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Gobble-Up Strata

Flipping through some cooking magazines at grandma’s house this recipe for gobble-up strata struck my attention.  It is an article on ways to use up leftovers after Thanksgiving.  Well it is no are we close to Thanksgiving and my Grandma and me wants to know who has leftover stuffing or dressing?  It is always the first thing to disappear at our meal and we usually make double dishes.

I figures I could make this whenever and it sounded pretty good.  Mr.Picky is not a huge fan of strata but I served it when company was around so I knew he would eat it no matter what.  Knowing that I would never have leftover stuffing I prepared some with the purpose of this recipe alone.  I also used some rotisserie chicken that I had pulled apart and frozen previously.  The peppers and onions give it great color, it reminds me of Christmas.

The strata turned out great and was very filling.  Mr.Picky said it would be even better with a bit of turkey gravy over the top, I must agree that it would make it even better.

Gobble Up StrataGobble-Up Strata:

  • 3-4 cups leftover stuffing or dressing
  • 2 cups cubed and cooked chicken or turkey
  • 4 green onions,chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

 

Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish.

Layer stuffing, then chicken, followed by the green onions and peppers.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and mayonnaise and pour evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 60-65 minutes.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Gobble-Up Strata

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Giant Birthday Burger

Mr.Picky requested only one thing for his birthday. . . .a giant birthday burger.  This was exciting and intimidating all at the same time. I asked if he wanted to invite anyone for his birthday dinner he was worried I wouldn’t make it large enough. Needless to say when it was all said and done we managed to eat under half. My picky guy who never eats leftovers at that burger for the next few days and loved it.

Giant Burger

 

I started out by trying a new hamburger bun recipe out.  Only instead of making small buns, I used the whole recipe to create a large bun.  I used a large dinner plate as my template and let the burger expand from there.

Giant Burger Bun

This looks flat but with the bun recipe it will plump right up.

This recipe for hamburger buns will now be the only bun recipe ever eaten in our home.  It was easy and the best bun we have ever eaten.  Not only did it hold together but it was not too fluffy and bready nor was it crumbly or dry.  The perfect bun.  I will post the recipe within a few days!  Did I mention I think it would make great dinner rolls and only takes about an hour to make, with rise time.

Baked giant burger bun

Baked giant burger bun

While my bun was cooling on a wire rack I started preparing my burger patty.  I used 1 1/2 pound of ground beef.  I added a dash of Worcestershire sauce and an envelope of french onion seasoning because this is how Mr.Picky loves his burgers.  I again used the same oversized dinner plate to flatten and shape my patty.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

I baked 1 pound of bacon until crisp and sliced up all the fixings.

Giant Burger

Ready to bake the patty and compile the burger.

I baked the patty in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until desired pinkness.  Flip the burger 3/4 of the way through cooking and add sliced cheese to melt in the last-minute.

Perfect Sunnyside up eggs to top the burger.

Perfect Sunnyside up eggs to top the burger.

Once the burger was out of the oven I used a large skillet to make 5 eggs over-easy to add to the burger.

Load it up with your favorites!

Load it up with your favorites!

I sliced the bun in half and started building my burger on a cutting board.  At first I wasn’t sure what to put this monster burger on and then it was only obvious since I would be slicing it to eat anyway.  I spread mayonnaise on the bottom bun, then iceberg lettuce (one of the few things it tastes good with), tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bacon.  Although you do not see bacon covering the whole thing it is ok, you slice the burger like a pizza so there is plenty.

Giant Burger

We are almost done!

Place your cooked patty with or without cheese on top of the bacon followed by the eggs.  To finish the top bun I added some ketchup and placed it on top.

Giant Burger

The meal is now complete. . . now eat!

I served our giant burger with fries and some fry sauce.  We went all out for the birthday boy.  Of course you can add whatever condiments or toppings you would like.  Now go get a slice of that birthday burger!

Giant Burger


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Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Broccoli Quinoa BakeI made broccoli quinoa bake as a meatless meal last night.  We loved it, in fact I am already thinking of endless quinoa bake ideas.  Mr.Picky was not around to try it but I think he would tolerate it.  We ate it as a main dish because quinoa is full of protein and we had plenty of broccoli in it.  It would also make a great side dish accompanying any meat really.

Think of it as an easy risotto.  Don’t let the broccoli and quinoa fool you.  We combined both healthy ingredients with some cheese to come up with a family edible solution.

I had inspiration from many recipes I found but I ended up revamping the recipe to my taste.  I made a white sauce by scratch with pulled the whole thing together.  The fat content in other recipes seemed extremely high to me and I reduced that and all turned out well.  Give it a try, it is a great dish to test quinoa out on the family.  I just told them it was rice.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • 1 tsp Morton Nature’s Seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded blended cheese (Colby,cheddar, or mozzarella)
  • 1 green onions,chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed until tender and chopped
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

Bring quinoa, water, and dash of salt to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa looks like it has white tails.  Fluffy with a fork and set aside to cool slightly. (You can skip this step and use leftover cooked quinoa about 1 1/2-2 cups worth).

While the quinoa is cooking steam up the broccoli or use frozen and thaw.  Either way coarsely chop the broccoli.

In a saucepan you are going to make a white sauce or base soup to pull the whole dish together.  Combine 1 cup cold milk and 1 Tbs cornstarch.  Whisk until smooth and continue to heat over medium heat.  At this point you can add the chicken bouillon, salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to taste, dash of nutmeg and to season I added Morton Nature’s Seasoning (see link to create your own).  Continue until starting to thicken, make sure and taste your seasoned sauce.

Cream of whatever or white soup.

Cream of whatever or white soup.

(In substitute to the white sauce you could use a can of cream of mushroom, cream or chicken, or cream of celery soup.  You can also add in mushrooms to the white sauce or any other vegetable you desire)

Now to put it all together in a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cooked broccoli, the white sauce, 1 green onion chopped, shredded cheese, and mayonnaise.  Stir until well combined.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2 or 2 quart baking dish.  Spread evenly and sprinkle with 2 Tbs parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake

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Cheesy Crab Bread

Cheesy Crab BreadThis might sound gross to some of you.  To be honest cheesy crab bread is the last thing that appeals to me, this would be because shellfish is one of the few things that I don’t like.  That might be why I like this.  I make it with imitation crab meat, this is the only thing I ever buy it for and it is rare that this bread is made.  My sister growing up used to make it all the time for dinner.  It is a fatty comfort food and sometimes it just sounds good.

Mr.Picky likes anything on bread and with cheese so he also enjoys it.  It is verily rich so a piece or two is usually good for the year.  I try to serve a decent amount of vegetables with this because it is full of fat.  Did I mention it is worth the fat?

Usually cheesy bread is a side to some sort of main dish.  But Cheesy crab bread should be thought of more as an opened face sandwich.  You can easily reheat any leftovers in the over for the same cook time.

Cheesy Crab Bread:

  • 8 oz. imitation crab meat, flaked or shredded
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or cheese blend
  • 1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs Johnny’s garlic seasoning
  • 1/4 cup red or green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1 loaf french bread, sliced lengthwise

Combine all ingredients but the bread and mix until evenly combined.

Spread the mixture evenly over the halves of french bread.

Cheesy Crab Bread

Place bread on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.

Slice and Serve hot!

 

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

With my one New Years Resolution this year to be to try to make all my dressing homemade I have tried  many new recipes.  I have made creamy balsamic dressing twice now.  It is a great alternative to a heavy creamy dressing but still is satisfying in flavor.

I didn’t have any Morton’s Nature Seasoning on hand.  Google came in handy and provided me with a recipe in which I prepared a little container of it.  Not only is this seasoning great in the dressing but I add it to multiple recipes.  Mr.Picky is especially fond of this seasoning.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing:Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 3 Tbs mayonnaise or greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Morton’s Nature Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive or grape seed oil

Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt, and nature seasoning.

Add in vinegar and whisk until combined well.  While continuing to whisk slowly add in oil and whisk until smooth.

Keep in the refrigerator and a mason jar, enjoy this healthy option on your favorite salad.

Morton’s Nature Seasoning:

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tsp celery seed

Combine all of the following in a container with an air tight lid.

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

This is the second time I have made artichoke crusted chicken | Sugarlaws.  Mr.Picky does like artichoke hearts so I knew this would be a hit.  So glad I tried the recipe but from the ingredients alone how could it go wrong.  Not to mention it was simple to put together and pop in the oven in no time.

With a big green salad, artichoke crusted chicken completed our meal.  It is tasty and moist, not to mention another recipe that you can make with chicken.  Since we don’t eat a lot of red meat we are big chicken and turkey eaters.  Variety allows us to explore our tastes.

I think if I did anything different it would be to reduce the amount of mayo as it seemed a bit over the top.  I think I said the same thing last time and forgot the change the recipe.  I am reducing the amount below so I hope it turns out wonderful.

Artichoke Crusted ChickenArtichoke Crusted Chicken:

  • 2 chicken breast, split to make a 4 filets
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated white cheddar or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Salt and pepper chicken and sauté in 1 Tbs oil on medium/high heat for about 5-7 minutes.  Flip once until juices run clear.  Set chicken aside in a baking dish.

Mix together mayo, artichoke hearts, and cheese. Evenly distribute and spread over chicken.

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Broil at 400 degrees for about 3-5 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad

I took a gamble and stepped out of the box on Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad.  I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes.  I prefer them any day to a regular white potato.

I tested this salad out at the birthday party for the kids.  Every summer event there is the same old  variation of potato salad which I do love but  I can’t help but mix things up.  This salad was a big hit and turned out great.  Thank you Rachel Ray, this recipe was published in the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine June 2013 issue.

I doubled the recipe for the large crowd but probably could have kept it the same.  I guess not everyone has the love I have for sweet potatoes.  Or maybe I just always over-estimate how much a crowd will eat, but I suppose that is better than underestimating.  When hosting I always fear I will run out of food.

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad:

  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs. boiled sweet potatoes, cooked until tender and cubed
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 Tbs chipotle in adobe sauce, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • more cilantro for sprinkling

Peel and cube cooked potatoes and place in a large bowl.

Whisk together zest and juice of orange, chipotle pepper, and cumin.  Pour over potatoes and toss to coat, allow to sit for about five minutes.

Meanwhile stir together mayo and cilantro.  Now combine it all and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with a bit more cilantro.  Yummy!

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad

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