Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rosemary Olive Oil Crock Pot Bread

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One of my favorite smells in life isn’t flowers, it’s bread. Like my grandmother, I love working with dough and having fresh bread baking makes your house smell like a bakery. I was intrigued by making bread in a crockpot. Of course in the summer time it’s nice not to have to fire up the oven when I don’t need to, and if traveling I wanted to test this theory out since no oven is ever the same.  I agree with the original poster that it’s best to broil your bread when it comes out to give that nice outer crust on top. This may not look very fancy, but oh my is it delicious!! Hubby said it was better than any restaurant bread he’s ever had, so this one is staying in my recipe book.

Rosemary Olive Oil Crock Pot Bread

(Adapted from Host the Toast)


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3½ cups all purpose flour

1 packet dry active yeast (2¼ teaspoons)

1¼ cups warm water

¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped, divided

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, divided


In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. The mixture should become bubbly.


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Stir in half of the salt (1/2 teaspoon), half of the rosemary (2 tablespoons), the 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and all of the flour. Mix until fully combined. Work it together with your hands, if necessary.


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Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in. Cover it with a kitchen towel and leave the dough in a warm, draft-free area. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour.


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Remove the dough from the bowl and gently roll it into a ball on a floured surface. Let it sit for another 20 minutes.


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Set the crock pot to high. Line the crock pot with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches hanging out of each side of the crock pot. Place the dough in the crock pot and sprinkle it with the remaining salt and rosemary.


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Drape paper towels over the top of the crock pot and then place the lid on. This should capture any moisture that would sit on the lid and prevent it from dripping back onto your bread.


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Cook the bread for 2 hours, and remove from the crock pot. It will most likely still be a bit pale on the outside. It tastes great this way, but I like to put mine on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it under the broiler for a quick 3 - 5 minutes to get a crunchier, darker crust.


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Let cool before slicing. Serve with extra olive oil drizzled on top.



To line the crock pot with parchment paper, tear off a long piece and place it in the crock pot in a U-shape, and then take another piece and do the same perpendicular to the first piece, so four sides come to the top of the crock pot in different directions and the majority of the inside of the pot is covered with parchment paper.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

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These little bad boys take a while to bake, but let me tell you they are well worth the time put in. I loved the crispy texture on the potatoes and we even sprinkled on some fresh rosemary. The nice part is we didn’t really follow the ingredient amounts, I just bought enough red potatoes for the two of us to have for dinner, so it’s easily adjustable.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

(Adapted from Rachel Schultz)

Serves 3-4


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3 pounds red potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 500 degrees.


Place whole potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour 3/4 cup water into pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes.


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Allow potatoes to cool for 10 minutes. Coat with half of olive oil. Smash potatoes with bottom of a drinking glass (or your tool of choice.)


Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Season with thyme and salt & pepper.


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Bake 40 more minutes.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado

Don’t let the name be a turn off. While searching for ways to sneak in some healthier options for my family I came across this. I used a little less sugar  since I was making it for a toddler, as well as sugar free chocolate chips. You can use an alternative to sugar, but to each their own you know how to adjust the recipe.

This is from a while back when I made them, but little man approved and goggled them up.

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Avocado

(Adapted from Nothing if Not International)


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1 1/8 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla (or more, if your toddler pours!)

1 cup chocolate chips

1 smashed avocado




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Add to cookie sheet.


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Bake for 12-14 minutes at 375 degrees F. (Some people say to reduce heat and increase cooking time with avocado recipes. My cookies were fine just like this.)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Divine Casserole

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Hubby loves casseroles for lunches since they are quick and easy to heat up a serving. I hate doing messy pasta dishes, but this one makes less of a mess by using egg noodles. I didn’t think it would be all that special, but once the pasta sauce cooked down with the meat the flavors came out and it tasted really good. He also hate cottage cheese, but I didn’t tell him it’s in there. This dish also freezes well if you want to make it for someone or ahead of time.

Divine Casserole

(Adapted from Deep South Dish)


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2 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1 cup small curd cottage cheese

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup sliced green onions

1 (12 ounce) package egg noodles

1 pound ground chuck

1 (24 ounce) can pasta sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, or to taste, optional

1 cup shredded cheddar

1 cup shredded mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-1/2 quart baking dish.


Cream together cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream until well blended.



Stir in the green onion and set aside. Prepare egg noodles to shortest time according to package directions, drain and stir sour cream and cheese mixture into noodles while warm.


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Meanwhile, brown ground beef, draining off excess fat.


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Stir in the pasta sauce, Worcestershire, hot sauce, Italian seasoning, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and let simmer on low for about 20 minutes.


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Add half of the noodle mixture to the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.


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Top with half of the meat mixture and half of the cheddar and mozzarella. Repeat layers.

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Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through in the middle.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Stuffed Calamari with Tomato Sauce, Polenta

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As my June installment of my New Years Resolution I decided to give calamari bodies a try. I have to say this was a really awesome dish. The flavor, texture and look of it was all spot on. It’s easy to do ahead of time too and just cook it when you are ready. I would love to serve this as an appetizer for my next dinner party. Normally I just buy the breaded calamari rings to fry, which is what I did with the little leg parts I call them. I made a tempura batter and then lightly fried them, they only take a few seconds since they are fresh and not frozen so watch them closely or they’ll be overcooked which makes them really chewy.

You could even slice the stuffed calamari as part of the presentation, but I liked them whole.

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Stuffed Calamari with Tomato Sauce, Polenta

(Adapted from Art de Fete)


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For the calamari

  • 10 medium calamari tubes, 2 calamari thinly sliced
  • ½ pound wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4-5 sea scallops, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 medium-size white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Roma or wine tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the polenta

  • 1 cup polenta (with truffles)
  • 2 ½ cup water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Parsley, finely chopped


Make the stuffing:

Cut shrimp and scallops in three pieces. In a food processor, blend shrimp, scallops, 2 sliced calamari tubes and garlic into a coarse paste.


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Transfer to a bowl. Then add cheese, parsley, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine.


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Kitchen tip:

make a small patty and cook it in the pan for few minutes on both sides, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.


Make stuffed calamari: Using a small spoon, start stuffing the calamari tubes until almost full and shapely, leaving just 1/2 inch opening, pierce and secure with the toothpick.


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To blanched tomatoes: Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the bottom of each tomato, it will help to loosen the skin. Place them in rapidly boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge the tomatoes into an ice bath with the slotted spoon. Let them cool slightly, peel the skin off. Chop the tomatoes finely.

Make the sauce: Heat the oil in a large wide-sided skillet, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Then add tomatoes and sugar, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.


In a single layer, place stuffed calamari on top of the sauce, cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium-low heat.


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Make polenta: Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil, add polenta, bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve calamari either sliced on the bias or intact on a bed of polenta with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and extra serving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.

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