Yogurt Marinated Chicken + Sweet Potato Pancakes

You win some, you lose some, right?

I’m chalking last night’s loss in the kitchen up to aggravation & a cloudy mind.

After a long day at work and many things on my mind, I went to grab the marinating chicken from the fridge.  Since I was rushing, I didn’t notice the brand new carton of eggs situated awfully close to said chicken.  With one quick grab I managed to get both out of the fridge.  Only problem?  All of the eggs wound up on the floor and needless to say, cracked.

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Huevos Rancheros

If you have ever been to a Mexican restaurant for brunch, chances are you’ve seen Huevos Rancheros on the menu.  Heck, most American diners now serve this dish up, although it is rarely as good as the real deal.  Don’t despair, the Huevos Rancheros recipe below will no doubt satisfy your craving for warm tortillas, spicy tomato-chili sauce and a perfectly fried egg.  Best of all, most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry so you can whip this up whenever that craving hits you.

Huevos Rancheros

(serves 2)

Printable Version

1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
1 half of a medium onion, diced
1 half of a jalapeno, diced (and seeded if you can’t take the heat)
4 eggs
2 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
2 flour tortillas, whole wheat or white
1  tbs olive oil
1 tbs. butter
4 thin slices cheddar or pepper jack cheese (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Step One:  Get the Sauce Started

Heat about a half tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent about 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the jalapeno and cook another minute.  Add the tomatoes (including any juice in the jar) and bring the sauce to simmer before lowering the heat.  Do a taste test and season with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne (if using).  Continue to cook the sauce at a low simmer while you prepare the rest of he items.

Note: Add a bit of water if the sauce becomes to dry but make sure you re-season if it tastes bland afterwards.

Step Two: Warm Up Your Tortillas

In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add about 1 1/2 tsp. of the olive oil and 1 tsp of paprika (if using).  Once warm, add one tortilla.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until bubbles form on the top side.  Flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until tortilla is warm.  Either transfer to a plate or place in the oven on low heat to keep warm.  Repeat same procedure with remaining tortilla.

Step Three: Eggs!

Using a medium skillet (to save on cleaning time, use the same skillet used for the tortillas), heat the butter over medium-low until melted.  Fry the eggs to your taste (sunny side up or over easy are delicious here!) and add the cheese (if using) about 2 minutes before the eggs are done.

Step Four: Serve It Up!

Place a tortilla on each plate.  Spoon some of the sauce on the tortilla and place eggs on top.  Top with more sauce.  Enjoy!

Variations & Accompaniments

For recipes like the above, I really like to use the ingredients and instructions as a guideline and almost every time I make them they come out slightly different.  I encourage you to experiment with the recipe and see what different combinations you love.  To help spark some ideas, here is a list of things you can try:

  • Serve with either refried beans (black beans & pinto beans also work) and rice.  This is often how they are served in Mexico.  Fried potatoes (similar to home fries) are also commonly served
  • Garnish with cilantro or sliced avocado to add a fresh flavor to the dish.
  • Use crumbled Queso Fresco which is a mild Mexican cheese similar to feta, in place of the cheddar or pepper jack cheese. Add once the meal is plated.
  • Experiment with peppers.  If you like spicy food, try using dried (and reconstitued) or canned/sliced peppers.  For example, diced chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce) will add a deeper, smokier flavor to the sauce.
  • If you enjoy a smoother texture, puree in a blender or use an immersion blender.  Be sure if you are using a regular blender that you cool the sauce before adding it to the glass container.  Heat the sauce back up in the skillet before serving.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones = Best Breakfast Sandwich Ever

The holidays are here again and just as they bring added joy to our everyday routines, they seem to bring a similar sweetness to the things we eat.  Pies,  yule logs, ginger snaps & cheesecakes are lurking around every corner.  And then there are holiday cookies, which are not just everywhere but seem to be the perfect homemade holiday gift. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I’ll take a luscious cheesecake or chewy snickerdoodle cookie any day, but what about everything else?

Not surprisingly when our office decided to hold a holiday pot luck last week, the sign up list was filled up with all things sugar.  As I perused the list, contemplating what to make I noticed the discrimination and concluded that I would be playing on behalf of Team Savory.   My holiday cookie recipes & gingerbread house would just have to wait their turn.

Ironically enough, my final contribution was a variation on a typically sweet item – the scone.  Except this one was speckled throughout with pockets of melted cheddar cheese and bits of spicy jalapeno.  It was creamy & moist and the consistency was so perfect you felt like a scone scientist looking at all of the different layers after you broke it in half.

I found the recipe from Smitten Kitchen who states the recipe is adapted from Peter Oleyer at Calexico Carne Asada in Brooklyn, via NY Mag.  With little to no recipe tweaks on my end except a little extra cheddar and jalapeno for good measure, this recipe is incredible.  If my description above isn’t enough to convince you, please I beg, just make the darn scones for yourself.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Peter Oleyer at Calexico Carne Asada in Brooklyn, via NY Mag

makes 8 large scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, divided
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced
2 small jalapeños pepper, minced (I wimped out and used only one only to find my scones entirely heat-free)

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and sauté the jalapeños in it until soft, about two minutes. Let them cool, then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.

Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones, Part II:  How to make an AWESOME breakfast sandwich

The holiday potluck turned out fantastic and to my surprise, the dessert table was not the largest spread there!  Take that sugar (I’ll see you again soon I’m sure, however).  The scones were also a big hit and at the end there were only a few leftover.  Now, usually scones are best to be eaten on the day they are made.  These bad boys however were quite moist and given the proper attention, I was positive they could be re-purposed over the weekend.

Sunday was the perfect day to find out.  A gloomy and lazy day from the start, brunch on the couch with a large pot of coffee seemed quite fitting.  I checked out the scones waiting patiently in my fridge and once I deemed them fit for service, came up with these Bacon, Egg and Cheese sandwiches on Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones.  And the surprise,  I paid homage to the season as well as the scone’s sweet roots by adding a bit of honey.  Sweet & savory, now that is truly the best of both worlds!

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich on Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones

2 eggs
4 slices bacon
Cheddar Cheese (or whatever you have on hand)
2 Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones (I made mine smaller than it says in the recipe above)
Honey
Butter

Slice scones, place in low oven until just toasted.  Cook bacon in a skillet until done to your liking.  Remove grease and melt butter over low-medium heat.  Fry eggs in skillet 2 minutes until just set.  Flip over and place cheddar cheese on top, cover with lid.  Cook another 2 minutes until cheese is soft and melted.

Spread bottom of scone with honey, place egg & cheese down and top with bacon and the scone top.

Enjoy!

And yes, this was deemed as the best breakfast sandwich ever as one happy guest stated.

The second sandwich was already eaten so pardon the crumbs!

Green Eggs & Ham…sort of

After getting out of work a bit late the other night I was faced with a dinner dilemma.  It was too early to resort to grabbing something in Penn Station before catching my train but if I waited until I got home and cooked dinner I would be so hungry (and tempted to eat any junk placed before me).

As I began to think about what was in the fridge that I could cook up in a hurry,  I remembered seeing gorgeous basil pesto on The Sweet Kitchen earlier that day.  I decided that whatever I ate would include pesto, but with what?  Pasta was an obvious choice but since I had noodles for lunch I tossed that idea out the window.

Then it came to me, I’ll have eggs!  I love having eggs for dinner especially when time is short.  They are quick, filling and delcicious!  But what about the pesto?  And there it was,  I was going to have green eggs & ham for dinner.

Now, the eggs weren’t actually green and the ham was actually Canadian bacon but work with me here, ok?

I got home and picked some super fresh basil from the garden, added some garlic, pinenuts, cheese & olive oil and combined it all in the blender.  Perfect pesto!  Then I cooked up some of the bacon and fried an egg.  It was all layered on top of an Ezekiel toasted bun (bottom portion only) and added topped with more pesto.

Apologies for the bad photo as my camera is still being fixed 😦

Green Eggs and Ham

WOW!  This was really a perfect dinner and I was almost sad to finish the last bite. Definitely something I will be making again very soon.

What are your favorite meals to make when you are in a hurry?