Sunday, March 4, 2012

It’s My Party and I’ll Eat If I Want To…

Yesterday was my 28th birthday, and originally I had very simple plans for the day.  I wanted breakfast in bed, movies in bed, and to have my husband’s complete and undivided attention from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep.  However, after fielding many questions about my birthday plans, I decided to share my day with a few other friends while watching the Blues hockey game and a cult classic, Slapshot, starring another food icon: Paul Newman. 

Mr. Newman actually released at least 3 cookbooks in his life: Newman’s Own Cookbook, Shameless Exploitation, and The Hole in the Wall Gang Cookbook, all of which he co-wrote with A. E. Hotchner.  (On a side note to any male readers, there is nothing sexier than a man who cooks!)
We started with a one of my absolute favorite brunches: ham and cheese quiche!  As it were, I actually taught my husband to make this dish yesterday morning. 

Ham and Cheese Quiche

*4 eggs
*2 cups milk
*1 cup Bisquick
*1 pkg. shredded Colby Jack cheese
*Approx. 6 oz. ham, cubed (We like Double G brand)
*Salt and pepper to taste

Spread the ham and cheese over the bottom of a greased 9” round baking pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and milk, then add the Bisquick, salt and pepper.  (I always use twice as much pepper as salt.)
Pour the Bisquick mixture over the ham and cheese, and bake at 350° for an hour.  Allow 5 mins. to cool before serving.

You should wind up with something that looks like this:
Then, I chose a mutually favored dish for dinner – crispy Italian beef – accompanied by an old favorite of mine, but somewhat uncharted territory for my husband – cheesy spinach casserole.  Usually, we serve our Italian beef with spaghetti noodles covered in butter, garlic, and parmesan, but since I was pleasantly surprised by a 7-lb. weight loss (according to my scale) yesterday, I thought it best to skip the extra carbs.  You could always serve the pasta with a Caesar salad and skip dessert though.  (We also like to indulge in Cole’s garlic bread from time to time as well.)

Crispy Italian Beef (also known as Sicilian Steak or Bistecca Siciliano)

*1 pkg. cubed round steak
*Italian bread crumbs
*Vegetable oil or EVOO
*Parmesan cheese
*Lemon juice

Cut the round steak into single serving sized pieces.
Pour oil into one bowl, and 4 parts bread crumbs with 1 part parmesan in a separate bowl.
Dip the steaks into the oil, then into the bread crumb mixture.
Place in a 9x13” casserole dish, and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over each steak.
Bake at 350° for 50 mins. uncovered.

Cheesy Spinach Casserole

*1 pkg. frozen spinach, drained
*8 oz. large curd cottage cheese
*½ pkg. Colby Jack cheese
*3 eggs
*⅓ stick of butter, melted
*3 tbsp. flour
*Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the butter and flour in a mixing bowl.
Add the eggs, cottage cheese, and Colby Jack.
When this is thoroughly combined, add the spinach, but don’t over mix this or the spinach will break down.
Add salt and pepper to taste.  (I always use twice as much pepper as salt.)
Spread into a greased 9x9” casserole dish.
Bake at 350° for an hour covered.

You should wind up with something that looks like this:
And finally, for the pièce de résistance: salted caramel brownies!

Salted Caramel Brownies

*1 box Duncan Hines Double Fudge brownies (with ingredients on back)
*1 bag of Rolo candies
*Sea salt
*Cupcake papers

*3 ½ cups powdered sugar
*1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
*4 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
*1 tbsp. vanilla
*Caramel ice cream topping
*Sugar crystals

Prepare the brownie batter in a mixing bowl.
Place cupcake papers in a standard muffin tin.
Pour batter into the papers to approx. full, and place an unwrapped Rolo in the center of the brownie.  
Add a pinch of sea salt to the top of the caramel, then bake at 350° for 28 mins.  (This should yield approx. 14 brownies.)
While brownies are cooling, combine butter, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl, then add powdered sugar in small increments.  (Otherwise, you will wind up with a dust storm in your kitchen.)
Ice brownies when cool, then top with caramel sauce and sugar.

You should wind up with something that looks like this:
So, I didn’t get to be waited on hand and foot, but I suppose that was my own fault.  However, if I’d stuck to my original plan, I wouldn’t have gotten to spend some much needed time with some of my favorite people!  And for the record, the Blues won 3-1 last night!  Stanley Cup, here we come!


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