Roasted Garlic

We usually have Sunday dinner at my mom’s house with the whole family. Last week she made a turkey sausage lasagna that was to die for! My mom is the most amazing cook. I learned everything I know from her. We always talk about recipes and different ingredients we experiment with. One of us will try an ingredient, tell the other about it, and low and behold, it will end up in the other’s cabinet!

I always bring something to Sunday dinner, whether it’s a dessert, appetizer, side, or salad. I never show up empty handed! So when I asked my mom what she needed me to bring, she said an appetizer. Stew and I were trying to think of something we haven’t had lately that would go well with Italian. We’ve done the whole antipasto platter, caprese salad, and bruschetta thing. So he thought of roasted garlic!  My family is full of garlic fanatics. We went to my mom’s early and roasted the garlic at her house while we hung out. Me, Stew, Mom and Michael (my stepdad) ended up eating 4 of the 5 heads of garlic before anyone else even showed up!!! It’s a good thing we all had bad breath together. It was roasted to perfection. The perfect starter for our yummy lasagna!

All you need is a nice crusty baguette, some garlic heads, olive oil, and salt & pepper.IMG_0185

Cut the tops off the garlic and place them in a garlic roaster. If you don’t have a roaster, you can put them in a pouch of tin foil! Drizzle the garlic with olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.IMG_0197

While the garlic is roasting, slice up the bread. Coat each side with nonstick spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can use a grill pan if you don’t have an indoor grill. Just cook them for about 3 minutes on each side until they get nice grill marks and are a bit crisp.IMG_0201The garlic should roast at 350° for about an hour. It will come out looking brown and will be very soft to the touch! You can always sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper if you want. Plate it up and enjoy!IMG_0206

Roasted Garlic -Serves 8-10

5 heads of garlic

1 baguette

olive oil

Nonstick spray

salt

pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the tops off the garlic and place them in a garlic roaster. If you don’t have a roaster, you can put them in a pouch of tin foil! Drizzle the garlic with olive oil. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the garlic in the oven for about an hour, or until the garlic is brown and starts to pop out of its skin. It should be very tender to the touch.

While the garlic is roasting, slice the bread into 1/4 inch slices. Coat each side with nonstick spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can use a grill pan if you don’t have an indoor grill. Cook them for about 3 minutes on each side until they get nice grill marks and are a bit crisp. Serve the bread alongside the garlic. Use a small butter knife to scoop out the garlic and spread onto the bread. Bon Appétit!

The Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich

I’m back! I know it’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted anything. For those of you who don’t know, I had a baby 3 months ago! He’s been keeping me very occupied along with the blog I have for him!

In other exciting news, I got a new camera for my birthday! It’s the Canon Rebel which I’m so obsessed with! I’ve been doing a lot of research, and this seems to have the most bang for my buck.

Now, back to the food! As you may know, having a newborn is a LOT of work. Those first few weeks are a blur. I don’t even remember what I ate half the time. I would just grab the closest thing with the most protein  (usually a spoonful of almond butter or a handful of nuts) and be on my way.

Stew was home with me in the mornings for the first few weeks, so I was actually able to eat a good breakfast. My go-to-meal was some variation of an egg sandwich. I figured it had protein and would keep me full until the next time I was able to eat! I finally had time to take a decent picture of it, so I can actually share it with you!!

This particular sandwich has turkey bacon, brie, egg, and lettuce on it. My plan ahead trick is to cook all the turkey bacon in the beginning of the week and keep it in a ziplock bag so it’s ready for me! All I really have to do is cook the egg. I also like to switch it up and put spinach, mozzarella or cheddar, and avocado on there. The sky is the limit when it comes to sandwiches!! I hope you enjoy!IMG_0291

The Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich

cooking spray

2 slices whole grain bread

1 egg

1 slice turkey bacon, halved

1 slice brie cheese

lettuce

salt and pepper

Coat the bottom of a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook the egg to your liking (mine was over medium). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

To assemble the sandwich, place some lettuce, the two halves of bacon, brie, and egg on the bottom slice of bread. Top with the other slice of bread.

Spray the same skillet with cooking spray and put the sandwich in the pan (much like a grilled cheese). Cook until the bottom piece of bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Spray the top piece of bread with cooking spray and flip. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom piece of bread is golden brown, about another minute. Feel free to switch out ingredients! You can always use a different kind of cheese, spinach, and pork bacon instead. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup

I LOVE this soup! All of my friends can attest to this. I make it every chance I get. We had it at our pumpkin carving party and at our early Thanksgiving celebration last night. I also make it for lunch every chance I get. I’ll make a big batch and just keep it in the fridge right in the dutch oven. That way I have a delicious lunch waiting for me every day! I think you get the point!

Stew and I went to Monza last weekend, our favorite restaurant downtown. The special that night was pumpkin soup. I HAD to get it to see how it compared to mine. I actually liked mine better!!! It was definitely tasty and had a great apple onion compote on top with some toasted almonds. But there is just something so addictive about this butternut squash soup!

It all started when I was home for lunch a few months back and the good old PB&J just wasn’t gonna cut it. I had all of the ingredients I needed to make this soup, so I gave it a whirl! I was so proud of the finished product! The thing that makes this different than all the other pumpkin or squash soups I’ve had is that it’s sweeter! It has a great balance of spice from the pepper and sweet from the maple syrup. Roasting the squash adds so much more flavor too! In my opinion, roasting the squash is the secret weapon. You can switch up the toppers to shake it up too. I topped this batch with a little toast with goat cheese, cranberry relish, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. SO GOOD!

You have to make it. It would be a perfect little appetizer for Thanksgiving or really any occasion! I’m telling you, you won’t be disappointed!


Butternut
 Squash 
Soup-serves 6

3 cups roasted butternut squash (1 large or 2 medium)*

olive oil

1/2 onion diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 celery stalk, diced

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp 2% milk (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

*For the squash-Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Peel the squash (I use a potato peeler) and cut the ends off. Cut in half where the squash begins to round. Cut the round half in two lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds (just as you would a pumpkin). Cut the squash into about 1 inch cubes. Spread the cubes out onto two sheet pans. Pour 3 tbsp olive oil on each pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper on each pan. Mix thoroughly with your hands so that the squash is evenly coated. Place in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. Use a spatula to move the squash around halfway through the cooking. Once they are fork tender, they’re ready!

Heat large dutch oven to medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 more minutes. Add in the butternut squash, chicken stock, and cinnamon. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes. Working in batches depending on the size of your blender, transfer mixture to your blender and mix until smooth (you can add more stock for a thinner consistency). Make sure to hold lid securely in place with a dish towel over it. Transfer the blended mixture back to the pot over low heat. Add in the maple syrup, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Just heat until warm enough to serve. I topped this batch with a little toast with goat cheese, cranberry relish, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Brioche Cinnamon Buns and Loaf

Stew and I were wanting cinnamon buns for so long! The weekends would go by and we just didn’t plan on making any. Finally, I was watching Food Network one day and The Barefoot Contessa was on. Ina made these little brioche dinner rolls that looked fluffy and delicious. So I thought, I can turn THOSE into cinnamon buns! Turns out the recipe is HUGE so I actually had to turn it into 2 separate breads. I made one cinnamon loaf and one batch of cinnamon buns. That was perfect because I actually sliced and froze the bread. The bread is great for toasting with a little coconut butter or jam on top! It’s the perfect afternoon snack! The buns actually didn’t last that long. Since it was only two of us, we couldn’t eat the whole batch. So in the future I would actually make those for a brunch where there were more than 2 people! We made a good dent though. They are definitely a lot of work but worth it. It was a labor of love, but there’s nothing like a warm homemade cinnamon bun for breakfast!

Brioche Cinnamon Buns and Loaf

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa’s Mini Brioche Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees F)
  • 1 package dried yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar (divided)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon (divided)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Directions

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If the bowl is cold, start with warmer water so it’s at least 110 degrees when you add the yeast.) Mix with your hands and allow to stand for 5 minutes until the yeast and sugar dissolve. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until well mixed. With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low, add 2 1/4 more cups of flour and mix for 5 more minutes. Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Meanwhile, grease 20 mini brioche tins. Set aside.

Place the dough in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the softened butter in chunks, and mix for 2 minutes, adding additional flour (about 1 cup) as needed to make a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide the dough in half.

For the Cinnamon Buns:

Working with one half, roll out to about 11×15 inch rectangle and about 1/4 inch thick. Spread 1 Tbsp softened butter over the surface of the rectangle. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon evenly across the surface. Sprinkle raisins on top. Starting with the long end, roll into a log, seam side down. Cut the ends off (add them to the other half of dough). Then cut into 8 even buns (starting at the halfway point). Place in a buttered round cake pan and cover with a damp towel. Set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For the Cinnamon Loaf:

Working with the other half, roll out to about a 9×9 inch square. Spread 1 Tbsp softened butter over the surface of the square. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 Tbsp cinnamon evenly across the surface. Starting with one end, roll into a log, seam side down. Tuck the ends under and place into a buttered loaf pan. Cover with a damp towel. Set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the dough has risen, brush the top of each with the egg wash and bake cinnamon buns and loaf for 35-40 minutes, or until the tops spring back and it sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Let them stand for 10 minutes and turn the buns and loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.

Sea Salt and Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

AKA Heaven! So there is nothing healthy about this recipe. However, sometimes you just have to give in to a craving for a GOOD chocolate chip cookie. And I mean, these are GOOOOOD. The best part is that by the time I realize I feel like making chocolate chip cookies, I haven’t let any butter come to room temp. But with this recipe, I don’t have to! I adapted this recipe from a Nutella Stuffed Sea Salt Cookie. Don’t get me wrong, those look delicious. However, I was just wanting a plain chocolate chip cookie. So this is it…officially the best chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER!

Now, you might be thinking, but can’t I just sprinkle some sea salt on top of my own chocolate chip cookie recipe? And I’m sure you can! But there is something to the brown butter. It’s nuttier tasting. And the yogurt adds a bit of fluffiness to the batter too! When you mix the dough, it will feel really soft (because of the brown butter) so make sure you chill it for AT LEAST two hours. And if you chill it longer than that, just take it out and let it sit at room temp until you’re able to scoop the dough. You might not be able to wait, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Ingredients

2¼ cup all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  2. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough is chilled use a small ice cream scoop (or spoon out about 1½ tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball) to scoop dough onto the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Maple Glazed Salmon

Let me start by saying I’m not a huge salmon fan. In fact, it’s my least favorite fish… until now that is! In an effort to add more fish to my diet, I put salmon on the menu for the week, even though I wasn’t thrilled about it. Holy moly this salmon is good! The main reason I didn’t love it is that I’ve had it when it seemed to be undercooked. So instead of cooking it on the stove or the oven, I broiled it! That was the secret weapon. Broiling it made the glaze sweet and caramelized on top. YUM. Stew and I took our first hesitant bite and both looked at each other in amazement and said, “WOW this is really good!”
Not only is it delicious, but it couldn’t be easier to make! I literally put all of the ingredients into a ziplock bag, mixed it up, and popped the salmon in there. I let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours and BAM… delicious salmon ready to broil! I paired it with a simple quinoa and some Haricot Vert (french green beans) on the side. This was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. It will definitely be a “go-to” from now on! Hope you enjoy!

Maple Glazed
SalmonI
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 4-4 oz pieces raw salmon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/8 t crushed red pepper
Directions
  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the salmon, into a gallon sized ziplock bag. Mush all ingredients together with your hands.
  2. Add salmon to the  ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for at least an hour (I marinated it for 4 hours).
  3. Preheat the broiler in your oven. Line the bottom of your broiler pan or a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Place salmon skin side down onto the foil. Pour some of the excess marinade over the salmon, sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place directly under the broiler. Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness, until opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Remove and serve immediately.

Momma’s Chicken and Dumplings

I absolutely LOVE chicken and dumplings. I feel like it’s one of those warm-you-heart-and-soul meals. At least it always felt that way to me growing up. Now, I know it’s not quite cold enough, and I might be jumping the gun here, but I couldn’t help myself! I had some leftover chicken and I thought this was a great way to use it! My trick for shredding chicken, as I’ve probably told you too many times, is to pop the chicken breasts in a crock pot with water almost covering them. Put some salt, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns in there. Cook them on low for 3 hours and they should be SO tender and ready to shred. Then I use what I need and save the rest for another meal. It’s a good way to make your chicken go a long way. It also mixes up your meals so you don’t have to have leftovers! That technique makes this meal REALLY quick and easy to pull together on a week night!

Time for the soup! I pull out my already shredded chicken and cut up my veggies so I’m ready to go!

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion until softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chicken broth, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in chicken and peas. In a separate bowl, heat 1 cup chicken stock and slowly whisk in 1/4 cup flour. Pour the flour and broth mixture into the soup (if lumpy, use a sieve to strain the mixture as you pour it in). Bring soup up to a boil and reduce to simmer about 10 minutes, or until broth is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prepare the dumpling batter according to package instructions. Here is my warning… I know you’re thinking “Bisquick!?” But honestly, I’ve tried all the homemade buttermilk dumpling recipes and they come out terrible! They taste like sticky gummy wads of dough. The Bisquick is the ONLY thing that has cooked up light and fluffy on the soup. Trust me!

Remove bay leaves. Gently drop spoonfuls of dough onto the soup about 1 inch apart. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the biscuits comes out clean. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

Momma’s Chicken and Dumplings

Serves 4

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/4 tsp thyme

salt

pepper

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken broth (1 cup reserved)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1- 7.75 oz package Bisquick buttermilk biscuit mix.

For the soup:

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion until softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chicken broth, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in chicken and peas. In a separate bowl, heat 1 cup chicken stock and slowly whisk in 1/4 cup flour (use a sieve to pour mixture into the soup if it is lumpy). Bring soup up to a boil and reduce to simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until broth is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prepare dumplings according to package instructions.

Remove bay leaves. Gently drop spoonfuls of dough onto the soup about 1 inch apart. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the biscuits comes out clean. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

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