2 cups broccoli florets (finely chopped)
1/2 yellow onion (finely chopped)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 TBSP honey
1/2 bulb roasted garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 cup medium cheddar cheese (shredded or 1/2″ cubed)
2 TBSP baking soda
1 cup hot water
salt & pepper
Why is it called pretzel bread you ask? Well, after an at-home pretzel-making adventure went terribly awry, I decided to adapt a standard (no yeast) pretzel recipe and made this bread instead. Who doesn’t like broccoli and cheese together? Could you imagine this bread side-by-side with broccoli cheese soup? Holy broccoli cheesy amazing-ness overload Batman!
Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Next, place the broccoli and onion in a medium-sized pan., drizzle with some olive oil and cook on medium-high heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and set aside to cool.
For the dough, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Then, add the buttermilk, honey, and stir until a soft dough forms. Take dough out of the mixing bowl and knead on a floured surface until it becomes firm, about 2-3 minutes. Fold in the broccoli mixture, garlic, and cheese. Knead the bread for another minute to help combine, adding a bit more flour if necessary.
Place the dough on a prepared baking tray and form into a loaf (mine was about 12″ long and 3″ high). With a knife, make six diagonal slices across the top of the loaf. Dissolve remaining baking soda in a cup of hot water and using a pastry brush (or hands in-lieu) cover the loaf in the solution.
Finally, top the loaf with some coarse salt and ground black pepper, pop into your preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Broccoli & Cheddar Pretzel Bread. My life is complete.
Yields 1 loaf
Total cook time…1 hour
8 strips bacon (chopped, 1″ pieces)
1 yellow onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup beer (preferably Steam Whistle Pilsner)
2 1/2 cups homogenized milk
1 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
1 cup romano cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup smoked gouda (shredded)
2 TSP chili powder
2 TSP hot sauce
1 TBSP chipotle paste
salt and pepper
5 cups macaroni pasta (cooked)
baked with bread crumb topping… (optional)
1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 cup bread crumbs
Sometimes, even a food blogger can have a bit too much to drink. A few too many beers at karaoke, over-indulging in martinis, birthday celebrations… Yes, it does/can happen. Waking up the morning after is never all that pleasant. Let’s assume that the cooking breakfast ‘deadline’ has passed. Now, what to do? Nothing helps soothe a sore head more than some greasy, cheesy food. This recipe calls for one cup of beer because, if you’re anything like me, there’s still a half-full bottle on your counter…
Place the chopped bacon into a large pan. Cook on medium-high heat until the bacon starts to crisp up, about 6-8 minutes. Then, add-in the onion and garlic. Stir, and cook until the onions soften. Now, pour in the cup of beer. Once the mixture starts to simmer, reduce to low heat, and let bubble away for 10 minutes.
Once the beer and co. mixture has thickened, you can add all remaining sauce ingredients, aside from the cooked pasta (also preheat your oven to low broil if you’re going to bake the pasta). Turn up to medium heat and stir regularly until the cheese has melted completely, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is a bit thin, add some corn starch to thicken it up.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan and gently stir until the macaroni is completely covered in the sauce. Dish out and let the healing cheese and bacon work their magic.
*If you’re not too hurtin’ to bake the pasta, place the combined macaroni and sauce into a prepared 8″ square baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and mozzarella cheese evenly over the top of the pasta and bake until the cheese is bubbly and starting to turn golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.*
Total cook time… 25 minutes (35 minutes if baked!)
6 yellow onions
3 cloves garlic
1 cup dry red wine
5 cups beef stock (or veggie if you’re a vegetarian)
1 TSP rosemary
1 TSP chili powder
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 sour dough baguette
2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
salt & pepper
I love French onion soup. Love. Love. Love. Hot broth, caramelized onions, tons of cheese…mmm…How can one go wrong? So, let’s fancy this basic recipe up a bit, and nothing quite says ‘fancy’ like pouring in some wine. Am I right, or am I right? This is a nice, rich soup with a bit of a kick. Let’s do it!
The first step will be to slice your onions. Now, we don’t want little tiny pieces of onion for this soup. Rather, halve the onions then make 1/4″ slices from tip to tip. It’s going to seem like a lot of onions, but don’t worry, they’ll cook down, and really…this is onion soup after all…Oh yeah, mince the garlic cloves too! Put both into a medium-sized pot with some olive oil and turn to medium-high heat. Stirring regularly, let the onions cook down until they are approximately 1/4 of their original size and are starting to turn a golden colour, approximately 10-12 minutes. At this point, add the cup of wine. Once the pot begins to bubble, reduce to medium heat and let the mixture simmer until it has reduced by half, about 6-8 minutes.
Now, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Next, add the stock, rosemary, chili powder, and balsamic vinegar to the pot. Give the soup a good stir and let simmer for another 15 minutes. While the soup is simmering, slice your baguette (1″ slices), drizzle with some olive oil and toast in the oven for 10 minutes to make some quick crostini. Take the cheeses and toss together until evenly mixed. Once the bread has crisped up, the soup should be ready to go as well!
Assembly time! Ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls, place enough crostini on top of each soup (enough to cover), and place a generous amount of shredded cheese onto all as the final layer. Pop the bowls onto a large baking tray and into the oven for 8 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.
Dish out, then enjoy the hot soup and gooey cheese, but please remind your guests that the bowls are hot. That’s my disclaimer…now you can’t sue me…
Total cook time…45 min
6 strips bacon
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP unsalted butter
8 asparagus spears
3 large parsnips
3 large carrots
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh parsley
salt & pepper
For those picky vegetable eaters in our lives…I am dedicating this recipe to my best friend’s son, Owen, who has been known to dislike his vegetables at times. Transforming vegetables into a brightly coloured ‘pasta’ is a sure-fire way to guarantee a kid’s dinner enjoyment…and consumption! Doesn’t it kind of remind you of Sesame Street? Grown-up note: If you want to keep it a little less colourful, and more fancy, just use an additional 3 parsnips instead of carrots for a more elegant-looking dish.
Chop the bacon strips into 1″ pieces and place into a medium-sized pan on medium-high heat. Let them cook for about 3 minutes, turning over once. During the wait, chop the shallots and mince the garlic, then add to the pan once the bacon has started to brown. Turn down to medium heat and let the mixture cook for another 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Cut the asparagus spears into thirds and add to the pan, along with the butter. Allow the mixture to cook for another 6-8 minutes, stirring intermittently until the asparagus is cooked through. Remove from heat.
Now, set a medium-sized pot 2/3s full of salted water on the stove to come to boil. While you’re waiting, you need to go 2 things:
1. Whisk together the cream, cheese, egg yolks, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and a good helping of ground black pepper in a bowl. This is going to be your sauce. Set aside. (note: emphasis on the FRESH parmesan! Any other store-bought type will not melt as well, and you will be disappointed!)
2. Using a vegetable peeler peel each carrot and parsnip into strips. The larger vegetables you use, the longer (obviously) and ‘noodle-y’ the strips will look like! Peel into a large bowl. You won’t be able to get quite down to the core, so reserve any leftover bits for soups/salads/whatever you feel like cooking tomorrow.
Now that you water is boiling, add-in the carrot and parsnip ‘noodles’. Using tongs, make sure every last strip is fully submerged. Leave them in the boiling water for no longer than 2 minutes, strain, and place back into the pot. Pour the still-warm bacon mixture on top, stir, and then add your sauce, stirring repeatedly until the cheese melts, helping the sauce to thicken.
Portion out onto pasta plates and enjoy! Feel free to add a bit more parmesan on top. After all, cheese does make the world go ’round.
Total cook time…25 min
1 large sweet potato
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TSP white sugar
1 TSP oregano
1 TSP thyme
salt & pepper
Typically made with eggplant, this is my twist on a classic Italian dish. Nothing says: ‘ultra delicious side dish’ like a bread crumb coating, marinara sauce, and lots of cheese. This is the kind of thing you can serve to a self-proclaimed ‘sweet potato hater’ and still receive rave reviews, I promise!
First off we’re going to make the sauce. So, chop up the onion, dice the tomatoes, and mince the garlic. Place the onion and garlic into a large-sized pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, turn to medium-high heat. Once the onions have softened, add-in the tomatoes, stir, and turn to medium heat. Let the tomatoes cook for 5 minutes, then add 1 cup of water and the balsamic vinegar. Once the mixture starts to bubble, add the oregano, thyme, and sugar. Stir again and let simmer for 10 more minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool down for a few minutes. Place the mixture in a blender or food processor with the fresh basil and puree until smooth. Set aside for now.
Now preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and let’s get onto the sweet potato component: Peel, then cut the sweet potato into 1/2″ medallions. We are going to fry these quickly to get a nice crispy coating on them, so we’ll need to set up a breading station here…3 bowls…
1. Flour 2. Eggs 3. Bread crumbs
Procedure: Lightly cover a medallion in flour, dip it in the egg, and, finally, give it a good coating of bread crumbs. Once you have several completed, start crisping them up! Add some canola oil to a large-sized pan and turn to high heat. Once it’s nice and hot (a pinch of flour is a good test) place in a few pieces of the sweet potato. Let cook until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes, then flip to the other side. Once they’re nice and crisp on both sides remove from heat onto a plate with some paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Repeat process until all of your sweet potato medallions have a beautiful golden brown coating.
Putting it all together: Somewhat similar to lasagna layering, spoon some sauce into the bottom of a prepared medium-sized baking dish. Next, make a layer of sweet potato followed by more sauce, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and repeat…Once you’ve finished layering cap it off with any remaining sauce, the mozzarella, and leftover bread crumbs for the perfect cheesy topping!
Bake, uncovered, in your preheated oven for 40 minutes, then take out and enjoy! Seconds may be requested…
Total cook time…1 hour 10 min
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (Canadian Beef)
1 yellow onions
1/2 bulb roasted garlic
3 cups baby spinach
2 cups grated romano cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TSP chili powder
1 TBSP dried oregano
salt & pepper
One of the top 3 reasons why I could never be a vegetarian (preceded by bacon and, of course, steak), this is not your typical meat loaf. This twist on a simple classic is guaranteed to impress, and definitely deserving of a title inspired by (and slightly borrowed from) a popular television show. Think of it as a little piece on Neil Patrick Harris on your plate. NOT literally though, ok…
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While that’s heating up, chop the onion and saute with some olive oil and salt & pepper until caramelized. Once they’re looking nice and golden, add-in the chopped spinach. Fold in and wait until the leaves wilt, about a minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Now for the bulk of the dish…Start by mincing the roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, then place in a large bowl. Add the beef, egg, bread crumbs, dry spices, and wet ingredients. Mix ingredients together by hand until everything is combined.
In a prepared large-sized loaf pan, fill 1/2 way with the meat mixture. Now, spread the spinach & onion mixture evenly across the pan, and sprinkle the romano cheese on top. Lastly, take the remainder of the mixture and finish filling the pan. Pop into your preheated oven for 40 minutes! Wait patiently!
Need a side? Try one of these…
Total cook time…50 min
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