Open Face Omelete

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Somedays I just want to switch things up for breakfast, I put down the oatmeal and fruit and crave a hot, hearty, budget friendly breakfast meal.

I also wake up hungry as a lion each morning, so clear a path to the kitchen, I’m coming in hungry and ready to cook! Because I am a fresh vegetable addict, and I happen to luv eggs, I decided to get creative one morning and think of the different ways I could cook my standard breakfast of veggies and eggs.

I decided to sauté the veggies and see what direction the universe took me in.

After the veggies were sautéed, it dawned on me that the cast iron pan I was using, could right into the oven and cook the entire meal.
I had been craving an omelet lately, so I thought to myself ” why not make an oven baked open face omelet”.

This revelation gave me more time to do some things around the house, as my breakfast cooked in the oven without having to stand there, impatiently waiting.

My next step to getting breakfast on the table was to add the shredded cheese on top of the whipped eggs and sautéed veggies and put this deliciousness into the oven, at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Once the top of the eggs was a light golden brown and the eggs were cooked thru, I took the cast iron out of the oven, grabbed my fork, and stood there and waited for it to cool down a bit before I dived in fork first.

As I was waiting for the eggs to cool down,  it dawned on me, that this dish would be perfect to eat with my fresh https://longearsfarm.org/recipes/jalapeno-hot-sauce-for-canning/ that I canned this fall. Basically the jalapeno hot sauce is a blend of fresh jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, cumin and chili powder, canned in a hot water bath for 25 mins, and put in the pantry for whenever I feel the need for an instant flavor explosion!

I was right! the Jalapeno hot sauce was amazing, with all the flavors this condiment has to offer, it took the open face omelet over the top!

The leftover of the open face skillet were so yummy, I simply wrapped what I could not (should not) eat in foil, put it in the fridge and in the morning heated it up in a cast iron skillet on the stove.

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Ultimate Bean Salad

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Do you have that one go to recipe, that you depend on each year, when you are asked to bring something to a get together, potluck, or picnic?

Well I sure do, the ultimate bean salad is just that go to recipe for me!   This salad is a hit every single time I make it.  It never fails in every crowd there is someone who has never tried this before and they just gobble it all up, so I have no leftovers to take home!  I have learned to make a larger batch and set aside some for me in a Tupperware in the fridge.

I luv making the ultimate bean salad, from chopping the onion, to opening the cans of  beans, rinsing the beans and adding them to the bowl.

I think its the tossing of all the ingredients together that I like the most, it is so satisfying to watch all the beans and onion tumble together in the zesty Italian dressing marinade.

Pro Tip:   After rinsing the beans and corn  in your colander, shake out most of the water, and pour them into your large serving bowl.  Salt and pepper, and sprinkle garlic salt on the beans, tossing as you sprinkle.  Add the onion in.  Marinate with the Zesty Italian Dressing, cover tightly and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Prior to serving remove from the refrigerator, toss and add more dressing, this really adds a ton of flavor.

Side Note: If you can get your hands on some fresh from the husk corn, you will never go back to canned corn again!

When I process my garden bounty in the fall each year, I put up quite a few bags of frozen corn, fresh from the husk! I like to use the corn in everything from salads, side dishes, soups, casseroles and of course the Ultimate Bean Salad.

You can also add some chopped fresh jalapeno, poblano or any other spicy fresh pepper to give this dish a kick of spice and flavor.

The Ultimate Bean Salad is not only quick and easy to make, it is also very budget friendly!

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread

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The Chocolate Chip Pumpkin quick Bread recipe is for the sweet tooth in all of us, you know that nagging tug on your senses, to eat something sweet.  A treat that is both decadent, sweet, and extremely satisfying, a total treat to the senses.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. will make your mouth water, just thinking about it.  Go ahead lets pause here so you can see if thinking about the Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread, causes your mind to wander as you start dreaming of a sweet treat, and that mouth watering sensation of taking your first bite.

Okay did it work?  Did your mouth start to water as you thought about taking your first bite?

I know I’m trying to really control my cravings right now, and not run to the pantry to grab anything sweet so I can tame this beast!

Chocolate chip pumpkin quick bread is an easy quick bread to make, you start by gathering all the ingredients and utensils, lining the baking pan with parchment paper and preheating the oven.

I have found that using pumpkin pie filling, adds those pumpkin pie spices that this bread needs.  I also add a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves to the batter, I like to really taste the spices in the bread.

When the baking starts, its second nature to sift the dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl cream the wet ingredients together.
This way you can simply add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to start the mixing process.

 

Simply add the dry ingredient to the wet ingredients and fold in the chocolate chips, oh yeah don’t forget to lick the spoon when you are done, that’s the best part.

Once everything is blended together, simply add the batter to your prepared baking pans, and let the magic happen!

Sit back relax and in about 55-65 minutes grab a cup of coffee, butter and a knife, prepare to dig in, ( this is why I always bake two loaves) 1 loaf usually doesn’t make it thru the night!

Rhubarb Ginger Jam

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I found myself in the garden the other day, just standing and staring blankly at all the work I have to do to get it ready for another season.

Once the feeling of being completely overwhelmed passed and I snapped out it, it dawned on me that my to-do list just got a bit longer.

However as my mind began to wander to all the wonderful adventures in canning I would involve myself in this summer.
all the fresh vegetables I would have to pick, the potatoes to dig, and the herbs to dry, I would get to eat like a queen with all the canning I can do.

As my eyes passed over the barrel where the rhubarb plant lives, I suddenly had a vision memory of making the Rhubarb Ginger Jam.

I am now anxiously awaiting the arrival of the warmth of spring to waken my rhubarb plant, so I can nurture her into providing those delicious ruby red stalks of fresh rhubarb.

The wonderful aroma of fresh cut rhubarb as it fills the kitchen while I am canning, and who doesn’t like the aroma of fresh ginger!

When these two flavors are blended together it is like a symphony of flavor, they go together so wonderfully, I cant even put it into words.

Thankfully as I stood in the garden the winds of March blew past me, reminding me its to early to start the ritualistic wakening of my garden friends.

If the skies had not clouded over that day, giving the air a sudden chill, I would still be in the garden, digging, pulling, planning, sitting on the ground talking to my plants.

Pickled Onions

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Pickled Onions are so delicious!

I can eat them on just about everything, these onions are sweet and hot all at the same time.

Adding the pickled onions to your favorite soups, stews, tacos, salads, the list goes on and on, really ramps up the flavor nd texture of the dish.

The fresh rosemary sprig and coriander are an optional add in, I have made the pickled onions with and without the additions.  The flavor of the rosemary is really nice

and adds a lighter essence to the pickled onions.  The coriander add alight lemony flavor and is mildly sweet , I once added way to much coriander , and because this has a sweet flavor,

it made the onions too sweet, for my liking.    I decided to reduce the coriander down to a teaspoon, this is the perfect balance for me, you certainly should go ahead and find your flavor balance for the spice add-ins.

When making the pickled onions, make sure to make two jars, because I can tell you from personal experience the first jar, just doesn’t last very long at all, it gets

eaten up pretty darn quick!

 

The second jar is there as a backup, so no one panics that all the pickled onions are gone.

Delicious Zucchini Pecan Quick Bread

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My favorite part of the winter months, is that I have the time and motivation to make all my practice bakes for my entries into county fair, which takes place in the summer.

By doing it this way, this gives me plenty of time to find the best recipes, and practice bake them until I am satisfied with the taste, texture and overall bake, I can add or omit flavors, as I see fit, to create the very best end product to enter with pride into the fair.

I tell you this, I am pretty sure this is my daughters favorite time of winter also, because they are my taste testers for all my creations, I have never had any complaints for practice baking!  Well except the time I over baked the pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and they were hard as rocks, we just don’t talk about that much, lol.

The freezer is usually packed full of spiralized or chopped zucchini each winter from my garden harvest, just for this purpose, to make Zucchini bread in the winter.

If you do not have a stash of zucchini in your freezer, it is super easy to pick some up at the grocery store and grate it for the recipe, the best part about doing it this way, is you don’t have to drain a ton of liquid off of it, like you do with the frozen zucchini.

Many times late at night I like to read thru recipes, from various sources and see what flavors are suggested, compare the differences presented to bake the same quick bread.  Many times I will make the standard recipe and also bake a version of the recipe which is a combination of each recipe, see which bread is the best.

I hit the jackpot this time with this delicious Zucchini Pecan nut bread, this recipe comes from parts of two different recipes for this quick bread.

The Zucchini Pecan nut bread has a wonderful crumb, is moist,  has a wonderful sweet ness and is full of almond flavor that really comes thru in each bite.

This recipe makes 2 loafs, one for the friends or family, or both for yourself!

Supreme Zucchini Cakes with Crab

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Zucchini cakes with crab is a nice and easy light meal, if your feeling adventurous and in the mood for something different.

When shopping the ingredients for  these do not feel pressured to use real crab, I mean you certainly can, however I like to be frugal when I can, and the imitation crab is just perfect for these cakes, why not pinch a few extra pennies.

One of the successes I have in the garden each season is an over abundance of zucchini, by the time late September is falling into October, my house is over run with giant zucchini!  I literally have to put them where ever I can, prior to prepping them for the freezer.

This is the time of the year when the spiralizer and my arms get a good workout!  I wash, peel and spiralize the zucchini to par boil, drain, and put into my seal-a-meal bags, for freezer storage so I can enjoy all the zucchini I can eat during the winter.

Each year, when planning my garden I always tell myself, this year ” I am not going to plant zucchini!”.  However I just luv watching those little zucchini plants grow up and produce all the wonderful zucchini.   I am pretty sure I need a zucchini intervention, so I can stop this cycle and take just one season off, maybe try something new lol.

It was because I have so much zucchini in the freezer that I created the zucchini cakes with crab you see.

One Saturday night, I felt adventurous, and found myself, standing in front of the open freezer, with a blank look on my face staring at the bounty the freezer contained.  When I snapped out of it, I had a bag of spiralized zucchini in my right hand and a package of imitation crab in my left.

As I rummaged thru the refrigerator I found, carrots, celery and onions. and in the  pantry, I found some bread crumbs. and seasonings.

I decided it would add more flavor if I cooked the crab prior to adding it to the crab cake, this way I could really blend in some butter , salt and pepper flavor and moisture.

Grabbing a large bowl, I began to put everything together, by flaking apart and separating the crab, and giving the zucchini another good squeeze to get out as much water as I could.

After I chopped the onion, and added that into the bowl, I shredded the carrot, chopped the celery and added those along with a good amount of minced garlic.

A good squeeze of lemon juice, lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a dash or two of old bay seasoning along with  a few red pepper flakes were blended in for the final touches.

You will want to add the 1 egg and breadcrumbs, mixing this completely into the mixture prior to forming the patty cakes.

If you have time, place the patty cakes into the refrigerator for about 10 minuets prior to cooking, this will help the patty cakes keep a good shape while cooking and not fall apart.

 

To serve, make the Lemon Aioli Sauce for dipping , you can also use fresh horseradish or a sauce of your choice.

Lemon Aioli Sauce

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Lemon Aioli is a light and fresh dipping sauce for all seafood dishes.

When you use fresh lemon juice, it gives the sauce a good balance to use with spicy crab cakes, fresh baked trout, or pan seared tilapia.

Serve as a sauce or spread on top of the fish.

 

Delicious Spinach, Mushroom Lasagna Rollups

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When I am meal planning , Spinach Mushroom Onion lasagna inevitably makes the short list 9 out of 10 times.  I think this is because I just luv lasagna, I find this to be a very satisfying comfort food, that brings back so many memories from my childhood with the family all sitting around the dinner table, and as a young mom feeding those hungry children of mine.

As the kids got older the amount of lasagna I prepared got larger! I learned how to make enough lasagna for a football team all at once, and also because lasagna is the absolute best leftovers ever, hands down.

I am pretty sure that this is one of the few dishes that get better with age, from refrigerator to oven for at least a few meals.

My best lasagna comes from making the pasta sauce a day ahead,  letting the sauce simmer in those flavors all day and all night filling the house with all those wonderful tomato and herb aromas.

There is no Italian grandma in the family so after much trial and error I had to learn what works and what does not for the lasagna.

Here is what I learned first hand

  1. Add a good amount of olive oil to the bottom of the baking dish, before adding the noodles, this way they do not stick
  2. A quick rinse to the cooked noodles is the only way to go, this will keep the noodles from turning into a sticky mess.
  3. If you go the extra step and sprinkle parmesan on the sauce on the bottom of the dish before the noodles goes in, this gives the bottom layer a nice cheesy flavor.
  4. Ricotta cheese is your friend. Gets along with mozzarella and has a wonderful flavor
  5. You can add ground cooked Italian sausage to replace the mushrooms and olive, for a meat dish.

I went from filling my baking dish with layers of noodles, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, sauce, and cheese to making lasagna rollups, you get the same beautiful lasagna, yet each noodle is rolled up after the filling goes in.  I find this is better for my portion control as well.

Rolling up the noodles is super easy, first prepare the filling, mixing well, boil the noodles and put the two together, as simple as that.

Place the rollups in the dish seam side down.

Repeat the process until the baking dish is filled rim to rim with stuffed noodles.

 

Once all the noodles are packed in tight, pour the sauce over them, sprinkle with as much  parmesan as you want.

You will want to bake at 350 for about 35 mins, however oven baking times do vary.

Sweet Potato with black bean and corn slow cook

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I am always in the mood for a light easy lunch, that I can simply have ready when its lunchtime!

Earlier this week I noticed I had a sweet potato that needed to be eaten, so I rummaged around in my pantry to see what I could possibly do to add more than just a sweet potato to my lunch plate.

I came across a can of black beans, a small can of corn, and some brown rice, with all these ingredients I just knew I could do something wonderful for lunch.

Recently I purchased a smaller 2 quart slow cooker, let me tell you it has changed my life, it is just perfect for a meal for 1 and I find that I don’t feel obliged to fill it to the brim when I make soups, or crock pot casseroles. I am actually using less ingredients, saving money and have less leftovers to eat.

Sweet potatoes tend to be rather sweet and somewhat bland, so I just knew I would have to find a way to flavor up this meal, I opened the fridge door and low and behold there it was, my beloved minced garlic and ginger, both ready and waiting to be meal additions.

I cut up the sweet potato and added 2 tablespoons of butter and the minced garlic to the crock pot, while I rinsed the black beans and corn in my strainer in the sink.

When the canned beans and corn were all nice and clean I added the black beans and corn to the crock pot.

Next, I cut up a yellow onion and sautéed as you know I luv sautéed onions!  When the onion was nice and golden I added them to the crock pot, took another look and decided some more seasoning were needed.

I sprinkled in about 2 Tablespoons of garlic powder, 1 Tablespoons of onion powder, 2 Tablespoons of Mrs Dash seasoning blend and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Once all the ingredients were in the pot, I stirred them all together and added 2 Tablespoons of  butter and 2 Tablespoons of water for the potatoes to soften with, setting the crock pot to low you will need about 1hr for all the flavors to come together and the potatoes to soften.

When you are 1/2 way thru the cooking process add in the fresh kale, this gives it plenty of time to soften down as it is stirred into the sweet potatoes and beans.

When you are ready to eat put the sweet potato black beans on top of your brown rice, than add a good dollap of minced ginger to your plate, you wont regret it!

 

Bon appetite!