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Monday, January 31, 2011

French Bread Pizza #1

Recipe: Spinach and Mushroom French Bread Pizza with Sun dried Tomato Spread

Who didn’t love Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza as a kid? I’d venture to say very few didn’t like them. In the world of frozen pizza where there are hundreds to choose from, Stouffers is in my top three that I will enjoy from time to time. That being said, this idea came from a commercial I saw about a bajillion times on the Food Network for those sandwich thins. The idea sounded good to me, so I ran with it since I had nearly all the ingredients in my fridge that night anyway.

 Spinach and Mushroom French Bread Pizza

These pizzas would be great for a quick dinner, a weekend lunch or snack, or maybe some really big sports game that might be right around the corner…

*Serves 4 (as a meal)
(printable recipe)

- 1 long French loaf
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 3-4 sun dried tomatoes in oil, depending on size
- 1.5 teaspoons oil from sun dried tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 cups mushrooms
- ¾ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed


Friday, January 28, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Casserole

This is one of my favorite casseroles that I’ve come up with. There is just something so homey and delightful to me about a casserole. I make this one often because I usually have all or most of the ingredients on hand and it’s just so satisfying. This recipe is perfect for the day after you grill some chicken breasts. Just add an extra one and set it aside for the next night.
Southwestern Chicken Casserole

*Serves 2 generously
(printable recipe)

- 1lb potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 large chicken breast (or two small), grilled
- ½ cup salsa verde
- 1 bell pepper, sliced (any color)
- ½ small onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup black bean dip (or refried beans)
- 1 cup canned red beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon season salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 cup chopped scallion
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Oil or additional butter for sautéing
- Cooking spray
- Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Add your diced potatoes to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Allow potatoes to cook until just before being fork tender. Once done, remove from heat and drain well.

2. While potatoes are cooking sauté peppers and onions over medium heat in a couple of tablespoons of oil or butter for about 10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Once done remove from heat and set aside.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blogger Spotlight: The Bitchy Waiter

I started a Blogger Spotlight as a way to showcase and share blogs that I follow, find, and enjoy. This month I’d like to share with you the one and only Bitchy Waiter. I’ve told many of my friends about his blog and figured it was time to share him with you all as well.

The Bitchy Waiter
rants and raves from one in the food service industry

I’ve been following this blog for at least a year now, if not more, and it is probably one of my favorites in my reader. The Bitchy Waiter shares tales from his serving jobs with a fierce and relentless wit. Granted his brand of humor is not for everyone (read: he isn’t always PG-13), but I enjoy his no holds barred style.

In addition to his regular posts, he also shares some of his own creative writing (which are some of my favorites) or comments on pop culture and recent news.

I highly suggest you check him out @ The Bitchy Waiter If you've worked in hospitality at any point in your life (or ever eaten at a restaurant), you'll be sure to appreciate this blog.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Smokey Cheddar Turkey Panini

This past week has been a little blah here in the Tampa Bay area. It’s raining AGAIN and unseasonably cold. (Hello Mr. Weather, this IS the sunshine state!) In fact we had a big storm last night and the thunder was so loud that it woke Brent, me, and the two puppies out of a dead sleep. I think Rosco jumped 4 feet out of the bed he was so freaked out.

None of this has anything to do with today’s recipe except that it does wrap you up in a warm blanket and make you feel a little cozy. Paninis do that to me for some reason. I’m a fan of Panera, but let’s be honest – it isn’t exactly the cheapest place to get a bite to eat. This one is modeled after their Smokehouse Turkey Panini but with a few modifications.

Smokey Cheddar Turkey Panini

*Makes 4 Sandwiches
(printable recipe)

- ½ - ¾ lb thin sliced deli turkey
- ¼ lb thin sliced provolone cheese
- ¼ lb thin sliced smoked cheddar cheese
- 8 slices Italian bread, sliced ½” thick
- ¾ cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 8 sliced bacon, cooked
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach, approx
- 1/3 cup stone ground mustard*
- 2 large sun dried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Olive oil

* This kind of mustard has little seeds in it, if you don’t groove on that use whatever kind you’d like.


1. Add mushrooms and butter to a sauté pan and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile combine sun dried tomatoes and mustard in a blender or food processor until smooth.

2. Heat your panini press or grill pan to a medium heat. I use my old George Forman, which works great for this actually. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on one side of each slice of bread. These sides will be the “outside” of the panini.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Florentine Omelet

If there is one thing in the kitchen that I am utterly useless at, it’s making the perfect omelet. I can never seem to get it juuuust right and believe me I have tried countless times. Brent however is a total rock star when it comes to making them, and this is my favorite that he makes. It takes a bit of effort but it’s well worth it. After several hours of begging and promises to give him back rubs, he wrote the recipe down so I can share it with you.

Brent’s Florentine Omelet

*Serves 2
(printable recipe)

- 3 eggs
- slash of milk
- ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2/3 cup heavy cream + a splash;
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon of garlic
- 1/3 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and excess water removed
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded Italian cheese
- salt and pepper


For the sauce: sauté onion and garlic in 1 tbl butter on medium heat until translucent. Add artichoke hearts and spinach, then toss to combine allow to cook for a minute. Add heavy cream and let reduce by half over medium heat. Whisk in parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional minute or two, then serve over omelet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Leftovers Reanimated

I’m not a huge leftovers lover and neither is Brent for that matter. It’s not that the meal wasn’t good or that it’s gone “bad” by the next day or two, we just get bored and want something new and exciting to eat. Many nights during the week that is the highlight of our day – the food. Does this make us dorky and a little lame? Probably, but it’s who we are as a couple and I think we’re ok with that.

There are two ways we combat the leftover blues in our little home. One way is to only make enough that make be eaten that night, the other is to portion the rest out and freeze it with the exception of maybe some for lunch the next day. Freezing is my favorite way because there are some things (like chili) that really can’t be made for just two. And then in a week or two when I have a mad case of dinner laziness, I can just pull something out that is ready to go. This is a beautiful thing in my opinion.

There really is only one downside to the freezing method. Sometimes your freezer gets a little full with random items and it needs to be clean out! I hate throwing food out so I pretty much toss anything that I didn’t use in prepping a meal into a container, or Ziploc bag, and toss it in.

My freezer right now contains the following: artichoke hearts, bacon, leftover stuffing, leftover pesto, guacamole, alfredo sauce, pastry puff shells, a lone chicken breast, some mullet Brent caught fishing, a piece of salmon, 1 cup of baked beans, a whole roasted chicken that I want to make stock with but haven’t yet, leftover homemade soup, leftover chili, an Italian sausage link, random bread, and a bunch of other stuff but you get the point.

Sidenote: We ate the homemade soup last night and I forgot how good it was. I should have written the recipe down when I did it, now I'll have to guess when I want it again.

So since Christmas we’ve been in “pantry cooking” mode. If you aren’t familiar with the term it basically means eating up everything in your pantry/freezer and buying as little groceries as possible. There have been several pretty good dishes that have come out of this… all of which I didn’t bother to write down or photograph at the time with the exception of this recipe I’ll be sharing with you. I’m starting to see a trend here…perhaps a New Year resolution is in order to write down everything I cook in the kitchen.

Feel free to adapt it as needed. I don’t expect you to have the same leftovers in your fridge/freezer, but if you do… then it is imperative you make this!

Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

*Serves 2
(Printable recipe)

- 2 chicken breasts, pounded to ¼ inch thickness
- ½ - ¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cups stuffing
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons red bell pepper pesto
- 2 teaspoons chicken grill seasoning
* toothpicks, soaked in water for 10 minutes
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