Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Wanna hear a secret? Come here. Closer. Shh....don't tell anyone, but lasagna isn't really that hard to make. I know, right? Everyone makes such a big deal about it. Should you boil the noodles first and burn your fingers? Or buy the "oven-ready" noodles and get a funny texture? Wanna know what I do? Neither. I use regular, plain lasagna noodles, but I don't boil them before I bake up my casserole. And every time, they come out perfectly, tender and able to hold together layers of cheese and sauce, and this time some Swiss chard. The method for this lasagna is the same I've been using for years, with the addition of some sauteed Swiss chard, which can be completely eliminated or replaced with spinach, kale, or whatever you fancy. The result is a cheesy, creamy, filling lasagna that is perfect for a crowd. The Swiss chard adds a bit of freshness and a different flavor element that's a bit spicy and a touch of spring.
Monday, May 20, 2013
There's something about peppers and onions that just makes a meal that much better. And there is no shortage of the tasty veggies in this dish, with the addition of sliced mushrooms to season up the chicken and make an overflowing sandwich full of flavor to make a hearty lunch or quick and easy dinner. Toss it all in the crock pot, let it do it's thing of cooking everything down into a tender, delicious messy goodness and there you have it. Pile up on top of toasted buns with some melted provolone and dinner is done. The chicken is tender and seasoned to give a hint of traditional Philly cheesesteak flavor. We wanted to have these for dinner, but ended up cooking them the next morning for a perfect lunch after a busy day around the house. I'm looking forward to the leftovers if I can get to them before Dave.
Friday, May 17, 2013
I grew up in Pennsylvania and Dave and met in college there. In our tiny college town we were lucky to have not one but two(!) Sheetz stores, the gas station equivalent to Amazon, carrying everything from gas to bait, including the MTO (made to order) food that makes Sheetz so awesome. Frequent study sessions were interrupted by a midnight run for nachos or subs. And even though I live over 300 miles from the nearest Sheetz (and will make travel plans around being able to stop at that particular Sheetz on the way to and from Pittsburgh), I swear by the joy that is a Schmuffin. It's my favorite MTO and no matter what time of day, it's the one that I must get every time I go there. While I've never had an Egg McMuffin, I just love that breakfast sandwich, especially with cheese and bacon (and all the other varied fixin's Sheetz lovingly will top it with). Now, whenever the craving strikes, we can reach right into the freezer. These make ahead egg sandwiches are perfect and totally customizable. If whole wheat English muffins aren't your thing, use a the regular kind. Or a mini bagel. Choose cheddar instead of American cheese. Fried egg or scrambled. Bacon or sausage. It's like an MTO station in my very own house! (Minus the other options. And the touch screen. And someone else making it for me. But otherwise, exactly the same.) In less than 20 minutes, I prepped a dozen sandwiches, wrapped them, labeled and into the freezer they went, ready for a quick pop in the microwave any morning, regardless of how busy we might be.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Much as I love to bake and cook, when I come home from work, the last thing I want to do is hurry to put together a complicated dinner. If it's not already finished in the crock pot, the next best thing (besides leftovers), is a recipe that can be pulled together with a few ingredients and quickly. Ideally it'd be hearty and healthy, but beggars can't always be choosers. Unless they're begging for this recipe. I was thrilled with this recipe. Loaded baked potatoes in general make me happy--stuffed with all kinds of cheese, veggies, seasoning and other fixings, and this sweet potato version takes that all to a new level. We love sweet potatoes and have gotten an abundance from our CSA this winter, so finding new ways to enjoy them is always a plus. Lots of veggie and hearty black beans seasoned up with a little spiced up sour cream, salsa, and cheese, this dish is the perfect meal for a hurried weeknight, but it also makes an awesome lunch. I made the whole batch and saved the leftover filling to shove into newly baked sweet potatoes the next couple of days. Besides being completely delicious, these loaded baked sweet potatoes are hearty and healthy for anyone looking to keep calories in check. Load up on all the fiber and protein in one amazing dish.
Monday, May 13, 2013
We make homemade pizza a lot. Probably 2 or 3 times a month, and closer to once a week. Normally I grab the whole wheat dough balls from the deli section at the grocery store. They're handy, freeze well and usually make a pretty great crust. The problem is when they get a few days old, the dough starts to spread and break down, making them really difficult to stretch. You end up with spots that are super thin, almost transparent and get holes, and other spots with thick, tough dough. So I've been on the lookout for an easy, simple homemade pizza dough that I can make quickly for those last minute pizza nights. This is even easier than the store bought stuff, especially for those nights that I forget to take the dough out of the freezer and we don't want to wait 4 hours for it to thaw, resulting in dinner at 11 pm. The result is a wheat dough that's not tough, but chewy and tender and is the perfect base for all your favorite pizza toppings. We dressed ours up with this homemade pizza sauce, some mozzarella and pepperoni for a perfect weekend meal.