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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Egg and Sausage Casserole

Egg and Sausage Casserole.  This is our family recipe for Christmas Casserole.  Every year on Christmas morning Mom would make this and make us eat it because her parents made her eat it.  It is a multi-generational family tradition that I am determined to keep going.  Growing up everyone hated it, except me because I will eat just about anything.  But as we children got older we learned to appreciate the casserole, embrace the casserole, love the casserole, even look forward to the casserole.  I think all 5 of us kids are planning on perpetuating this Christmas Morning Casserole tradition for the next generation to complain about how much they hate it, but knowing that in time they too will learn to revere the casserole.  I know I look forward to it every Christmas morning.  Christmas is not the same without the casserole.  I broke rank and file and few years back when I made it on some random day in March for no reason.  I think my family was appalled at first, but eventually came around to the idea that Christmas Casserole can be eaten on other days of the year besides Christmas.  I had left over yeast rolls so I twisted our traditional recipe into a something I could use with my left-overs.

Egg and Sausage Casserole

  • Butter a 12" x 9" pan
  • Layer in the pan
  • 8 slices of bread, cubed
  • 2 cups of grated cheese
  • 1 lb of sausage, browned and drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 and 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Refrigerate overnight. 
  • Before baking mix 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup with 1/2 a can of Milk
  • Pour over the casserole
  • Bake 300 degrees for 1 hour

My pan of left over yeast rolls.
I just remembered that I needed to add the cheese before the sausage.  Oh well.
Adding the eggs and milk, then refrigerate overnight to let the eggy goodness seep in.  I add salt and pepper to the eggs before I pour it over.
I used Cream of Potato Soup because I hate Cream of Mushroom Soup.  I hate mushrooms in general.  I will not eat mushrooms, pickles, and olives.  No Mom, I have never grown out of it.  I have tried them all as an adult and I still do not like them and I still will not eat them.  I will not eat them Sam I Am.
Cream of Soup and milk on top to make it even more moist and delicious.
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.  I was never certain on the tin foil cover or not.  I have done it both ways and it always comes out delicious.
Eat and Enjoy and Think of Christmas Morning and all those yummy yeast rolls I could not finish which have now been re-purposed into a beautiful egg and sausage casserole.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baked Ricotta

For our 6 year anniversary J and I went to the Grand America Hotel for dinner in downtown SLC.  It was delightful.  I had my first baked Ricotta and ever since then I have been itching to make some of my own.  Here it is.  Baked Ricotta.  It is not the hotel recipe that we had, but I like this version well enough.  Next time I think I will make little tartlets with it.  The ramekins are great, but soft melty cheese really needs some crunch.  I made my own Ricotta for this, but that is also optional.  Ever since I learned that I can make my own Ricotta I have been thinking of recipes to use it in.  It is so much fun and gratifying to make your own cheese.  

Baked Ricotta with Hazelnuts and Parmesan

  • 1 lb Ricotta
  • 2 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbs Feta
  • 2 Tbs Parmesan
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped Hazelnuts (optional)
  • Food processor hazelnuts, take some out and set aside.  Add the rest of the ingredients and food process until smooth.  Add the ricotta to some buttered ramekins and top with chopped hazelnuts and parmesan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min until the cheese is melty.

 Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 half gallon of Whole Milk, Vitamin D Milk
  • 2 Tbs + 2 tsp Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • pinch of salt
  • Heat milk and a pinch of salt to 180 degrees, that is just before it begins to boil.  Remove from heat and add vinegar and lemon juice.

It begins to curd immediately.
With a slotted spoon scoop out the curds and set in a cheese cloth lined strainer.  2 layers of cheese cloth.
Take the ends of the cheese cloth and tie around a spoon and let drain for half an hour or longer or until it is firm and not sloshing about anymore.
I am just showing off my new scale I got for Christmas here.  1 pound of Ricotta exactly.
Nuts are optional, but since I am a nut I wanted to incorporate them.
Food processor everything together.
I was able to fill 4 small buttered ramekins with the ricotta mixture.
Top with chopped hazelnuts and Parmesan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Since I love eggs and bacon I added an over-easy egg on top of the ricotta bowls with a side of bacon.
I do not know if this is an appetizing or repulsive picture.  Gooey warm egg yolk running into melty ricotta cheese.  The best part was scooping it out and eating it with my salty crispy bacon spoon.  I found it delicious and I hope you do as well.
The Allosaurus came almost 100 million years before the T-Rex so shouldn't all tyranoid sub-species be call allosoids instead. 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Pear Chutney

This is one of those pretty magazine recipes.  I tried to continue with the red and green theme by adding pomegranate and green beans as my sides.  The Chutney was super sweet, so I would reduce the volume added on top of the pork or reduce the sugar next time I make it.

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Pear Chutney

Marinade for 1 pound Pork Tenderloin

  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Place everything in a gallon bag and add the pork.  Refrigerate pork tenderloin in marinade for at least 8 hours or overnight.  
  • Drain, discard marinade.  Place pork on rack in shallow roasting pan.  I do not have a roasting pan so I put it in a tin foiled lined baking pan and flipped it over half way through baking.  Bake at 425 degrees for 25 - 30 min.  Let rest 5 min before slicing.

Cranberry Pear Chutney

  • 1 cup frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped peeled pear
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp mint
  • Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, simmer 20 minutes.  Uncover and simmer for 20 - 25 more minutes.  Serve on top of the pork.  Note to self:  Start the Chutney before putting the pork in the oven.  Then you don't have to wait for the chutney while the meat gets cold.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

Any recipe that calls for 1 cup of butter has to be good.  That being said, any recipe that calls for 4 cups of heavy cream has to be even better.  This is a very rich soup which I do not recommend for the lactose intolerant.

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 lbs Carrots
  • 1 cup Butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 rib of Celery
  • 4 cups of Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Suggested Seasonings:  Salt, Pepper, Cloves, Cinnamon
  • Bake Butternut Squash cubes on a greased pan at 350 degrees with 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, and salt for 20 - 30 minutes until soft but not burned.
  • Boil carrots until soft, about 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Saute onion, celery, and garlic in 1/2 cup butter until soft.  
  • Food processor the carrots, onions, and butternut squash until it has a paste like consistency.  A Vitamix or heavy duty blender would work better, but my sad little blender could not handle the stuff.  It cannot even properly mix a milkshake let alone a hearty soup.  For a blender that works:  Slowly add heavy cream.  For my small capacity food processor I added the orange mush to a large soup pot  then slowly added the heavy cream and stirred it in.  Bring to a simmer.  Add sugar, salt, and seasoning to taste.  Add water if it is still too thick.   

This is what happens to most of my thoughtfully crafted meals.
They end up on the coffee table in front of the tv where J is either playing video games or we are watching "Big Bang Theory".  Here J, I spent the last three hours making a gorgeous dinner for you to eat while playing "Fallout 3".  He is very appreciative.  I try to have intelligent dinner conversations during commercial breaks and downloading times.  The Allosaurus had three fingered forelimbs while the T-Rex only had two.  Robots hands can perform just as well as human hands with a minimum of three digits.  Why do we have five?  To play piano better.  The piano is overrated.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cream Cheese Brownies

My Dad hates Brownies.  Mom loves Brownies.  This has been a long standing point of contention.  Growing up, almost every Sunday we would have dessert.  This became known as Brownie Sunday because Mom liked brownies and therefore with great frequency made them, much to Dad's disappointment.   My favorite was the Pillsbury Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies.  I have not been able to find that box in the store lately and I have been craving some so I made my own.  This is actually my third attempt.  The first two recipes failed, but this one worked, so here it is.  It should be noted that when I brought them over to my parent's house this past Sunday that Dad actually ate one and said they were good.  Then I told him they were brownies and my dessert was immediately downgraded from "good" to "okay" and he further denied ever saying the word, "Good."  

Chocolate and Cream Cheese Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

  • 2 oz of Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 1/3 cup Shortening
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Melt together chocolate and shortening.  Add to sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix that all together and spread out in a greased pan.

Cream Cheese

  • 8 oz (1 package) of Cream Cheese, softened or room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Beat together until smooth.  Add to chocolate brownie and swirl in.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes.
Melt shortening and chocolate together.  I have done this using both the microwave and on the stove top.  Either one works.
Mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla separately.  Then add the chocolate/shortening slowly so the eggs do not bake.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir that all together.  This is your standard chocolate brownie mix.  Spread this out in a greased pan.
For the Cream Cheese swirl add together cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla.  Mix it really good with a beater until smooth.  Dollop out the cream cheese on top of the chocolate and make a pretty swirl pattern.  
I failed to make the pretty swirl pattern and it all turned to tan mush.  Tasty tan mush, but not pretty.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Brownies, all brownies, are best enjoyed warm out of the oven with ice cream.

The Allosaurus lived during the Jurassic period (155 - 150 million years ago) while the Tyrannosaurus lived during the Cretaceous period (67-65 million years ago) until the extinction event.  The Velociraptor is also from the Cretaceous period (75-71 million years ago).  Therefore the movie should have been named Cretaceous Park since the dinosaurs featured were from that period.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Yeast Rolls

Yeast Rolls

Yeast Rolls, courtesy of Lorna Hyde from the Highland 1st Ward Cookbook page 77.  I get my recipes from a variety of sources.  I have a scary large collection of cookbooks.  I subscribe to cooking magazines, and frequent food blogs, websites, tv shows, and pinterest.  Some of the recipes I post here are copied down exactly as written from the source, some have been tweaked a bit to my taste, some I mash up together from different sources, and some I make up.  Professionally I feel that I should post the reference of each recipe.  Since I am not a professional, (and this is my silly little blog) I choose not to, unless it is of some importance to me.  Growing up there were two significant cookbooks that my Mom used.  The first was "Betty Crocker Cookbook" that she got for her wedding, which I have borrowed...    permanently.  It automatically flips open to chocolate chip cookies.  The second is the "Highland 1st Ward Cookbook", which Mom still has at her house...    for now.  I grew up in Highland 1st Ward.  Mom grew up in Highland 1st Ward.  My Grandparents started Highland 1st Ward.  It is a generational thing.  The recipes from this book belong to my Grandparent's generation, so they are important to me.

Yeast Rolls - 

  • 2 Tbs Yeast
  • 1 and 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup melted Shortening
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 5 cups Flour
  • Combine yeast and warm water, let it sit for 5 min.  Mix the rest of the ingredients, then add the yeasty water.  Add flour last and mix.  Form into a ball and let rise until double.  Roll out, cut out, and let rise again until double.  Makes a great base dough for cinnamon rolls.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  I can get 2 dozen from this recipe.

Add yeast to warm water and let sit at least 5 min.  While waiting, prepare the other ingredients.
Melt shortening in the microwave.

Add shortening and salt to the eggs.
Then add the yeasty water and mix that together.
Mix in the flour and form a ball.
Set aside in a warm place to rise for about an hour until double in size.
Set the dough out onto a floured surface.
Roll out in a thin layer.
Cut out circles with a biscuit cutter.
Brush each circle with melted butter.  I microwave a whole stick of butter.
 Stack four circles together and set in a greased muffin pan.
Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise again until double in size.  II can get about 2 dozen rolls from this recipe.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes.
My husband calls these Brain Rolls because he thinks they look like brains.  I just think they look like rolls.
Enjoy.  I need to think of a new ending tag line.
Allosaurus are the best because they are just like a T-Rex only different.  Their arms can be used to kill prey and brush their teeth.