Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cheese of cake

   Cheesecake is probably one of my favorite desserts. Rich, creamy and indulgent, how can you not like it? But for somebody who loves cheesecake so much, I have a dark secret - I NEVER made one by myself! Can you believe that? I mean, never until now! I always thought that it was tricky, required some supernatural powers and took hours! Well, it does take some time, not the prep or cook time, but rather a "cooling time", but other than that it is super easy! I can not believe I was so scared to make it. As a proof, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

* 24oz cream cheese (3 bricks), room temp.
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 lemon, juice and zest
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 eggs, room temp.
* 5-6 tbsp strawberry preserve, recipe can be found here
* 10 graham crackers
* 5 tbsp melted butter

Directions:

1. Break the graham crackers into a food processor and process until they form fine crumbs. Drizzle in melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

2. Press the crust into the foil-lined 8x8 pan and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool while making the filling.

3. Decrease the oven temperature to 325F.

4. In a standing mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, slowly add sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat everything for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.

4. Pour cheese mix onto the cooled crust, randomly distribute the strawberry preserve on the top and using a knife swirl the preserve to create a "marble pattern".

5. Bake at 325F for 45-50 minutes. Gently remove the cake from the oven (it will still be "jiggly" and wet, but it's OK), let it cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into it.





   Doesn't it look pretty? And it tastes pretty good as well! Perfect balance of sweet with some salty and acidic notes. Lemon juice and zest is really a key here, it just makes it so fresh and vibrant. You could use any kind of fruit preserve, or you could just skip it all together, I'm sure it would be delicious no matter what!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer soup.

   Yes, it's a soup recipe in the middle of summer, that's right! I can't help it that I love soups so much and I absolutely do not consider it to be a "winter dish"! Justin is not really a fan of soups, he just doesn't consider it as a "meal", so to encourage him to have a bowl, I need to find one that is full of meat and his favorite flavors! Tortilla soup - chunky, full of tender chicken and Mexican flavors, I knew he won't be able to resist and I was right! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

* 2 large chicken breasts
* 1 15oz can of black beans,  drained and rinsed
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 cup frozen corn
* 1 cup fresh cilantro
* 1 15oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
* 1 cup tomato sauce

* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 0.5 - 1 tsp chili powder (depending on how spice you want it to be)
* 1 tsp paprika
* salt and pepper

Garnish:
* tortilla strips
* sour cream


Directions:

1. In a large pot, cook chicken breast in salted water until soft - 45-60 minutes.

2. Take the chicken out of the water, let it cool for few minutes and shred it.

3. In the meantime, to the remaining water add onions, garlic, corn, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and add spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper).

4. Cook everything for 15 minutes, add shredded chicken and cilantro and cook for additional 15 minutes.

5. Serve garnished with sour cream and tortilla strips.




   Delicious! You can adjust spiciness to your liking, since I am not a fan of spicy food I just added a little bit of chili powder, but feel free to "spice things up"!

Enjoy,
Magda

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Urban Farmhouse Inspired...

   The Urban Farmhouse Market and Cafe is a chain of restaurants that I consider to be a little bit "hipster", with a cool vibe and a good food. I was told that one of their biggest hits is a "three lentil chili" soup and I absolutely agree with that opinion. So flavorful and delicious... and so "hipster" too. So I knew that I will be making it sooner or later... and the time has come! I have no idea what they used in their recipe, I didn't really ask, I just took the inspiration and created my own version. It turned out pretty tasty, so I think I did a good job! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

* 1 cup green lentils
* 1 cup black lentils
* 1 cup split red lentils
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 packets McCormick TexMex Chili Seasoning
* 2 15oz can diced tomatoes

* salt if needed

Directions:

1. Combine all the lentils, wash 2-3 times in cold water, transfer into a large pot, cover with cold water (at least 3 inches of water above the lentils) and soak for 4-5 hours, preferably overnight.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the onions for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.

3. Add drained lentils, diced tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Cook for 45 minutes.

4. Add TexMex Chili Seasoning and a little bit of water (if needed) and cook for additional 1 hour, stirring from time to time (the spices tend to stick to the bottom a little bit). Depending on how dense you like your chilli, you can add some more water.

5. Adjust seasoning with salt to your liking (if needed) and serve with a dollop of sour cream.




   Sour cream is a must with this dish! If you are not a fan of sour cream, try Greek yogurt, but trust me when I tell you that you will love it this way!

Enjoy,
Magda

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Brown or blond?

   That is the question! If it comes to cakes or sweets in general, it's always "blond" for me! Yes, that's right, I do not like brownies, I do not like chocolate cake, I do not like anything chocolate! This is why I was very excited when I found the recipe for these delicious "blondies". I was even more excited about the fact that they are Banana Blondies, because I am so tired of making banana bread every single time I have leftover overripe bananas! And it happens a lot with my two boys who demand that I buy a lot of bananas because they will for sure eat them all! Yeah, right!
   Anyways, the "cake" is really delicious, dense and moist (like a brownie would be), very flavorful and has a nice crunch from the nuts. Quick and easy recipe using the ingredients that can by found in the average pantry.

Ingredients:

* 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1.5 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 3 bananas, mashed
* 2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:

1. In a bowl combine sugar and salt, add melted butter and mix together.

2. Mix in eggs, vanilla, bananas and baking powder. Slowly add flour and mix everything together.

3. Stir in walnuts and transfer into a rectangular baking pan. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool before cutting.




   If you don't have walnuts, you could also use pecans, macadamia nuts, or even hazelnuts. You could even skip nuts all together if you wanted, but I think they add a lot and make the cake way better. I also tried it with different dried fruits and decided that walnuts and cranberries was my favorite combination.

Enjoy,
Magda

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The mother of invention...

   What happens when you buy too much margarita for the Girls Night In? Probably most of you would say there is never too much margarita for anything that involves bunch of girls... but we really had too much and nobody wanted to finish it (I think we are getting older or wiser... probably just older). Anyways, I had at least half a bottle of a ready-to-drink margarita left and I was wondering what I could do with it... so naturally I decided to use it for cooking some pork! Isn't it what you would do? Oh well... I might just be "different"! Besides margarita is not really my drink of choice anyways... so I had to come up with a creative use of the leftovers. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, so I "invented" Margarita Braised Pork Loin recipe and here it is:

Ingredients:

* large pork loin (3-4lbs)
* 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 2 cups margarita drink
* 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tsp rosemary
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Season pork loin with salt and pepper on both sides and transfer into the Dutch oven - cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until browned.

2. Slowly add margarita and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until all the alcohol cooks out. Be very careful adding the alcohol as it may over-boil.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce and water until it comes up to half of the loin.

4. Cover the meat with onions and garlic, sprinkle with the rosemary, close the lid and transfer into the 330F oven. Braise for 3 hours and let it rest for 15-20 minutes outside of the oven before serving




   Yum, yum! Rich, savory meat with a tiny hint of sweetness, soaked in luscious sauce. Super tender pork, that can be cut into slices or just shredded depending on your preference. I think it was a very successful use of the leftover margarita!

Enjoy,
Magda

Saturday, June 20, 2015

You could've fooled me!

   If you know me, you know how much I love potatoes. Not French fries, not chips.... the REAL potatoes, mashed, baked, cooked or roasted, I love them all! But unfortunately, plate full of potatoes is not your friend when you are trying to lose baby weight (and some of the pre-baby weight that stuck around, too). I kept hearing about the mashed cauliflower tasting almost the same as mashed potatoes, but I didn't even bother to try it... because let's be honest, I did not believe that anything can be as delicious as mashed potatoes. But after much consideration, I decided to "sacrifice" myself for the blog readers and give it a try... Wow, what a delicious dish! No, seriously, you need to try it! Don't wait as long as I did, you will love it!

Ingredients:

* 2 medium cauliflowers, cut into florets
* 1 cup cheddar cheese
* 1 tbsp coconut oil
* 2 tbsp milk
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* salt

Directions:

1. Cook cauliflower in salted water until fork tender (for about 25 minutes). Drain.

2. Transfer hot cauliflower into food processor, add all remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of the food processor, you might have to divide everything in half and then combine.




   So creamy, so cheesy, so flavorful! There is no bigger potato snob than myself, but I will be honest with you ... you could've fooled me into thinking that I'm eating potatoes here... maybe!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pick a side.

   Ever wondered what makes the steakhouse spinach so good? The answer is: cream and butter! Yes, I said cream and butter! Were you expecting me to say "love" they put into making it? No! If you want creamy, decadent, velvety creamed spinach, you need to invest in a "few" calories! Just skip the baked potato or have a smaller piece of meat and just enjoy this delicious spinach dish! Actually, the title should say "Pick THIS side", because it really is one of the best side dishes you can have. And if you worry about all the fat, just think about how much fiber, iron and vitamins you will get with it! It's worth it!

Ingredients:

* 20oz fresh spinach
* 1.5 cups cream
* 5 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all purpose flour
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* pinch of nutmeg
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach for 2 minutes. Drain on the colander and squeeze all the excess water.

2. Make bechamel sauce: in a saucepan melt butter, add flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for 5-6 minutes until sauce is really thick.

3. Transfer drained spinach into the food processor and pulse until almost pureed.

4. Add spinach to the bechamel sauce, mix until combined, cook for additional 1 minute. Serve warm.




   My husband's first reaction: man, it's so cheeeeeesy and delicious! No, there is no cheese in it... just the love, I mean butter and cream! Just go for it, splurge a little.

Enjoy,
Magda.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cravings.

   I've been craving Indian food for a while now but somehow every time we go out we end up anywhere but an Indian restaurant. So I got tired of waiting and decided to take matters in my own hands and make my own chicken korma (favorite Indian dish ever). Delicious and tender chicken, creamy and flavorful sauce (made out of my favorite nuts - cashews) and wonderful aroma of all the spices. It's a serious dish and it's very hard to stick to only one serving! It really was a hit in our house, my husband loved it (and probably ate half of it by the time I was done taking pictures for the blog) and Christopher devoured his first Indian dish like a pro!
   Recipe makes ... probably anything from 4 to 8 portions, depending on how much you love Indian food.

Ingredients:

* 4 chicken breasts
* 1 large onion
* 2 garlic cloves
* 5oz cashew nuts
* 1 cup milk
* 15oz tomato puree
* 6oz plain Greek yogurt
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* cilantro for garnish

Spices:
*1 tsp of each:
   - turmeric powder
   - garam masala
   - coriander powder
   - cardamom powder
   - ground ginger
   - curry powder
   - salt
* pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

1. Place coarsely chopped onion and garlic in the food processor and blend until pureed. Transfer into non-stick pan and cook for 5-6 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine all the spices in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add cubed chicken breast and toss everything until every piece of chicken is coated with spices.
3. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add spiced chicken. Cook everything for 3-4 minutes. There will be some almost burned looking crust on the bottom of the pot, but it's all good. Add 1 cup of water and cook for a minute or so until water evaporates.
4. Add cooked onions and tomato puree and mix to combine. Scrape bottom of the dish to remove all the "burned" spices and mix them into the sauce.
5. Place cashew nuts and milk in the food processor and blend until it forms very smooth paste. If it's too dense, you can add a little bit more milk. Add cashew paste to the chicken and cook everything on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
6. Add Greek yogurt, cook for 1 more minute, garnish with cilantro and enjoy with Basmati rice!




   I could eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.... no kidding! Sometimes I make it with chicken tights rather than the breast - it's really good as well. To be honest, you could probably put a piece of shoe lether in this sauce and it would be delicious!

Enjoy,
Magda



Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rebellious lasagna.

   No meat, no tomato sauce, lots of mushrooms and roasted bell peppers - not your usual lasagna! I created this recipe for two reasons: 1) I needed a vegetarian version of a dish that Christopher loves (since he already eats a lot of meat) and 2) I needed to create something different than my previous lasagna (that can be found here). So I used some old (ricotta and spinach) and new (mushroom and roasted bell peppers) tricks and it turned out great. Both of my boys loved it. Actually, all three of my boys loved it, because Christoper decided to share it with Spikey - our dog. He seemed to really enjoy it! The recipe makes a large (and I mean large and deep) baking dish. I shared it with few of my friends, but you can also freeze it and enjoy it later.

Ingredients:

* 16oz oven ready lasagna pasta
* 2lb ricotta cheese
* 1lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
* 1 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
* 1 egg
* 32oz mushrooms, chopped
* 1tbsp olive oil
* 3 cups whole milk
* 2 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 8oz mozzarella cheese
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Mushroom sauce:
     - In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute mushrooms with a little bit of salt until soft and tender (10 minutes). Transfer mushroom into the strainer to drain.
     - In the same skillet, melt butter, add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes constantly mixing.  Slowly add milk (whisking!) and cook the sauce for 5-6 minutes until thick (whisking!).
     - Add drained mushroom, season with salt and pepper.
2. Ricotta mix:
     - In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, drained spinach and chopped roasted bell peppers.
     - Add 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.
     - Add egg and mix to combine.
3. Assemble lasagna by layering:
     - 1 spoon of a mushroom sauce on the bottom of the baking dish
     - layer of pasta
     - half of the ricotta cheese
     - pasta
     - half of mushroom sauce (reserve a spoon of sauce), a little bit of mozzarella cheese on the top
     - pasta
     - ricotta mix
     - pasta
     - mushroom sauce
     - pasta
     - top the last layer of pasta with the reserved mushroom sauce (to keep it moist) and cover with mozzarella cheese
4. Bake covered with foil at 400F for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown.



   It's really creamy and flavorful. Lots of veggies, lots of mushrooms, lots of cheese - what not to like?

Enjoy,
Magda


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bacon is a veggie...

   ...right? No? How about cheese? OK, I get the point, but who said that it can't be a part of a salad?
Recently I am on the mission to create dishes that I can make in bigger quantities and portion for at least two lunches or dinners. It saves time, money and if you are starving right after work, it's there waiting for you when you get home. But it only works if the dish stores well and if it tastes delicious - otherwise who would want to eat it more than once! With that in mind,  I finally made a salad that my husband not only ate, but actually had seconds! What's the trick you ask? Well, I filled the "spaces" between the broccoli with bacon, cheese and almonds.... and yes, I still called it a salad! And guess what, for the first time in a very long time I used a REAL bacon, not the turkey one. You just need to do it once in a while, it's not going to kill you and it will make this dish out of this world delicious! Trust me, I'm a doctor! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

* 4-5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
* 4oz of sliced almonds
* 8oz white aged cheddar, finely cubed
* 10oz of bacon
* 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

Dressing:

* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tbs honey
* 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Chop the bacon in small pieces, place it in the non-stick skillet and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Transfer onto paper towel and let it cool and drain.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine broccoli, cubed cheese, almonds, red onion and cooled bacon.
3. Mix together all ingredients of the dressing and combine with the "salad". Let is cool for 30 minutes before serving.



   It doesn't require any seasoning - bacon, cheese, honey and vinegar are all you need to give this dish its heavenly taste. Salty and sweet, tangy and creamy, with tones of different textures... I am telling you, this is one mean salad! At least we love it!

Enjoy,
Magda

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hiding veggies!

   If you are thinking that this post will be about hiding veggies so your kid will eat them, you are wrong! My son loves his veggies, especially broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower - no need to hide anything. But I do have to hide them if I want my husband to eat them! Yes, that's right, I trick a thirty something year old man to eat veggies! He usually knows that they are hidden somewhere in the dish, but because I make it impossible to pick them out or leave out on the plate... all the veggies end up being eaten! Hey, there could be worse things I could be tricking my husband to do, so I absolutely don't feel guilty about this one!
This time I hid broccoli and bunch of herbs in the sauce that covered Justin's beloved chicken, served it over his favorite Basmati rice (to give him some incentive to eat it) and ... he loved it! Winning!

Ingredients:

* 2 large chicken breast, cubed
* 1 large onion
* 0.5 bunch of cilantro, large stems removed
* 1 small bunch of fresh dill, large stems removed
* 2 cups of broccoli florets 
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 lime, juice
* 2 tbsp butter
* salt and pepper

* Basmati  rice, cooked

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, melt butter and sear chicken breast until lightly browned.
2. In the meantime, in the food processor, combine broccoli, onion, garlic, cilantro and dill. Run the processor adding a little bit of water (2-3 tbsp) until the sauce is smooth.
3. Add the sauce to the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add lime juice to your liking. Serve over Basmati rice.




   What a vibrant color and an amazing aroma!
   Depending on the amount of water you add, the sauce might be more or less thick, but if you don't like the consistency, either add some more water or cook it for longer to reduce it. If you go overboard with water, add a little bit of cornstarch  and it will nicely thicken it(I know, it's cheating, but sometimes it's unavoidable!).

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Non-Mac and Cheese.

   I kept hearing about the cauliflower "mac & cheese" for years and somehow I felt that it had a bad rep. Every time I would hear/read about it, it was more of a "punishment" or something you had to do when you are on a diet, trying to lose weight. I couldn't really understand why people were so disappointed when they heard that there is no macaroni in the dish. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of pasta too, but I also like the cauliflower and I don't see anything wrong with a cauliflower smothered with a creamy, cheese sauce... with some more cheese on the top! Does that sounds like a "punishment" food to you? Exactly!
   So I decided to make my own and see what this whining was all about! Here is the recipe that makes about 6 servings (depending on if you use it as a main dish or a side):

Ingredients:

* 2 cauliflower heads, cut into small florets
* 4 cups whole milk
* 4 tbs unsalted butter
* 4 tbs flour
* 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 cup fresh parsley
* pinch of nutmeg
* 0.5 cup Panko bread crumbs
* salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Boil the cauliflower until al dente - no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour - cook for a minute, constantly whisking (very important).
3. Slowly keep adding milk, whisking constantly and cook everything for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add parsley, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted and combined.
4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and mix gently to combine.
5. Pour everything into the baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.




   Holly smokes, that is delicious! Obviously, if you don't want to use a whole milk you can substitute it with skim, or part-fat, it just happens that thanks to my son I have a fridge full of whole milk - so why not use it!
   I made mine very "saucy", so if you don't like a lot of sauce (that is creamy, gooey, cheese and delicious!!!) you may want to reduce the milk/butter/flour amount by 1 measurement.

Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day to all Mamas out there!!!!
Magda.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Row row row your boat...

   ... oh, how many times did I hear this song? So, when I was planning my meals the other day, thinking about what I want to make that all of us could have for dinner, I heard that song playing again! I looked at the screen, that Christopher was hypnotized by, and the girl in a "cartoon video" was rowing a zucchini boat (the things they come up with to entertain kids these days!!!). So that's how I decided on our dinner: stuffed zucchini! Normally I would probably stuff it with rice and meat, but in order to make it not only different, but also much healthier I substituted rice with quinoa. Here is the recipe, serves 4:

Ingredients:

* 4 large zucchinis
* 1 lb lean ground beef
* 1 large onion
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 15oz can of fired roasted diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1.5 cup dry quinoa
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper

Marinara sauce:

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 15oz can tomato sauce
* 1 tbsp dry oregano
* 1 tbsp dry basil
* 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tbsp ketchup
* salt

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the excess water.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until translucent - 6-7 minutes. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook for around 10 minutes.
3. When the meat is browned, add drained tomatoes, cook for additional 5-7 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, meat and half of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well together until combined and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
5. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, scoop out the flash (seeds only) and arrange on a large baking sheet. Fill the halves with the meat/quinoa stuffing, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake at 380F for 45-50 minutes until zucchini is tender.
6. The marinara sauce: in a saucepan heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add tomato sauce, herbs, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, season with salt and cook for 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.




   We really like a cold marinara with this dish. Maybe because we love ketchup and it kind of reminds us of it. It's really delicious and healthy dish. Not only it contains about 10 grams of fiber per serving, but it also has 45 grams (!!!) of protein! It can't get any better than that!

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Green Eggs and Ham!

   Breakfast time! And I hope you are as excited about it as I am. I love, love, love breakfast food - especially if it involves eggs and ham. Usually (actually, almost always) weekend breakfasts in the Morgan's household are prepared by Daddy while Mommy is drinking her coffee and Christopher is watching his cartoons, but this time that wasn't a case! I decided to switch things up, took over the kitchen on Sunday morning and made a dish that fits my culinary point-of-view: quick, easy and delicious! Eggs in a basket and the basket is made out of juicy, delicious, salty ham. Add some green chives on the top and you end up with the Green Eggs and Ham! The recipe makes 6 "baskets" and serves 3.

Ingredients:

* 12 medium slices of ham
* 6 eggs
* 6 tsp shredded cheddar cheese
* chives
* salt

Directions:

1.  Line up each cup of a muffin tin with two slices of ham.
2. Add 1 tsp of shredded cheese into each cup, crack an egg, sprinkle with chives and a little bit of salt.
3. Bake at 400F for 13-18 minutes depending on the yolk consistency you like.



I baked mine for 15 minutes, and this is how they turned out on the inside:


   If I was the only one eating this dish, I would probably take it out of the oven a couple of minutes earlier to have the yolk a little bit runnier, but Justin is not a fan of a runny yolk, so I compromised!
Not only is it delicious when freshly made, but it also stores well and can be eaten the next day... that is if there is anything left for the next day.

Enjoy,
Magda

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pork and salsa!

   Yeah, that's right... pork and salsa! Being more specific, a meat sauce with salsa used in stead of tomato puree/sauce. And, if salsa wasn't exciting enough, I also added fennel and mushrooms. Different textures and flavors all come together to create a hearty, meaty, and delicious sauce.
   You want to know a secret? I actually use salsa very often to make my tomato based sauces, and I use all different kinds: original, mango, peach, corn... you name it! It adds this light, "exotic" and fun taste to the sauce, and makes it different and exciting each time. No need to buy multiple ingredients to create an interesting flavor profile and everything comes in one jar! I'm sure this won't be the only time you see me using it in a recipe... it's kind of my new obsession.
   Anyways, here is the recipe for the salsa pork sauce:

Ingredients:

* 1 lb ground pork
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 1 fennel bulb, chopped
* 8oz baby portabella mushroom, chopped
* 16oz jar chunky salsa (spiciness of your liking)
* 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper
* Parmesan cheese for garnish

* egg noodles

Directions:

1. In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil and saute onions, garlic and fennel until soft and translucent.
2. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for additional 5 minutes.
3. Add salsa, ketchup, and parsley, stir everything together and cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Serve over egg noodles, garnished with Parmesan cheese.




   You can serve it with any kind of pasta you like, but I really think that egg noodles add some extra "bite" and texture to the dish. I guess another good option could be tagliatelle pasta which I like as well.

Enjoy,
Magda.