Grown-Up BLT

Grown-Up BLT Sometimes something is so gosh darn good that the only thing that comes to mind is “YUM!”. This is one such case. I mean not to brag or anything, but do you see this BLT?! Do you see it?! The amount of deliciousness piled onto that fluffy bread is something that I can’t even comprehend. 

BLTs bring back memories of summer picnics in the park and simple summer suppers on my Grandmother’s back porch. They’ve always been a favorite of mine. While nothing will ever beat a classic, I couldn’t resist the chance to fancy up this childhood favorite with swiss chard in place of lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes in place of regular tomatoes, and bacon…in place of bacon (because obviously bacon is something that should never be replaced). So here’s to you “new-adult BLT”, you are welcome in my kitchen and on my plate anytime you want!

BLT BLT with egg and avocado swiss chard Fancy BLT Jazzed up BLT

Grown-Up BLT
An adult version of the classic BLT
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Bread
  2. Avocado (very ripe)
  3. Goat Cheese (slightly softened)
  4. Sun-dried Tomatoes
  5. Bacon, cooked until crispy
  6. Swiss Chard
  7. Eggs (cooked over-easy)
Instructions
  1. Spread one half of an avocado onto a piece of bread. Next spread on the goat cheese (I used about 1 tablespoon). Top that with about 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes. After that layer on a piece of swiss chard and a couple of slices of bacon. Finish of your BLT with an egg. Serve immediately.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

stuffed artichoke recipes Over the weekend, while we were visiting my father-in-law in CT, we had these amazing stuffed artichokes that were filled with garlicky goodness and surrounded by a tomato sauce, instead of the typical oil or butter. Since I had some artichokes on hand, I decided I needed to recreate these by adding a few twists to my usual recipe. The results were just as good as the original, but better, because isn’t everything homemade better?!

FYI, these guys do come with a warning label: eat one of these and no human, animal, alien, ghost, or zombie will come within 300 yards of you for at least 24 hours. You see, there are 15, yes 15, cloves of garlic in these (how Italian of me). So basically, if you’re looking to play hooky, get rid of an unwanted ghost, or avoid a family reunion, you simply have to make a batch of these. It’s almost easier than making up a believable excuse…

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Italian Stuffed Artichokes
Yields 4
An Italian style stuffed artichoke recipe
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 artichokes
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  4. 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style)
  5. 15 cloves of garlic
  6. 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for the top
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. 1 28 oz. jar crushed tomatoes (I used ones w/salt & basil added)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Clean and prepare your artichoke hearts. Peel back the leaves until it looks like an open flower blossom. Then remove the inner petals with the purple tops, by gently pulling them out. Next, scoop out the fuzzy pieces, making sure not to take the heart of the artichoke which is underneath (I found it easiest to use a grapefruit spoon for this step). Finally give the artichoke a rinse under water, shake it out, then squeeze a little lemon juice on the center to keep it from turning.
  3. In the bowl of a cuisinart, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse for a few seconds. Add in the olive oil and about a 2 inch piece of lemon (skin and all) and continue pulsing until everything is well combined (the mixture should be slightly sticky).
  4. In a glass 13x9 baking dish lay out your artichokes, keeping them upright as much as possible. Fill them with the stuffing, putting about 1/2 cup in each.
  5. Pour the tomatoes around the sides of the artichokes then cover the pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, sprinkle on some extra cheese (if desired), and continue baking, foil removed, for about 10 more minutes.
  6. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. This goes well with a salad, and make sure you have some fresh bread to soak up the leftover sauce and filling.
Notes
  1. You can also use tomato sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes, and if you can only find whole tomatoes, simply puree them in the cuisinart for a few seconds before pouring them on top of the artichokes.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Kitchen Necessities

 

Reuben Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

reuben loaded sweet potato fries I realize that St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday. I also realize I don’t have an ounce of Irish in me so my obsessiveness with celebrating this holiday might be a bit over-the-top. Then again, what holiday am I not over-the-top about? Ok, well maybe not Have a Party with Your Bear Day because that just sounds like a disaster for any humans involved, but every other one, I’m there.

Of course, often times, my favorite part of a holiday is the leftovers. Think about it…ham and cheese biscuits after Easter, turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving, reubens after St. patrick’s day….I mean, am I right or am I right? This year though, I decided to switch things up a bit with our corned beef leftovers. Instead of our usual reuben sandwiches, I took all those delicious fixins’ and placed them on top of some crispy homemade sweet potato fries (because obviously the goal here was to see how unhealthy we could possibly be in one sitting). Let’s just say the reuben sandwich may be permanently displaced…. reuben loaded sweet potato fries reuben ingredients reuben fries reuben fries

Reuben Loaded Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4
All the fillings of a reuben sandwich served up on top of sweet potato fries
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
  2. Olive oil
  3. Salt & pepper
  4. 1 cup coleslaw (1 cup chopped cabbage, 1 tbsp mayo, dash of salt, splash of vinegar & sriracha)
  5. 1 cup corn beef, chopped
  6. 3 tablespoons thousand island dressing (I use homemade dressing, see notes)
  7. 4 large slices of swiss Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then place the potato strips in a single layer on top. Sprinkle with olive oil (about 2 teaspoons), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and brown on the outside and soft on the inside.
  2. While the potatoes bake, prep the remaining ingredients. Chop the corn beef, mix the coleslaw, and make the dressing (if you are using homemade).
  3. Once the potatoes are done, leave them on the baking sheet and top them with the reuben ingredients. First put on the coleslaw, then the meat, drizzle with the dressing and finish with the cheese.
  4. Put it back in the oven, at a reduced temp of 350 degrees, and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Eat these as an appetizer, or serve the fries along with a salad as a main meal.
Notes
  1. This recipe is easily halved or doubled, and feel free to eliminate any ingredient you might not like (such as coleslaw) or double up on ingredients you love (such as the cheese). The amounts of each ingredient used are completely up to you.
  2. Instead of fries as the base, use tater tots, or use corn chips for reuben nachos.
  3. Since corn beef can have a lot of fat, I like to toss it in a skillet over medium heat and sauté it for a few minutes to cook some of the fat off. However, this is not a necessary step.
  4. Thousand Island dressing is one of the easiest to make. If you'd like to use a homemade version for this recipe simply mix 4 tbsp. mayo, 1 tbsp. ketchup, 1 tbsp. relish, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, a dash of tabasco sauce, a dash of salt, and 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion together in a small bowl. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Kitchen Necessities 

3×3 Food-Veggie Burgers

veggie burgers I think I may have been drooling all over my keyboard while writing this post. I mean, have you ever seen so many good-looking veggies, er should I say veggie burgers?! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE vegetables and we eat them every day, but sometimes they just aren’t the most appetizing things to eat. In fact when I was making our dinner menu for the month, I thought I’d have to work extra hard to plan some delicious meatless meals for Fridays (due to Lent), but to my surprise we actually eat mostly vegetarian meals as it is. Despite our menu being all “vegged out”, veggie burgers were nowhere to be found. So needless to say I was a little overly excited for this month’s 3×3 food post. Whether it’s for Meatless Mondays or No-Meat Lenten Fridays, Luci’s sweet potato veggie burgers (because we all know my obsession with sriracha can’t be stopped), Grace’s bulgur quinoa burgers (because I can’t get enough quinoa in my life) and my mediterranean mushroom burgers (lemon aioli, feta cheese, phyllo dough “bun”? Yes, yes & yes!) are sure to be on heavy rotation. Hop on over to Luci’s blog and Grace’s blog to get their recipes and continue scrolling down for mine.

Are you a fan of veggie burgers? If so, what is your favorite kind?

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Mediterranean Mushroom Burgers
Serves 2
A portabella "burger" topped with mediterranean flavors and served on a phyllo "bun"
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Burgers
  1. 2 large portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and dried
  2. Salt & pepper
  3. Olive oil
  4. Balsamic vinegar
Parsley Pesto
  1. 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  2. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  3. Juice of half a lemon
  4. 1 clove of garlic
  5. Dash of salt & pepper
Lemon Aioli
  1. 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1/2 a tablespoon of fresh dill, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons of feta cheese, crumbled
Phyllo Buns
  1. Phyllo dough, unthawed
  2. Melted butter
Toppings
  1. Feta
  2. Dill
  3. Grilled pepper strips
Instructions
  1. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I did about 3-4 tablespoons of each) along with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate for 3 hours up to 3 days.
  2. When you are ready to eat the burgers, first make the sauces. For the parsley pesto, mix all the ingredients in an immersion blender or cuisinart and puree until smooth and well-blended.
  3. For the aioli, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill together in a small bowl. Stir in the feta crumbles.
  4. To make the buns, carefully cut at least 10 sheets of phyllo dough to a size a little bigger than the mushroom cap. I cut mine about 1/3 of the way down the sheet, then cut that in half. Feel free to make it as big as you would like and as thick as you would like. Start stacking the phyllo squares on a foil lined baking sheet. In between every couple layers, brush on some melted butter. Finish the top off with melted butter, as well. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-12 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
  5. While the "buns" are cooking, place a non-stick or well-oiled grill pan (a regular skillet will work too) over medium heat. Cook the mushrooms on each side for 3-5 minutes.
  6. To assemble your burgers, first place a "bun" on your serving dish. Next spread on about 1 tablespoon of the pesto. Top that with your mushroom patty, the sautéed peppers (if you like), a dollop of the aoili, and garnish with a little dill and some more feta crumbles. Serve immediately.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Kitchen Necessities

Potato Tofu Scramble

potato tofu scramble Food has always been about more than just the dishes being served or the flavors that I’m tasting. Food to me is about a story. A recipe handed down from so-and-so, a special cake made for every birthday, an ingredient reminiscent of a vacation. Many of the recipes I cook or the memories I share have to do with food (with my Italian heritage this should surprise no one), and this recipe is no different.

When I was younger, we rarely ate out, so it was pretty memorable when we did. One place in particular, the 3 Sisters Cafe, was a restaurant in a house that was situated next to our health food store. I remember eating breakfast there on several occasions, I remember the food was delicious, but I don’t ever remember what I ate. Except for these potatoes. These I got every.single.time. They were nutritious and healthy (parental-approved) but also cheesy and delicious (child-approved). I haven’t been to that restaurant in years, but that hasn’t stopped me from eating these powerhouse potatoes as a side with my eggs, as my lunch with a salad, or for dinner along with some fish or a steak. After all, when it comes to recipes, it just doesn’t get better than one that is easy, healthy, delicious, customizable, and versatile.

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Potato Tofu Scramble
Serves 4
A simple, but healthy and nutritious, potato dish that packs a powerful punch for brunch, as a side dish, or for a main meal
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 large potatoes, cut into cubes (and peeled, if you prefer)
  2. 7 ounces tofu
  3. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  4. 1 1/3 cups salsa
  5. 1/2 cup cheese (cheddar, feta, or goat's cheese are all good)
  6. A large handful of fresh parsley (about 1/3 cup)
  7. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, add your potatoes and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender enough to be pricked with a knife/fork, but not falling apart. Drain the water and give the potatoes a rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the tofu and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the salsa and at least half the parsley (more or less depending on your taste preferences). Stir to combine everything and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Scoop into serving bowls and top with a sprinkling of cheese and a little more parsley.
  4. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. Serve as a side at brunch (goes well with eggs) or as a side dish with a main meal. Also makes a great lunch or light dinner served along with a salad.
  2. This dish is highly customizable. You can use regular potatoes, red skin potatoes, or even sweet potatoes (also, this is a great way to use up leftover baked potatoes). Use a corn salsa or salsa verde in place of the regular salsa. Add in some olives, mushrooms, or peppers. Replace the parsley with cilantro, dill or basil, and feel free to top the whole thing off with a little ketchup or sriracha. The possibilities are endless.
Adapted from Three Sisters Cafe
Adapted from Three Sisters Cafe
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/