative with lighting, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. 
This is a slightly different recipe than the last cucumber salad, I'm not sure I like it quite as much.
I did add about 1 T feta cheese and doubled the vinegar, which I think helped.  But it just wasn't quite as tasty.  However it was good to try a slights different version, that's how we perfect things right?
Well I think my goal was met in improving the photos on this one, hallelujah! 
I once again served this with a turkey burger, which was also really good. 
Try this version, or try the old version, OR post your own version in the comments.  Its my summer's mission to create the perfect cucumber salad!
P.S. Herb butter Chicken cutlets and balsamic potatoes to come!

Dilled Cucumber Salad
2 english cucumbers
2 tsp coarse salt
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped, plus dill sprigs for garnish
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground pepper (or more to taste)

Halve cucumbers lengthwise.  With a spoon scoop out and discard any seeds.
Cut crosswise into 1/8 in thick slices.
Place in a colander set over a bowl and toss with 2 tsp salt; let stand 15 min.
Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine yogurt, chopped dill, vinegar, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Remove cucumbers from colander and pat dry with paper towels.  
Add to bowl with yogurt dressing: toss to combine.  Garnish with dill sprigs if desired, and serve.

Serves 4.

Logan Rating: **
(After an angry face from me...
"what??? not everything can be a 5")

Sunday, August 26, 2012

No Bake Lasagna

Whoever was the first person to think of this was/is a genius!
I am obviously not the only person that craves lasagna in the summer time, but can't bring myself to turn on the oven when its 96 degrees.
Ok so sometimes, VERY RARELY I am the crazy person that turns my oven on when its 90+degrees, BUT this recipe makes it so I don't have to.
It is essentially lasagna that is assembled after all its parts are cooked.
So you cook the noodles, you make an absolutely delightful grape tomato mixture along with zucchini and then you layer them together with some ricotta and parm.
Now, you can't tell me your mouth isn't watering...
I will admit it is a bit more difficult to stack than I had anticipated, but nonetheless, I succeeded and really it doesn't need to look pretty it just needs to taste amazing, and it doesn't disappoint there.
You will love this!

No-Bake Summer Lasagna
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
3 T plus 2tsp olive oil
8 lasagna noodles, broken in half crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
2 medium zucchini, ,thinly sliced
2 T torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan and 2 tsp oil; season with S&P.  
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until al dente according to package instructions; drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 T oil over med-high heat.  Add garlic, and tomatoes; season with s&p. Cook stirring until beginning to soften, about 3 min.  Transfer tomatoes to a bowl.  Add remaining 1 T oil and the zucchini to skillet; season with s&p.
Cook stirring until zucchini are tender, about 5 min.  Transfer to another bowl and stir in basil.
Divide one third of the tomatoes among four plates; top each with a noodle half and small spoonfulls of ricotta, zucchini and more tomatoes.  Repeat with remaining noodles and tomatoes. 
Serves 4.

I served this with some homemade 
Sourdough garlic cheesy bread
Basically cut a loaf of sourdough in half lengthwise.  Mix together about 2 T butter, 1 tsp minced garlic, S&P, 1T Parmesan and 1 tsp chives.
Spread this mixture on the bread and bake at 425 until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Cut into slices and serve.

Logan Rating: ****

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Light Chicken Salad

Happy Saturday to you all.  
I'm drinking coffee, lounging on the couch, and favorite morning routine.
This chicken salad was something I made for lunch on Thursday (my day off) and it was tasty.
This is a perfect thing to make a lot of and then eat as leftovers for the entire week.
You won't get sick of it, because A) it delicious and B) you can eat it any number of ways.
You could eat it as pictured over a bed of greens, or on a sandwich, or in a wrap or by itself, maybe with some fresh fruit or with a bag of potato chips, really the possibilities are endless.
Did I mention that its also SUPER easy, and its fairly quick, the only thing that really takes time is cooking the chicken, which you could totally do ahead of time. 
This is yet another awesome fresh summer meal. 
I got it out of this cookbook, so its also super healthy, which you all know I love!

Chicken Salad with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing
1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp grated lemon zest, plus 1 T fresh lemon juice
4 bone in skin on chicken breast halves (I used boneless skinless)
1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 T plus 2 tsp olive oil
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
6oz mesclun aka fancy lettuce (about 6 cups)

Preheat oven to 425.  Rub tarragon, 1 tsp zest, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper under skin of chicken (or just all over if your using skinless).  Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet: roast until cooked through, about 30 min.  Remove from oven and let cool.
In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, 2 tsp oil, remaining 1 tsp zest, and 1 tsp lemon juice, season with salt.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones; thinly slice meat lengthwise.
Add to bowl, along with tomatoes and scallions; toss to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 T oil.  Add mesclun; toss to coat.  Divide among four plates and top with chicken salad.
(I also drizzled my greens with about 1/2-1 tsp balsamic, I loved the extra tang)

Serves 4. 

Logan Rating: ***

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

I know you are probably hoping that I'm going to tell you that the above cake is low fat and sugar free, made with fat free whipped topping and fresh strawberries with no sugar added.
SORRY, no can do folks, this cake is made with butter, sugar, powdered sugar, etc.
Its no impostor, this ladies and gentleman is the real deal.
I know this is rare for me, but I brought this to a supper club last night and I just had to make the full fat version.  When baking, I feel like I can't substitute, its just not the same.
And I'm not sorry, I don't feel guilty at all, not one bit.
Make this cake, eat it, have no remorse...
well maybe you might do an extra 30 min of cardio, but besides that, NO REMORSE!
Tasty tasty tasty is all I can say.
Your spouse will thank you, your friends will thank you, your taste buds will thank you...
your thighs might hate you, but who cares about them anyway!?!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks"

1/2 cup plus 1 T unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plus 3 T granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 T cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
3 T granulated sugar

one 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9in round cake pan, that is at least 2 inches deep (or you can split the batter between 2 pans if they're not deep enough).  To make the cake batter, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the sour cream and vanilla, then mix until just combined.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda and add it to the bowl.  
Mix it together until just combined.  Spread it in the pan or pans and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is no longer jiggly like my bottom.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely.
Next mash the strawberries with a potato masher or a fork (reserve a few for garnish if you want).
(Logan wants everyone to know that he hulled the strawberries, "we need photographic proof")
Sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar and toss them around and allow them to sit for a little while.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. 
Mix until very light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake, use a sharp knife to cut it in half through the middle.  Its easier if you go all around the perimeter, slicing only halfway through then circle the whole way.
Lay two halves cut side up.
And cover both halves with an equal amount of strawberries.  Then---this is important---place the cake halves in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.  This will firm up the surface of the strawberries just enough so that its easier to spread the icing. 
Remove the cakes from the freezer and place one layer on a cake stand or platter.  Cover with a little less than one third of the icing.
Place the second layer on top, then spread the top with icing.
Carefully ice the outside of the cake with the remaining icing.  

Logan also decorated the top of the cake, what a man!

Logan Rating: *****