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Friday, February 21, 2014

Strata time!

On Wednesday morning, I met with my orthopedic surgeon and scheduled my knee-replacement surgery.  Because I have not managed to lose any of the remaining weight, he would not agree to replace both knees at the same time.  He also said that he didn’t think the right knee necessarily needed replacement at this time.  I sure hope he’s right.  I will admit that I have been making every excuse in the world to not cook for myself lately.  I suppose the fact that people tend to feed you when there is a death in the family makes it easy for me to make excuses.  Whatever the reason, I really wanted something home-cooked this morning.  Since I don’t have to be anywhere until 11am this morning (when I will go for my personal training session), I decided to make breakfast.  I had a bunch of asparagus in the refrigerator and a few leftover biscuits.  While I normally make crustless quiches for breakfast, I decided to put those biscuits to use and make a strata instead.  This probably would have been better if I had decided to do this last night, however, stratas will work if you have a bit of time to let them sit before baking.  I am glad that I had asparagus because the warmer temperatures yesterday made me long for spring/summer.  I have signed up for my new CSA, but that program will not start until June.  I do, however, get to start getting farm-fresh eggs starting in May. 

Asparagus Biscuit Strata

  • 3 buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups 1% milk
  •  ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Break up biscuits into a prepared casserole dish.  Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces; steam in the microwave for 4 minutes.  Mix with biscuits in casserole.  Sprinkle cheese over fillings.  Beat eggs with milk, parmesan cheese, and seasonings.  Pour over fillings and allow to stand for at least 15 minutes (may make in advance and refrigerate overnight).  If made the day before, take casserole out of refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife, inserted in the center, comes out clean. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Split Pea Soup

It has been a long cold weekend.  My brother passed this weekend and I spent most of the weekend in his house.  While there, I found that he had half of a smoked pork shoulder in his refrigerator.  And if there was one thing that everyone will tell you, he was a great cook.  I took it home both because I didn't want it to go to waste and because it was one last chance to have his cooking.  A friend posted that he was making split pea soup, which is usually made with ham or a ham hock.  I thought, what better way to use this pork shoulder, so this morning, I put together a split pea soup in the crockpot using the shoulder.  I just tasted it and it is so very lovely!  A fitting tribute to my brother who I miss so much!

Smoked Pork Split Pea Soup
  • 2 cups smoked pork shoulder, diced to 1/2' cubes
  • 16 oz yellow split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups good chicken stock
Layer all ingredients into the bowl of a crockpot in the order given, ending with the chicken stock.  Cook, covered, on High for 4-5 hours, or until the peas and carrots are cooked.  Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beef, White Bean, Quinoa Stew

After a couple weeks in India, I had a taste for beef.  I had bought a pound of stew beef from Jack's before leaving for India and put it in my freezer.  I wasn't quite in the mood for traditional stew, so I looked around for other ideas.  I ran across a recipe for Beef and White Bean Stew but decided that I needed some additional protein and carbs in the recipe, so I added some quinoa.  It turned out to be a very nice, comforting stew.

Beef, White Bean and Quinoa Stew
  • 1 lb Stew Beef
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 28-oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups sweet corn
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dried quinoa (I used a mix of red and white)
  • 2 cups water
Place all ingredients, except quinoa and water into bowl of slow cooker.  Cook, covered, for 4 hours on HIGH.  While the stew is cooking, boil water.  Add quinoa, stir and then cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Season slightly with salt (but remember that you have seasoned the stew as well).  Stir quinoa into stew and cook for 15-20 minutes for flavors to combine.

Broccoli Sausage Quiche

I am a little behind on posting recipes here.  Last week, when I returned from India, I needed to make some food for meals for the week.  I picked up a pack of al Fresco Maple Chicken Breakfast Sausage and some broccoli.  I have this passion for broccoli and eggs that started when I was working at Case Western Reserve University.  So, I figured that I would make a quiche (always good for a few days worth of breakfasts).  I had some sharp cheddar that I figured would be a good counterpoint to the "sweet" sausage.  Btw, if you haven't tried these sausages, you should.  They have small pieces of apple in them and the contrast of spice and sweet is lovely!

Broccoli, Sausage, Cheddar Quiche
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 6 al Fresco Maple Chicken Breakfast Sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • Italian Seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
Steam broccoli in microwave for 4 minutes.  Place in bottom of baking dish and mix in sausage (heated for 30 seconds in microwave).  Sprinkle with cheese.  Beat eggs with milk and seasonings.  Pour carefully over fillings. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until top is browned.

"Green" Quiche

I felt the need to cook this morning and had broccoli and asparagus in my refrigerator.  So, I figured it was time to make a "green" quiche.  I had Swiss cheese and figured that would go nicely with asparagus, so that was the cheese of choice this morning.

"Green" Quiche
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Steam broccoli and asparagus in microwave for 5 minutes. Place in bottom of baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Beat eggs with milk and seasonings.  Pour egg mixture over vegetables.  Bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until top is browned.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Last night, as I was trying to decide what to do with a bag of frozen broccoli florets, I came across a strata recipe.  I had a half a loaf of Spatz bread that I needed to use up and some chicken sausage links.  I decided to adapt the recipe and make a Broccoli Sausage strata.  Of course, because of the size, much of it will travel with me to Troy tomorrow for my husband to enjoy.  But I get to enjoy some myself!

Broccoli Sausage Strata
Adapted from:
  • 6 slices dry Spatz bread 
  • 1 16-oz bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup colby jack cheese
  • 3 links chicken sausage (I used Aidells Roasted garlic & Gruyere cheese smoked chicken sausage)
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • salt, garlic powder, onion powder and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Grease a small roasting pan (or 9" x 13" x 2" pan).  Place broccoli florets in a steamer and steam in microwave for 6 minutes.  Drain broccoli and set aside.

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and place in pan.  Sprinkle with half the cheeses.  Cut sausage links into 1/4-inch rounds; sprinkle sausage and broccoli florets over bread. 

Whip eggs with milk and seasonings.  Pour over fillings; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours (or overnight).

Allow pan to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes, until a knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

First Chili of the Season

It has been somewhere between 13 and 25 degrees for the past couple days, so I got a taste for chili.  I had to sing this morning at church and then we had our last class for our India students, so I wasn't able to make it until after I got done with all of that.  On the way home from school, I stopped at Jack's and picked up a sweet onion and 2 lbs of ground round.  From that, I used what I had in my pantry and put together a 2-bean chili.  Since I roasted a spaghetti squash last night, I decided to serve it Cincinnati-style in the only way that I can eat it these days (pasta and I are not friends anymore).

2-Bean "Cincinnati" Chili
  • 2 lbs ground round
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans Rotel tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh sweet corn
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • Roasted spaghetti squash
  • cheddar cheese
 Heat EVOO in a heavy Dutch oven.  Add onions and saute until they start turning translucent; add ground round and cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add next 9 ingredients, bring to a boil.  cover and lower heat until simmering.  Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Heat squash, spoon chili over squash and sprinkle with cheese.