Cheesy Egg In A Hole With Bacon

Egg in a hole. For some, including me, this brings back memories of childhood morning breakfasts. When I was a kid I would often spend some weekends at my grandmother house. She would always cook something mouthwatering for dinner and we’d have something tasty for dessert…something that she made more than likely, but in the morning my uncle Mac would make breakfast. It was never anything fancy, usually eggs, home fries…not the frozen kind (not that I don’t love the frozen kind.) and bacon. But sometimes he would make eggs in a hole. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a hole cut out of buttered bread then placed in a pan. You crack an egg right into the hole where it cooks until the white of the egg is set, but the yolk is still runny. I remember thinking how did that egg stay in the hole? I was young back then mind you. There was something satisfying about cutting into that toasted bread and watching all of that yolky goodness spread like sunshine over the plate.

My hubby recently asked what an egg in a hole was, so of course I made him one. I decided to revamp it a bit later on. This version was definitely a hit. The bread is nicely buttered with the egg all nestled in it’s hole seasoned with salt and pepper, then crumbled crisp bacon and cheese is layered around the egg. It’s baked in the oven until the egg is cooked, but the yolk still spreads like sunshine and the cheese is melted in a cheesy layer with the crispy bacon waiting to make the taste buds swoon. Don’t your taste buds swoon with delight over bacon and cheese too?

Here’s what you need:

* sliced bread, any kind you prefer

*butter

*eggs; 1 egg per toast

*salt and pepper to taste

*bacon cooked and crumbled; I used 2 pieces per toast

*shredded cheese, any kind that you prefer; I used a cheddar and Monterey blend

*parsley or chives for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 °

Lightly spray a baking sheet with no stick spray.

Butter the bread. With a small drinking glass or a biscuit cutter, make a hole in the center of each bread slice.

Don’t toss out the circle that is cut from the hole, it makes great mini toast.

Crack an egg into the hole and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the bacon crumbles around the bread.

Then sprinkle the cheese over the bacon, but not covering the egg completely.

The first time I tried this, I covered the bread and the egg in cheese. The cheese was melted and everything looked great, but underneath the egg was still raw. Yes, It was not a pleasant experience since I had taken a big bite out of it. The cheese did not allow the egg to cook, but yet if I had cooked it longer, the cheese would have been too hard to eat, so I found that leaving the middle of the egg uncovered it cooked beautifully.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted, the whites of the egg is, set but the yolk is still runny.

If you prefer the yolk not so runny, cook a little longer.

Garnish with parsley or chives.

Serve while hot.

Enjoy!

Ultimate Grilled Cheese


I’ve made lots of grilled cheese sandwiches in my time, but this last one that I made for dinner a few nights ago was hands down the best one I have ever made. I almost didn’t get the picture of this mouthwatering sandwich because I was so tempted to snatch it right up and devour it.

I usually make my grilled cheese with a few slices of American cheese and maybe some slices of cheddar or Colby Jack thrown in as well. Nothing wrong with that and it is tasty, but this time I wanted to amp it up a bit. I used some good quality (but not overly expensive) white cheddar, Colby Jack and some shredded parmesan. I also decided to butter the bread a different way. Instead of spreading the butter onto the bread itself, I plunked down some little knobs of butter on the griddle, waited for it to melt, then added the bread right into the melted puddles of butter. The result was this glorious, toasty bread that had this wonderful blend of cheeses that melted and mingled together to form a gooey, cheesy center of deliciousness.

This ultimate grilled cheese is defiantly a game changer from your ordinary grilled cheese. It’s even better paired with your favorite soup, a salad or just devour it by itself. You might want to make sure that you buy plenty of cheese because you will be wanting more.

Here’s what you need.

*Sliced bread; I used Italian that was not thickly sliced. I feel that bread that is too thick kind of takes away from the cheese.

*butter

*Sliced white cheddar

*Sliced Colby Jack

*Shredded Parmesan

Heat a non stick griddle on medium heat. Place butter onto the griddle where each sandwich will go.

When the butter melts, place a slice of the bread onto the butter. Make sure to rub it in the butter so the bread is completely coated.

Place both pieces of sliced cheese onto the bread, then top with the shredded parmesan.

Place another slice of bread over the cheese.

Cook until the bottom of the bread turns golden and the cheese starts to melt.

If the bread begins to turn dark, but the cheese is not melting, turn down the heat.

Lift the sandwich with a spatula and add more dots of butter and melt. Turn the sandwich over and continue to cook on the other side making sure the bread is coated in the melted butter.

When the underside of the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, take off of the griddle and serve.

Enjoy!

Whiskey Sautéed Onions

These sautéed whiskey onions are so delicious and flavorful and so easy to make. Onions are slowly simmered in a mixture of whiskey, brown sugar, and butter resulting in a rich, sweet and savory mouth watering delicacy. They make a great addition topped on a burger….as I’ve done many times. They can also turn a boring sandwich into a flavor bomb. They can bring a new spin to a grilled cheese sandwich or a hot dog. You can even eat these straight out of the pan. That’s what I always seem to do when making these.

These do take a little bit of time, but do not be tempted to crank up the heat or you will lose some of that wonderful flavor and caramelization that happens while these beauties are simmering low and slow. This is what I use as a main base for my whiskey onions. You can use bourbon and even add in some cayenne or adobe chili powder to give it a sweet kick. Either way, I think you will enjoy these as much as we do. I’m sure you will find that by adding these whiskey sautéed onions to sandwiches and other savory dishes, they will bring on a new flavor that will have your crew wanting more.

Here’s what you need:

*1 large onion, chopped

*1 TBS. butter

*1 TBS olive oil

*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*3 TBS whiskey

*1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar or more to taste

*pinch of salt to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*1/4 tsp. dried Thyme or more to taste

Heat a small sauce pan to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil.

When the butter melts add in the onions and the rest of the ingredients for the onions.

Stir well to combine. Continue cooking while stirring frequently. If onions start to brown too fast, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the onions just start to caramelize, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve while warm over burgers, steaks or anything that strikes your taste buds.

Enjoy!

French Toast

When I first started cooking, French toast was one of the first things that I made for myself. I was still in school….yes a young little thing, but my parents let me have some reign in the kitchen. I had eaten French toast quite a few times and I kind of knew the basics of how to make it. I didn’t have a recipe, but just sort of went all out with it. There was a little too much egg and not quite enough milk in the mixture, so it did turn out a bit…eggy, but the taste was pretty darn good considering it was my first time making it. I don’t make it very often, but I have perfected it since then.

There is something a little indulgent about eating those thick slabs of bread, coated in that sublime mixture of eggs, milk and cinnamon with a little hint of vanilla. Then they are cooked until they are golden on the outside yet still fluffy and glorious on the inside….and then…well, you know what comes next, little mounds of butter melting away while topped with some delicious, sinful maple syrup….or some really tasty pancake syrup if that’s your go-to. *sigh* I’m really wanting more of that right this minute.

The good thing about French toast, is you don’t have to wait until morning to just have it for breakfast. It makes a delightful breakfast for dinner kind of thing. Just add some crispy bacon or juicy sausage on the side and maybe some golden hash browns. Yep, I know what I’m making again very soon.

Here’s what you need:

* 6 thick slices of French or Italian bread or whatever variety of bread you prefer; It’s better if the bread is a little stale so it will hold up better in the egg-milk mixture.

*2/3 cup milk

*2 eggs

*1/2 tsp. cinnamon

*1 tsp vanilla extract

*pinch of salt

*softened butter for the skillet and for the bread

*maple or pancake syrup

*Note*

If using more than 6 slices of thick bread, I found that I had to use 3/4 cup of milk and 3 eggs.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and salt.

Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbs. of the butter.

Place the bread slices into the egg mixture quickly allowing it to coat both sides.

Place the slices into the skillet making sure not to over crowd it.

Cook for about 3 minutes on each side until the surface is golden; transfer to serving plates.

Add more butter to the skillet and continue to cook the remaining bread.

*Tip*

If you are cooking for a crowd, you can heat the oven to 200° and place the cooked bread slices on a baking sheet to keep warm.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Enjoy!

It’s A New Year and A New Country

I’m still cooking my way through as many countries as I can. This next stop is

Italy

The dish I chose for this country is

Pizza Margherita

I really had a tough time choosing what to cook from Italy. I am such a pasta lover and I know that most of the “Italian” dishes we have here in the states are more Americanized. Don’t get me wrong, I love them but I really wanted to keep this as authentic as I could, so I chose not a pasta dish at all, but pizza….and one of my hubby’s favorite at that.

One of my hubby’s favorite pizza is a Pizza Margherita ( or as some call it a Margherita Pizza). I’ve eaten a few slices in my time and I can understand why my hubby loves it so much. I knew the color of the basil, mozzarella and the sauce represented the colors of the Italian flag, but I never really thought about the history behind it and is it truly an Italian pizza, not one born here in the US?

I did indeed find that yes, it is originally from Naples, Italy.

Should I point out that while I was doing this research I was savoring a few slices of pepperoni and bacon pizza….which does not originally come from Italy, but what can I say, I’m a pizza lover of just about any type and on a side note, typing while holding said pizza can get a little messy….I’m just saying.

Getting back to the topic at hand…

It is believed that in 1889 King Umberto and his wife Queen Margherita of Savoy visited Naples. The queen grew tired of the French cuisine that was offered. She asked Raffaele Esposito, chef of Pizzeria Brandi to create a pizza for her, for she had already heard of the Neapolitan pizza and wanted to try one. He created 3 for her, one with cheese and basil, one with garlic and one with tomato, mozzarella and basil. She liked the 3rd so much that Esposito named the pizza after her. Whether the story is indeed true or not, it has grown into one of the most recognizable symbol of Italian food culture.

I’ve made a lot of pizza, but never this type so I really wanted to do it justice….and well, impress the hubby. It did turn out a little rustic and maybe not as pretty as some I have seen, but the taste was well….heavenly. The sauce is a simple sauce, like a Pizza Margherita should be, and I have to admit I had to restrain myself not to add any herbs and I’m so glad that I didn’t because less is truly more. The fresh mozzarella and the basil add such a wonderful flavor. When using fresh mozzarella, look for the kind that is not packed in water, but if that is all that you can find be sure to drain it really well. Also, use fresh basil leaves, not the dried kind because it truly does make a difference.

I did use a store bought pizza dough, but you can make your own of course. If you are going to use pre made dough, look for a good quality kind. Some pizza places even sell their dough as well. The only thing that I will do differently the next time that I make this, is to make the dough thinner because it did come out a little thicker than I intended, but the flavor was really good.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*1 LB Pizza dough; pre made or your favorite recipe (this will make 2 pizzas)

*olive oil

*28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes

*salt and pepper to taste

*2 large garlic clove grated with a microplane or pressed

*Mozzarella, fresh and not packed in water or drained and pat dry with a paper towel.

*Basil leaves

Prepare dough according to package directions or follow your favorite recipe

Divide into two balls and drizzle with olive oil.

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a blender add the tomatoes and blend until smooth; pour into a bowl.

Stir in the salt, pepper, 1 tsp. olive oil and the garlic.

Brush pizza pans with olive oil.

Stretch dough into roughly a 10 inch circle…or as best as you can. If the dough is too elastic, let rest for 5 minutes.

Spoon some of the sauce onto each pizza dough.

Tear a few large pieces of the mozzarella and place it evenly around the pizza.

Tear the basil leaves and place on top of the mozzarella. I know some add the basil after the pizza has been cooked, but I like mine cooked with the pizza. It’s your choice.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the pizza.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.

Cut into slices and serve.

Enjoy!

Air Fryer Frozen Hash Brown Patties

Hubby and I recently had breakfast for dinner and one of the side dishes were these crispy hash brown patties. I love cooking frozen hash brown patties in the air fryer. They cook faster than in the oven. It’s even better when you are in full breakfast making mode with several things going on the stove top, you can just throw them into the air fryer knowing they will come out crispy on the outside but still soft in the inside.

If you are a potato lover and a big fan of hash browns, you definitely need to give this a try. I’ve used many brands and they all have come out satisfyingly tasty.

Here’s How To Make Frozen Hash Brown Patties In The Air Fryer:

Preheat your air fryer to 400°.

Take the frozen hash brown patties out of the package and place into the basket in an even layer.

Most frozen hash brown patties already contain oil so you don’t need to add any cooking spray or brush on any extra oil.

Cook for 4 minutes then turn each patty over and continue cooking for another 4 minutes.

If you want them crispier, cook another minute or 2.

Serve while warm.

*Note*

Cooking times may vary depending on the size and the brand of your air fryer.

Enjoy!

Beef and Cheese Quesadillas

Don’t you just love warm, toasted quesadillas. They are so versatile. They can be made with beef, chicken, pork or even with some really good veggies. These beauties are stuffed with gooey cheese and seasoned beef so they are packed with flavor with each bite.

I like to make several at a time because they freeze so well and also, they make great leftovers the next day. Instead of heating a few of these at a time in a skillet, I started placing mine in the oven once they have been filled. It’s great for when you want to cook more than just a few. The key to making these in the oven instead of a skillet is to cool down the filling a bit before placing them into the tortillas.

Serve them with sour cream, Salsa or guacamole. You can even pair them with rice or refried beans to make a satisfying meal.

Here’s what you need:

For The Seasoned Beef:

*1 LB. ground beef

*1 onion, chopped

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*2 TBS. tomato paste

*1/4 cup water

*1/2 TBS. chili powder or more to taste

* 1 1/2 tsp. cumin, or more to taste

*2 tsp. coriander, or more to taste

*1 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*cilantro, chopped

*salt and pepper to taste

*a splash of lime juice.

*flour tortillas; I like using a bigger size rather than the standard 8 inch size but it’s really your preference.

*shredded cheese: I used Monterey and Colby Jack blend

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up as you go; drain if need then add back to the skillet. Add in the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to get tender.

Add the tomato paste, water and all of the spices for the beef except for the lime juice.

stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.

squeeze in the lime juice, stir and continue to cook for 1 more minute.

Take the skillet off of the heat and let cool just until warm.

Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray.

Once the beef mixture has cooled down, place a tortilla on a flat surface and sprinkle with cheese.

Spoon some of the beef mixture over the cheese.

Then add more cheese on top of the beef mixture.

Fold in half and place on to the baking sheet; repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Bake for about 6 to 8 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until they start to turn a little brown and are toasted.

Serve while warm.

To freeze:

Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours or until they start to become firm. I like to wrap each one in waxed paper then place in a zip top freezer bag. These can be stored up to 2 months.

To reheat place frozen quesadillas in a skillet and heat on medium heat until warmed through. Turn them over during the reheating time. They can also be placed frozen in a 400° until warm.

Enjoy!

Bacon Cheese Chorizo Burger with Whiskey Sautéed Onions

This burger is a carnivores dream. Just look at all of that deliciousness. I have to say, this is one of my favorite burgers that I have made….and I’ve made many. It starts with beef and chorizo blended together to form one juicy, slightly spicy (but not too spicy) patty. Then there is cheese that is melted on top that will make a cheese lovers taste buds sing. And what’s next…. there is the bacon…yes bacon. Some nice crispy bacon, but that’s not all….no my friends there is sautéed onions that have been simmering in whiskey, butter and kissed with brown sugar and thyme to add another swoon worthy layer of flavor. For me a burger isn’t done until some tangy mustard and ketchup are added with the slight crunch of pickles. This is all nestled in between a buttered, toasted bun. Oh, how I could go for another one of these right now.

If you’ve never had chorizo in a burger, you really should to try it. I used Mexican chorizo because it’s uncooked and mixes well with ground beef. I prefer mixing ground beef with the chorizo because it helps cut down on the spice level of the chorizo and well…..the two together make a terrific pairing. This is definitely a must try burger.

Here’s what you need:

For The Onions:

*1 large onion, chopped

*1 TBS. butter

*1 TBS. olive oil

*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*3 TBS. whiskey

*1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar or more to taste

*pinch of salt or more to taste

*pepper to taste

*1/4 tsp. dried Thyme or more to taste

For The Burgers:

*1 Lbs. ground beef

*1/2 Lbs. Mexican chorizo

*1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce

*salt and pepper to taste

*slices of bacon; I used two slices per burger

*sliced cheese; I used Colby Jack

*butter for the hamburger buns

*sturdy hamburger buns

*desired condiments

In a small sauce pan heat to medium and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts add in the onions and the rest of the ingredients for the onions.

Stir well to combine. Continue cooking while stirring frequently. If onions start to brown too fast, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the onions start to caramelize, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Keep warm.

Cook the bacon until it’s done to your liking and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the ground beef, chorizo, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.

Form into 4 equal patties.

Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Place the patties in the skillet.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until a crust forms on the bottom. Turn over and cook another 5 minutes or until the burgers are cooked in the middle to your liking.

Place the cheese slices over the patties and cover the skillet, cook for about 1 minute or until the cheese melts.

While the cheese is melting, spread some butter over the hamburger buns and lightly toast them.

Place the chorizo burgers onto the hamburger buns and add the bacon over the cheese. Spoon the onions over the bacon and top with any other burger toppings that you like.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti Rice

Hello everyone. I hope you all are staying warm…..or cool if you’re in the middle of summer where you live. It’s finally feeling like winter down here in the south. If you saw my last post we got snow down our way. If you live in the south where it doesn’t snow much, when it does, you have to take advantage of it.

For times like that when you can’t get to the store, it’s a great time to start pulling out the pantry staples and leftovers in the refrigerator and cook up something new…..or at least new to you. That’s kind of how this latest dish came about. I had some really nice homemade pasta sauce leftover from the previous night’s dinner, but I didn’t have any pasta left. I always keep rice on hand in the pantry because it’s definitely a staple in our house. When I saw the two, it reminded me of when I was young, my mom would make rice with pasta sauce for a quick lunch. It was so simple yet so comforting. So naturally I thought this would be a great way to use up that delicious meat sauce. This was a nice change from the usual pasta dish.

To make this even faster if you don’t have leftover pasta sauce, you can use sauce from a jar and instant rice. Grate some parmesan cheese over the top and pair it with some nice crusty bread and a salad, and you have a really tasty dinner.

Here’s what you need:

*rice; you can use any kind. I used long grain instant rice

*butter to taste

*salt to taste

*pasta sauce; homemade or from a jar. If you need a fast but tastes like homemade pasta sauce, try my Shortcut Meat Sauce

*grated parmesan cheese

Cook rice according to package directions; add butter and salt to taste once the rice is tender.

Pull out the leftover pasta sauce and warm it up in a sauce pan.

If you are making the sauce from scratch, you might want to start the sauce first then cook the rice as the sauce simmers.

Place the rice in a serving bowl or plate and spoon the sauce over the rice. Grate the parmesan cheese over the top and enjoy!