Tuesday, April 30, 2013

299. Sweet and Savory Grilled Cheese



I love how a sandwich can resonate with so many generations and bring back such fond memories.  A grilled cheese is one such sandwich.  I remember as a kid visiting my grandparents and being served a grilled cheese with a bowl of soup for lunch.  As a young adult recently married, many years ago, I often wanted the comfort of this sandwich when I was ill and far away from family.  It just reminded me of home.

I was excited when Kitchen PLAY invited me to participate in 30 Days of Grilled Cheese and that Land O'Lakes® Deli Cheese would be our cheese of choice.  Why my excitement?  Two reasons:  creamy and delicious.  This cheese melts to a creamy texture in your favorite grilled cheese sandwich and the flavor is, well, delicious.  I also like that you can buy it freshly sliced from your deli.  This gives you the choice of buying just the right amount and you can even mix the flavors.  Land O’Lakes has yellow and white Deli American Cheese and a wonderful 4 Cheese Italian Blend. They are both creamy and delicious for grilled cheese sandwiches! 

So what makes the perfect grilled cheese sandwich?  I bet we would each have our own list of the combination of flavors we would enjoy the most.  I am going to share mine with you today.  I love the combination of flavors that you get when a cheese tray is ordered: fruit, cheese and meat.  I wanted to combine these flavors into a sandwich.



I enjoy a sandwich that has a bit of sweet combined with a hint of tart; crunch with a smooth texture; warm and cold tones.  I look forward to every bite being filled with flavor, textures and maybe even a bit of a surprise.  I like to use bread that has a rustic look to it, like French or sourdough.  The holes in the bread allow steam to rise through it and melt your cheese.  I also like to use smaller loaves so that as your grilled cheese sandwich builds to a certain height it is easier to hold in your hands.  If it gets too big then things start falling out and slipping all over the place—that just will not do, in my opinion.
  

Recipe:  Sweet and Savory Grilled Cheese

¼ cup of sliced red onions
1 teaspoon of butter
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, any flavor
2 slices of your favorite rustic bread
4 slices of Black Forest ham
2-3 slices of Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese
4 strawberries, sliced
Honey or Dijon mustard
¼ cup Arugula greens
Butter, to grill bread

·      In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add onions.  Let brown for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add balsamic vinegar and let cook an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

· Lightly butter each slice of bread on one side and add to hot skillet. Top each slice of bread with a piece of cheese and let melt. In a separate part of the pan, add the ham with another slice of cheese. This allows the ham to be warm and more cheese to be added to your sandwich.

·      When the cheese has melted, on one side, add the Dijon mustard and ham.  Then add the slice strawberries, Arugula,  and grilled red onions. Top with the last piece of toasted bread.

·      Gently press down on the top piece of bread to allow the ingredients to hold together.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

If you need a gluten free bread recipe, I have one that would work great for this sandwich.  The recipe can be found HERE.

Written by Sherron Watson

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake



I am always amazed when I make a recipe and it does not have any flour in it. Isn't flour in all baked goods? I grew up with this idea and only discovered in the last few years that there are wonderful desserts that do not include any flour. This makes me happy.

What I love the most about this delicious cake is that it has a crunchy top with a moist and fudge-like texture. It will melt in your mouth.

You will notice that I made this cake in an 8 inch spring foam pan (the original recipe calls for a 9 inch-if you have this size use it or leave a little bit of batter out of the 8 inch) , I had a little bit of batter left over and tried it in an oven proof ramekin that I like to use for individually sized portions--it worked wonderfully!

I was able to slide a knife around the outer edge and the mini cake came right out and I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. DELICIOUS!


For those that have been wondering where I have been (it has been a while since I last posted) I have been consumed with my pregnancy.  I finally am through the first three months and feeling some what human again.  I won't lie-it was rough.  The morning sickness that lasted all day--did me in.  It was all I could do to get through the day with homeschooling Isabella and keeping up with the family.

Thankfully I have a very supportive family and they helped a ton!  I am feeling so much better and in my 4th month.  I cannot believe the time has gone by so fast already.  Before I know it a baby will be here.

Finding out that you are pregnant at 45 is always a bit of a shock but an even larger shock for those around you--especially your teenage kids!  LOL  They have been great about the whole thing. I honestly don't feel 45 and my body is holding up well.   I do feel tired and I worry about gaining too much weight--so far I am holding at a 6 pound gain in 4 months--as you know, they say the older you get the harder the pounds are to come off.   I have been riding my bike and walking every week.  

I can't say enough how happy I am for this new little blessing in our family.  He or she will keep us young at heart and I love that Isabella will have a sibling closer to her age.

All I can say is-life is good!  Enjoy every day.




Recipe:  Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Gastronomers Guide

8 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of butter
1 tablespoon instant coffee grounds
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper-bottom and sides. Spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl add egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form.

In a medium bowl, add egg yolks and beat until pale (4 minutes). Add sugar and continue to mix for 3 more minutes.

Place a large heat proof bowl over a simmering pot of water and melt chocolate chips and butter; add instant coffee grounds and salt, combine well.  Let chocolate cool slightly.

Slowly pour cooled chocolate into egg yolk mixture. 

Add egg yolk/chocolate mixture to egg whites and fold until no streaks of white remain.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Let cool slightly and remove springform pan.

Yields: 8-10 slices





Sunday, April 7, 2013

288. Chicken Divan #SundaySupper #BudgetFriendly


For Sunday Supper this week we are sharing Budget Friendly dishes.  Chicken Divan is one of my favorite dishes for several reasons.  I grew up eating this dish but we did not know it by this fancy name.  We called it Chicken and Broccoli with Miracle Whip.  I was a kid of the 70s/80s and Miracle Whip was a big deal at our house.  In fact it was an us against them issue often: the mayonnaise lovers against the Miracle Whip die hards.  

The issue was constant, especially when it came time to make tuna fish, sandwiches of any kind or casseroles.

I kind of got off track...oops!

The other reason this dish is a favorite is because I can easily use up the extra chicken from a previous meal and the extra crown of broccoli I always over buy.  It never fails. I know that my family will eat one crown but I always buy two.  Someday I will learn.

I have to be honest and get this off my chest.  Orange cheese and yellow curry sauce do not photograph well. I have tried on numerous occasions with this casserole and have been a bit disappointed with the results.  Today I am just going for it and hoping that you can see beyond the "color" scare that is staring back you in the pictures.



I know that someone will ask me if they can substitute something else for the Miracle Whip.  I am going to say no if you want it to taste like mine.  I have tried.  I have tried in the past to make something that tasted similar and not use the Miracle Whip.  It just is not the same.  If you have any suggestions that have worked for you, I would love to hear them.

You will notice that I make my own creamy "soup" mix instead of using the standard 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.  This is a personal preference and you can make the switch if you don't want to try the homemade version.  Please do what is easiest for you and your family.

The recipes that we are sharing for Sunday Supper can be found at the end of this post along with some information about a conference that is being held in July.  It will be our first gathering with lots of speakers and fun!  Check out the link.

Recipe:  Chicken Divan

2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup or recipe for Creamy soup (recipe below)
3 medium sized chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 large crown of broccoli, steamed
1 cup of Miracle Whip
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of yellow Curry powder
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded

Recipe for Creamy Chicken Soup
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of flour or rice flour
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of chicken broth

Melt Butter, add flour.  Cook for one minute.  Add milk and broth.  Cook and stir until thickened.

Remove from stove and let cool.  Use this whole recipe in the Chicken Divan recipe.

Store in fridge for one week.

To make Casserole:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9X13 baking dish or equivalent, add cooked chicken pieces.  Add broccoli florets.


In a medium size bowl combine soup (canned or homemade), lemon juice, Miracle Whip, pinch of salt and curry powder.  Stir well.

Add the sauce to the top of the broccoli.

Top the casserole with shredded cheese.

If you would like to add a breadcrumb or panko topping you may.  Take 1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs and combine with 2 teaspoons of butter. Sprinkle over shredded cheese.

Bake casserole for 30 minutes.  Remove and serve.  Sometimes we serve this with rice.



Starters, Soups, and Salads
Main
Sides
Drinks and Desserts
How do you cut back on food expense? Do you grow your own vegetables or cook more at home? Buy in bulk? Share your secrets in the comments below…
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.
Announcing the Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper!It’s being held July 19th – 21st in beautiful, sunny Orlando, FL. It’s a must for food bloggers. Check it out by clicking here → Food & Wine Conference

KitchenAid Stand Giveaway


I am so thrilled to be participating in a giveaway with the most amazing bloggers.  We wanted to say thank you to our fans for visiting our pages, sharing our recipes, offering wonderful feedback and showing us support throughout the year.

What better way to do that than with a giveaway!

How about a new 5 QRT. KitchenAid Stand Mixer in Empire red? I say YES!

The contest will run for one week, from April 7th until April 14, 2013.

US Residents Only. We will use Rafflecopter to select and email a winner on April 14, 2013. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.






a Rafflecopter giveaway

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