Author Archives for carlylyn29

About carlylyn29

My life: A proud railroad wife, stay-at-home mommy of two toddler boys, stylist, diy'er, home cook extraordinaire and ...sleep deprived ;) I don't quite know what possessed me to do this, but for some reason here I am. After moving out of state for my husbands job, away from family and everything I knew and loved, I turned to an old love of cooking to pass the time. One thing led to another and I found out I was pretty good at it AND had fun at the same time. Win-win right??! Sooo after a couple years of talking about 'blogging' (wish I would of started when I originally said so) I decided to take the leap! Almost a full time job in itself. So with two toddler boys, bear with me if you see a high chair, toys or a blurry two-year-old running in the background of some of my pics... That's life!!

McMuffin Casserole

The Egg McMuffin: hands down, a favorite amongst most American’s for breakfast.  My only problem is on the weekends, I like to sleep in.  Waking up soooo early during the week to get my two young boys ready for their school day is always hectic and definitely not our favorite time.  Soooo, since I try not to be up early enough for breakfast on Saturday or Sunday, you can imagine I also try not to leave the house pre-noon.

So here we have it!!  The breakfast casserole that will keep with you in your bed a bit longer and keeps the same flavor as our fast-food favorite!  I, personally, love to assemble this before my late night trip to bed (remember, for me, it’s a Friday or Saturday night) and pop in the fridge until my boys do their “yell at the video game screen to wake mom from her sweet slumber” move.

Serve warm alongside some crispy, hash brown oval patties (a la McD’s) and a cup of fresh fruit and you, my friend, have yourself a winner!

*Can easily substitute cooked breakfast sausage for the Canadian bacon.

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 package English muffins, lightly toasted, split and torn into 1-2″ pieces
  • 1 package Canadian bacon, rough chopped
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 5 slices American cheese, torn
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter

Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread half of the lightly toasted and torn English muffins in the bottom of the dish; sprinkle over the Canadian bacon, 1 cup of the shredded cheddar and the torn American cheese.  Top with the remaining English muffins.

In a large bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Pour over the English muffin mix and sprinkle on the remaining cup of cheddar cheese.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 12.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter and pour over the “soaked” casserole.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes prior to serving.

mcmuffincasserole

Chiles Relleno Breakfast Casserole

Classic chiles rellenos are a bit tricky and time consuming to make, especially if making for a crowd.  Now while this may not be the traditional dipped, battered and lightly fried at the perfect temperature, this recipe gives you the same flavor and is a breeze compared!  Plus, it is still served with that perfectly seasoned thin tomato sauce that is a must have and is a bit lighter given the “no fry” here.

So give this a whirl for your next brunch or south-of-the-border craving!

The Starting Lineup

  • 8 fresh poblano peppers
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage (can sub chorizo), cooked
  • 1 cup cotija cheese (can sub feta)
  • 1 tsp each: cumin, Mexican oregano, kosher salt
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack/ and or cheddar cheese, shredded

 

STEP 1:  Char the poblano chiles over an open flame or under the broiler.  Transfer to a paper bag (close) or a bowl topped with plastic wrap and allow to steam for 15 minutes.  Once done, gently remove the blackened skins, slice vertically (without cutting all the way through) and scrape the seeds out.  Set aside.

STEP 2:  Meanwhile, in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil till softened, about 5 minutes, then add in the garlic for another minute.

Next, add in the tomatoes, gently breaking up with your hand or a wooden spoon.  Stir in the cumin, Mexican oregano and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer, set to low for 15-20 minutes and remove from heat to cool.  The sauce should be the consistency of a thin spaghetti sauce, not too thick.  If so, add a bit of chicken broth or water to thin.

STEP 3:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish ladle in the prepared and cooled sauce.  In a large bowl, mix together the cooked breakfast sausage/chorizo with the cotija cheese and 1 cup of your shredded cheese. Stuff each poblano chile with the sausage-cheese mixture, it’s ok if it spills out a bit.  Place your stuffed poblano peppers overtop the sauce.

STEP 4:  In a large bowl, beat the dozen eggs and then whisk in the flour, baking powder and a hefty pinch of salt.  Pour the eggs over top the stuffed chiles and sauce.  Top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees until eggs are just set.  Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Serve with fresh fruit and warm tortillas if desired.  Enjoy!

ChileRellenoCasserole

 

Rockin’ NYE Ribeye Crostini

As always, the days are long, but the years go fast, and this one is just about up!  While even myself is just about ‘over’ cooking all of these extravagant holiday meals (kind of), I figure we opt for finger foods for our last hoorah!

Until next time, “we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for the sake of auld lang syne.”  A very Happy New Year to you! xo

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless ribeye steak
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 bakery French baguette, 1/2″ slices. lightly toasted
  • Red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Chives, chopped, but kept a bit long
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, prepared horseradish, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard; season with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high-heat until nice and hot.  Rub the steak with oil, salt and pepper till desired doness, making sure to rest about 10 minutes prior to slicing.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain and arrange on the toasted baguette slices.  Top with a dollop of the horseradish cream you made prior, a slice of red onion and a chives.  Enjoy and Happy New Year!!

RibeyeCrostini

Creamy Crockpot Cocoa

It’s that time again!!  Today is the first day of winter in 2018 and we could all use a cup of rich, velvety hot cocoa!  It does not matter if you’re in the northern blankets of snow or the southern “cold” 60-degree temperature.  A large mug of hot chocolate really brings the season to life!

The Starting Lineup

  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Marshmallows, peppermint candy canes, whipped cream (Garnish)

 

To your crockpot, add all the above ingredients, cover and set on low, stirring ever so often till combined, 2-3 hours.  Set on warm and serve with your favorite accompaniment’s.

This makes about 12 large mugs/24 smaller cups.  It can easily be doubled for a large party.  Enjoy!

HotCocoa

 

Southwest Flank Steak Chili & Grits

My days growing up in hot & spicy Arizona has met our southern grit life here in the south with this one!  All of the flavors of a traditional chili soaked up into yummy, bacon and cheese loaded grits.  The juxtaposition of textures and flavors is on point with this recipe!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-3/4 lbs flank steak
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 14oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4oz can green chilis, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup American-cheddar blend cheese, shredded (pepper jack or cheddar works too)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Prepared grits (I loaded ours up with green onion, bacon crumbles and cheese)

 

To your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the tomatoes, pinto beans, green chiles and jalapeno.  Roughly tear 2 of the corn tortillas up and add to the liquid mixture.

Butterfly the flank steak horizontally, without cutting all the way through (opening like a book).  Lightly pound the steak until about 1/4 inch thick.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 Tablespoon of the chili powder and 1 teaspoon of the cumin.  Press the cheese over the steak in an even layer, followed by the cilantro and arrange the last 2 of the corn tortillas over top, overlapping if needed.  Starting with the long side, roll up into log-form/pinwheel and tie with kitchen twine; tuck ends in and tie lengthwise as well.  Transfer your steak pinwheel to the slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top.  Cover and set to low for 7 hours.  *Add corn in 30 minutes prior to eating.

Remove the steak and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice into pretty pinwheel medallions and serve over loaded, bacon’y, cheesy grits with a ladle of the slow cooker juices and vegetables over top!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

ChileGrits

Pumpkin, Bacon & Sage Alfredo Gnocchi

This creamy, smoky recipe is the ultimate Fall-inspired adult dish.  We all have seen pumpkin used in just about every which way (after all, it’s Fall y ‘all!), but I’d like to incorporate its savory side to the mix.  So what a better way to introduce it than to fluffy pillows of gnocchi and crispy bacon and sage!

So before you’re on the couch this Thanksgiving, enjoying that pumpkin pie and the 5th replay of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation that day (I know I’m not the only one), try this dinner out.  You will impress!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (17.6oz) packages gnocchi, cooked to package directions (or a 16oz pckg pasta of choice)
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 12 sage leaves, fresh/chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups Half & Half
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup pasta water (optional, to thin)

 

Cook your gnocchi (or pasta preference) to package directions, drain in colander and set aside.  *Keep a 1/2 cup of pasta water before you drain, in case the sauce gets too thick.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, crisp up the chopped bacon.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

In that same skillet, add the butter and onions, sauté for 6-7 minutes.  Turn to medium-low and add the garlic and sage leaves for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn.

To the onions and herbs, spoon in the pumpkin puree, plus the half & half and parmesan cheese; whisk until smooth and creamy.  *Add pasta water, if needed.

Lastly, add in the cooked gnocchi/pasta and most of the bacon (reserve a bit for garnish); gently combine.  Serve with the extra bacon crumbles, sage and parmesan cheese.

*The same amount of gnocchi produces about half of the volume of pasta.  Hence the 2 packages of gnocchi vs 1 package of noodles.  ….science…

PumpkinBaconSageGnocchi

Pot Pie Potatoes

I am fairly certain that baked potatoes were made for ‘stuffing’.  Growing up with Midwest roots, we had this side dish quite often, and always, always loaded up with butter and sour cream.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing un-tasty about that, especially accompanied with bacon, cheese and chives, but why not something else?!  Let’s change it up!

Since it has been quite rainy here in Texas and the weather has cooled to proper Fall temps, all I have been craving is good, old-fashioned, comfort food!  Given my husband and oldest son are suckers for chicken pot pie, I just had to put the two together!  I chose our favorite, standard pot pie vegetables, but feel free to add green beans or corn or heck, buy a large bag of frozen veggies and be done with it!  *Just add the frozen veggies towards the end.  The other ‘best part’ of this meal is not having to worry about the crust!  If you MUST, feel free to serve it alongside warm biscuits (very yummmmmmy), but I actually liked just the warm potato for a change.  Plus the potato skin crisp’s up beautifully in the oven!

This delicious, home-style recipe is even easy enough for the work week!  Just throw all the ingredients into your slow cooker and set to low.  When you return home in the evening, bake the potatoes and bam!! dinner is served!

 

*If you have the time, by all means make your own “cream of” soup with flour, butter and cream/milk and add to the slow-cooker.  They also make great gluten-free cream soup’s now that can be substituted as well! 🙂 

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 6 large, russet potatoes, baked (scrubbed clean, coated in extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt – baked directly on rack in 375 degree oven until fork tender, about 40-50 minutes.)
  • 2-3 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2′ cubes
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 26oz low-sodium cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf *remove prior to serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • *cornstarch/milk slurry to thicken at the end, optional

 

Spray or line your slow cooker for easy cleanup.  Lay in the prepped vegetables (besides the frozen peas) and the cubed chicken breasts.  Pour in the soup and the chicken broth, stir together.  Lastly, stir in the seasonings.  Set to low for 7 hours.

About 1 hour before dinner, preheat your oven and bake your potatoes till for tender.  You can also stir in the frozen peas to your chicken pot pie mixture.

When the potatoes are ready, slice vertically, careful not to cut all of the way through.  *I like to scoop out a bit of the potato flesh, but to each their own.  Ladle a large helping of your pot pie mix into the hot potato and enjoy!

PotPiePotatoes

 

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