Egg in a Hole

While flipping through some old Everyday Food Magazines, I came across this Egg in a Hole recipe. Super simple, but gives a boring, old fried egg a little something more.

This was the perfect way to try out our fresh eggs from our newly laying chickens!

Egg in a Hole

2 teaspoons butter
1 bell pepper (any color), cut into four 1/2-inch-thick rings
4 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoons of your favorite grated cheese

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon butter over medium-high. Add bell pepper rings, then crack 1 egg into the middle of each pepper ring. Season with salt and pepper and cook until egg whites are mostly set but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently flip and cook 1 minute more for over easy. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve once cheese is melted.


More Egg in a Hole Ideas:

Recipe Source: Adapted from Everyday Food
Photo:
By Jen Grove and Everyday Food

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Tres Leche Cake

By golly, I think I’ve found my new FAVORITE cake!

A few years back, friends of ours used to get a Tres Leche Cake for their kids birthday every year. I had never heard, nor tasted one before this & boy were we missing out!

A Tres Leche cake is a cake that is soaked in 3 different kids of milk, which makes it so sweet, moist & tasty! It really is nothing I’ve ever tasted before.

While thinking of our good friends, who have since moved to Arizona, I decided to make my own Tres Leche Cake.

Tres Leche Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for baking dish
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
5 cups fresh fruit (optional), I used Peaches, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries & Strawberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar on high until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine.

With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. With a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until incorporated.

Transfer batter to dish and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milks. Poke warm cake all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick, then pour milk mixture over top and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. As the cake cools, it will soak up all of the milk.

Whip the cream and 1/4 cup sugar to medium peaks. To serve, spread whipped cream evenly over cooled cake. Top with fruit if desired.

Recipe Source: Everyday Food
Photo:
by Jen Grove

Creamy Orzo

My friend Judy brought this dish to Bunco Night last year & I knew I had to have the recipe. Perhaps, the act of me having not 1 or 2 servings, but 3 helpings of this yummy goodness was a sign this would soon become a family favorite.

It’s great as a side dish, but in our house it’s a main dish!

Creamy Orzo

1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta) – reserved the left over pasta water!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano (or any other seasonings) , juices drained
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (I normally dump the entire bag in) 🙂
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the cream and peas. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan to the pasta mixture and toss to coat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season the orzo with salt and pepper, and serve.

*NOTES:  Make sure you remove the pan from the heat when you add the Parmesan.  You can even wait a bit for the pasta to cool down before you add it.  If the pasta is too hot, the Parmesan will clump into gum ball sized cheese balls.  Although, still edible, it is not the ideal consistency.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Friend Judy & Everyday Italian
Photo: Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

Slow Cooker Lasagna

This recipe takes 15-20 minutes TOPS to prep & get going. You can even do it the day before, throw it all in the crock pot, refrigerate & take out/turn on the next day when you’re ready for it. Simple, Simple, Simple and so delicious!

My only issue with this recipe is that the lasagna is only as big as your crock pot. For me, that means it’s not guest friendly as my crock pot is only big enough to feed the 5 members in my family (with a few leftovers). Other than that, it’s a great, quick hot meal that takes very little time.

*Note: You can turn this into a Vegetarian Lasagna by using grilled eggplant vs. the sausage.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
53 ounces of your favorite tomato sauce (more or less, depending on how saucy you like your lasagna)
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles

In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender & sausage is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes; drain.

Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, ricotta and Parmesan cheese. (Refrigerate remaining mozzarella cheese while lasagna cooks.)

Cover bottom of crock pot with sauce. Not a lot, just enough to cover.

Spoon 1/4 of the sausage mixture on top of sauce; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture.

Repeat two more times with Sauce, 1/4 of the sausage mixture, 5 noodles & cheese mixture. *Note: sauce will dry out during cooking time. Make sure you add enough to your liking.

Cover and cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until noodles are tender.

Sprinkle top of lasagna with remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Cut into pieces & serve.

*Tip: Don’t know what to do with left over Ricotta? Make a dip! Add ricotta with a little milk, garlic, onion, dried dill and salt & pepper. Mix all together to desired consistency. Serve with carrots & celery.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker

Lemony Scones with Dried Cherries & Apricots

I cannot begin to explain how much I LOVE these scones!!!

They are moist & flaky & not overly sweet. You can clearly taste the lemon zest and dried fruit. The lemony glaze gives it the perfect amount of sweetness.

In my opinion, they are superior to anything you’ve ever tasted at your local coffee shop. Trust me when I tell you “You’ll never look at a scone the same way after tasting these!”


Lemony Scones with Dried Cherries & Apricots

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled & cut into small cubes
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest, divided
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped (substitute with any dried fruit)
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped (substitute with any dried fruit)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F. & Lightly grease a large baking sheet; set aside.

In a bowl (Stand Mixer is the easiest), stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix in butter & mix to resemble coarse crumbs; set aside.

In a separate bowl, stir together sour cream, egg, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest; add to flour mixture.

Combine just until moistened. Stir in chopped apricots, cherries & walnuts until just combine. Drop sticky dough onto baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly on rack.

2. For glaze, stir together powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel. Stir in enough lemon juice until glaze drizzles off of spoon easily; drizzle glaze over top of scones.

Makes approx. 16 to 18 scones depending on size

Recipe Source: Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Baked Oatmeal

My good friend Christina, shared this recipe with me a few years back & it is YUMMY-LICOUS!!! It’s like eating an oatmeal cookie for breakfast. Who can complain about that? Well, maybe those who don’t like oatmeal can complain 🙂

In our household, this stuff never last long enough for leftovers. It is an absolute MUST for me to double this recipe.

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.

Combine the milk, applesauce, butter, and egg.

Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well. Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray (9″x11″ if you doubled the recipe).

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: Friend Christina F. and Cooking Light

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

A few years back I was in search of simple crock pot recipes. I just had my 2nd child and, by all means, had no time to cook! Utilizing my crock pot more often seemed to be a good option.

I was also going through a Semi-Homemade by Sandra Lee phase. Her trademark 70/30 philosophy combines 70% ready-made products with 30% fresh ingredients, which I’m convinced is how most people cook these days.

This recipe is by far my “go to” meal on a cool winter day. Actually, with this insane California weather, I’ve actually made this on some of those cool summer days we have been having. All is all, it is simple, delicious and worth sharing!

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

1 store-bought roasted chicken
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
4-5 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth (you can add more if you like.)
2 (10.75-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
2 teaspoon fines herbs*
Salt and pepper
2 cups egg noodles, cooked (more if you like)

Remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat from the bone. Put the chicken into a slow cooker along with the onions, celery, and carrots. Stir in 4 cans of broth, mushroom soup, and fines herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours.

When the soup is finished, stir in cooked egg noodles. You can add more broth now if you like. Adjust seasonings and serve.

*Note: Fines herbs are a classic blend of herbs that usually consists of chervil, chives, parsley, and tarragon. Fines Herbs can be found pre-blended in the spice section of the grocery store.

Recipe Source: Semi-Homemade Cooking by Sandra Lee

Granola

The search for a great Granola recipe is ON!

I’ve tried a few recipes & so far not impressed! BUT… my friend Jenny just sent me a version of this one & it’s pretty good. Thanks Jenny!

Homemade Granola

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups of nuts – I used sliced almonds & chopped walnuts (I suggest 2 different types of nuts. Any combo will work. Chop or leave whole. All depends on what you prefer)
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Coconut oil (can substitute with vegetable oil)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, and coconut.

In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, coconut oil and salt and heat over medium heat until sugar is melted. Sugar & oil will not combine 100%, at least mine did not. This is ok though! Just make sure sugar has melted and is no longer grainy.

Combine both mixtures by slowly pouring the liquid over the oatmeal mixture and stirring well. If sugar & oil clump up, put everything back in the pan & heat over med-low heat. Stir constantly until oat mixture is well coated with sugar mixture.
* Note: Leaving oat/sugar mixture unattended in hot pan will cause it to burn or get overly toasted, which will have a displeasing taste.

Spread mixture out evenly onto a 11X17-inch rimmed baking sheets.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden, checking often to ensure it is not too golden and/or burnt. Remove from the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Optional Topping Additions
I enjoy pumpkin seeds & dried cherries, but you can add anything you like. Your options are endless!

Add your toppings when you are ready to eat your Homemade Granola. Putting dried fruit into the airtight containers with the granola may cause it to become less crunchy.

*Note: Next time, I think I will use less shredded coconut as this recipe is a bit sweet. The original recipe called for maple syrup vs. brown sugar (or a combo of both), which I may try. I’ll post the results.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Friend Jenny and Mels Kitchen Cafe
Photo:
By Jen Grove

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I have known/met a few people who are Vegetarian, Vegan, 100% Organic and/or Raw eaters, etc, etc… but I myself have not become one of them. Not yet at least 🙂

However, I am overly freaked out about feeding my family, or myself, something that has been covered in pesticides or packed full of artificial chemicals to extend it’s shelf life.

By all means, I am no expert on what you should or should not eat, but I do know there are countless products on the market that are packed full of ingredients that are unknown to me. Most of which I can’t even pronounce. My beloved coffee creamer is one of them.

So I decided to try and make my own. I mean really… how hard could it be?

French Vanilla Creamer

    1 cup 2% milk (That is what I had on hand. You can use whole milk. I think I’ll try it with non-fat next time. I’ll post the results)
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    4 Tbsp pure maple syrup (I was 1 Tbsp short so I added 1 Tbsp on honey)
    1 Tbsp vanilla extract

    Whisk together all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until milk & cream are warmed (few minutes only, do not let it boil).

    Remove pan from heat, cover & let it sit for 30 minutes.

    Pour creamer into a glass bottle or plastic as shown in the picture. Should last 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

    Recipe Source: Deliciously Organic

Strawberry Gelée

For my daughters Strawberry Shortcake Tea Party Birthday, I found the most AMAZING strawberry filling for cupcakes. This stuff is beyond amazing.

Strawberry Gelée

Ingredients:

1 cup strawberry puree
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
1/2 cup diced, fresh strawberries

Directions:

Heat puree and sugar in a small saucepan just until it begins to bubble, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.

Put water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add fruit puree mixture to the bowl and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.

Stir in diced strawberries and chill until set.

Recipe Source: Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy