Gnocchi and Cheese

This cheesy casserole uses two cheeses I haven’t cooked with: gruyere and fontina. I might add a quarter cup diced prosciutto next time I make this.

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1 pound gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1/3 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon basil, chopped or dehydrated
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare gnocchi according to the directions on the package. Drain and arrange the gnocchi in one layer in a shallow baking dish that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and let it cook for about half a minute. Whisk in flour until it thickens and starts to bubble. Add the Dijon and milk and continue to whisk until it begins to thicken, about 3-6 minutes.

Combine gruyere and fontina and add one handful at a time to the milk mixture. Stir until melted, then add another handful. After all cheese has been added, season with slat and pepper.

Pour cheese sauce over the gnocchi. Sprinkle the parmigiano-reggiano over the top. Bake until the gnocchi puff up and the cheese is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Slow Yellow Curry Split Pea Soup

Inspired by visit to Maggie’s Place in New York City this winter, I created an alternate to my favorite slow cooker split pea soup. I had used Mae Ploy’s Yellow Curry Paste several times in other dishes so I already had a container, a little bit goes a long way. My usual split pea soup recipe has chopped ham in it. I didn’t have any available, but I did have a can of low sodium Spam.

1 package or 1 pound of dried green split peas
1 cup diced pan-fried spam
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 large tablespoons May Ploy Yellow Curry Paste
32 ounces chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup milk

In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, layer the peas, Spam, carrots and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a microwave safe bowl heat the chicken stock and water, about 10 minutes on high. Add the yellow curry paste to the hot stock and water and mix carefully. Slowly pour the stock over the peas and vegetables. Do not mix. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Whisk in the milk a few minutes before serving. Season with more salt and pepper if preferred.

Enjoy!

No picture for this post. No matter how hard I try, a photo of split pea soup always looks bad.


Impossibly Easy Brownies

I pinned this ‘recipe’ a few weeks ago and today, I had a craving for chocolate.

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Mix a package of brownie mix and 1 can Diet Coke. I used an 8 inch square baking pan and baked it for about 50 minutes at 325 degrees.

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They weren’t half bad. I would make these again.


Toaster Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

In this installment of cooking in the toaster oven, I make a new favorite. I don’t think mom ever served these when I was a kid. I doubt I would have eaten them anyway.

Brussels sprouts are fresh in our grocery, so I picked up a bag. I like them small. Here is how I make them.

Preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the bottoms off the bottom of the sprouts and peel a few of the outer leaves off. Rinse and pat dry. If the sprout is larger than an inch, cut them in half, cutting down the bottom.

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Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on each sprout
Sprinkle each with a few grains of coarse sea salt
Grind some fresh black pepper

Bake for 20 minutes, mixing carefully at least once while cooking.

Toss with a little butter before serving.

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Summer Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

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I use my mandolin to slice the cucumber and onion. I like the uniform slices and it’s ability to slice very thin.

Wash the cucumber, to me, that means rubbing it vigorously under cold running water. Peel the cucumber lengthwise leaving thin strips of skin behind. I do this for looks and flavor. Then, with the tip of a pairing knife, cut the cucumber down the middle starting one inch from the end, not slicing all the way through. Roll the cucumber a quarter turn and repeat the cut. Set the mandolin to 1/4 inch. Very carefully slice the cucumber.

Peel the onions and cut the top and bottom from them. Cut them once down the middle, then load it together on the spikes of your mandolin’s safety handle. Set the mandolin to 1/8 inch. Very carefully slice the onions.

2-3 medium cucumbers
2 medium red onions
1 teaspoon celery seed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sweet rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced or put through a garlic press

1-In a medium size bowl combine cucumber and red onion slices.

2- In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over cucumber and onion mixture and toss to coat. Chill for a few hours. Mix right before serving and enjoy.

Serve sprinkled with feta crumbles. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for added heat.

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Toaster Oven Baked Eggs

Let’s be honest, I like to cook using the toaster oven. It heats quickly, and the one I use at home also convection-bakes, which is a nice feature when baking. Finding cook and bakeware that fits is getting pretty easy as this style of micro baking is catching on.

I picked up a new piece of bakeware that I got to try this morning. Today I’m making baked eggs in a nest using a 5 inch round pie pan. It’s going to be 90 degrees today, and I don’t want to heat the house unnecessarily.

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Preheat the toaster oven to 475 degrees.

Mix together:
1 1/2 cup pre-shredded hash-brown potatoes
1/4 cup egg substitute
Salt and pepper to taste

Spray the pan with some non-stick spray, even if using a non-stick pan. Use a fork and press the mixture into the pan gently making a bowl. Bake for 15 minutes.

While you wait, if you like, dice some breakfast meat and slice a small piece of cheese. Take the pan out of the toaster and add the filling pieces. Return to the toaster to melt the cheese.

Crack two eggs into the hash-brown bowl. I had leftover ham and cheese to add to the top. I crack each egg into a small bowl first to make sure I don’t add some shell. This also makes adding the egg to the basket easy too.

Bake the eggs for at least 10 minutes, depending how you like your eggs. If you cook them too long the yolk will turn to rubber.

Carefully remove from the pan after a few minutes. This splits easily into two portions.

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Romaine Wrapps

I tried making lettuce wraps with romaine. Worked great! The bigger leaves worked best. In the photo, I had some grilled chicken, crasins, pine nuts and raspberry vinaigrette. It’s a salad-salad wrap.


Coffee Mug of the Day

I am not the kind of person who makes New Years’ resolutions. However, this year I’ve been trying to reduce my use of paper cups. I have a nice collection of coffee cups. Today’s mug dates back to my days at the University of Washington in Seattle. My coffee drink du jour is a double breve with Truvia.

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Making Yogurt at Home

I’ve made a couple of gallons of yogurt so far and they’ve all been great. Well, all except for one. I tried using a quart of 2% milk for making cheese. It didn’t quite work out. There wasn’t enough curds to make much of anything. Note to self: stick to whole milk.


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Yogurt Chicken #1

1 chicken breast, cut lengthwise into strips
1 cup plain yogurt (home made is best)
1/2 box Chicken In a Biscuit crackers
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tarragon or marjoram
1 cup sweet butter

Clean the chicken and put into a plastic ziploc bag. Pour yogurt over chicken and refrigerate for at least two hours. You may optionally salt and pepper the chicken before adding to the bag. It’s your only chance to season the meat.

Combine the crackers, cheese, and herbs into coarse crumbs. I use a small food processor.

Melt half of the butter and pour into bottom of a baking dish.

Dredge the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and set into buttered baking dish. Pour remaining butter over chicken. Bake for 35-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.

I didn’t get a decent photograph of the final product this time. I am planning on making this again this week, so maybe better luck?