Caprese BLT’s

Sometimes when I get home from work and I’m tired and hungry at the same time, or I’m hungry but have a list of chores to accomplish, I just don’t have the time nor the energy to spend a lot time in the kitchen.  Even though that’s a place I love to be.  Quite honestly, I seem to spend most of my time either in the garden or my kitchen. 

So this simple Caprese BLT is perfect for busy or tired nights. 

And to make the prep even easier, I usually make the bacon ahead of time.  For instance, on Sunday I take the time to prep some of the ingredients that I will need for the week’s menu.   

Whether it be something simple such as chopping veggies, shredding cheese or popping some bacon on a foil lined cookie sheet for BLT’s!! 

If you follow along with my blog and Facebook posts, you know that I love Caprese and incorporate that into many versions of my recipes. 

I took my love of a good old-fashioned BLT and combined it with the typical ingredients for Caprese. Caprese is another love of mine. 

When I serve Caprese to guests (or myself), I love using a reduced balsamic syrup drizzled over the top but for this sandwich I wanted to make balsamic mayo.   

The balsamic mayo is pretty simple to make, and you really don’t even need measurements.  I just eyeballed about 1 tablespoon of mayo and added the balsamic vinegar until I was happy with the taste.  I probably used about ¼ teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar. 

I used a crusty loaf of bread to toast but you can use whatever you have on hand, lightly toasted. 

When I make Caprese, whether it be just the salad, making pasta, or when I use it on flatbread I like to use a good mozzarella cheese and slice it into chunks.  But for this I used shredded.  You could even pop it in the oven for a few minutes to melt, YUM! 

To assemble, I spread the delicious balsamic mayo over both pieces of the toasted bread on one side.  Over one slice I put the lettuce and then the cheese, here is where you could melt the cheese.   

On top of the lettuce and cheese I added the bacon, then the tomatoes and basil, a little salt and pepper.  You could add another layer of cheese here if you would like.  Top with the other slice of toast with balsamic mayo. 

I have used just the plain mayo and drizzled the balsamic syrup over the tomatoes and basil, that is just as delicious! 


Cinnamon Apple Maple Syrup

So I did this thing.

This terrible, awful thing.

To my already delicious maple syrup.

Sorry, I guess I’m being a little dramatic. But seriously, this “thing” I did to the maple syrup is actually divine!

And I’m guessing if you made it this far into my story after reading the title, you might be just a tad bit interested.

I love French toast, and I love putting apple pieces in my pancakes sooo I thought maybe this syrup would give me the best of both!!

I sliced and apple into thin slices and then chopped them to smaller pieces, you need a cup for this recipe.  I tossed them in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon light brown sugar.  Sautee until fork tender.

Then reduce the heat to low and add a few dashes of cinnamon, not too much though! Add 3/4 cup of maple syrup.  Stir until heated through, then remove from the heat and serve.

I just love this syrup, I’m sure you will too.

Cinnamon Apple Maple Syrup

1 cup thinly sliced and diced apple

1 T butter

1 T light brown sugar

3/4 cup maple syrup

Melt butter and brown sugar in a sauté pan over medium heat, add the apples and cook until fork tender.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add the cinnamon and maple syrup,  stir until heated through and serve.

Sausage and Kraut

I don’t know about you, but I am so happy that it is now autumn and summer is over. I love being in my yard and gardens, and I love relaxing on my patio with an adult beverage but summer is a lot of outside work for me. And it’s getting to be more difficult to accomplish it all! Plus, I am so over the awful heat!!

And I am not in my kitchen cooking very much either. I’m soooo looking forward to some hearty soups, roast chicken dinners and lots of pasta!! And let’s not forget baking bread and cookies, YUM!

I’ve been trying to cook at least one to two meals a week, even if it’s something very simple. And I had a craving for this dish. And this dish is great to serve anytime but I think it is especially wonderful for cooler weather days.

This recipe is a nod to my Pennsylvania Dutch and German background. Although I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of any family member making this dish!

Seriously though, I fashioned this after a meal I had at a German restaurant I ate at years ago.

My family background is PA Dutch and German and we did have plenty of sauerkraut meals, but as a kid I did not care for it at all!! But I cook mine a little different, I like to spice my kraut with red pepper flakes and/or cayenne pepper. I have also added a can of beer, you should give that a try!

I haven’t made this dish in a very long time and sort of forgot how much I loved it. It serves 4 and reheats well for leftovers.

I tend to only use spicy Italian sausage for this; I know I know! It’s a nod to German food, but it works for me. All kidding aside, feel free to use whatever sausage you like.

You will need a very large fry pan for this, use some olive oil in the pan and get those sausage links cooking. When they are browned nicely on the outside remove from the pan and slice into rounds. They will not be cooked through, they will finish cooking in a bit!

Add the quartered red skinned potatoes with salt and pepper to the fry pan. Sauté the potatoes just until they start to turn golden, add the sausage back to the pan with the potatoes and add once cup of chicken broth.

Simmer over a medium low heat, as the broth reduces, add another cup if the potatoes are not tender. When the potatoes are tender add the sauerkraut and the red pepper flakes and a dash or so of cayenne pepper. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, adding more broth if needed so that it does not cook dry.

Sausage and Kraut

4-5 sausage links, use your favorite

8-10 red skinned potatoes, quartered or large chunks with skins on,

10 oz jar of sauerkraut

1 carton of chicken broth

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

  • In a large fry pan drizzle olive oil to saute the sausage links. When they are browned, remove from pan and add potatoes with salt and pepper.
  • While potatoes are cooking, slice the sausage into ½ inch rounds.
  • When potatoes are golden, add the sausage back to the pan and add about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chicken broth.
  • Simmer over a medium heat, adding more broth (1 cup at a time) until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add the kraut and cayenne pepper, simmer until cooked through and serve.

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche with Goat Cheese

This quiche was surprisingly better than I had anticipated. I absolutely LOVE sun-dried tomatoes but combining them with eggs, I knew for me, would be a long stretch. I knew I would like it but I really didn’t expect to love it so much that I wanted to eat the entire thing immediately!

First, let me chat about sun-dried tomatoes. I only buy the jarred in oil type. I bought the bagged plain sun dried tomatoes and I did not care for them at all. The jarred in oil have a much better taste and texture and seem to have so much more of yummy taste.

I usually use half & half but today I only had milk and the quiche still turns out just fine.

Now, the goat cheese. I buy the logs, and just pull off chunks to dot on the top of the quiche before baking. I also buy the plain but if you want to use one that has herbs or something else in with it, that’s fine. Just make sure it’s compatible with the sun-dried tomatoes.

This recipe serves 4 but it works for one because it will easily reheat well in the microwave for a few seconds.

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche with Goat Cheese

Serves 4

6 large eggs

½ cream, half & half or whole milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

About 15 spinach leaves, torn in small pieces

¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

About 3 T of goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8” pie plate with non-stick spray.

In a bowl, mix up the eggs and milk, add salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle in the torn spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Pour into the pie plate and dot with the goat cheese.

Bake approximately 35-45 minutes, until set in the middle and golden. Let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing into servings.

Cajun Shrimp Spaghetti Squash

The most difficult part of making this dish was cutting the squash in half.  Wow!

After getting that squash cut in half and removed the seeds and strings, I drizzled avocado oil over the meat of the squash.  You can use olive oil if you want, avocado is my new favorite.  Salt and pepper well.

You could use other spices here too.  I definitely could have driven the Cajun spice home and dusted the uncooked squash with it but salt and pepper were just fine.

I placed each half meat side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and popped them in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Just before I pulled the squash out of the oven I coated about a dozen large shrimp (deveined and shells and tail removed) in Cajun seasoning and sautéed them in a little butter and oil until done, only takes a few minutes.

Using a fork, scrape the inside of the roasted squash and pull the spaghetti strands out of the shell and put on a plate.  After you have it all scraped out, place the spaghetti strands back into the shell and top with the cooked shrimp and drizzle some of the oil/butter.  Top with your favorite cheese, I used grated parm.

You can put the noodles in a pasta dish but sometimes I like to put the noodles back into the shell and serve it that way.

I like to think this dish is healthy, wouldn’t you agree? Very little butter, avocado is a good oil, and squash instead of pasta.  Yep, healthy!

Cajun Shrimp Spaghetti Squash

1 cooked and prepared spaghetti squash, with the noodle put back in the shells

1 dozen large shrimp, deveined with shells and tail removed

1 T Cajun seasonings, or to taste

Avocado oil and butter

Grated Parm cheese for topping

  1. Just before the spaghetti squash is finished roasting, make the shrimp.
  2. In a bowl toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning.  Depending on how much spice you like, start wit one tablespoon and go from there.
  3. Place shrimp in a hot pan coated with oil and butter, sauté until cooked.  Only a few minutes.
  4. Divide the shrimp over each shell, drizzling some of the oil/butter over the shrimp.
  5. Top with grated parm cheese and serve.
  6. You could also pop them back in the oven to melt the cheese if you want.  Just keep an eye on it. Set as

Strawberry Syrup

Who doesn’t love fresh picked strawberries in the spring! Yum! And who doesn’t like ice cream? Seriously, we can’t be friends if you don’t. Just kidding!

I had some strawberries that I picked up at the grocery store, so they were not local and nor fresh picked. They were not very flavorful at all. So what to do with them?

Make strawberry sundae syrup!

I ended up with about one and half cups of strawberries cut in half, about ¾ cup of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of Cherry Pomegranate juice. You can just use water. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a light simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure it does not go to a heavy boil. After 5 minutes mash the strawberries, I used an old fashioned hand held potato masher. Love that kitchen tool! Let it simmer for another minute or two and turn off the heat.

It should thicken as it cools and still be pourable.

Depending on how sweet (or not so sweet) your berries are will dictate how much sugar you use to make the syrup.

You can serve this syrup warm or cold over ice cream, waffles, pancakes or French toast.

I hope you are enjoying the Memorial Day weekend.

Salmon and Sun-Dried Tomato Spaghetti Squash

This sauce is amazing! And the salmon and sun-dried tomatoes go perfectly with the spaghetti squash. But there is nothing light and healthy, other than the squash and salmon….. that is covered in cream and cheese…

Ok, I’ll do some recipes that are healthier, I promise! But until then, enjoy this one  🙂

Just a quick little post today, and excuse the pic’s, the lighting in my kitchen is not the greatest right now.  I painted and cannot find a ceiling light that I like.  So….

Here are the ingredients:

1 salmon filet

¾ cup ½ and ½ or light cream

¼ cup cream cheese

Small Shallot, diced

¼ cup sun-dried tomato, chopped

1 T tomato paste

10 basil leaves, torn or chiffonade

Salt and Pepper

Avocado oil and butter for sautéing

Grated Parmesan cheese for topping

1 roasted and prepared spaghetti squash

Start with sautéing the salmon filet in avocado (or olive) oil and butter over low heat, salt and pepper the salmon. Remove from the pan when cooked and set aside. Flake the salmon into small pieces,

Toss in a diced shallot in the pan, cook for a minute or two and then add chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the pan.

Keeping the heat low, add the half and half or cream and the cream cheese to the shallots and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper. When the cheese is melted, add the salmon and basil.

Spoon over a prepared spaghetti squash and top with grated parm.