Monday, March 31, 2014

Strawberry Croissant Bake

I'm back to my breakfast "thing". I'm so into the breakfast bakes, especially ones that I can make the night before and just throw into the oven in the morning. I was assembling this at 9pm and it really only took about 10 minutes to throw together.

I had a hankering for strawberries. I bought some a few weeks ago and they were not so good. I saw a 2 pounder from Sam's Club last week and they smelled amazing, so I picked them up. Without opening them up and actually eating a strawberry (which I'm sure the store would frown upon), I usually go for the smell test. If they smell really sweet and strawberrish, then I'll buy them. I cannot wait for strawberry season here in Rhode Island.....that won't be until late June  (ugh).

This really isn't a pretty breakfast bake. The strawberry sauce isn't very photogenic, but that won't stop me from posting this because no matter what it looks like, the important thing is how it tastes, and this tastes fantastic!

I'm watching my carbs and sugars so I only had one serving (1 mini croissant) but I can tell you I would have had 2 or 3 if I weren't watching it. So good!

I used store bought mini croissants. You can use the larger size but I really liked the little ones.

Here's what it looks like after it comes out of the oven and some hungry hands dug into it. The croissants are all snuggled up together. Awww.

This is the perfect breakfast to bring to a sick friend, a brunch, or just for a lazy Sunday.

Strawberry Croissant Bake
Printable recipe
adapted from a recipe at Crumbs & Chaos
12 small butter croissants
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups powered sugar (divided)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs

Strawberry Sauce:
2 cups of fresh strawberries, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Slice croissants open. I didn't slice mine all the way through, I left them open like a clam shell (trying to give you a mental image, lol). Set aside.

Beat together cream cheese, lemon juice and 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a bowl. You want this to be light and fluffy (I used the whisk attachment for my mixer.)

Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom half of each croissant and close the top back down. Arrange the croissants so they all fit in the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 pan. I placed them in there like a little puzzle.

Combine milk, eggs, lemon zest and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Pour over croissants in pan and then cover the pan with foil and place in fridge for 8-10 hours.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place covered pan in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes until set and golden. Let stand 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven. Serve with strawberry sauce and fresh sliced strawberries.

Strawberry Sauce:

Add strawberries and sugar to a large, heavy saucepan. Stirring often, bring to a boil over medium heat. Take off of the heat and add vanilla. Mash with a potato masher for a chunky sauce, blend with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sugar Snap Peas & Chinese Sausage

I've been eating a lot of sugar snap peas lately. I kinda get going with something and get a bit obsessed with it. Right now it's sugar snap peas.

My local Sam's Club sells them in a 1 pound bag with no strings! Stringless. Oh glory. That is the one thing I hate about eating sugar snaps, you get that annoying pea string and it just ruins your whole pea eating experience. At least it does for me.

So I've been buying these for a month now and I usually just lightly steam them and add some soy and a little sesame oil and call it a done deal, but after a month of eating them that way I decided to try something a little different. I got my inspiration while I was cleaning out my freezer the other day and noticed a package of lap cheong, my beloved Chinese sausage. My local Asian market carries a few different kinds. I always buy the KamYenJam brand.

If you haven't had Chinese sausage I strongly urge you to try it.  It's dried smoked sausage and unlike some sausages, this must be cooked before you eat it. It's sweet, savory and salty all at the same time. Once you cook it, do not drain away the yummy juices that it renders. That's sauce for the snap peas!

Sugar Snap Peas with Chinese Sausage.
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
Printable recipe
4 links of Chinese sausage (you can freeze any unused sausage)
1 pound of sugar snap peas
2 -3 tablespoons of water
dash Sesame oil
sprinkling of seasame seeds (optional)

In a large heavy bottomed pan cook the Chinese sausage until it renders out some juice and the sausage begins to brown a bit. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the sugar snaps peas, a dash of sesame oil and 2 - 3 tablespoons of water (to help the peas stream) into the same pan.

Cover and steam for 2 - 3 minutes or until the peas are just tender (don't overcook!). Add the sausage back in, sprinkle with sesame seeds and eat immediately!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Shallots

Oh spring come on, I can almost feel you!

We had a couple of days here when the temps reached up into the mid 40's. It was heaven. Just to feel the sun on my face was a joy, but it was short lived. The cold temps crept back in and we had more snow last week, just flurries, but snow none the less. Oh well, that's living in New England.

I caught one heck of a head cold. I was sick for weeks. Before anyone preaches, yes I went to the doctors. I had a little incident a few weeks ago where I actually passed out in the shower. I had been sick all weekend so by Monday morning I had the perfect storm of symptoms that just did me in. My blood sugar was low, I'm sure my blood pressure was low, I wasn't eating right, I probably didn't drink enough either, and my head was completely congested. Combine all that with a steaming hot shower and bam, I was out. That was scary. I didn't get hurt, thankfully, but I did get a note from the doctor to stay home and rest. It was another 3 days on the couch for me. It's been 3 weeks and another trip back to the doctors and I'm just now starting to feel ok. This one threw me for a loop!

The men had quite a few "fend for yourself" suppers, and when I felt well enough to finally get myself back into the kitchen I didn't want to make anything too complicated. These Roasted Chicken Thighs were perfect.

Throw a bunch of ingredients together, let the thighs marinate in them for a few hours then toss them in the oven. How easy is that?

We love chicken thighs in our house. If you're not crazy about them, use whatever piece of chicken you like best.

I actually doubled the amounts from the original recipe and it was the perfect amount of marinade.

Roast Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Shallots
slightly adapted from a recipe at David
Printable recipe.
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 large shallots, peeled and minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken thighs, skin on.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF . In a large baking dish, one which will hold all the chicken pieces in a single layer, mix the olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, and some salt and pepper. I refrigerated these for a few hours before I put them in the oven.

Toss the chicken in the mixture, so they’re completely coated with the shallots. Turn the chicken pieces so they are all skin side up.

Roast the chicken for about twenty minutes, until it starts to brown on top. Turn the pieces of chicken over. Scrape any juices and shallots over the chicken that may be clinging to the pan, and bake for another twenty minutes, or until the pieces of chicken are cooked through and the shallots are well-caramelized.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Janet's Cheesy Baked Cauliflower

I just can't get enough cauliflower. I could eat it every single day.

I usually make my Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower or my Breaded Cauliflower but I'm always on the look out for a new cauliflower recipe and I found one through my friends Bob and Lisa Wisniewski. I was chatting with Lisa and she said that Bob was making a cheesy cauliflower recipe. I had a cheesy cauliflower recipe sitting on the kitchen table, ready to make but when Lisa told me about Bob's mother's recipe I scrapped that recipe for this one. I'm glad I did.

This was so delicious. You microwave the whole head before it goes in the oven so it cuts down the baking time significantly. You get this big head of cauliflower that you can cut into wedges to eat. It's just so good.

I might take a new spin on this the next time I make it and cut the head into florets, coat them with the mayo mixture, place them in a shallow baking sheet then cover with cheese and bake. Either way this recipe is scrumptious!

This is Bob's mother's recipe. Janet is no longer with us, but her recipe lives on. That's what I love about recipes and cooking, you can still make something that brings back memories of that person. So thank you Janet Wisniewski.

Janet's Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
Printable Recipe
1 large head of cauliflower
3/4 cup mayo
2 tsp finely chopped onions or shallots
1-2 tsp prepared mustard (I used brown mustard)
dash salt & pepper
1-2 tablespoons parsley
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup water to cook the cauliflower
paprkia for sprinkling

Rinse the head of cauliflower and remove the bottom leaves. Be sure to leave the core in tact so it won't fall apart.

Place the cauliflower and the water in a microwave save bowl. I covered mine with a piece of parchment paper and used an elastic to secure it around the bowl. You could use a piece of plastic wrap, but I'm always leery of microwaving plastic products. Microwave on high for 10 - 12 minutes. Times may vary depending on how powerful your microwave is. You can check for doness by sliding a sharp knife into the side of the cauliflower. If you can slide it in with little to no resistance, you're good. If not return to microwave and check it every few minutes.

Drain the water from the bowl and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a bowl combine the mayo, onions, mustard and salt & pepper. Stir to combine and slather it all over the cauliflower head. Top with the cheddar cheese, sprinkle with paprika and place in a 350 oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Slice into wedges to eat.