Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The World's Easiest Egg Casserole

My family has a go to egg casserole recipe that is exceptionally good. The only problem is that when you're invited in the morning to a potluck brunch in just a couple hours, an overnight egg casserole isn't even an option. This new egg casserole can be whipped up and baked in less than an hour! To top it off it's really fluffy and filling. I added bacon into mine but sausage or veggies would also be yummy. If you find yourself in a breakfast bind or just want a new easy egg casserole you must give this one a try! It'd be great for brinner (breakfast for dinner) too!

The World's Easiest Egg Casserole
Printable Version
8 whole eggs
1 can evaporated milk 
2 cups shredded cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard 
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon pepper 
A few dashes of Herbs de Provence (optional) 
8 slices of bacon, chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. Combine eggs, evaporated milk, and spices. 
Whisk until eggs are beaten. Stir in bacon and one cup of cheese. 
Pour into baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes, then take out of oven and top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake an additional five minutes. Cool for five minutes before cutting into squares and serving. (I also grated fresh Parmesan cheese on top at this point). 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oreo Trifle

Last week I hosted the final group Bible study that hubby and I had been participating in for several weeks. Since it was the last one, I wanted to make a special dessert and decided on a trifle because they look so pretty and impressive but are very easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Oreos are one of my guilty pleasures, so I searched for a layered Oreo Trifle and came across this one from My Stained Apron
In my haste of trying to get the house ready AND making the food, I forgot the middle layer of Oreos and therefore didn't need to use extra Oreos on the top. Everyone really enjoyed it, but I  don't think the block of cream cheese is necessary and would definitely recommend leaving it out. This dessert is super creamy and perfect for your favorite chocolate lovers. 
Oreo Trifle
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature (I recommend leaving this out!!)
2 medium containers of Cool Whip
1 large box of chocolate pudding prepared according to directions (I used 3 small boxes)
1 package of Oreos (set aside 5 cookies)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Crush the Oreos (except for five). In a bowl mix together the Oreos and melted butter. 
After preparing the chocolate pudding mix in the cream cheese and one container of cool whip. Layer the trifle dish in this order:
First half of the Oreo/butter mixture, then half of the pudding mix, 
then the remaining container of Cool Whip, 
then the last half of the Oreo mixture, then the remaining pudding mixture, and finally top of with remaining 5 Oreos (that have been crushed). 
For best results chill for a few hours or overnight before serving. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Banana Berry Mango Smoothie

Lately I have been really into smoothies. As in I make one just about every single day. I started out buying the Yoplait frozen smoothies that you just add milk into but I wanted to include different fruit and decided to have a go at my own original smoothie. Since mango is grown here on Okinawa I always have access to big, fresh mango. Unfortunately berries are hard to come by so I am just buying frozen organic berries instead.
It's a healthy, filling, quick and easy breakfast. I don't know why I neglected the smoothie for so long. What ingredients are you in your favorite smoothie??
Banana Berry Mango Smoothie
Printable Version
1 frozen banana (or fresh)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup fresh mango
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
Place all ingredients into a blender or cup of a hand blender. 
Blend until everything is smooth and to your desired consistency. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Olive Tapenade

I had never looked for, nor purchased, nor touched an anchovy before this recipe. In fact, anchovies completely weird me out. Just the thought of them make my stomach a little queasy. But this blog is called Ashley's Cooking Adventures and Alton Brown's Tapenade recipe calls for anchovies, so gosh darn it I had to conquer my fears. 
They are a little hairier and slimier than I expected and for all the build up around these little guys, I only needed one in my recipe. One. So now I have a can of anchovies in my fridge.  Every day, every single time I open the fridge I have to look at them because I can't be wasteful and just throw them out but I also can't think of another use for them (besides pizza, blech!). Do you cook with anchovies and if so, what do you use them for? 
This tapenade is worth the anchovy efforts. It's tangy, salty, and on a piece of bread it will make you think you're in Southern France (even if you're on a small island in the East China Sea). 
Olive Tapenade
From Alton Brown
Makes about 1 cup
Printable Version
1 pound pitted mixed olives (since I don't have access to a variety olives I just used Kalamata)
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed
1 small clove of garlic
2 fresh basil leaves (I used my frozen fresh basil)
1/2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Throughly rinse the olives in cool water. Place all ingredients together in the bowl of a food processor. 
Pulse to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides. Pulse again until mixture becomes a coarse paste, about 1 minute total. 
Transfer to a bowl and serve with sliced bread or crackers. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

How To Freeze Fresh Basil

Because of living on a military base in a different country I have limited access to fresh herbs and there's a definite lack of variety. Since I love cooking with fresh herbs I have decided to try growing my own so keep your fingers crossed for me! In the meantime I researched how to freeze basil in order to have it on hand when I need it and there isn't any available. This method was the best I found because it separates them into two tablespoon quantities and it is perfect for cooking. It couldn't be simpler or easier, not to mention it saves money!
How to Freeze Fresh Basil
From About.com
Printable Version

Basil Leaves
Olive Oil

Using a food processor, coarsely chop clean basil leaves. Drizzle in olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and pulse lightly so that all the leaves are coated with oil. 
This will keep the basil from turning black in the freezer. Scoop the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. 
Transfer the basil cubes to freezer bags and use as needed. One cube is equivalent to about two tablespoons fresh basil. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

I had chocolate chips sitting in my pantry for a while and when our neighbors invited us over for dinner I said I'd bring dessert. I was originally thinking of just making chocolate chip cookies, but that's just too boring, not to mention cookies take a good chunk of time to bake. So I searched for a chocolate chip cookie bar recipe but then thought, well why not add in peanut butter? Isn't chocolate and peanut butter better than just plain ol' chocolate? I had to resist eating the entire batch of dough, it is sooooo good! These cookie bars are moist, thick, and delicious. We made them even better by heating them up in the microwave and placing a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. 
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
From Bake at 350
Printable Version
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 X 8 pan. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside. Cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Beat in the sugars until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add in the flour mixture. 
By hand, stir in the chocolate chips until combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. 
Bake for 30 - 32 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Low Carb Pancakes

On the weekends when hubby is around in the mornings I love to wake up and make a big breakfast for us both to enjoy. Pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast foods but hubby isn't a big fan because he says they have too many carbs. I found this recipe for low carb pancakes on Healthy and Homemade and knew that I could entice the hubs into eating them but first I had to find coconut flour. Thankfully my store carried it, so I was good to go!
I modified the recipe a little bit, using whole eggs and adding in pecans for a little protein and crunch. They were delicious! Hubby gave them two thumbs up! Next time I think I will serve fruit on top. These pancakes are a great, healthy way to start your day.
Low Carb Pancakes 
From Healthy and Homemade
Printable Version
Makes 8 pancakes
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I used the 1/3 less fat version)
4 eggs
6 tablespoons Flax meal
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup pecans
In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and whisk to combine. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to drop your pancakes onto the skillet. Flip when golden brown on one side. 
Serve with butter and syrup. These are also great when refrigerated or frozen! :)


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