Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meatless Wonders

Ever since I started going back to school, I find that I don't have time to cook like I normally like to and I am constantly looking for recipes that would allow me to cook dinner pretty quickly.  This week, I created one myself and the other one I got from this month's Food Network magazine.  Both turned out to be pretty good and fairly easy to make.  The interesting thing is, neither of them have meat in them.  The bonus is, no meat = less money to spend, too.  Hubs was a fan of both meals but his favorite was the one I made tonight.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli/Cauliflower Rice Casserole

This is the recipe I created out of stuff I had on hand

1 head broccoli, cut up and blanched
1 head cauliflower, cut up and blanched
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese, divided into 2 separate cups
parmesan cheese (the kind that comes in a shaker can)
3 C. rice, already cooked
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 bag of croutons, (I used Texas Toast ones)
2 C. milk
4 TBSP flour
4 TBSP butter
1 TBSP garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
herb-flavored olive oil, or plain if you can't find it.  (I used Wegman's basting oil)
1/2 tsp. coarse cracked black pepper
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Blanch vegetables and set aside to drain.  After draining, oil a cookie sheet with the flavored oil and spread the veggies out onto the sheet, tossing to coat with the oil.  Drizzle more oil on top of the veggies.  Roast veggies in the oven until they are slightly browned, usually about 30 minutes or so.  When they are browned, take them out of the oven and sprinkle them with the parmesan cheese.  Set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter, then add minced garlic and diced onions and cook until soft.  Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes until flour starts to brown.  Then add in the cream of chicken soup, then slowly stir in the milk.  Add one cup of the cheese, then sprinkle with the pepper and some parmesan cheese.  Mix together until cheese starts blending in.   Bring to a gentle boil, then immediately lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes with a lid on the pan.  Taste the sauce and add salt if needed.

Grease a baking dish.  Spread out the rice on the bottom of the pan.  Top with the veggies and then pour the bechamel (cheese) sauce all over.  Sprinkle liberally with the croutons, then evenly sprinkle the remaining cup of cheddar cheese on top and sprinkle some more parmesan cheese on top as well. 

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted, then remove from oven.  Let sit for more than 5 minutes so you don't burn the crap out of yourself.  Serves 6-8 people.  Makes great leftovers.

Eggy Delight

This is the recipe from Food Network magazine.  It was this month's "Name that Dish" recipe.  Basically, they create a recipe, then ask readers to send in suggestions on what they think would be a great name for the recipe.  I didn't really feel like spending the time to come up with a name, so when Hubs asked me what was for dinner last week (the first time I made this dish) I replied, "Eggy Delight."  (I had just finished re-reading Julia Child's first cookbook).  To my surprise, the name stuck, because Hubs has been requesting "Eggy Delight" for this week's menu since I last made it!  So, THIS was tonight's meal.

1 pkg. puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm brand, with two sheets of puff pastry)
8 eggs
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
16 strips of bacon, fried until crispy, then cool and crumble the bacon with a paper towel
Hollandaise sauce, or if you're lazy like me, 1 pkg. pre-made Hollandaise sauce, prepared and kept warm
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease two cookie sheets.  Take out puff pastry and unfold, spreading 1 sheet out on a cutting board dusted with a little flour.  Cut each sheet into 4 equal squares.  Take each square in your hands and start shaping it like a pizza.  When each square is now a circle, lay it on the cookie sheet and prick each square in the middle a few times with a fork.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Take out of the oven and let cool slightly.  After a few minutes, sprinkle some of the cheddar cheese over each puff pastry circle and top with some of the crumbled fried bacon.  Crack an egg over each circle and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Bake 8-10 more minutes or until egg whites are completely set.  (This makes the eggs the consistency of the eggs in Eggs Benedict, bake longer if you like your eggs more cooked and less runny).  After you have cooked the eggs to your liking, remove the cookie sheets from the oven, and let cool for just a few seconds before using a metal spatula to remove the circles from the cookie sheets.  Put each circle on a plate and top with the Hollandaise sauce.  So delicious!  A great "Breakfast for Supper" recipe.  Here is a picture of the meal I made tonight:

Please forgive the "dirty" cookie sheet--it's actually a Pampered Chef pizza stone so they tend to get stained.
I hope you enjoy these delicious recipes as much as my family did.  Oh, and by the way, we used duck eggs from our very own girls for the "Eggy Delight" and they were very good.

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