Breakfast Rollups

breakfastrollup2.jpgWhen it comes to grub in the morning, Monday thru Friday, I need something easy, fast, mobile, and high in protein. My pre-workout drink gets me thru my early morning work out session, but about 30 minutes after I’ve wrapped up and on my way to work, I’m absolutely starving.

Going thru the drive-thru, or microwaving  something from the frozen isle just aren’t options for me. I’m always looking for different variations to be able to mix into my routine and I think these have definitely made the cut! These are so quick to throw together, you can make them the morning of, or multiple at a time for several days.
Sunday nights in our house, are “low and slow” 🙂 It’s our time to relax, get something slow-cooking on the stove or in the oven. While our dinner is roasting, it’s my time to fill up our counters with a mixture of fruits and veggies that I’m slicing up to go in lunches and breakfasts for the week. It’s very methodical for me, and it actually gets my mind right for the work week ahead going thru all of my Sunday steps!

In prepping these, I was very surprised at what little time it took do them, start to finish. Each rollup, takes about 4 minutes to make, and yes, that includes cooking time! Little bonus here is that you can make each one different, allowing you to have a new combination every day, simply by subbing out one ingredient! Peppers, spinach, cheese variation, ham, bacon, options are endless!
We have a local spot in town that makes fresh tortillas that are my go to, but I’ve also found some really great Gluten-Free ones at Aldi that I’ve become partial to as well, that I used in this round!breakfastrollup3.jpg

Breakfast Rollups
Serving Size: 1

1 egg
1 tbsp milk
s/p to taste
1 piece of deli ham or bacon
1 tortilla
2 tbsp of shredded cheese (or as desired)
several spinach leaves

1. Heat your non-stick pan to medium-low. I used a larger pan, about 9-inch, because the size of the tortillas I’m using are 8-inch. (the edges will slightly curl when you cook your egg, so a pan slightly larger is ok!)
2. Whisk your egg and milk together, season with salt and pepper as desired
3. Pour egg mixture into your pan, rotate the pan to get the mixture to fan out. You’ll know that it’s done, after the egg is set on top (you can use a lid to speed up this process as well). Takes 2-3 minutes
4. When the eggs are set, flip the pan over your tortilla. Center as needed and add you ham/bacon, cheese and any veggies desired
5. Rollup!breakfastrollup1.jpg

Lasagna Rolls

lazrolls2This is one of my absolute go-to recipes, I can’t believe I’ve never posted about it. It’s in our regular rotation, and a perfect winter comfort meal. I love that it’s made in easy single-dish servings, making it easy to pack and go. Plus, have you ever tried to reheat lasagna and did it too quickly or on too high of heat? The outside it’s crazy hot, and the inside…ice cold. How to you reheat something that burnt your mouth, then cooled it in the same go? Ya, I have no idea either- that’s why I like these, they make me look less…stupid.

No one makes better lasagna than my Mom. I don’t know what she does that’s different, I’ve never even tried to learn, but it’s- just – different. I can only think of one reasonable excuse for my lack of attempt… and that’s because I’m not trying to feed an army of people, and I don’t want to have leftovers for an entire week, of the same meal. To avoid overkill on one of my memories of her recipe,  I’ll be proactive and just keep letting her make it when I come home 🙂

We use cottage cheese in my family instead of ricotta, but feel free to swap out whatever you prefer. I think store-bought ricotta is absolutely disgusting, so if you’re feeling adventurous… try my Homemade Ricotta. I really like putting left-over ricotta in my oatmeal. Is that legal? It’s a cheese technically, but somehow it just works. A dash of cinnamon won’t hurt your feelings either. Promise.

Just a heads up, the first time you make these, you’re going to burn your fingers on the noodles, and make an absolute mess of your noodle space. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out 🙂 Here are some tips for the above mentioned.

**When cooking the noodles, take them out about 2-3 minutes before they’re cooking time. You want them a little firmer, this helps the noodles not break apart, and avoids overcooking them in the oven.
Strain the noodles, then use tongs to lay them on a large cutting board, or where ever your placing them…or “you’ll burn your fingers”.
**Anti-mess tips- sauce, meat, cheese mixture. Roll firm, but not too tight, and don’t over-fill, or you’ll have all kinds of stuff fall out. Also known as lasagna splooge.

**Cottage Cheese Haters- Have someone in your family that doesn’t like cottage cheese? No problem, put the egg/cottage cheese mixture in a food processor. Hides the texture and traditional taste. Also, it gives it a similar ricotta fluffy texture.lazrolls1

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–Also a great recipe to cut in half!

Lasagna Rolls

8 Lasagna Noodles
1 Large can/jar of sauce (I used Hunt’s brand because the large can’s are just too hard to beat, and they’re under a dollar)
1/2-3/4 lb of hamburger or sausage, browned
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 Egg
4 handfuls of shredded mozzarella, this is about 2 cups
1/4 tsp of s&p
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp ground or flaked oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley

Directions
1. Start to brown your hamburger or sausage in a saute pan.
2. While meat is cooking, boil the noodles in a large, wide, sauce pan. Cut their cook time short by 2-3 minutes. You want them al-dente if not 1 minute less.
3. Drain the pasta after its done cooking, I lay them out on a large cutting board. If you don’t have one try parchment paper, so that it saves you the mess, and the noodles don’t stick.
4. Prepare a 9 x 13 dish (I used glass) and spread about 1/4 cup of sauce on the bottom.
5. While the noodles cool a bit, mix your cottage cheese mix either with a fork or in the food processor. Mix together the cottage cheese, egg, mozzarella, s/p, red pepper, paprika, basil, oregano, and parsley.
6. Two tablespoons or so of each in order, sauce, meat, cheese mixture. Leave an inch at the end of each noodle for rolling up.
7. Place noodles seam side down, cover with remainder of the sauce, and two more handfuls of cheese.
8. Bake at 350 covered for 30-35 minutes.

Pumpkin Bars

pumpkinbars2I love this time of year, pumpkin EVERYTHING, in any form. It’s so wonderful in everything you put it in, how can we only use it (in a social/seasonally acceptable fashion) only two months out of the year? TELL ME WHY?!

I’m going to have to just give up Pumpkin Pie completely, because these are just absolutely ridiculous-my tighter jeans said so. I literally can’t not eat more than three at a time. I didn’t even attempt to make these healthy, but I’ll give it another go soon to cut out some of the sugar and go easier on the frosting, so stay tuned.

I’m an absolute freak, for making things harder on myself than should be. Taking something to a potluck or gathering for instance. I almost always pick something to bring that is ridiculously labor intensive (individual or bite size servings in large quantities), or something that needs to be piping hot, or appropriately chilled to be served at best. Why do I do this, why?! I’m trying to learn my lesson, and not cause so much un-needed food stress. (woe-is-me-right?)

Well here is the answer to every single one of those problems. These bars are easy, quick to bake, easy to frost, and they can be chilled or at room temp. What could make these better, but cream cheese frosting?! Yep, it’s got that too. Cream cheese frosting in any instance is great at locking in the moisture of the cake/bars.
Cream Cheese Frosting two-part awesome factor-
1. Cream cheese is dense, when you pair that with locking these up air tight, it makes your bars last so much longer, locking in all that moisture.
2. When you chill bars, whether same day, or as leftovers (because it’s dairy, fridge it!) and then serve them again later, as they come to room temp, some of the cream cheese starts soaking in to the bars. Extra yum factor.

This was my first jelly roll pan (12×17) experience. Love it, will do again! I wanted them more bar-like than cake-like (9×13) in a rectangular cake pan, bars are so much easier to get out of jelly roll pan than a cake pan! But either is great, so just use whatever you have on hand, or prefer. I feel like in my jelly roll pan I can eat more, stretching it out! Course…I’m not supposed to eat the whole pan alone- I’m pretty much doing that.

I LOVE November, December, and everything holiday, and I HATE eating moderately these two months. It is absolutely zero fun. So in honor of kicking off Thanksgiving week, lots of football, Family and Friendsgiving’s, eating till you explode and excessive amounts of wine, let’s celebrate with a basic pumpkin bar recipe. There really isn’t a lot of variation of them floating around, unless you start adding in different ingredients. Sometimes it’s better to just stick with keeping it simple, and not over-complicating what’s already great! (Isn’t that true in life sometimes too?)

**I can’t wait to re-post my healthier version in a couple weeks! Enjoy!! (I am…still)

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

BARS
1 15oz can of Libby’s Pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup veg or canola oil

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
7 oz. cream cheese, softened– I know, you can use the whole package, I just think it makes it too much frosting, people tend to start scraping it off
5 tbsp. of butter, softened
1 tbsp. milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 C powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
2. Whisk together oil, eggs, sugar and pumpkin.
3. Pour into a greased (buttered, floured. Or, sprayed, then floured) 12 x 17 jelly roll pan or 9 x 13 cake pan.
4. Bake at 350 for 24 minutes in the jelly roll pan (35 minutes in the 9×13). Make sure when you remove from the oven to set it on a wire rack or something that allows air flow to the bottom of the pan.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Cream all ingredients until smooth. Add the powdered sugar in 4 sessions slow so it doesn’t explode all over your kitchen.
Wait about 20 minutes or until cooled to frost.pumpkinbars1

Red Potato Pork Chops

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I’ve been on a break-but I’m back, I’m back!! Just in time for fall, and just in time for EVERYTHING PUMPKIN. This is prep-post. It’s not about pumpkin, I promise but it is pretty fall-worthy. So while I work you up with a fall dinner dish, be prepared to have an overkill of pumpkin because

1. I LOVE it
2. It’s October
3. It’s fall (they’re different, promise)
4. It’s acca-mazing 5. Because real people dig pumpkin

That was your warning, so here is a post to let that Pumpkin-Info settle in, before I drown you in it. In the meantime, let’s discuss this recipe, because it’s delicious- and you want another of reasons why…right?!

1.Red Potatoes: awesome
2. Cutlets: sign me up
3. One pan bake that isn’t really a casserole: stop why you’re doing, YES.
I’m on a list binge today–stay with me
Casseroles are good, but they’re super hard to photograph (amateur alert) and they are really hard to heat up without being a bowl of mush afterwards. This one, which I’m not calling a casserole because
1. I hate that word
2. It reheats like a charm
3. This doesn’t have rice or pasta in it
soooooo…..you’re carb-ly welcome.

I’m not gonna lie, this did take some time to prep, it’s not a quick meal to table deal. It probably took 1 1/2 hours start to finish…but wine was involved so the focus was…in my glass. I should really be a guest host on My Drunk Kitchen.
It’s worth the time, or at least a bottle of wine to put together 🙂 We’ll definitely be adding this into a regular rotation!  Great for a Sunday night dinner because of the prep time or even a partial prep the night before for a quick Monday family meal! Because this recipe is swap out friendly, swap the pork cutlets for chicken or even cube-steak if you want!

As always feel free to remove or substitute any part you choose to customize it to your family-

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Red Potato Pork Chop Bake
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 butterfly pork chops, cut in half (to make 8)
1/4 Greek Yogurt
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/8 s/p each to season
2 tbsp of veg oil to fry
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
7 small red potatoes, cut into very thin slices (use a mandolin if you have one)
1/2 yellow or white onion, VERY thinly sliced, then cut the rings in half
1 small can of mushrooms and stems
1 tbsp of butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup + 3/4 can of water (**sub in Cream of Chicken if you’re not a mushroom fan**)
1 cup broccoli florets
2 handfuls of shredded Mozzarella
Parsley to Garnish

1. Trim your pork (or chicken if needed) then slice in half. Whisk your Greek Yogurt and marinate along with you salt/pepper, ginger, and cumin. Let this marinate while you prep the rest. Can marinate up to 24 hours if you want to prep ahead of time.
2. Thinly slice half an onion into rings, then cut in half and soak in water for 5 minutes. This will remove the onion bite.
3. Next very thinly slice your red potatoes.
Preheat oven to 375
4. In a saute pan, with 1 tbsp of butter on medium high heat, cook your onion and mushrooms for 15 minutes(I added 1 tsp of sugar at the end to caramelize).
5. In a 8×10 or 9×13 size casserole dish, line the bottom with a thin layer of red potatoes, don’t overlap too much, you just want it to cover the bottom.
6. Your mushrooms/onions should be translucent and fragrant by now, remove them from the pan onto a plate. Keep the saute pan on medium high heat and add 2 tbsp of oil, or enough to cover the bottom.
7. While oil is heating, take your pork/chicken cutlets and dredge them until coated in your flour. Brown each side for about 2 minutes (they will continue to cook while baking. Place browned cutlets on top of the red potato base in your dish.
8. Scatter your broccoli next across the dish along with the mushroom/onion mixture.
*Add 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes for a kick here if you wish.
9. Place remaining red potato slices over the dish on top of all the ingredients. (I threw several tbsp of Greek Yogurt in with this too, because I love it!)
10. Whisk water and cream of mushroom/chicken together and then pour evenly across the dish.
11. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Top with Parsley to garnish.redpotatocutlets3

Lasagna Soup

lasagnasoup1I’ve really, really been into soup lately. It’s easy, it smells delicious, and there is something about being able to let all your ingredients soak into each other for hours that just grabs my attention. We typically do a Sunday soup in the winter because I can start it at noon, and let it stew and come together slowly in the crockpot or Dutch oven. By the time I get home from errands and a trip to the gym, I can open the door and become immediately engulfed in the perfect pairing of stewed meat, garlic, and whatnots that have been nestling together all day. Boom!

Normally I would have attempted this recipe with Spicy Italian Sausage, but I still have a couple pounds of extra lean deer meat in our deep freeze, sold! I just can’t get enough of it, and I love adding it to soup or pasta dishes to switch things up a bit. Next time I’ll try the sausage, but it makes me nervous, this combination was so stinkin’ good I just can’t imagine it any other way right now. Even Brad was all about eating leftovers for several days…which NEVER, EVER, EVER happens.

Everyone knows I love homemade ricotta. I will ALWAYS recommend making your own, as long as you have the people in your house to eat it. Freshly made ricotta really doesn’t last more than about a week in your fridge, which is a shame, so it’s hard for me to finish a whole batch by myself (but making Ricotta Cheesecake with the leftovers is a great idea!). I really, really, dislike store bought ricotta. I tend to ‘give it a shot’ a couple times of year, and it’s just not appetizing. In fact I don’t think it tastes like anything, I always end up trying to doctor it up, or use it for texture in another dish. I guess that’s my personal punishment for making ricotta from scratch at home, it will just never compare to anything that comes from the store. If you ever make your own, you’ll notice a night and day difference between the smell, taste, and subtle sweet flavors, it’s bizarre.

This particular recipe combines the ricotta with grated/shredded cheese, so I didn’t mind as much purchasing the smallest container at the store I could find, since I’m not eating it solo. Really it’s about the texture here since the shredded cheese and salt/pepper mask the ‘twang’ the store bought ricotta has. I compare the ‘twang’ to leaving your tea bag in your cup for too long. It’s still drinkable, but it gets almost a little bitter….see what I mean, a ‘twang’. 🙂

*I used my Dutch oven for this round, but feel free to use your crockpot, set on the lowest setting possible. Also if you’re in a time crunch, you really only have to let it simmer for 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry to get dinner on the table.

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Adapted by A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Lasagna Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 ground pepper
1 lb. ground venison (hamburger or sausage will work as well)
1 cup of onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground oregano or 2 tsp of dried
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (cut this in half if you’re spicy sensitive)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes
3 bay leaves
8 cups water plus 10 tsp of beef bullion

2 cups Cavatelli Pasta, prepared (feel free to substitute another shaped pasta)

Ricotta Topping
I made this for two bowls of soup, so you can half it if you’re using it for a single bowl reheat.

4 Tbsp. of ricotta
4 Tbsp. of Italian Cheese blend (Mozzarella or Parmesan work great too)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Directions
1. In your Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add your venison. Cook until browned.
2. Add your onions and let cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. You want them to reduce in size by half.
3. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add tomato paste, make sure to mix very well, incorporating completely and cook for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and prepared water/bullion, stirring to combine.
6. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce heat to low. If you’re using a Dutch oven, cover with Dutch oven lid. Even on low this will simmer with the lid in place, simmer for 3-4 hours on low or until you’re ready to eat.

15 minutes before serving

7. Prepare you pasta al dente separately right before you’re ready to serve. By adding in the pasta separately the pasta stays firm instead of getting mushy from absorbing the soup liquid. While pasta is boiling, prepare your ricotta mixture.
8. Combine your ricotta, cheese, s/p. I used a fork to really smash it all together. The consistency should be enough to form it into a loose ball.
9. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
10. To serve, add 1/4 cup of prepared noodles into each bowl, ladle desire portion of soup, then split the ricotta topping between the two bowls. Garnish with fresh basil.

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

skilletcookie1Well here it is, the act before the grand finale’. Can I say that since this is dessert? Pssht, dessert should be first anyways. This is the warm up, post number 99! I have stressed way too much over these two posts, 99, and 100. It has been such an amazing adventure over these past 2 years and I want these to be wonderful and fun!  Number 99, a one dish dessert, dedicated to my husband, because these are his favorite things…ever. We basically have a stock in the ‘big cookie’ portion of the menu at Granite City and Old Chicago, we can’t get away without Brad ordering one (to stay or to go).
Last Christmas, I bought him a 6″ (mini) cast-iron pan for the sole purpose of making these cookies. I bought it for him…for me to use, is that like when a husband buys his wife a vacuum? At least this is something you can consume. Well in case you aren’t aware of what month it is…it’s October, the end of October, and we’re just now testing these out. Eghhh. Life distraction. Better late than never…because these are AWESOME! Even more so… he can make one of these on his own if I’m away.

If you aren’t overly familiar with using a cast-iron skillet…get familiar. It’s really more of a cooking tool than a pan. A great example is fried chicken. I’ve done countless, and I mean, countless test batches of shallow, pan fried chicken. I bought my larger 12″ cast-iron, dirt cheap (they can be upwards of $40, and I snagged one on sale for $13) and went home to immediately to start testing. This pan provides just that ‘extra something’ that makes chicken better (and everything else you cook in it). Fried Chicken is one of those dishes you always order out, because restaurants mysteriously make it better somehow. Well here you go, home-fix, boom! The breading becomes the precise amount of crisp without burning or over-greasing the chicken. I don’t get why, I really don’t, but the chicken seems so much more moist and flavorful as well.

Moral of the skillet story, using a cast-iron is a great way to change up your cookie. Well just as chicken is just that ‘extra’ bit of better in a skillet, a cookie, it’s just a little bit better in a skillet. Plus, giant cookies are awesome, and you don’t have to single portion them out and rotate 4-6 cycles thru the oven like you would baking a normal batch of cookies.skilletcookie3

Here it is, Cast-Iron Skillet Cookie , enjoy!

**Notes**

I used a 6″ pan, this will give you a very thick cookie, if you want a thin, crispy cookie, split the batter and make two separate cookies or just use a larger skillet to spread the dough into a thinner layer.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

4 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp packed light-brown sugar

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 large egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp milk

1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Mix your salt, flour, and baking soda very well with a fork

3. In a separate bowl, cream your sugars and butter together. Since I was doing just one 6″ pan I didn’t want to get out my mixer, I just whipped it with a fork until light and fluffy.

4. Add your egg and vanilla to the mixture until blended. Add the milk, mix gently for 10 seconds then add to the flour mixture.

5. Once you have everything combined thoroughly, stir in your chocolate chips then form in to the skillet.

6. Bake for about 35 minutes. If you notice the top getting too brown, just cover it with tin foil and finish baking.

Carrot Cupcakes

carrotcupcakes1So carrot cake is good, although I’m not expert, I feel like I can taste a good one from a bad one at least. The perfect combination of texture blend of shredded carrots and fluffy cake, paired with layered delight of light cream cheese frosting. That is carrot cake for me. It takes a little extra work, but it’s so delicious, and worth the extra time. Plus, I make it without butter (the cake not the frosting), do I need to consider a blog-name change? “NoButter Claire”?

One thing I love about these cupcakes is the balance of the cream cheese frosting with the cake. Also, stuffed cupcakes are easy, and don’t leave you with frosting all over your face. Bonus. (Have you ever done the inverted cupcake trick? You cut the cupcake in half horizontally and turn the top upside down giving you more of a cupcake sandwich) Stuffed cupcakes gives each bite the right amount of frosting without having to demolish your beautiful creation as well as making them easier to transport, not having to worry about messing up your frosting.

Carrot Cupcakes

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

1 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

3 cups grated carrots

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees, shred carrots in food processor. I bought shredded carrots, but also ground them up more.

2. Whisk together, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla, and eggs and beat until smooth.

3.Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mix well, then gently fold in the carrots.

4. Line your muffin tin with papers, I lately have been giving the papers a quick spritz of cooking spray so that they just fall out of the wrapper. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Start low, and just keep checking on them, the darkness of your pan will determine how long they need to bake.

Frosting

1 stick of butter: softened

1 package of cream cheese: softened

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp of vanilla

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp milk

1. Combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth

2. Add the rest of the ingredients until you get a fluffy consistency. Add small increments of milk as needed for a smooth texture.

3. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, I used a piping bag to fill the cupcakes with a small star tip. Push the tip 3/4 of the way into the cupcake (gently) and squeeze in frosting for about 2 seconds and slowly work your way up. Once you get to the top you can just leave a small pretty star dollop. You don’t need to cover the tops since all your amazing cream cheese frosting is hiding inside.carrotcupcakes2