Tag Archives: home cooking

Banana Pecan French Toast!!

Ooof, this was good. French toast is pretty basic as far as execution goes but there are a few tricks to make it perfect. Start with fresh bakery bread. Something soft. I used multi-grain for this because it was soft but had some texture still. Make sure you really let the bread absorb the egg goop. Add some extras like fruit, nuts, whip cream, bacon. Sliced cooked bananas and chopped pecans did the job today.

  • For about 4-5 slices whisk 3 eggs, 1/3 cup (soy) milk,a few big shakes cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk till blended.
  • Soak bread in egg mix till bread almost falls apart.
  • Heat about 1 tsp butter (substitute) in a non stick skillet on med heat.
  • Add bread and cook till browned on each side.
  • Heat about 1 tsp butter (sub) in another non stick skillet, add thick sliced bananas and cook on med heat till slightly browned.
  • Top with chopped pecans and maple syrup.
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Pork Roll, Egg & Cheez on a Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin

This is super basic but still really stands out amongst breakfast yummies. It’s perfect for those morning when you can’t decide between an omelet or pancakes.

I’ve heard you can only get, or used to only be able to get, pork roll (taylor ham) in Jersey, because the standard for meat is really low there.  So if that’s the case, you could use any salty breakfast meat. Bacon, sausage, ham, vegan “meat”… But if you have access to pork roll, I’d go for that. It’s really awesome.

Ingredients

(per serving)

  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices pork roll
  • ½ English muffin, cinnamon raisin
  • 1 slice cheez, pretty much of your choice, I’m using American
  • Maple syrup, grade b preferably, just not
  • Salt & pepper

Tools

  • Non-stick frying pan for eggs, with lid, or some aluminum foil
  • Frying pan for meat
  • Toaster

Start cooking your pork roll as per box instructions, or pretty much exactly like how you’d cook bacon; on med/hi heat.

When done to your liking, transfer to a few  paper towels, for degreasing.

While pork roll is cooking, start egg.  Heat non-stick frying pan on med heat for about 30 seconds. For more control, I’d recommend first cracking egg into a small bowl and then pouring it in.  Also, if you hold your frying pan at a slight angle, and the pan is hot, it’s easier to get your egg to stay where you want it.

Cover with lid, or use a piece of aluminum foil to lay over the pan. We want the heat to stay in, and cook the egg on top too.

Toast English muffin.

When egg looks pretty close to being done to your liking (I like mine a little runny, but, ya know) place slice of cheez over egg and replace lid or aluminum foil, till cheez melts.  Should take only seconds.

Plate English muffin, pouring some maple syrup on it. Then pork roll, egg and cheez.  Top with salt and pepper, and maybe add a bit more maple syrup to the plate.

BOOM!

Sun Dried Tomato, Artichoke, and Goat Cheez French Bread Pizza with Balsamic Reduction, and Grilled Zucchini

This guy is full of flavor. You could make it as an appetizer or a meal. There’s a bit of prep work, but nothing too difficult. This recipe serves 2.

** I made this with sun dried tomatoes, chopped, and cooked in olive oil, but I would recommend either using a food processor to chop the tomatoes and using that to make a paste, or just buying a sun dried tomato spread.

Ingredients

  • Sun dried tomatoes, chopped as fine as possible
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, washed
  • 2 zucchini, cut
  • 1/2 loaf french bread, cut in half, length wise
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 pkg goat cheez
  • 1 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, or more if you want to make extra to store
  • Olive oil, have about 2 cups on hand
  • Olives of your choice, optional

Tools

  • Sauce pan
  • Skillet
  • Griddle
  • Baking sheet

To make the balsamic reduction just heat vinegar in sauce pan on low heat to release steam.  Let vinegar reduce by a bit more than half and set aside to cool. ** Don’t waste your money on expensive balsamic for this. Reducing the vinegar makes it taste amazing, no matter what.

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut the veggies and set each aside.

In frying pan add about 1 tbsp olive oil and artichokes. Cook on med/hi heat till golden brown. Set aside.

Toast pine nuts on med heat. These will cook very quickly, so keep and eye on them. Set aside.

In sauce pan heat about 1/2 cup olive oil and garlic, on med heat. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. ** Like I said before tho, in the future I would just buy some sun dried tomato spread and use that. This was quite tasty, but didn’t sink into the bread as much as I would have liked.

Season zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Heat griddle to med/hi and cook for roughly 6 minutes each side, or till slightly charred.

Cut bread and hollow out some of the middle.

Drizzle olive oil over bread; add tomatoes, artichokes and goat cheez. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over pizza.  Place on baking sheet and cook for roughly 10-15 minutes, or to liking.

Plate zucchini, olives and pizza. Top pizza with toasted pine nuts and balsamic reduction. Mmmm.

Filet Mignon with Stuffed Green Olives

Filet mignon is the easiest to cook.  When you’re buying it you want to look for a pinkish red, not a dark color.  It’s also good when you can see fat marbled through the meat, making it prime.  It’s on the more expensive side but not out of control.  I spent about 20 bucks at the grocery store for this meal for two. $10 for the meat and the rest on olives and salad stuff.

Ingredients

Filets

  • Filets, 1 per person
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Dressing

  • 2-3 large olives, or 4-5 small guys
  • 2 tbsp cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp brine from olive jar
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
  • pepper

Also

  • Stuffed specialty olives, with garlic, pimento, almonds, whatever you like
  • Salad, of your choice. I used mixed greens, orange pepper, cucumber and tomatoes

Tools

  • Skillet
  • Blender

Preheat your oven to 375.  Season filets with salt, pepper, and a few drops olive oil. Add olive oil to pan and heat on hi. Once olive starts steaming, add filets.

Sear filets; roughly 2 or 3 mins each side.

Turn off stove and place skillet with filets into oven. Cook for 5-6 min for rare, 8-10 for med, and over 10 for well done.  All ovens can be different so be sure to cut center of steak and check out if the coloring suits you.

While those are cooking, make your salad.

In blender add dressing ingredients…

.. and blend.

Once meat is cooked let sit for a few minutes. Then plate salad, olives, and filets.  **I pour a little of the dressing on to the steak. This goes really well with a bloody maria.

Ceviche Style Fish with Whipped Avocados, and Salad

I love this salad. It’s really light and fresh, but still manages to fill you up.  The three parts of this salad work very well together, but you can use them separately in other recipes. This recipes serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a side.

Ingredients 

Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • Few handfuls of grape tomatoes, cut in half 

Ceviche Style Fish

  • Tilapia fillets, 1 large or 2 small per person
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion finely chopped 

Whipped Avocados

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, white would be best to keep coloring in avacados
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ avocados
  • ¼ cup water

Tools

  • Bowl
  • Large ziplock
  • Mixing bowl
  • Large skillet
  • Blender

Prep fish by combining olive oil, 1/2 lime, salt, pepper and fish, in bowl, and coat. Store in fridge till ready to use.

Add chopped cilantro, onion, and juice of 1 and 1/2 limes to large mixing bowl. Put in fridge till ready to use.

Peel and chop cucumbers, halve tomatoes, slice pepper. Add veggies and mixed greens to ziplock, and store in fridge.

Add fish and liquid to large frying pan, and cook on med/hi heat. Cook fish for about 5 minutes on each side, then chop fish using the edge of your spatula. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. **Traditional ceviche uses acid from the citrus to cook the fish.  I do this because it’s much faster and still tastes really good.

Combine cooked fish and ceviche mix.

In blender combine ingredients for whipped avocados; blend. If mixture has difficulty blending add a little more water, stir, and blend.

Mix salad, and plate. Top with fish mixture and whipped avocados; eat!

Bacon Belgium Waffle with Hot Apple Topping: with photos

This went over really well with my roommates. It’s salty, sweet, tangy, and has lots of bacon. What else could you want, right? Apple and bacon flavors work so well together, it’s not even fair.

I know a waffle maker isn’t of the most practical appliances, but it really is fantastic to have. If you don’t have one I recommend you throw it on your wish list.

 Ingredients 

  • Waffle mix, usually with eggs, milk and oil. **Follow mix instructions.**
  • Bacon, about 4 strips per person

Apple Topping

  • Granny smith apples, about 1 per person
  • Butter, about 1 or 2 tsp per person ** more to taste
  • Few generous shakes nutmeg and cinnamon **more to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • About 1 tsp brown sugar per person **more to taste

Tools

  • Waffle iron
  • 2 large skillets
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk

Start by peeling and slicing your apples.

Turn on your waffle maker, and make your waffle mix as per box instructions.

Cook bacon on med/hi in large skillet.

Cook till bacon is crispy but not burned. Once cooked transfer to a few paper towels, to drain excess grease and cool. Side aside 1 piece of bacon per person for garnish, and chop the rest of the bacon.

Heat 2nd skillet to med/hi and melt butter.  Once melted, mix in spices, water, sugar, and apples. Let this cook, stirring occasionally. Allow water to cook out of the apples. Approx 10 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Once waffle maker is ready, pour in mix and top with bacon.

Cook using your waffle maker’s instructions. Approx 2 mins.

Plate waffle, top with apple mixture, 1 hand torn slice of bacon, and some maple syrup to taste. Yum!

Mini Burgers with Leeks, Goat Cheez, and Carrot Fries: with Photos

These little burgers really fill you up. Plus, they look cute.  The carrot fries are definitely winners. Tasty side without all the bad fat.

Ingredients

Burgers

  • Ground beef or sirloin (per lb.)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic, fresh or jarred
  • few shakes onion powder
  • 1 small shake chili powder

Carrots

  • Carrots, preferably organic
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • few shakes onion powder
  • salt and pepper

Leeks

  • 1 leek stalk
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire

Rest

  • Goat cheez
  • Small rolls

Tools

  • Frying pan
  • Griddle, or another frying pan
  • Baking dish
  • med/lg bowl
  • lg ziplock bag

Ok, first quarter your carrots length wise. **Be very careful. I’m right handed and the easiest way for me to do this is cut them in half, starting at the middle and pulling right, then flipping it around and finishing the remaining side. Same process for quarters.

Put carrots in ziplock bag and add ingredients.

Seal the bag, trying to keep a lot of air in it. Shake. Set aside.

Cut leek into small slices.

Fill a bowl with cold water, add leeks and seperate. Dirt will fall to bottom of bowl; scoop leeks off top and place on a couple paper towels. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add ground beef and ingredients to bowl, and mix with hands. Ewww. Form into little burgers and put in fridge.

Put carrots in baking dish and stick in oven. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.

Add leeks and ingredients to frying pan, and cook on med heat.

Cook these till mildly wilted and darkened. Turn off stove top.  **If these cool too much before serving, heating them on med/hi for less than a minute will do.

Turn griddle to med/hi and begin to cook burgers. About 5 minutes each side.

Once 2nd side has been cooking for 5 minutes, poke center with prong, or sharp knife. If the liquid that comes out is too pink, let cook a little longer.  Judge how cooked the meat is by this liquid.

Toast rolls and plate, adding goat cheez to top roll. Assemble burgers, carrots, yum..

Seared Tuna Steak, Mixed Greens, and Lemon Mint Dressing: with Photos

This is a really fresh, tasty and totally healthy salad.  Nice and summery, but great in any season.

My major tip for this meal would be to start talking to the people that work at the seafood counter. I ask them stuff all the time because a lot of the things they have look pretty intimidating.  If you don’t know how to cook scallops, or crab legs, or whatever, the fish monger will be able to help.

Also, I encourage you to tweak things.  The only times I actually measure is when baking.  Other than that I eye it out, guess, taste test, and adjust.

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • about 10-15 mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp small capers
  • 5 shakes worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp juice from olive jar
  • 1 dash ginger
  • 5 dashes chili powder
  • pepper, to taste

Tuna Marinade

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • few shakes dried parsley
  • 1 chopped garlic clove, or 1 tsp jarred
  • few shakes lemon pepper

Rest

  • Tuna steaks, ahi, sushi grade, 1/person
  • Mixed greens, judge per person
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large, or 2 small, orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • Palmful of olives, roughly chopped

Tools

  • Griddle, or frying pan
  • Blender

Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and coat tuna. Place in fridge while you make the rest of the meal.

 

Slice and chop your veggies.

 

An easy way to dice tomatoes is to chop off the top, and make slices straight down, not cutting all the way through.

Then do it in the other direction.

Then turn on side and chop.

Add all veggies, and mixed greens to a large ziplock bag and put in freezer to cool.

Add dressing ingredients to blender and blend.  Make sure you taste this and add more oil it it is too tart, or more lemon if too oily. If you think it can handle more mint add that too.  Make it yours. No matter how you tweak this the color of the dressing will be almost a lime to chartreuse green, and look great on the fish.

Turn your stove to med/hi, and heat griddle.  Begin to cook fish about 7 minutes each side.

Let fish rest until you are ready to flip.  Then transfer to plate or plastic cutting board.  Let sit a few minutes then slice fish.

Get out your bag of salad and pour a little of the dressing into bag. About 1/4 cup, depending on how many people you have.  Seal bag and shake about to distribute dressing and mix salad.

Plate salad, top with fish, and drizzle dressing over fish.

Yum!

Mexican Tortilla Tower, and Guacamole: with Photos

Ok, so this isn’t really a tower….more like 2 stories of deliciousness. You can use this chicken and rice mix for lots of stuff. Burritos. Nachos. Tacos. Good with eggs in the morning. Really whatever you feel like. It has spinach which is super good for you, and all together this meal is definitely healthy and balanced.

This is probably enough to feed 4 people, and leftovers won’t go to waste.

Ingredients

Chicken Mix

  • 2 skinless boneless breasts
  • 1 can tomatoes, diced or chopped
  • 1 package precooked rice, Mexican, brown, or wild
  • 3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • couple shakes onion powder
  • few shakes chili powder
  • 1 shake cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic, fresh or jarred
  • 1/2 cup water

Guacamole

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • ¼ purple onion, chopped fine
  • Juice of 1 lime, with pulp
  • Salt and pepper

Rest

  • Tortillas
  • Butter or substitute for frying tortillas
  • Cheez, Mexican shredded

Optional Sides

  • Salsa
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Hot sauce
  • Sour cream

Tools

  • Sauce pan
  • Large frying pan or wok
  • Frying pan or grilled for tortillas
  • Large spoon
  • Whisk or fork
  • Bowl

First thing you want to do is boil your chicken breast. This can take about 15 to 20 mins, but check it by cutting it open and making sure it isn’t pink.

Once that’s cooked, shred the chicken by pulling it apart with 2 forks.

Set your stove top to med/high and, in your large frying pan, add veggie oil and garlic.

In 3 minutes add chicken, rice, canned tomatoes (with juice), water, taco seasoning, and spices. Stir well and turn to low/med heat. 

 

Next add spinach and stir until wilted..  Simmer this, allowing the liquid to steam out; stir occasionally. If the liquid cooks out too quickly, say in less than 10 minutes, add water and allow to simmer again. Simmering makes the flavours come together better. However, try not to cook for more than 15 mins as overcooking will take away the freshness.

Once your chicken mixture is cooked, you can start your guac. Cut avocados in half and remove the pit by holding the half with the pit in your hand (pit facing up), carefully hitting your knife into it, and twisting. The pit will pop right out. **It was hard to take a picture of this, but imagine your holding this half in your palm, you wack the pit with yer knife, and turn.

Add avocados to bowl along with onion, cilantro, and lime.

Using your whisk, mash mixture together, but don’t over mash. Some lumps are good. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add a little butter to your frying pan and start toasting tortillas on both sides. Fry up as many of these as you need; 2/person.

Plate 1 tortilla, top with chicken  mixture, another tortilla, more mix, cheez and a scoop of guac on top. **If cheez doesn’t melt, I’d throw it in the microwave for about 10 seconds before adding guac.

Ta da!

Roast Beef Croque Madame with Rosemary and Horseradish Roux: with Photos

I thought of this combo the other day when I was making breakfast for dinner.  Success!!  Its really simple to make and it looks amazing when you’re done.  Dealmaker.

Ingredients:

Horseradish roux

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp horseradish
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper

Rest

  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Roast beef
  • Swiss cheez
  • Eggs
  • Tomatoes, sliced

You’ll also need:

  • 2 frying pans, 1 for bread and 1 for eggs
  • 1 saucepan
  • Whisk, or fork

Ok, so first you wanna make the roux. ..  Start by chopping your rosemary.

In a saucepan melt the butter on low heat. Whisk in flour.

Add rosemary and horseradish, whisk.

Add milk; whisking.

Bring to lite boil and remove from heat. Salt n pepper to taste. This will thicken while you make the rest.  Whisk before use. **If your sauce looks a little thin add a bit more flour; too thick add milk…whisk.

Butter both sides of your bread and brown in frying pan, med heat.

Start cooking yer eggs.  My method for this is adding a little olive oil to a small frying pan, on med/hi heat, crack an egg into it, (careful not to break the yolk) and cover with a lid. This cooks the egg perfectly for this meal.

Once your bread is toasted (whisk roux) and spread a little onto the bread.

Next layer sliced tomato, meat, and cheese.

** Meat should be sliced thin. Mine here is too thick.

Move to plate, top with egg, and pour roux over it.

Enjoy!