Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Omelet with Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins

Dinner Place will be on vacation for a short while.
When I've cooked a bunch more, I'll be back.  Make merry! 

While it isn't the best time of year for tomatoes in North America, there are some.  In other places, there are beautiful tomatoes available because it's summer!  Wherever you live, this is a very simple and luscious Christmas morning breakfast just for you!  If you're sharing Christmas with a few other people, enlist help and make two at a time or turn the oven on and keep each omelet warm as you make the others.  However you do it, you'll be happy you did.  And you'll be good until dinnertime.

Add a little fresh fruit and maybe a cranberry-blueberry muffin (link below) for a larger meal.

Tender is the word.  Gentle is the method.  Don't over-mix or over bake.  Butter?
Here's the Dinner Place Link for my Cranberry-Blueberry Muffins.

christmas omelet for one

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or butter
  • 2 eggs or 1 egg and 2 egg whites, beaten together
  • Pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 large basil leaves, optional
  • 3-4 slices fresh tomato
  • Optional garnishes:  1 tablespoon salsa or grated cheddar  
Heat the butter or oil in a small, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling (for butter) or nearly smoking for oil.  Meantime, beat together the eggs with the salt and pepper.

Pour eggs into the pan, let set about ten seconds, and lifting edge of omelet with a spatula, let the uncooked portion of egg slide under the cooked portion.  Repeat until eggs are set.  Add spinach, basil (if using), and tomato.

Fold omelet over using spatula and tip onto warm plate.  Serve warm or at room temperature with salsa or cheese, if desired.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cranberry-Ginger Bread Pudding for 2--Breakfast or Dessert?

I have a thing about making desserts in individual portions. I'll own it.  I'll fess up. I guess I just think they're cute.  Manageable.  And I love bread pudding at holiday time.

I find myself, when in a good kitchen shop (like COOKS of CROCUS HILL on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul and in Stillwater--both in Minnesota), browsing around for ramekins, over-sized cups, and so on.  Anything that will go in the microwave, oven, or convection oven.  One of my regular ovens and my microwave are also convection ovens by design.  Did I get the verb-subject agreement here?
Sounds wonky.  In a pinch, one-cup glass measuring cups could be used.  Make sure they're oven-safe or they could shatter in the oven.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cornbread Muffins: Just 6 (And a little Sweet Baby James, too)

I hope you don't break down and buy the little Jiffy mixes that make just six muffins.  I know it's tempting.  But it doesn't take much to keep a little cornmeal on hand.  To say nothing of flour.  Could you make a whole cornbread for one person? Of course  you could!   (In fact, scroll down and I'll give you a link to my own skillet cornbread recipe.) Still: what if you don't want leftover cornbread or you'd like to freeze individual portions?  Then this little recipe is just for you.  Or you and your friend.  Try this:

six cornbread muffins

  • 1/2 cup each yellow (or white) cornmeal and white, unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated or finely minced onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.   Place a  greased  6-muffin tin in the oven to heat for 2-3 minutes.  (Do not use paper liners.)  Half of a 12-muffin tin works, too.

Mix dry ingredients (flours - salt) in a medium bowl. 
In a mixing cup or small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (butter-onion.)
Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and stir until just well-blended.  Don't over mix.

Remove muffin tin from oven and, holding carefully with mitts or pot  holders, pour or spoon batter, dividing evenly among the six muffin cups.   Bake for about 15 minutes or until muffins are firm, golden, and toothpick inserted at middle comes out clean. Do not overbake.  Serve hot with butter and honey.

Wrap leftovers well and store at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to eight weeks.

Want to bake a whole skillet cornbread?  Double the ingredients for the muffins.  Heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet (or similar size Pyrex dish or baking pan) on the stove and melt a teaspoon or two of butter in it; swirl or brush well all over inside of pan.  Pour batter into pan and let cook two minutes or so stove top.  Place in oven and bake about 20 minutes or until golden and toothpick inserted at middle comes out clean.  Do not overbake.

 Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

P.S.  I have a really big collection of Christmas music, so I limit myself to one new album per year.
 I just bought the new James Taylor Christmas album....love it. (I'm not paid to toot this guy's horn, but he's been a favorite of mine a long time.  I'm so  happy to see him still coming up with new stuff that he obviously enjoys doing. Give it a listen.  Enjoy every moment, friends.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

White Wine and Lemon-Steamed Salmon Cooked on Broccoli

During the calorically dense holiday season, it makes sense to have a couple of fish, poultry, or vegetable dishes to pull out of your back pocket.  This dinner is simple to cook, but the taste is anything but.  Sauté a small, chopped onion with some garlic and add broccoli.  Next, splash in white wine and fresh lemon juice.  Add a couple of salmon filets, cover, and that's it.  The vegetables become quite tender (don't start them ahead if you want them really crisp) and are infused with the citrusy-wine sauce.  In short, they're luscious.  The salmon is very moist-- cooked barely done, and isn't all hopped up with fancy or fattening sauces.  It reeks of itself...just as it should.  There's enough for two nights or for you and a friend.  Try this:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Crispy Prosciutto

 Blogger's Note:  I wrote a post for this recipe several days ago and linked it to Pinterest and fb; somehow (??) the post disappeared.  Never happened before and hope it never happens again.
Here's the new shorter version.  I apologize if you've been looking for this recipe and it wasn't here!

When I make a dinner that includes roasted vegetables (see below), I always make an extra big pan full of just vegetables so I can make this soup.  It's luscious, filling, healthy (even with the prosciutto) and is a whole meal if you add rolls or whole wheat crackers and maybe a little cheese.  The soup itself comes together quickly since most of it is already cooked.

Certainly this makes a beautiful, make-ahead first course for Thanksgiving (or any) dinner, as well.  Bring it to a potluck gathering in a crock-pot and plug it in out in the dining room or living room away from the maddening kitchen crowd.  It could also be a main course if you'd like something light or if you're cooking for someone who either can't chew or must be on a largely liquid diet. Skip the prosciutto and add a little grated Parmesan if needed.

For a vegan or vegetarian version, use vegetable stock and garnish with fried sage.  Try this:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Egg and Bacon Supper

You don't want to cook much tonight, but you want something to get you through until the wee hours of the morning.  TODAY SHOW'S  Savannah Guthrie says NBC news will be on until at least 3a.m.  So get your strength on with this quick breakfast for dinner.  Yes, there are some fried components (potatoes and bacon), but the eggs are poached and sit on gorgeous cheddar-smothered tomato slices with whole wheat English muffins.  Go ahead, tank up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Fish Story: Foiled Flounder, Oven-Roasted Green Beans and Rosemary Potatoes

Fast fish dinner.  Very simple.  Wrap the fish in foil and put it in the oven.  Roast beans. Microwave and then sau a few potatoes with rosemary. Just for you or you and a friend. Pick up a bottle of white wine and a pint of gelato.  You're set.  Except for the table.  And maybe your friend will do that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Egg in 30 Seconds and No Pan to Wash

This probably is one of those things that everyone in the world knows about, but I'm not sure.  So if I'm Mrs. Obvious this morning, skip the post.  Just in case, I thought I'd share my own quickest hot breakfast and also the method I used when I quickly need a boiled egg for tuna (or other salad).

In the microwave.  30 seconds for a runny yolk.  1 minute for a "hard-boiled" egg.  1 minute and 20 seconds at 50% power for two eggs with runny yolks.

Look, Ma:  No pan.  No butter either. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coffee Cup Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

          Makes 6 large muffins

I spend a bit of time every fall baking pumpkin bread...  I have a special pan for it:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spicy Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Wendy's Sage and Thyme

One day last week, Dave didn't feel good.  Couldn't put a point on it, but sort of fell out of his office chair and into a half-hour nap in the bed.  Got up, felt better, but still not right.  Took the computer to the family room and said,

Do we have any canned soup?

You have to remember to whom he was speaking.  Of course I keep a can of tomato soup for emergencies.  I'm an American woman who raised her kids on grilled cheese and tomato soup every Saturday, right?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apfel Pfannkuchen for One (Apple Pancake, German Pancake, Dutch Baby, Dutch Puff)

 I'm not sure there's anything better for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner)  than Apfel Pfannkuchen  (Apple Pancake).  Maybe there is and I don't know it.  Tender, eggy--almost custardy.  Puffy, sweet (not too), a light touch of cinnamon, buttery-- like a sweet Yorkshire pudding or a popover with fruit made in a pan.  If you've never had it, it's time you made it just for you.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Farro Salad with Canned Wild Alaskan Salmon, Tomatoes, Basil, and Spinach

If you haven't made a farro salad, now's your time.   Push back rice and set aside pasta; cook a bit of farro (FAHR-roe)--a luscious European-Near East whole grain-- today.  A chewy (if not over-cooked) grain something a bit like a cross between barley and wheat berries, it is often described as somewhat nutty in flavor.   Despite all indications, you needn't soak farro overnight like dried beans.  Bring it to a boil, using l cup of dried farro for 2 1/2 cups of water and, lowering the heat (and covering) a la rice, cook away 25-30 minutes until this hearty, wholesome grain is al dente.  (I like to include a bit of salt, pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper to the water.)  If, when the farro is done, there's still water left, drain it like pasta.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Garlic Bread Grilled Tomato Sandwich

Along with the rest of the United States, Canada, the UK, and perhaps most of the rest of the world, I adore a good grilled cheese sandwich.  The other day we had young friend and his mother to dinner, and said young friend asked the food blogger, "But tell me just how you get a grilled cheese cooked nicely?  No matter what I do, one side burns and the other side's got nada." (Answer:  Don't flash-fry it. Have patience.)  In bookstores (of which there are few except Barnes and Noble or Garrison Keillor's new store, Common Good Books, on Snelling--just a few blocks from my house), there are truly books all about grilled cheese.  Could that be?  Are things out of kilter in the cookbook world? Or are grilled cheese that high up on the menu list?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ratatouille-Steamed Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Spinach

I'm a firm fan of the frozen salmon that comes in the individual or duo cryo pack.  It's delicious, less expensive than fresh, and sometimes fresher than the fish in the seafood case.  I've been buying packages all summer long at a price of about $4 and change per approximately 6 oz. serving.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shrimp-Quinoa Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Hot nights:  if you skip the quinoa and buy cooked shrimp, this is a no-cook dinner.  Another option is microwave rice.
Coming back from Colorado (where we spent most of the summer with Dave working on our old house and me writing the soup book), we took mostly back roads. You can go all the way from Colorado Springs to St. Paul almost without super-highways.   Perhaps it's possible to go all of the way, but we opted for a bit of interstate here and there.  (Once you get near the Twin Cities, it's a bit tougher to accomplish since someone changed the routes from roads to vrrrooomms years ago now.) What we saw, almost all the way, was dead corn.  Miles and miles of it.  Dried out, brown, or with sprigs and shadows of green here and there.  In some cases the farmers were just cutting it down unharvested.  The photos and stories of the drought when seen on tv are one thing; feasting your eyes on hundreds of miles of it is another.  Sad.  I occasionally tried to get a photo, but nothing really came out from the car window.  My mind kept going to increased fuel prices, food prices, and hunger.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken Salad

Serve with saltines.  What else?

This is an old-fashioned lunch counter meal.  You know the kind of place I mean; they still exist in some places.  If you're lucky enough to have a drugstore nearby with a counter (as am I), you might still order this blue plate special once in a while.   Living in Colorado this summer, I've missed my Minnesota haunts.  (State Fair starts Thursday; you can finally get your cheese curds on a stick fix.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Would You Make Breakfast? Fried Bread with Egg Skillet

 For years when I had to cook just for myself (before and after the house full of kids), I just made scrambled eggs and toast.  It wasn't that I didn't know how to cook, but rather that eggs were fast, cheap, filling, and used one pan and one plate.  Ok, you could even eat them out of the pan.   I had spent so much time cooking for other people that when there was just me, I wanted to spend my time in other ways, i.e. breathing. 

This is one of the first sorts of things I cooked just for myself.  A fish salad.  Walleye Salad if you're in Minnesota.  Make a nice salad while a piece of fish cooks in a pan.  Gee.  Real rough?  But it was a watershed moment.  You know how often you hear someone say, "Too hard to cook for just me."  I changed that for myself.  I set the table, lit the candles, turned on the music, and lived.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Would You Make Breakfast? Egg & Egg White Omelet Filled with Cottage Cheese on Whole Wheat Toast

 Tired of the same old, same old breakfast?  This little omelet (I cut it so you could see the filling...) sitting on a piece of whole wheat toast is so fast and so luscious.  Not only is it quick and nutritious (made with one egg and one egg white), it'll hold you until early afternoon.  No elevenses (tea and cookies in the UK) needed.   Serve it up with a few slices of great August tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!   Try this:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Would You Bring a Side? Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Jasmine Rice with Tarragon and Mustard Vinaigrette

When it's green bean time, I often make a green bean salad with mustard vinaigrette.  Sometimes it has tomatoes and sometimes mushrooms or potatoes.  I'm fond of one-dish sides and am always looking for dishes easily served alongside a chop or a piece of grilled chicken or fish. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Would You Bring Sangria? Malbec Sangria with Port and Blueberries

Whenever I want to make Sangria, I have to think a few times about what's in it.  I know I love it, but someone else usually seems to make it.  Or I pay $8 for a small, watery glass at the local Mexican joint and am very unhappy with the way I've spent my money.    Most times, embarrassingly, I just forget to make it.  I offer wine (or beer if I'm thinking hard) and, if I'm in St. Paul in July, the quintessential Twin Cities summer drink:  Gin and Tonic with Lime.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bannocks--Tasty Gluten-free Bread/Cracker and A Tribute to Marion Cunningham

A little apricot preserves...

 I never knew Marion Cunningham personally, but after my Mom, she pretty much taught me to cook and, perhaps more truly, to bake.  She died this last week (July 11, 2012--Read the LA Times obituary here) at the age of 90 after a lifetime of cooking, writing, and testing recipes for her cookbooks (Fanny Farmer, Fanny Farmer Baking Book, The Breakfast Book, etc.) and for her long-lived column in The San Francisco Chronicle.  She encouraged several generations of home cooks to... well, to just go on and cook.  Set the table and eat at home, please and thank you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Would You Bring a Salad? Cilantro Coleslaw that Keeps

Crunch, Crunch--Here's today's slaw.  It keeps in the frig several days.  Munch, munch.
I have to admit that I adore coleslaw.  I choose it over fries at the Groveland Tap (our corner bar) in St. Paul.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Would You Bring an Appetizer? Goat Cheese Spread with Dill and Red Onion

Just spread on sliced baguette.
Bring an appetizer.  Sounds easy, right?  But what to bring?  Chips?  Veggies and dip?  Usual suspects like sliced salami, olives, and marinated mushrooms off the bar at the grocery?  This little appetizer is good any time of the year, but is perfect in the summer with a crisp and ice cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or my favorite version,  Sancerre.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blue Cheese-Chicken Chopped Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I have an awful habit of chopping up all kinds of salad come summer, but never writing them down.  I did write this one up and am actually going to make it again.  It's so simple and can be made with a variety of vegetables and leftover chicken, shrimp, or even sliced beef from the deli.  This time of the year, it's sometimes almost too hot to stand and cut up anything.  But I think you'll be happy if you try this:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Salmon on Greens and Berries with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

So good to be home and cooking again...

This so-fast dinner is a riff on "Simon's Favorite New England Salad with Berries and Goat Cheese" from Linda and Martha Greenlaw's now out-of-print Recipes from a Very Small Island (2005:  Hyperion.)   There are a few copies available through amazon.com, but I was more impressed with this:

 Linda Greenlaw, America's only female swordfish boat captain, was featured in the book and film The Perfect Storm. She has written three New York Times bestselling nonfiction books about life as a commercial fisherman as well as a cookbook and two mysteries. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Blog is on Vacation, but Cook this 10-minute Salmon Supper with Green Beans Vinaigrette

I'm not here now, but I took this.
I write two really fun cooking blogs.  On the rare occasion, I share something between the two.  This is one of those times:

Really Quick Supper:  Grilled Salmon with a Balsamic-Honey Sauce and Green Beans Vinaigrette  2-3 servings

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cranberry-Blueberry Orange Muffins

Tender is the word.  Gentle is the method.  Don't over-mix or over bake.  Butter?  Yes.
 There really isn't anything homier or more welcoming than a basket full of fresh muffins. (Especially if you're having a friend for breakfast.)  And they're a bit more versatile than at first they appear.  I like them for breakfast, lunch, snacks, coffee, or dinner.  Much like quiche or omelets, they go anywhere, anytime.  They do travel well and keep for a few days on the counter or for a few weeks well-wrapped in the freezer.  Time?  5 minutes to stir up and 15 - 20 to bake?  They round up and out what might have appeared a paltry meal (think leftover salad or a jar of tomato soup or just yogurt and fruit) and  make you and the meal feel special.  Should I bring up butter?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fried Potato and Egg Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

No matter how hard you try to be healthy, sometimes you have  a yen for fried potatoes.  Maybe fried eggs.  Ok.  Let's do that.  But we'll add a few veggies to the mix for this wilted salad.  And it won't seem so bad.  So unhealthy.  Oh, geez.  At least there's no bacon in it.  Though you could add it. This is kind of a picture recipe....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Black Bean and Ham Salad with Lemon-Lime Vinaigrette

I notice the loved ones in my life who live alone eat a lot of chicken.  As do folks on the South Beach Diet or any diet.  (I've been there.)  Maybe everyone who's not a vegetarian eats a lot of chicken.  Granted it's one of the most inexpensive and versatile proteins and is low in fat.   I'm on the bandwagon, too; I eat chicken often.  I roast a whole chicken probably twice a  month or more.   I occasionally buy a deli chicken on Tuesdays from Whole Foods.   I  like to make breasts on the bone for salads, casseroles (we call them hot dish in Minnesota and hot dish is singular or plural), sandwiches (though I don't eat a sandwich in two months unless it's a veggie burger on half a bun), or in omelets.

(Above:   Make my Greek Chicken Salad sometime.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Egg with a Few Greens for Supper

Egg Salad

This is a light lunch/supper or could be a first course for dinner-- done in 5-10 minutes.  Sweet and filling.  Crunchy and soft.  Make extra dressing and keep in the frig.

Note:  Dressing keeps longer without the shallots or onions.  And you can skip the dressing totally if you make the egg quite soft (runny) and use that as dressing.  Yes.

"Egg Salad #2"  serves 2

4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2 small tomatoes, sliced (Try the Mexican "brown" tomatoes--tasty and cheaper.)
2 carrots, sliced
1/4 c minced parsley
1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin half-moons
1t fresh lemon juice
2 poached eggs (slide raw eggs, each in a cup, into barely simmering water for 3-4 minutes til white is firm)

Dressing:  1 T balsamic vinegar, healthy pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, 1t minced shallot or garlic, optional, 1/2 t honey, 1/4 t dijon-style mustard, 2T extra-virgin olive oil--Whisk salt into vinegar.  Whisk in all else, though drizzle in 1T olive oil at a time, being sure it's incorporated well before adding the second,)

  1. Divide greens and vegetables between two large shallow bowls.  Drizzle equally with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Top with well-drained egg and drizzle with dressing.
  3. Serve with a piece of hot, buttered whole wheat toast. 
 Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself, 

first posted on more time at the table

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Killer Guac to Take to the Cookout

There's little to say except everyone loves guacamole.  It doesn't matter what the main dish is at the picnic or who's going to be there.  (We took this to a potluck Sunday night where it disappeared very quickly.)   You just dish up a nice big bowl of guac to go with the best tortilla chips you can find, a crunchy veggie tray, or even a plate of rolled up turkey and pepperjack slices for all of those on the South Beach diet.  If there are burgers, you're in luck, because many folks love burgers topped with guac.  Truth be told, there's such bad guac out there that you can buy it pre-made in the produce or frozen section.  Learn to make your own (no cooking except the bacon!) and be the hit of the party.    If you've got some vegetarian or vegan friends coming, leave out the bacon (or have it separate for an add in.)  Guac also makes a tasty salad...just add greens and a vinaigrette.  Try this:

alyce's killer guac  serves 4-6 as a appetizer with chips/doubles easily 

I like the food processor for making pico de gallo.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Walleye Salad

It's just a fact of life.  If you live in the upper midwest, you  probably love Walleye Pike.  (If you live elsewhere, you maybe don't know from Walleye.)  We travel to northern lakes to fish for them, we serve them at many, many restaurants, and we currently sell them fresh in the grocery store for $18 a pound or so. (Yikes.)  We cut them into "fingers" for starters, fry them up with mountains of fries served up with two cups of mayonnaise coleslaw for mains, nestle them into a bun for a Minnesota fish burger,  and occasionally place them somewhat uncomfortably on a bed of greens.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meatball Frittata

Except for soup, pasta, or salad, there's nearly nothing you can cook that is as versatile as the not-so-humble frittata, which is nothing more than an open-faced omelet.   Just about whatever you've got leftover in your frig, including spaghetti you brought home from the Italian restaurant (and definitely the toppings from that box of cold pizza), can be worked into a frittata and turned into a meal that might feed you a couple times or more.  Will you be happy?  I think so.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Boiled Eggs on English Muffins with Asparagus and Cheese Sauce

One of my favorite spring breakfasts is so terribly simple, that it appears I've never blogged it.  I see the photos on my Pinterest board and on fb, but when I checked the blogs--no eggs on muffins!  So here it is:  a meal perfect for Easter when you have lots of boiled eggs to use up, but also perfect any other time or for any meal, come to think of it.   If you have a plethora of eggs, as does my friend Cathy (we're trading my granola for her backyard eggs this week), this is a fine use for them.  My own kids had this every Easter for years.  Well, I served it anyway.  Whether or not they ate it is beside the point!

Won't make cheese sauce?  Grated cheese will work admirably and is even better if you slip the eggs under the broiler tooty sweetie to melt the cheese.   No asparagus?  It's quite delicious without it. (I provide a link to a tasty cheese sauce recipe, but also include my easy one down below.)

I feel a tish odd writing this out as a recipe, but I'm doing it anyway.  Here's how:

boiled eggs on english muffins with asparagus and cheese sauce
  serves 2

  • 4 eggs boiled, cooled, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 whole-wheat English muffins, split, toasted, and buttered
  • 4 stalks asparagus, trimmed, chopped, and cooked briefly in the microwave (1 min on full power)-- optional
  • 1/2 cup cheese sauce  (or grated cheese)*
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
To assemble:  place warm, buttered muffins on plates and top with eggs.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Gently lay asparagus pieces on top of the eggs and drizzle cheese sauce (or sprinkle with grated cheese) and again dust with salt and pepper.  (If you've used grated cheese, you might want to put the egg "sandwiches" together on a broiler-safe baking sheet and place them under the broiler for a minute or so, plating afterward.)

*Easy Cheese Sauce:  In a small, heavy saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Whisk in 1 tablespoon flour until smooth.  Add a pinch each:  kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne, and dry mustard or nutmeg.  Let cook two minutes, stirring, and then whisk in 1 cup barely warm milk.  Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook until sauce begins to thicken.  Stir in 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  (If you like thicker sauce, you can whisk together a little more flour in a 1/4 cup of flour and stir it in before adding the cheese... or  just begin with double butter and flour to start with.   The traditional flavorings here are onion and nutmeg.  If you'd like to use onion, mince a teaspoon and cook it in the butter before adding the flour and making the roux.)

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Green Beans Sauteed with Onions and Garlic-- or My Sister Loves Green Beans

It's my sister's birthday month.  She loves green beans!

Sides like green beans, carrots, spinach, asparagus--otherwise known as vegetables-- aren't something I usually blog on their own.  Today  I'm  changing all that in honor of my younger sister.   You just  get the words "green beans" off your tongue, and she nearly swoons.  "I just love green beans!" is her immediate comeback.  And it doesn't matter how you make them, she'll eat them and be glad.  In our childhood days, our southern parents would talk about "a mess of beans" for supper.  That could mean anything from butter beans to pole beans to wax beans, but it usually meant a big pot of green beans.  That, along with some bacon or ham thrown in, a pot of rice, a pan of corn bread, and a plate of sliced tomatoes was a typical summer meal.  And, oh, by the way, you wouldn't throw out the juice or "liquor" the beans were cooked in because you might want to dip your corn bread in it or add your rice to the bowl for an instant soup, though no one would ever call it that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuna-Cannellini Bean Salad with Feta -- Pantry Dinner, Lunch or Both

In a perfect world, someone else would make your lunch.
Do your laundry.
Grocery shopping.
Make your iced tea.
Clean out your refrigerator.
Do your taxes.
Clean the leaves out of the flower beds.
Fill your car with gas.
Take your old books to the library book sale.
Mend your favorite jeans.

But since this isn't a perfect world, you might have to cook for yourself  AND do your laundry.  But.  If you "cook" this (and there's no cooking involved), you'll skip most of the above because this yummy ditty is made mostly from pantry ingredients.  No running out to the store for fresh fish or searching the shelves for a bag of dried beans.  Of course, you'll need to have kept a few fresh veggies, etc in your frig "pantry," but here's hoping you do.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tomato-Carrot Soup for Easter or Passover--A Light and Easy First Course

Up next in the blog is a simple, yet incredibly tasty soup I made out of on-hand ingredients to preface a meal of steak with oven-browned potatoes accented with burnt onions and roasted asparagus. If your meal is easy and nearly instant, as was this, or is a holiday meal elsewhere,  what a good time to make a first-course soup. Get ready for, “Oh, you made SOUP?!” 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Canned Salmon Salad or Simple Pictures are Best

While I'm not hard-pressed for grocery money ... right now.. at this moment...I have been.  I spent years feeding six of us and, before that, had fifteen bucks a week to feed two hungry adults.  Really.  I know from cheap eats and, btw, canned salmon salad is cheap eats.

Lately, I find I'm just heart-sick over the cost of groceries.  And I only have to feed two people and two dogs.  Everyone I know complains about it.  One friend recently described a woman speaking on NPR about wanting to eat healthily--to eat vegetables.  Her words were something like this:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Help! I've Got Leftover Take-Out Rice and Don't Know What to Do with It

Leftover Take-Out Rice Salad
Do you leave all that extra rice at the Chinese place?  (What do they do with all that rice?  Make fried rice!)  When you pick up take-out and there's two of those "little" boxes stuffed to the gills with white rice, do you eat it all?  Do you soy sauce it up with a scrambled egg for breakfast? That's one idea.  Throw it in chicken broth with chopped green onions, a drop of soy sauce, and shredded deli chicken?  That's another.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Breakfast Reuben in a Cup for St. Patrick's Day

Here is it out of the cup.
Here it is in the cup.  You can eat it either way.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread 2 thin, trimmed slices of pumpernickel or rye with Dijon Mustard and place in buttered, oven-safe large cup or small bowl.  (For crispy toast, bake the mustard bread in oven for 5 min. before continuing.)  No oven-safe cup?  Use a Pyrex measuring cup.
Add 2 thin pieces of corned beef.

Top with 1/4 cup rinsed/drained/squeezed-dry sauerkraut, a piece of Swiss cheese, an egg, and a pat of butter.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes until egg is set to your liking.  (30 min was a runny  yolk for mine.)

While egg bakes, make a Horseradish-Yogurt Sauce, set the table, and make the coffee.

Sauce: Whisk together 2T plain yogurt or sour cream, 1/2 t Dijon mustard, 1/4 t horseradish sauce, 1 T milk, pinch  each salt/pepper.  (Optional:  a drop of hot sauce.)
Drizzle with sauce and eat in or out (like this!) of the cup. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Love, Alyce