Sunday, April 27, 2008

Breakfast for Dinner

Even though this is another casserole, I would like to point out that it's not your typical casserole. Tonight, it was breakfast for dinner in our house. I actually made this dish last night (as it needs to refrigerate overnight) so the cooking and prep time was very minimal this evening.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, and you can't tell that it is lower in calories. No really! It has bacon, cheese, potatoes, and lots of other gooey ingredients. Although, the bacon and cinnamon rolls we ate with the lighter casserole cross canceled out anything healthy. Oops.
This is a great recipe for any time of day really. Breakfast, brunch or dinner. It would be especially special (tongue twister) on Christmas morning or even Easter.

You can omit the green onions if you don't care for them, but they really do give the casserole a finished flavor. I didn't have any on hand this time and I could really tell the difference. The last time I made this, I couldn't find the specific kind of cheese that the recipe called for. Instead, I settled for a cheddar, which is completely fine if you can't find the Four Blend at your supermarket.
I used a stainless steel pan to cook the bacon and onion mix, and this is the mess it left:

Enjoy! And please be smarter than we were and try turkey bacon as your side dish. That way, you aren't negating the whole purpose of a LIGHT casserole! Oh, and don't have any cinnamon rolls either.

Hash Brown Casserole with Bacon, Onions and Cheese
from: Cooking Light Magazine, November 2005
6 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 package (32 oz) frozen Southern-Style has brown potatoes
1 cup (4 oz) preshredded Classic Melts Four Cheese blend, divided (by Kraft)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (10.75 oz) 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup

1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and crumble. Discard drippings in pan. Add 1 cup onion and garlic to pan; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the potatoes; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Combine bacon, 1/4 cheese, green onions, sour cream, salt, pepper, and soup in a large bowl. Add potato mix; toss gently to combine. Spoon mix into an 11x7 casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from fridge and let stand 15 minutes. Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake an additional 30 minutes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another Home Run!

The other evening, I had a wild hair to bake something. I thought "brownies sure sound good". So, I went and searched for a recipe that wouldn't take any off the wall ingredients. I was limited. I hadn't gone grocery shopping for the week. So, I only had one stick of butter, no squares of baking chocolate and just the basics.

I found a recipe on that I thought would work. So, I got started. Halfway between melting the butter and mixing the dry ingredients, I realized that I only had two eggs. I needed four. Crap. So, I improvised.

I hoped and prayed that the brownies would turn out okay. I didn't care what kind of consistency they had as long as they were tasty. I wasn't sure if they would end up chewy, cake like, or brownie like.

Below is the recipe along with my modifications. The results were a chewy, dense, yummy brownie. I was very surprised, considering I didn't have all the ingredients. If you make these, let me know how they turn out! These are great with a glass of milk.

Wicked Brownies with Pachey's modifications

1/2 cup butter
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the cocoa. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs. Add the vanilla. Stire in the melted chocolate mixture. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter.

3. Pour in the milk, until the consistency is thinned, but not too thin. It will be thick and a little hard to spread in the pan. That's okay. That is how you want it!

4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top has crusted over. Watch the brownies so they don't burn. They won't look all the way done, but they will be.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mama Mia!

At the request of my husband, I made homemade fettuccine alfredo. He couldn't stand one more pasta dish made with tomatoes, so, he made a plea. Now, as a tomato lover myself, I don't consider pasta dinner unless it has tomatoes. I love tomatoes so much that my kitchen is decorated with them.

I don't care for alfredo, so I feel I should disclaimer that up front. To me, it's too rich. I can literally feel my arteries clogging up with each bite. But, out of love, and to keep my husband from divorcing me, I decided to satisfy his wish.

I went to to find this lovely alfredo sauce. It contains a full stick of butter (Lord, have mercy), a cup of heavy cream (ouch!), and two cups of fresh grated parmesan (kill me now). Do not make the mistake of using pre-grated off the shelf parmesan. Trust me, splurge and get the fresh kind in the triangles. It is well worth the taste of the sauce.

I have to admit, this sauce WAS rich, but it was also very tasty. It didn't taste like your typical alfredo sauce. I believe that is because I used good quality cheese and took my time. The addition of fresh garlic was lovely. I only had a little bit, but I can definitely say, I am satisfied on the alfredo front for a while.

Jason on the other hand, will probably want me to make this again next week. My poor poor arteries.

Fettuccine Alfredo

1/2 cup butter
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley

1. In a large skillet melt the butter and add the chopped garlic. Cook on low for about five minutes, stirring often, making sure not to burn the garlic.

2. Pour about a 1/4 cup of the cream into a small bowl. Add the egg yolk and beat together; put aside. Pour the remaining cream into the frying pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. As the cream starts to boil, mix rapidly using a whisk. Slowly add the cream/egg mixture. You do not want the egg to curdle. Continue whisking until well blended.

3. Add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese and continue to mix the cream. Pour in the remaining parmesan and the parsley, mix until smooth. Immediately remove from stove. Serve over cooked pasta.