Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stuffed Italian Bread

Stuffed Italian Bread…who woulda thunk it? But when I first saw this recipe online, I knew it would be awesome. For one thing, I LOVE bread! And for another thing, it involves onions, garlic, and cheese! Be still my beating heart! I knew I had to try this, and I was sure the family would like it, and was I ever right. It was really good and well worth the effort.

One thing worth mentioning is this: you really don’t need to have fresh baked Italian bread; since it’s going to be baked after preparing, using day old reduced price will be fine, and save you some coinage. No one will be able to tell the difference.

Also, the Dijon mustard lends a bit of a tangy taste to the finished dish. It’s not unpleasant, but if you don’t relish that sort of flavor, you may want to leave out the Dijon mustard.

So, first things first. Mince the garlic, onion, and parsley.

Using a grater, shred the sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses.

Using a bread knife, slice the loaf of Italian bread by cutting diagonally one way, almost to the bottom, and then slicing diagonally again the other way. Place the loaf on a large piece of aluminum foil.

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a bowl. Then mix in the onion, garlic, parsley, Dijon mustard, and poppy seeds.

Using a spoon, pour the butter mixture into the cracks of the sliced Italian bread. I found that it worked best if I used one hand to sort of pull apart a row of “cubed” bread and the other hand to pour the butter mixture in. I went row by row, and then used the rest to pour on top of the loaf as a whole.

Sprinkle the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses into the cracks and on the top just like with the butter mixture. Your hands will get a little messy doing this, but, you know, it’s worth it. ;)

Place another large piece of aluminum foil on top loosely, and seal by crimping the edges of the bottom and top pieces together. You don’t want the foil to be tight or touching the top of the cheesy Italian bread, because when it’s done and you remove the foil, it will have stuck to the cheese and pull it off. So keep the foil loose and not touching the top of the loaf.

Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes. Remove the top aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

Stuffed Italian Bread

1 loaf Italian bread
1 stick butter
2 Tbl olive oil
3 tsp. minced onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. poppy seeds
3 tsp. chopped parsley
12 oz. shredded cheese
   (cheddar and Monterey jack)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Greek Burger Calzone

My favorite calzone is definitely the original that I posted, You're Entering the CALZONE . But a definite second has to be the Greek Burger Calzone. I got the idea for it because many years ago, as a teen, I had taken a German class at MIT the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school, and while there, a friend and I would take a bus and then walk over to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market in the heart of Boston MA. The food stands were numerous and diverse, and one was a Greek place that sold what they called Greek Aegean Fare burgers. These consisted of a flat bread with ground hamburg and diced tomatoes and onions with crumbled Feta cheese. They were hot, greasy, and delicious. Every time I went to class, I stopped at that stand and got one for lunch. I was hooked.

In re-creating the recipe for a calzone, I came up with a winner, I think. Everyone loved it, anyway. ;) It was juicy and delicious, and not even as greasy as the burgers I had gotten at Faneuil Hall in Boston. I think you’ll like it too!

So, let’s get cooking!

First, you’ll either have to buy pizza dough, or make it yourself. You can find the recipe for homemade pizza dough here: Pizza! It makes enough for 2.

If you are using fresh ground beef, you’ll need to brown it, drain off the grease, and even wash it with hot water to remove any extra grease. I buy ground beef in bulk and brown it, then split it up into meal-sized portions in freezer bags and freeze. That way it’s ready to use.

While the hamburg is browning, dice the tomatoes and onions, and mince the garlic.

Press out the dough to a rectangle about 16” by 12”. I very lightly grease the table, and also my hands, with some shortening.

Sprinkle half of the cheddar (or mozzarella if you’d like) and feta cheeses on the lower half of the dough.

Layer on the hamburg, then the onions, the minced garlic, and then the tomatoes. Evenly sprinkle on the remaining half of the cheeses on top of it all.

Fold over the top of the dough and seal tightly. Place on a greased sheet pan. It takes two people to do this, and you need to place it diagonally in order to fit.

Bake in a 425° oven for 18 minutes, until lightly brown on top. Slice and serve. I use a rotary pizza cutter. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Greek Burger Calzone
     (for 1; about 8 slices)

1 pizza dough
½ lb browned hamburg
½ medium onion
3 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
2 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
     (or mozzarella if you’d like)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

This recipe is one that I found on a blog called Baking in a Tornado. With blueberries coming into season soon, I thought this would be a tasty treat to try out. I love this kind of homey casserole dish for a brunch. It looks good and tastes even better. I hope you’ll like it too.

By the way, I did adjust the original recipe as I saw fit. And it called for frozen French toast, but I made my own instead.

To make your own French toast, beat 2 eggs in a pie pan or similar wide flat container. Add ¾ c. milk, ½ tsp. vanilla, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.

Dip the bread into the mixture and cook on a greased, heated griddle. Flip when browned on the bottom.

Grease a 7X9” baking dish. Spread softened cream cheese on the slices of French toast, about ¼” thick. Place 4 slices in the baking dish, cream cheese side up. Cut in half or quarters as needed to cover the bottom of the pan.

Dry the blueberries as best you can with a paper towel or kitchen towel after you’ve washed them. Sprinkle them evenly over the bottom layer of French toast.

Place the remaining 4 slices of French toast on top in the same manner as the first layer, but with cream cheese side down.

Beat the 6 eggs well and add the 1 c. milk, mixing thoroughly. Pour over the casserole.

You can cover and let sit for several hours to have at supper time, or let it sit overnight and have it in the morning. When you’re ready for it, bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake for 10 more minutes and check again.

Serve with maple syrup and powdered sugar if you like. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

8 slices French toast
     (2 eggs, ¾ c milk)
1 pint blueberries
6 oz. cream cheese
6 eggs
1 c milk