Dec 20, 2014

Sausage, Cheese and Veggie Egg Bake


Eggs baked with sweet Italian chicken sausage, broccoli, roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese. I love the convenience of making a large breakfast casserole when I have friends and family over for breakfast or brunch. I also set out some fruit, a yogurt bar, coffee and juice. You can use any combination of vegetables to make this casserole, but I love how the broccoli and roasted peppers mimic the festive Christmas colors.

I worked with Ziploc® to create a sponsored post sharing a recipe, their containers and some "life lessons". I thought I would share a few things I learned from all of YOU blogging these past few years.

One of the things I love about blogging is that I really got a chance to learn what's important to you. Your comments and feedback only make me a better recipe developer and blogger. Last year I shared this recipe for a Ham and cheese breakfast casserole, and one of the questions everyone asked was if it could be assembled in advance.

So Lesson # 1 - this year I kept that in mind and prepped all of my ingredients and even cooked the sausage in advance so all I had to do in the morning was a quick saute while the oven heated up and into the oven it went.

I used Ziploc®'s Holiday Storage Bags for all my prepped ingredients and kept them in the refrigerator so in the morning I can just toss them out – no extra dishes to wash.

Lesson # 2 – I learned through the years some of you hate mushrooms, or cheese, or maybe even sausage! So here's the deal.... you can use whatever you want here!! Swap mozzarella for Swiss cheese, Feta, cheddar OR leave it out. Swap mushrooms for asparagus, or swap sausage for ham. There are no rules, use what YOU like.

Lesson # 3 – Several of you will always ask me if you can use egg beaters – my answer is yes. I personally prefer to use whole eggs with a few egg whites to lighten it up a bit. Too many egg whites I learned gives me a spongy texture, so finding the right balance of whole eggs to egg whites is crucial, plus the yolk is good for you so don't forget that!

Lesson # 4 - One of the questions I get the most from people is if a dish can be frozen and how. Here's what I do – I cut the leftovers in portions and freeze them. This way whenever I need breakfast in a hurry, I reheat them and know exactly what my portions are. These Ziploc® Containers with One Press Seal come in all sizes and stack easily in the freezer to save space. To reheat simply thaw the night before or you can heat it up in the microwave or oven set to 350°F until heated through.

I hope you enjoy and have a Happy Holiday!!

Dec 18, 2014

Pressure Cooker Pozole (Pork and Hominy Stew)


Delicious and comforting for a chilly winter night.

This stew made with pork, hominy and spices is so comforting, especially on a cold winter night. And leftovers taste even better the next day. Topped with avocado and a squeeze of lime, it's the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

This recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Martha Stewart's new cookbook, One Pot. When I say ever so slightly, all I did what reduce the amount of oil used. We all loved how it turned out, excellent dish for a chilly night. Her book has everything from slow cooker, pressure cooker, stock pot and skillet recipes that only require one pot – brilliant idea!

Believe it or not, I love my pressure cooker even more than I like my slow cooker. Why? Because it cuts the cooking time in half, especially when making stews that use tough cuts of meat and the pressure cooker makes them very tender, fast. Plus, nothing beats the flavors you get from cooking in the pressure cooker. That being said, I know a lot of people are scared of the pressure cooker. I've been using my stove top Presto for years and never had an issue. I purchased one of those fancy electric ones but have yet to use it, but either one will work.

Could you make this in a pot or Dutch oven? Sure, you will need to add a little more liquid and let it simmer, covered at least 2 hours before adding the Hominy.

Dec 17, 2014

EASY 5-Ingredient Nutella Almond Butter Cookies


These cookies are amazing!!! And so easy to make,  you don't even need a mixer! 

I recently discovered that Nutella has just about the same amount of fat as almond butter, which gave me the idea to add them to my nut butter cookies. I played around and found using half Nutella and half almond butter is the perfect combination which created the perfect texture and flavor. Enjoy!

Dec 15, 2014

3-Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies


These flour-less almond butter cookies are SO good, and made with only 3 ingredients (almond butter, raw sugar and an egg)! They are so easy to make you don't even need a mixer, so these are perfect for any beginner baker.

I participated in The 4th Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap to raise money for Cookies For Kids Cancer, a wonderful non-profit organization that raises money to help kids with Cancer. I swapped cookies with three bloggers, all of which requested a cookie made with no white flours or white sugar and that could handle shipping without the need for refrigeration. These cookies came to mind because they use no flour and can last for weeks in a cookie tin. They are also naturally gluten-free. I tested them a few times to see how little sugar I can get away with using and found 6 tablespoons was perfect.

I've been making peanut butter cookies for years using these same three ingredients, but this was my first time trying them with almond butter instead. I love Justin's Maple Almond Butter so I used that and they turned out wonderful. Honestly, you can use any type of nut butter you like, try it with cashew butter, pistachio butter, or you can just stick with natural peanut butter.

Dec 10, 2014

Loaded Cauliflower "Mash" Bake


Creamy mashed cauliflower made with a touch of whipped butter, buttermilk, garlic and herbs and topped with cheese and bacon – you'll swear it's loaded with fat!

A few weeks ago I stopped to eat lunch with the family at Pizzeria Uno. I ordered a burger and somehow the waiter talked me into getting the loaded mashed potatoes – OMG! Yes, it was a moment of weakness but some of my best ideas come from those moments. This version is so so good, lower in carbs and makes the perfect side dish to any meal. Enjoy!

Dec 9, 2014

Mini Greek Spinach Pies


These bite-sized spinach pies are a fun twist on one of my favorite Greek dishes, Spanakopita. These are great appetizers for the Holidays, football games, or anytime you get together with friends and family.

Delicious and simple to make. You can make the filling a day ahead then assemble and bake right before serving. The shells can be found in the freezer section, and now they make them already baked.