Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips

Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips

I bought a bag of pitas from the store with the intent of using them as wraps for lunch and whatnot, but rather than them being pliable, doughy and delicious they were dry and broke when I tried to roll them into a wrap. So here I was, stuck with a bag of pitas, not wanting to eat them and definitely not wanting to throw them out. Ah hah! Pita chips had to be easy, right? Right! Armed with a sharp knife, olive oil, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese I set out to not waste an entire bag of perfectly, albeit dry, pitas. Success!

Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips

  • 6-8 whole pitas
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • block of Parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut pitas into wedges, like you would a pizza, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each wedge with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper on the brushed sides of each pita wedge and arrange on a cookie sheet, seasoned size up. Bake for 20 minutes, until crispy.

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

attendees for the November Supper Club

attendees for the November Supper Club

the delicious menu

the delicious menu

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

For our second Supper Club our host chose Crockpot and Stovetop dishes as her theme, as she is in the middle of a kitchen renovation. While this dish was neither (no one ever said I was good at following the rules), I figured I could just bring it over hot. I had (and still currently have) so much winter squash left from my farm share that I really needed to use it up. And since the hubs doesn’t eat it, this was really the only opportunity I had to use some of it up. It came out pretty good for just winging it! The only issue I ran into was when I was running the onions through the food processor. They kept getting stuck around the blades so I needed to make sure to check that those got pureed. Other than that, this dish was delish!

Twice Baked Winter Squash Gratin

  • 1 butternut squash, acorn squash and red kuri squash (or any other combination)
  • 4 small onions
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus 3 tablespoons extra
  • pinch of fresh or dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds and cut the onions in half. Coat the cut sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash halves, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Place the onions under each squash cavity and place in the oven. Roast until very soft and fork tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh from the squash halves and place in food processor with the roasted onions. Purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with ricotta and parmesan cheese until well incorporated. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Fill a shallow dish with mixture. Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan cheese, parsley and a light drizzle of olive oil. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 more minutes, until top of gratin has browned.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes

So I made these cupcakes for Spencer’s birthday which was this past Monday. It’s a recipe that his great, great, great aunt used to make and was passed down through the generations. He grew up loving them and has fond memories of shoving his face full them when he was a kid. No pressure or anything. I’ve actually attempted to make them before and have failed miserably. So miserably that when he tried them last time, he frowned and said “they don’t taste like my mom’s” which I followed with “well, I’m not your mom!” Let me just say that these cupcakes are a labor of love. They aren’t easy to make. There are a lot of ingredients, especially if you’re like me and you just like to dump out a package and add eggs and water. But, trust me, the end result is out-of-this-world good.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper cup liners. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir together until well blended. Fill muffin tins 1/3 full with the batter and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a great, healthy alternative to pasta if you’re trying to limit your carbs. Why you’d ever want to do that I have no idea, but if you are, this dish is so good you won’t even miss them! If you’re running short on time, cook the squash a day or two before and heat up when ready to serve. If you’re going for a vegetarian and low carb meal (that’s just crazy talk!) you can omit the ham and use vegetable broth instead. Although I think the ham adds a really nice smokiness to the dish and makes it a bit more of a hearty meal for the winter.

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash
adapted from here

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halfed
  • 1/4 cup frozen vegetable medley of corn, carrots and green beans
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Penzey’s Adobo seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise (this will take some serious muscle) and discard the seeds. Coat the flesh in olive oil, salt and pepper. On a baking sheet lined with foil, roast squash flesh side down for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. When the squash has cooled, use a fork to scrape up the flesh. Top the ‘spaghetti’ with the bean mixture and serve warm.

Mini Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

Mini Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped jalapeños, fresh or canned

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, egg and jalapeños, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

FAIL: Overnight French Toast Casserole

I decided to make to this dish for mother’s day. It seemed easy enough and I loved that I could make it ahead of time and that it would travel well. I’m definitely going to try to make this again with challah bread because the French bread I used did not absorb all the egg mixture and I was left with a weird gray-colored, sugary scrambled egg at the bottom of the dish. Sure, it tasted good covered in maple syrup (what doesn’t?), but the texture was bizarre and it didn’t look appealing at all. Thankfully my seven-year-old niece still approved, so I guess it wasn’t a total bust.

Overnight French Toast Casserole
adapted from http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/02/overnight-french-toast-casserole.html

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 loaf brioche or challah (a French bread loaf can a used) sliced into 1 1/2 inches thick slices
  • 8 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • maple syrup and powdered sugar for topping

In a small bowl combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange slices of bread in the baking dish overlapping if necessary. Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over top. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours. In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If top starts browning too quickly place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. You want it to cook long enough to make sure the bottom part is cooked but doesn’t dry it out completely. Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

In honor of Fat Tuesday I decided to make a French-inspired dish that doesn’t disappoint. Did you know that chicken cordon bleu is actually an American dish with a French name that means “blue ribbon”? Learn something new everyday! Well, don’t let this fancy-named, French-sounding, American chicken dish fool you, it’s super easy to make and super delicious to eat! To save on prep time we buy a club pack of chicken breasts then we flatten, trim and freeze them in individual zip lock bags. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
  • 4 slices swiss cheese
  • 4 slices ham
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or white cooking wine
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup light cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fold a slice of swiss in half and break into two pieces, place on chicken breast so cheese isn’t hanging off (you wouldn’t want all the cheesiness to melt out now, would you?). Place a slice of ham in the center of each chicken breast, again so it’s not hanging off. Starting at the smaller end of the chicken, begin to roll it up like you would roll sushi and then secure with a toothpick. In three separate bowls mix together [bowl one: flour, paprika and salt and pepper] [bowl two: egg, beaten] [bowl three: breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese]. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add oil and breaded chicken seam side down. Fry for about 2 minutes on on all sides. You don’t want the chicken cooked all the way through. Remove chicken from skillet and place in a baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Meanwhile, in the same skillet that the chicken was fried in, add wine and bouillon making sure to scrape up any leftover chicken bits. Bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, blend cornstarch with cream and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook until thickened. Drizzle over chicken before serving.

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