Recipes

Waffle Iron Fried Cheese Love

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IMG_1859-0Perusing the internet the other day, God graced me to find this lovely post suggesting the idea that fried cheese might be possible to make at home, using a waffle iron... I told you God is good!More proof he's good? I told my wife about the post, to which she replied, "Get me the recipe and I'll make you some."Pinch myself. Not a dream? Check. Wife's not an alien? Check.IMG_1858-0

Our Twists On The Recipe

The recipe called for mozzarella, but we only had cheddar and brie. It also only said to dip the cheese in each plate of coating once. We tried that but quickly realized the cheddar cheese needed another dip in the flower, egg, and Panko - so we double coated each piece (including the brie). Oh, did I mention we didn't have typical bread crumbs? So, we used Panko instead. Here's our ingredient list:Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon hungarian paprika
  • crack of pepper
  • two eggs (whisked well)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (keep nearby if you need/want more)
  • cheese of choice (nothing too soft like goat cheese, or too hard like Parmesan)

Some qualifiers - we used one of those waffle irons that rotates, which didn't seem to affect the results, but your experience may vary. We obviously used different cheeses and breadcrumbs than the original recipe called for, and it went delightfully well. We tried a few cheddar slices with only one dip in each coating plate, and the cheese collapsed in the waffle iron. So, the rest of the slices got two passes through the plates. Here's how we made our waffle iron fried cheese love:Recipe

  1. Heat the waffle iron and coat in non-stick spray.
  2. Mix the flour, paprika and pepper on a plate. Pour the whisked eggs on a second plate or large flat bowl. Pour breadcrumbs on a third plate.
  3. Slice the cheese into 1/2 inch pieces.
  4. Dip the cheese into the flower, egg, and breadcrumbs, in that order, twice.
  5. Lay the cheese across the waffle iron grid. (We fit two pieces at a time)
  6. Close the waffle iron, press firmly to close. Wait 30-60 seconds depending on cheese thickness, browning of the breadcrumbs, etc.
  7. Repeat until everyone is too full of cheesy goodness.
  8. Go on a walk. (We did)

The Results

I haven't tried the original recipe yet, so technically I can't say our brie and cheddar waffle iron fried cheese slices were better... But, lets be honest. They were way better!IMG_1860-0The inside of the cheddar slices (pictured above) were gooey/melty after about 45-60 seconds. The bits that melted out of the breading crisped quickly into a chewy, crispy crust.IMG_1861-0Flash-heating the brie (pictured above) intensified all the tangy, buttery flavors. It was almost too tangy, but if you could push passed that, the buttery welcome at the end was totally worth it. The pressure from the waffle iron spread the cheese evenly to make each bite more light and airy than a typical brie snack.

What Else Can I Waffle Iron Press...?

We also made a fun, semi-unrelated discovery. The french toast monte cristo sandwhich left-overs from our family super bowl party the day before re-heat exceptionally well in a waffle iron, which functioned like a panini press.The meat and cheese inside the sandwich heated evenly, and the french toast on the outside was piping hot. Most fun of all, instead of long grid-lines across the sandwich, the waffle iron imprinted the waffle grid pattern into the french toast. Making for a nice grip as I inhaled the sweet-and-savory sandwich leftovers.Did you end up with any left overs after the 2015 Super Bowl? What were the creative ways you reheated/remade those foods into meals/snacks? Most importantly, are you getting your waffle iron out right now to make some home-made fried cheese???

Surprisingly Simple Last-Minute Super Bowl Food

IMG_1819-0It's Super Bowl Sunday you guys, one of the top 5 greatest eating days of the year! But what to do when you are uninterested in all the standard Football food?? Wings. Chili. Nachos. Hot Dogs. Onion Dip. Wait, I'm sorry, I didn't mean Dip. Dip is my favorite. But man can not live on Dip alone.So, this year I thought to myself, "Self.. Let's think outside of the box. What shall we eat?" (Yes, I use very proper English when speaking to myself. Obv.) Two words my friends, MONTE CRISTO.That's right, I went there. It works within the guidelines of appropriate football food because it's fried, but it's a little fancier. I mean, you dust powdered sugar on it... What's more fancy than that? But, since I don't have a deep fryer or the courage to deep fry anything myself I changed it.So, I came up with a just as tasty, but way easier rendition.

First, Make french Toast

"Say What? French Toast?" Yes friends, just do it. Then after you make your tasty french toast, assemble your Sandwiches.Traditionally a Monte Cristo is made with ham and cheese, but I used some Columbus sliced chicken breast and cheddar my first go-round. I have since used Ham instead of the Chicken, but I keep the cheddar because it just melts so beautifully.So, light Mayonnaise on the inside of each piece of french toast, then cheese on top of mayo, then a generous serving of meat, and squish together.Next step, butter both sides and toss it in a pan on medium-low heat with a lid on and flip when the cheese starts melting. After you take it out of the pan, cut it on an angle, dust with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry jam or maple syrup. You're choice.Then, you become the food champion of the world and everyone sings your culinary praises.Using French Toast as the bread gives you almost the same consistency and taste as a deep-fried Monte Cristo, but it is so much easier to make!

Ingredients and 3-Steps to make French Toast

French Toast Ingredients

  • You're choice of bread (I used Whole Wheat)
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (we like unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

French Toast Instructions

  1. Whisk together eggs, milk, and spice well.
  2. Drench bread on both sides in mixture.
  3. Saute in a pan until each side is golden brown

Ingredients For Building the Sandwiches

  • You're delicious French Toast
  • Mayo
  • Cheddar Cheese (I like Tillumook)
  • Sliced chicken or Ham or both (I like Columbus)
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Raspberry Jam or Maple Syrup

Simple Last Minute Super Bowl Food - French Toast Monte Cristo 2

And When You're Overwhelmed... There's Always Chicken

Photo of Baked Soyaki ChickenAs the renovation continues so must the rest of our life. Although, if I am being honest, it has begun to feel like the only life we live revolves around our renovation. So, I am trying to focus my thoughts on other things and today I focused on the awesome deal I got when I bought organic chicken.Yep, I'm now focusing on chicken. Good thing it was delicious!For those of you that buy organic meat, you know how dang expensive it can be. But once you see a crazy food documentary, you're life will forever be haunted by anything other than organic. Over the past few years, as our family has made the switch, my major discrepancy has been how expensive it is. Two organic, whole chickens at Costco will run me about $22 dollars and one chicken only gives us one meal with a little left over. So needless to say, I have started making a lot more vegetarian dishes.But fear not, I have found a loop hole! If you aren't picky about what cuts of meat you buy, you can get some AMAZING deals. Like, did you know that you can get 5 Organic chicken legs for $2.81?!?!?!?! Seriously! (Just imagine me yelling that while standing on a chair... because that's a dang good deal!)Picture of Trader Joe's Organic Chicken DrumsticksAt Trader Joe's they have organic chicken broken down in a few different varieties, but this is by far the best deal. Now, I know you don't want to eat chicken legs every night of the week but it is a great option to have.So here's what I made for dinner tonight:SoyYaki baked chicken with Organic Basmati rice and sauteed green beans. And ya know what, everyone ate e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g on their plates. Can I get an Amen for that?I just marinated the chicken in approx 4 tbsp of the SoyYaki for about 30 min in the fridge then baked them at 400 degrees for an hour. While the chicken was baking I simmered 1.5c rice with 3c water until the rice was soft (about 30 min). Then I sauteed the trimmed green beans with a Tbsp of Olive Oil, a Tbsp of butter, a few cracks of pepper, a good pinch of salt, and a grated garlic clove.I also warmed up a little extra sauce and drizzled a little on the rice and chicken, but the flavor is super concentrated so be careful not to use too much when you garnish. And there ya have it!

Easy Biscuits and Gravy Recipe

Homemade BiscuitsWe love breakfast. And by "we love", I mean we eat it for lunch and dinner as well. Fried egg sandwiches, hash browns, eggs Benedict, pancakes and bacon, are some of our favorite things to eat.... all the time. But there is one breakfast that holds a coveted spot for Daniel and I, Biscuits and Gravy.I was always intimidated at the thought of making it from scratch because I'm not the best baker and didn't want to end up with dry biscuits. Luckily for me, I found the easiest and tastiest biscuit recipe over at Allrecipes.com! After a quick read through of the recipe I felt confident I could make them.Then, I set out to make the perfect gravy, and after some testing of my recipe I finally landed on one we love!Start off by mixing up your biscuits (checkout that AllRecipes.com recipe I mentioned above) and tossing them in the oven, then make your gravy.Ingredients for Biscuits and GravySausage Gravy:16 oz ground pork sausage1/2 of a small chopped onion2 Tblsp white flour1/2 Tblsp butter3 cups milk1/2 tsp salt1/2 tsp pepper1/4 tsp garlic powderStart by browning your sausage. Once it is about half way cooked through add your chopped onions and let them finish sauteing with the pork.Making Sausage GravyAfter your onions and pork are cooked through add 2 tblsp of flour into the pan and stir it in well then toss in the butter, let that cook for approx 5 min. Then add in your milk and let them simmer, as the milk heats up and starts to bubble you will feel your sauce thicken. This part requires some patience, let it simmer low and slow and your sauce will thicken nicely (approx 10-15min after your first bubbles appear). Add in your salt, pepper, and garlic powder. But please note that the salt and pepper are only starting points! The amount of salt and pepper you need will depend on the type of sausage you use, so taste as you go and add according to your liking. I wouldn't add more than the 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, that would overpower your gravy.The finished product:Homemade Biscuits and Gravy

Italian Stovetop Espresso

Friends, let me just share a little coffee gem with you... the Italian stovetop espresso maker. Do yourself a coffee loving favor and go get one! Not only are they super cool looking, they make great espresso super easily! Here's how I make almond milk lattes with my Italian espresso maker:20140115-145731.jpgUnscrew the top from the bottom and take out the tiny cup that holds the ground espresso. Fill the base with filtered water up to the little knot on the side (see top right picture). Then place the little cup back into the base, fill with ground espresso (see bottom right picture), then screw the top back on. Put the whole thing on a small burner on your stove.

*Pro-Tip: Don't let the flame come up over the sides, it will heat the handle up and you'll burn your hand when you try to pour it. Yes, I have done it... Twice.

While your coffee is brewing, measure out 1/2 a mug of almond milk into a small sauce pan (you can use any milk, I just prefer almond) and whisk it on low heat to give it froth while it's warming. Once the milk is nice and hot pour it into your mug. You'll probably be hearing bubbling from your espresso maker by now, that's a good thing! Take a peek under the lid and see if it has all filtered through...20140115-150337.jpgThe water boils up from the bottom, through the ground espresso, and out the top. So awesome! Once it's done pour it into your mug of frothy almond milk, add a little raw sugar and enjoy! So tasty and so simple. Hope you like it!

Vegetable Soup Recipe

20140107-214917.jpgSo, here's the thing. My mom makes the most delicious vegetable soup and when I started my family and began asking her for recipes, her Veggie Soup was one of the first I wanted. Well, much to my surprise, Mama doesn't have a recipe! She said, "Oh, I don't know. I kind of make it up as I go. It's different every time. Just wing it!"Uh... What the what? I can't just "wing" deliciousness, mother! However, after realizing she was serious and had no recipe for me I tried to remember all the ingredients I could from hers. After a handful of not so great attempts, I finally landed on a recipe that my whole family loves! We love it so much, that we actually have it about once a week in the winter.So here is my rough recipe:1 medium onion4 carrots3 zucchinis1 head of celery2 tomatoes4 garlic cloves1 Bay leafS&P1/2 tsp Dried Basil1/4 tsp Mild Hungarian Paprika (optional)64 oz Vegetable stock (you can use chicken stock, I just think vegetable stock has more flavor.)20140107-215026.jpgCut up and sauté all the veggies with a splash of olive oil and a TBS of butter in a large soup pot. Try and make the pieces of vegetables as close to the same size as you can, it will help them cook evenly. Let them sauté for approx 15 minutes, just starting to get tender. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper.Next, add the vegetable stock, basil, bay leaf, and paprika.

*Please note: if you're going to use Paprika, make sure it is Hungarian. There is no comparison in flavor!!!! So worth looking for and buying the real stuff. Some supermarkets may carry it, but chances are you'll have to get it at a specialty food shop or a European deli. The depth of flavor from it is irreplaceable! And yes, I am Hungarian, so take my word for it!!*

Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on, so your veggies get nice and tender. Taste your soup along the way and add S&P as needed.And that's it!! So easy and your family will love it!Get creative and add other veggies to the mix if you want to! Potatoes or parsnips are a nice starch and help bulk it up. Let me know what you think!