What you should make for breakfast this weekend

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I love America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country.  Their magazines and tv shows are great, but I also really love their special magazine-style cookbook issues, like their annual “best of” issue pictured above.  One of my favorite recipes for weekend breakfast (or Tuesday…we may have had one this morning) is ATK’s Dutch Baby recipe.  It’s basically a skillet pancake, which is great because it’s hands-off once the batter is prepared, and it’s all done at once, unlike regular pancakes.  Plus, you can control how sweet it is with the amount of powdered sugar you put on at the end.

Dutch Baby
(adapted from ATK)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 c flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp lemon zest
3 eggs
1 1/4 c milk (they say skim; we use 1%)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar
lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a 12 inch skillet, and brush to coat the inside of the skillet. Heat the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt & zest. In another bowl, whisk the eggs until they are light and frothy. Then, whisk the milk, butter, and vanilla extract into the eggs. Add about half of the liquid to the dry ingredients and whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the remaining liquid. Pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Just pull out the oven rack and leave the hot skillet in the oven to pour the batter in. Trust me…you don’t want to try transporting the burning hot skillet back and forth. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Don’t be alarmed if it rises out of the skillet; it will deflate when it comes out of the oven.

Once that baby’s out, squeeze lemon juice over it and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Delicious!!

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Recipe I’m Loving

I know everyone loves the Pioneer Woman, and so many people have found success with her recipes.  Early on she talked a lot about her “Best Lasagna Ever,” or something like that.  We love lasagna and red sauced Italian food in general, so I had to give it a try.  Pat gave me a strange look when I mentioned that cottage cheese was on our grocery list…and maybe second guessed our decision to make the dish when I mentioned it also called for breakfast sausage….  I said, “It’s supposed to be ‘the best lasagna ever,’ you’ve got to trust the process!”  Well………

I WAS WRONG!

That lasagna was horrible.  I know there are lots of reviews to the contrary (although quite a few people agree with me, too), but that was hands-down one of the worst dishes we’ve made.

All that said, I still love Ree Drummond, and I had to give more of her recipes a chance to overcome the the world’s worst lasagna experience.  That’s when I found this little jewel:

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

I adore this dish.  It’s not very hard to make, and it’s incredibly delicious.  I make a couple of changes to the recipe, though.

  • I use a 12 oz package of shells because that’s what they had a my grocery store.  It’s worked out great, though, because I increase the other ingredients a little too and make more.  
  • I use the amount of cheese she calls for, but I usually just use the ricotta and asiago because I get a big chunk of asiago at Sam’s Club and always have it on hand.
  • When my basil plant isn’t producing, I substitute dried.
  • For the meat I either use hot Italian sausage or a mix of ground chuck and sausage…I usually use a little more than called for because I use more shells and sauce.
  • I use two 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes instead of what she calls for.  
This dish makes a lot, especially since I use more shells and sauce, but it freezes really well!  I usually make a 9×13 dish full for now and freeze a smaller casserole dish full for later.  

Basil Pesto

One of my favorite summer treats is Basil Pesto on fresh bread with mozzarella and fresh tomato on top.  Here’s my go-to recipe.

2 cups of basil leaves (or whatever I have and I adjust the other ingredients in proportion)
1/4 walnuts or pine nuts
2-3 cloves of garlic
salt & pepper

Combine in a food processor.  Then, with food processor running, add about 1/2 cup of olive oil.
Place pesto in a bowl and add about 1/2 cup of shredded italian cheese (parmesan, pecorino, asiago; whatever is on hand).  Add more olive oil if needed and taste for seasoning.  Sometimes it needs extra salt, but it depends on what kind of cheese you used.

Lemon-Rosemary Sauce

We love roasted vegetables at our house, especially roasted red potatoes and zucchini.  About a year ago we were looking for a recipe with grilled potatoes because we wanted to try some out on our new grill.  We found a Bobby Flay recipe that included a lemon-rosemary sauce and this magic sauce has become a staple at our house, especially during summer veggie season. 

Lemon Rosemary Sauce
(adapted from Bobby Flay)

-Juice and zest of 2 lemons
-a few tablespoons of fresh rosemary (I think he called for two, but I LOVE rosemary, and I’ve never added too much)
-4 cloves of garlic roasted (I simmer them in olive oil in a little non-stick skillet until soft; turn them up high until bubbly, then simmer on low…learned that trick on Cooking Channel; then I use the leftover garlic flavored oil to roast my veggies in the oven)
-1 Tbs dijon or Creole mustard (I prefer the Creole)
-salt & pepper

Blend in a food processor until combined.  With the food processor running, slowly add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.

I can’t get enough of this sauce!  So easy and fresh tasting, especially if you have a rosemary bush.