Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies 2

My feathers have been ruffled…

Have you ever gone through a grocery line (My beloved Wegmans excluded, because I love every single girl/guy there), or any kind of shopping line for that matter…only to say “thank you” to the cashier… and have them reply “you’re welcome”?

Really…I do understand that the proper response to a “thank you” is a “you’re welcome”…but I am a firm believer that there is a right time, and a wrong time to say “you’re welcome”.

In a cashier’s line, I think that a “thank you” should beget a “thank you”…

Let’s think about this for a couple minutes.
Who should be thanking whom?

In a perfect world, we’d both thank each other. The cashier would thank me for supporting the store monetarily, while I’d be thanking the cashier for ringing my items up and bagging them for me.

The “you’re welcome” part of the whole conversation would be a mutually silent agreement. An unspoken response. But heartfelt, nonetheless.

But when I get the “you’re welcome”… it throws my whole day. I can’t help but walk away with a touch annoyed…feathers ruffled….

I’m welcome? I am? Well…thank YOU. I’m forever grateful for paying you money. Thank you for letting me support your establishment, to help you stay in business, and keep your job.

Or should I be forever in your debt when I bought the tomato that you put in the bottom of my bag and squished it to smithereens?

No…really.
I’m the customer…
Let ME thank YOU.

And while I’m on my soapbox (or is it off my soapbox?), how hard is it to greet me? A simple “Hello” would be wonderful. And even though it would be nice, you don’t even have to ask me if I found everything I was looking for.

Common Courtesy.
It’s really quite simple…

“Hello!”
“Did you find everything you were looking for?”
“Would you like paper or plastic?”
“Thank you! Have a nice day!!”
“Can I get you a new tomato?”

Maybe I’m wrong.

Or maybe I’m being too harsh. Am I so arrogant in believing that the customer should be thanked? Am I wrong to believe that cashier protocol should include a warm greeting?

Maybe.
But I don’t think so.
Whoopie Pies 5
Regardless of my ruffled feathers and squished tomatoes…these Whoopie Pies were the whole reason for that trip to the store. And to be honest, I’d make that trip over and over again for these decadent little desserts!

It actually took me two tries to get this recipe right…and I had the nicest time while I was making them, because I got to enjoy Jessica’s boyfriend Austin’s company. I think he enjoyed being the taste tester….and I enjoyed the pleasant conversation for the afternoon. He can be my taste tester anytime. Honestly.

The chocolate cookie cake has a dense yet soft texture…and a deep fudge flavor that is the perfect background for the gooey marshmallow filling. It’s a perfect little dessert or treat for any occasion, and everyone will love them!

The beauty of it all? You can have this delicious chocolaty treat ready in about an hour! Quick and easy. And delicious.

Life is good. It’s a “sometimes thankless…but in the end it doesn’t matter if you get a gooey marshmallow whoopie pie out of the whole deal…” kind of good.

Whoopie Pies 3

Whoopie Pies
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Serves: 20
 

Ingredients
The Cookie Cake
  • 1-1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 2 tsp vanilla
The Marshmallow Filling
  • 1 – 16oz container Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
The Cookie Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and Half & Half alternately until both are fully incorporated into the batter.
  5. Using a 2″ cookie scoop, drop 2″ a part on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a cooling rack.
The Marshmallow Filling
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the Marshmallow Fluff, powdered sugar, shortening, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Using a 1-1/2″ cookie scoop, scoop the marshmallow filling onto the bottom of one chocolate cookie cake, and top with a matching cookie cake, pressing lightly to push the marshmallow filling just to the edges of the cookie.
  3. Let sit for about ½ hour so that the filling sets up a bit.
  4. These will keep in a covered container for one week (if they even last that long!)

Chicken Parmesan Mini Pizzas

Chicken Parmesan Mini Pizzas 3So, we’re a little over a week past Easter now, and we can honestly say that all of the holidays…I mean the big holidays in which we eat massive amounts of food…are now officially over.

And it is right about this time every year when my body starts telling me that it has reached its limit as far as “intake”…but my pesky little tastebuds are tricking my brain into thinking that I’m still in eat mode. That I’m craving all things that are bad for me.

And I am.
Lord help me, I am.

It’s like a switch turns on the minute I announce that I need to lose weight. All of a sudden, I am craving everything and anything that I didn’t even give thought to, even five minutes before I made that declaration of weight loss need.  Tell me I can’t have it, and I immediately become a major “crave” addict.

I know me so well….and I am better off with moderation. If I want chocolate cake, then I eat a small piece of chocolate cake. If I deny myself chocolate cake, then I eat the whole chocolate cake. That’s just how I roll.

Trick the tastebuds into thinking that they still rule the “intake controls”.
They’re happy, because they don’t know any better.
And that makes me happy, because I’m not at war with my inner cravings..

Craziness, I know.
Chicken Parmesan PizzaBut that’s why I’m loving mini pizzas lately. I love them for so many reasons. First, because I feel satisfied after eating one small pizza. But they’re only about 3” to 3 ½” in diameter, so if I eat one more, I’m not going to go on a huge guilt trip! I love them because I can make them with all different toppings to please everyone. I love them because they’re quick and so easy to make! And finally, I love them because I can have all of the ingredients on hand to make them any time of any day.

Now, I don’t expect you to have chicken meatballs on hand… so these little pizzas would work beautifully with any kind of meatball, really. If you have frozen meatballs, then by all means, use frozen meatballs! But if you’re in the mood for chicken parm like I was, I think you’ll love this version, and won’t mind the few minutes it takes to throw the meatballs together!

Tastebuds cravings…satisfied.
The threat of over indulging…foiled once again.
No promise what tomorrow will bring…
Because that’s just how I roll.

Life is good. It’s a “Sometimes you just have to keep the inner peace…and eat the meatball…” kind of good.

Chicken Parmesan Mini Pizzas 2

Chicken Parmesan Mini Pizzas
Author: 
 

Quick and easy, these mini pizzas will satisfy any craving!
Ingredients
  • 12 balls frozen roll dough
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella
  • Grated Romano cheese
  • Fresh Basil for garnish
The Chicken Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 slice bread, moistened with water and moisture squeezed out, and broken into small pieces
  • ½ cup Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • A sprinkle of crushed red pepper (or more, depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
The Sauce
  • 1 – 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
The Chicken Meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground chicken, eggs, 1 tbsp. olive oil, breadcrumbs, pieces of bread, Romano cheese, parsley, onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
  3. With your hands, gently mix all of the ingredients until they are just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Roll the mixture into twelve 2″ meatballs.
  5. Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan. Add the meatballs, and brown on all sides.
  6. Bake for ½ hour or until the internal temperature of the meatball reaches 165 degrees (USDA guidelines)
The Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in the 1 tbsp. olive oil until softened and translucent. Add the sauce, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
The pizza crust
  1. Set the dough balls out on a greased baking sheet about 2″ apart. Let rise until doubled.
  2. Using your hands, form the dough into a small crust that is about 3″ to 3½” in diameter.
  3. Place about 2″ apart on the greased baking sheet.
  4. Top with sauce, and sprinkle with Romano cheese. Top each pizza with mozzarella, and one chicken meatball.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with chopped basil.

 

Citrus Berries over Mini Dutch Babies

Citrus Berries over Mini Dutch Babies 1

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush…”
~ Doug Larson ~

You know…a month ago, I made the statement to some friends that I believed we would be forever living in the Tundra here in Western New York. I based my theory on the mountainous piles of snow that were pretty much everywhere, but mostly on one that sat kitty corner to the building where I work. I swear that thing was taller than the building it sat next to, and I was quite certain that it would still be there throughout May. With its size, and given the fact that it was made from pure ice, I couldn’t imagine that it was going anywhere anytime soon.

I was in a winter doldrums frame of mind.

This morning, I drove past that pile of snow, and realized that while I wasn’t looking, it had been reduced to a blackened mound that’s about 2 feet tall by five feet wide. Honestly. When did that happen? I don’t even remember the temperature being warm enough to melt that icy mountain of snow.

That Mother Nature… she’s a little jokester, isn’t she?

She brings us right to the brink of frozen insanity…and then gently pulls us back with the kiss of warm air and spring.

And because I’m so wishy-washy…as well as easily swayed (not really)…
I am now in a spring time frame of mind.

It doesn’t matter that it’s chilly and still snows once in a while, because now I know it’s all short lived. We’ll be drinking in that warm sunshine, and enjoying blue skies very, very soon.
Mini Dutch Babies 4And you know that when you feel all sunshiny and happy, you feel like eating all sunshiny and happy, too. These light and fluffy little Dutch Babies have a hint of orange in them, and topped with the citrus berries, it’s honestly sunshine on your plate!

I think what I love the most about them, is that they’re such a quick and easy meal. From start to finish, it takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare, bake, and top with your favorite toppings! You can make them as simple or as elaborate to your heart’s desire. As delicious as they are with all of those sweet berries, they’re just as delicious with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkling of powdered sugar…and they’re just as delicious savory, just eliminate the orange or lemon zest, and add your favorite savory toppings such as bacon, cheese, and asparagus. The options are endless!

They’re simple. They can be rustic or sophisticated. And they’re definitely delicious!

Life is good. It’s a “Hal Borland once said that ‘No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.’ Thank goodness for that.” kind of good.

Mini Dutch Babies 2

Citrus Berries over Mini Dutch Babies
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Serves: 4 servings
 

These light and fluffy little Dutch Babies have a hint of orange in them, and topped with citrus berries! A simple meal from start to finish in less than 30 minutes!
Ingredients
Mini Dutch Babies
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
Citrus Berries
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions
Mini Dutch Babies
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine the milk, eggs, flour, salt, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until completely blended.
  3. Grease four 5 inch cast iron skillets. Pour ½ cup batter into each skillet.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pancake is puffed and golden.
  5. Serve immediately with citrus berries and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Citrus Berries
  1. Mix the raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, orange juice, orange zest and sugar in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes. Serve over baked dutch babies.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Ceci

Sweet and Spicy Roasted CeciI jumped on the roasted chickpea bandwagon a little over a year ago. Now, don’t get me wrong… I was on that wagon, but I wasn’t sure I was going to stay on it.

I had been reading all of these exciting posts from different bloggers on these wondrous snacks, and how deliciously addicting they are…and I’m going to be honest here… I was mighty disappointed the first time I tried them. Seriously, what was all the hype about? I found them to be dry and not overly flavorful.

But yet, I kept eating them.

I made my way through a few different recipes that I found online, each one equally disappointing.

And I kept eating them.

I settled on a combination of brown sugar, pepper, salt, and cayenne because well, I like sweet and spicy things. They were okay. Nothing to brag about. I started to wonder if I was doing something wrong. What was the hype all about?

And I kept eating them.
Sweet and Salty Roasted Ceci 2I found myself buying a couple cans of chickpeas every time I went grocery shopping. I found myself roasting them with the combination of brown sugar, pepper, salt, and cayenne. And I found myself setting the bowl of them on the island in the kitchen. Eh, they were just okay.

And I kept eating them.

Finally, one Saturday I went to the cupboard to grab a couple cans of chickpeas, only to find out that there were none. A huge disappointment set in. What would I snack on all day? Nothing else sounded good. I wanted my ceci.

I think that’s when I turned the corner…and realized that these darn things quietly grew on me when I wasn’t looking…

Well. What do you know…
I love them.
I really, really… love them.

They’re crunchy. They’re nutty. They’re sweet and salty and spicy all at the same time.

If you’re one of those people who are like me, and think you don’t like them…

Well. You do.
You really, really…do.

Life is good. It’s a “Sometimes things just sneak up on you for the good of all mankind…” kind of good.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Ceci 2

Sweet and Salty Roasted Ceci
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Serves: 2 cups
 

They’re crunchy. They’re nutty. They’re sweet and salty and spicy all at the same time….A delicious snack to have hanging around in your kitchen for the day..
Ingredients
  • 2 – 15.5 oz cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans, ceci)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions
  1. Drain the two cans chickpeas, and spread out on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Let sit for about a half hour, periodically tossing them around to dry them. Pick out any skins that might have come loose.
  2. Once the chickpeas are dry, dump them from the paper towels, onto the baking sheet.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the chickpeas.
  5. Sprinkle the brown sugar, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne over the chickpeas.
  6. Using your hands, gently toss the chickpeas around until they are fully coated with the sugar/oil mixture.
  7. Place in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and gently toss the chickpeas around flipping them. Place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  9. Truth be told, I start eating them right out of the oven! They do get crispier as they cool.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Nectarine Whiskey Fizz

Nectarine Whiskey Fizz 3Dear Lady in the Pretty Light Blue SUV driving in front of me this morning:

I’m sure that the friendly neighborhood sheriff who pulled you over, let you in on everything…but just in case he missed something…I thought I’d fill you in…

I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but you had a trail of cars behind you, which was quite the feat in itself, because that particular road is very quiet, with very little traffic, especially at that time of the morning.

You’d probably like to know that you swerved into the opposite lane three times, I’m guessing only one of which was noticed by the friendly neighborhood sheriff who pulled you over. Thank goodness there were no cars coming at the time…or a stopped school bus… or a person getting their newspaper out of their mailboxes.

I’d also like to make you aware that….
YOU WERE DRIVING 10 MILES PER HOUR.
Yep. You read it right.
Ten miles per hour.
Nectarine Whiskey FizzNow, I’m not sure if it was during the time you were putting your mascara or when you were putting your lipstick on when you finally noticed the flashing lights behind you. But you did give me a good chuckle at how long it took you to finally pull over for the sheriff!

Believe me…it was the longest and slowest police chase I’ve ever seen in my life. Okay, it was the ONLY police chase I’ve ever seen in my life, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to witness it, because I am totally amused right now!

I mean, there’s no doubt that I, along with all of the other cars behind me, were highly annoyed with you…I’m probably the only one who could see you in your driver’s side mirror putting on makeup…everyone else behind us probably thought you were drunk. And…I’m sure that the general consensus, at least with me, was a tremendous feeling of justice when the cop came racing past all of us to get to you. Well…I say he was racing, but it was really more of a “crawling” past all of us to get to you… Ten miles an hour, remember?

It was a thrill…
And…
I think we probably all cheered together in our cars!

And now…I think we all need a drink.
And I have the perfect one for all of us…

This Nectarine Whiskey Fizz
Nectarine Whiskey Fizz 5Nectarine nectar and whiskey are a delicious combination. I tend to like my drinks on the sweeter side, so after topping it off with club soda (or lemon lime soda or gingerale), a cube of Turbinado sugar gives it that sweetness that totally tickles my fancy. Serving it over crushed ice makes it one of my new favorite drinks for this coming summer! Top it off with a little sprig of mint, some fresh nectarine slices, and a drizzle of grenadine to give it that “Summer in a Glass” look.

Life is good. It’s a “I would have loved to have been a fly on the car door to hear what the sheriff had to say to Miss Light Blue SUV…” kind of good.

Nectarine Whiskey Fizz
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Recipe type: Cocktail
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Serves: 1 serving
 

Ingredients
  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 3 oz Nectarine Nectar
  • 2 to 3 mint leaves
  • Ice Cubes
  • Club Soda (Lemon Lime Soda, or Gingerale)
  • ½ oz Grenadine
  • Crushed Ice
  • Nectarine Slices
  • Sprig of Mint
  • 1 cube Turbinado Sugar

Instructions
  1. Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the whiskey and nectarine nectar. Add enough ice cubes to cover the liquid. Cover, and shake for about 20 seconds.
  2. Fill an old fashioned glass with crushed ice, and strain the shaken cocktail over the ice. Top with Club Soda. Drizzle Grenadine into the middle of the drink.
  3. Garnish with mint leaves, nectarine slices, and a cube of turbinado sugar.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Fudge Swirl Filling

PB Cookies 11
I had the pleasure of baking these cookies for a guest post on The Burlap Kitchen

Because you know that I can’t bake to save my life, it had to be an easy cookie, but one that would look like it took all day in the kitchen.,. You know, like I know what I’m doing in the baking department. And if anyone of you are anything like me… then this is the cookie for you! It’s easy. It’s pretty. And it’s delicious!

It’s the cookie to impress.

Please stop by Emily’s blog, Burlap Kitchen, for the recipe!

PB Sandwich with logo only

Peas and Spaghetti Rigati

Peas and Spaghetti Rigati 7I know what you’re thinking…

“Pasta again?? Does this girl have any imagination at all?” ….And, you’re probably rolling your eyes while you’re thinking that…

It’s okay… really…it is.
I completely understand.

And yes… I do. I do have some imagination. Not a whole lot, but enough to get me through this life…
Peas and Spaghetti Rigati 10 But seriously, I’ve been craving pasta big time lately…and I don’t know about you, but if I don’t give into those cravings and enjoy just a little taste of whatever it is that is tickling my fancy… well…. It’s like I’ll lose any and all willpower, and then I’ll go ape-shit and eat a whole pan of it.

It’s not pretty.

So, we have our choice. A little bit that will ward off that craving monster… or the monster eats the whole pan, and then finishes it off with the whole yellow cake with chocolate frosting…and sprinkles.

With all due respect (to my jeans) there is very little hip room for me in the pants lately… so I vote for the “Let her have a little taste” when the craving strikes, rather than opt for the “Wildly out of control eating binge” that has all the potential to be a very real possibility…

Please…bear with me while I work my way through this craving…
…and honestly? Just be thankful that I’m not craving sardines!!
Peas and Spaghetti Rigati 9I just know you’re going to love this…

We all know that the sweetness of peas and the creaminess of Alfredo belong together… but then when you add the sharp saltiness of the parmesan cheese with the smokiness of the minced ham… the peas and Alfredo realize that they were meant to be swingers… add a sprinkling of crushed red pepper and chopped parsley, and watch the fireworks explode!

Life is good. It’s a “There should be some kind of law that pasta be a part of every meal of the day, and then I wouldn’t have to closet eat my macaroni…” kind of good.
Peas and Spaghetti Rigati 11

Peas and Spaghetti Rigati
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4 servings
 

A quick and easy pasta dish with peas and ham over spaghetti with Alfredo sauce. Delicious!
Ingredients
  • ½ pound spaghetti rigati
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 cups peas
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp course black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup ham, finely diced and heated
Season with:
  • Fresh grated parmesan
  • ground black pepper
  • chopped parsley
  • crushed red pepper

Instructions
  1. Cook the spaghetti rigati per the directions on the package. Drain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt one tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan. Add the heavy cream and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, and simmer for about five minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  3. Add the grated parmesan to the heavy cream, and stir until the sauce is smooth. (I never really add salt to this sauce, because I feel the cheese is salty enough. If you find it to be too bland, add salt to taste).
  4. Add the spaghetti rigati into the pan of Alfredo sauce, and toss until fully coated.
  5. While the Alfredo sauce is simmering, melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. Add the peas, pepper, and salt. Sauté for about five minutes.
  6. Plate the spaghetti rigati, top with peas, and sprinkle with diced ham. Season with freshly grated parmesan, fresh ground black pepper, chopped parsley, and crushed red pepper.
  7. Enjoy!

 

Grilled Brie Sandwich with Bacon and Mushrooms

If you are of the faint of heart… look away..

But…

If you don’t mind a little cheese on your chin, and sauce on your cheek, then this sandwich is most definitely for you…

Grilled Brie with sautéed mushrooms and onions, bacon, and a barbecue mustard sauce to top it off…
Grilled Brie Sandwich with Bacon and MushroomsYou know….the moment you take that very first bite, and you know that it is quickly going south from there…literally…and in that very instant, you have committed to see this thing through… etiquette completely out the door…finger licking encouraged.

Sloppy.
Ooey and gooey, saucy and spicy.
I dare you to eat it without a napkin…

Life is good.  It’s a “You have a little sauce on your chin..” kind of good!
Grilled Brie Sandwich with Bacon and Mushrooms 2Don’t let all of the steps in this recipe keep you from making this sandwich!!   It doesn’t take that long to throw together, and in less than 20 minutes, you’ll be wiping cheese from your shirt!

Grilled Brie Sandwich with Bacon and Mushrooms
Author: 
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Serves: 2 servings
 

Grilled Brie with sautéed mushrooms and onions, bacon, and a barbecue mustard sauce to top it off… Ooey, Gooey, Saucy, and Spicy….I dare you to eat it without a napkin….
Ingredients
  • 4 thick slices bread (I used sour dough, but use your favorite bread!)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 8 slices thick sliced pepper bacon
  • ½ pound Brie (My preference is a medium buttery Brie)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
The BBQ Mustard Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Instructions
  1. In a large frying pan, fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove from pan (keep about a tablespoon of the grease in the pan), and let drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. In that same pan (with about a tablespoon of the bacon grease), caramelize the onions and garlic until golden brown. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pan, and sauté until golden brown, about five minutes.
  4. You can either rinse your frying pan out at this point so that you get the golden brown crust on your bread, or you can add the butter to the existing bacon/onion/mushroom particles. Your sandwich will look dirty, but will be totally flavorful! Even though this is a sloppy sandwich, I usually opt for the golden brown clean looking type.
  5. Melt 1 tbsp. butter over low heat in a large frying pan.
  6. Begin to assemble the sandwich, and on one slice of the bread place 4 slices bacon. Top with half of the mushrooms. Spread half of the BBQ Mustard sauce over the mushrooms.
  7. Place ½ of the Brie over the mushrooms, and then top the Brie with half of the caramelized onions.
  8. Place the open faced sandwich in the frying pan with the melted butter, and place another slice of bread in the same pan, next to the sandwich. You’re basically browning the sandwich in the pan, and then will place the open face sandwich under the broiler until the cheese melts.
  9. As soon as the bread is golden brown on one side, remove from the pan.
  10. Place the open faced sandwich under the broiler for about three minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  11. Remove from the broiler, and top with the other slice of bread that you browned in the pan with the open faced sandwich.
  12. Repeat steps 5-11 for the second sandwich.
  13. Serve hot while the cheese is still oozing from the sandwich.
The BBQ Mustard Sauce
  1. In a small bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, spicy mustard, and mayonnaise. This will cover two or more sandwiches, depending on your “saucy” preference!

 

Corn Casserole

Corn Casserole 1I don’t know… I feel like we just finished Christmas, and we’re already talking about Easter. I mean, I still have Christmas decorations up outside…

Hey, before you judge me… just know that we have been up to our ears in snow, and then on top of that snow…ice. For months now, all I could see were the little stars that are on top of the little spiraly Christmas trees in my side yard, and I know that there were bushes with Christmas lights on them under all of the mounds of snow!

But, miracles never cease..and Spring is finally here! Well.. you know Spring..technically it’s here..but there could still be snow for another few weeks…

Regardless..I’m hoping to get the decorations down and put away this weekend..

So now it’s time to start planning my Easter dinner, and my kids always insist that this corn casserole is part of the menu. Honestly? They usually look for the leftovers the next day, so I’ll usually double, or even triple this recipe.

I normally make it plain, without the jalapenos and cheese…but I was feeling a little spicy today… and thought I’d change it up a bit. I have to say, it’s delicious plain, but it’s even more delicious with the jalapenos and cheese!

Even Mike ate it..yep, he did.
Well, he snuck a dishful before I could even photograph it…
And that’s saying a lot..
I won’t say it, because you already know how he is…

Corn casserole is definitely more of a custard type dish,  a little sweet, a little savory, and now, a little kicked up from the jalapeños! It has been a favorite side dish in our family for years.  It’s actually a variation of my grandmother’s recipe, and one that has been served for every holiday dinner, and every family party for as long as I can remember…A tradition.

We love it, and I think you will too…

Life is good.  It’s a “Spring is finally here!” kind of good!

Corn Casserole 2

Corn Casserole
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 10 servings
 

A great side dish for any meal! Serve with or without the jalapeños, with or without the cheese! It’s delicious plain, and delicious spicy and cheesy!
Ingredients
  • 2 – 16 oz pkgs frozen corn
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions
  1. Let the corn thaw for about a half hour before mixing the ingredients, otherwise the second you pour the milk in, you’ll have ice cream. Trust me. Been there..Done that.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with vegetable spray. Mix the corn, milk, eggs, jalapeño pepper, flour, honey, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven, and spread the cheddar cheese on top. Bake for another ½ hour. Remove from oven, and let sit for about 10 minutes if you’re planning on cutting into squares. Or serve immediately if you plan to scoop it with a spoon.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Parsley Carbonara

Lemon Parsley Carbonara 1Last night was a quiet night. It was just me and Sophie, hanging out in the kitchen. Mike and Jessica were working, so I didn’t have any “feed the family” obligations.

I love those nights, you know, when I can eat what I want, when I want. Sometimes it’s a simple bowl of cereal…but most of the time, I take advantage of the situation and make myself some kind of pasta.

A pasta dish that I know I’ll love, but I if I were to put it in front of Mike, he’d look at me as if I’d just fallen off my rocker….that darn boy. He wouldn’t know a delicious meal if it slapped him in the face… Jessica is like me, she could eat pasta every day… And Sophie doesn’t care, she’s just hoping that I “accidentally” drop something on the floor! Of course, I happily obliged…
lemon parsley carbonara 3At first, I planned to throw a regular Pasta Carbonara together, but the lemons in my fridge caught my eye when I went to grab the bacon, so I grabbed them instead! What a delicious change of pace from a regular carbonara! I mean, I love the creaminess of the eggs in a carbonara to begin with, but the parsley, lemons, and shaved parmesan just put that right over the top! I didn’t miss the bacon in it at all!

And…I’m sure that there are some of you who are professionally trained in the culinary arts, might be cringing at the thought of me calling this a carbonara…when in fact, I left out the meat (bacon or guanciale)…

Forgive me.
I just don’t know any better.
But I do know what I like…
And I like this.
Lemon Parsley Carbonara 2What’s really great about this dish, is that it can be used as a side dish, maybe with some grilled lemon chicken…. or it can stand proudly as a meal on its own! I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this as the main course to my friends… it’s just that delicious!

Life is good. It’s a “A quiet night and lemon parsley carbonara… it just doesn’t get any better…” kind of good.

Lemon Parsley Carbonara 4

 

Lemon Parsley Carbonara
Author: 
Serves: 2
 

A creamy pasta dish that can be used as a side dish, or it can stand proudly as a meal on its own! This makes two very generous servings, or one serving with leftovers for lunch the next day!
Ingredients
  • ½ pound Mezzi Rigatoni (or your favorite type pasta)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped for garnish
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes for garnish
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Lemon Wedge

Instructions
  1. Prepare rigatoni per directions on box. Drain, reserving about ½ cup water. Set the water aside.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and lemon juice, and sauté for about three minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the frying pan, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the beaten eggs to the pasta, quickly and constantly stirring with a wooden spoon over low heat until the egg has turned into a creamy sauce. If you feel the sauce needs some liquid, add the pasta water in small increments until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  5. Add the Romano cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
  6. Add the ⅓ cup parsley, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.
  7. Top with shaved parmesan, red pepper flakes, and fresh ground pepper.
  8. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.
  9. Enjoy!