Category: Meal Ideas

mother’s day brunch: chili cheese puff & asparagus tart.

Recipes, Fresh Scratch

One of my favorite days of the year is right around the corner.

Mother’s Day and my birthday are the only two days a year that I completely take off from everything. I sleep in, I don’t cook, I don’t do laundry, I read “Sunset” magazine on the couch in the sunshine {my kids ask me what I’m doing and if I’m okay, but still.}. This year, it actually falls on my daughter Annabelle’s birthday. Since that apple didn’t fall too far from this tree, she suggested we spend the day together reading at one of our favorite spots. It’s a date!

You? Maybe you’re hosting. Maybe you’re going to someone’s house for brunch. Maybe you need to bring a dish.

May I help you?

Because half of this idea I have can be assembled the night before. The other part is super-simple. Sound promising? Hope so.

And a Happy Birthday this weekend to my friend Chris, who shared this casserole recipe with our entire book club years ago. It was her grandma’s, and this girl comes from a line of people who make good stuff that gets passed down. Love that!

Before we get started, a tip: don’t try to make this low-fat, okay? Just enjoy the dang thing. It is, after all, Mother’s Day. And whether you have children or not, you deserve to enjoy this dish in its full glory. I’m sure of it.

chili cheese puff ingredients

Chili Cheese Puff
Serves 12
Eggs. Cheese. Green Chilis. Oh, my.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 10 eggs
  2. 9x13 casserole pan (don't use stoneware, or it'll take forever and a day to bake)
  3. half cup of flour
  4. half tsp. salt
  5. 1 tsp. baking powder
  6. half cup of melted butter (one stick)
  7. 1 pint cottage cheese
  8. 8 oz. diced green chilis
  9. 1 lb. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. 3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix. It will be lumpy. Chill out.
  4. 4. Pour in the melted butter and mix.
  5. 5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cottage cheese, the chilis, and the cheese.
  6. 6. Butter your pan.
  7. 7. Pour mixture into greased pan. At this point, you can refrigerate it and bake it the next morning, if you want - one of many things to love about this little number!
  8. 8. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the dish is firmed-up.
Notes
  1. Cut into squares and enjoy with salsa on top...or not. This dish is one egg dish that is awesome reheated as leftovers, just to keep the happy, butter-laden times going.
Fresh Scratch http://freshscratch.net/
And for a little bit of vegetable to go with all that egg and cheese, how about an asparagus tart? Asparagus is at its peek right now, so enjoy it while you can! Just remember to trim the ends a centimeter or so once you’ve gotten a bunch of it home, then plunge it into a cup of water. It’ll keep like that in your fridge for a few days, staying nice and crisp.

When it’s time to use it, simply bend each stalk and let them snap at a natural breaking point. Keep the top end and compost the bottom.

Fresh Scratch, Asparagus Tart, Mother's DayThis tart can be made free-form on a pizza pan or cookie sheet {just be sure to put down some parchment first}, in a long, rectangular tart pan, or in a circular tart pan.

I’ve made this a bunch of times this spring, including last month when I hosted our book club.

Book Club, Fresh ScratchThese are some of my favorite mamas! I was the last one to have kids in this particular group, so they paved the way for me, in many respects. They gobbled up that asparagus tart, just so you know.

And if you’re curious about what we read…well, I gave no homework. We just came ready to talk about whatever book we’d recently had our nose in. I loved it!

Asparagus Tart
An easy, delicious addition to any springtime meal.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pre-made, flat pie crust {the one in Trader Joe's freezer section is my fave. It has big chunks of butter in it and everyone thinks I made it myself! Don't tell my secret.}
  2. 8 oz. whole-milk mozzarella {the really dry kind, not the fresh, wet kind}
  3. 1 lb. of asparagus, ends snapped off
  4. Olive oil
  5. Pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 2. Roll out dough to fit your pan - a tart pan may need the dough folded over onto itself before rolling. Fit it into the pan or onto the parchment if using a cookie sheet or pizza pan. Make a raised border, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake until nice and golden, about 12 minutes.
  3. 3. Line the tart with thinly sliced mozzarella {or experiment with other cheeses}.
  4. 4. Toss the asparagus pieces with a drizzle of olive oil. Arrange them on top of the cheese.
  5. 5. Bake tart for 15 minutes, until cheese is definitely melted and the crust has browned at the edges.
  6. 6. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Notes
  1. The great thing about a tart like this is that it will feed as many people as you'd like it to, depending on how big you cut it.
Adapted from "Sunset" Magazine
Adapted from "Sunset" Magazine
Fresh Scratch http://freshscratch.net/

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

Happy Birthday, Chris {she’s a mom of three girls!}!

monday meal madness.

Monday Meal Madness, fresh scratch

Monday is the day when I share what we’ve been rustlin’ up for dinner around the homestead during the past week.

Our kitchen has been hopping lately as we snuggle into these early, dark evenings. I kind of love it. Our weather has been clear and bracingly cold, and somehow that makes me want to fill our house with good smells from the kitchen. The cold weather invites a lot of nesting, I suppose.

Here’s what’s been cooking:

roast chicken with sweet potatoes, fresh scratch, monday meal madness, amy penningtonI love how hands-off a roasted chicken is.

We went on an adventure to Snoqualmie Falls in the Cascade Mountains for most of the day on Veteran’s Day last week, but arrived home in time to roast up this beauty. After I threw it in the oven, I had time to catch up on the little tasks that didn’t happen earlier since we were gone, and also to prepare us for heading back to school the next day. Love that!

You can find my recipe for the roast chicken here. It’s inspired by Amy Pennington’s from her first cookbook, Fresh Pantry: Eat Seasonally, Cook Smart, & Learn to Love Your Vegetables. Amy helped me become more fearless in the kitchen by teaching me how to make jam, so I think she’s pretty dang awesome.

I split sweet potatoes into quarters length-wise, salted them, and nestled them around the chicken before roasting it. After I pulled the chicken out to carve it, I tossed the sweet potatoes with the juices in the pan before serving.

Oh em goodness.

burritoes, fresh scratch, monday meal madnessMr. Fresh Scratch used some refried beans we pulled out of the freezer in these delicious burritos. These Americanized little gems are pretty much my favorite meal.

Click here for the recipe I use for refried beans – so easy!

black bean enchiladasA little blurry, but still delicious: black bean enchiladas. I took pictures of the whole process this time so that I can finally share the recipe with you in a later post, don’t worry!

My recipe for beans in the slow cooker is right here. I made a big batch last week, and now my freezer is stocked with a few portions of them. Love that!

I also switched enchilada sauce. The one from Trader Joe’s was just too spicy for my girls. I found a nice, mild, organic one at my co-op that made them better than ever. My kids not only ate them that night, but also as leftovers for lunch the next day. Plus, I was much happier about the list of ingredients. Love it when that happens!

pulled pork Jack fries, slow cooker pulled pork, The Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from my Frontier, Monday Meal Madness, Fresh ScratchOn Sunday I got up before the sun and struck out on an adventure {or was it a misadventure?} with my friend Emily out in the wilderness in the very, very cold air. It was so lovely to come home from our crazy morning spent hunting for an abandoned train trestle in the middle of a forest {more on that soon!} to the smell of pulled pork in the slow cooker.

The Mister used Ree’s recipe from her first cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, and then put it on top of homemade fries. He topped it with Jack cheese and barbecue sauce. Wow!

**not pictured: Matt also made his go-to macaroni and cheese one night :).

Is your slow-cooker getting a work-out these days? What’s your favorite trick to use it for? Do tell.