French Onion Soup Made Easy

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Don’t tell me that you skip over the crock of french onion soup whenever it is on the menu. I have a hard time not getting it! The cheese that oozes over the top of the crock, the delicious piece of bread in the middle, does it really matter what the broth tastes like at that point? But still, even the broth of french onion soup beats out most soups. Then there are the strategies in eating it. Some people mix the cheese in and eat throughout, others save the cheese for last, even others dive right into the bread. No matter what way you eat it – it is indeed tasty.

So one of those cold winter days (feels literally like yesterday), my wife took out the dutch oven and asked “what do you think of french onion soup tonight?” To which my response was, “well, do we have enough cheese?” Hells yes we did. Hours later, we had nice hot bowls (sorry, we don’t have crocks yet) of french onion soup oozing with cheese over the top. This was a success that went straight into the recipe book. Here you go.

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Weekday Brunch: Simple Sausage Strata

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What’s a strata? Well, a breakfast strata is a casserole made of egg, cheese, bread, and breakfast meat. Ron Swanson’s dream (other than a heaping pile of bacon on top of an additional pile of bacon, on top of sausage). Anyway, at work, our gracious overlord bought the staff breakfast, but we were also asked to bring a casserole of our choosing. …or juice. Well I wasn’t going to be the ass face that brought juice, so I went to one of my favorite brunch items that was also one of the easiest – Sausage Breakfast Strata. Why? Because I’m an awesome team player with a culinary hand that will blow your face off by surprise. Bitches.

What could go wrong? You have breakfast in one dish. Bread, cheese, sausage, and egg. That’s a 2-2-2 deal in diners across this nation. A staple that one shan’t take away. So I made it the night before, let it sit in the fridge, and woke up early to pop this in the oven. I brought it into work, and BINGO-BANGO – it was destroyed by all. “Oh, I didn’t know you were a good cook!” “YOU made that?!” “Hey, everyone loved that breakfast casserole you brought in.” Faces. Blown. Off. And you can too…here’s how.

Simple Sausage Strata
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Ingredients

6 Eggs

2 cups Milk

1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of mustard (yellow or dijon)

1 loaf of bread (your favorite – something crusty)

1 – 2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Sleeve of Sausage (1 lb crumbled sausage)

Salt & Pepper

Recipe

Cook the sausage to brown

Whisk together eggs and milk with salt & pepper

Cube your bread (I had a nice crusty loaf of Puerto Rican bread)

Grease an oven-safe baking dish (about 13 x 9)

Cover the bottom of the dish with cubed bread (use crust parts first). Eat the extra.

Sprinkle sausage on top of the bread – throughout entire dish. Use all sausage.

Sprinkle about half of the cheese on top of the sausage.

Cover with egg mixture

Sprinkle remaining cheese on top

Cover with foil and let sit in the fridge overnight. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it tastes better this way.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the dish (uncovered) for at least 35 minutes. Depending on your oven – it may be longer. To check, put a knife in the center and it should come out clean. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Homemade Fluffy Pancakes

DSC_0157Weekend mornings lead to the best breakfasts of the week. Some indulge in eggs benedict, others an omelet, and of course the classic: pancakes. I grew up nearly expecting pancakes at least one day of the weekend every week. My family went so far as buying a griddle for the grill so that we could make an evenly cooked pancake out on the deck. Pancakes are the bomb. Mixes are good, yes. But did you know that you can make them from scratch with staples that every person (should) have in their kitchen? Yes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp butter (melted)
  • Cinnamon and/or syrup to your liking

Recipe

Okay, ready? Mix dry mix wet, combine to lumpy consistency. Cook on the stove until fluffy.

Whoa Baby! Fruit-Filled Dutch Baby for Breakfast

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Didn’t we tell you that breakfast is the best meal of the day? Well if you didn’t believe us, maybe you will now. Adapted from Cooking Lightthis combination of funnel cake and pancake will satisfy anyone’s hunger. Bonus – it’s healthy! We filled ours with fruit. But think of the possible fillings: nutella, chocolate, homemade whipped cream, cream cheese icing, peanut butter, put chocolate chips in the batter…need I say more? Here ya go:

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 10 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter (melted and divided)
  • 1 tsp lemon rind

Recipe

  • Place 8″ or 10″ cast iron skillet in oven while pre-heating to 450 degrees
  • Combine all ingredients with only 1 tbsp of butter
  • Whisk for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet when he is pre-heated and coat with cooking spray.
  • Swirl the rest of the butter on pan and add the batter to the pan
  • Cook for 20 minutes in a 10″ pan and 25 minutes in an 8″ pan

Fill with your favorite filling and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Orange Biscotti

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Cookies are good. Yes, I enjoy cookies. When Christmas ended, I was at least happy to know that there were leftover cookies in the freezer. But that time has ended. No more Christmas cookies. Sad, I know. However, there is hope. For a long time, we would get individually wrapped biscotti in bulk for the ride to work. They were good. But then my wife starting MAKING biscotti. I will never buy individually wrapped biscotti from a big box store again. Biscotti baking is not complicated – just follow the damn directions!

Wifey can make vanilla bean biscotti, chocolate, chocolate macadamia nut, the list goes on. One of my favorites is what I bring to you: Dark Chocolate Orange Biscotti. Subtle hints of orange come through in the actual biscotti, all then dipped in a smooth layer of dark chocolate. What’s not to like?

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Mushroom Mania : Oyster-Shitake Alfredo

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Do you smell that? Yup…mushrooms again. We just can’t get enough! Still working on the large box of shitake and oyster mushrooms, the wife and I were faced with a decision: how do we finish all of these?! We already did flatbread and stroganoff, but wait – I married an Italian…PASTA! Done and done. While any mushrooms will do, I will say that the shitake and oyster mushrooms provided a distinct taste that went really with a cream sauce. Anyway, get out your favorite pasta and have at it, hoss!

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“A Fungus Among Us” Flatbread

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The wife and I live in a geographic location very famous for mushrooms. It has its pros and cons. We have grown used to the fresh smell of manure on any day at any time. However, we have also come accustomed to cheap-ass mushrooms that have great flavor. We are so spoiled. Or so we thought.

We heard a random knock on our door this weekend and I opened it to one of my wife’s former co-workers with a box full of shitake and oyster mushrooms. We thought we were mushroom snobs before with our $2.50 5 pound bags of white, portabella, and crimini mushrooms. But this took it to a new level. “Just let me know when you run out,” she says. Oh…we will. Clearly, you’ll be hearing more about mushrooms in the coming weeks. Tonight was an easy one – a quick yet sophisticated flatbread.

“A Fungus Among Us” Mushroom-Balsamic Flatbread

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Ingredients

  • Shitake and Oyster Mushrooms (any will do – but these do have great flavor w/the balsamic)
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Flatbread (homemade or store bought)
  • Julienned Red Onion (to your tasted and amount of flatbreads)
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Romano Cheese
  • Roasted Garlic

Cooking

Preheat oven to 375 or directed temp.

  1. Put freshly roasted garlic down on the flatbread (spread if you wish) and top with the onion
  2. Sprinkle fungus throughout the flatbread evenly.
  3. Sprinkled mozzarella and romano evenly on top
  4. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes or directed time
  5. Drizzle balsamic glaze on top like a damn pro

If you really like it crispy, pre-bake the flatbread before putting all the toppings on and then bake again. Goes well with a nice big glass of your favorite red wine. This meal is an EASY way to make a nice dinner after work in little time. One flatbread was actually pretty filling for me and I would definitely have it again. Reheats well for the next day’s lunch as well.