Monday, December 30, 2013

One Potato, Two Potato or You Can't Stop Me - Cooking to Recover/Knit By ;)

Meant to get this up on the blog for Sunday, but since the family household is experiencing the well-known collective  "holiday family head cold/chest cold/flu/virus"… well, no matter.

I think you will soon agree - this recipe is perfect for New Year's Day breakfast/brunch/lunch/whenever.

This isn't your ordinary breakfast casserole either.
No sir.

This one has potatoes instead of the requisite cubed-bread-soak-overnight wonder.
It might be a little tricky, navigating the short oven prep of the potatoes, if you do try this for New Year's morning, though. lol.

But all in all, I'm pretty sure it's a definite "You Can't Stop Me" kind of recipe, even if you are recovering from too much bubbly!

And, I'm pretty sure you can get in a few knit stitches while you wait for this baby to finish in the oven, New Year's morning or no!

You Can't Stop Me Breakfast Casserole 

  • 1- 20 oz. bag  Simply Potatoes (fresh and ready in dairy case) shredded hash browns or Frozen O'Brien Cubed Potatoes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled (ham or bacon works well too)
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup to 1 and 1/2 cups half n half or heavy cream (I use a milk/cream combo mostly to the larger amount)
  • A few dashes of hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place potatoes in a large bowl. 
Pour melted butter over potatoes and stir until well-combined. This is where you use your judgement on how much butter to use.
Line an ungreased 9x13-inch casserole dish with buttered potatoes, and press to make a crust. 
Bake 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are just crisped and brown on the edges. 
Remove dish from oven and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs, half n half or cream, hot sauce, salt and pepper. I use the larger amount of liquid cause I don't like it to be too "dry."

Sprinkle sausage over potato crust then sprinkle the cheese over sausage to create even layers. Pour egg mixture over ingredients. 

Bake 12-20 minutes or until the eggs are set in the center and the edges are golden and bubbling.


A combo of a couple of different cheeses is more interesting than one.
And I sometimes use cayenne pepper instead of hot sauce, to taste. 
Also, I have found that ham diced up or sausage produce the most complex tasting casseroles. Bacon is also good, just a little plainer tasting than the others.
The diced O’Brien potatoes as the base is outstanding!

Last, take two aspirin...

And Have a Delicious One. :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I Wash, You Dry

Grab a towel, listen up. Stand close, so you don't miss anything. Exchange brow lifts, head tilts, any manner of secret communication. You are about the enter … the hallowed ground of Making Memories.

Isn't that the way it always is? You go to the holiday gathering, sometimes family, sometimes not.
And somehow you end up in the kitchen helping, prepping, clearing, washing, drying… you name it…
But what you're really doing is what my knitterly friends Paula and Mary like to call, "Making Memories."

Sometimes, it's in a difficult year, fraught with stress or sadness, of lives passed on, and pieces to pick up.

But more often than not, it's a pretty good year after all, you collectively decide.

A year to discuss and dissect, gossip and gab, with nearest and dearest, while you take a turn at the dish cloth. And not to exclude, but the same thing I think happens to the guy clan, when they are out wrestling trees, lights, crowds, lists, grocery carts and remote controls. It may not be as animated or as talkative, (after all, just a few words among guys tell a tale) but they also -- in their back-slapping, towel-snapping, Double-Dog-Dare-You-To ways -- are Making Memories.

It's the comings and goings, the doings and undoings.

It's the time the tree didn't fit in the door.
It's the time the tree fit in the door, but dropped all its needles.

It's the time you went caroling with the neighbors, singing highly off-key while someone carried the boom box (ok I might be dating myself right there) screaming Bruce Springsteen's Santa Claus is Coming to Town… but it didn't matter that it was colder than a you-know-what, cause you were having a blast and making the grandpas and grandmas in the neighborhood smile.

Or it's the time you spent in the emergency room on the holiday dealing with: a) a twisted ankle b)kidney stones c) genuine, stitch-needing kitchen mishaps d) fill in your own blank.

More likely, you remember how an ornament looked hanging from a branch,  or the sheer joy on the face of a kid who just got what they always thought they wanted. Or maybe it was that first kiss under the mistletoe, I don't know.

What's important is to hold that memory close to your heart.
Not just at the holidays, but on the day you missed the promotion.
Or the day you found out you got the house, the girl, the guy, the bid, the job.
The day that you thought would never end, or the day that seemed to be over in an eye blink.

Use it as a measuring stick, a gold standard to what's important to your heart, your mind, your spirit.

Is it an "Omg, did you just see what so-and-so did" kind of moment?

Or is it just a time in your life when things aren't looking up, the rent is due and was that just your Ex-Factor (as my friend E and I like to call them) standing at the perfume counter buying a bauble for his Present Factor?

Some moments are meant for the pure joy of it all, a time when you think back and remember, "Yeah, that actually did happen to me and it was the coolest thing" or that made you laugh so hard you spewed coffee through your nose, or that you had to remove yourself so as to not interrupt the most somber of occasions. :)

Other moments seem to be bent on "purifying" us, hot fires of emotion, tempering us like gold, into being better human beings.

What's important here, I have found, is to pay attention.
Look for the good.
The lovely.
The innocent.
The pure at heart.
The clean of intention.
The God Wink.

The absurdly funny.
The wickedly silly.
The moment of splash-down, where all is revealed… and sometimes in a not so graceful way lol.

Every moment holds possibility.
Every moment holds change.
Every moment holds peace.
Even laughter.

You only have to choose the moment.
The moments.

And when you do, say to yourself, like I do, "Look, Mary! Paula! We're Making Memories!"
And promise me this.

Hold them deep in your heart for that rainy day, when you will need one special moment to make that day shine.

Have a Memorable One. :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cooking Sundays: Cooking to Knit/Decorate the Tree By - Mama Mia That's a Spicy Chicken Parm Sammy!

It's that time of year again, yes indeedy!
Turkey's out of the way, Christmas wish lists drawn up, the tree lights a'tangle on the wood floor, and only 17 days till Santa slip slides his sleigh this way.

This Sunday's cooking lesson is less a slow cooker/all-day-maker kind of recipe, but more of a prep it quick, make it quick, but take the time to savor this hearty sandwich fare - something every member of the family can enjoy, on the most hurried of schedules.

This little gem came to me by way of a great little cooking website - Simply Gluten Free (if you don't know by now, I have to eat gluten-free fare). I have written it with non GFers in mind!

We like our marinara sauce spicy, so sub out to milder versions if that's your fancy.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup prepared marinara sauce
2/3 cup bread crumbs
2 pounds ground chicken
6 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 small white or yellow onions, minced or grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (about ¼ inch think)
2 cup baby arugula or use lettuce leaves
8 Buns
Heat the marinara sauce and keep warm.
To make the burgers: Combine the 2/3 cup parmesan with the breadcrumbs and place on a plate.
Combine the chicken with the garlic, onion, 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the oregano. Divide into 8 equal sized patties. Coat the burger patties with the breadcrumb/cheese mixture, pressing the crumbs lightly into the burger.
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. Fry the burgers in the hot oil until browned and crispy on the bottom. Flip, top with the mozzarella cheese slices, cover the pan and cook until the bottom is crispy, the burger cooked through and the cheese melted.
Place a good handful of arugula or lettuce on the bottom half, top with a chicken burger, spoon on some sauce and place the top of the bun on top. Serve immediately with a salad and some chips.
Servings: 8
Have a Spicy One. :)
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