What have I got to work with Part 2.

Well if you enjoyed Part 1 of this post you will love the convenience and sheer flavor of Part 2!  This is what makes cooking so much fun. You can go complicated and elegant or week night easy. This is definitely week night easy and so flavorful. Let me know what you think.

Ingredients: – Makes 4 sandwiches

-1 box of Pepperidge Farms Texas Toast 5 cheese

-6 to 8 slices of cooked bacon

-1 tbs butter

-4 slices of pepper jack cheese

-1/2 caramelized onion rings

-Waffle maker

That’s it!

Instructions:

-Slice your onion into thin slices and caramelize in butter (this takes about 15 minutes)

-Cook up your bacon (I do mine in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes)

-Butter 6 slices of the texas toast (un cheesed side)

-Preheat your waffle maker and spray with Pam

-Lay 2 slices of your texas toast – butter side down- on waffle maker. Top with the slices of pepper jack cheese, onions and bacon and top with your 2nd slice of texas toast but this time put the buttered side face up

-close the waffle maker and heat for about 4 minutes

-slice, eat, enjoy!

 

What have I got to work with Part 1?

When my girls were growing up, I was working full time. With a full time job, my husband starting his own business, homework and activities – I did not have the luxury of experimenting with recipes like I do now.  Dinner time was using whatever I had on hand, getting food on the table and having family time. In fact, that very idea is what lead to the name of my business, “Wren’s Cooking With A Twist”.  Sometimes you have to take what you have on hand and give it a “twist”.  This post is intended to inspire you to think outside the box. It is a 2 part post using ingredients I had on hand this week.  Enjoy.

I did not have time to make my own Broccoli Cheddar soup from scratch this week but……. I did have a container of Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar soup (which I love!). I had some veggies in the fridge I needed to use up so that is how I came up with this recipe – which by the way is SOUPTASTIC!

Ingredients:

-1 container of Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

-4 baby sweet bell peppers (orange, red, yellow) diced

-1/2 can of leftover corn

-1/2 cup cheddar OR pepperjack

-1/2 bag of leftover frozen brocccoli

-salt, pepper

-1 tsp of leftover rosemary and thyme finely chopped

-1/4 cup white wine

-I had about 1/4 to 1/2 cup leftover diced ham, simply potatoes diced potatoes and chicken broth

Instructions:

-Heat the Panera Bread soup in a large pot on low

-Boil the broccoli for 3 minutes and set aside

-In a skillet using 1/2 Tsp of olive oil and 1/2 Tsp of butter, saute the peppers.

-Turn the soup up to medium and add the peppers, broccoli, wine, herbs, whipping cream,cheese, ham, potatoes, chicken broth  and corn .

-Serve immediately. BAM! I promise you will make this many times.

 

 

Rustic Pizza Pie

Who needs to go out to get a brick oven pizza when you can do it right at home! My daughter and son-in-law gave me a pizza stone for Christmas so I am excited to use it.

Now you are welcome to make your own pizza crust, however, the store bought versions can be just as good. I get mine in the deli section at Publix grocery here in Alabama.  As my husband, David, and I have gotten older we tend to like a  lighter red sauce so I have been playing around with different sauces. We seem to prefer a combination of red sauce, pesto and olive oil.  You can use any toppings you like but I found this combination makes the pizza taste like a restaurant gourmet style pizza and we loved it.

Ingredients:

-1 premade pizza dough ( if you like a thick crust use 2 premade doughs)

-1 Tbs of cornmeal

-1/4 cup mushrooms

-1/4 cup 3 baby sweet bell peppers (red, orange and yellow)

-1/4 cup onion

-1/4 cup of jarred artichoke hearts

-1/2 cup arugala

-2 cloves minced garlic

-6 slices of chopped bacon or use can use Hormel Real Bacon Pieces

-1/4 cup chopped black olives

-1/4 to 1/2 cup of Bertoli pizza sauce and Pesto sauce

-8 oz of Sargento Mozzarella and 8 oz of Sargento Pepper Jack

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400.

-Spray your pizza stone or sheet pan with Pam and sprinkle the cornmeal on the top.  This gives the bottom of the crust a nice crunch. Roll your dough out to fit the size of your dish and set aside.

-In a large sauce pan saute your onion, mushrooms, sweet peppers, artichoke and garlic

-Spread your prepared pizza sauce on your dough followed by your pesto sauce

-Sprinkle your skillet saute mixture evenly over your  pizza and add your chopped bacon and olives

-Sprinkle your cheese over your pizza

-Bake at 400 for 10 – 15 minutes or under crust seems cooked and cheese is melted.

-Remove from oven and top with your fresh arugala, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.

There you have it! Your own gourmet pizza. The cornmeal on the crust gives it a heavenly crunch and the combination of pizza sauce and pesto sauce is such a great twist on flavor.

3 Cheese Kitchen Sink Fritatta

The Fritatta – the marriage between a quiche and an omlett. The best of both worlds.

For the love of a cast iron skillet! It’s uses are never ending. I have made many a quiche but when my daughter, Kinsley, and I went and spent the night in Covington, Georgia and stayed at a B & B called Twelve Oaks, we were introduced to the beauty of a Fritatta.

I did my research and tried several versions until I came up with the best fritatta I’ve ever had.  Don’t skimp on your dairy.  This is not a low fat dish – when it calls for milk, use full fat milk. It gives yummy creaminess.  Hope you enjoy this versatile dish.

Ingredients:  This is the base of your Fritatatta

-Large cast iron skillet rubbed  with butter or Pam.

-8 eggs

-1/2 cup of whole milk or half and half

-salt and pepper and any spices or herbs you like. I added a dash of garlic salt, oregano and some chopped basil.

-1 cup of your favorite cheese (I have found that doing 1/2 cup of two different cheeses gives this the best flavor) I used 1/2 c cheddar and 1/2 c fontina

 

Kitchen Sink Options:

-4 to 6 strips of cooked bacon roughly chopped

-2 cups of fresh spinach diced

-1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

-1/4 cup of diced roasted red pepper OR sweet peppers

-1/2 onion chopped and sautted

-1/2 cup sautted mushrooms

-1/2 cup cooked sausage

As you can see – you can pretty much add anything you like.

 

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Make sure all of your add in ingredients are precooked, i.e. sausage, onion etc.

-Lightly whisk your eggs and milk, salt and pepper, any spices you like (oregano, garlic salt, etc.). Do not over whisk. Gently fold in 3/4 cup of your chesse (save the other 1/4 for the top)  and set aside.

-With your cast iron skilled sprayed with nonstick, combine ALL of your add ons (NOT your base ingredients) and add them to the skillet over medium heat.

-Pour your egg mixture into the skillet over the top of your ingredients. Top your egg mixture with your saved 1/4 cup of  cheese mixture.

-DO NOT STIR. Let the skillet sit on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until it looks “Set”.

-Transfer the skillet to your preheated over for 25 to 30 minutes. Check your dish at 25 minutes and make sure the eggs seem cooked and not “jiggly”. If it is still not quite set give it another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

Salmon & Balsamic Vinegar

salmon-balsamic-vinegar

I’ve always been intimidated with preparing Salmon – it can be a bit tricky – so I thought.

I’ve also always thought I would not enjoy the taste – too fishy – wrong again.

This dish was so easily prepared and the taste was beyond delicious and “light”. There are many ways to prepare salmon – grill, pan fry or bake. I decided to go the route of making a tin foil tent and baking the fish. It kept all the juices in and I think really added to the flavor.  Hope you enjoy this!

*You can find Simply Infused of Mt Laurel on Facebook

Ingredients: (This is for 1 individual serving)

  • 1 (5-6 oz) salmon fillet, skinned
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil (I used Simply Infused EVOO)
  • 1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar ( I used Simply Infused Neapolitan Herb)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped basil

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Place a large sheet of tinfoil on a baking sheet and spray with Pam
  • Whisk together the garlic, olive oil and vinegar
  • Place the Salmon in the center of the foil and sprinkle with salt & pepper
  • Brush the olive oil mixture on the fish
  • Fold up the sides and top of the foil so the fish is completely enclosed
  • Bake for 15 minutes then broil for an addition 1-2 minutes
  • Sprinkle with fresh basil and enjoy!

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Southern Living SE: Soups and Stews_Slowcooker 2015

 

Well it’s that time of year! My favorite – SOUP season!  Cool weather, comfort food and family and friends. This Chicken Noodle Soup only takes about 30 minutes to make and is great reheated the next day. I put a little “twist” on it – as usual -that gave it tremendous flavor. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

2 lb Rotisserie Chicken shredded

1 cup of diced onion, celery and carrots

2 tsp fresh rosemary and thyme finely chopped

2 garlic cloves minced

2 tsp olive oil

1 freshly squeezed lemon

5  – 14.5 oz cans of organic chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups of dry cellentini noodles (corkscrew – has great texture!)

The secret ingredient – 2 – 4.9 oz pks of Lipton Chicken Noodle cup a soup (noodles discarded) The seasoning in these little packets packs a mighty flavor punch.

Instructions:

  • In a large non-stick skillet saute the onion, carrots and celery for 5 minutes then add the garlic for an additional 1 minute, remove from heat
  • While the veggies are cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside
  • In a large stock pot add the chicken broth and the season packets from both Lipton cup a soups and bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rosemary, thyme, chicken, noodles and veggies and lemon juice
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Return to a bowl then reduce to low for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Jalapeno Dipping Sauce

jalapeno-dipping-sauce

This copycat recipe of Chuy’s Jalapeno Dipping Sauce has a couple of little twist to it to make it versatile to use on everything from a chip dip, veggie dip and taco topping sauce. Lets just say I have made this THREE times this week! Yesterday I made it and took it to our 30th college reunion tailgate at Auburn University and it was a huge hit!

Ingredients:

 

  • 16 oz. light sour cream
  • 1 pkg. (1 oz.) ranch dip mix
  • 2 whole large jalapenos, seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 2-4 Tbsp. buttermilk (must be buttermilk)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions:

Blend the jalapenos, garlic, cilantro in a food processor and chop until fine. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended and chill for at least 1 hour to set.  Serve with chips or veggies or taco topping.

 

 

Chicken Teriyaki Bowls

Chicken Teiryaki Bowl

This little bowl full of goodness is easy, healthy, tasty and a great leftover! I used several kitchen staples I had on hand to make this a “short cut” recipe.  I still have not mastered the art of chop sticks (those in the picture are just to make it look like I know how to use them!)Give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Success Boil and Bag Rice
  • 2  6oz bags of Tyson Grilled and Ready Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast
  • 1/2 cup of Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
  • 1 bag of fresh or frozen Broccoli and Carrots
  • 1 petite orange, red and yellow sweet peppers julianned
  • 2 Tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs Almond slivers
  • 1 small can of pineapple chunks
  • 6 to 8 oz of fresh mushrooms

Instructions:

  • Boil the bag of Success rice according to package directions and set aside
  • Mix the teriyaki sauce and the sugar
  • Place the chicken pieces in a baggie and add 3 Tbs of teriyaki mixture and marinade for 15 minutes.
  • Heat your vegetable oil  on medium and add in the sweet peppers, broccoli and carrots and mushrooms and saute for 4-5 minutes.  Add the chicken and pineapple and sesame seeds and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Combine the rest of your teriyaki mixture and cornstarch and mix well and add this to saute pan.
  • Serve over warm rice and sprinkle with almonds and and a dash of teriyaki

 

Cheesy French Bread

Cheesy French Bread

This bread is to die for! You could have a salad and this bread and it would be enough for a delicious meal! It is so easy to prepare and only a few ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of french bread (did you know you can get a full loaf of french bread at Walmart that is close to its expiration date for $1. Yep – ONE DOLLAR! – and if you use it within 3 days think of the money you just saved.
  • 1 cup of of Kraft Italian Five Cheese Shreads
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 tsp of finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp of fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 tsp of fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp of fresh basil (optional)
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400.

Using a serrated knife cut the french bread on the diagonal in both directions. Using your fingers, gently pull the bread open.

In a skillet, melt the butter and whisk in the garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme. Once melted pour into the cuts of the bread. Next, sprinkle the cheese between the cuts. Rub the bread with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Wrap the bread in tin foil and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle with basil after baking.