Baked Eggs

What are you doing this Saturday?

Cancel your plans.  Call your friends.  You're making brunch, more specifically, you're making this dish.  Your friends will think Julia Child visited you in your sleep and taught you how to really cook.

Only you will know that this might be the easiest thing you've popped in the oven.



From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.

Baked Eggs in a Spinach Mushroom Nest
Adapted from Gourmet, 2004 via Smitten Kitchen
10 oz baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 extra large eggs
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
4 ramekins
Step by Step
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
Bring 1/2 inch water to a boil in a heavy skillet, then add half of spinach and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted, about 30 seconds. 
Add remaining spinach and wilt in same manner, then cook, covered, over moderately high heat until spinach is tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Gently squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop.
Wipe skillet dry, then cook onion and garlic in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and increase heat to moderate, then cook, stirring, until mushrooms are softened and have exuded liquid, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chopped spinach and bring to a simmer.

Remove skillet from heat.  Divide spinach mixture evenly amongst four ramekins.  Using the back of a spoon, create a circle indention in the middle of each dish.  Break an egg into each ramekin and bake, uncovered, until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny,  about 10 minutes. Lightly season eggs with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with cheese.

MAKE AHEAD:  You can prep the spinach mushroom nests the night before.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, crack the eggs in each dish and bake.  Bake an extra minute or two until egg whites are set.  

This is a new favorite for me because I don't like egg yolk (I just came around to eating egg whites a few years ago) and I can make everyone's portion according to the way they like it.  



Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

I'm sure there are a few Mexican mamasitas rolling over in their graves right now at the shear thought of me calling this an enchilada.  So let me just be up front and tell you this is not a  traditional Mexican enchilada or even a traditional Tex Mex enchilada for that matter.  But if you ask me, roll cheese and chicken and a yummy sauce up in a tortilla, bake them side to side and you've got yourself an enchilada.  Call them whatever you want, but just know you will probably be asked to make them again and again if you share.

This would also be a great recipe if you have a few little hands (or big hands) around that need to work for their dinner.  Set up an enchilada station and get them to work.

Ready?  Here we go...
Make your ranch sauce and divide in half.  Mix half with the diced chicken and set half aside.
enchilada making
  Take your extra ranch sauce and cover the entire tortilla. 
tortilla and sauce
Spoon that drenched chicken down the middle of the tortilla. 
tortilla sauce and chicken
Add salsa or hot sauce for a little kick. 
tortilla and salsa

Top with cheese, and please, don't be shy.  The more cheese the better.  Trust me (this one might look a little under-cheesed, but the ones that we really stuffed full were the best).
tortilla and cheese
Roll up these bad boys and place seam side down in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.  
enchiladas rolled up
Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Recipe Notes
The easiest way to make this is to buy a cooked rotisserie chicken.  They are sold in almost all grocery stores ready to go.  If you prefer, you could roast your own chicken.  Depending on how much you stuff these, you will end up with between 10 and 15 enchiladas.  Eat one tray now and you can freeze the rest for next week.  Wrap tight with saran wrap and freeze.  Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for an hour.  Cook about 10 minutes longer than usual or until tortillas are nice and crispy.  
1 deli style cooked rotisserie chicken (about 2 lbs)
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 packet ranch dressing mix
Flour tortillas (10-15)
Jar of salsa
Shredded mexican cheese or cheddar cheese (We used almost 4 cups, but I'm really cheesy)
Remove skin from chicken and shred or dice all white meat.  You should end up with about 3 cups; set aside in a medium sized bowl.   In another bowl, combine the sour cream, ranch packet and milk.   Stir until well combined. Add half of the sauce to the diced chicken and mix well.  Keep the other half of the sauce in the bowl. 
Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp. of the sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, to taste (don't be shy with the cheese).   Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients (usually makes 10-15 enchiladas).
Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes (30- 35 for a crispier tortilla). The texture is better if you resist the urge to take them out before they are really crispy.  Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings. 


Squash Ribbon Salad


I know I don't have anyone on the edge of their seat over squash ribbons, but come on, stay with me. Seriously, stay with me... it's worth it.
I first tried the ribbon method for this pasta and I all of a sudden became a squash fan.  It turns a rather bland, sometimes boring veggie into a thin, crisp tool that can soak up great sauces without being heavy.  The ribbons turn into something refreshing and crisp that taste somewhere between a fettucine noodle and leaf of lettuce.  Does this make sense?  Keep following...
I rarely get pumped about a big bowl of greens, but this offers more taste,  and the bright pops of yellow ribbons are springier than spring itself.

So come on... just try it. Please?  Thank you.

Summer Squash Ribbon Salad
Adapted from the kitchn
1 1/2 pounds zucchini or yellow squash
1 shallot, very thinly sliced... as thin as you can possibly get it (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup basil chopped finely
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 ounces goat cheese
Step by Step
Trim the ends off the squash and using a  vegetable peeler, or knife, cut the squash lengthwise into very thin strips.

Place in a large bowl with the sliced shallot, olive oil, and vinegar, and gently toss to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then add the basil and pine nuts and gently toss to combine.

Transfer to a serving dish and crumble goat cheese on top. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings (or 2 big main servings).


Cheesy Crash Potatoes

Chances are you've seen this recipe (sans the cheese).  Cause let's get real, when the Pioneer Woman posts something, there are not many people interested in cooking that don't see it.

So I'm gonna keep this short.  She posted these little potatoes and I knew I had to try them.  I'm pretty sure ice cream is the only thing that hasn't gotten a sprinkle of cheese on it in my kitchen so I just had to use a little cheddar on these and let's just say it was a great decision.  So no matter what you're cooking tonight, chances are these potatoes could be a quick easy side.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.
Cheesy Crash Potatoes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
12 whole small red potatoes (or other small round potatoes)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Rosemary to taste
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, about 1/2 cup
Step by Step
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.  On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the baking sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher (or large fork), gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Half way through cooking, about 10 minutes, remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle each on with cheese.  Place back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and potato is browned.  

Makes 3 to 4 servings.


Mother's Day Brunch

Did you know Mother's Day is soon? 
  I repeat MOTHER'S DAY is soon.

May 8 to be exact. 

Never underestimate the importance of Mother's Day.  You will probably be cursed for the rest of your life if you don't go out of your way to thank your mother for dealing with you all those years. 

If you are old enough to read, it means you've given your mother some trouble so be sweet.

What better way to celebrate the woman who will probably cook for you more in your lifetime than any other person in the world than to cook her a feast.  Sure, you can go out and celebrate at a restaurant, but what do moms really like?  You...in the kitchen, putting a little love into a brunch... AND doing the dishes after.

It's no secret I've been on a brunch kick, but here are a few of the reasons that back the obsession.  I could never throw a breakfast... too early for me, but lunch time just doesn't sound as jazzy..  By brunch, you can serve hearty breakfast foods mixed with sweet breads and muffins and top it off with a mimosa or bloody mary.   Below are some menu ideas from the archives.  Still working on what I will actually serve this year, but these have all worked well at brunches in the past.

p.s. if you no longer have a mom around, you can always celebrate another mother in your life, or someone who has been like a mom to you.  Guaranteed, there will be tears.  Thanking someone for being a "great mom" to you?  Yes, there will be tears, tears of joy.

{Mother's Day Brunch Menu}

Mixed Berry Fruit Salad

If you are like me, and like a little dessert with brunch...

Keys to hosting a brunch:
Cook only one stove top item.  The last thing you want to do is spend all your time over the stove trying to cook items that are all last minute so they are nice and hot.  This menu is perfect for that because you can cook the bacon and pie in the oven at the same time.

Make everything in advance. I would consider this the golden rule, but maybe that's just because I'm not a morning person.  I would rather wake up and stick a few things in the oven while I get ready than think about waking up at the crack of dawn for prep work.  With these two main dishes, the prep is so minimal it's okay to leave it till the morning, but you could always cook the pie and just reheat in the morning if you wish.   Even fruit salad can be tossed together the night before.

Another reason this menu works well together... you can put the pie and bacon in at the same time.  


Roasted Shrimp Cocktail


Shrimp lovers, let's make a bet.

Make this recipe and you will never again  be as excited about boiled shrimp cocktail. Not to take the wind out of your sails for boiled shrimp, but the simple step of tossing these with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting gives so much more flavor than boiling in water and serving ice cold.

This is one of my favorites for an appetizer or cocktail party because it's easy and fancy all at the same time.

From my little kitchen to yours... Enjoy.


Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Adapted from Ina Garten
Recipe Notes
One thing that makes this recipe incredibly easy is if your shrimp are already peeled (tails left on) and deveined when you buy them.  My go to store for this item is Costco.  In their freezer section, they have large 15- 20 count shrimp (and they also carry larger shrimp) in 2 1/2 pound bags for $9.99 a pound.  This is such a steal for the fact that they are high quality shrimp and they are already peeled a deveined. You can look up homemade cocktail sauce recipes, but I like the prepared cocktail and remoulade sauce from Central Market that can be bought in the seafood section (literally in the seafood section, on ice, next to the fish). 
2 lbs. large shrimp (15-20 count), peeled and deveined with tails left on
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
To Serve:
Cocktail Sauce
Remoulade Sauce
Step by Step
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place shrimp on a baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in one layer.  Roast for 8-10 minutes, just until pink and cooked through.  Set aside to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.