Italian Quesadilla

One of the things Jeremiah and I really enjoy doing is wine tasting. We like to go on little day trips as well as while we are on vacation. A few of our favorite places are Somerset Ridge (just past the Louisburg Cider Mill on the Miami County Wine Trail), Van Till Winery and Family Farm (great wood-fired pizzas on the weekends just outside of Excelsior Springs), and Windy Wine Company (east of St. Joseph off Hwy 36). Another little winery in downtown Weston actually got us to join their wine club.

IMG_0247The first winery Jeremiah and I visited together was Pirtle Winery – located in a historic church just off Main Street. Downtown Weston has lots of great shops. I love the community food pantry and charming kitty cat outside the photography shop. This little town really isn’t any bigger than where I grew up but really developed tourism around wine tasting, local food, unique shops, and B&B stays. Once a quarter, the Weston Wine Company host their monthly book club…aka an excuse to drink wine and pick-up your free bottle. In August, the book featured was “What to Eat with What You Drink.” You don’t need to buy or even read the book, they give you the Cliff IMG_0295Notes version during the event. Since the book was about pairings, they had matched each of their wines with a recipe. One of our favorites was the Italian Quesadilla served with a semi-sweet red (Radiant Cut Wine). At the winery, they sell a pepperoni cheese. I told Jeremiah that I thought we should buy a block and use it with fresh basil. Jeremiah says that kicked it up a bit. This is our take on this non-traditional quesadilla.

Italian Quesadilla by Weston Wine Company (modified by Amber Bourek Slater)
IMG_03191 lb. ground Italian sausage (we used Scimeca’s turkey sausage)
1 apple (red preferred)
Fresh basil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese (or pepperoni cheese if you can find it)
Flour tortilla shells (we like high fiber Mission shells)

Dice the apple. Cook the ground sausage and apple. Cover half a tortilla shell with sausage mixture, basil, and cheeses. Fold over. Cook on medium for 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1 ½ minutes (or until golden brown).

Hash Brown Lasagna

My mother-in-law is the queen of biscuits and gravy. Nobody can even compete with her recipe. It sounds like she has been perfecting it over the last 30 years. I saw this recipe and wasn’t sure how my husband would feel about it. I made this delicious Biscuits and Gravy Casserole dish from an old coworker. He told me the jar country gravy was “too salty”. For this recipe, I made the McCormick Country Gravy. I think he was ok with this gravy in a dish that is very different than his mother’s original. We did like this dish but I think I like a few other breakfast recipes better like Breakfast Sliders, Weight Watchers Breakfast Quiche, Mini Maple Bacon Rolls, Creamy Biscuits, or Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Ring.

Hash Brown Lasagna from Pinterest
img_00341/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
shredded hash brown potatoes
salt and pepper
sausage crumbles
bacon
cheddar cheese
mozzarella cheese
McCormick Country Gravy packet prepared
1 Tsp. butter, melted

Bake bacon in the over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cook sausage according to package.

In the meantime, pour gravy packet into a medium pan. Slowly pour two cups of milk over mix while whisking. Cook over a medium heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Then, reduce your to low and simmer for 1 minute.

Spray 8 x 8 pan. In a bowl, mix hash browns, Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and eggs. Pour half of mixture into pan and even out. Top with a layer of cheese, gravy, and meats. Repeat with other cheese, gravy, and meats. Top with remaining remaining hash browns. Pour melted butter on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.

Notes:

  • I used a 13 x 9 pan because it appeared to be too much for the pan.
  • I used skim milk to prepare my gravy mix. It cut the fat and salt in country gravy.
  • I thawed the hash browns slightly in the microwave. This helped them break-up easier. Looking back, I wish I had baked the bottom layer for 10 minutes before topping to give me a slightly cruncher crust. 
  • I used turkey sausage.
  • I only used four slices of bacon. I really couldn’t taste it so you either need to use more bacon or opt it out. Sausage can be an overwhelming meat flavor.
  • The recipe suggested both mozzarella and cheddar. They suggested a prosciutto wrapped mozzarella and Velveeta cheese slices. I used shredded cheese. I’d suggest just mozzarella because I think it matches the flavors of the country gravy better. 
  • Make sure you have a lot of time to cook this recipe. I think I took me a good 40 minutes to prepare before backing. 
  • If I made it again, I think I might create a crust with something different like crescent rolls.
  • Jar gravy and precooked meats can save you time. 

 

 

Sausage Breakfast Bombs

I love breakfast recipes. I am a bit of a breakfast snob though because I only like to eat it at breakfast time. My dad made fried eggs way too much for dinner in my childhood. I hope you enjoy this super easy peasy recipe.

fullsizerender-10Sausage Crescents from Pinterest
4 sausage patties
1 package of refrigerator crescent rolls
3 eggs
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Microwave sausage patties according to package directions. Cut each patty in half. Cook eggs to a scramble. In a sprayed muffin tin, place a crescent roll in each cup leaving half hanging out. Top each with a half sausage, eggs, and cheese. Take excess crescent roll and cover ingredients. Bake for 11 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used turkey sausage. It’s healthier for you.
  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls.
  • I added a little skim milk to my eggs to make them fluffier.
  • I used 2% cheese – it’s healthier.
  • If you prefer ham and cheese, check out this oldie but goody recipe.

Stuffing from Scratch

It’s 5AM and I’ve been awake for about an hour now. After 30 minutes of tossing and turning in bed, I had a bit of a panic attack when I remembered that my uniform for work was in the laundry. I jumped out of bed and found myself sorting laundry in the closet as to not wake my fiancé.

I guess that is a bit of news I’d hadn’t shared here. My boyfriend proposed to me at dinner a few weeks ago. It was our 16 month anniversary and we were eating at Houlihan’s in Leawood. It was where we had gone on our very first date. We had planned to go to dinner early because the Kansas City Royals were playing game five of the World Series at 7PM. We were standing outside the restaurant talking about our first date and how we stood outside the restaurant talking after a long dinner. I turned around to walk in and Jeremiah spun me back around before getting down on one knee. I was a little in shock. If I was, you should have heard all the people around us. The people dining on the patio and getting in/out of vehicles were like “Is he prosing?” “Did she say yes?” Of course, without a doubt in my mind, I said yes. We went into the restaurant and the server asked us how it was going. I said, “We just got engaged.” He was like, “Congratulations!” I was like, “It was a minute ago just outside the restaurant. This is where we went on our first date.” The table next to us asked if he could take our photo when he overheard us. He told us how it was he and his wife’s second marriage but when you find the right one, it’s meant to be. The restaurant was so sweet and the manager brought us champagne and dessert to celebrate. Phone calls were made while we waited for our lovely dinner – the George Banks Sea Scallops with risotto and fresh arugula (one of my absolute favorite dishes of all time). As you all know by now, the Royals won it in game five beating the Mets in extra innings. It was also my mother’s birthday so this is certainly a day we will never forget.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been sleeping very long since our engagement. I wake up with ideas about our vows or what food should we make during our engagement photos. The date is set for July 2016 so I need to get cracking on these details. The venue is pretty much set, the guest list has been made, our wedding app/website has been created, half the attendants have been asked (including our adorable 3 ½ month old ring bearer), and the photographer has been selected. However, I have no idea what my dress will look like or what colors I want. I also need to email my hairdresser to see if she’s available. Every hinges on what time my hair can be done. Oh let’s hope she’s available because I have zero skill when it comes to doing my hair. I better email her right now, this is really important.

So since I’m awake and my laundry is in the wash, I decided to write a blog post for all of you. It is Thanksgiving week. Can you believe it? Normally, I would have already scoped all the Black Friday ads and had a plan for our day after Thanksgiving adventure. This year, I’m worried about whether or not I need to schedule a dress outing the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my mother and sister. I’m also not sure what on earth to get my fiancé for Christmas in our $75 spending limit?

In honor of it being Thanksgiving week though, I have decided to share with all of you one of the recipes Jeremiah and I will be making for my family. This is a recipe we learned last year while taking a cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City. Not to worry my vegetarian friends, I’m including modifications for you to enjoy this recipe as well. I made both recipes for our Thanksgiving work potluck last week.

stuffingApple, Sage, & Sausage Sourdough Stuffing by Rachel Ciordas
12 oz. turkey breakfast sausage
1 tsp. oil
2 c. chopped onion
2 c. chopped apple
2 c. chopped celery
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried marjoram
½ tsp. black pepper
12 c. cubed sourdough bread
1 can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

Cook sausage until browned. Add onion, apple, and celery. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in seasonings. In a large bowl, combine sausage mixture, bread, and broth. Spoon the stuffing into a sprayed 11 x 7 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Nutrition: Makes nine (1 c.) servings. 208 calories, 5 g. fat, 11.9 g. protein, 28.9 g. carbs, 2.1 g. fiber.

Notes:

  • Rachel said to not use green apples for this recipe. They are not sweet/juicy enough to sauté.
  • Did you know you can eat the leafy part of celery? It’s actually really flavorful.
  • I brought two loaves of fresh French bread at Spouts. I cubed 1 ½ loaves and let it sit out in a bowl overnight. I used the extra bread for a brioche French Toast.
  • I used the local brand of ground sausage. It added some extra flavor. 
  • I’ve found the lowest sodium chicken broth is Rachael Ray’s brand.
  • To make it vegetarian friendly, I substituted veggie broth and removed the sausage. In its place, I put some dried cranberries. After my luncheon, Jeremiah and I mixed the leftovers. It was good so feel free to add cranberries to the original recipe.
  • For a little crisper stuffing, bake covered 15 minutes and uncovered for 35-40 minutes.

Welcome Back

Oh my goodness, it feels like forever since I last wrote a blog post. Perhaps because it was a long time ago. This month has been just crazy. Work budgets, illness, much needed time with friends, and the loss of my Grandpa Fletcher. But now it is time to buckle down and share some of the new recipes I’ve been cooking up in my kitchen. Today, I am going to share a new breakfast recipe that I thought turned our pretty good. Perhaps you will enjoy it for a Sunday Easter Brunch.

Breakfast CasseroleBreakfast Casserole from Pinterest

Two packages of sausage links
Six eggs
1 c. of milk
salt & pepper to taste
½ a bag of tater tots
2 1/2 c. of cheddar cheese

Cook sausage according to package. Then, slice into bite sized pieces and sprinkle along the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Pour over sausage. Sprinkle with a cup of cheese. Top with tater tots. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used turkey sausage, skim milk, and 2% cheese to make it a little healthier. I think you could also reduce the number of eggs by using egg substitute.
  • I used the mini-tater tots so I could reduce the amount of cheese in the recipe by a ¾ of a cup. This way, the lower cheese amount melted together better.