Breakfast Bites: Mozzarella Meatball Frittata

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Another weekend down and another snowstorm to emerge from (relatively) unscathed. Here in New England we got a one-two punch- an overnight storm on Friday/Saturday and another one last night into this morning, Spring may be on the way- but Winter is not going to go down without a fight!

With all the snow, ice, and bitterly cold temperatures- I wanted to cook up something this past weekend that would warm me up from the inside out and keep me fueled for all the shoveling and for getting through my plans that were unfortunately pushed together and sort of rushed with all the weather delays (including helping one of my best friends move to her new house and unpack, stopping in Northampton for theater-related work, and squeezing in some pampering for myself!)

I love a good egg recipe- and frittatas are one of my favorites. This one in particular, which incorporates meatballs and a couple different kinds of cheeses- takes about 20 minutes total to prep and cook- making it perfect for those of you on the go who want a tasty, hassle-free breakfast or brunch dish to serve!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons slivered basil leaves
  • ½ pound meatballs (cut in half if more than 1 inch in diameter)
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, preferably fresh, cut into ½-inch chunks

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large ovenproof and preferably nonstick skillet, heat ½ tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the tomato juices are viscous and glossy, about 2 minutes. Pour the tomatoes onto a plate and use a silicone spatula to scrape any sticky tomato juices onto the plate as well.
  3. Whisk the eggs until well blended, then mix in the Parmesan and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Place the meatballs in the pan, cut sides down if they have been halved. Evenly sprinkle in the tomatoes. Pour in the egg mixture, using a fork to evenly redistribute the tomatoes or basil if necessary. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly across the top. Cook until the edge of the frittata starts to set, then use a silicone spatula to pull the cooked egg away from the side of the pan a bit, letting the raw egg flow behind it. Repeat a few times and cook until the eggs are almost set around the perimeter of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  5. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the eggs are just set in the center and the top is dappled with toasty brown patches, about 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 1 minute to help set the top and to foster bubbly, toasted cheese bites.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven. The frittata is easiest to remove from the pan after resting for 5 minutes. Slide the spatula underneath to loosen, then cover the skillet with a large plate or pizza pan and invert the frittata onto it. Flip the frittata one more time onto a serving plate or cutting board so it is right side up.

You know a recipe is good when my brother- a somewhat picky eater who happened to stop by shortly after I’d prepared this- really liked it! It’s filling and loaded with so many delicious flavors (the tomato and garlic stand out to me the most) that work wonderfully together.

Next time I prepare this, I think I may incorporate some red pepper and maybe some onion, as well- just to add more vegetables to the mix!

And now, with a new week just starting- I’m off to shovel, try to get some work done at my office, probably shovel some more- and then curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good book a little later on tonight!

Stay warm out there, everyone- and enjoy your Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Chicken and Snap Pea Stir-Fry

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

In the midst of wrapping up my end-of-the-month “To Do” checklist at my office, booking a vacation to the West Coast near the end of September, and soaking up as much sun as possible during my lunch breaks and after work since it’s been pretty hot out these past few days- I’ve also been whipping up the last of my favorite Summertime recipes before it’s time to skim through the Autumn cookbooks again.

This 10 minute recipe- infused with soy sauce, garlic and plenty of vegetables- is a quick, easy and delicious side dish to serve up at your Labor Day Weekend cookout this coming weekend.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2½ cups snap peas
  • 1¼ cups boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus more for finishing
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for finishing

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and snap peas, and sauté until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and cook until it is golden and fully cooked and the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha (if using) and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cilantro, then garnish with a sprinkle of extra cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

I kept a couple of separate dishes with the sesame seeds and cilantro on the side so that my friends could garnish their plates with as much/little as they wanted- and kept some extra soy sauce within reach for those who wanted more of a kick to their chicken and vegetables.

Overall, this was a hit- and it’s not overly filling which meant I could still scoop some macaroni salad and grab an ear of corn during the BBQ and not feel stuffed.

I’m off to get some work done, but I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! I’ll be back here bright and early on Friday morning to bid a proper farewell to August, and to Summer 2018!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: 15-Minute Skillet Pepper Steak

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend! Celebrate!

Today is my half day at work, and then once I’m out of my office- it’s off to lunch in the city with some friends and getting a jump start on my plans for the next couple of days. Not that I’m counting down to noon or anything, right?

Before I wrap up a couple of things I put off until the last possible minute and race out the door-I thought I’d share a quick, mess-free and pretty convenient recipe for those of you who- like me- are doing their best to savor the last of these final Summer days with as many backyard BBQs and cookouts with friends/family as you can fit into your schedule!

If you’ve got 15 minutes to spare and some steak and vegetables on hand, you can whip up this on-the-fly dinner recipe with no hassle and feed everyone in no time at all!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 12 ounces top round beef, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or other neutral oil), divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ white onion, thinly slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds, as needed for finishing (this is completely optional. I skipped using these this time around because I didn’t want them to get stuck in my teeth!)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak to the skillet and stir-fry until browned on the exterior but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer the steak to a medium bowl. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and crushed red-pepper flakes. Toss well to combine.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion in an even layer. Cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  4. Push the peppers and onion to one side of the skillet and return the steak to the other side of the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir the garlic into the peppers and cook for 1 minute more.
  5. Garnish the steak with scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

I’m a carnivore through and through- and I love burgers, steaks, chicken wings, etc. during the Summer. The steak was filled with so much flavor- and I added a little extra soy sauce to the vegetables after the fact to give them an additional kick, as well.

This dinner was filling for sure- but afterwards I didn’t feel gross or like I ate too much. It was just the right portion size!

I’d actually like to incorporate some grilled corn (my favorite!) the next time I cook up this recipe for guests in order to add even more flavors and textures to it. You can’t really go wrong with the vegetable choices, after all!

But I’ve got to head out and get to work. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your Fri-yay and a fantastic weekend!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Pesto Zoodles

Good Morning, everyone! It’s officially Hump Day!

I was really excited to share this recipe I whipped up this past weekend for a quick outdoor brunch with friends, because not only is it a healthier alternative to regular pasta (which I love, don’t get me wrong)– but it’s also really flavorful and super easy to make!

You can buy “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) pre-made in the produce section at most grocery stores, but if you want to make them the old fashioned way- you can pick up an easy to use and inexpensive spiral vegetable slicer like THIS ONE. I use mine to make zucchini noodles, summer squash noodles, and butternut squash noodles for my Fall/Autumn recipes!

But let’s get back to this very tasty- and very green dish- that only takes about 20-25 minutes to prep and cook!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE PESTO:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

ZOODLES:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 zucchini, cut into noodles
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • Parmesan cheese curls, as needed for garnish
  • Red-pepper flakes, as needed for garnish (optional)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE PESTO: In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, garlic, pine nuts and grated Parmesan until coarsely chopped.
  2. With the food processor running, add the olive oil gradually and mix until the pesto is a thick paste. Add more olive oil as needed to adjust the consistency. Add salt and pepper.
  3. MAKE THE ZOODLES: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the pesto and toss until the noodles are well coated.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with Parmesan curls and red-pepper flakes, if using, to taste.

What I loved most about this dish, apart from the taste- was that I didn’t feel overly full or stuffed after I ate a plate of it. I was satisfied and comfortable- and didn’t need to take a three hour nap while it sat in my stomach before I could feel energized or productive again. The zoodles were refreshing, filling- and delicious!

I’m looking forward to re-making this with a creamy Alfredo sauce in place of the pesto sauce at some point within the next week. I bet it’s going to be so good!

Here’s hoping you all have a terrific Wednesday! I’m off to work!

P.S. – Have you entered my Beach Giveaway?

xx

– Ashley –

Comfort Food: Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread with Tomatoes and Green Onions

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! I know it’s pretty hot around here lately (and probably everywhere else, too!) but I’ve got another skillet recipe for you all if you can stand a little extra heat in your kitchen for about 30-45 minutes. I promise that it’ll be worth it, though. This recipe is a good one!

I love cornbread- especially when it’s homemade and served hot- but sometimes it can taste a little dry or bland all by itself. When I saw this slightly modified version, which loads up the classic recipe with a couple of different flavors and textures in the form of some unexpected vegetables instead of just corn kernels- which I’ve seen done in the past- I knew I had to give it a try.

I served this as a side dish with a meal I prepared for friends this past weekend as a substitute for standard dinner rolls, and it went over really well!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease an oven-safe 9-inch skillet with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, cooled melted butter and eggs; whisk well.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and smooth into an even layer.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the scallions, olive oil, salt and pepper to combine. Pour the tomato mixture on top of the corn bread batter.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

This cornbread was rich and that m word that ends in “oist” that I refuse to say because it’s one of the worst words in the English language- but this WAS that word. The onions and the tomatoes were also still juicy after cooking this up and gave each bite some additional flavors that were much-appreciated. I’d like to try making this again and maybe add some green peppers to the recipe, as well.

I had a small amount left over that I’ll be enjoying for a mid-morning snack in a couple of hours, since this cornbread is appropriate for any time of day!

xx

– Ashley –