Monte Cristos

Monday.

Dun. Dun. Dunnnn.

Is it just me or does the weekend seriously speed by? My weekends feel like they are over in the blink of an eye. We finally got nice weather here, it was gorgeous. I did a little relaxing, a little gardening, got out and went to a few estate sales. You know, the same things that people in their 70’s do. Good times!

As usual I sat around on Sunday, mourning the loss of my weekend and dreading getting up at the crack of dawn the next day.

As I was packing my lunch on Monday morning, I spotted three croissants that I purchased at an overpriced bakery. I didn’t want them to go to waste, but they were just a little too old to be used as is. I thought they would be perfect for a monte cristo. Ham, cheese, turkey, more cheese, on a hot sandwich that is dusted with powdered sugar and dipped in jam. Yesssss!

I needed this sandwich after the day I had. This is the kind of thing that you can look forward to all day. It will make even the worst Monday seem pretty okay.

It’s also just as delicious any other day of the week. But it’s definitely a Monday pick me up!

You will need 3 croissants for every two sandwiches you make. I didn’t give an exact amount of deli meats and cheeses, you can pile it up high or just use a few slices, totally up to you.

Monte Cristo

 

Monte Cristo

  • 3 croissants
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • American cheese
  • Swiss cheese
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Jam/preserves of your choice, I highly recommend raspberry
  • Mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Heat a panini pan over medium heat.
  2. Slice each croissant in half, lengthwise. Lay two bottom slices of croissants out and lay ham on top. Place American cheese on ham and cover with a slice of the third croissant. Lay turkey and Swiss on top of middle slice of bread and place the tops of croissants back on each sandwich.
  3. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the top and bottom of sandwiches. Lay down on panini press and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with jam.

Lamb Kabobs

Friday! Awwww yeah! I’ll let this picture of my dog show you all what I plan on doing this weekend!

beedus

He looks really sweet and innocent…

He’s not that sweet and innocent!

Annnnyway.

Kabobs…does anyone else find that word as odd as I do? I guess it sounds better than meat sticks.

Meat lollipops?

Gross. I’m done.

Anyway, despite the weird word, I have always loved kabobs. Meat kabobs, fruit kabobs, whatever. Food on a stick, good stuff in my book.

Usually I enjoy my meat kabobs with veggies threaded between each chunk of meat. Heavy on the onions please!

But these kabobs are just chunks of meat. Meat sticks! Omg I swear i’m done. Anyway, this lamb is marinated in a spiced Greek yogurt sauce and then grilled. I always eat it with some of the leftover marinade, but my husband eats it plain. Either way it’s delicious, and so freaking simple. This is a favorite of ours and it’s a perfect weeknight meal

Lamb

Lamb Kabobs

  • 1 lb. leg of lamb, cut into cubes
  • 1  1/4 C plain Greek yogurt, I use 0% Oikos
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  1/4  tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1  1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1  1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1  tsp. chili powder

Directions

  1. Combine yogurt, garlic, and spices. Stir well to combine. In a large ziptop bag, combine lamb and 1 C of yogurt mixture. Seal and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Reserve 1/4 C of yogurt mixture.
  2. Thread pieces of lamb on to skewers and heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, drizzle pan with olive oil and cook 3 skewers at a time, turning frequently until you reach desired doneness. Cook remaining skewers and serve with yogurt sauce.

* You can also cook these on an outdoor grill. And if you don’t want to bother with the skewers, then by all means don’t use them. When I don’t use skewers I cook one half of the meat mixture at a time and then once all the meat is cooked, I throw it all back on the grill pan together and cook it a little longer to get all of the burned yogurt bits and give the meat just the tiniest bit of a char. You really can’t go wrong here.

Super Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

I mentioned these potatoes on Monday. I also mentioned cell phone photos of these potatoes. Don’t hate me!

In my big rush to get out of the house with 50 million items in tow, I forgot my camera.

When I got to my parents house I threw the potatoes in the oven and all was well. That is until I pulled the potatoes out and suddenly it dawned on me that I didn’t have my camera.

Ugh. I had remembered everything else.

I was doing so well.

I didn’t even slice a finger off while using my mandolin slicer!

I was pretty bummed about being stuck with crappy cell phone pictures, but I forgot all about it when I tasted the potatoes. Oh. My. God. These are the absolute best scalloped potatoes I have ever had.

My issue with scalloped potatoes is that they are usually bland and/or soupy. And then of course there’s the issue of the potato slices being too thick, so they don’t cook through. I always have such high hopes when I see scalloped potatoes, but I’m always let down. They just aren’t very good.

But not these, oh no, these potatoes are so creamy and full of flavor.  And the potatoes are sliced nice and thin so they are fork tender.

My mom couldn’t stop eating them. With every bite she kept saying how good they were and how she hadn’t been able to move on to any other dish yet.

potatoes

Again, forgive me for the photo. But seriously, do those not look like the creamiest and cheesiest potatoes ever!?

 

Super Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

  • 3.5 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  1/2 C yellow onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 2 C 2% milk
  • 2  1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1  3/4 C Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1/2 C plus 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one more minute. Sprinkle onion mixture with flour and slowly whisk milk and heavy cream in. Whisk until smooth and liquid begins to thicken. Add bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and 1/2 C Swiss cheese. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove bay leaf.
  3. Combine potatoes and cheese sauce, stirring to coat each and every potato slice. Lay half of the mixture in your 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 C Swiss cheese and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan. Pour remaining potatoes and sauce on top of the first half and sprinkle with 1 C Swiss cheese and 1/2 C Parmesan.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are cooked through.

 

 

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Monday. Ugh. Is anyone else stuffed from Easter dinner yesterday? I ate way too much, but it was totally worth it. The corn pudding was even better than usual and I made some super dreamy creamy scalloped potatoes. They were bomb!

Ewww, sorry. Sometimes my inner teenager comes out.

But they were seriously really good. I’ll post the recipe this week. Although I will only post them if you promise not to hate me for using a picture I took of them on my husband’s phone.

If you’re like me and you need something light to offset the damage you did yesterday, look no further. This asparagus is so good. It can be added to the very short list of vegetables that could convert me into a veggie lover.

asparagus

grill

 

GrilledAspragus

 

Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Place asparagus in a 9×13 casserole dish, pour olive oil all over and sprinkle with Parmesan, garlic, and sea salt. Use your hands to thoroughly mix it all up. Make sure each stalk is well coated.
  2. Heat your grill and cook asparagus over medium heat on a grill pan that is made for grilling vegetables. Cook for about 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy/soft you want your asparagus.

 

Breakfast Burgers with Maple Aioli

FRIDAYYYYYYYY!

I have been pretty lazy this week as far as cooking goes. I did make some really good grilled asparagus. In fact I was going to share the recipe with you today, but I just can’t. It’s Friday. You want something awesome to eat this weekend.

We’ll save the healthy-ish veggie recipe for Monday.

Monday. Ugh.

You don’t want veggies today. You want a big juicy burger.

A breakfast burger.

Say whaaaaat?

Yeah, as in a breakfast burger that includes a hash brown, a fried egg, and maple aioli.

breakfastburger

Yeah. I know!

I have been thinking about this for a very long time. I can’t believe I’m just now getting around to executing it. I really need to quit putting such genius ideas on the back burner.

burger

 

Breakfast Burgers with Maple Aioli

  • 1 lb. ground beef of your choice
  • 4 slices white American cheese
  • 4 buns
  • 4 hash brown patties
  • 4 eggs, cooked sunny side up
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 C mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. imitation maple flavoring
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked

Directions

  1. Shape beef into 4 patties and set aside. Meanwhile cook eggs and bake hash browns according to package instructions.
  2. In a small bowl mix together maple syrup and mayonnaise. Use an immersion blender to mix until completely smooth. Alternatively, you could also use a food processor to mix this. Add maple flavoring and stir well.
  3. Grill hamburger patties and add cheese towards the end so it melts.
  4. To assemble burgers, lay a hash brown on top of bottom bun, top with hamburger patty, bacon, fried egg, and then spread maple aioli on top bun half and place on top.

Steak Burritos with Avocado Cream

I have already proclaimed my love and deep affection for Mexican food. The only thing that makes Mexican food better is if it comes together quickly.

I made these burritos on a whim a few weeks ago. It was Friday, and I am usually burnt out by then. I want something quick and easy so that I can get on with my super busy plans of binge watching shows on Netflix.

Speaking of Netflix, I was obsessed with Breaking Bad a month ago. Now I watch “Better Call Saul” on cable and it absolutely kills me to have to watch 1 episode per week.

Don’t even get me started on how the finale is next week and I will have to wait a whole year before I know what happens.

Ugh. Dying.

So anyway, these burritos, they’re loaded with steak and cheese and then topped with an avocado/cilantro/lemon cream sauce. They’re quick and delicious. Feel free to add veggies or anything else your heart desires to the filling. I’m fine with steak and cheese, but if you want to throw some tomatoes and lettuce in there, you go right ahead.

burrito

 

Steak Burritos with Avocado Cream

  • 1/2 lb. sirloin tip steak, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  •  flour tortillas
  • olive oil

For the avocado cream

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Directions

  1. Mix chopped steak with salt, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and onion powder in a mixing bowl. Toss with your hands and make sure steak is well coated.
  2. In a food processor, add all avocado cream ingredients and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat, add a little olive oil and cook steak until done.
  4. Lay tortillas out and spoon steak on top. Top with cheese and anything else you would like. Fold according to package directions.
  5. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil or vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add burritos, one at a time, seam side down. Cook until golden brown, flip over. Serve with avocado cream.

*This made 1 extra large burrito for my husband and 1 normal sized burrito for me. You could probably get four of these if you used fajita sized tortillas. So if you’re feeding an army, double the steak and seasonings.

Million Dollar Bars

Hi! How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun, and by fun I mean did you stay home almost all weekend and lay around like I did?

I got out for like 2.5 seconds on Saturday to hit up some estate sales. You should see the look on my husband’s face when we walk into a basement or garage that’s full of Halloween and Christmas decorations. The face he makes is priceless and I wish I could capture a photo of it. I can see the beads of sweat forming on his forehead as he silently prays that I won’t find anything. And I laugh and laugh as I walk out to the car, arms loaded down with holiday decor.

On the way home we grabbed Chipotle for dinner and we stopped to rent some movies. We watched “Unbroken” and then I forced my poor husband to watch “Peggy Sue Got Married”. Lucky guy!

Yesterday he went fishing and I putzed around the house all morning with the dogs. I painted a couple of eggs to add to my Easter egg tree, Jack and Sally of course, because every holiday should have a little Halloween. And after that I got in the mood to bake. I started with some bread dough and ended up with two loaves that I’m really happy about. I’ll get them up soon.

But that wasn’t enough.

I wanted something sweet. Which is weird, because I rarely crave sweets.

So I grabbed a bowl and started randomly grabbing ingredients that I had on hand.

I crossed my fingers.

And then this…

million

The base reminds me of a shortbread crust, but it’s still a little soft. Some melted chocolate and chopped pecans top it off. This will become your new go to when company drops by unexpectedly or when you need something quick for a school bake sale, get together, or party. I will be forever handing these out as gifts. Forget cookies, you’re going to adore these!

 

Million Dollar Bars

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C chopped pecans
  • 6 oz. milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream together butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and egg yolk. Mix flour and salt in well. You will have a very crumbly mixture.
  3. Press crumbs evenly into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Crust will be soft.
  4. Remove from oven and sprinkle top of crust with chocolate chips, place a baking sheet over the top for a few minutes to melt the chocolate. Use a large soup spoon to spread the melted chocolate over the crust. Sprinkle with pecans. Cut and serve.

Migas

migas

Remember when I wrote about huevos rancheros and how late I was to board that bandwagon? Well, I’m back to do it again with migas. Migas are a tex-mex dish consisting of eggs, fried tortillas, vegetables, and cheese. Everyone seems to have their own preference for what exactly goes into it, but the basic ingredients don’t change. I have heard that migas are the best hangover cure and after eating them I can see why. After cooking migas, you top them with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and obviously more cheese. There’s always room for more cheese. Don’t be turned off by the appearance, it looks like slop, I know. I got worried the longer I cooked my migas, it was looking pretty ugly. At one point I thought “Buzz, your girlfriend, WOOF!”. As I took my first bite, I realized that I had nothing to worry about. Migas are a really good example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

migas2

 

Migas

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/4 C half and half
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. green onion
  • 2 C monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Fry corn tortillas in vegetable oil, set aside to drain on paper towels, then chop up.
  2. In a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat melt butter, saute onion and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add jalapeno and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Whisk eggs and half and half and pour into pan on top of onion and peppers, add corn tortillas, tomatoes, and cheese. Gently fold over with a spatula to gently scramble the eggs. Once eggs begin to set up add cilantro, green onion, salt, and pepper. Keep cooking until eggs are cooked through, but not dry.
  4. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, extra cheese, and salsa.

Honey Oatmeal Bread

bread

I have a deep love and affection for homemade bread. Especially when it’s crusty on the outside, slightly sweet, and ridiculously soft on the inside. The smell of baking bread has always had a special place in my heart. My mom has told me stories about how when I was a toddler and we would drive past the local bread factory, I would inhale deeply and say “ahhhh bakin’ bread!”. Apparently I did this every single time. I have no idea how she had restraint and didn’t turn around to yell “you sound like a broken record!”.For some reason she found this to be endearing. Weird. That’s why moms are the greatest. I find the smell of freshly baked bread to be intoxicating. In fact I’m going to use that as my excuse for eating half the loaf when it comes out of the oven. This bread is the new favorite in my house, it has everything I want in a loaf of bread. My husband really loves this bread too and he tends to like the “healthier” breads. You know, the ones with nuts and seeds and whole grains or wheat. In other words, bird food. I’m a white bread kind of person, you can keep the seeds, thank you very much. So for this bread to completely satisfy us both was a surprise to me, I’m not going to think too much about it, i’m just going to eat it.

oatmeal

Honey Oatmeal Bread

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2  1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2  1/2-3 C flour
  • 1 C plus 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 C quick oats
  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2  1/2 Tbsp. honey

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, salt, and 1 C flour.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, mix water, oats, molasses, and butter. Heat until a thermometer registers 120º to 130º.
  3. With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid ingredients into dry ingredients until just blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in 1/4 C flour to make a thick batter. Continue beating for an additional 2 minutes. Add flour in 1/2 C intervals until you have a stiff dough that leaves side of bowl. I added 1  1/2 C flour additionally.
  4. Cover bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Stir dough down and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover with towel and set aside to rise for 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from loaf pan immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Zucchini Cakes

Here’s a winner for meatless Monday, mock crab cakes made from zucchini. I have tried to make meatless Monday a thing in my house for the last two years. I have finally given up. If it happens, it happens, but if my husband has any say, it won’t happen regularly. I don’t even really care, I love meat just as much as a t-rex, but I was curious about the money saving benefits. I have read that going meatless 4 times a month can save you quite a bit of money. But i’ll probably never know, so if you do it, does it save you a significant amount of money?

I first came up with this recipe when my husband brought home 3 zucchini’s the size of large newborn babies, no joke! he got them for 25 cents each. Let me add that he had also brought home 10 pounds of zucchini that week from an Amish auction. I had zucchini everywhere and had already made 3 batches of zucchini bars and we had eaten baked zucchini sticks every night that week.

These zucchini cakes are a snap to make and they’re really freaking good. Like so good, my husband doesn’t even complain like a toddler when I serve these.

I took them to a food swap this month and they were pretty popular. In fact, one woman forced her husband to swap his super popular pepperoni with me just so she could get some zucchini cakes. He did not want the zucchini cakes I might add, but like any good husband who doesn’t feel like sleeping on the couch, he did as he was told.

I like to eat these with homemade tartar sauce, but they’re great on a bun too.

zucchini

 

 

Zucchini Cakes

  • 3 C shredded zucchini
  • 1 C Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Old Bay
  • 1/4 C white onion, diced
  • 1/4 C red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 C sweet corn kernels
  • 1  1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except oil in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Shape mixture into small patties with your hands and set aside on a plate.
  2. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a frying pan oven medium-high heat. When oil is hot add patties and brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.