Make-Ahead Veggie Strata

Another good idea for a Mother’s Day brunch…

swellkid

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I love to have people over for brunch. I am in favor of any event that gives me an excuse to drink champagne during daylight hours.  What I don’t love is getting up early to cook, so I like to look for things I can make ahead of time. Wow, I sound really decadent and lazy.  I’m really not. Promise.

A strata is a basically a savory bread pudding.  It’s eggy, and custardy, and cheesy, and delicious.  It’s the perfect make-ahead brunch dish.  You can assemble it the night before and bake it while your friends are having their first glass of bubbly.  Another nice feature of a strata is that you can customize it to meet the needs of your guests.  As long as you cook it first, you can add pretty much any meat (crumbled Italian sausage is awesome in this) or veggie to suit everyone’s taste.  Serves 8

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Almost Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Mother’s Day Brunch Idea?

swellkid

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These happened by accident.  Some accidents are happy.  I wanted to make homemade cinnamon rolls for brunch the next morning.  I started to proof the yeast in warm water….no foam.  When you add yeast to warm water and a pinch of sugar, the yeast wakes up and comes to life, creating a beer-like foam. I had no foam.  I looked at the jar of yeast and discovered that it had expired.  It was too late to go to the store and I wasn’t sure if I could change the menu, so I started rooting around in the freezer and found a bag of Rhodes frozen dinner rolls.  I usually use them to make Cabbage Rolls (recipe to come soon) but I thought, maybe these will work.  They did!  Hooray, delicious homemade cinnamon rolls – almost as much work as making them from scratch so you can still feel like you…

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Spiced Cabbage Soup

Posted this first back in 2011 when I first started blogging. It’s still a favorite! I know cabbage soup doesn’t sound amazing, but I promise you this is so good!

swellkid

On our honeymoon in 2002, my husband and I visited Darina Allen’s farm and cooking school called Ballymaloe in Ireland.  We had a memorable lunch that included this soup.  It’s a soup I make regularly and it always hits the spot!

Serves 4

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 head of Napa cabbage leaves
  • 1/2 C. cream
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 T. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  When the butter is melted and begins to foam, add the onions and potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lower the temperature, cover and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes.  Pour in the stock and increase the heat to simmer the vegetables until they are tender.  About 8-10 minutes. …

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Steamed Artichokes with Blender Hollandaise

swellkid

This is a foolproof Hollandaise sauce recipe.  No need to fuss over a saucepan tempering egg yolks.  It’s so easy and so delicious you’ll want to serve it on everything from steamed artichokes and poached eggs, to fish and asparagus. This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Makes about 1 cup

Here is how I steam an artichoke:  Cut the top and bottom off so it’s flat on both ends.  Use scissors to snip the sharp ends off of all the petals.  Rub a cut lemon all over the top and bottom and cut edges.

Fill a large pot of water with about two inches of water.  Place the artichokes top down into the water.  Heat the water to boiling, cover and cook for about twelve minutes, or until a knife inserted into the top goes in very easily.  Remove from the water and…

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Nolan’s Asparagus Fettuccine

swellkid

I’m told this dish got my young friend Nolan to eat asparagus…and like it!  The asparagus curls are thin and flexible like a noodle and can be slurped up right along with the pasta.

  • 1/2 lb. asparagus spears
  • salt
  • 1 lb. fettuccine
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 C. cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the asparagus spears into thin, long strips.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  In the last minute of cooking, add the asparagus curls to the pasta water.  Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the egg yolks, cream, lemon juice and cheese with a whisk and set aside. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 C. of the pasta water.   Return the pasta and asparagus to the pot.  Place the butter and oil in the pot and toss to melt.  Pour…

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The Quickest Weeknight Chicken

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This is my quickest (15 minutes tops) weeknight chicken recipe.  I keep boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer so that with a little veggie, I can always make a healthy, fast dinner with little to no planning.  You can use a variety of liquid for this dish, white wine is my favorite, but you can also use beer, chicken or veggie stock, or even marsala or dry vermouth.  Serves 4

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 C. white wine, or beer, or chicken stock…some kind of flavorful liquid
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. heavy cream
  • parsley for garnish

Split the chicken breasts horizontally so you have 4-6 thinner pieces of chicken.  If they are very thick breasts you can cut them into three slices horizontally.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a large, NOT non-stick skillet…

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Pepperoni Chicken Roll Ups

swellkid

My kids love pizza, but I get a little tired of it sometimes.  I had some chicken tenders in the freezer and the makings for pizza, so I came up with these yummy roll-ups.  Easy, simple, your kids will love these, and the leftovers were even tastier.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders
  • About 30 slices of pepperoni
  • 1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 C. tomato sauce, I used Hunts
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 t. olive oil, divided

Place the chicken tenders on a cutting board and pound them lightly to flatten them.  Sprinkle them on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place 2 slices of pepperoni on top of each piece of chicken.  Sprinkle about 2 T. of the cheese on each piece of chicken.

Roll them up and secure with a toothpick.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. …

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