Omelette for Two

One of my favorite things about Saturday mornings is making breakfast. During the week, we’re both up early and on to work by 8 o’clock; breakfast consists of a cup of tea at my desk and a banana or packet of instant oatmeal, an effort to stay healthy but not really a meal. But on Saturdays, I can make those muffins I saw on Pinterest or the sausage I just picked up at market and watch TV in my bathrobe until 11am!

Last weekend, I had all the ingredients to make one of our favorite Saturday morning meals, an omelette for two. I found this recipe in my Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook a few years ago and have been making it with different variations of ingredients ever since. It’s light and fluffy like an omelette but it makes a lot more and is less temperamental since it puffs up in the oven. What’s better is that you can make it with anything you happen to have one hand. For this recipe, I stuck to the ingredients called for, bacon, onion, cheese and potato.

Start by chopping up the ingredients and preheating the oven.

Heat a frying pan over medium low heat and cook the bacon slowly for about 10 minutes.

Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels and add the butter. Once melted add the potatoes and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat until the potato begins to brown and the onion is translucent, another 10 minutes. Add the bacon back to the pan.

While the potato and onion are cooking, beat the eggs and milk together until well combined. Add the cheese to the mixture and some salt and pepper.

Once the bacon has been added back to the potato mixture, pour the egg and cheese mixture over it.

Place the pan into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes until the egg is fluffy and just cooked through.

Slice and enjoy with a side of fruit and a cup of your favorite hot beverage!

Like I said, use any ingredients you have on hand. A few days ago, I used green peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese to make a different one.

Here’s the recipe from Foodnetwork.com:

Omelette for Two
Print
Author: Ina Garten
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1/4 pound good thick-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup medium-diced Yukon gold potato
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, diced, plus extra grated cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the bacon crosswise in 1-inch slices. Cook the bacon in an 8-inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the pan, and then add the potato and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion starts to brown and the potato is tender but firm. Add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together with a fork. Stir in the scallions and diced Cheddar. When the potato is cooked, add the bacon to the pan and pour over the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the omelet puffs and the eggs are almost cooked in the center. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Cheddar and bake for another minute. Serve hot directly from the pan.

Sunday Pot Roast

I hate how the weekends fly right by. I always have high hopes for my weekends and somehow house work and obligations always seem to creep in and take over. This makes my Sunday evenings more stressful as I run around trying to get things ready for the week and desperately hope to get 1 hour to myself to catch up on the newspaper or watch one of the 2 shows that I love  on Sunday nights. This weekend was no exception. Last night, I was working on the blog while trying to watch a movie with Eric, a movie that we rented 2 days ago and never found time to watch; a basket of clean laundry was waiting to be folded and I found myself wishing for simpler Sundays.

Sundays is a day that has always had a greater feeling of rest. Sunday afternoon naps are always better than Saturday ones. Movies watched on a Sunday always feel less rushed and Sunday food is always warm, delicious and satisfying.

Last week, I made pot roast for Sunday dinner and it was amazing. It cooked most of the day and filled the house with a wonderful and lingering smell; I could still smell it Monday after coming home from work! I don’t make pot roast often, it’s such a “1950′s American Sunday Dinner” and that’s not usually my style, but there is something to be said for the American nostalgia that comes with making pot roast on a Sunday. It makes me feel like Joan Cleaver (the mom from Leave it to Beaver).

I found a recipe that got rave reviews, by Ina Garten on Foodnetwork.com. Most of Ina’s recipes get rave reviews but this one was out of the park. And after making it, I fully concur.

Start the recipe by prepping all the ingredients. There is a lot of chopping. You should end up with garlic, onions, carrots, celery, leeks and fresh herbs.

 

Prep the meat by allowing it to come to room temperature before you cook it. (This will prevent the meat from being tough or chewy.) Dry the meat with paper towels and then season it on all sides with salt and pepper.

Dredge the entire cut of meat in flour.

Heat oil in the dutch oven over medium heat and brown all sides of the roast, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove the roast to a large plate. Add more olive oil to the pot and add in the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, leeks, salt and pepper. Saute for 10-15 minutes until tender but not brown.

Add the rest of the ingredients except for the herb bundle.

Use kitchen twine to tie together the rosemary and thyme and add it to the pot.

Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Place in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour and then turn the heat down to 250 degrees for another 1.5 hours for a total of 2.5 hours in the oven. The house will smell amazing and it should look like this when you take the lid off (don’t forget pot holders! the whole dutch oven will be extremely hot!).

Remove the roast and cover. At this point, if you only have a blender, blend about half of the cooking juice and stir it back into the pot. I have an immersion blender so I just used that right in the pot itself to blend all over to make the sauce smoother.

While the pot roast was cooking, I also prepared some potatoes in the Irish fashion. Simply boil them for about 20 minutes, drain the water out and put a sheet of crumbled newspaper in the top of the pot with the lid on. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. The newspaper will suck up the moisture and leave your potatoes light and fluffy! It sounds strange, I know, but it worked so well.

To serve your pot roast, slice it and pour the sauce over it on a large platter.

Serve along side the Irish potatoes.

This was the best pot roast I have ever eaten/made. The sauce was rich and thick and the meat was juicy and tender. The potatoes were fluffy and paired perfectly with the sauce. It was the perfect meal for a Sunday afternoon and a great way to start a new week with a warm, full and happy belly.

Here’s the recipe from Foodnetwork.com:

Company Pot Roast
Print
Author: Ina Garten
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 3 hours
Total time: 3 hours 20 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.
  4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Split Pea Soup

Last week we got a burst of cold weather after lots of unseasonably warm temps for weeks. In an attempt to soften the shock to our systems and use the leftover ham bone from our party I decided to make my first pot of split pea soup. Split pea soup was not something I ate growing up. Typically, leftover ham turned into ham and green beans, which is also yum! Eric and I love peas, they might be our favorite vegetable and I’ve been dying to try to make split pea soup for a few years.

I searched my cookbooks and online and came upon a recipe from Epicurious.com. Not only did the recipe get great reviews, but it started and ended with bacon. What could be better than that?!

To start the recipe, chop up your 8 slices of bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy.

While that’s cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients. There aren’t many, another reason I love this recipe, it’s really simple and easy.

Once the bacon is cooked, use a slotted spoon and remove it from the pot. Drain it on paper towels and set it aside for later. You’ll use it as a garnish for the soup.

Add the carrots and onions to the hot bacon fat and fry it up until soft.

Add in the rest of the ingredients, the ham bones, water, salt and pepper, bay leaf and split peas.

Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours until the soup thickens.

Take out the ham bone and remove the meat.

Add the ham back into the pot and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with crumbles of the crispy bacon.

Serve with a slice of country bread. This soup was filled with flavor and really warms you up on a cold day.

Here’s the recipe:

Mrs. Schreiner’s Split Pea Soup
Print
Author: Epicurious.com
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 8 slices bacon (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 pound dried split peas
  • 2 1/2 quarts water plus additional if necessary
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Pour off all but about 1/4 cup bacon fat from kettle and cook onions and carrots, stirring, until softened. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding 1 to 2 cups more water if soup becomes too thick, 2 hours.
  3. Remove kettle from heat and transfer ham hock with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Discard fat and bones and chop meat. Return meat to kettle and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Discard bay leaf.
  4. Just before serving, crumble bacon and sprinkle over soup.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Have you been invited to Thanksgiving or just to a gathering of friends and asked to bring an appetizer? Are you completely blank on what to make? I feel your pain. Appetizers are not something that I make often, I enjoy ordering them in restaurants, but when it comes to making them in my own home, I typically move right on to the main meal, skipping appetizers all together.

A few years ago, I was asked to bring an appetizer to Thanksgiving and had no clue what to make. I needed to feed a lot of people and I wanted something that wasn’t very complicated. I came upon a recipe for spinach artichoke dip and immediately knew I needed to make it. Everyone loved it and it became one of my go-to appetizer recipes.

I made some last week to take to a party and was able to make most of it the night before and finish it off when we arrived at the party. It’s a perfect take-along dish!

Start the recipe by thawing your spinach and wringing it out between paper towels. Then chop up the onions and drain and chop the canned artichoke hearts. Mince the garlic and grate the lemon peel.

Melt  the butter in a saute pan over medium heat and then add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add in the thyme and lemon peel and stir. Add the flour and whisk well and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock, whisking the whole time and salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high whisking often and cook until it gets thick 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the artichokes and spinach and half of each of the cheeses.

Transfer the mixture to a casserole.

At this point, I put my dip in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to re-heat the dish, put it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until its heated through.

Sprinkle the top of the dip with the rest of both cheeses and put under the broiler for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and begins to brown.

Serve with French bread slices, Melba toasts, crackers or corn chips.

Here’s the recipe:

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Print
Author: Red Velvet
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • Two 10-ounce boxes chopped frozen spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Half of a small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One 13.75-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella
  • 1 loaf whole grain baguette, cut into bite-size cubes
Instructions
  1. In a microwaveable bowl, defrost the spinach in the microwave for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the spinach in a kitchen towel and wring dry. Tear the spinach into small pieces and set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and lemon peel. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and cook, whisking often, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the spinach, artichokes and half each of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and the mozzarella. Transfer the mixture to a casserole.
  3. Refrigerate overnight if making ahead. Re-heat dish at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until heated through, when ready to serve.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
  5. Preheat the broiler. Broil the dip until bubbly and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Serve with the bread cubes.