Category Archives: Eggs

An Itallian Birthday

I even made menu's for the Birthday Party, Using my Dads name, Jerry, in Italian to create his own resteraunt.

I even made menu’s for the Birthday Party, Using my Dads name, Jerry, in Italian to create his own restaurant.

No, we are not Italian, but my Dad’s favorite place to eat is Olive Garden, so I wanted to create his own Italian restaurant for his birthday, complete with Menus. These were fun to make and each guest had one. Since I, of course, do not know a lick of Italian I found this groovy site on the internet that helped me change my English words to the language of love.

My inspiration for the recipes came from an old hardcover Italian cookbook my mom picked up for me from an estate sale. Inside is a handwritten message from the original purchaser to his mother

“To My perpetually chubby Mom. Christmas 1958. From your always hungry son.”

I bet she couldn’t hold back the tears when she opened up this very thoughtful gift from her son on that Christmas morning. I imagine that the whole family gathered that year and enjoyed a lovely dinner prepared by Mom.

In the same spirit, I wanted to make a meal that would let my Dad know just how much he is loved by his family. I even talked my teen into playing the very important role of our Waiter.

My bashful teen was a very helpful and convincing waiter

My bashful teen was a very helpful and convincing waiter

There was a nice spread of appetizers, Bruschetta on toast

Stewed tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar, EVOO and quality Parmesan Cheese made this a very simple appetizer

Stewed tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar, EVOO and quality Parmesan Cheese made this a very simple appetizer

An Italian Deviled egg recipe from the Pudgy Mom’s cookbook that included anchovy and cocktail sauce. I found that a lot of the authentic recipes included anchovy’s.

Italian Deviled Eggs. On a plate of fresh lettuce leaves straight from Ma's Garden

Italian Deviled Eggs. On a plate of fresh lettuce leaves straight from Ma’s Garden

I couldn’t forget the stuffed mushrooms at Dad’s party as these are a favorite of his. Good thing I had a whole other 9X13 pan because these buggers disappeared fast!

Stuffed mushrooms with italian sausage, cream cheese, parmesan cheese topped with bread crumbs

Stuffed mushrooms with italian sausage, cream cheese, parmesan cheese topped with bread crumbs

Of course we had to have these colorful Caprese Skewers. I loved how they looked on my antique cake plate

Pretty Caprese Skewers. Simply cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and mozerella balls

Pretty Caprese Skewers. Simply cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella balls

How lovely it all looked on the table. I must say, I was pretty proud of myself!

All apps

We could have stopped there, but I had a main course planned. Veal Picatta. I’ve never even eaten this dish before, but when I read the recipe I knew It had to make an appearance at our event. It was served with a side of my Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe. I even made the Pesto!

Dad is testing my batch of homemade Pesto. With his complete approval, it made it's way to the Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe

Dad is testing my batch of homemade Pesto. With his complete approval, it made its way to the Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe

I had assumed that I would be able to find veal at my local grocery store…NOT! I have to order it from a meat market…$60.00 later, we would all have a 40z serving. I’d never made it before and the pressure of making sure I didn’t make a mistake at that price almost broke me, but I stayed focused and this was the final result.

Veal Picatta and Creamy Pesto Pasta

Veal Picatta and Creamy Pesto Pasta

Everyone seemed to enjoy this dish, but to be honest, I’m pretty sure I used too much lemon and chicken could have easily replaced the veal for a less expensive and just as tasty dish. My lovely family, though, only offered compliments.

Whew, success! We all had a great time and I know that this is an Italian Birthday that my Dad will remember for years to come.

Look, Dad has gotten so caught up in the theme, he's talking with his hands like a real Italian

Look, Dad has gotten so caught up in the theme, he’s talking with his hands like a real Italian

After all the clean up was done, I had to give props to my little guy as he was so good and stayed out of mommy’s way while I was busy in the kitchen.

My little guy, not a fan of the veal, but a great sport anyways

My little guy, not a fan of the veal, but a great sport anyways

The day was a lot of planning and work, but it truly was labor of love. The best part was having my boys, Mom, Dad, Grandma Marvetta and Uncle Doug together to celebrate a very special man, our Figlio, Marito, Papa and Poppi (son, husband, father and grandfather)

Boun Compleanno!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Easy Vegtable Fried Rice

Not too long ago, I found an electric wok, hardly ever used and great quality at my local 2nd hand store. The price was a steal for the brand and condition. I did not want to become like my wok’s previous owner and neglect to appreciate it’s culinary genius. As I already had some beautiful red, green and yellow sweet peppers cut up in the refrigerator and carrot sticks from lasts nights vegetable tray, I was focused on making sure they would be the star in tonight’s dinner as produce like this should not be forgotten and let to turn into a science project. I had planned to use leftover chicken I had also grilled for last nights dinner (made extra, or so I thought), but my boys had already used it to make more Balsamic Chicken Wraps. So vegetarian we go! No disappointment to me, or my boys.

I had to do some research online, as using a wok of any sort is very new to me. I learned quickly that one must have all of their ingredients ready to add as the cooking process happens quickly. I also learned that fried rice is best with leftover rice about 2-3 days old. Shucks…I hadn’t planned for that! Luckily, I found a site that gave a tip if you didn’t have leftover rice and were making it fresh. After rice is cooked, spread on a large cookie sheet and put into freezer for about 30 minutes. It not only cools the rice, but helps it dry out. I have found out that the dryer you rice is the better for this dish. I did, however, find that after 15 minutes, I mixed and re-spread the rice as the corners were freezing and the middle still hadn’t lost its moisture.

So, rice is working, giving me plenty of time to re-consult the internet and to prep my veggies. On 1 plate I have sliced red, yellow and green sweet peppers. This was easy as they were already sliced and cleaned, I just made the slices a bit thinner and shorter for the recipe. I julienned the already made carrot sticks. Then, I happened to have a fresh pint of mushrooms, I removed 2 big ones, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and sliced about 1/4 inch or so. Onion was next, I have fresh red onions from Ma’s Garden that had to be involved (many recipes call for scallions, but I used what I had with no regrets). Peeled, cleaned and halved. The red onion was sliced thinly and also put on the plate of veggies.

Next, I got out a small bowl and added 2 eggs. A dash of pepper and salt was added before I mixed with a fork. This too, was set on the table next to my wok.

I pull out the bottle of soy sauce and get my wooden utensils ( one with a flat edge and one is a spoon, no recipe secret, just what I have that will not scratch the wok)

Oil….Well, I did wonder why in my research Olive Oil was not mentioned…but peanut, sesame, and vegetable oil were always mentioned. OK, I’d rather use my vegetable oil instead of my expensive alternatives. You only use a couple of TBS anyways….

Now, I check my table to be sure all the ingredients are in place. So, now, I begin to cook!

Recipe yields about 4-6 servings or 6 cups total prepared Fried Rice

Ingredients:

1/2cup each of Yellow, Green, and Red sweet pepper sliced about 2″/ 1/4″ (substitute with what is available)
1/3 cup frozen peas (set in a small bowl and let defrost a bit)
1 whole large carrot juilenned into 1 1/2 inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 large white mushrooms sliced (about 1/3 cup)
4 Cups cooked and cooled rice
2 eggs lightly mixed and seasoned with salt and pepper
Soy Sauce (about 2 TBS to taste)
2-3 TBS high temperature oil (vegetable oil works fine)

Heat electric wok to highest setting, add about 1 1/2 TBS oil. When just beginning to smoke slightly, add carrots, stir and cook about 30 seconds. Add peppers, cook about a minute more stirring constantly. Add Mushrooms, cook another minute and remove vegetables to a bowl.

Add more oil if needed, pour in eggs, softly folding. Remove when done but still moist…make sure they are chopped up into small pieces.

Add remaining oil if needed, then the rice and onions. Let sit for 2 minutes or so, breaking up any clumps. Toss and keep frying to get rice a bit crispy. This may take 6-8 minutes with occasional tossing. Add bowl of vegetables and eggs. Add Soy sauce around the pan, about 2 TBS. Toss until all is hot, remove to serving dish and serve immediately. Leftovers are wonderful for lunch the next day.

Quiche

Left: Ham, Spinach and Cheddar Cheese. Right: Ham, Swiss, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary


It’s my day off and the kids return to school next week. They were kind enough to let me sleep in, but when I awoke, they were already asking me what I was going to make for lunch. It was only 10am but I suppose their breakfast cereal was quickly dissipating in their stomachs. Luckily, I have a plan.

My grocery store, Plumbs, had double pie crust on sale for only $.99 this week. I of course eagerly added this to my cart as I was on a budget this week. Who am I kidding, I’m always on a budget. My menu is usually centered around what is on sale.

Today, I pulled the pie crusts out of the freezer and began the very quick process of making Quiche. Once you have a basic recipe, the options are endless! I made 2, since my oldest had a friend over and teens can  sure eat a lot. The first one was pretty basic, I used ingredients that I knew the kids liked, although, I successfully managed to add spinach. My second one, was more for my taste and included spinach, swiss cheese, roasted red pepper and Rosemary.

So, what exactly is Quiche? I decided to educate myself as it was happily baking in my oven. The following information was found on Wikipedia:

In French cuisine, a quiche (English pronunciation: /ˈkiːʃ/) is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Usually, the pastry shell is blind baked before the other ingredients are added for a secondary baking period. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked. Quiche is generally an open pie (i.e. does not contain a pastry covering), but may include an arrangement of tomato slices or pastry off-cuts for a decorative finish. Quiche may be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on local customs and personal tastes.

Yup, just what I thought. So, here is a basic recipe for Quiche. Let your imagination and taste buds create your own version, or use mine

Ingredients for 1 Quiche

1 Frozen pie crust (or make your own if desired)
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gryue, etc..)
1/2 cup cooked meat (ham, bacon, sausage are common)
1/3 cup spinach (thawed and squeezed of juices, or canned and squeezed of juice. Fresh is wonderful too)
Up to 1/3 cup Additional chopped veggies, such as sautéed onions, roasted red pepper, mushrooms sliced. Careful not to add too many vegetables, as it can make the Quiche runny.
1 Tsp Fresh herbs (optional) I used Rosemary, but Parsley, Cilantro or Thyme would be nice too.
4 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place pie crust in oven to pre-bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place meat, veggies and cheese in crust and pour egg/milk mixture over combination. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and finish baking for about 35 minutes or until eggs are set. Cover the edges of crust with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too much. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, slice and serve.

1 pie yields 6 servings

Mock Baby Quiche

So cute and full of delicious flavors, these Mock Baby Quiche are as fun to make as they are to pop into your mouth! I love these for brunch, an easy appetizer or make a batch ahead of time to warm up for a quick healthy breakfast on the run! The kids ask for these and are a perfect healthy snack after school too! The ingredients are as versitle as your imagination. A wonderful way to use up leftovers and the last of your veggies. This recipe fits in wonderfully with a low-carb diet too!

This recipe makes 12, double and make an extra batch, as these babies don’t last long!

Ingredients

3/4 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (or cheese of choice) shredded
1/2 cup ham diced (deli ham works great too)
1 large scallion white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup green sweet pepper (or colored works well too) diced
4 eggs
splash milk
salt and pepper to taste

Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In each hole, place ham, scallions, green pepper and cheese. In another bowl, mix 4 eggs and milk with wire whisk. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over ham/cheese/vegetables in each tin just to the top. Cook 10-12 minutes until middle is set.

Other Variations:
Bacon
Sausage
Turkey
Pepper-jack cheese, swiss cheese or any favorite shredded cheese
Green peppers (or any colored pepper)
Jalapenos
Broccoli
Mushrooms
Tomatoes, seeded and drained diced
Fresh Herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, chives

For a Thanksgiving brunch try: Sage sausage, sweetened dried cranberries chopped and chives with swiss.

Our family favorite: Pepper-jack cheese, ham, scallions and green pepper!