Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spinach Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Skillet

This week I found a new found respect for my cast iron skillet. Don’t get me wrong I have used it many times for certain dishes, mainly something to do with chicken. I actually like to use it on my gas grill for beer can chicken, it is very sturdy and I don’t have to use my nice pans on the grill which tend to get quite dirty. I definitely do not use it as often as I probably could or should.

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We do have the grill out and ready but have only been really able to use it only a couple of times so far, the weather has been unseasonably cold around here, just yesterday was the first day I didn’t have snow on my front lawn since last November, it’s got to turn around soon!!! We should be out cleaning the yard and gardens. Not sitting inside with the heat still on. Just this morning I made broccoli cheddar soup, chili and I am going to make a roasted chicken in a little bit. Those are all things I do in the Fall not in the Spring.

I had been craving a good burger for a couple of weeks now and I do make a mean burger so instead of going outside and freezing my butt off I decided to break out my cast iron and make a mess in the house. According to my guys “that was a great burger, thank you”.  I couldn’t agree more, the char on them was “AWESOME” I know that they wouldn’t have been as good if I used a different pan. Leaving the burger in place until the pan releases the meat is key to making the burgers delicious!!!!

This morning I brought the cast iron out again and it didn’t disappoint, I saw a Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet recipe on Eating Well online. I did change mine up a little bit, I added chopped onions, I didn’t pre-cook my potato and I added more bacon and an extra egg than their original one listed. 

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Spinach & Cheese Breakfast Skillet

2 Medium sized potatoes peeled and diced in small cubes

1 small onion diced

2 Slices of bacon – I used 3 and it was too much – if that is even such a thing

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1/8 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 Tbs water – for steam – helps cook the eggs quicker

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Peel and wash potatoes, slice in approx. 1/2” cubes. Cook bacon in skillet till crispy remove and set aside. Add potato to bacon grease cook till browned and tender, add diced onion. Cook until onions are slightly browned. Add spinach, stir till combined and barely wilted.  Make a couple of wells and crack an egg in each. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the eggs are partially set, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, add water and cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the egg whites are completely set. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top, garnish with generous grinding of pepper.

Wilted Spinach Salad

This last week there wasn’t a lot of cooking going at Clark Towers. It’s been quite some time since we ate out more than in; which is a little sad since I do love to cook and thankfully it doesn’t happen very often but I’m dealing, I did however make lunch yesterday for me and the guys just so I could actually make something well that and I needed to use up some fresh spinach that I bought before it went bad. Mind you this is not the first time I bought a big bag of spinach to make this dish, it usually just ended up in regular tossed salads.

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My husband remembers fondly of a wilted spinach salad that his mother made from his childhood. I on the other hand would not eat spinach (its green) to save my life when I was a kid. I’m am pretty happy I got over my no green food rule, I was missing out on some pretty fantastic options (I can see my mother smirking now). such as avocados – Guacamole is one of my absolute favorites and I make it all the time. Fresh spinach is also yummy I might just need to add this salad to my list of greens I like to eat now.

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I was definitely watching my husband take his first bite, I got nothing… (uhh deflated) he waited for his 3rd bite to finally speak – nodding his head he said he loved it! Phew I was a little worried, well not worried but curious if I pulled it off. My son on the other hand wasn’t in love with it, he is not a big egg fan so next time I would probably use 1 less egg, or not; he is old enough, he can fend for himself.

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The only problem is this is not a salad that will stay long; you really need to eat the whole thing at one sitting. I should have taken a picture of my husband coming back to the table and using the salad tongs to take one or two more bites.

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Wilted Spinach Salad

6 cups spinach, washed drained very well and torn into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup sliced green onion

2-3 hardboiled eggs, chopped

6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped

3 Tbs reserved bacon drippings

¼ cup vinegar

2 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs water

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

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Place eggs in a sauce pan cover with cold water, bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit 13 minutes and then run under cold water, peel and roughly chop. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a skillet until crispy, transfer to paper towels to drain

Combine spinach, onions and eggs in a large bowl

In a small bowl add vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper, while bacon is draining on paper towels add vinegar mixture to 3 Tbs of the reserved bacon drippings, heat to boiling, stirring just to blend.

Pour hot mixture over spinach; gently toss and sprinkle with bacon

Serve immediately

30 Minute Skillet Thin Crust Pizza

I got an email Monday morning asking if there was room at Clark Towers for the night. I had not taken anything out for dinner and wasn’t sure what I really wanted to make. I was going through what I had on hand and decided to try a new skillet thin crust pizza recipe I had been dying to try. I LOVE thin crust pizza and if I could make it quickly for dinner any night of the week, I HAD to check it out.

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The dough came together super easy and very quickly; with the help from my food processor. The simple toppings, if you keep them to a minimum, which you really should help make the crust stay crispy and keeps the time to a minimum.

You could make this any night of the week and look like a rock star. At least that was how I felt Monday night, or that could have been the wine talking.

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Toppings

4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped

½ tsp kosher salt

4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup chopped fresh basil

Dough

1 cup AP flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

7 Tbs olive oil – divided

1/3 cup dark ale

Toppings – toss tomatoes in a bowl with the salt and let sit a few minutes; then transfer to a paper towel, let drain for 15 minutes. Mix cheese and basil in a bowl and set aside.

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Dough – process flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. With the processor running, slowly add 1 Tbs oil and beer, process just till dough pulls away from the sides.

Using floured hands, form into a ball, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough in quarters, roll each half into a very thin 8-9 inch round pizza on a lightly floured surface.

Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Transfer 1 dough round to skillet and cook. Poking any bubbles that form with a fork until the bottom is golden brown and crisp 3-4 minutes; flip dough and sprinkle with half of the drained tomatoes and half of the cheeses.

Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until second side is crisp and cheeses have melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, wipe out skillet and repeat.

Garlic Cream Sauce – this is for you KP

2 Tbs butter,

2 Tbs Flour

1 ½ cup milk or heavy cream whatever you have on hand

1 clove minced garlic

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in saute pan, add flour to make a roux, cook on low for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in cream add garlic and cheese simmer on low till thickened

Tip – as long as you keep the ingredients to a minimum per pizza and make sure like the tomatoes they are dried on a paper towel, you can add what you would like. We added sausage, and garlic cream sauce to some of our pizzas – Also the dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and spend a week in the freezer if needed.

Pork Belly Steamed Buns

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit on a couple of dishes I tried making for the first time. I always try a recipe the way it is written and then if needed I would change it up a bit to better suit our tastes or I would change it based on the ingredients I had on hand or could get my hands on.

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I am lucky enough to have an Asian market; not really close to me; but along my route when I make a trip to Sam’s Club. I was planning on making Pho a Vietnamese Noodle Soup and a Chinese Pork Belly Steamed bun. While I liked the Pho, my guys liked it better than I did. I am going to share with you the Pork Belly recipe that didn’t turn out how I envisioned it would, but was incredibly tasty and worth mentioning. I Kept telling my husband they weren’t how I wanted them, he said and I quote, “I don’t care they are delicious and you should cook pork like this all the time”

I was able to pick up the steamed buns in the frozen section and a Pho seasoning packet; which is a good thing since it needed 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbl coriander seeds, 1 tbl fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves all to be placed in a mesh bag and all of it came in a $1.99 packet. I thought that was awesome!!!

As I mentioned I bought the frozen buns and I was a little less than thrilled as how small they were, the taste was excellent I just wanted them to puff up more, I will try to make my own the next time I make them.

This recipe is best done in two stages. Bake the pork the day before so it has time to cool and sit tight until you need to slice it. If you want to use this today you should let it sit for at least 2 hours. It could sit in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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Pork Belly Buns

2 lb slab of pork belly

Wrap in heavy duty tin foil and place on a baking sheet

Preheat oven to 275’ and roast for 2 hours. Let it sit and cool and then put it in the fridge till you need it tomorrow. Do not unwrap as you want it to stay compact in the tinfoil.

Unwrap the pork belly, and slice into 1/2” pieces

1 tbs cooking oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbs grated fresh ginger (I did not have this)

1 fresh chili pepper seeded, deveined and finely chopped (optional)

1 green onion diced

Caramel sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbs rice vinegar

3 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

½ cup water

Heat oil in a large saute pan or wok over high heat; once hot swirl the oil and add the pork, do not overlap, work in batches if you need to. Fry on each side till nicely browned

Put heat on low and add the garlic, onion, chili if you are using it; saute for 30 seconds just until fragrant. Pour caramel sauce into the pan and return the pork belly slices back into the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

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My make due with what you have steamer

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Yes the pork was larger than the buns but they were delicious!!!

I used frozen buns but here is the recipe I am going to make the next time I make this.

2 tbs AP flour for dusting

2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough

20 parchment squares about 4×4 – keeps them from sticking

Dust work surface with flour, open and separate out the biscuits. There should be about 10 in each can. Keep the dough covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel so they don’t dry out. Roll each biscuit into an oval and fold in half, place on parchment square, keep covered until ready to steam. Steam in batches and do not overcrowd or they will stick together.

Adapted from a Steamy Kitchen recipe my daughter sent my online