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.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

Did you know that not everything has to be made from scratch……yep……there are shortcuts that are sometimes just as good!  This recipe is one of those. If you need a dessert for an upcoming event and want something that is not too difficult but full of yumminess this is the one for you.

chocolateorangebundtcake1

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Pillsbury chocolate mix (yep – I said it – prepackaged cake mix!)
  • 1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 Tbs orange zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c mayo (trust me here)
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (still trust me) I used Simply Infused Dark Chocolate Balsamic http://www.simply-infused.com and their Blood Orange olive oil instead of regular cooking oil.
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Chocolate Glaze: 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 Tbs cocoa powder, 2 Tbs OJ

Instructions:

  • Prepare the cake mix as directed but substitute the water with orange juice.
  • To the cake mix add the balsamic, vanilla and mayo and 1 Tbs orange zest
  • Pour the batter into a greased “bundt” pan and bake according to package
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Whisk all ingredients and set aside
  • Let the cake cool slightly and turn onto a cake stand. Drizzle the glaze over the top and sprinkle with the other Tbs of Orange zest.
  • cobc

 

Teriyaki Blackberry Skillet Chicken

Teriyaki Blackberry Chicken

It’s Summer! Anything goes! There are combinations of fruit and protein that go so well together that you would not normally consider. That’s why I am here!  This recipe is so light and tasty. Cook it and put your own “twist” on it. I served this dish over a bag of Success Boil and Bag rice that I boiled in a pot of pineapple juice instead of water. Delish!

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 Tbs teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tbs Hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs of sesame oil
  • 1 Tsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tsp sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Tsp Dak’s Blacken Spice
  • 1 Cup rinsed blackberries
  • 1 Tbs each of peanuts and pistachio nuts
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil thinly sliced (chiffonade:chopping technique of herbs into long thin strips)

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl whisk together teriyaki sauce, garlic, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar, Dak’s Blacken Spice
  • Drizzle a large skillet with oil and bring to medium heat. Season chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir 4-5 minutes until browned.
  • Add sauce to pan and continue to stir over heat for 3-4 more minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  • Add blackberries and basil and stir another 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts and  pistachio and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

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Crunchy Carmel Popcorn Ice Cream Cake

I am NOT a dessert person. Not that I cant make desserts. I can kick butt making them. I just don’t like them. Not ice cream, cakes, anything sweet. I know I know….there is something wrong with that. Well I saw a version of this on a cooking channel one day and decided I would put my own “twist” on it and make it for my Memorial Day get together. I thought to myself, “hmmm – I put some work into this little sweet dish – might as well give it a try”. TWO slices later….I had to stop and get a grip!  My guest begged for me to make it at every get together so I figured I had a winner! You can probably change this with many variations but I’m just sayin…..:)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gal of your favorite ice cream (I used vanilla but even something like Moose Tracks would be awesome!)
  • 2 Boxes of Cramel Corn Crunch and Munch
  • 1 squeeze bottle of Smuckers Carmel Ice Cream Topping
  • 1 Jar of Smuckers Fruit & Honey Tropical Spread (or any preserve spread) This tropical spread was just amazing and worked well with the bananas.

crunchandmunch

  • 2 large bananas
  • 9″ springfoam pan and a 9″ round cut out of parchment paper to go in the bottom of the pan. This makes it so much easier to get the cake out after it is frozen.

Instructions:

  • Cut out your parchment round to fit inside of your pan. I actually sprayed mine with a little Pam for easy removal.
  • Take your ice cream out and let it soften. If you need to you can even put the container in the microwave for about 15 seconds a few times to soften.
  • Dump your two boxes of Carmel Crunch and Munch into a large gallon size baggie, seal and pound the heck out of it. You want it to have visible pieces of popcorn so dont pound it into a powder form. You want the CRUNCH!
  • Cut your 2 banana into about 1/2″ slices.
  • Now you start assembly
  • First layer in the bottom of the pan is a solid layer of the popcorn
  • Second spread about a 2-3″ layer of your ice cream
  • Drizzle a good amount of the Honey & Fruit Tropical spread over the ice cream
  • A layer of bananas and a good drizzle of carmel syrup.
  • Start your 2nd layer in the exact order starting with the popcorn base endidng with the carmel drizzle  and a final dusting of the carmel popcorn
  • Freeze your cake for several hours.
  • When you are ready to serve, just place it on a pretty cake stand, pop open the springfoam pan (take a picture – its too pretty not to get one before you dig in!)
  • ENJOY!

 

Teriyaki Chicken & Rice Bowl

Teriyaki Bowl  I’ve just recently gotten into the concept of the “one bowl contains all” dinner. Now I am hooked. They are so versatile and colorful and easy peasy to throw together! Give this one a try – it promises not to disappoint.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
  • pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • Teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 cup of cooked rice
  • 1 cup of fresh steamed broccoli
  • Optional: 1 green onion cut up, 1 medium sweet yellow pepper cut up (I like to char mine on the grill)

Teriyaki sauce:

Directions:

Asian FavoritesGrilled Pepper

  • Prepare your rice and broccoli and set aside. I like to use Success Rice and Birds Eye Broccoli that can be steamed in the bag.
  • Heat a skillet with your olive oil to medium heat. Add chicken and saute until no longer pink.
  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare your teriyaki sauce. Mix all of your sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup and whisk until well combined. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the chicken and mix.
  • Time to plate! (or “bowl”).  The base in the bowl is the rice and next to it the steamed broccoli. Pour the chicken over the rice and broccoli, garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and sweet pepper. Use the rest of your sauce to pour over your bowl.
  • DELISH!