Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cooking with Kids: Pizza Bagels

This is really more of an idea share than a recipe share!  Putting together a pizza bagel is kind of a no brainer!  The first few days of our school vacation have been cold and rainy!  I know I am always looking for ideas on how to keep the kids entertained, and I'm guessing that many of you are too!   I thought I would share yesterdays make-your-own pizza bagel luncheon  activity!

Pizza Bagels
mini bagels
mozzarella cheese
additional toppings can also be included!!
tomato sauce (I used a can of Natures Promise Sauce because that was all I had on hand!)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
2.  Give each child a mini-bagel on a plate, a bowl of cheese, a bowl of sauce and a spoon.
3.  Let them have at it, adding as much or as little of each ingredient, depending on their preference!  
4.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes.  Broil on high for another 2 minutes or so.  The cheese will bubble and brown nicely!

Each of the girls were given a mini-bagel, a bowl of sauce and some cheese!  Of course you can include whatever toppings your children prefer.  Mine like to keep it simple.  

The girls take pizza making very seriously!  After they carefully constructed their masterpieces, they organized them on a foil lined baking pan.

This nice recyclable mess took no time to clean up!

And they were a hit!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Brunch Menu Planning Continued...Creamy Carrot Soup

I think this creamy carrot soup is the perfect addition to your Easter brunch or dinner menu.  It is made with cream, but isn't overly heavy or filling!  I served this to my family as an accompaniment to our grilled chicken last week.  I admit, despite the fact that I told my children the Easter bunny made it especially for them to enjoy, they weren't thrilled with it.  I, however, have added this dish to my top 5 favorite soup recipes!  I shared  some with my friend Sarah who also gave it rave reviews!  Let me know what you think!

Prep Ahead Plan:  Make this soup the day before and warm it in your slow cooker or on the stove top.  The flavors are only better the next day!

Creamy Carrot Soup
1 onion chopped
1/4 cup butter, sliced
6 carrots, washed and roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cups heavy whipping cream 
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (I chopped mine a bit)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  Saute onions in butter until tender.  Add next 4 ingredients to the pot and cook until vegetables are tender (about 20-30 minutes).
2.  Use an immersion blender to puree the veggie mixture.  (If you don't have an immersion blender, you can cool the mixture a bit and food process it in batches!)
3.  Stir in cream and rosemary over low heat.  Heat through.  Serve with fresh rosemary as a garnish!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Brunch Menu Planning Continued...Eggs Benedict Casserole with a Simple Hollandaise

recipe from Christmas with Southern Living 2010

I love serving big Sunday breakfasts but hate preparing the menu items in the morning, especially if you're getting the house {not to mention yourself and kids} ready for guests!  I am always experimenting with recipes that can be mixed together the night before and quickly heated in the morning.  We definitely have a few go-to favorites like my mom's cheese cloudquiche with bacon and gruyere and freezable french toast sticks!  I am excited to add this yummy eggs benedict casserole with hollandaise to the list!  Try it! You won't be disappointed!

Prep Ahead Plan:  Prepare the egg dish ahead of time and refrigerate overnight until ready to bake in the morning.  Prepare the hollandaise the night before as well BUT be careful when you "reheat" it.  Before serving, place it in a small sauce pan over VERY low heat for a short time.  You are looking to heat the sauce to about 160 degrees.  Anything more will make it it clumpy!

Eggs Benedict Casserole
1 (12 oz) package of English Muffins cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (6 oz) package of Canadian bacon
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Quick Hollandaise (recipe below)
a sprinkle of paprika
chives for topping

1.  Grease an 11 X 9 baking pan and add English muffin pieces and Canadian bacon to it.
2.  Whisk eggs and next 4 ingredient together.  Pour over English muffins and bacon and refrigerate overnight.
3.  In the morning...preheat oven to 375 degrees.  bake casserole for 30 minutes, covered.  Remove cover and bake 25 minutes more.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving!  Top with chives and hollandaise! 

Quick Hollandaise
3 pasteurized egg yolks (OR heat egg yolks to about 160 degrees on the stove top!)
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
sprinkle of salt and cayenne pepper
3/4 cup melted better (cooled down a bit so it doesn't clump the yolk!)

1.  Blend first 4 ingredients until smooth.
2.  Add melted butter through the removable cap in the blender and process until the sauce thickens slightly.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Brunch Menu Planning...Easy Crustless Quiche

We're hosting an Easter brunch and egg hunt in a couple weeks and I decided to experiment and simplify some of the recipes that I have been using for years.  The addition of flour to this quiche recipe gives the dish the flavorings and texture that a pastry crust would but saves you some time (or money if you're buying the pre-made kind).  I added bacon to mine because that is what my family prefers.  You could easily substitute thawed, drained frozen spinach, broccoli or ham.  The possibilities are endless!

Prep Ahead Plan:  Prepare quiche in the pie pan, but do not bake it.  Cover and refrigerte until ready to bake.  OR Prepare and bake the quiche the night before.  Warm in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes before serving.

A special thanks to my good friend Elisabeth from the blog My New England Homestead for her FABULOUS fresh eggs!!!  Our Sunday morning quiches are that much more fabulous thanks to Elsabeth and her chickens!!!  :)

Crustless Quiche
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I like sharp cheddar or gruyere)
2 T butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1 t salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Grease or spray a 9 inch pie pan.  Add crumbled bacon and cheese to pan.
3.  Whisk together remaining ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  There may be a few tiny lumps from the flour but that is ok.
4.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

chicken and rice casserole (slow cooker)

adapted from Southern Living's Fix it and Forget it Slow Cooker Magic

I'm always looking for new slow cooker recipes.  Even in the summertime, slow cooker meals are served weekly!  Here is a great one to try out this weekend!  The original recipe says to cook it on low for 7 hours.  Luckily I was home and checked it after 4 hours.  It seemed to be done so I switched it to warm, let it sit until dinner and it was perfect.  I'm afraid the full 7 hours would turn the rice into mush!  

Prep Ahead Plan:  Mix all ingredients (except broccoli) in the slow cooker and store in the fridge until you are ready to turn it on!

Chicken and Rice Casserole

    1 c long grain and wild rice, uncooked 
    3 cups chicken broth
    10.75 oz can fat-free, low-sodium cream of chicken soup  
    meat from one cooked rotisserie chicken 
    1 small onion, chopped 
    2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed 
    1 1/2 c grated cheddar cheese 
    16 oz bag frozen broccoli, thawed
    ground black pepper to taste
    kosher salt to taste
    crushed red pepper to taste

1.  Place all ingredients in the slow cooker except for broccoli. 
2.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  During the last hour, stir in thawed broccoli and sprinkle individual serving with desired amount of crushed red pepper.