Mini Spinach Lasagne

You are going to want to run out right now and make this! Its delicious! Its easy! It’s meatless (for those meatless Friday nights, or every night for some of you.)

I have made this twice now and keep forgetting why I dont make it more often. Probably because I just plain…forget.

The only hitch is, you should be using a brownie pan. You know, those square muffin type pans used to make brownies. Like this…

IMG_6828

They are more shallow than muffin pans and hold the square ravioili’s perfectly. I tried them in the round muffin pans and I couldn’t get them in there. You would have to use smaller ravioli’s, like some fresh ones I found at the store. Continue reading “Mini Spinach Lasagne”

Quesadillas, quick and breezy lunch

IMG_0779 (1024x765)The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things…

Oh-oh. Thats not what I started typing. The wonderful thing about quesadillas. Thats what I meant. Quesadillas.

And by the way, for you gringos out there like me, you do not hear the L’s in this word. It is pronounced like a Y.

It sounds like ‘case-a-dee-ya’.

But however you say it, it is a very versatile and filling lunch, side dish or appetizer.

When the kids were just kidletts, a  quesadilla was a flour tortilla, folded in half with cheese inside and heated on a griddle or skillet. It still is sometimes.

But now we more often than not, make a more grown up version of quesadillas.

This version you see pictured above is such a one. They can be filled with just about anything, as long as some cheese is put in their to ‘glue’ it all together. We use black beans, diced chicken, salsa, beef, onions, peppers…the sky’s the limit.

Then there is the toppings. (My favorite part). Guacamole, sour cream, more cheese, salsa…

I have made them for breakfast (in my endless quest to keep everyone off cold cereal, which, by the way, I think I have finally achieved.) Also for after school snacks, lunches or side dishes to a Mexican meal instead of bread.

By the by, when I was an older kid, one of my favorite snacks was a flour tortilla, warmed up, spread with butter and salt, rolled up and eaten. Now I might use a multigrain tortilla with butter from pasture raised cows*,  but still simple and sweet.

Here is one recipe for you newbies to get you started. While there are measurements, do not take them to heart too much. Use more or less cheese, more or less beans, as you like it. I particularly love Costcos peach mango salsa.

Although I am using butter on this particular quesadilla, you dont have to. Just heat in the skillet until the cheese gets melty, then flip. The butter just lends a crispness to it (and of course, wonderful butter flavor.)

*Some Costco’s now sell Kerrigold butter, which is from Ireland and is from pasture raised cows milk. I can finally afford it!

Quesadilla

  • Yield: 1 quesadilla (1 Servings)

Here is just one way to make this easy snack/dish/appetizer

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. get all your fillings handy. Drain and rinse the beans, have shredded cheese in a bowl nearby, etc.
  2. Butter one side of 2 tortillas. Get out a skillet big enough to handle the size of the tortillas and heat on medium low.
  3. Put tortilla in the skillet, butter side down, like a grilled cheese sandwich. Put in some of the cheese, scatter the beans and meat, then more cheese. Lay the 2nd tortilla butter side up.
  4. Using a spatula, carefully check the underside of the quesadilla. When it looks like it is browning, carefully flip it over. This may mean using 2 spatulas. Or just shoving the beans and meat that fall out back into the quesadilla.
  5. When the other side has browned, slide it onto a plate or cutting board. Let cool one minute, then cut into 4ths. Top with more cheese, a dollop of sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Eat it up!

 

Simple Apple Walnut Salad

As I was sitting in the recliner, otherwise know as the cat scratching post, the recliner having the magic capacity to render any  one sitting their hiney in it to certain sleep, I was also thinking about something for dinner. Or tea. Or supper. Whatever.

Food for my menfolk.

They were out doing manly work, taking an engine out of a car and otherwise stripping it to ready it for a paint job.

Its feeling rather naked now.

Hubby and his apprentice.

So there I was, in the magic shredded up chair, trying to stay awake, listen to an episode of Dr. Who and browse through a cookbook for ideas. I can still multi-task baby!

Here is what I found to make, with my little adaptations for what I had handy.

Italian grilled cheese sandwiches and apple walnut salad:

Simple, cool, crisp and crunchy salad with crispy melty cheese sandwich

Here is the salad:

Whisk together the following:

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3/4 tsp. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Thats it, can you imagine? And so tasty your mouth will be dazzled!

Then:

1 chopped up apple

1 Tbsp. chopped green onion

3 cups torn Bibb lettuce (or whatever you have on hand)

2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

Toss these together and pour the whisked dressing over it. Toss, eat, repeat.

Now for that sandwich. Easy.

You need a couple slices of bread. I used sourdough. Brush one side of each slice with butter.

Either sprinkle with parmesan or, as I did this time, put parmesan cheese on a plate and lay the slice down butter first to coat.

Sprinkle with a little garlic salt and a bit of Italian Seasoning.

Grate some mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

Heat up a skillet, such as a handy cast iron one. Rub a little bit of oil in it.

Lay down one of the slices, parmesan side down. Lay the shredded cheese over it, carefully trying to keep it on the bread and not on the skillet where it will burn and stick. Then lay the other slice over it, parmesan side up. Use a spatula to gently press down. Cook until browned.

Carefully flip it and keep cooking until brown on the outside and melty on the inside.

Then make another if you like. Slice them in half. Eat them up!

Someday I am going to start up my other dream blog site and in it I want to make a collection of what people are having for dinner.

So, whats for dinner tonight?

Then I would keep a category of them. And when I run out of ideas and just cant get my brain cells to work together for dinner ideas. I, you , all of us, can refer to it. I have a tendency to often wait until 5 or 6 o’clock to plan a dinner and I need something quick and something I have supplies for because, lets face it, this late I am probably not running to the store. Unless we just dont mind eating really late.

And who knows? It might be inspire me to actually plan ahead for a week of meals! I love it when I do that. Dont know why I don’t do it more. I guess I like living on the edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do with fresh tomatoes: Caprese Chicken Salad Wrap

I wish I could remember where I found this.

Thank you, whoever you are…

Caprece chicken salad on the inside

I couldn’t have done it without my new best friend…

Once again, thank you Trader Joes for making it easy…

It was a hot day. There was left over chicken. I had some of those flour tortillas that are raw when you get them and you cook them for a minute on each side. I was set.

And of course, since it is summer…

My tomato plants are on the other side of this cinder block wall, so I just line them up while harvesting.

This was so easy.

I just heated the tortilla.

Diced up some left over chicken.

Added some cheese. Lets pretend it was mozzarella. It was jack cheese because that is what I had. But it should have been mozzarella.

I happen to have some prosciutto, so I sliced it up and put it in. I would have used bacon if I had had it. It’s not “caprece” but who cares. It’s bacon! Or in this case, prosciutto.

You need basil. Slice it into slivers and sprinkle it on.

Then the sliced or diced home grown tomatoes.

Funny, when you grow tomatoes, you get so excited to pick the first one. You are so proud, take a picture, you might even pick it a little early. Then you are so happy because you have 3 or 4 in one day!

Then you start getting a little anxious because they just keep coming. Now its bowls full every couple of days. And they start rotting and you get gnats. But you know you are not supposed to put them in the fridge. Any idiot knows this. It turns them mealy. But you put them in anyway because they are coming out your ears! And you try to give them away, but your neighbors are out there weeding and harvesting their own, shoving them in their own fridges.

But wait! There is an easy solution.

Freeze them!

They become hard rocks in your freezer. At which point you gather them up and put them in a bag. Later , when you take them out, you put them in a pot and they melt down. You can put them in a blender and make spaghetti sauce or salsa or whatever! Its magic and wonderful.  My general plan is to freeze them and keep freezing them and freeze the ones my mom is giving up from her garden ’cause she is up to her armpits in tomatoes too. Then one day soon I will melt them, blend them and make tomato sauce to can. In jars like. Canning, you know?

Where was I?

Flour tortillas,

chicken

cheese

basil

prosciutto

tomatoes

Balsamic reduction, your own, the one from TJ’s or just balsamic vinegar.

Wrap it up and eat, eat, eat. Make more and eat more. Eat cold, eat warm.

It’s not too fancy, but very delicious.

French Dip/Philly Cheese Steak

First I make a disclaimer. I am not from Philadelphia. I do not make any claims that this is true Philly cheese steak material. Quite frankly I am not big on authenticity here. I know some people are and get quite excited about the idea. I guess that’s the risk you take when you name food after a city, country or province. For example, why hasn’t Belgium declared war on us over those sadly inferior frozen waffles things we call “Belgium” waffles? Not that I have been there, but I have heard from those that have been how fabulous their waffles really are over there. A waffle stand on every corner, wonderful scents filling the air.

Oops, I better get back on track.

Here is a dilly of a recipe I found on “Just a Pinch” recipe club. I had to adapt it a bit, but it was wonderful and I want to share it with you too. It won a blue ribbon and was submitted by “Cookingdad” Gordon Savell.

But my computer will not copy and paste this for me today. So here goes

Ingredients:

Some“: Garlic Powder

Seasoning Salt

Pepper

Emerils essentials (?)

1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup Mix

2 boxes Beef Broth

1 Roast, 3 lbs. Good cut like shoulder

16 oz beer

Good french bread, Hoagie rolls, etc.

Grilled onions, peppers

Swiss Cheese

Directions:

Put the roast in the crock pot, adding plenty of seasoning. Put in the beer, the soup mix, the broth. Cook in the crock pot on low/med (?) and it should be done in 4-6 hours. I guess you know your crock pot best to judge the timing.

When the meat is tender, take it out and shred it, adding juice. Toast a roll or bread, fill with meat and veggies then some shredded cheese and serve some ‘juice” on the side. Wonderful stuff!

Now I tend to buy my meat at Costco. I buy roasts, keep some whole for pot roast and cut some up for beef stew. I had taken out meat for stew a couple of days ago, then didn’t feel like making it.  And since I’m the kitchen boss…

That same day I got an email from the “Just a Pinch” recipe club I belong to and there was a french dip recipe. Eureka! Just what I needed. I adapted it just a little.

I browned the meat in a big enameled pot, then added the seasoning, a pack of onion soup mix, half a bottle of beer and 1 box of beef broth.

After it simmered for 3 hours, the meat was tender and the juice was wonderful. I do not often cook with beer. This most definitely worked. It gave it just the right flavor. In the past I have added sherry to make Au jus. That was good too.

Did I mention the bread? I made some home-made hoagie rolls. First time too. They came out pretty ugly (wait, isn’t that an oxy-moron?) but just the right texture and chew.  Not so soft it turned to mush, not so hard that it would seem too bready. I will post that recipe separate.

Grilled some onions, green peppers, mushrooms and threw on a slice of Havarti cheese. (it’s the only white cheese I had. Cheddar just wouldn’t do. It might not be “Philly” enough, whatever that is.)