One dish

Chicken Chili in the slow cooker

I hope you are able to keep in good spirits during this trying time in our world. I know the local government in every state are having to make a lot of decisions they have never had to make in their lifetime as well as us as citizens. So the topic of conversations we have had all start with what’s going on. I am OK with discussing the world but my hope is there are other things that come up so we don’t wallow in it and able to keep some normalcy to our lives.  I am still going to be making food to feed my family and if it’s worth sharing I will. 

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I had some chicken breast I took out of the freezer and needed to use them up. There were four chicken breasts so I took three of them and put them in the crockpot and the last one I sliced up, seasoned and pan seared it for chicken salad. This chili has a lot of ingredients I keep in my pantry pretty much at all times.  When canned goods are on sale I load up on them and save them for a rainy day. In comparison to other states I feel NH is only misting right now. If you get my reference.  

img_4700This is a great meal to set it and forget it. I do wish it wasn’t so cold outside I would love to get out into the garden and turn the soil and start my list of what we are going to grow for the season.  I also hope the garlic I planted last fall will bring me joy. Every year is different for me, some years I hit the mother load and others is utterly disappointing.  Stay tuned I am sure I’ll share with you the results.
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Chicken Chili in the slow cooker
quick throw together warm comforting meal that also freezes well
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. Boneless skinless chicken breast
  2. 1 onion diced
  3. 2 cloves of garlic
  4. 2 cans of beans - great northern, navy pea beans, black beans Or any combination
  5. 1 can hominy
  6. 1 envelope taco seasoning
  7. 1 can chopped green chilis
  8. 1 can Rotel
  9. 1 can cream of chicken soup
  10. Chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker
  2. saute onions and garlic till they are soft
  3. Top with beans
  4. In a medium bowl combine taco seasoning, Chilis, Rotel, soup and broth. Pour over beans
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours
  6. Before serving shred chicken to your liking.
  7. Top with shredded cheese, sour cream and chives or green onions
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/
 

Pantry and Freezer time

I started writing this morning about how I opt to play Switzerland and play nice in the sandbox on social media and mostly in “real” life. I learned that behavior very early on in my life. I had three paragraphs written and then deleted the whole thing. I am at a loss to what we are seeing in our world today. I don’t understand the whole TP buyout debacle of 2020.

 

I am going to keep my blog light and as positive as I can. We have a enough doom and gloom going on in the world today so I even though I didn’t make anything special this past week to share. I did meet up with a few girlfriends yesterday for a nice and pleasant visit and they thought I should share some tips and tricks to help get people through the next few weeks and hopefully not months. Time to put those packets of Ramen noodles to good use.

When I see what I use on sale I tend to buy several of them at that moment. My pantry is full of different kinds of pasta, several different kinds of beans and rice options. pasta sauce and San Marzano tomatoes to name a few. I feel we are in pretty good shape.

When I make meatballs I more than double the batch and freeze what we don’t eat. I do the same with chili and some soups. Frozen shrimp is so easy to make into a quick dinner. Butterball turkey burgers are in the freezer section and delicious. If you have never froze bread you are missing out. I will buy sliced bread on sale and freeze a loaf. When I am in Montreal I buy several loafs of there fresh baked bread and freeze all but one loaf to eat that night for dinner.

I do know personally quite a few of the people who read my blog and they have on occasion reached out to me to ask a food related question and I do not have all the answers but if you have a few things in your home that you are not sure what to do with; give me a shout out and I will try to help with suggestions if I can. Stay safe and strong!

Chicken cutlets in a sun-dried tomato cream sauce

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So today is already starting out by losing an hour; lets hope it gets better from here. I have never been a fan of daylight savings; it totally messes with my whole being. I have a hard enough time sleeping and twice a year having to jolt the system to a new schedule for what is now not really necessary seems to me we really don’t need to do this to ourselves anymore. Plus now I get to run around the house changing close to a dozen clocks.
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Since I love history and trivia I wanted to know a little more of the who and whys of daylight savings. We all know it was Benjamin Franklin; I learned that in school many years ago but I was surprised to read that he only mentioned the idea in a published essay in 1784. I was also surprised that the first country to adopt this was Germany but not until 1916 which was 132 years later. I will admit I thought it was only a US thing, that shows a little of my ignorance. The US didn’t start using it until 1918 and bully for Arizona to be the only contiguous state to stop observing daylight savings. Hopefully that was some fun facts for your morning reading now back to some food.
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I have been noticing a huge difference in the chicken I have been getting; to the point where I will not buy just any kind. I am sure some of you might not find this as such a surprise but I have been buying a certain brand for as long as I can remember and also store brand chicken when something strikes me. I don’t know if it is me or if they changed whats happening with the chicken but if I can’t find a Bell and Evans or a Misty Knoll roaster chicken, we won’t be having our usual Sunday roaster it has come to that.
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I made this recipe with store brand chicken cutlets and while the recipe I will make again as we all loved the flavor but I won’t be making it unless I can find the better chicken at the store.
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chicken cutlets with a sun dried tomato cream sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound chicken cutlets
  2. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 1/2 cupr slivered oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, plus 1 tablespoon oil from the jar
  5. 1.2 cup finely chopped shallots
  6. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  7. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  8. 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley - I didn't have any
Instructions
  1. season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the sun dried tomato oil in a large enough skillet over medium hot heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, use an instant-read thermometer and insert it into the fattest part and it should read 165'F. roughly 6 minutes. transfer chicken to a plate.
  2. Add the sun dried tomatoes and the shallots to the pan. Cook stirring for a minute or so, increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Cook, scraping up and browned bits, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the cream, and any juices from the chicken plate. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Return the chicken back to the sauce; turn to coat with the sauce. Serve chicken topped with sauce.
Adapted from Eating Well
Adapted from Eating Well
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

roasted chicken breast acorn squash sheet pan

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Most of the time I go to the grocery store with a plan of what I need to pick up based on what we want to eat for the week. Or more like what I feel like making for the week. I do ask; sometimes what the house wants but really it’s mostly up to me.
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I also mostly go to the store alone but this time my daughter was with me and instead of a spaghetti squash we came home with an acorn squash instead. Guess she is not a fan of spaghetti squash I do try to have on hand a few fresh veggies for a quick side. Usually broccoli, cauliflower always carrots and I guess now acorn squash. It was easy, a great side and we all loved it. So much so my husband stated we will be adding it to the garden this year.
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Quick during the week meals are a must in everyone I personally knows world. We all work and time is tight and dinner needs to be easy to make, which means few ingredients and mostly hands off. This meal was just that and very satisfying. 

A few chicken breasts, an acorn squash, some seasonings, a sheet pan and your oven. You will be enjoying a nice warm meal in an hour.

roasted chicken breast acorn squash sheet pan
A quick, delicious, satisfying meal
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Ingredients
  1. Chicken Breast bone in, skin on a piece or two per person
  2. 1 acorn squash,
  3. kosher salt
  4. freshly cracked black pepper
  5. maple syrup
  6. crop dust or your favorite all purpose seasoning
Instructions
  1. Spray your sheet pan with cooking spray or line with tinfoil
  2. Preheat oven to 375'F
  3. dry each chicken breast with a paper towel
  4. season each breast on both sides with salt, pepper and your all purpose seasoning
  5. wash and slice the acorn squash, scoop out the seeds.
  6. place everything on the sheet pan, season the squash with the same seasonings
  7. drizzle the squash with a little maple syrup
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/
 

 

Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams

 

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I will be making this again – Soon!

Last weekend I made up for the lack of spending time in the kitchen. I almost made too many things if that is possible. We had leftovers all week long which for us is not a bad thing. I know so many people that do not like leftovers. I wonder why that is. Do they make things that don’t reheat well? What they ate didn’t taste good the first time around? Do they not know how to reheat things? Is it a childhood “thing” meaning there parents didn’t eat leftovers so they won’t eat them? With that being said there are some things that do not reheat well.

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I improvised with paprika and pimento peppers – use what you have on hand I say!

IMG_4946IMG_4947While I was making this I kept thinking about my friends SF and BF plus their family; the ones they share with us every Labor Day weekend when we become honorary Portuguese family members. SF you are going to want to make this; it is so good and reheats perfectly minus the clams; which we finished split those up before packing up the leftovers.

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I found it easier to put a strainer over a bowl and just pour the pork out of the bag 

IMG_4964 - CopyIMG_4965IMG_4967I will give you a heads up the pork needs to marinate overnight; I know some of you will stop reading and won’t even try this recipe but you can do this I promise; before you put the pork away after buying it slice it up and throw it in the marinade for tomorrow nights dinner. You got this!

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San Marzano whole tomatoes is my go to and I always hand crush them into my pot!

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Now it’s time for a confession. There is an ingredient I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t look it up before I went to the store. SO I made up my own version of what I thought it might be. I thought I might just stumble upon it at the store; I did not. I did look it up when I got home and now it makes sense so I will tell the ones who do not know what it is it might be in the spice section of your grocery store; if not substitute it with a smoked paprika that you can find and like. Not the pickle, olive mustard aisle. Pimenton de la Vera dulce.  I figured it was something to do with Pimento peppers obviously I don’t speak the language. It is actually a Spanish smoked sweet paprika yeah I know not even close!
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They used Cilantro for garnish – I didn’t have any so I chopped celery tops for added color

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Portuguese Braised Pork and Clams
Serves 8
A warm and savory soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. (I used pork butt)
  2. 2 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (divided)
  3. 3/4 teaspoon black pepper (divided)
  4. 6 garlic cloves (divided)
  5. 1 cup dry white wine
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 1 tablespoon Pimenton de la Vera dulce (smoked sweet paprika)
  8. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  9. 1 medium sized yellow onion diced
  10. 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand - recommend San Marzano
  11. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  12. 2 cups chicken stock or broth (divided)
  13. 2 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
  14. 2 lb Manila clams or cockies, scrubbed - I used clams I could find at my store
  15. scalions diced for garnish - or they had fresh cilantro on theirs
  16. serve with crusty bread for sopping up all the goodness
Instructions
  1. Season pork all over with 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. In a large ziploc bag add the pork. Smash 3 cloves of garlic, add to the bag along with the wine, bay leaves and Pimenton. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350'F
  3. Remove pork from marinade saving the marinade, pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Remove and discard the garlic and bay leaves. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork and cook until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to pork to a plate continue with the rest of the pork.
  4. Chop remaining garlic cloves. Add the onions and the remaining oil cook for a minute then add the chopped garlic continue cooking for another minute or two. You want them to be slightly browned but not burned stirring often. Add the tomatoes, red pepper and the reserved marinade.
  5. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer stirring often for about 3 minutes. Return cooked pork to the pot. Stir in 1 cup of stock until pork is mostly submerged. Cover and bake in oven until pork is fork-tender. 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  6. Stir in potatoes and remaining 1 cup of stock, Cover and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
  7. Transfer Dutch oven to the stovetop over high add the cleaned clams. Cover and cook until clams open. 3 to 5 minutes. (remove and discard any unopened clams) Season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with diced scallions
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/
 

Leftover Prime Rib Soup

I have said it before and I will say it over and over again; soup is good for the soul!

Hope you have a safe happy healthy and prosperous New Year!

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I have had a cough since early November and I am sick of it! It started fast and furious and then subsided for a bit. Christmas day it decided to come back and bring with it me feeling like crap! Yesterday I spent about 12 hours lounging on the couch watching and sleeping thorough the Hallmark channel drinking several cups of tea and honey! I did make myself a pot of chicken and rice soup – I think that did the trick; I feel a little better this morning!

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I am re-posting this recipe for those of you that happen to have some prime rib leftover. I think we have one piece left so who knows this soup might be happening today!

This year is going to be a quiet New Years! The last few years we had spent them in Canada with friends. I’m going to miss hanging out with them but I think it better that I stay in and not party like a rock star – gotta kick this cough thing somehow!!! Plus it being in the middle of the week is kind of a drag!
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This years 3 rib roast

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a couple of years ago 2 rib roast

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Leftover Prime Rib Roast
A delicious use for a piece or two of your prime rib roast
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Ingredients
  1. 1 small to medium onion diced
  2. 1 or 2 stalks of celery diced
  3. 2 carrots peeled and diced
  4. 1 sprig of fresh rosemary chopped – or use whatever herb you flavored your roast with
  5. 3 potatoes peeled and diced
  6. 1 or 2 pieces of beef chopped
  7. Beef Broth – homemade or use your favorite
  8. leftover gravy – add so much flavor if you have any use it
  9. Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Sauté the onion, celery and carrots till translucent. Add rosemary and cook for another minute or two. Add gravy, broth and potatoes. Once the potatoes are soft add the beef and let simmer to let everything meld together. Serve with bread to sop up the wonderful broth
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

Pasta e Fagioli

It is a soup kind of day in my world today! what does soup mean to you?
Soup to me is fridge clearing, a welcoming stove top aroma and a warm comforting hug in a cup,  It is just plain home to me!

I am writing this while having my morning cup of tea about an hour before I generally post for you and yes for me. I use my posts as kind of a recipe holder. I find it so much easier to google cookingatclarktowers.com and search for a recipe then to riffle through all of my collected paperwork of recipes. So I do it all the time and if someone asks me for a recipe If I don’t tell them to google it I send them the link. 
IMG_5441I am not sure what recipe I will be making in a few minutes but this one is one of my top 5 that I love to eat. I am actually going through the ingredient list and wondering if I have everything on hand and I think I do so while I am re-posting this recipe from a couple of years ago I am fairly certain this will be on my stove top shortly. 
IMG_5439I finally planted my garlic yesterday I hope it stands a chance to grow. I am a couple of weeks later than I normally get it into the ground and I am looking at the temperature at 7:49 am est and it is 32’F yikes I may not get any next year. Fingers crossed! 
IMG_5440Pasta e Fagioli Soup makes approximately 12 cups – freezes nicely

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground turkey (your choice – chicken, beef, sausage all would be great)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounce low sodium beef or chicken broth plus a little more as needed or use water
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried marjoram – or substitute with more oregano
1 cup ditalini pasta – or substitute with another small pasta
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can northern beans, drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and fresh crack Black Pepper to taste

Instructions
Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, crumble in the meat and cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil add carrots, celery and onions over medium-high heat until tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic saute another minute or so. Reduce heat to low
Add the tomato sauce, broth, tomatoes and all the spices plus the meat back into the pot. Cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to the directions on the box. Add cooked drained pasta to the soup along with both cans of beans. Allow to meld for a few minutes.
Serve warm with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

IMG_5446Macros = 1 cup using ground turkey
Calories 221
Fat 7.54
Carbs 21.25
Protein 18.2

Roasted chicken acorn squash with sumac brown butter

 

I am fairly certain that last year was the first time I started cooking with acorn squash. I made roasted chicken with acorn squash with a sumac brown butter recipe I found in Food & Wine Magazine the other night and now my husband wants us to grow acorn squash next year. It is no wonder how our garden area keeps growing and growing. We are kind of running out of space where we have them all. I think we have 8 raised beds of various sizes. A couple of them are huge. One of the them I hate, it is too wide and built into a hill; I find it too hard to weed and I don’t like it so I pretty much ignore it.
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I dislike that bed so much that I asked if we could take it apart and reuse the lumber to make a different bed; ya know one that I will like. I have a strong sense that I am shit out of luck but hey it was worth a try right?
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If you have an opportunity to try sumac spice I don’t think you will be disappointed. Ground sumac has a tangy lemony flavor, although less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to your dish as well. So check it out if you see it. Or buy it online like we did.
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roasted chicken and acorn squash with sumac brown butter
Serves 4
great sheet pan dinner the legs and squash cook in the same amount of time. Plus easy clean up!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 chicken leg quarters
  2. 31/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  3. 4 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
  4. 2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  5. 2 medium acorn squash, halved and then cut into 1/2 inch slices
  6. 3 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 3 thyme sprigs
  8. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  9. 1 teaspoon honey
  10. 1 teaspoon sumac, divided
  11. 1 teaspoon Cajun spice, or Aleppo pepper spice
Instructions
  1. on a rimmed baking sheet evenly sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon black pepper on both sides of the chicken, refrigerate, uncovered overnight or at least 8 hours.
  2. Place chicken on the counter for about an hour so it comes to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 450'F Add the acorn squash to the baking sheet; drizzle both with some extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle squash with 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining black pepper. Spread fresh thyme sprigs around the chicken and squash.
  3. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken at the thickest part of the thigh reads 165'F and the squash is tender. Transfer chicken and squash to a platter, Discard the thyme sprigs. reserve the pans juices.
  4. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, roughly 3-4 minutes. Scrape the pan juices from the baking sheet into the saucepan. Whisk in the honey, 1/2 teaspoon sumac, remaining teaspoons lemon zest and remaining salt. Drizzle all over chicken and squash. Sprinkle with Cajun or Aleppo pepper, thyme leaves and remaining sumac.
Notes
  1. You should be able to find sumac at a Middle Eastern market or online.
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/
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Quick garden fresh tomato sauce

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Over the years I have processed my tomatoes using different methods. Freezing them as sauces, freezing them as chunks and cooking down and canning them as well. I can’t say that I loved anything that I have done before or that I have a true plan of what to do with all of them.. This year I have so far made salsa, spaghetti sauce and yesterday I made pizza sauce. All were successes.

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I used my potato smasher to breakdown the tomatoes even more

Yesterday I was also canning the last of the pickles, I have a ridiculous 50 pint size jars of pickles and since the water was already boiling I processed the salsa we didn’t eat so we could have it for later. I think I have found out how to deal with all the tomatoes last Wednesday night after work I made homemade spaghetti sauce and Italian meatballs for dinner. They were delicious and I used up all of the ripe tomatoes I had on hand. Yesterday I made pizza sauce with the next batch of ripe tomatoes.
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I like this recipe for fresh garden tomato sauce because it came together fast enough for a weeknight dinner. My husband was pretty surprised I pulled it off in only a few hours; most of it hands off. He thought you had to cook them down pretty much all day to have it taste good. Proved him wrong.
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Quick fresh garden tomato sauce
a great way to use up some of your garden tomatoes
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 5-8 pounds tomatoes
  2. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  5. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  6. handful chopped basil
  7. 2 bay leaf
Instructions
  1. If you are using a food mill don't worry about getting all the seeds and skins off.
  2. If you are not using a food mill you will want to cut the tomatoes in half horizontally and squeeze the seeds into a garbage bowl. And you could grate each side of the tomato on a box grate and throw the skins into the garbage bowl.
  3. If you are using a food mill then just chunk up each tomato, I cut around any of the ugliness and the stems.
  4. Add either the chunked tomatoes or the tomato pulp into a low but wide saucepan over high heat. Add the salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a brisk simmer.
  5. Reduce the sauce to almost half, stirring occasionally. Until the sauce is medium-thick or to your liking. Season with salt to your taste.
  6. If you are making meatballs like I did, add them to your sauce, it will help season the sauce.
Cooking at Clark Towers https://cookingatclarktowers.com/

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Had to throw some of my sunflowers into the picture!

 

 

Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

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Here is another thing to do with leftover mashed or smashed potatoes. I know like that’s a thing it usually is in my house only because I tend to make way too many; pretty much all the time. The great thing about this is you don’t actually to have to wait for leftovers. You can buy mashed potatoes already made from the store, which I will confess they are actually really good or make a batch just for this, Here is what I did.  I had some leftover smashed potatoes, some shredded cheese that needed to be used and literally 4 eggs left in the carton. Which is how it all came together.
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I am not complaining at all but I buy waaaayyy too much food, my fridge and freezers are generally full at all times. I actually get a lot of satisfaction by using up what I have on hand, I try to plan meals around what’s in there and I am trying to have my daughter do the same. She likes to go through cookbooks and make something that catches her eye; which is great but not always what we have on hand.  She is trying more we have a TON of cucumbers so her lunches have been using quite a few of them.

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Sauteing or sweating my onions

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Draining my bacon

OK back to this easy but delicious casserole dish that we had for dinner on Thursday night. I can see this for Sunday brunch for a crowd, who am I kidding I would eat this any day of the week.

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who wouldn’t love this?

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More eggs would fit but I didn’t have anymore!

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OK the site to my recipe isn’t working grrrrrrr.

Ingredients
leftover mashed or smashed potatoes
2 cups shredded cheese
4-6 eggs
1 small onion diced
butter
milk
4 slices bacon
scallions or chives

Directions
If your potatoes need a little more love to make them creamy add some butter and milk while re-heating them.
in a saute pan that can go in your oven heat up a tablespoon of butter and the diced onion; just till translucent
add the creamy potatoes and mix till combined
cover with 3/4 of the cheese
make 4-6 wells with the back of a spoon; one for each egg
crack the eggs into the wells. sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to your liking
cover with the remaining cheese
bake for 12-14 minutes, you want the whites cooked and the yolks a little runny
while in the oven cook your bacon till crisp. I diced mine before cooking so the pieces were more uniformed
once out of the oven sprinkle with bacon and scallions or chives and serve.

 

 

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