Tag Archives: dinner

Sausage, Egg & Asparagus Tart

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Inside NanaBread's Head

You know Spring has sprung when fresh asparagus pops up in abundance. I grabbed a handful this week and made this easy tart for lunch. If you like quiche, you’ll love this. It starts with these beauties. I love this vibrant green color.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Raw Asparagus

Alton Brown (Food Network) says the best way to cook asparagus and preserve its flavor and bright green color is to microwave it. Start by cutting off the tough stem ends, then grab a strip of 4 paper towels (still connected). Wet them and squeeze out most of the water. Un-wad the paper towels until you have a strip two towels long and two towels thick. Spread the asparagus on the damp towels in a single layer and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roll the asparagus up in the paper towels and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Done!

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Chicken Sausage

Next up are these gorgeous organic chicken, asparagus and parmesan smoked sausages from my local HEB market. I simply seared them in a hot skillet until lightly browned on both sides, then sliced them in half lengthwise.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Scrambled Eggs

Soft scrambled eggs are cooked in the same skillet until almost but not quite set. These are just getting started. A box of frozen puff pastry makes quick work of the tart shell. To save time, thaw the puff pastry while you’re steaming the asparagus and browning the sausages. I promise – this tart could not be easier and topped with shredded parmesan cheese, it could not be more delicious.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Cut

NanaBread’s Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart:
1 box frozen puff pastry (17.3 ounces or two ready-to-bake sheets), thawed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 package smoked chicken sausage (I used an asparagus & parmesan version)
1 pound fresh asparagus, microwaved (instructions above)
2 slices Lacey Swiss cheese, from your grocer’s deli counter
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons heavy cream or half-n-half
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 425F; remove the puff pastry from the box and let it thaw.

In a hot skillet, place the chicken sausages (sliced or whole) and brown on both sides over high heat, then remove from the skillet. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream or half-n-half, melted butter, salt & pepper. Whisk until fluffy. To the hot skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl the pan until it is melted. Pour in the eggs, and using a silicone spatula, gently push the eggs around the skillet until they are almost set, but still wet and glossy. (Don’t worry, they’ll finish cooking in the oven.)

On a lined baking sheet, lay out one full sheet of puff pastry. Cut the remaining sheet into 3/4″ strips, and lay them around the outside edge of the bottom sheet to create a frame. Brush the edges with melted butter, then layer on your ingredients starting with the Swiss cheese, then the cut up sausages, the scrambled eggs, then the steamed asparagus. Bake at 425F for 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the puff pastry is a light golden brown.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Construction Collage

Allow the tart to cool for a few minutes before slicing. To serve, top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. This tart makes four large servings (main course) or nine small servings (appetizer). It’s perfect for any time of day. We had it for lunch, but it would also be lovely for brunch with fruit or dinner with a side salad. No one needs to know how simple it was, except for us. And I’ll never tell.

Spring Sausage Egg & Asparagus Tart - Sliced

Notes from the Kitchen:
1. This can be made meat-free by omitting the sausages.
2. It would also be lovely with a rotisserie chicken instead of sausage.
3. To reduce the amount of butter, try spraying the skillet with Pam instead.
4. To further reduce fat, swap 2 Tbsp. fat-free Greek yogurt for the cream.
5. The sausages & asparagus can be cooked in advance to save time.
6. To tart up your tart, try adding a small pinch of nutmeg or cayenne pepper to your scrambled eggs.
7. Leftovers should be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 days.

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Luscious Leftovers: Lettuce Wraps

We meal plan in this house. Each Sunday evening, I sit with a notepad and plan out our week. Lately, my game plan involves picking a few main dish meats that can be re-used as leftovers in a variety of ways. With just two of us, it makes it easier to buy, easier to stretch, and easier to save money as well.

For example, The Complete Package recently smoked a rack of pork ribs. That night, we had a traditional barbecue feast of ribs with beans and macaroni salad. The next night we one of my favorite simple go-to meals – Asian lettuce wraps. When I say this one is easy, I’m not even kidding. Not one little bit.

Lettuce Wraps - Inside NanaBread's Head

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • leftover smoked pork (ribs, pulled pork, chops, etc.), warmed up
  • a small pan of steamed white rice (we love basmati)
  • scallions, cut into 2″ strips lengthwise
  • butterhead or Boston lettuce, rinsed & patted dry
  • your favorite Asian hoisin or sweet chili sauce

Lettuce Wrap - Inside NanaBread's Head

To serve, simply lay out a leaf or two of lettuce. Add a spoonful of steamed rice, some smoked pork, a few scallions and a drizzle of your favorite hoisin or chili sauce (or both). Roll it up and stuff it in your pie hole. BAM! So good, and ready in mere minutes. This meal confirms my favorite motto: Keep it Simple.

Lettuce Wraps Collage - Inside NanaBread's Head

What is your go-to dinner in a hurry meal? I’d love for you to share it! -jeanne

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Loaded Veggie Pizza (& I mean loaded!)

Veggie Pizza - Inside NanaBread's Head

Ever been so sold on a certain brand you start to think of yourself as a rabid brand loyalist? Well, I have become obsessed with DeLallo. You may remember a certain post for homemade pimento cheese? Well, those piquillo peppers were so glorious, I decided to branch out and try other items. To the extent that I made a total veggie power pizza with some of their line. And you know what? Their other products live up to the piquillo pepper hype.

Here’s what I bought from the DeLallo line this week:
1.) can of artichoke hearts
2.) jar of sun-dried tomato bruschetta
3.) jar of basil pesto in olive oil
4.) jar of pine nuts
5.) yet another jar of piquillo peppers

I know… I’m out of control. But stay with me, because the pizza was awesome.

In addition to the DeLallo goodies, I also picked up:
1.) fresh baby spinach
2.) fresh button mushrooms
3.) an orange bell pepper
4.) a purple onion
5.) a small tub of ricotta cheese

Secret foodie confession: I keep frozen pizza dough in my freezer at all times. The type I buy is just a frozen dough ball in a bag from my local HEB grocery store. I keep both the whole wheat and traditional white on hand. And not just for pizza. If you thaw it out and let it rise, it can double as breadstick dough, cinnamon rolls, etc. Pretty versatile stuff, really.

So for this pizza, I thawed out a ball of the whole wheat and let it rise while I baked cookies. (More on that later, but it involves an on-line bake sale coming up later this month for which I am making cherry almond shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate. Break out your wallets, kids. You’re going to want to bid on these.) Here’s how the pizza baking went down.

First, I rolled out the whole wheat dough and baked it for 10 minutes, brushed only with olive oil, to prevent it from getting soggy, then I layered on a schmear of pesto, some sun-dried tomatoes (drained) and mushrooms sautéed in chili oil.

Veggie Pizza - pesto, sun-dried tomatoes & mushroom layer

Next came a layer of fresh spinach, some sliced purple onion and the chopped & drained artichoke hearts. For the record, I L-O-V-E love artichoke hearts.

Veggie Pizza - spinach, purple onion, artichoke hearts

But wait! There’s more! Next, I got artsy with my orange bell pepper and roasted piquillo peppers. Yes, I play with my food. :) The Complete Package walked into the kitchen just as I finished laying on the peppers and said “this is going on the blog, isn’t it?” Psssh, what do you mean? All my food looks this good! Okay, whatever. Yes it’s for the blog, smartass. Still, it’s pretty!

Veggie Pizza - orange bell pepper & piquillo peppers

And then, just when you’re thinking “Holy craptastic veggie goodness! What else could she possibly add?” I threw on some ricotta cheese seasoned with oregano, basil, garlic salt & red pepper flakes, some pine nuts I toasted in a skillet, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Looks good, doesn’t it?

Veggie Pizza - seasoned ricotta, pine nuts & olive oil

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. That’s a whole lotta veggie. But we’re not done yet. You gotta pop that beast into the oven and bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes. I like to bake mine on a Silpat mat for an extra crispy crust. When the ricotta and pine nuts start getting brown around the edges, it’s done.

Veggie Pizza - just out of the oven

Yeah, baby… that’s the good stuff. Now you have to let it sit for 5-10 minutes to settle down a little. Then, cut that puppy up and dig in!

Veggie Pizza - Dig in!

Boom. Done. Blow it up! For the record – it was delicious, we didn’t miss the meat, and it has completely solidified my deep and abiding love for all things DeLallo. Rabid. Brand. Loyalist. And not ashamed. Do you have a favorite brand or brands that you can’t live without? Please leave a comment and share. You never know what might spur my next food obsession!

Please Note: I am not in any way compensated by the DeLallo Foods Company. I am (as I have stated) just a loyal lover of their products who is dead set on converting the rest of the world. Amen.

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It’s a girl & a cornbread!

Today I’m guest posting over at Mommy Notes for my friend & fellow Texan, Sarah. We’re celebrating her beautiful new baby girl, grandmotherhood, Mother’s Day and our mutual love of Texas comfort foods. Please drop in to say hello and congratulations, and while you’re at it you can get my mother’s recipe for Mexican Cornbread. Stuffed with ground beef, cheese and green chilies, it’s rib stickin’ and delicious! To see it, click here. Congratulations & hugs, Sarah!

Mexican Cornbread for Sarah

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I love a good pimento cheese sammich

Pimento Cheese Sandwich - Inside NanaBread's Head

It’s hard to beat a good sandwich, isn’t it? Some people like tuna or egg salad. Some reach for a PB&J, a BLT or a grilled cheese. All are great, but let’s not forget the sometimes overlooked pimento cheese sammy. In my book, a really good homemade pimento cheese made with great cheddar and roasted piquillo peppers is hard to beat.

Let’s break one down. It starts with a great cheese. In this case, my favorite – Tillamook Cheddar. Medium or sharp, it needs to have great flavor.

Pimento Cheese - Tillamook Cheddar - Inside NanaBread's Head

Oh, Tillamook Cheese… how I adore you. If you have a food processor with a grater blade, grating the cheese happens in mere seconds. No fooling.

Pimento Cheese - Grating the Cheese - Inside NanaBread's Head

You only need 6 ounces to make two good-sized sandwiches. Which gives me an excuse to show off one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, my OXO food scale. This little guy is awesome. I’m using it with the digital reader in its ‘parked’ position, but if you’re trying to weigh something larger, it pulls out about 3″ so you can still see it even when using a larger container. Very cool. Just set your empty bowl or plate on the scale and hit ‘zero’ to clear the weight of the plate off, then add enough cheese to hit six ounces.

Pimento Cheese - Cheese Peppers & OXO - Inside NanaBread's Head

Next, grab jar of these gorgeous DeLallo grilled piquillo peppers. No cheap pimentos here, kids. Trust me – these piquillo peppers will rock your world. I love their rich roasted flavor and that they’re packed in water, not vinegar. They are robust and so much better than those small jars of brined pimentos. For this, five or six of these beauties will do nicely.

Pimento Cheese - Piquillo Peppers - Inside NanaBread's Head

In a mixing bowl, combine the grated cheese, chopped peppers and 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (we’re a Hellman’s house). Toss in a pinch of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper. Stir until well blended, then cover it tightly and let it sit in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

After that, the only decision left is which bread to use, whether to toast it, and what to top it with. We like a good oat nut wheat bread. It’s so darned tasty. I love mine plain; he likes his with add-ons. A pickle on the side gets an A+ too.

Pimento Cheese - His & Hers - Inside NanaBread's Head

Mmm… so good. So creamy. So cheesy. And those piquillo peppers? I could kiss them. So, share time… do you like pimento cheese or do you reach for that BLT? Are you a grilled cheese & tomato soup guy/gal or do you prefer a good tuna or egg salad? Let’s talk sammies. And GO!

Note: I’m aware this post sounds like an advertisement for certain brands, but I swear it’s not. The post was not sponsored in any way by Tillamook Cheese, OXO or DeLallo Foods. These are products I love and use frequently; they just all came together beautifully for this post. All opinions are my own and are shared without influence from the companies shown. I promise.

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Greek Salmon Wraps for the Bride

This is Megan. Isn’t she gorgeous? She’s always laughing or smiling. I love that about her. And this month, she has plenty to smile about. Our homegirl and fellow blogger Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver is getting married.

I confess, I ‘something borrowed’ this photo from Megan’s blog. It was taken during a bridal shower thrown by her best friend, Beka. If you click on the photo, it will take you to Megan’s post about her shower. It’s a lovely photo of a lovely bride-to-be.

And she’s not just marrying any old guy. She’s gettin’ hitched to a sweet hunk-o-burning-love named Ben. They make such a cute couple and we’re so happy for them. I know you’re dying to see them together. To view Megan’s blog post with engagement photos, click HERE. To celebrate their big day, Megan’s blogging friends are throwing her a virtual bridal shower and I am thrilled particpate.

While considering what to make, I pondered what Megan might like. She’s so laid back and fun, I know she’d enjoy anything and everything. But the one thing that kept coming to mind was salmon. Girlfriend has a serious salmon addiction. It’s why she was chosen to be a part of a small but very prestigious group of food bloggers selected to serve as ambassadors for Copper River Salmon. I still remember the day she posted a story about opening day of the Copper River salmon season. Y’all, they flew that salmon into Seattle on a jet. And there was a red carpet! Folks in Seattle take salmon season very seriously.

What to make, then? Well, something salmon. Obviously. And since we needed another entree, I decided to create a Greek Salmon Wrap in Megan’s honor.

A sandwich so pretty it should have a bow on it.

I think she’ll be happy with my choice. Here’s how it all came together.

Greek Salmon Wraps – simple ingredients, tremendous flavor

For two large wraps you’ll need:
Salmon, 6-8 ozs. – in this case, applewood-smoked Alaskan sockeye salmon
Greek yogurt dressing (see below)
Naan, pita or the flatbread of your choice, 2 pieces
Kalamata olives (pitted), fresh baby dill & capers
Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber & purple onion, very thinly sliced
Kosher salt & course-ground black pepper, a pinch of each

For the Greek Yogurt Dressing:
1/2 cup thick Greek yogurt or kefir, plain
zest & juice of one small lemon
1 teaspoon of Greek Seasoning (like Cavender’s or Konriko)

To make, measure all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to combine. You can make this in advance for the best flavor; I mixed mine up the night before.

To start, lay one piece of flatbread on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper (which will make these a lot easier to roll later).

Start with a good schmear of the yogurt dressing.

Next, add a layer of smoked salmon. Don’t be stingy.

Add a sprinkling of shaved purple onion.

And then a smattering of olives, capers & baby dill; so gorgeous!

Then be a neat freak & perfectly line up your cucumber slices.

Follow that with a layer of tomatoes and a light dusting of salt & pepper.

Top with a layer of spring greens & a little more yogurt dressing.

Now here’s where the parchment comes in handy. Starting at one end, use the paper to help roll the sandwich into a tight wrap, tucking each side in as you go – just like wrapping a burrito. Once wrapped, use a piece of baker’s twine to tie it up. I tied a bow on each end so I could slice the wrap in half. This will make 4 small sandwiches or 2 large ones – your choice.

Wrapped tight & ready to eat. What do you think, Megan?

Helpful Hints:
1. Thin, soft flatbread works best because it rolls up easier.
2. A mandolin, if you have one, makes perfectly thin slices; I use an OXO.
3. Any salmon you love will work, including leftover baked or grilled salmon.
4. Don’t like salmon? Substitute grilled chicken, steak or even hummus.
5. These are portable & perfect for picnics; keep chilled until ready to eat.
6. Speaking of picnics, grab a crisp white wine for your pic-a-nic basket.

As I mentioned before, our Megan has a salmon fetish. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Click on any of the links below to check out her gorgeous collection of salmon recipes. Be forewarned – your mouth WILL water.

Copper River Salmon Burgers & Healthified Coleslaw
Grilled Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Salmon Ceviche
Salmonkopita
Oven Fried Salmon Wontons
“Whole Lotta Herbs” Glazed Salmon

And now, here are the links to our virtual bridal shower bloggers. Please drop by and see what they’re making!

Appetizers:
Heather of Farmgirl GourmetDeviled Eggs 3 Ways
Gina of Running to the KitchenEdamame Prosciutto Crostini
Kirsten of Comfortably DomesticCarmelized Onion & Goat Cheese Puffs
Tina of My Life As A Mrs.Easy Bacon Cream Cheese Roll-Ups
Rachel of Baked By RachelSausage & Red Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms
Allison of Decadent PhilistinesRetro Cheese Cookies

Drinks:
Laurie of Simply ScratchBlueberry Lemonade Spritzers
Cassie of Bake Your DayLemon-Berry Granita with Balsamic & Basil

Entrees:
Michelle of A Recipe JunkieFresh Melon & Crispy Proscuitto Salad
Jeanne of Inside NanaBread’s HeadGreek Salmon Wraps (Hey, that’s me!)

Desserts:
Kathryn of London BakesEton Mess Shooters
Julie of Table For TwoMiniature Cherry Pies
Lauren of Lauren’s LatestSummer Strawberry Jello Pie
KimBee of Cravings Of A LunaticRed Velvet Ice Cream Cupcakes
Kat of Tenaciously YoursGood For You Bars
Mads of Le Petite PancakeCheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

Congratulations, Megan and Ben! We’re beyond excited for you. And as The Complete Package and I celebrate our 30th anniversary this September, we remind you to always laugh together, never go to bed angry, try not to say anything you can’t take back, and always, always think of yourselves as a team because together you really can conquer anything. We wish you much love on your special day and many, many years of joy. We love you, Megan!

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Lazy Day Dinner: Easy Pizza at Home

Thrown together in minutes, this lazy day pizza is a must have.

The Complete Package was traveling last week, and when he travels I usually eat things like Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it. They’re delicious. But after a while, even cold cereal can’t hold my attention. So what do you make when it’s 103F outside and you don’t want to spend hours in a hot kitchen? How about easy homemade pizza? Works for me!

I started with a ball of frozen pizza dough in its whole wheat version.

Frozen pizza dough – it’s the key to quick homemade pizza

Just spray a mixing bowl with Pam, drop in the frozen pizza dough, give the dough ball a quick spray to keep it from sticking, and cover the bowl in plastic wrap. I like to secure the plastic wrap with a large rubber band. Better safe than sorry, I always say. For a rapid thaw at summer temps, place it on your back porch (out of the reach of kids and pets) for approximately 30 minutes. If you’re making this for dinner, you can let it rise on your kitchen counter all day.

While the dough is thawing, I like to prep the rest of my toppings. For this pizza, I browned one package of my favorite breakfast sausage in a skillet. I like to break it up with a wooden spoon and stir it frequently until done. If it’s too greasy, drain the cooked sausage on paper towels, pour most of the grease off and return the skillet to the stove.

Next, I make my own pizza sauce. It’s easier than you think. Really. In the same skillet, brown half a small onion (chopped) and 3 cloves of garlic (minced) in about 1 tablespoon of the sausage grease. Once the onion starts to become translucent, add one 15-ounce can of pureed tomatoes. Toss in 1/8 teaspoon of ground oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you like a little spice, throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes. That’s how I roll.

Homemade pizza sauce – it’s easier than you think & tastes better, too.

Once your dough is thawed and risen, spray a cookie sheet or 13″ x 9″ baking pan, then gently press the dough into the pan. You can roll it; I use my fingers.

Look at that gorgeous dough. You’d never guess it’s store-bought.

Using a spatula, spread as much or as little pizza sauce as you like then top with the sausage, some grated parmesan cheese, and a nice layer of sliced provolone.

Building the pie – the only thing missing is the provolone. Yum!

Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting & serving.

Thatsa’ one pretty pizza pie!

Feel free to change up the toppings to your preference. The options are literally endless – pepperoni & sauteed mushrooms, leftover grilled chicken & spinach, summer veggies, leftover steak, Canadian bacon & thinly sliced onions, meatballs (sliced or cut in half). Heck, you could even substitute alfredo sauce, buffalo sauce, or BBQ sauce and get really creative! The point is that a good frozen pizza dough and a quick homemade sauce can turn any homemade pizza pie into a treat in mere minutes. So what are you waiting for?

Sorry. This one’s for me. Go make your own pizza. Shoo!

And if you like to multitask meals like I do, save that leftover pizza sauce.

Yes, there will be leftover pizza sauce. You will not want to waste it.

Grab a bag of frozen fully cooked meatballs from your local grocery store and a package of frozen French baguettes. They make another great meal in minutes.

Yet another reason I love my local HEB grocery store.

Throw the meatballs in a baking dish and cover with foil. Place the baguettes on a baking sheet. Heat your oven to 400F, then put the meatballs and bread in to bake. The baguettes are ready when they’re toasty on the outside and soft and warm on the inside. Both should be ready in about 20 minutes. To assemble, microwave the sauce until hot and smear a generous amount into the baguettes. Toss in enough meatballs to fill them and top with a slice of provolone cheese. Presto – a second quick & easy dinner in about 30 minutes.

Do you plan meals that multitask? If so, what is your double-duty favorite?

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