Tag Archives: simple

Sweet Potato Fries

11 Mar

Yep, I said sweet potato fries. Oh my goodness, these were so delicious. They were so good, I made another batch 2 days later! We had some sweet potatoes from this week’s CSA, so this seemed like a great way to use them.

I had never used my mandoline before, so I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t quite as easy to use (or as easy to clean!) as I hoped it would be, but it still worked great. It sliced up my potatoes to a pretty consistent size and left a nice ridged surface for salt and pepper to hold on to. If you have one, use it, and then make your husband clean up afterward. But if not, just slice your potatoes thinly.

The recipe below is a very loose outline. Since everyone likes their fries with different flavors and textures and degrees of crispiness, make it your own. We enjoyed ours lightly salted, slightly crispy, and served alongside a super yummy veggie burger. Don’t forget the ketchup and the barbecue sauce!

Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes
Olive oil or grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Slice the sweet potatoes in thin rounds. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.

Pour a small amount oil over the potatoes. Toss until potatoes have a light, even coating. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 425 F for 35-45 minutes or until potatoes reach desired crispiness.

Or chips?

 

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Dee Dee’s Broccoli Casserole

8 May

My mom is affectionately known as Aunt Dee Dee or just Dee Dee to all of her nieces and nephews. She is the fun, crazy aunt who not only lets you throw a ball in the house, but is often the one to initiate and participate in said indoors throwing game. I was jealous of my cousins as a teenager because at that age, I thought my mom was a way cooler aunt than mom. But now I have a little more perspective (and a little less attitude), and I more remember all the fun and crazy projects my mom cooked up over the years, which now loom much larger than the fights and arguments we were having when I was in high school. For example, my Double Dare birthday party was the coolest party of the 4th grade, complete with pie-throwing contests, tricycle races, and a relay race that involved massive amounts of butter, popcorn, Jell-o, and a Slip ‘N’ Slide.

My mom is also a pretty amazing chef, and it’s humbling to think back over the years at how she taught herself new skills in the kitchen. When my siblings were very young (before I was around) and our family didn’t have a lot of money, they ate a lot of casseroles, soups, and one-pot meals. They were classic, homey meals that were cheap and easy to put together, perfect for a mom working crazy hours with 2 small kids. But by the time I came along, my parents were a little more settled. My mom left work to stay at home with us, and our meals became more complex, fresh, and nutritious. By the time my little sisters were in the picture, the family was eating ethnic foods like Indian and Japanese, and our meals had a lot more fresh produce and a lot less cream of mushroom soup.

I think this trend is very interesting from a sociological standpoint, but I also think that from a personal view, I became very used to learning about food and trying new things. Now my mom and I swap ideas for new foods, new recipes, and how to use the massive quantities of rosemary she gets from the rosemary bush in her backyard big enough to hide two toddlers in (speaking from experience). I regularly call her for advice (“Mom, 10 people are showing up for dinner in 20 minutes, and I ran out of ___. What should I do!?” or “Mom, this chicken I just cooked is, like, gray… If I eat it, will it kill me?”), and I give her tips I pick up from health food nuts and farmers’ markets in my more liberal small town. My goal one day is to be able to take a quick glance into a pantry or refrigerator and put together a dinner plan, just like I’ve seen her do a million times. I’m not that comfortable or familiar yet with food, ingredients, and recipes, but I think I’m getting there.

When I was staring at the broccoli – this month’s seasonal produce – and trying to figure out what to do with it, I could not stop thinking about broccoli casserole. This is a huge throwback dish, something my mom made relatively regularly when I was a kid. I loved it so much, I think I even requested it as part of my birthday dinner one year. But as I explained above, our family has trended over time toward more nutritious foods, so this is a dish that my mom no longer makes or eats. It’s very unhealthy, especially since I only want it if she agrees to my request for extra cheese. Every year at Thanksgiving she proposes leaving it out, and every year my siblings, cousins, and I demand that we have it. It’s a Thanksgiving staple that I generally only have once a year. So she agrees to its presence at our Thanksgiving table, but one of us has to make it ourselves. It’s a very simple recipe that can be made in 15 minutes or less. So here it is… Dee Dee’s Broccoli Casserole.

Start with 1 bag frozen broccoli. Thaw it completely (on the counter or in the microwave) and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Spread it in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Top with a layer of grated extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Broccoli and cheeseSpread a layer of cream of mushroom soup over top the cheese.

Cream of Mushroom SoupAnd now spread another layer of grated extra sharp cheddar cheese. Cover with plastic wrap, cut a slit in the center, and cook it in the microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the broccoli is cooked.

More CheeseI hadn’t made this in a long time, but I knew the cheese was the most important part, so I just kept adding some. I wasn’t sure how much was necessary. When I pulled it out of the microwave, it really just looked like a dish of cheese with a few broccoli bumps. I realized I went a little overboard, but obviously it was good because I tried to take a picture a few minutes later, but people were already digging in!

Broccoli Casserole

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Spinach and Salmon Salad

24 Apr

On Friday, the BF and I had the day off, and we took a little time to try to throw together a nice lunch. We wanted something light and healthy because we were anticipating a weekend’s worth of delicious, fatty food, what with Betsy Bundt‘s wedding on Saturday (don’t fret… I’ll have more cupcake and decorating gossip on that later) and Sunday supper with the family. So we hopped on our bikes and rode to Trader Joe’s to pick up some veggies.

Upon our return, the BF fired up the George Foreman and seasoned the salmon with a dusting of chili powder while I assembled the salad. Actually, the truth is, he pretty much did all of it while I moped around the kitchen in a post-exercise, hunger-induced daze. I did, however, manage to make us each a fruit and yogurt parfait for dessert, and then consume every last bit of mine while he made lunch.

In our salad, we had a bed of organic spinach (a seasonal ingredient available in North Carolina March through December!), carrots, walnuts, goat cheese, and croutons. I found that if you scrape the goat cheese with a fork instead of try to cut it with a knife, then nice little crumbs will fall evenly all over the salad, instead of clumping together.

After the BF finished mastering the electric grill (he suggests medium-low heat, about 4-5 minutes on each side), we added a salmon fillet right on top. Carrots + salmon… weird!? But hey, there are no rules in this kitchen. I drizzled mine with some Italian dressing and the BF chose a light cucumber ranch dressing. It was super delicioso!

"Parfaits got layers! Everybody loves parfaits!" Too old? Too lame? Yes.

As I said, for dessert we had a yogurt and fruit parfait, though I had already eaten mine by this point. I mixed 1 part nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt and 1 part store-bought cream cheese fruit dip (to sweeten it a bit — this is dessert, after all) in a small bowl. I filled the bottom of these cute little glasses with grapes, then a spoonful of my yogurt mixture, then blueberries, then yogurt, then mandarin oranges. A small dollop of yogurt on top made it camera-ready.

Healthy Lunch!

How Sue Sees It:

  • I know this recipe is a bit of a scam, since most salad recipes are lame. I mean, does anyone really need a recipe to make a salad? Put vegetables on a plate and top it with salmon. There, you’re done.
  • If you don’t want to buy the fruit dip, you can easily mix your own — my mom, Susie Senior, makes a great one with one part marshmallow creme/fluff and one part strawberry cream cheese. So your overall mixture would be one part marshmallow fluff, one part cream cheese (choose your flavor), and two parts yogurt.

6/7/8 Layer Magic Bars

1 Feb

Seven-layer bars are not anything new or exciting, but I had been craving these “magic bars” for days. I have no idea why — I haven’t had a seven-layer bar in years. But I pulled out my bar pan, and two trips to the grocery store later (I forgot stuff), I set to work on the bars. This is a classic recipe and can be found anywhere online or even on the back of a can of sweetened condensed milk. I probably know this one of the top off my head now, it’s so easy.

Graham Cracker & Butter Mixture
Once it was completely mixed, I pressed a small amount into each  of the 12 cups of the bar pan, pressing flat to make a solid crumb layer along the bottom.

Graham Cracker Crumb Layer
Then I set about filling up the layers. What I like about using the bar pan is that you can change up the ingredients. Someone doesn’t like nuts? Leave out the nuts on one row. No coconut? Leave out the coconut. What I don’t like about using the bar pan is that it takes more time, it’s difficult to spread the layers evenly, and it can be hard to remove the bars too. So if you want to use a normal baking pan and cut them into squares, that’s cool too.

Bar Layers
I managed to pry out a few bars and keep them whole, and they look delicious. (All the bars that I broke I dumped into a bowl and I just eat them with a fork. Talk about guilty pleasure.)

Magic Bars
I picked out the three best-looking bars and packaged them in a gift bag with a ribbon. Adorbs!

Magic Bars Gift Bag

I consider these true seven-layer bars because they include seven layers: graham cracker crust, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, walnuts, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk. Other recipes do not include the white chocolate chips, but still call it seven layers by counting the butter that’s mixed into the graham cracker crust as a layer. And I call b.s. on that.

Be careful not to add in too much sweetened condensed milk, which is really easy to do in the small bar cups. I definitely should have used a spoon to drop in a small amount rather than being impatient and trying to pour it in. Some of my bars ended up with WAY too much sweetened condensed milk — these looked funny, and they were the ones that wouldn’t come out of the pan in one piece. Check out this picture — the bars in the front of the shot are nearly overflowing with sweetened condensed milk. Too much!Too Much!And next time I’ll probably add in the coconut at the end, after I spoon in the sweetened condensed milk. The coconut got kind of mushed under the weight of the milk, and it looks better when the coconut is fluffier.

Enjoy!

6/7/8 Layer Magic Bars

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together. Press into the bottom of a bar pan or a 9×9 baking dish.

Layer on the chips and nuts evenly. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Spread the coconut evenly over top.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

Let cool completely, and then carefully cut into squares and remove from pan.

Simple Blueberry Cobbler

21 Nov

For my Dad’s surprise 50th birthday party, we threw together a super-easy blueberry cobbler. We actually ordered 30 gourmet cupcakes for the birthday bash, but fruity baked desserts are my dad’s favorite, and as my family knows and won’t ever let me forget, I’m a Daddy’s girl. So blueberry cobbler was added to the menu.

I dumped 3 cups of fresh blueberries, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/3 cup of orange juice in a 9″x9″ baking pan and mixed it all together. While I mixed up the insides, Betsy mixed up the dough. First she mixed up the dry ingredients in a small bowl: 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt. She set that aside. She put 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1/2 cup of sugar in a large bowl and beat it with the hand mixer till it was kind of fluffy. The dough was pretty thick. Then she beat in an egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Okay, probably more like a teaspoon — a little extra vanilla is always a good thing. Then she gradually added in the flour mixture until it was just combined.

Blueberries + Dough = Blueberry Cobbler

Now that the dough was ready, she just dropped it on globs on top of the blueberry mixture. We tried to spread it out a bit so that it covered most of the blueberry mixture, but we didn’t want it to be spread out in a complete layer over top of it. It’s supposed to be a little lumpy.

Dropping DoughFinishing the dough

Then we baked it for 35-40 minutes. The topping turned a nice golden brown and the filling was a little bubbly. Unfortunately, I don’t have a final product picture! We were a little busy making the Mini Party Quiches and we forgot to photograph our beautiful Blueberry Cobbler! But according to my dad, it was really good.

How Sue Sees It:
This is a super easy and delicious dessert to whip up. It does bake for a while, but the prep is pretty simple, so wow your next dinner guests with a classic blueberry cobbler. Be sure to have some vanilla ice cream on hand to serve with it!