Tag Archives: cheese

Smothered Breakfast Burrito

Last week I posted a recipe for an amazing pork green chili.  Now just in case you are thinking it’s summertime and too hot for chili, just let me remind you there are other things you can do with chili beyond eating it out of a bowl.  Welcome to Casa de April, where I make a breakfast burrito I would pay for in a restaurant.  Green chili is the key that takes it from ordinary to incredible.  So make the chili, which freezes beautifully by the way, freeze in small batches to bring out for breakfast!  And although I say breakfast, I would eat this for any meal of the day.

Smothered Breakfast Burrito.  More please.

Smothered Breakfast Burrito. More please.

Smothered Breakfast Burrito

For each burrito:
1 small/medium potato
2 eggs
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup green chili (or more!)
Flour tortilla
Sliced avocado

Heat chili in a saucepan or microwave until hot.  Set aside and keep warm.  Poke potatoes and microwave for a few minutes until fork tender.  Dice or chop potatoes.  Beat eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt & pepper.  Warm tortillas in the oven or microwave (if I’m doing a bunch I wrap them in foil and stick them in the oven while I’m making everything else; if it’s just one I nuke it).

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add a drizzle of oil or butter and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan (or you can use cooking spray).  Add potato and cook for a couple of minutes, until starting to brown a bit.  Add eggs and scramble with the potatoes.  Sprinkle in the cheese, toss with the other ingredients and remove from heat.

Melty yummy goodness on the inside.

Melty yummy goodness on the inside.

Wrap in a tortilla and top with chili and avocado.

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Smoky Spinach Quiche

Long before I enjoyed eating spinach on any sort of regular basis, I tasted spinach quiche and fell in love.  The combo of eggs and cheese and spinach that wasn’t the least bit slimy or gooey was a winner for me.  It was definitely a gateway to liking spinach for this girl.  It was also a gateway to getting my kids to eat it later on.

This version combines a little bacon and a combination of smoked cheddar and swiss for a smoky twist on one of my favorites.  It comes together in mere moments, leaving you time to toss a salad and watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer while it cooks. Even slayers need to eat their vegetables.

Like quiche but not a spinach fan?  Try one of these other versions:
Pizza Quiche
Roasted Sweet Pepper Quiche
Or for a low-carb version, how about Crustless Mushroom & Feta Quiche?

Veggies, cheese, and BACON!  Oh my. Smoky Spinach Quiche

Veggies, cheese, and BACON! Oh my. Smoky Spinach Quiche

Smoky Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust (I prefer Pillsbury refrigerated crust)
1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1 package frozen spinach (thawed and liquid squeezed out)
4 strips bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
3/4 cup grated smoked cheddar or Gruyère cheese (I used a combo of the two)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half ‘n’ half
Salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Prep all of your ingredients.  In a small bowl beat eggs, half ‘n’ half, nutmeg and salt & pepper.  Set aside.

Chop, shred, squeeze, beat.  I do all of my prep ahead of time.

Chop, shred, squeeze, beat. I do all of my prep ahead of time.

Pre-heat oven to 425˚. Unroll your pie crust and place in a pie pan (I usually dust with a bit of flour on the bottom to prevent sticking).  Smooth out air bubbles and crimp edges.

Start with the crunchiest ingredients.  I put the peppers in first (reserving a few to sprinkle on top).  Then the spinach.  I prefer to use frozen spinach for this.  Thaw it and squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can.  You can use fresh spinach if you prefer, but if you do, cook it first, cool, and squeeze out any liquid.

Layer the ingredients.  Veggies first.

Layer the ingredients. Veggies first. Be sure to squeeze the liquid out of the spinach so you don’t end up with a soggy quiche.

Continue to layer ingredients, with crumbled bacon and smoky cheese going next.  Sprinkle with the rest of the peppers.

Looking good, almost there!

Looking good, almost there!

Pour egg mixture over the top.

Ready to go in the oven, carefully!

Ready to go in the oven, carefully!

Bake at 425˚ for 15 minutes.  Turn down heat to 350˚ and continue to cook for another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let it set for 10 minutes before cutting.

Beautiful!  It will be poofed up like this when it first comes out, and will sink down a bit as it cools.

Beautiful! It will be poofed up like this when it first comes out, and will sink down a bit as it cools.



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Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

I’m always on the lookout for interesting side dishes.  Anything to keep dinner fun, right?  I came across a recipe for Twice-Baked Cauliflower on Pinterest.  I believe it was called that because it’s reminiscent of twice-baked potatoes, but you don’t actually bake the cauliflower twice so that title is a tiny bit misleading.  I originally saw this touted as a “healthier” substitute for the potato dish, but seriously, with all the cream cheese, cheese and sour cream in it, I don’t think I can call this a healthy recipe and keep a straight face.  It is lower carb, I’ll give them that.  I just made it because I like cauliflower.  And cheese.

You could make this a little lighter by using the lower fat versions of the dairy products (don’t use the fat-free products, they do weird things when they are cooked).  I don’t personally care for the lower fat versions (and I don’t really think they are any better for you).  I prefer to use the full fat stuff but I use a little less than the original recipe calls for.  In fact, I could probably cut it back even more than I did here.

This was a huge hit with my kids.  True, they like their veggies, but I’m betting even veggie haters will like this one.  It’s a pile of cheesy goodness.  I don’t think anyone will actually be fooled into thinking it’s potatoes, but they might change their minds about liking cauliflower.

I paired this with my Apple-icious Pork Chops and the sweet and salty combo was amazing.  I highly recommend it.

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

1 large head of cauliflower
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 tsp. black pepper
6 strips of bacon
1/3 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Chop up the cauliflower and boil until tender.  While it is boiling, cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp and drain on paper towels.  Drain the cauliflower and mash with a potato masher.  I left quite a few chunks for texture.  Add cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan, green onions and pepper.  Mash or stir together until well combined.  Add 2/3 of the bacon and stir in.  Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread cauliflower mixture in the dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining bacon and the cheddar cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.  Serve hot.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Perfect on the side of just about anything!

Perfect on the side of just about anything!

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Did Someone Say “Wrapped In Bacon”?

With the start of football season, my mind automatically turns to Super Bowl food.  Which, as it turns out, is good for just about any football game, not just the Super Bowl.  And before you ask, the answer is YES.  I like football, but I like football food even more!  Whether you enjoy the sport or not, any gathering with nice people and great food is going to be fun.  I don’t really care who wins, I just want to cheer and laugh and eat!

When I was married, I had the best mother-in-law a girl could ask for.  Known by my kids as “Mimi,” she has many fine qualities but cooking is not really something for which she is famous.  However, the one thing she did cook, she did brilliantly.  These hot dogs might very well be one of the most delicious, decadent things you’ve ever eaten on a bun.  But be warned, you will probably be ruined for regular hot dogs after this.

I realize this is a bit of a departure from my usual “leaning toward healthy” fare, but every once in a while you just have to indulge, and these are one of my guilty pleasure foods. I make them slightly healthier by using turkey dogs, but I’m all about the real bacon.  To save on calories, just skip the bun!

Mimi Dogs. Stuffed with pickles and cheese. Wrapped in bacon. Grilled to a crispy finish. My mouth is watering!

Mimi Dogs
(recipe from Mary Arnold)

Turkey hot dogs (plan on two per person)
Cheddar cheese, sliced in matchsticks
Dill pickles, sliced in matchsticks (I prefer the crunchy baby dills)
Bacon (you’ll need one slice per dog)

Slice each hot dog down the center (don’t slice all the way through) and stuff with cheese and pickles.

Stuff with pickles and cheese.

Wrap one slice of bacon completely around the hot dog, sealing in the cheese and pickles.  Secure with a couple of toothpicks.

All wrapped up and ready for the grill.

Cook on the grill (or indoors on a grill pan) over medium heat.  Turn frequently to cook all sides.  Cook until bacon is completely cooked on all sides.

Yummy, crispy, gooey, and ready to eat!

Remove toothpicks before eating!  You can eat them just like this, or on a bun with your favorite condiments.  I like a little ketchup on mine.

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Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes

I grew up eating scalloped potatoes made with cream o’ mushroom soup and – I’ll admit it – loving every bite.  But as my tastes and cooking skills have evolved, I have found there is a better way.  Not to mention that lately I just don’t see any reason to eat the extra sodium and chemicals that come with most canned food if it can be avoided.  So ditch the can, get out a saucepan, and spend an extra five minutes making a scrumptious cheese sauce to replace it.  You won’t regret it!

For those of you not so keen on the veggies, or trying to disguise them for picky kiddos (or husbands), this is one of those recipes that I use to “hide” veggies.  I added a layer of fresh spinach in this one.  Don’t like spinach?  Try a different green like kale, or chopped peppers, zucchini, eggplant, whatever!

This is a great vegetarian meal, but if you want to take it way over the top add some lean sausage or fresh franks to the top.  I was lucky enough to score some lean, freshly-made spicy frankfurters last time I went to farmer’s market and they made a fine addition to this!  Lip smackin’ good!

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes – Sans Meat

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes – Over The Top Version!

Not Your Mama’s Scalloped Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes (I used half small yukon gold potatoes and half baby red potatoes)
3 large spring onions
2 cups fresh spinach
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan
Lean sausage or frankfurters (optional)

Slice potatoes in thin rounds.  Chop spring onions (if you don’t have spring onions you can substitute leeks or regular onions). In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, dry mustard, cayenne, and black pepper.  In a saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour mixture.  When the butter is absorbed, gradually whisk in milk.  Continue to cook and whisk until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.  Whisk until smooth.  Add a little more milk if it seems too thick.

In a large casserole dish, start with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with onions and generously drizzle with sauce.  Repeat.  After two potato layers, add all of the spinach in one layer.  Top with at least one more potato-onion-sauce layers (I had enough ingredients for two more layers).  End with sauce.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 375˚ for 1 hour.  Remove foil.  If you are using sausage or frankfurters, scatter over the top now.  Either way, continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender and top is browned.

In theory, you should let it sit for 10-15 minutes so it can set up and be cut into pretty wedges.  But let’s face it, it smells so good that I usually cannot wait.  So if you don’t let it set up, it will still taste great, but instead of a wedge it will look more like this:

Scalloped potatoes in a bowl when you’re too impatient to wait!


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