Foodie Blog Roll 2

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sausage Cheese Squares

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I cannot take and credit for these; I got the recipe from my friend, Lindsey. These are great for breakfast or brunch, and on a mild day, these are a huge hit at a tailgate. Four can't afford NOT to make these! :)

Sausage Cheese Squares

Sausage Cheese Squares
2 lbs sausage (1 hot, 1 mild, or turkey sausage)
1 8oz package cream cheese (I use fat free)
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans crescent roll dough (I use reduced fat)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X13 baking dish, set aside. Brown the sausage and drain. Add in cream cheese and combine to mix and melt. Unroll one can of dough and spread it in the bottom of the dish. Pour the sausage mixture over the dough and spread out evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top of sausage. Roll out second can of dough and place it on top of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Cut and serve.

This time when I made it, I used hot sausage for both pounds and it was VERY good! The cream cheese cuts the heat a little. It's up to you. :) Give 'em a try!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

My friend, Laura, asked that I do something on my blog with chicken or this is for her! These are really easy and healthy. I like taking this to work for lunches; you can heat up the chicken mix or eat it cold. Yum!

Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

2 Tbs sesame oil
2 chicken breasts, chopped
Soy sauce, to taste
1 8oz package of fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 8oz can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Heat the sesame oil in a pan on medium heat and add chicken. When chicken is almost cooked through, add mushrooms, water chestnuts, onion, garlic and soy sauce. Cook for a few minutes and stir to combine.
Clean and dry lettuce. Use one large leaf and a scoop of the mix to make a wrap. 

*I will probably add shredded carrots to the mix next time; I think the sweetness would be nice. You could also use sprouts. Feel free to use other sauces or mixes. Soy sauce is very low in calories compared to a lot of sauces so keep that in mind when making your decision.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Butternut and Apple Autumn Soup

This soup is so delicious and is great for this time of year. And SO healthy! Look at all the veggies in the ingredient list! And the apple gives this soup a nice sweetness. It freezes and re-warms well also.

Butternut and Apple Autumn Soup

2 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 C butternut squash, cubed
1 C carrots, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
4 C chicken stock
1/2 C fat free half & half (you could use heavy or light cream also)
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in leeks and onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions soften. Add sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, apples and chicken stock. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit (very important!) In batches, puree in a blender, stirring in half & half a little at a time. Return to pot and stir in salt and grated nutmeg. Ladle into bowls and serve. I also grated some nutmeg on top of the individual soup bowls (just for looks).

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Creamy Artichoke Soup

It's getting a little cooler around here, and I welcome the change in season. I have always been a "soup person" but have only made soup one time. This recipe (altered from Giada on the Food Network) is creamy and delicious. You could make serve this as a starter at a supper club or eat it as a meal. Either way, it's a keeper!
Creamy Artichoke Soup

2 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 6oz jars marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed
2 C chicken stock
1/2 t salt
1/3 C mascarpone cheese, plus some for topping
watercress for topping (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic; stir. Add chopped potato, and cook for 5 minutes. Add artichokes, chicken stock and salt and cook until the veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit before blending (very important!). In batches, puree the soup in a blender, adding the mascarpone cheese a little at a time. Serve soup in bowls. Top soup with a little mascarpone cheese and watercress.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crushed Potato and Watercress Cakes

I could eat a million of these! These little potato cakes are so good. They are the perfect side to just about any dinner, and would also be nice for brunch.

Crushed Potato and Watercress Cakes

1 1/2 lb potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
5 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C loosely packed watercress leaves
1/2 C mascarpone cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by cooking the potatoes in the microwave and cook until tender when poked with a fork. Set aside to cool. 
While the potatoes are cooking, heat 2 Tbs of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onions and cook until the tender; about 5 minutes. Add garlic and the watercress and cook, stirring just until the watercress wilts. 
Put the potatoes in a large bowl and break apart into small chunks. Add the onion mixture and the mascarpone to the potatoes. Mix to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture into 16 potato cakes. Heat the remaining 3 Tbs oil in the original skillet. Work in batches and cook the cakes for about 3 minutes on each side. I was able to get 8 cakes in the skillet at a time, so I only did two batches. 

I served these with sauteed asparagus and steak. Seriously though, these would be great with anything!
I had never used watercress before this and I'm not sure that I had ever eaten it either. The very next day after I made these though, I came across this interesting article about the health benefits of watercress!  At least it was interesting to me. :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Italian Egg Rolls

Pin It I was looking at my extra egg roll wrappers in the fridge the other day and  my creative juices started flowing. I took the basics from my manicotti recipe and came up with these yummy Italian egg rolls. Dunk these in your favorite pizza or marinara sauce for a fun dinner!

Italian Egg Rolls

Italian Egg Rolls
1 lb ground turkey sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 t freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 15 oz container of part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 C freshly shredded Parmesan 
1 C shredded mozzarella
1 package egg roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten (used for the "glue" on the egg rolls)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Marinara sauce, warmed

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and onion and cook for a few minutes. Add the garlic and spinach; stir and add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Sauté until sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.
Heat the oil for frying in a skillet. Meanwhile, start filling your wrappers.

Place about 1/4 cup of filling on a wrapper with a corner facing you. Use the beaten egg as the glue for the egg rolls and "paint" it on the top sides.
Fold the bottom corner up and the side corners in.
Roll up the egg roll and place on a baking sheet or plate. Repeat for all egg rolls. Place 3-4 egg rolls in the pan of oil at a time. It is important to not place too many in the pan at a time. Cook them for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with tongs and place them on a plate covered in paper towels to drain. Immediately sprinkle with grated Parmesan so it will stick. If cutting in half, allow to cool first.
 Heat the marinara sauce; serve.

Funny tid bit: After I made this, I wanted to see if anyone had ever fried actual manicotti so I googled it. I came across this funny website:  This is why you're 
The picture shown is actually fried hot dogs in manicotti shells, but it's still so funny to me! Maybe I'll try fried manicotti soon! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

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Yum, yum, yum! My company had an autumn lunch a few weeks ago and we were all supposed to bring something. I decided to go all out. I found a delicious pumpkin cupcake recipe and made minor adjustments. These have a whole can of pumpkin puree in them and they are so moist. Much better, in my opinion, than a box of cake. Everyone was so impressed that the cupcakes were actually pumpkin flavored, not just decorated. These would be a great fall centerpiece also for a dinner or gathering. This way, you don't have to buy expensive decorations! I left a few unfrosted at the house and the Mr. and I ate them as muffins. Give these cuties a try.

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

I used three different sizes of cupcakes tins, jumbo, regular and mini. This recipe made 4 jumbo, 10 regular and 20 mini cupcakes. You could do less of one and more of another. You could also just do regular size cupcakes if you do not have the other pans and you do not want to invest in them. 

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes
3 cups of all- purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 C un-sweetened apple sauce
1/2 C buttermilk
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 eggs

Orange food coloring (or red and yellow, mixed)
Orange sanding sugar
Pretzel sticks
Green Twizzlers

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. 
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together until well blended. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, apple sauce, buttermilk, pumpkin puree and eggs together until well incorporated. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine. 
Divide the batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake about 13 minutes for the minis, 19 minutes for the regulars and 27 minutes for the jumbo or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Now for some fun! Color the frosting with food coloring until it is the desired color orange. Frost the cupcakes and set aside, making sure to save a small amount of frosting for piping the lines on the pumpkins. Pour the sanding sugar into a bowl. ( I was not able to find orange sanding sugar in my grocery store so I had to go to Williams-Sonoma).

 Roll the tops of the cupcakes in the sanding sugar to coat. To make the lines on the pumpkins, take a toothpick and press the sides of the sugared cupcake. Place remaining orange frosting in a small zip-lock bag or piping bag. Use either a small tip, or cut a VERY small hole in the corner of the zip-lock bag. Pipe the frosting over the lines made with the toothpick. For the stems, you can either use pretzel sticks, or green Twizzlers or some of both. Cut the Twizzlers into small pieces and place in the middle of the pumpkins.
For the little green vines, I used a green Laffy Taffy. I tore a small piece off and rolled it on a cutting board until it was a long and stretchy. I just twirled them around my finger and stuck one end into the top of the pumpkins.

 I obviously could not bring my kitchen table to the office, so I made a mini pumpkin patch on a cake plate. Here was my masterpiece. :) Make sure you have plenty of candy corn and candy corn pumpkins to complete the decoration.
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Homemade Grilled Pizza

The other night, Chris and I had our own little pizza party at home, with homemade pizza! We grilled it on the outdoor grill and it was so much fun! I totally recommend doing this sometime. It's not as hard as you would think and it's fun to do together. :) I made two different kinds, a girly pizza and a manly pizza (wasn't sure if my cheese and arugula would fill hubby up).  I made a red pepper pesto and used that for the pizza sauce, but regular pizza sauce would work great too. I have to admit, I used store bought, fresh pizza dough (which was awesome!) as this recipe is already a bit time consuming.
Anyways, here's me having a little fun channeling my inner pizza-dough-tosser (is that a real word?):

Red Pepper Pesto
2 red bell peppers, roasted
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 c fresh basil leaves
3 T pine nuts
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast the red peppers and peel the skins off. Place the peppers, garlic, basil, and pine nuts into the food processor. Pulse a few times. Turn food processor on and slowly stream in oil; blend until smooth. Add in the Parmesan, salt and pepper and pulse a few more times.Scrape mixture into a bowl.

Homemade Grilled Rustic Pizza

First I'll start with the pesto, arugula pizza.

Canola oil, as needed
Salt and pepper
Red pepper pesto, see above
12 oz fresh Mozzarella, sliced
Few handfuls of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups baby arugula leaves

Light the grill to med-high heat. Roll out your dough and brush the top with canola oil. Season the top with salt and pepper. Place the dough on the grill, oiled side down and grill until bottom is slightly charred and golden brown. Brush the top with additional oil before flipping it over. Continue grilling until the crust is slightly firm, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Transfer the crust to a baking sheet and top with pesto, then onions, arugula, mozzarella and Parmigiano. Place the pan on the grill and close the cover. Cook for a few more minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melty. :) Take pizza off grill and place on cutting board. Slice and serve!

Grilled Sausage and Roasted Pepper Pizza

Olive oil or canola oil
1/2 lb hot sausage links, cooked
1 roasted red pepper
1 roasted yellow pepper
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fontina or Parmesan cheese, shredded

Prepare pizza the same as above. You really can't go wrong making this pizza......just use the ingredients that you like. We used pesto on half of this pizza and just used oil for the other half (although I totally prefer the pesto!).
Just have fun with this! I really hope some of you try making your ow pizza and let me know how it goes!
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