Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ham and Egg Cups

We had the family over for brunch last Sunday. In terms of meal preparation timing, I stink. I don't want to start too early and risk the food get cold or overcooked. So I end up starting too late and rush around like a headless chicken. Definitely something I am working on. Luckily, my parents came over an hour early to help as my sous chefs.

My menu included:
scrambled eggs
home fries
mini bagels and lox
ham and cheese cups
toasted italian bread
fruit salad
chocolate chip muffins
coffee cake
orange juice
wine (Of course! We are Portuguese. My father brought over his homemade wine).

Needless to say, it was a pretty good spread for eight people. I really wanted to make ham and cheese cups. Of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last minute to quickly search for a recipe that looked appetizing. In a crazed panic, I realized none fit the bill for the ingredients I had on hand. All the recipes (or the few that I looked at) called for egg subsitute or cubed ham. So I decided to wing it and they were a hit! This is definitely a recipe worth making again. They are so easy, cutesy and delicious! I am sure you could even freeze them to keep on hand for a quick breakfast.

Tip: My mother came up with the idea to use a cream dispenser to pour the eggs into the ham cups. This is so much easier then trying to spoon it in.

Ham and Egg Cups
10 large eggs
3/4 lb sliced maple or honey deli ham
1/4 cup light cream
salt and pepper
3 green onions, finely minced
6 oz grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Insert maple ham slices into each well to form a cup. Edges will stick up. It is okay if it is not the neatest. In a bowl, mix eggs, cream, salt and pepper, and whisk. Pour egg mixture into ham cup until about halfway full. Sprinkle a teaspoon of green onions in each cup. Add more if you love green onions. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese on each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Sweet Potato, Kale and Chorizo Soup

I spent three hours doing yard work today and really tried to make a dent in the thick blanket of leaves surrounding our home. After three hours, I was sore, hungry, and ready for some lunch. After lunch, I looked out the window and the yard looked exactly the same! It looked as if I hadn't done any yard work at all. Argh, I need one of those sit-on tractor mower thingies to pick up the leaves. I probably am not allowed to buy one if I call them "tractor mower thingies".

Good thing a hearty soup was waiting for me. I made this soup to use up my supply of kale. I bought some Lacinato kale on sale at WholeFoods and it sat in my fridge forgotten. I scrambled to find a new recipe to try before it ended up in the compost. This recipe sounded different and delicious. I have never made soup with sweet potato or lacinato kale so I was pleasantly surprised with how hearty it was. Definitely recommend it after a long day of yardwork.

Mr. Yoshi loves rolling in the leaves.
Sweet Potato, Kale and Chorizo Soup
Adapted from and Bon Appetit
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 10 oz fully cooked, smoked chorizo link, sliced in 1/4 inch thick pieces
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large red skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cubed
2 white-skinned potato, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth
4 cups chopped lacinato kale or any kind of leafy greens you would like to use
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add chorizo and saute until brown. Remove chorizo and place on paper towels to drain. Add onions and garlic to pot and saute until translucent. Add potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often. Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, simmer until potatoes cooked, about 20 minutes. Using an emulsion blender, puree soup until smooth. Add chorizo and kale and simmer until kale is cooked, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into bowls and serve. 

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Husband (between mouthfuls of food): So, are you going to to post this recipe on your blog?
Me: Nope
Husband: Why not? It is delicious.
Me: Yes, but it is too simple.
Husband: But it is delicious!
Me: I just quickly threw it together.
Husband: But you could inspire someone that has a limited amount of time. And it's delicious!!! (shovels more food into mouth).

I drove home from work last night and realized I had completely forgotten to go to the grocery store. I decided to go after I walked the dog. And when that was done, I realized all I wanted to do was put on my pjs and watch Top Chef. But we had to eat something. I pulled out some sauce and mozzarella cheese leftover from a pizza I made a couple days ago. I opened the freezer and found two lonely chicken breasts in a sea of ice cream containers and frozen veggies. I defrosted the chicken breasts, split them, pounded them, breaded them, stuck them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, and baked for about 25 minutes. Then I made pasta. I put the chicken breasts in a casserole dish with sauce and cheese and baked until bubbly and voila, dinner served. A super easy and no-fry version of chicken parmesan.

Chicken Parmesan
Two chicken breasts, split lengthwise, and pounded thin
One cup of Italian style breadcrumbs
One egg, beaten
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese
Jarred tomato space
Box of spaghetti, preferably angel hair, because it is my favorite

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dip chicken pieces in eggs and allow excess to drip off. Coat chicken in breadcrumbs until  uniformly covered. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet (I used olive oil). Cook for 20- 25 minutes, turning half way. Make pasta per box directions. In a casserole dish, add one cup of sauce and distribute evenly. Add chicken. Add some sauce and mozarella cheese on top of each breast. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Serve over pasta.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Portuguese Stuffing

Apparently stuffing is not very photogenic.  
I love Thanksgiving and it would not be Thanksgiving without my family's stuffing. It is so delicious. Every year we look at each other and say "Oooh! The stuffing is so good!" Seriously, we may even moan a little. I tried to get the recipe from my mother over the phone but it was like pulling teeth. "You know, a few onions, some chicken livers, papo secos, eggs...that's it! Easy." Really, mom! How many livers? Do I rinse them first? Two onions? What?! Four?! Needless to say it took several phone calls.

I have to say it came out pretty tasty. It is not exactly like my mom's but not bad for my first try. It will take some trial and error but this is a good start and the hubby and I were happy with the results. I must warn you it can be a little...ummm...different working with bloody chicken livers if you haven't before, but it absolutely adds to the flavor of the stuffing without being overpowering.

  • Four medium to large onions
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Four papo seco, aka Portuguese rolls
  • Four eggs
  • Four chicken livers
  • A couple dashes of garlic powder
  • A few tbsp of olive oil (my mom uses canola oil)
  • 1 tbsp hot chopped pepper (see picture)
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon or to taste
  • Salt
Roughly chop onions and garlic. Pulse in food processor until uniformly diced. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in pan. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Meanwhile, rinse chicken liver and place in a small sauce pan with water and garlic powder. Boil until cooked, approximately 5 minutes. Remove livers and reserve water.  Place livers in food processor and pulse for a few seconds. It should be the consistency of a paste. Add it to the onions mixture and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt, paprika, and hot chopped pepper. Stir until well-incorporated. Remove mixture from heat, place into a large bowl, and set aside.  Soak papo secos in water and squeeze to allow water to spread through bread. Over sink, squeeze out excess water. Do this to all pieces and then break into sections and place in food processor and pulse until consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Add to mixture. Add four eggs to mixture as well as a couple tablespoons of the liver water. Add the cinnamon and more salt. Stir well. In a sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mixture and saute until browned. We usually make it a day ahead. You can stuff the turkey with it or put it in an oven safe casserole pan and heat in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

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