Tag Archives: shredded mozzarella

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

13 May Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

One of the things my parents taught me was to always have certain things stocked in my freezer and pantry. If you open my freezer you will always find chicken breasts. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ve probably noticed all the chicken dinners I make using a chicken breast. They are very versatile when it comes to cooking and they’re fun to experiment with. And that’s what I did one night for dinner. I had baby potatoes that were starting to sprout eyes so I knew I wanted to roast them. Once those went in the oven I had to figure out what to make for a protein. There wasn’t much in my fridge so I knew I had to get creative for dinner. I wasn’t going to blog about this (which is why I don’t have any of the potatoes before they went in the oven), but then I realized that it’s these dinners that I create on the fly that are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy my cheesy chicken too!

Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese, Chicken breast, salt, pepper, dried rosemary

Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese, Not pictured: Chicken breast, salt, pepper, dried rosemary

CHEESY CHICKEN WITH ROASTED POTATOES (serves 2)

  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • About 1/4 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh or Dried Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • About 1/4 Cup Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • About 1 Pound Baby Potatoes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While you’re waiting for it to warm up, cut your potatoes into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and some of the rosemary. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

While your potatoes are baking make your cheesy chicken. If your chicken is frozen defrost in the microwave. Then slice up in about 2 inch long pieces.

Cut up your chicken breast into about 2 inch pieces

Cut up your chicken breast into about 2 inch pieces

In a small to medium size fry pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, place your chicken pieces in the pan and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Saute your chicken breast and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Saute your chicken breast and season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

Let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes then turn them over and sprinkle with cheese. After about 5 minutes add fresh spinach and finish cooking for another minute or two. The cheese should melt nicely and the spinach will wilt and combine with the cheese. Remove from heat.

cheesy chicken, mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach, chicken breast

Turn the chicken, add cheese, let it melt then add spinach

Roasted rosemary baby potatoes.

Roasted rosemary baby potatoes.

Once potatoes are finished, remove from oven, serve with your chicken and enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

Cheesy Chicken and Roasted Potatoes

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Egg In A Hole

18 Apr Egg In A Hole Breakfast

One of the newsletters I subscribe to is Allrecipes.com It’s an online community full of recipes from all over the world. It’s user-generated including ratings and photos. It’s a great resource for any cook. Anyway, one day I was going through my inbox and when I opened their weekly newsletter there was a piece of toast with an egg stuck in the middle staring back at me. It made me smile and want to make one. So one Saturday morning I woke up and fished out a round cookie cutter and made my own Egg In A Hole. Or as my roommate called it when she saw my finished breakfast, a One Eyed Jack. This is an easy way to make your breakfast a little more fun. A lot of people online say that their mom made this for them when they were kids. How about you? What did your parents call it?

Egg In A Hole Ingredients L-R: Butter, Salt & Pepper, Turkey Bacon, Egg, Bread, Mozzarella

Egg In A Hole Ingredients L-R: Butter, Salt & Pepper, Turkey Bacon, Egg, Bread, Mozzarella

EGG IN A HOLE (serves 1)

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Slices of Bread
  • Butter
  • Cooking Spray
  • Shredded Cheese of your choice (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

Spread each side of bread with a little bit of butter. Using a cookie cutter (or a knife) cut a hole in the middle of each slice of bread. It should be about 2 inches across. Feel free to use whatever shape you want it to look like. *Side Note: I chose to just make one egg instead of two.*

Sliced bread, egg in a hole breakfast

Cutting the hole in my bread. My cookie cutter was too small so I hand cut a larger hole

Spray your small omelette pan with cooking spray and turn the heat to medium. Place your bread in the pan and once it’s hot, crack your eggs and pour one into each hole. Heat another pan to cook some bacon. The bacon will cook at the same time as your eggs.

Egg in a hole breakfast, mozzarella cheese

Sprinkled mozzarella cheese. Then flipped it over.

If you want to get “fancy”, once the egg white starts to cook sprinkle with the cheese of your choice. Let the cheese start to melt and then flip the bread over to finish cooking the egg.  Let cook for another minute then remove to a plate. Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee (I prefer Peet’s) or a glass of fresh OJ.

Egg In A Hole Breakfast

Breakfast is served!

Baked Shells and Cheese

18 Feb

Macaroni and cheese. We all love it. Whether it’s from Kraft’s blue box, an old recipe from your grandmother, or a modern version with five types of cheeses-two of which you’ve never heard of, we all swoon for the cheesy goodness. There’s something about melted cheese that makes our knees buckle and our mouths salivate. Don’t lie to me, I know you’re drooling just in anticipation of the recipe (and photos) to come. On New Year’s Day, while I was recovering from doing the 24 Hour Play at Eclectic Company Theatre, I did a lot of reading of blogs I follow. And one of my favorites is Joy The Baker. One of her posts from December was a recipe for baked shells with mushrooms and onions and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it. My roommate agreed. So that Saturday I did precisely that. No regrets. Looking forward to making it again in fact! Hope you enjoy!

Baked Shells and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Ingredients L-R: Salt & Pepper, Medium Pasta Shells, Mushrooms, Onion, Cheddar Cheese, Butter, Mozzarella, Goat Cheese

Baked Shells and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Ingredients L-R: Salt & Pepper, Medium Pasta Shells, Mushrooms, Onion, Cheddar Cheese, Butter, Mozzarella, Goat Cheese

BAKED SHELLS WITH MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS (serves about 4 to 6)

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (about)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 4 oz Button or Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Thyme (I had none so I didn’t use any)
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 1/4 Cups Whole Milk (I used Low Fat and Half & Half)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 oz Goat Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded Gruyère (I used Mozzarella)
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 8 oz. Pasta Shells
  • 1/6 Cup Panko Crumbs (or slice of bread cut up)

Placing one of your oven racks into the upper third of your oven, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and then do some mise en place. Slice up your onion into semi circles by first cutting your onion in half then slice thinly. Then cut and quarter your mushrooms and set aside. Then get your cheeses prepped. Because I already had a bag of shredded mozzarella at home I decided to use that instead of Gruyère (plus it saves me a few dollars), and then I shredded fresh cheddar and weighed out my goat cheese.

Shredded cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella, and goat cheese.

Shredded cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella, and goat cheese.

In a large pot, boil salted water for your shells. Cook your pasta  for only about 5 minutes so they’re just under cooked. (You’ll be baking them in the oven later so you don’t want them fully cooked.) Drain and set aside.

Medium Pasta Shells

Medium pasta shells all measured out.

While you wait for your water to boil work on sauteing your onions and mushrooms. In a medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 teaspoons of butter over medium heat. Once hot add in your sliced onions and saute until translucent. Once translucent, add a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme and reduce the heat to low, cooking for about another 5 minutes until they are brown thoroughly cooked. Pour your onions into a small bowl and set aside.

Caramelized Onions

Sauteing the onions. In the photo on the right they are about a minute away from being done.

In the same pan, but turning the heat back up to medium, heat another tablespoon of oil and 2 teaspoons of butter and then add in your mushrooms and saute until golden brown and soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add to your bowl of onions.

sauteing mushrooms

Sauteing the mushrooms in butter. Yum!

By this time your water should be ready or almost ready for your pasta. While your pasta is cooking work on your cheese sauce. In a medium to large saucepan or pot make a roux. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and add in your flour and stir constantly until combined. Slowly pour in your milk and whisk until smooth and thick, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cheese Sauce for baked shells.

Making the cheese sauce. Drooling yet?

In a separate small bowl beat your egg and add in a few tablespoons of your cream sauce and mix together. Once your egg is warmed add into the pot of cream sauce and mix well. Reduce your heat to low and add in your cheeses, stirring well to thoroughly mix your cheeses with the cream sauce and allow them to melt. Once all your cheeses are melted add in your cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated. Turn off the heat.

Baked Shells and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Almost ready for the oven.

Pull out a baking dish of your choice. Joy used a pie pan, I used my square baking dish since I made half of her recipe, but for a full recipe she recommended a 9×13 dish. Whichever you prefer, grease it well and transfer half of your cheesy pasta into it. Then cover with your mushrooms and onions and top that with the rest of your pasta. In your skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add in your panko bread crumbs. *Side Note: I used a piece of toasted bread chopped into small pieces.* Stir your bread crumbs so they are well coated in the butter and they are lightly toasted. Transfer your toasted bread crumbs to the top of your pasta.

bread crumbs

My improvised bread crumbs ready to be toasted in the butter.

Baked Shells and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Fresh from the oven! Smells so good!

Place your baking dish into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The pasta should be sizzling and the bread crumbs should be browned. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Enjoy!

Baked Shells and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Baked Shells and Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms Ready to eat! Yum!

Eggs Florentine

9 Jan Eggs Florentine, poached egg

To conclude my weekend of cooking last November (I also made a yummy salad for lunch and Chicken Tarragon for dinner that weekend), I woke up Sunday morning and made a semi-fancy breakfast of Eggs Florentine. This is another recipe from my favorite kitchen goddess, Giada de Laurentiis and her book “Weeknights With Giada”. However, her recipe is under Breakfast for Dinner. While I do occasionally enjoy my french toast at 7pm, I mostly like it for breakfast or brunch.

I love Eggs Florentine (and various versions) when I go out for breakfasts because a) it’s delicious and b) it seems too fancy to make at home. Well I finally bit the bullet and made it myself. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, especially since I had never poached an egg before. Giada topped hers with baked prosciutto, alas, I did not have any sitting around. I also used grated mozzarella instead of grated romano. And finally I had no onions hanging around my kitchen (you can hit me later dad), but I’m still including that part of the recipe. It turned out to be pretty delicious, although a lot of work for the morning, lol. I think this is a morning person’s dish.

*Side note: I tried doing it again, however my water wasn’t hot enough when I put the egg in and when I tried to remove it, it had stuck to the bottom and I ended up breaking the yolk. You can see a picture below the nice one at the end.*

Eggs Florentine Ingredients L-R: Olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, egg, english muffin, grated mozzarella, nutmeg, spinach, lemon juice

Eggs Florentine Ingredients L-R: Olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, egg, english muffin, grated mozzarella, nutmeg, spinach, lemon juice

EGGS FLORENTINE (serves 1)

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 of Small Onion (can do without)
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 1 Cup Baby Spinach
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream (I used milk)
  • 2 Tbsp Grated Mozzarella Cheese (or Romano)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 English Muffin (or just a half if you wish)

First prep your onion and chop finely and set aside. Then mince your garlic clove and set aside. I highly recommend doing mise en place for the rest of your ingredients so they’re ready to throw in the pan as this is a fast-moving recipe.

Fill a small pot with about 3 inches of water. Add in 1 teaspoon of salt and the lemon juice. Over medium heat bring the water to a simmer. While waiting for the water to simmer, crack your egg into a small bowl, taking great care not to break the yolk. The best way to crack an egg is on a flat surface to get an even crack. Once the water is simmering (and you must be patient for it to simmer), carefully slide the egg into the water. As long as it doesn’t sink down to the bottom your water is hot enough. Using a wooden spoon, carefully stir the water around the egg, so as not to disturb the egg.

Poaching an egg

This is right after the egg was slid into the simmering water.

Poaching an egg

You can see the egg just below the surface. The white stuff floating is the cooked egg white that has broken off.

Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes in this manner, stirring only occasionally, until the white has set and the yolk is still soft. On a small plate place a paper towel doubled or tripled folded. Using a slotted spoon remove the egg and place on the paper towel to drain and cover to keep warm.

poached egg

The egg is ready to come out of the water.

In a medium skillet, heat your olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in your chopped onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently, then add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Add in your spinach and a pinch of nutmeg and cook until the spinach has wilted. Add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until it has thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper. Then cover to keep warm.

Eggs Florentine, spinach and cream

Making the spinach mixture (sans the onions).

*Side Note: Giada has you make the spinach mixture first, however, I found that by the time my egg was done, my spinach mixture had become cool and not as liquidy. (Yes, I made up that last word.)

Eggs Florentine, poached egg

Topping the english muffin with the spinach mixture and then the poached egg.

Toast your English muffin and lightly butter each side and lay out on your plate. Spoon your spinach mixture onto one side of the muffin and set the poached egg on top. If you care, top the egg with crispy prosciutto or bacon. Enjoy with a lovely cup of coffee (I prefer Peet’s) or a glass of orange juice and savor the morning.

Eggs Florentine, poached egg

A beautiful poached egg ready for eating.

Broken poached egg

My second attempt at poaching an egg didn’t turn out quite as well.

Tomato and Cheese Omelette

7 Jan

Ah the omelette. A pretty easy, but sometimes frustrating, breakfast dish. It’s also one of my favorite ways to use up vegetables and cheese that are about to go bad. (The other way is soup, but alas, that’s a different post.) I say it’s a frustrating dish because making it look like they do at a restaurant, a perfect half circle without blemishes, can be a tricky thing. And while I’m just making it for myself, I do love seeing a perfect omelette on my plate.

Ingredients for my omelette (L-R): Large Eggs, 1% Milk, Tomato Slice, Shredded Mozarella

Ingredients for my omelette (L-R): Large Eggs, 1% Milk, Tomato Slice, Shredded Mozzarella

I tend to have shredded cheese in the fridge as it’s great on pasta, soup, chili, and in omelettes, so I always have cheese in my omelettes. I use two eggs, although if you wish you can use three. If you use more than 1/4 to 1/3 cup of add-ins then using three eggs is best, otherwise your omelette will fall apart. I’ve found that two ingredients work best for a two egg omelette when it comes to looking perfect. Otherwise it just becomes a “scramble”, lol. It all goes to the same place right? So don’t get too frustrated if your omelette doesn’t turn out right. I’ve had many omelettes turn into scrambles, as I’m sure other (more professional) chefs have also had happen. I also heated up one of my Banana Blueberry muffins and enjoyed a nice cup of Peet’s coffee. mmmm!

Tomato & Cheese Omelette with a Banana Blueberry Muffin

Tomato & Cheese Omelette with a Banana Blueberry Muffin

TOMATO & CHEESE OMELETTE

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • About 2 Tbsp Milk
  • About 2-3 Tbsp chopped tomato (Usually a slice or two of a medium tomato)
  • About 2-3 Tbsp shredded cheese (I usually have mozzarella or parmesan)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
I pour the milk in and estimate the amount, but it's roughly 2 Tbsp

I pour the milk in and estimate the amount, but it’s roughly 2 Tbsp

Chop your tomato and set aside. In a small bowl (I use a soup or cereal bowl) crack your eggs, then pour in your milk and beat. You can use a fork or a small whisk. At this point I spray my omelette pan (it’s your small, 8″ pan) with cooking spray. I’ve used butter, but your eggs will stick more unless you use a couple of tablespoons. So for your waistline’s sake, use spray, but make sure you spray the entire pan. Turn the heat to medium. Add your salt and pepper, chopped tomato and your cheese. Beat once more. Make sure your pan is pretty warm before pouring your eggs in. Hold your hand over the pan, you should feel it warm up. The spray should also become clear. Pour your egg mix into the pan. I always make sure my chunkier add-ins are spread out, in this case the tomatoes. And if I don’t think there’s enough cheese, I’ll sprinkle a little more on at this point as well. mmmmm, cheese…..oh, sorry, got distracted.

Omelette just poured into the pan.

Omelette just poured into the pan.

Once the edges start to solidify, I test it by trying to slide my spatula under the eggs without breaking it. If the rest of the uncooked eggs don’t spill over, then I slide it under and flip the omelette onto itself (see picture below) so it’s a half circle. If your flip fails, don’t stress, just turn it into a scramble. I usually have to hold it on top of itself so it doesn’t slide back for about 20 seconds or so. Once it’s “sealed” itself (as in the eggs on the inside are now mostly cooked) on the round edge (about a minute or two), I flip it over. It might break a little, but that’s okay, if you can keep it in the half circle shape you’ve still got an omelette. Let it cook for another minute or so, then I turn the heat off and let it sit in the pan while I heat up my muffin in the microwave (20 seconds) or sometimes I toast a piece of bread. Slide your omelette (or your scramble) onto your plate and enjoy!

Flipping the first half of the omelette, not too messy-yay!

Flipping the first half of the omelette, not too messy-yay!

After flipping the omelette a second time

After flipping the omelette a second time, not perfect, but it will do!

Other add-ins for my omelettes have included: avocado, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh spinach, feta cheese, brie cheese.
What do you like putting in your omelettes?

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