Aside from my Blueberry Stuffed French Toast, which was more like a dessert, I’ve not prepared a big hearty weekend breakfast for months. I feel like I’ve failed the almighty Breakfast Brotherhood. You know who you are.
Scrambled Egg Enchiladas sounded like the perfect dish for the long Christmas weekend. These were easy to make, simple with southwestern flavor and, with a gentle re-heat, one of those “better the next day” deals.
Kale and White Bean Soup was an easy dinner during this past week of hectic Christmas planning, shopping, parties, gift wrapping, decorating…such a busy time of year. This soup was also a welcome healthy, brothy and savory break from some of the rich sinful things we’ve been feasting on lately.
Tis the season for baking so I’m posting my mom’s Banana Nut Bread recipe. Nothing new, nothing special, just a reliable, moist and old-fashioned quick bread using good old Crisco. This recipe uses the creaming method where the shortening, sugar and eggs are creamed together before the bananas and dry ingredients are added. Creaming adds air, and affects the volume and texture of the bread. And no, I’ve not become an overnight baking expert, I Googled it.
This bread pudding, breakfast casserole is a nice dish for a holiday breakfast or brunch. Especially if you’re having company in town. Cubing a loaf of French bread into a casserole pan, mixing in eggs, blueberries and cream cheese, letting it set overnight in the refrigerator, it’s easily baked the next morning for an indulgent breakfast. Let’s read more about its story.
We’ve only been dabbling with Winter temperatures this season. Our lingering sunshiny Fall has barely given us a gray sky, snow flurries or overnight temperatures in the teens. This weekend Jack Frost has finally arrived, we have a couple of inches of snow on the ground and numbing cold temps. It’s officially stew weather.
This is a nice version of a crockpot beef stew recipe. Butternut squash, beef, and Marsala wine seem to blend wonderfully and produce a sultry combination of flavors. A grand version of an old favorite, this recipe comes from Chef Mick over at Tony’s Market. Chef Mick instructed us to cook this stove top, but I’ve altered it for a crockpot version. I normally like to use the old fashioned thick chewy noodles that you can buy from the freezer section or easily make yourself. As you can see in the photo, these big boys are unruly and don’t blend. They are hiding a wonderful bowl of delicious brothy goodness. I’d suggest using the thinner egg noodles from the pasta aisle.
2 pounds Butternut Squash, cut into ¾ – 1 inch cubes
2 cups chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic, bruised
1 cup Sweet Marsala (of drinking quality)
2 cups Beef or Chicken Stock
Bouquet garni (2 sprigs rosemary, 1 bay leaf, several sprigs of thyme and several large sprigs of parsley tied together with cotton butcher’s string – or bay leaf and pinches of dry rosemary and thyme)
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Dredge the beef cubes in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat, add a drizzle of oil, and brown beef in batches, refreshing oil as needed – take care not to burn the pan. Remove browned meat and place in crockpot.
Refresh pan with oil if needed, add onions and sauté until tender, scraping pan regularly with a wooden spoon to break down crust. Add Marsala and stir to finish, reduce by 25%.
Add this mixture to the crockpot. Add beef stock and cook on low for 8 hours.
Peel and cube butternut squash and add about halfway through the cooking time.
Serve over Creamy egg pappardelle, mashed potatoes or wild and brown rice.
Crockpot Beef Stew with Butternut Squash and Marsala…It’s What’s for Dinner.
JaJa Bistroin Littleton serves a stuffed date appetizer that everyone raves over. Sweet dates, filled with a slice of tart apple, wrapped in salty bacon and swimming in a crisp ale broth makes for an out-of-this-world combination. The last time we were there for dinner, and with some gentle prying, I found out a little more about what makes these so addicting.
This new information found me marching right over to the grocery store, and picking up the few items I needed to create this in my own kitchen. Here’s a pretty close version.
Saute shallots in butter until tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add a bottle of Woodchuck Hard Cider Ale, and let simmer until it cooks down. About 15 minutes.
Make a slit down the side of each date and remove pit. Slice apples into bite sized chunks and insert a sliver into each date. The slice of apple should be cut just large enough to barely protrude from the end of the date. Cut each slice of bacon in half and wrap around each date. Secure with a couple of toothpicks.
In an oven proof serving bowl, place the wrapped dates and bake 5 minutes. Turn and bake another 5 minutes or until bacon looks crispy.
Pour some of the hot ale mixture over the figs and serve.
JaJa Bistro Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates…It’s What’s for an Appetizer.
Using a purchased rotisserie chicken made this chicken soup such an easy and tasty weeknight dinner.
I’d like to personally thank the following people or groups of people:
The person who came up with the idea of selling cooked rotisserie chickens in grocery stores.
Those who designed and built the roasting machines that cook dozens of rotisserie chickens at once.
The company that designed and manufactures the plastic containers with domed lids to snugly hold the cooked rotisserie chickens.
The company that designed and manufactures the little cardboard handle that fits around the plastic domed rotisserie chicken container making it easier to carry.
The company that designed and manufactures the stainless steel cart that displays the rotisserie chickens and keeps them hot.
I’d like to thank the person who came up with the idea to place that cart at the front of the store next the self check out lanes.
Those people have created a grab and go situation that makes me happy during a busy work week.
This soup is full of citrus flavor, savory with tender chicken, chewy with hominy and lively with spices. I took the original recipe calling for chicken breasts and modified it a bit to service a purchased rotisserie chicken. The yellow color comes from throwing in a little bit of left over yellow rice from the night before. Dinner that night was easy and this recipe is a keeper.
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crumbled if the leaves are large
4 to 5 Tbs. fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2-1/2 oz. cotija or feta cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the broth, hominy, oregano, and chicken. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer.
Transfer the chicken to a plate. Using two forks, shred both some dark and white meat into bite-size pieces. Add to simmering broth and let it cook about 5 minutes. stir in the lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, top with the cheese, and serve immediately.
Rotisserie Chicken Soup with Lime and Hominy…It’s What’s for Dinner.