Category Archives: Breakfast

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

We often have ingredients laying around that don’t have a specific intended use. And when we put them together into a magical dish, we then have to buy those same ingredients for the magical dish. Do I make sense??

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

A few months ago, during the height of summer and summer guests, I had some leftovers. Almost an entire log of goat cheese and some brie… and summer squash that the kids picked themselves from Holbrook Farms. With only those ingredients, I defrosted a puff pastry shell and set out to make an easy dinner.  

Since making it the first time, it’s a dish that the kids ask that I repeat almost once a week! So easy and the results are so fancy! You’ll love it at home or for a dinner party!

Enjoy!

Place brie and goat cheese on raw puff pastry

Place brie and goat cheese on raw puff pastry

Alternating zucchini and summer squash makes the tart colorful and playful

Alternating zucchini and summer squash makes the tart colorful and playful

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini Tart

Vegetables can be sexy from any angle!

Vegetables can be sexy from any angle!

Cut into the tart once it's cooled down a little bit

Cut into the tart once it’s cooled down a little bit

Goat Cheese, Brie & Zucchini 

Makes about 8 appetizer size slices

Ingredients

1 frozen puff pastry, defrosted
8 ounces goat cheese, sliced
5 ounces brie, rind removed, sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, summer squash, olive oil and salt. Toss to coat.
2. Unfold puff pastry dough onto silicone baking mat, laying on a large baking sheet.
3. Using a sharp knife, score along the perimeter of the pastry dough, about 1/2 inch in from the edge. (Optional)
4. Break up the goat cheese and spread evenly over the puff pastry.
5. Fill in the empty spaces with pieces of brie that you break up with your fingers.
6. Alternate the zucchini and summer squash over the cheeses.
7. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crust edge is golden brown and zucchini has softened.
9. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
10. Delicious warm or at room temperature!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Shortcut Blood Orange Cranberry Biscotti

The first time I made shortcut biscotti, I took the recipe from a fantastic beach read. I loved it so much that I made it my own and blogged about it. Go ahead, check out the Shortcut Mocha Macadamia Nut Biscotti. Since then, I’ve been swapping out biscotti ingredients based on items that I have in my pantry.

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Here, I’m using blood oranges. They looked gorgeous and tasted fantastic when I first purchased them. But after some time, I needed for the oranges to fulfill their destiny in a glorious way. Baking! And these fantastic biscotti came to existence. Go ahead and use regular oranges, mineola oranges, etc. Whatever citrus you like!

Enjoy!

Squeezing the juice from the blood oranges

Squeezing the juice from the blood oranges

Putting all of the ingredients together

Putting all of the ingredients together

Combine all of the ingredients. The dough shouldn't be too watery. You'll have to form rectangular logs with the dough

Combine all of the ingredients. The dough shouldn’t be too watery. You’ll have to form rectangular logs with the dough

Biscotti logs...

Biscotti logs…

After the first bake, cut the loaves into pieces, put them back on the baking sheet to bake a second time and dry them out

After the first bake, cut the loaves into pieces, put them back on the baking sheet to bake a second time and dry them out

Baked biscotti!!! (they look dark because of nighttime lighting)

Baked biscotti!!! (they look dark because of nighttime lighting. Makes me appreciate sunlight!)

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Shortcut Blood Orange and Cranberry Biscotti

Shortcut Blood Orange Cranberry Biscotti

Ingredients

1 package store bought cake mix (any white/butter flavor)
1 cup AP unbleached flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
Zest from 4 blood oranges
Juice from 4 blood oranges (between 1/4 and 1/3 cup)
2 teaspoons orange extract (optional)
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Pinch kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F. 

1. Cut parchment paper to fit large cookie sheet.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except for the dried cranberries and raisins (if using). Mix to combine.
3. Add cranberries and raisins. Mix to incorporate evenly into the dough.
4. Using your hands, separate the dough in half. On the parchment paper lined baking sheet, shape the dough into two even rectangles. Each piece should be approximately 3” wide and ½” thick. Leave space in between, because the dough will rise.
5. Bake for 25 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven and cool for 20 minutes.
7. Cut biscotti into even horizontal strips, approximately 1” wide. 
8. Lay each biscotti on its side on the cookie sheet, leaving space between each one.
9. Bake at 350º F for another 10 minutes, then lower the oven heat to 200º F and continue baking for another 40 minutes. 
10. Cool on wire rack.
 
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

Beef Chili with Pureed Carrots, Zucchini & Spinach

Chili is a fantastic way to sneak vegetables in to unsuspecting diners. Some people, adults and children alike, have an aversion to visible vegetables. But once those vegetables have been pureed into a delicious tomato sauce for chili, they’ll willingly ask for more.

Beef Chili (shhhhh.... lots of pureed vegetables in there!)

Beef Chili (shhhhh…. lots of pureed vegetables in there!)

I usually try to make chili in one pot. Heck, it’s one of the reasons that I love chili, because it’s not a multiple pot or fussy dish. Having two pots is very helpful for this recipe so that you can saute and puree the vegetables separately.

Use whatever vegetables you have available. Cauliflower, broccoli, peas, eggplant…. whatever is hanging around in the crisper that you’re not sure what to do with this week. This recipe is as flexible as you need it to be!

Enjoy!

Saute carrots and zucchini, then add tomato puree and raw spinach

Saute carrots and zucchini, then add tomato puree and raw spinach

Let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes

Let vegetables simmer for about 20 minutes

Using an immersion blender, puree vegetables

Using an immersion blender, puree vegetables

In a large pot, add olive oil and saute onions until softened

In a large pot, add olive oil and saute onions until softened

Add ground beef and brown

Add ground beef and brown

Lovely browned ground beef and onions

Lovely browned ground beef and onions

To the large pot, add the vegetable puree, second can of crushed tomatoes and beans

To the large pot, add the vegetable puree, second can of crushed tomatoes and beans

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili

Beef Chili with pureed carrots, zucchini and spinach

Beef Chili with pureed carrots, zucchini and spinach

Beef chili with lots of pureed vegetables

Beef chili with lots of pureed vegetables

 

Beef Chili with Pureed Carrots, Zucchini & Spinach
Makes approximately 12 entree servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
2 pounds ground beef
4 carrots, diced
2 large zucchini, cubed
10 ounces fresh spinach
2 28 ounce cans pureed or diced tomatoes (Tuttorosso or similar)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(If you have a preferred chili seasoning, go ahead and use that)
Additional kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a medium sized pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute carrots for 6-7 minutes.
2. Add zucchini and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
3. Add 1 can of pureed tomatoes and raw spinach. Stir to combine.
4. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a low simmer. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes until carrots have softened.
5. Remove from heat and puree vegetables with an immersion blender. If using a stand blender, let vegetables cool a bit and then puree in batches.
6. In a large cast iron pot, or similar heavy bottomed pot, add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add onions and saute for 4-5 minutes to soften.
7. Add ground beef. Saute until browned.
8. To the ground beef and onions, add the pureed vegetables and remaining can of tomatoes. Warm through.
9. Add seasonings. Taste. Adjust for salt and pepper.
10. Add drained and rinsed beans.
11. Bring to a boil and the down to a simmer. Let simmer at least 20 minutes (and up to 5 hours) to let the flavors marry.
Optional: Serve over rice or pasta (for Cincinnati chili)
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Sweet Potato Pudding Cake with Craisins & Raisins

I’m always looking for interesting ways to repurpose prepared foods. Leftover rice from Monday’s dinner with chili turns into paella on Tuesday or pilaf on Wednesday. All foods deserve a happy second turn in life! 

Here, we find new life for an extremely large sweet potato. Of course, you should feel free to use smaller sweet potatoes! If you have a leftover baked sweet potato, great. If not, bake up a fresh sweet potato! Adapted from recipes for Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding Cake, this rich pudding cake isn’t overly sweet, allowing the sweet tartness of the dried cranberries and raisins to shine through.

Treat yourself to a slice of Sweet Potato Pudding with raisins and dried cranberries!

Treat yourself to a slice of Sweet Potato Pudding with raisins and dried cranberries!

This recipe is Gluten Free, but go ahead and use regular all purpose flour.

One laaaaarge sweet potato

One laaaaarge sweet potato

Just some of the ingredients....

Just some of the ingredients….

Baking that sweet sweet potato!

Baking that sweet sweet potato!

Baked Sweet Potato with eggs

Baked Sweet Potato with eggs

Adding raisins and craisins to the batter

Adding raisins and craisins to the batter

Pour the batter into a greased springform pan

Pour the batter into a greased springform pan

Looks great even before it's baked!

Looks great even before it’s baked!

Baked with a glorious crust!

Baked with a glorious crust!

Couldn't wait... sliced into the cake while it was still hot!

Couldn’t wait… sliced into the cake while it was still hot!

Sprinkle powdered sugar to make it pretty

Sprinkle powdered sugar to make it pretty

Sweet Potato Pudding Cake with Raisins and Dried Cranberries

Makes a 9″ cake

Adapted from Social Kitchen

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato (1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup AP gluten free flour
1/2 cup almond flour
pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated preferred)
2 tablespoons Jack Daniels
4 large eggs
1 can coconut cream (14.5 ounces)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
powdered sugar to dust

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Bake sweet potato on a baking sheet for 40-45 minutes, until fork tender. Let cool to room temperature. Or use a pre-baked sweet potato.
2. Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ round springform pan with cooking spray or butter.
3. In a medium size bowl, combine gluten free flour, almond flour, salt and nutmeg.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, if you’re using a hand mixer or mixing by hand) add sweet potato and eggs. Beat until smooth.
5. Add coconut milk, brown sugar, Jack Daniels and butter. Mix to combine.
6. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
7. Add raisins and cranberries. Mix to combine.
8. Pour into prepared springform pan. Place springform pan on a baking sheet (in case it leaks) and bake for 50-60 minutes, until top has a golden crust and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to release the cake from the springform pan.
10. Let cake cool for a few hours. Top with powdered sugar.
11. The cake is delicious at room temperature.
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

I’m not a great baker. It’s a tough admission to make, but it’s true. I don’t have a good “feel” for baking. I can’t add a pinch of this or dash of that and I can never eyeball something. If baking is my downfall, then pies are my kryptonite.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

You can imagine my joy when I saw something on pinterest (evil, evil pinterest) that made me believe I could successfully bake an apple pie without exact measurements! Apple Pie Pizza. It’s a genius as it sounds. With the help of some store-bought ingredients, I had this gorgeous dessert in the oven in about 20 minutes… and that’s with the help/hindrance of small hands!

I’m never going to make a regular apple pie again!

Cooks notes: 1. Add the caramel drizzle when you’re read to eat the pie. The crumb topping absorbs it very quickly.  2. It doesn’t transport easily. If you’re going to plate it, bake it on parchment paper and then you’ll have an easier time sliding it onto a platter.

Defrost and then roll out dough

Defrost and then roll out dough

Peel and dice three large apples

Peel and dice three large apples

Toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and sugar

Toss apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, flour and sugar

Toss crumb ingredients together (before)

Toss crumb ingredients together (before)

Crumb ingredients should be evenly coated with butter (after)

Crumb ingredients should be evenly coated with butter (after)

Top the pie crust with the apple mixture

Top the pie crust with the apple mixture

Add the crumb topping

Add the crumb topping

Resist not taking a piece...

Resist not taking a piece…

TJ's Salted Caramel Sauce

TJ’s Salted Caramel Sauce

Baked!

Baked!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

The kids will want to do this part

The kids will want to do this part

Cross section of the pie

Cross section of the pie
Action shots!! (Older daughter was pouring the caramel and my son took the photos)

Action shots!! (Older daughter was pouring the caramel and my son took the photos)

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizza

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Note: I’ve given exact measurements here, but I promise that if you eyeball most of it, this pie is still going to be fantastic!

Ingredients

1 store bought pie crust, defrosted (standard or gluten free)
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Pie Filling
3 large apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons AP flour (or AP GF flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch kosher salt
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Crumb Topping
1/2 cup AP flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup (half stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup rolled oats
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3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel (add more if you have a really big sweet tooth!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Roll pie dough out on a silpat. Roll it out a bit thinner than it’s original size. Tuck the edges  (about 1/2 inch or so) underneath itself, to give it a raise crust.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine diced apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss to combine.
3. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crumb topping. Making sure to get each piece coated with butter.
4. Spread the apple mixture evenly over the pie crust, leaving about 1/4″ – 1/2″ border.
5. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the apples have softened.  Once out of the oven, let rest for at least 10 minutes.
7. Drizzle with salted caramel immediately before eating.
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Enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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My Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Many, many moons ago my husband and I went to Paris. Before there were careers and children and mortgages and with very few cares in the world, we explored and ate until we were exhausted. Almost 13 years later, I have fantastic memories, some grainy digital pictures (remember when it was cool to own a 1 megapixel camera?!) and my favorite grilled cheese sandwich.

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes on sourdough

I know you’re doubtful. I can’t blame you. When someone mentions French food, they’re usually referring to a tried and true culinary technique or a perfect sauce. No one’s shouting rave reviews about a random grilled cheese sandwich that they ate in a tiny cafe at the turn of the millennium. Until now.

Something about the combination of these ingredients come together to make magic. The crunch of the corn, the saltiness of the gorgonzola, the texture of the bread. It all works together. This is one instance of a food memory living up to the actual taste of the food each and every time I make the sandwich.

Enjoy!

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread

Flip the bread over (butter side onto the cutting board) and spread the brie on both slices of bread

Flip the bread over (butter side onto the cutting board) and spread the brie on both slices of bread

Removing corn from the cob

Removing corn from the cob

Evenly spread corn (fresh or frozen-thawed) on both slices of bread

Evenly spread corn (fresh or frozen-thawed) on both slices of bread

Place a thin layer of gorgonzola on top of one slice

Place a thin layer of gorgonzola on top of one slice

Place thinly sliced tomatoes on top of the gorgonzola

Place thinly sliced tomatoes on top of the gorgonzola

Combine both sides of the sandwich. Place on a pre-heated non-stick skillet

Combine both sides of the sandwich. Place on a pre-heated non-stick skillet

Let cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and let cook for another 3-4 minutes. (If the cheese isn't melting, cover the skillet)

Let cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and let cook for another 3-4 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t melting, cover the skillet)

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes

Grilled Brie, Gorgonzola, Corn & Tomato

Grilled Brie, Gorgonzola, Corn & Tomato

Sp,etjomg

Sp,etjomg

Sp,etjomg

The dream state of grilled cheese….

My Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Makes 1 perfect sandwich

Ingredients

2 slices sourdough bread (or GF bread)
1 TBSP butter, divided
2 ounces brie, rind removed
4 TBSP corn kernels (removed from cob or frozen and thawed)
1.5 – 2 ounces gorgonzola (or bleu cheese)
3 slices tomato (thin)
NOTE: good quality, flavorful ingredients are really key here because you’re not doing much to them to mask their original state.

Directions

1. Using 1/2 tbsp butter for each slice, butter one side of each slice of sourdough. Place bread, butter side down, on cutting board (or plate).
2. Spread 1 ounce of brie on each slice of bread.
3. Top the brie with two tablespoons of corn, on each slice of bread. Gently press the corn into the brie. Gently. Just to make it stick a bit.
4. On just one slice, add thinly sliced gorgonzola. Top with tomato slices.
5. Gently combine the two parts of the sandwich (it might get messy and the corn might slip out. No worries… just stick the loose pieces back into the sandwich).
6. Heat a non-stick skillet. With the gas on medium heat, place the sandwich onto the skillet.
7. Let it warm through for 3-4 minutes, until the butter has turned the bread a golden brown toasted color.
8. Carefully flip the sandwich. If it’s not heating through, cover the skillet with a large lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
9. Remove from skillet and let cool for a few minutes. Cut in half and enjoy… (You might want to make two sandwiches because you’re not going to want to share!)
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Blueberry & Lemon Jam (No Pectin)

Jam is my favorite way to hold onto the taste of summer. Incidentally, jam is also one of my favorite ways to give life to fruit that is on it’s way to going bad. Blueberries have been abundant in the area. We’ve purchased them at local farmers markets and picked our own at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT. After eating them plain, adding them to smoothies, to yogurt and cottage cheese, sweet and savory salads, and baking with them… it was time to make jam.

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (on spoon)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (on spoon)

Four cups of blueberries (roughly 2 pints of berries) yielded almost 4 pints of jam.

Go ahead… save summer 🙂

Enjoy!

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (ingredients)

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (overhead)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (overhead)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (No Pectin)

Makes 3 1/2 pints

Ingredients

4 cups blueberries (about 2 pints)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 granny smith apple, finely diced

Directions

1. In a medium size heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Turn down to medium (or medium/low) and let the blueberries gently bubble.
3. Place a small plate into the freezer (Just do it. Trust me, you’re going to need it)
4. Stir occasionally and let the blueberries reduce by about 1/3. This will take about an hour. Most will pop open, so there’s no need to mash them.
5. Perform a gel test: Remove the plate from the freezer. Place a spoonful of the jam on the plate and return to freezer. Wait 1 to 2 minutes; remove plate from freezer, and gently press jam with fingertip; it should not be runny, it should wrinkle slightly. Here’s a picture of the gel test from my other Off-Season Strawberry Jam recipe.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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