The Hot Italian Deli Sandwich

IMG_0986Try my take on this classic sandwich!  It’s fresh, spicy, crispy, and gooey all at once!

A sandwich is quite simply my favorite form of food.  I truly believe that there is an art to sandwich making.  Sandwiches at home do not have to be boring.  I like to shop for in the deli and bakery section for my sandwich ingredients.  It is so much cheaper and the quality is better!  I like to grab deli meat and cheese by the slice and I also like to grab fresh made sandwich rolls for $0.25 each from the store’s bakery.  The recipe I’m sharing today is for two 6 inch sandwiches and only cost about $5 to make.  If you were to order 2 of these at a restaurant they would be at least $5 a piece!

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Ingredients:

-fresh basil leaves

– 2 slices provolone

-6 slices pepperoni

-6 slices Genoa salami

-4 slices prosciutto

-mayo (made with olive oil is my preference)

-2, 6 inch sandwich rolls (white or wheat)

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Cut rolls into halves.

Spread mayo on the inside of each half of bread.

Place 5-6 basil leaves on one half, then a slice of provolone.

On the other half, place 3 slices pepperoni, 3 slices salami, and 2 slices of prosciutto.

Repeat..

Place the sandwich halves open faced on a cookie sheet and let bake in the oven for approx. 6-8 minutes.  When cheese is fully melted and the edges of the bread are golden, it’s done!

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Butterfinger Cream Cheese Pie

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I’ve seen this recipe floating around a couple of different places and finally decided to try it!  If you like cream cheese and Butterfingers you will enjoy this pie!  It only has 4 ingredients!  I think next time I make it, I’ll add 2 tbsp of chocolate syrup to the filling!

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Ingredients:

-1 graham cracker pie crust (you can use either chocolate or original)

-8 oz package of cream cheese, softened

-8 oz tub of Cool Whip

-16 mini Butterfingers, crushed

Directions:

Use a hand mixer to beat the softened cream cheese until it is smooth.

Fold in the tub of cool whip until fully combined.

Fold in 1 cup of the crushed Butterfingers.

Scoop filling into the pie crust and smooth out.

Top the pie with the remaining crushed Butterfingers.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.  This pie can also be frozen!

Tried it and Liked it- Croissant French Toast with Homemade Blueberry Syrup!

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This is a recipe that I tried and liked!!  I made a few changes but essentially I followed the original recipe.

The original recipe is by the fabulous Pioneer Woman and can be found on her blog or food network hub!  It was featured on an episode focused on 16 minute meals.

Using croissants to make french toast was truly a great idea!  It is definitely a game changer and takes this classic breakfast dish to the next level!  Your family will devour every last bite!

This recipe is also a great opportunity to use that homemade butter recipe I shared! 🙂

*Changes I made are noted below with an asterisk

Syrup Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1 cup sugar

*2 tbsp cornstarch (You could get away with flour but it won’t be as shiny and must be cooked longer to get the raw flavor out.)

*1 pint fruit of blueberries (recipe called for blackberries but I swapped berries)

French Toast ingredients:

4 large croissants

*1/2 cup buttermilk (recipe called for half and half but I like buttermilk because I always have it on hand)

5 eggs

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract (Adam’s Best)

Butter

Powdered sugar for dusting

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Directions:

Choose a pot that is twice the volume of the mixture your are putting in.  A medium pot should do.  In the medium size pot gently boil the 4 syrup ingredients for about 5 minutes while gently stirring.  Do not walk away from the boiling sugar, it can get out of control very quickly by bubbling over. When finished leave it on low while preparing the croissants.

Prepare the egg mixture by whisking together all the ingredients in a flat bowl.

Slice each croissant in half to make sandwich halves.  Coat each half in egg mixture and set aside on a plate.

In a medium size pan on low heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter to coat the pan.  Increase the heat to medium and place as many croissant halves down as you can fit.  Cook until golden then flip over and repeat.  You are going for crispy on the outside and fluffy in the center.

Plate the croissant, dust with powdered sugar, and drizzle desired amount of blueberry syrup on top and enjoy!

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The two men in my life, but mainly the dog.

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The proximal beggar.

Pictured above are the two men in my life.  My husband is the one with the red bushy beard and the small furry one on the right is Mr. Waddles.  I just thought I would share a little bit about these two as they will eventually start appearing in more posts.  🙂

These two fellas take full advantage of my passion for cooking.  My husband eats everything and so does Mr. Waddles.  I’d have to say Mr. Waddles takes the cake on the “eats everything” claim.  He has been known to devour several crayons, an entire sock, rocks, chalk, stuffed animals, towels, bedding, etc.

Mr. Waddles is persistently the best, yet unintended taste tester for all of my dishes.  He always…ALWAYS finds a way to snatch a taste.  He is very quick and sneaky.

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Mr. Waddles moving in for the snatch.

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On this particular occasion Mr. Waddles got caught stealing croutons from a salad while I was in the other room.

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He absolutely loves eating plants….

Mr. Waddles is our fur baby and is a mix between a toy Poodle and a Yorkshire terrier.  He is always by my side and I’m sure it’s because I’m “the lady with food” in his mind.  Not yet a year old, he is still an energetic young pup!

You might have noticed his eyes.  Yes, he has human like yellow eyes as opposed to the typical dark brown eyes most dogs seem to have.  These “crazy” eyes have made for some pretty interesting facial expressions.  He has mastered the stare as you can see below.

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This dog is so strange sometimes.

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I was sitting next to this window in the back yard enjoying a sandwich. Mr. Waddles decided to relocate to a better begging spot.

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Mr. Waddles absolutely loves puppuccinos from Starbucks!

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Deliciously Classic Deviled Eggs

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Deviled eggs are such a classic appetizer for family gatherings and parties!  However, you don’t need a reason such as a party to make these delights!  There are many different types of deviled eggs but today I’ve chosen to share with you how to make a basic deviled egg!  I used a recipe from food network which you can view by clicking the link below!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe.html 

Ingredients:

-6-7 eggs

-1/4 cup mayo (I use olive oil based mayo)

-1 tsp yellow mustard

-1 tbsp white vinegar

– dash of salt

– tiny dash of black pepper

-paprika

Directions:

Put eggs in a pot.

Fill the pot with water so that it just covers the eggs.

Boil the eggs for 1 1/2 minutes.

Cover the pot with lid and decrease the temperature to low heat.  Finish cooking the eggs for about 15 minutes.

Take pot of stove and set aside to cool.

Peel the eggs under cold, running water.

Slice the eggs in half long ways.

Carefully pop out each yolk into a bowl and place the egg white on a serving platter.

In the bowl add in the mustard, vinegar, black pepper, and mayo to the egg yolks.  Mix until you get a creamy texture.

Spoon in the yolk mixture into each egg white.

Sprinkle the eggs with paprika for the finishing touch!

Homemade Butter

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This recipe for homemade butter is a great place to start your journey to making stuff from scratch!  I learned how to do this in the 2nd grade!  If you have some heavy whipping cream and a mason jar, then you can make your own fresh butter!  You can also use a food processor instead of a mason jar to save your arm muscles!

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream (VERY COLD)

– 1/2 teaspoon of Salt

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Directions:

Pour the cold cream into the mason jar and add the salt.

Seal the jar tightly with the lid.

Shake continuously, alternating between both hands for 15 minutes.   Or use a food processor!

First you will hear a sloshing sound as you shake.

Next you will hear very little, as the cream has turned to a paste like consistency.  The paste is not butter, so keep shaking.

Finally as you shake, the fat and liquid will separate fairly quickly.  You should hear a thud as you shake, this is a hunk of butter.

So if you have a ball of yellow butter sitting in a milky liquid, you my friend have made butter!

Pour the liquid out and shape the butter to you liking!  You can put it in silicon molds or just place on a dish and set in the fridge to fully solidify!

I think we can all agree that fresh is always the best way to go in the kitchen.  Too often I have people tell me that they “don’t have time” to make stuff from scratch or they think it might be too hard.  Now I will agree some of the things I have been learning to make have taken me over the river and through the woods to arrive at a finished product, but each time I do it, I get faster and faster.  I completely understand feeling too busy to even get normal house chores done, let alone a 3 hour kitchen experiment!  The thing is, you can have time.  Maybe you can’t have as much time as me or those around you, but you can make time.  Not all fresh, made from scratch recipes are going to take hours to complete.  Some are actually quite simple and it might only involve reading a small paragraph!  If there is something you have always wanted to learn in the kitchen, research it.

Take a few minutes each day for a week just to scan/read about the recipe or technique you are interested in learning, or even print info out and keep it with you so that you can research it when you have a spare moment.  Very rarely do I just look something up and go complete it the same day.  I like to read a few different takes on a technique or recipe, maybe even watch a quick video.  Through this research process I am able to figure out just how much time it’s going to take me and then plan for a day to do it.  I’ve waited 2 weeks before trying a recipe or technique I’ve been researching!

Researching prepares you to move faster in the kitchen and to have a stronger understanding of the directions.  Researching helps you understand WHY you are doing certain things within a recipe or technique.  Knowing the whys can make all the difference.  For example, one of my repeated mistakes as a young teenager was not understanding softened butter.  Messing up this step in the cookie making process caused me to be discouraged and caused me to stop trying to make cookies for a long time.  I didn’t know that it was the butter that was messing up my cookies until I started researching about cookies and discovered a helpful chart that explained the perfect softness of butter and how to tell.

Researching helps your first attempts to have higher success rates.

You have got to start somewhere!  I encourage those people that “have no time” to try 1 new thing in the kitchen each month, just 1!  You’ll be surprised how fast your experience will start to build as the year goes by!  Why not start with this 15 minute butter making tutorial? 🙂

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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Potato Casserole

IMG_1116Do I have any potato lovers out there?  As we say down in the south, “bless your heart” if you are not a lover of the potato.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Potatoes

Today I want to share one of my new recipes with y’all that is sure to send your taste buds into a tizzy!  Potatoes are one of the finest comfort foods in my opinion.  There are so many varieties and so many different ways to cook and flavor them!  Potatoes are one of those blank canvas foods.  Anyways, with this recipe I chose to paint my potato canvas with cream cheese, roasted red peppers, Parmesan cheese, and butter.  The molten cream cheese mixed with the Parmesan dance with the roasted red peppers in a delicious waltz of flavor!  I highly recommend this dish for family gatherings and holiday dinners!  It is a nice change from the cheddar and bacon flavored casseroles out there.  Try it out!

Ingredients:

-5-6 red potatoes, partially peeled, thinly sliced

-dash of black pepper

-1 clove of garlic, minced

-2 tbsp butterRoastedRedPeppers

-3 tbsp of jarred roasted red pepper strips

-3 tbsp fresh scallions, chopped

-8 oz package of Cream Cheese

-1/2 cup milk

-1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Toppings:

-1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

-1 tbsp fresh scallions, chopped

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375°.IMG_1104

Grease a square casserole dish.

Roughly peel the potatoes leaving some of the skin intact.  Carefully slice potatoes into thin 1/8 inch slices.  Sprinkle a dash of back pepper on the potatoes and set aside.

In a skillet, melt the butter with the garlic on medium heat.

Cut the cream cheese into 4 quarters.

After the butter has melted, add the cream cheese and milk.  Carefully stir and combine the mixture together until it is a creamy mixture.  Extra milk can be added if it is too thick.IMG_1111

Stir in the Parmesan, scallions, and red peppers.

Add the potatoes and stir until they are evenly coated with the cream cheese mixture.

Pour the potato mixture immediately into the greased casserole dish.

Top with the Parmesan and scallions.IMG_1112

Bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover with foil and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.  Total cook time is between 45-55 minutes.

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Here I served the casserole alongside a Grilled Lemon Pepper Salmon Filet.