Roasted sheet pan dinner

It is finally feeling a little like spring around here. The sun is shining, the wind isn’t too bad and the bugs are not around yet so I spent 4 hours outside raking and still have another 4ish or at least someone else has another 4 or so I mean I don’t want to have all the fun!
IMG_4025.JPGI mentioned the other day I wanted to make a sheet pan meal. Well it was worth the wait. It was easy to prep, mostly hands off cooking and the flavor was on point. I will confess I was a little hesitant to add everything including the chicken into one bowl but everything was going to be cooked on the same sheet and at 425’ for 35-45 minutes it will be fine!
IMG_4018I will be making this again; and am looking forward to playing around with different flavors; I think there is endless possibilities to try. It actually might become a staple this summer especially when there is so many other things to do with the longer days.
IMG_4019I do want to mention that you might need to pay attention to what veggies you are cooking. Carrots take longer than potatoes, beets take longer than carrots you get the picture. If you want to stagger than you can, I did not and beets and carrots were cooked but still had a little firmness to them. You can also slice the carrots smaller than the potatoes so the cook around the same time.
IMG_4020.JPGIngredients
6 chicken thighs
2-3 potatoes – or use 6-7 small baby reds
4-5 carrots
3 beets – optional
1 large onion sliced
2-3 garlic cloves sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 lemons juiced
Salt and black pepper

Directions
Peel and slice the veggies and place in a large bowl. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides; add them to the bowl. Add the oil, lemon, rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

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I added the beets after I put everything else on the sheet – didn’t want everything purple

Spread everything out on the sheet pan. For easy clean up (it still made a mess but it was less) cover your sheet with non stick foil. Spread everything out the best you can and bake for 35-45 minutes.
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Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

“I hope you are going to blog about this; it is delicious” “I am going to have this for lunch on Monday; maybe even tomorrow too” just a couple of quotes from my fam after eating last night’s dinner. So here I am going to share it with you. Though a little back story, it was NOT what I had intended on making at all. I had some chicken thighs that needed to be cooked and I wanted to do a sheet pan chicken thigh and veggie dinner; until I opened the package; damn they had been in the fridge too long and went right into a sealed bag into the trash. So this was a back up plan as I also had some sweet Italian sausage in there that needed to be cooked. Thankfully they fared far better and made a great quick simple meal.
IMG_3999.JPGI am still trying to go through the freezer; I know; how deep is that damn thing that I am going on what 2-3 months of trying to use up what is in there. I had seen enough progress so that I took everything out the other day and placed it on the counter. Then called my husband out of his office to “come and pick something out for dinner” he picked arancini (fried Italian rice ball) and egg rolls – Um no thank you! That night was arancini; the next night was the egg rolls. It’s a good thing he is cute!

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I spy in the upper right hand corner my Godiva bottle*Chocolate Martini’s was also on the menu 

Back to how my Italian sausage and a few things from my freezer turned into a quick, simple and blog worthy dinner. When I laid everything out on the counter from the freezer I noticed the broccoli that I put in there from my garden was getting beat up a bit. Apparently being in there since September and getting knocked around a bit it was turning into smaller and smaller pieces. So I thought it best to use it or lose it. I have homemade chicken stock in there majority of the time; thankfully so I added a little pasta and voila dinner.
IMG_3995The best tip I can give you is brown the sausage; without browning it in the pan and letting the pan get all dark in coated with the yummy bits, I am not sure my fam would have been raving about it. The browned sausage made all the difference in the world. The chicken stock helped to deg-laze the pan which gave such a deep rich flavor to the otherwise boring pasta.
IMG_3996I didn’t and usually don’t measure anything so I am going to ballpark it for you!

3 links of sweet Italian sausage – casing removed
1 pound broccoli
1 pound penne pasta – cooked to the packages direction
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup or more Parmesan cheese – grated plus more for serving
Olive oil

Add a little olive oil to your pan and let it get warmed up, add the sausage; breaking it up and letting it get brown. Remove and set aside.
IMG_3997Add the broccoli and let it get a little browned on each side. Add the red pepper flakes and a little salt and pepper to taste. Add the sausage and pasta back into the pan. Add the butter and Parmesan cheese and let it meld.
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Serve and enjoy!

Blueberry Pie Bars

Before my husband and I were married way back in the late eighties. We got a puppy together, isn’t that kind how things tend to progress for most? You date for a few years; you move in together and get a pet? I see it is a trial period to see if you can co-habitat before pulling the trigger on marriage and kids. If you can co parent a pet and not kill each other; you might have a shot at this marriage/parenting thing. In my opinion!
IMG_3984We have had dogs more than we haven’t; 4 in total and all but the first were rescues. The current one is testing all of us. I have lovingly dubbed him my ungrateful rescue. The last two were wanderers but that is nothing compared to the coo coo that runs our lives now. I really wish I documented everything he has done. It would make for an entertaining dog drama. He has separation anxiety and he has come a LONG way in the last 9 years. He is lucky he has us and we are lucky to have him. BUT last week he had to have TPLO. I proudly can say I have never heard of this up until now. TPLO stands for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy – now that’s a mouthful.
IMG_3990.JPGWe have been spoiled with free feeding all of our dogs, very few leash walks, we have a lot of land that’s partially ours and all around us. Mostly hands off care for our pets. This surgery comes with a lot of restrictions for not just weeks but months. It’s going to be a long road not just for him but for us. My daughter gets all the props for leading and keeping us on track. Just a glimpse of the first 14 days; no stairs, his own pill of the week box and a cone of shame. Here’s hoping for a full recovery 4-6 months down the road.
IMG_3993.JPGWhat is my segue into my cooking blog – absolutely nothing and I apologize but it has been pretty much all dog and no cooking in my world right now. I will share with you a wonderful blueberry recipe that is worth checking out and pretty easy to throw together.

INGREDIENTS:

Crumble Crust and Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional but recommended

Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt; or sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Blueberry Layer
12 ounces (2 cups) blueberries (fresh or frozen; thawed or unthawed either works)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Crust and Crumble Topping In a large bowl add the melted butter and sugars, whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt. Stir to combine, should be dry and sandy with a few large clumps.  Set a heaping 3/4 cup crumble mixture aside for the topping. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, Create an even smooth flat crust. I use the bottom of my measuring cup. Set aside.
IMG_3985Filling In a medium bowl, add the egg, Greek yogurt or sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Evenly pour filling over the crust smooth it over the crust.
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Blueberry Layer In a separate medium mixing bowl, add all filling ingredients and toss to combine. Evenly distribute blueberry mixture over the filling.
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sprinkle with the reserved topping.

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Bake for about 60 minutes, or until edges are bubbling and the topping is slightly browned. Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 to 2 hours before slicing and serving. Don’t skip this part or they will fall apart.
IMG_3992.JPGBars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I bet they won’t make a week in my house.

 

Recipe adapted from Avery Cooks 

Corn Bread – slowcooker

Happy St Patrick’s Day – I have my corned beef simmering on the stove top. Instead of peeling my veggies like I normally do so everything is prepped ahead of time; I decided to make some cornbread in my slow cooker. Yeah you read that correctly.  I have been getting and give a couple of subscriptions of Better Homes & Gardens for more years than I can remember; and this last one came with a slow cooker recipe booklet. There were several bread recipes listed and me being my skeptical self had to try one of them.
img_3970.jpgI wasn’t sure how this would turn out in a crockpot that creates a lot of moisture; but it was a simple enough to throw together and I didn’t have to pick up anything from the store so why not give it a try. Well I did make a slight substitute. I don’t have frozen corn in my freezer; so I substitute a half of a can of niblet corn I have in the cupboard.

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May not look perfect but it has great flavor

I never really paid too much attention to; or I haven’t bought a regular box of tinfoil in a VERY long time but I can tell you it will be my last box. It tears so easy that I find little use for it. Guess I have always purchased the heavy-duty boxes? Maybe it’s one of those older and wiser moments to note.
IMG_3973IMG_3974Slow Cooker Corn Bread

Ingredients
1 cup yellow corn meal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
½ cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
⅓ cup vegetable oil
Tinfoil
Nonstick spray

Directions
Line a 3 – 4 quart oval slow cooker with foil. Coat with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl stir together the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
IMG_3975IMG_3976In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Add egg mixture all at once to the cornmeal mixture, stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy). Spoon into the prepared slow cooker. It will only be about ¼ of the way up the sides in the beginning.
IMG_3978Cover and cook on high for 1½ hour to 1¾ hours or until a toothpick comes out clean, if you can, halfway through the cooking time spin the liner half turn.
Turn of cooker, if possible, remove crockery liner from cooker. Remove lid carefully so the condensation does not drip onto the bread. Cover opening completely with paper towels; replace lid. Cool for 10 minutes. Using foil, lift out bread. Peel off foil and cool bread completely on a wire rack.
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My daughter and I really liked it a lot. my husband is not a fan of corn so that part of the recipe he was not a fan of; Good then there is more for us! side note he doesn’t like corn chowder either so there’s that.

Makes one loaf approx. 8 slices.
290 cal, 14g fat, 35 carb, 1g fiber

Corned Beef & Cabbage – Hash

Did you pick up your corned beef for next weekend? I was sitting here wondering about the origin of the New England boiled dinner and why it is synonymous with St Patrick’s day! So instead of writing I have been reading. What I came up with is it was basically a poor man’s meal. Brisket is a cheaper cut of meat, corned comes from the large salt pieces to cure it. Americans didn’t invent it, it didn’t come here with the Irish immigrants, from what I read they are not eating this meal next Sunday in Ireland. the English were boiling meat long before we made this a staple here in New England on St Paddy’s day.

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this is an older picture of the same meal – been making this for YEARS!

None of this has changed my mind on whether or not I am going to make it next weekend; I am and yes I picked up my corned beef along with many other people. It was actually kind of like a frenzy at one of the stores I went to. Well there was a few people who were grabbing 3 or 4 of them a little more aggressively than I thought warranted.

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chopped up leftover corned beef hash

Confession time I actually made this last weekend as well. I was craving corned beef hash and yes I could have just bought a chunk of beef from the deli but it’s just not the same as having all the veggies and cabbage cooked in the salty water. In my reading this morning I am going to do something a little different for me. I am going to add beets to the pot. I don’t know of anyone that adds beets to their boiled dinner. But I am going to try it out. And I am looking forward to making red flannel hash which I have never had and honestly never really thought about why it was called that. So now I am interested it trying it next week.
img_3964.jpgSince this is such a simple meal and you can totally make it your own here is just the basic information.

Ingredients
2 Corned beef – flat cut or point cut / either is fine, I like point cut better – always 2 think leftovers
Potatoes – peeled and chunked – you don’t want them too small they will disintegrate
Carrots
Rutabaga
Cabbage
Bay leaf
Peppercorns

Above is what I grew up with and still make. But you can use any root vegetable you like. Parsnips, turnip, beets.

Directions
Place the corned beef in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add a bay leaf or two, some pepper corns. Bring to a boil and then lower the temp so it is simmering. Place the cover to your pot a little crooked so the steam can escape. Simmer for 3+ hours till the beef is nice and tender. Remove the beef to a plate or bowl and cover with tinfoil. Place the potatoes and veggies in the same water and bring to a boil, lower and simmer for about an hour till the rutabaga is soft. Add the cabbage during the last 15 minutes.

Veggies can be cooked separately if you would rather; but that’s a lot of dishes to clean. You can also stagger the veggies.  Rutabagas take the longest, then carrots and finally potatoes.
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Corned beef hash

leftovers
onion – diced  – I had some shallots so I diced one of those up too
olive oil
egg

dice up the veggies and beef. In a fry pan add a little oil and saute the onion. add the veggies and fry up till crispy edges, add the beef and cook till all warmed through. top with a poached or fried egg.
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Scalloped Potatoes – must try

So I am going to go out on a limb that when I posted this recipe 4 years ago; none of you made it. Do you want to know how I know. I googled my blog while I was at the store to make sure I had what I needed and noticed I left out an ingredient hmmmmmm. Not my first time and probably won’t be my last. But a couple of my close friends that read my posts called me out on missing ingredients before and no one said anything this time.

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You can sprinkle a little of the cheddar cheese on top – I did not in this picture. My mouth is watering as I am typing and looking at them – they are SO good!

As you can probably tell I don’t make these very often; not because they are not crazy good; only because there are rich and creamy which so they would not be your weekly go to if you wanted to watch what you eat. I was trying to come up with a way not to deter you from wanting to try these. They truly are worth making/eating once in a while

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I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes but it is not necessary


Ingredients
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
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Directions – making a roux
In a small sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add all of cold milk at once stirring with a whisk; season with salt and cayenne. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk and it thickens a bit. Reduce heat and stir in cheese.

Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish. Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.

repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for an hour at 350°F