Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bloomin' Bread


Here's yet another little recipe I picked up on Pinterest. I've never had the Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse...probably because it's likely to induce an instant hear attack, but it does look tasty. I much prefer this bread version though. Bead, cheese, butter and green onions...good stuff.

The only tricky part about this recipe is slicing the bread. Slicing in one direction is a cinch, but then going back the other way can definitely be a bit tricky. Just be patient and don't tear the bread. It doesn't have to be perfect. As long as you can place cheese slices in between the cuts, you're good.

I made this on a Saturday afternoon as a snack for Heath and Jesse while they watched football...it was a hit. I don't know that I'd make this for a huge group of people since it's such a 'hands on' appetizer, but for a lazy weekend, it was a great snack.

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'Bloomin' Bread'
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything via Pinterest

Ingredients

1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread
12-16 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut the bread lengthwise and width-wise without cutting through the bottom crust.

3. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Easy Crab Melts


I love melts...they're so easy and filling, and it's certainly better than a boring 'ol sandwich for lunch. My favorite melt in all the world is this, which I shared over a year ago. I still make it at LEAST once a month.

Before making this I had never used canned crab meat. When I think 'canned seafood', I'm usually pretty grossed out, but this was really good (I'm a firm believer that mayonnaise makes everything better)! If you really have an issue with canned seafood, you can always get a little container of fresh crab meat from the seafood section of your grocery store. My Publix has a little refrigerated display next to the seafood case with things like seafood dips, salmon lox, and crab meat. I think I may try that next time I make this, just to see if there's a real difference.

Ok well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so everyone have a WONDERFUL drama-free family holiday!! (If only, right?) Here at our house we're keeping it super simple this year since it's just me, hubby, and the boy. No visitors! I'll be making a slimmed down version of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, then we'll probably just take naps, and play board games (my favorite!). Well...till next time!

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'Crab Melts'
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients

1 can (6 ounces) crab meat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
5 teaspoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced green onion
2 English muffins, split
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

1.In a small bowl, combine the crab, mayonnaise, celery and onion. Toast muffins in a toaster until they're lightly toasted (or you can place them on a greased baking sheet and broil them for 3-4 minutes) 

2. Spread each muffin half with crab mixture. Top cheese and broil until bubbly.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (From Scratch!)



I've been hankering for some really good chicken noodle soup. Some homemade, 100% from scratch, chicken noodle soup. I looked all over the internet for recipes, but many of them said to use store bought chicken stock. Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with that...I've used it plenty of times in the past. But I really wanted to make my own. Some recipes (Paula Deen's comes to mind) had homemade chicken stock, but all kinds of weird ingredients that one doesn't usually associate with chicken noodle (like mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and heavy cream?..no thanks).

I finally found a regular 'ol traditional Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Tyler Florence. I'm not really a fan of Tyler's...I've never seen his show and I wouldn't recognize him if I saw him on the street, but his recipe was by far the best I found (with the exception of the turnips...I left those out). Yes, making soup this way takes a little extra time and effort, but not much, and it's DEFINITELY worth it! Most of the time (1 1/2 hours) the stock is just sitting on the stove simmering. The veggies that go into the stock don't have to be neatly sliced or chopped. You just cut them one or twice, mainly so they fit in the pot. Let simmer then just strain the stock, set the chicken out to cool, and throw out all the veggies (they lose all their flavoring to the stock, so you want new veggies for the actual soup).

And speaking of the soup, I made things a litter easier on myself and less time consuming by buying already chopped onions, celery, garlic, and sliced carrots at the store. Of course you can chop them if you don't mind, but I just didn't feel like it. Honestly, the biggest pain-in-the-but about making chicken noodle soup is picking apart the chicken and shredding the meat, and you'll have to do that anyway...even if you use store-bought chicken stock.

SO! Here's Tyler's amazing recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup. If you really don't want to make your own stock, just substitute store bought in the directions...I promise though, it's not that bad :)

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'Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (From Scratch!)'
Source: Food Network

~Stock Ingredients~

1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved  
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

~Stock Directions~

1. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot or dutch oven, over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak.

2. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

3. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Discard the vegetables.

4. Use the stock immediately OR if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

~Soup Ingredients~

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, chopped
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts of above chicken stock
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Salt and ground black pepper

~Soup Directions~

1. Place a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.

2. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper.


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sweet & Salty Pretzels

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I saw this yummy little snack on Pinterest, and decided it had to be made! I loooove sweet and salty snacks. In fact, I can no longer eat plain Ruffles potato chips without a side of something chocolate (usually mini Kit-Kats, or Hershey's Kisses). If Ruffles made chocolate covered potato chips, I'd be in heaven...or trouble.

Anyway!! This is a simple snack that is great for the kiddos. If you've got school age kids, you can just toss some of these in a little baggie and throw them in your kids lunch. If you don't have school age children, that's ok. You can just keep them in the fridge and give your toddler a couple as a treat, then eat half the platter yourself while he's napping. (Which MAY have been what happened in my house) ;)~ You can also make these for holidays just by changing the colors of the M&M's...red and green for Christmas...yellow, orange and brown for Thanksgiving...pastel M&M's for Easter...you get the idea. Ok guys...I'm off to load the dishwasher and fold laundry (don't be jealous)...till next time!

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'Sweet & Salty Pretzels'
Source: Pinterest

~Ingredients~

1 bag of mini pretzels
1 bag of Hershey's Kisses (you can use any kind you like)
1 bag of M&M's

~Directions~

1. Heat oven to 275
2. Line up pretzels on a large baking sheet. Place one Hershey's Kiss on the center of each pretzel
3. Bake for 3 minutes...just enough to soften the kiss, but not melt it
4. Remove from oven and immediately press on M&M into the center of each kiss. Place in the fridge and allow to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Biscuit Baked Eggs

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Yes, yes, more eggs. Well, what can I say...I love eggs! I eat at LEAST one a day...sometimes as many as three. Every. Single. Day. Can't get enough!

This yummy little recipe I found on...wait for it...PINTEREST! I know...shocking. That's where I seem to be finding most of my breakfast and lunch recipes these days. I've got a lot of good stuff coming up though, so I can't complain.

What I love about this recipe (besides the eggs) is how versatile it is. You can put whatever you want on these things...totally up to you! I just used what I had on hand (I meant to add shredded cheddar cheese, but I was so excited to get these in the oven and eat them that I completely forgot).

One thing I'll say though, after cooking for 15 minutes the egg still seemed a bit wobbly (which I took to mean 'not done'). I decided to take them out anyway though since any longer and the biscuit would have started to overcook. Turns out they were PERFECT! The yellow was runny...just the slightest edge of it had started to harden, and the egg white was definitely cooked. So, looks can be deceiving. If you want a runny egg, then I wouldn't recommend cooking these any longer than 16 minutes. Ok guys...enjoy! I'm off to Pin!!

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'Biscuit Baked Eggs'
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients

1 tube refrigerated biscuit dough (I used Grands!)
8 eggs (or however many you want to make)
1/2 cup real bacon bits
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dill weed (my personal preference. Substitute any spice you like)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400.

2. Lightly spray a standard-sized muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. 

3. Open the biscuit dough and press one biscuit round into each muffin cup. To be sure there is room for the eggs, make a deep well in your dough by pressing the biscuit all the way up the sides of each muffin cup.

4. Crack an egg into each biscuit, top with bacon bits, cheddar, dill weed, salt and pepper. 

5. Bake for 14-17 minutes. To ensure the center of your egg stays soft-cooked, remove the biscuits from the oven as soon as the edges begin to turn golden brown.



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Monday, November 7, 2011

Hawaiian Baked Ham and Swiss Sandwiches



Looks good, doesn't it? I came across this recipe while surfing my newest obsession...Pintrest. I absolutely LOVE King's Hawaiian bread. My parents used to buy it every now and again when I was younger. It was really hard to find for awhile, but now it seems to be pretty much everywhere. Publix carries all their King's breads in the bakery section, not with the regular bread (I love their Hamburger rolls as well...SO good with a big juicy burger!).

I'm not a huge Swiss fan, but when I saw the photo for these, I couldn't pass them up. I made them this past Saturday for lunch. It was perfect for the three of us. Out of the 12 little sandwiches that were made, only 3 were left...I'm telling you, they're tasty. Of course if you're dead-set against Swiss you could always put together a different combo. The main thing is the use of the Hawaiian bread, and the Dijon onion sauce.

Ok guys...just thought I'd share this yummy little snack/lunch/lazy dinner idea. I'm sure I'll be back with more yummy recipes I found on Pintrest...I have a whole Board dedicated to good-looking food!

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'Hawaiian Baked Ham and Swiss Sandwiches'

Ingredients

1 12 pack of King's Hawaiian Original Rolls
1 lb. deli ham, shaved
1 lb. Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons of poppy seeds 
1 onion, chopped

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350. Melt butter and mix in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion and poppy seed. Simmer for several minutes.

2. Cut the entire pack of rolls in half, horizontally (keeping all top and bottom halves in tact).

3. In a greased 9x13 pan, place bottom half of rolls and spread 1/3 of the onion mixture over the bottom of the rolls followed by the ham and cheese.

4. Replace the tops of the rolls and spread the remaining onion mixture over top. 

5. Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes and, once finished, separate for serving.





Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mexican Rice Bowl with Fried Egg


Hello everyone! I know it's been F-O-R-E-V-E-R, but I've been keeping pretty busy with all my MWT cooking. Every now and then I'll come across a recipe that I can't use for MWT (I have one of those waiting in the wings), or I'll see something that I just HAVE to make, so I take a night off from work to make it. This was one of those recipes.

I know...doesn't look like anything special, does it? Some rice, beans, corn, salsa and sour cream. And an egg. The egg is what sold me. I LOVE eggs. Mainly dippy-eggs (or over-easy to the rest of the world. Didn't find out that's what they were really called till I was 18 and ordering breakfast at an IHOP with friends...nearly got laughed out of the place. Thanks Mom). Instead of putting a fried egg on mine, I used a dippy-egg, but it's whatever floats your boat.

I came upon this recipe at my friend Cassie's blog. She's one of those annoying rare people who can just open up her cabinets, see what she's got, and make an amazing dinner. How lovely ;)~  I, unfortunately, am not one of these blessed people...I have to follow a recipe. But, thanks to people like Cassie, I come across yummy recipes such as this, and am a rock-star to my boys...thanks dear!!

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'Mexican Rice Bowls with Fried Egg'
Source: Cassie Craves

Ingredients

1 cup white or brown rice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chopped green chilies (4 oz)
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
Eggs
Salsa, sour cream, avocado, chopped cilantro for serving, if desired
(I did not desire...I despise cilantro)

Directions

   1. Cook rice according to package directions. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, corn, black beans, green chilies, salsa and shredded cheese; set aside and keep warm.

2. Fry eggs to desired doneness. Top each serving of rice with a fried egg and any desired toppings.

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