Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

While this recipe is not healthy or gourmet at all, it was so good that Andrew and I both cleaned our plates! The recipe only has a few ingredients, which is always nice. I could easily see craving this dish when it's cold outside and I want some simple comfort food.

Just a thought - I think this recipe would be great too if you substituted the smoked sausage for crumbled breakfast sausage and topped the hash with poached or over easy eggs.

Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes
adapted by Erin from Simple and Delicious

3 T olive oil
1 bag frozen cubed potatoes
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced
5 slices American cheese

In a large pan over medium-high heat, add oil. When oil is heated, add potatoes, onion, red and green bell peppers. Cook until potatoes are tender and golden brown and vegetables are soft. Add sliced sausage and cook until heated through. place cheese slices over mixture. Remove from heat and cover pan to allow cheese to melt. Stir to combine cheese into sausage-potato hash and serve.


Super Bowl Food Ideas

When I think of the Super Bowl, I think of munching on a smorgasbord of finger foods - not football. And with the Super Bowl only a few weeks away, I know I'm already thinking what nibbles I can make and I bet I'm not alone. Just wanted to pass on a few of the recipes that I'm thinking of making...

Queso Blanco Dip - In Texas, we have all kinds of different queso recipes but this one using white cheese looks like a nice change of pace to me.

Sweet and Savory Wings - You can't have a game watching party without wings, right? This recipe intrigued me - read it and you'll see why!

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites - These look easy and yummy!

Pretzel Crusted Pickle Chips with Mustard Sauce - These sound just weird enough to be delicious. And they have good reviews too!

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos - Oh my gosh, these are delicious. I've made them several times (I'm not sure how they haven't made it onto my blog yet!) and I know they'd be a perfect addition to a buffet. If you make them, you MUST make the cilantro sauce that goes with them. The best part of this recipe is that it makes a ton and the left-overs freeze beautifully - even the sauce!

Salad on a Stick - I love this idea! It makes a salad look so much cuter and it makes it portable. I think kids would be more apt to eat their veggies if they're served on a skewer too.

Bacon Cheese Fries - When I lived in Dallas, I used to frequent this restaurant, Snuffer's, and they had the best cheese fries. This recipe sounds really similar and I think everyone would love them on game day.

Spinach Artichoke Dip - Spinach Artichoke Dip is a perennial favorite for a reason - it's good. Really, really good. It's a great dish for a buffet too because it can be prepared ahead of time and then baked right before the game. Plus you gotta get some veggies in somehow...


Chicken Tostadas

I found this recipe on another food blog I like to look at and I loved that its a no-cook dish. We all need a few of those in our repertoires! My husband and I started a small business (I linked our website so you can check it out!) this fall and it really took off in January so these easy recipes are quickly becoming a staple in our household. Between raising a young daughter, keeping house and working on the business, there hasn't been a whole lot of time for cooking.

Anywhoo, this recipe was great and the sauce really makes the dish seem much more gourmet than it really is. I altered the toppings a bit and ended up popping them in the oven (thus ruining the whole no-cook aspect of the dish!) but I wanted my cheese melted. I used chicken meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, refried black beans, a mix of shredded sharp cheddar and Monterrey jack cheeses, diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce. I followed the recipe for the sauce though and I thought it was wonderful! I had intended to make a Mexican chopped salad to accompany the tostadas but time got away from me. I'm glad I didn't bother with the salad though because the tostadas were very filling on their own.


Mom's French Onion Soup

>> Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm not sure how I've made it through 32 years of life without ever having French Onion Soup, but as you can tell from the pictures above, I loved it! I think I shied away from it because the thought of eating a bunch of onions and mushy bread just didn't appeal to me, no matter how much melted cheese was on top! But I spent the weekend at my parents' house and my mom served this for dinner one night. It was absolutely divine! This is one of those recipes where the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Served with a green salad, this made the perfect dinner for a cold winter night. I can't wait to make myself. In the meantime, I got the recipe from my mom and had to share it!

Mom's French Onion Soup
serves 6 as a main course, 10-12 as a first course

3 T butter
4 c yellow sweet onions, sliced (from 3-5 onions)
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c beef broth
1 t salt
1 freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette, thinly sliced
1 lb. Swiss cheese (Emmeuthaler, Gruyere, etc.), shredded

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, stir occasionally, cook until onions are soft and a light golden brown. Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange six soup bowls on a cookie sheet. Place 4-5 slices of bread in the bottom of each bowl. Fill bowls halfway with soup. Continue ladling in soup slowly until each bowl is evenly filled. Sprinkle cheese on top, without pushing cheese into the liquid. Gently press cheese all around the edges of the bowl, so that when the cheese melts, it forms a crust. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve with remaining bread slices and a green salad.



When it's cold outside (you know, one of the three days in Texas), and I'm not in the mood for chili, then jambalaya usually fits the bill. I love it! I've had a few jambalaya disasters - i.e. the time I found a recipe that called for 2 tablespoons of sugar!!! - but I think I've finally come up with a delicious and fairly easy dish. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

an Erin original

2 T olive oil
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small white onion (or 1/2 of a large one), chopped
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced
1 t smoked paprika
1 t garlic salt
1 t thyme
1 bay leaf
black pepper, to taste
1 (14.5-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 t Worcestershire sauce
3-4 dashes (or more if you like it really spicy!) Tabasco sauce
4 c chicken broth
2 c white rice
1 chicken breast, cooked and meat shredded (rotisserie chicken is perfect), optional
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled, optional
3 green onions, chopped on diagonal, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add celery, bell pepper and onion. Saute until slightly softened, about five minutes. Add sausage to pot and continue to cook a few more minutes, until sausage is thoroughly heated and starting to brown. With a slotted spoon, remove sausage and place on paper towel-lined plate. Set sausage aside.

Add paprika, garlic salt, thyme and pepper. Stir to combine. Add bay leaf, tomatoes (with their juice), Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and broth. Bring to a boil. Add rice and stir to combine. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add sausage, chicken (if using) and shrimp (if using) and continue to cook an additional 5 minutes, or until shrimp is pink and rice is tender. Remove bay leaf and spoon into bowls. Garnish with green onions (if using).


Better Than Crack Brownies

>> Wednesday, January 12, 2011

With a name like that, how could you not want to make these brownies?!? While I can't verify that these actually are better than crack, they definitely were fantastic! I love the different tastes and textures that these have - fudge brownies, peanut butter cups, salted peanuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter and rice krispies. YUMMY! They keep well too! Next time I make them, and there definitely will be a next time!, I think I'm going to add more peanuts for even more crunch...


Veggie Quesadillas with Tomatillo Sour Cream

Isn't my daughter, Finley, precious?! Unfortunately, as Finley has gotten older, she has pretty much stopped wanting to eat veggies, so sneaking them in has become a way of life for us. These quesadillas are packed with nutrients and still totally delicious! They take a little while longer to make since you have to chop and saute the vegetables, but to me, they're worth it. (You can always prepare the veggies ahead of time and then assemble the quesadillas immediately before mealtime.) Even with the cheese and tortillas, I still feel good eating them because they are loaded with good stuff too.

Veggie Quesadillas
an Erin original

2 T olive oil
1/2 t Ancho chile powder
1/4 t granulated garlic
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 white onion, diced
3 oz white mushrooms, diced
7-8 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed off and remaining cut into 1/4-inch slices
several handfuls baby spinach
salt and pepper, to taste
3 T tomatillo salsa
1/4 c minced cilantro
1 c Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 tortillas
cooking spray

In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil and allow oil to heat up. Add chile powder and granulated garlic. Stir 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Add bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and asparagus. Saute until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add spinach, cilantro, salt, pepper and salsa. Continue sauteing until spinach wilts, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer veggies to a plate. Carefully wipe out pan and return to heat. (If you're not using a non-stick pan, spray with cooking spray.)

Place a tortilla in pan and sprinkle lightly with the two cheeses. Spoon a few spoonfuls of veggies evenly over cheese and add another sprinkling of cheese. Top with second tortilla. Allow to cook a minute or two, or until bottom tortilla is golden brown and cheese is beginning to melt. Carefully flip quesadilla over and continue to cook another 1-2 minutes. Remove to cutting board and slice into quarters. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with Tomatillo Sour Cream.

Tomatillo Sour Cream
an Erin original

3 T fresh cilantro, finely minced
3 T tomatillo salsa (I prefer La Frontera's Tomatillo Salsa)
3 T sour cream

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Keep chilled in refrigerator until ready to use.


Key Lime Pie

>> Monday, January 10, 2011

Key Lime Pie is probably my husband's favorite dessert so I'm always trying to make it for him. Our favorite KLP is at Houston's - their crust is a graham cracker crust with a heavy dose of cinnamon and the filling is wonderfully tangy without being too sweet. So every time I try a new KLP recipe, I'm hoping that maybe it will be similar to Houston's.

This is an Emeril Lagasse recipe and I thought it was pretty darn good. The sweetness of the crust, the sweet and sour filling and the tang from the sour cream topping complimented each other really well. Also, it came together quickly and it didn't have a super long list of ingredients, both of which are big pluses in my book. When I'm in a pinch and Andrew is craving KLP, then I'll definitely make this again. But my quest for a copycat recipe of Houston's KLP continues...In fact I think I may have to head to Houston's tonight, you know, for 'research'. :-)


Rich Celery Root Puree

I've wanted to try celery root for awhile now and when I found this recipe in my new favorite guessed it!.. the Barefoot Contessa's How Easy is That?, I knew I had to try it. The original recipe makes scads, so I halved the recipe to feed four people and it still made enough for at least 6 people. So keep that in mind when making the recipe.

I really liked the subtle flavor and the slightly crunchy texture of the puree. To me it was a lot more exciting than mashed potatoes. As the recipe title implies, this recipe is very rich and a little goes a long ways.

Rich Celery Root Puree
Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?
serves 6 to 8 (but I think it would serve quite a few more than that!)

5 lbs celery root
2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c heavy cream
4 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper

Peel celery roots with a large knife and cut each one in half. With cut side down, cut into 1/2-inch dice, removing any brown spots.

Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add celery root and saute 3 minutes, stirring to coat with butter. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, cream, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the celery root is very tender.

In batches, transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and reheat gently over low heat. Check the seasonings and serve hot.


Yummy Turkey Wraps

I was craving something different than a regular old turkey sandwich so I decided to spice things up a bit. And I loved the result! I based the recipe on a wrap sandwich I used to get in college at a restaurant called Roly-Poly. The combination of the sweet mango chutney and the spicy peppercorn ranch dressing perfectly spices up this sandwich! (I didn't include quantities here because it seems like everyone likes their sandwiches a little different.)

Yummy Turkey Wraps

whole wheat or spinach sandwich wrap or tortillas
peppercorn ranch dressing
shaved deli turkey
colby jack cheese slices
romaine lettuce, shredded
cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
salt and pepper
mango chutney

Spread the sandwich wrap out on a large plate. Spread a light smattering of ranch dressing over half the wrap. Top the ranch with turkey, cheese, lettuce and cucumber. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the cucumber slices. Spread a smattering (a little more than you did the ranch) of chutney on the other half of the wrap. Roll up, cut in half and enjoy your lunch!


Roasted Shrimp with Feta

>> Sunday, January 2, 2011

Here is another recipe from one of my Christmas cookbooks, Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? and it was great. And fairly healthy, which is a bit of a rarity from Barefoot Contessa! I loved the fennel's pleasant crunch and the shrimp were perfectly cooked. Also you can assemble the dish beforehand and then bake when it's dinner time. This recipe will definitely be put into regular rotation!

Roasted Shrimp with Feta
adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?

3 T olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c fennel, medium-diced
1 T (about 3 cloves) garlic, minced
1/4 c dry white wine
1 (14 1/2-oz) can diced tomatoes
2 t tomato paste
1 t dried oregano
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1 1/4 lb peeled shrimp (use the 16 to 20/lb size of shrimp)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs
3 T fresh parsley, minced
1 lemon, zested
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, heat 2 T olive oil in an over-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add fennel and saute until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange shrimp in one layer over the contents of the skillet. Sprinkle feta evenly over shrimp. In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs, parsley, 1 T olive oil and lemon zest. Sprinkle mixture over shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes. Juice the lemon and sprinkle juice over shrimp.


Baked Fontina

I was a happy girl this Christmas as I received five cookbooks from Santa! One of the cookbooks is Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? and I was so excited to try a few recipes that I'd seen reviewed out in blog-land. One in particular piqued my curiosity because the main ingredient was cheese, which I love dearly, and the blogger (Pink Parsley's Josie) said it was one of her favorite appetizers of all time. I knew I had to try it!

Oh and it was fabulous! But how could you go wrong with oodles of melted cheese?!? I made 2/3 of a recipe to serve four people and not a drop was left. It was so easy to throw everything together in the skillet, pop it under the broiler and it's ready to eat in 6 minutes! The only con I have with this dish is that it can be a little pricy (the cheese was about $17/lb) so I altered the recipe a little bit to bring down the cost. And I still thought my cheaper version was delicious!

Baked Fontina
recipe altered by Erin from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? Cookbook

1/2 pound Italian Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, rind removed and 1-inch diced
1/2 pound cheaper Italian Fontina, rind removed and 1-inch diced
3 T good olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 t dried thyme leaves
1/2 t dried rosemary leaves
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty French baguette

Preheat the broiler.

In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, evenly distribute the cubed cheese. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese. Sprinkle garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper over cheese as well. Place under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown.

Serve with crusty chunks of bread.


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