Tag: party

Breakfast Enchiladas

I’ve been wanting to try this Breakfast Enchilada recipe for a while.  Your favorite fillings go inside the tortillas, which are then set in a mixture of eggs and cheese.  I really like breakfast casseroles, especially ones like this which you can make the night before, and then bake in the morning.

The original recipe included chopped peppers and ham, neither of which are on my list of favorite foods.  So I used onion, mushrooms, and spinach, and kept the dish vegetarian.  I also reduced the overall amount of cheese and traded in the half-and-half for skim milk to lighten things up a bit.

 

 

The end result was quite good, but I was thinking that it would be even better with some fresh tomatoes and sour cream on top.  Since I didn’t have any of that in the house, I paired an enchilada with some fresh fruit for a complete breakfast.  Keep this recipe in mind, especially if you’re having company for breakfast or brunch over the holidays.

 

 

 

Breakfast Enchiladas

1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 (8 oz.) package mushrooms, sliced
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 flour tortillas
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. skim milk
2 T flour
Salt and Pepper
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onions for 15-20 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.  Add mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are soft.  Stir in spinach and heat through.  Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly.  Place 1/2 c. filling in each tortilla, roll, and place seam side down in a 13″x9″ baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk, and flour, and season generously with salt and pepper.  Pour mixture over tortillas.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the dish.  Refrigerate overnight if desired.  Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes covered with foil.  Remove foil, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

-Adapted from Inspired Taste

Spicy Pumpkin Dip

As I mentioned yesterday, our supper club theme this month was ‘Pumpkin’.  By the time I RSVP’d, we already had a menu that included a soup, salad, two main dishes, and dessert.  So I decided to go for an appetizer, and found this recipe for Libyan Spicy Pumpkin DipA little research revealed that the dip is called cershi or tershi and was made by the Jewish community in Tripoli.  If you’re interested in learning more about the culture, there’s a whole movie about The Last Jews of Libya.

There are several versions of the recipe floating around the Internet, but they all call for pumpkin, garlic, and spices.  My dip came out a little spicier than I intended, but I really liked it.  It was good for scooping up with pita, and paired very nicely with a glass of white wine.  If there’s dip leftover, it would also make a great spread for a veggie wrap.  There’s no shortage of pumpkin this year, so pick up a can and give this recipe a try!

 

 

Spicy Pumpkin Dip

1 T olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 T minced garlic
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t curry
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 T tomato paste
2 T lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a frying pan.  Add onion and saute for 15-20 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.  Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add pumpkin, spices, and tomato paste, and stir to combine.  Add lemon juice, and stir again.  Cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until dip is heated through.

 

Baseball Cake

For my nephew’s 3rd birthday, the cake team decided to go with a sports theme.  Even though baseball season is winding down, we thought it would be fun to make a baseball cake.  The birthday boy actually got to help pick the flavor of the cake this year and he requested chocolate.  (Actually, he requested “grape cake” first, but I am pretty sure he was imagining a big platter of grapes and not a grape-flavored cake!)

My Mom baked the chocolate cake using the Hershey’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe.  We considered baking the cake in a Pyrex bowl so it would be a half sphere shape, but some Googling revealed that it can be difficult to make sure the center of the cake is adequately cooked without burning the edges.  So we baked two 8″ round cakes, and then used a simple butter and confectioner’s sugar frosting to ’round’ things out a bit.  We used red cookie icing to decorate the cake with the stitching and a “3”.

This may have been our simplest cake project yet, but it was still a great cake and we had fun making it.  And yes, the cake was served with fruit salad which included grapes.

 

 

 

Spicy Yogurt Dip

I bought a bag of baby carrots on sale last week.  They’re great for a quick, crunchy snack and travel well.  But I was getting a little bored of the carrots before the pound was gone.  So I borrowed a trick from my nephews and decided it would be a lot more fun to dip them.

I was inspired by this recipe which suggests toasting the spices prior to mixing them in the yogurt.  After just a minute in the frying pan, the spices were very fragrant which was a nice touch.  The dip is both spicy and delicious!  It was great with carrots, but you could also dip other vegetables or even pita bread.  I would use Greek yogurt next time to make it thicker, but otherwise wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

Spicy Yogurt Dip

1 t coriander
1 t paprika
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t chili powder
2 dashes of cayenne
1 T lime juice
1 c. plain nonfat yogurt, regular or Greek style

Mix spices in a bowl, and place in a small preheated frying pan.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, and then remove from pan.  Mix toasted spices, lime juice, and yogurt in a small bowl.

 

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

Quiche is great because it is so versatile.  You can eat it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.  It travels well, and can be enjoyed warmed or cold.  You can pair it with soup, salad, or fruit, or all three if you’re serving it to company.  So I was pretty excited when my friend and blog reader Sarah sent me this recipe for Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda quiche along with her notes on the recipe.  Smoked Gouda is one of my very favorite cheeses, but I hardly ever have a good reason to buy it.

I made a few tweaks to the recipe based on Sarah’s feedback and what I had on hand.  First, I decided to use a Vidalia instead of green onions since the big sweet onions were on sale this week.  I also used a bit more cheese than the recipe recommended because I just couldn’t resist.  Sarah said her crust came together pretty easily, but I admit that I struggled a bit.  The mixture just seemed too crumbly at first, so I added a few extra drops of milk.  When it came time to roll the dough into a circle, I ended up with an slightly crooked oval.  I am by no means an expert at making dough, but I do know you can’t rush the process.  Take your time with each step, especially rolling it out, and remember that no one really cares what the crust looks like.  Here’s my ugly crust for all the Internet to see!

 

 

When it comes time to bake the final product, you also need to be patient.  The original recipe quotes 35 minutes; mine took around 45 minutes, and Sarah said hers took closer to 60 minutes.  But this quiche is well worth the wait!  I had a piece straight out of the oven, and loved the combination of flavors.  If you buy a bag of fresh spinach for the recipe, you’ll have some extra for a salad to accompany the quiche.  If you tackle this project on a weekend afternoon, you will have a gourmet dinner by evening.

 

 

 

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

6 T butter, softened
2 T nonfat milk, plus more if needed
1/4 t salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 c. flour
1 T canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced thinly
3 c. fresh spinach
1 c. nonfat milk
1 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 t black pepper
3 eggs

Place butter in a mixing bowl, and beat until fluffy.  Combine 2 T milk, salt, and egg yolk in small bowl and whisk well.  Incorporate milk mixture into butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Add flour, and beat just until combined.  Add more milk if mixture seems too crumbly.  Press dough into a small disk in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.

Remove dough from refrigerator.  Roll out dough on a floured surface into a circle.  Place dough in a 9″-10″ pie plate.  (My Pyrex dish is somewhere between 9 1/2″ – 10″.)  Freeze for 15 minutes.  Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, until lightly brown.  Allow to cool.

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add sliced onions, and saute until tender and lightly brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Add spinach, and saute for 5 more minutes.  Meanwhile, combine milk, cheese, black pepper, and eggs in a large bowl.  Add onion/spinach mixture to bowl.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Bake at 350F for 45-55 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

Crockpot Baked Beans with Bacon

My favorite recipe for Baked Beans is a vegetarian one, but we were at a family party a few weeks ago and had an amazing version with bacon.  My Mom tracked down the details, and it turns out to be an old family recipe.  I hate to tinker with tradition but the original recipe used a pound of real bacon and I was convinced that you could get the same smoky flavor with much less.  I also wanted to convert it to a crockpot recipe since oven space is a precious commodity when you are cooking for a crowd.

This recipe was easy to put together, and makes a lot of baked beans.  Good thing we had that much, because they turned out to be quite a hit at the party.  In fact, there was only a large spoonful left at the end of the night.  I like using a mix of beans, but you can use whatever you happen to have on hand.  I am not ready for summer to be over, but if you must have an ‘end of summer’ BBQ, you might want to give these a try.

 

 

 

Crockpot Baked Beans with Bacon

12 oz. turkey bacon, such as Oscar Mayer
2 (15 oz.) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (26 oz.) jar pasta sauce
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

Cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy.  Cool slightly and crumble.  Add crumbled bacon, beans, and sauce to the crockpot and stir well.  Cook on High for 3-4 hours, then turn to Low until ready to serve.

The Great Train Cake

I feel like my blog has been one big party this summer!  We’ll get back to “regular meals” by the end of the week, I promise.  But first, I have to share the story of The Great Train Cake.

The bar for first birthday cakes was set pretty high back with these Monkey Cakes of 2010.  But of course we had to do something different for my youngest nephew.  I am not sure who came up with the idea for a train cake first, but the project was planned with many Google searches, Pinterest surfing, sketches, and long lists on legal sized paper.  But all the details aside, we had a lot of fun.  Hop aboard for the full story, or scroll to the bottom just to see an adorable baby toddler eating cake.

 

 

The Baking

My Mom used Smitten Kitchen’s Best Yellow Layer Cake recipe, and multiplied it by 1.5 to yield a 13″x9″ cake and a 9″x5″ loaf pan.  She baked another 13″x9″ cake using Hershey’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe.  She used one half of Smitten Kitchen’s Two Layer Banana Cake recipe to yield another 9″x5″ loaf pan.  You might be thinking that 1) that’s a lot of math; 2) that’s a lot of baking; and 3) why did they need 3 different types of cake?  My Dad helped a bit with the math, my Mom did the baking over the course of 2 days and stored the layers in the freezer, and yes, we’re a little crazy and wanted some variety in the flavors.

The Decorating

First, we started with a cake board.  It’s important to have a sturdy surface, especially since the cake must be stored in the refrigerator.  We placed the 13″x9″ cakes side by side to form the base layer.  The majority of the cake was frosted with Smitten Kitchen’s Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, but we used canned chocolate frosting for the engine.  We colored the vanilla frosting in small bowls as we went along.

We coated the top and sides of the base layer with the vanilla frosting, and then piped on chocolate icing for the train tracks. The loaf pan of banana cake was cut to form an engine, using this Betty Crocker video as a guide.  The loaf pan of vanilla cake was cut into thirds, to form 3 train cars.  You’ll notice that only 2 of those train cars fit on the cake; sadly, one car had to be left behind in the station.

 

 

My Mom’s kitchen looked like a scene out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  We had a lot of different ideas on what to use for wheels and other train decor.  In the end, we used generic chocolate sandwich cookies for wheels.  We used Twizzlers to outline the top of the train car.  Other candy we used includes M&M’s, Junior Mints, and peach rings.

 

It was a hot August night, and the frosting was melting, so we put it in the refrigerator at this point.  It just fit.  The next day, we did some touch-up work with frosting, and added a “1”.

 

 

The Serving

Finally, it was time to bring out the cake and serve it.  We all sang “Happy Birthday” and he got some help blowing out the candle.  Note that my sister removed the pieces of candy which could be a choking hazard before placing the engine in front of him.

 

All he wanted to do was stick his fingers in the frosting, which he decided he liked.  I am not sure he even got to any cake!

 

The cake project was a lot of fun, and we’ll remember it for a long time!