Ready for the week ahead – and beyond!

Another fun day in the kitchen getting ready for the week ahead, putting a twist on an old favorite and sharing a nutritious breakfast cookie that’s perfect for those days you’re running out the door!

You know I’m a big fan of the versatile breaded chicken tender, so today I thought about preparing eggplant in the same way to make Eggplant Parmesan.  The original recipe shared back in 2011 starts by lightly frying the eggplant slices on the stovetop before assembling.  Today I decided to start with breaded eggplant slices that I baked in the oven before putting the layers together.  I even made some more of my favorite chicken tenders while I was at it!

Picture of breaded eggplant slices

Breaded Eggplant Slices

Picture of breaded baked chicken tenders

Breaded Chicken Tenders

 

 

 

 

As I was in and out of the refrigerator, I remembered I had some fresh basil that I bought last week to make the Basil & Goat Cheese Chicken Breasts, so in staying true to form with ‘never throwing anything away,’ in the food processor went the basil leaves and PRESTO, out come a few small containers of PESTO!

Picture of 3 small containers of basil pesto

Basil Pesto

 

 

 

 

Finally, I made another double batch of these delicious and nutritious Peanut Butter Power Cookies.  I found this recipe last August when I was looking for an ‘on the go’ breakfast treat to share as we headed out on a small group trip, and these have been a staple in our house from then on.  A double batch makes about 30 cookies, so I store them in the freezer and they are ready anytime.  I grab a couple to eat in the early morning hours on my way to the gym – feeling good about it all the way there!

Picture of Peanut Butter Power Cookies

Peanut Butter Power Cookies

 

Ready for the week ahead – and I hope you are, too!  Buon Appetito!


Carnitas Hash!

Leftover pork roast from Easter?  Chopped up and waiting patiently in the freezer for an encore performance?  Today’s your day!  Carnitas Hash.

Picture of hash made from pork, potatoes, and spinach topped with fried eggs

Carnitas Hash and over-easy eggs!

What I love about making hash is that whatever you have on hand makes a great addition to your creation.  Today – leftover shredded/chopped pork (about 1.5 cups??), thinly sliced red  potatoes, and some frozen spinach!  I started with 3 medium red-skin potatoes.  Washed, dried, and cut into semi-thin half rounds.  Into a hot skillet with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Toss periodically to cook evenly.  When the potatoes start to brown on the edges, add in about 1/2 shallot finely chopped.  Cook for a few more minutes, tossing as the cooking continues, then add in the pre-cooked pork and about a cup of defrosted/drained frozen spinach.  Continue tossing, adding a drizzle more of olive oil as you go, continuing to sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper – all until your crispy delicious creation is to your liking!   You’ll notice no exact directions here – just add ingredients proportionally to your liking, and the key (to me) is tossing over med/high heat until everything is golden brown and you can’t wait any longer to eat it!  (I also add a few generous dashes of #respectthepepper for some added heat!)  Top with a couple of eggs of your choice – and you’ve got breakfast, brunch, or an anytime go-to delicious meal!  Enjoy.


Ina’s Cranberry Orange Scones

Comin’ at ya, Juli!  Just in time for April’s monthly unit meeting, Ina’s Cranberry Orange Scones!  I made it my habit to bring in some sort of homemade treat to our monthly unit meeting – and I’m ready for tomorrow.  Anyone who knows me or has been reading this blog over time, knows I’m a huge fan of @inagarten, Barefoot Contessa.  Ina gets all the credit for this recipe – and I’ll take credit for the smiles that are sure to be on everyone’s faces!  Orange_Cranberry_Scones_2

Picture of glazed scones

Cranberry Orange Scones

This was my first attempt at making scones – and I’m planning to do it again and again!  The rumors are false – scones are easy to make!  THE BEST!  Flaky, tender, and buttery – of course!    Thanks, @inagarten, for another fool-proof treat.  Enjoy!


Fruitcake…. without the negative flashbacks!

How many of you have avoid fruitcake at all costs?  Nothing appealing about that wet looking cake filled with unidentifiable pieces of gelatinous fruit, right?  This recipe will help to turn that image around, and will help you build a new set of tasty memories moving forward!

Generous Fruit Cake (Beekman Boys)

Generous Fruit Cake (Beekman Boys)

There’s an interesting story behind the name ‘Generous Fruitcake’.  Check it out along with the link to the recipe found on the Beekman Boys website (Beekman 1802 Mercantile):  http://beekman1802.com/recipes/the-generous-fruitcake-recipe

I shared this sweet treat with the teachers at my school, accompanied by a scoop of sweet and delicious cream cheese frosting, compliments of my favorite Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa):  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cream-cheese-icing-recipe.html

Really no need to sweeten up the fruitcake, but a little extra something special around the holidays?  “How bad could that be?” (Ina Garten)

Enjoy!


Thanks, with food!

Nothing says thank you better than a delicious treat!  Today we celebrated Classified Employee Appreciate Day at work and I prepared a tried and true recipe, compliments of Giada De Laurentiis.  The only credit I can take for this dish is that I’ve made it many times and it’s always a huge hit!  (I’m including Giada’s recipe since so many people asked for it at work today.)  Try it for any breakfast gathering and you’ll be the hit of the party!  Buon Appetito!

Spinach and Pancetta Strata

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 cups cubed Italian bread, from a 1-pound loaf
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 10 large eggs

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a bowl. Add the onion to the pan drippings in the same skillet and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and garlic. Saute over medium-low heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, nutmeg, and the cooked pancetta.

Place half of the bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the bread, then top with half of the spinach mixture. Repeat layering.

Whisk the milk, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over the strata. Chill the strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake strata uncovered until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.