Cucumber Roll ups

I’m a sucker for all those cheesy and fried appetizers I’ve been seeing especially with Superbowl Sunday coming up this weekend. I wanted to share an option like these Cucumber Roll Ups that are easy to do that offers a healthy option and can also feed those who are gluten free, vegetarian, even vegan.
Slice cucumbers the long way to make cucumber roll ups for a healthy, vegetarian, gluten free bunch of bites for a party Slice cucumbers the long way to make cucumber roll ups for a healthy, vegetarian, gluten free bunch of bites for a party

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Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Every year I spend New Year’s Day watching the Rose Parade on TV if I’m in the US. Last year I was in Japan, but I was back to my tradition this January 2, 2017 (they moved it because they don’t ever hold it on Sundays traditionally). There was even a memorable year I was in Los Angeles and my sister (attending USC Law School at the time, now this year celebrating her first New Year’s as a mother to a 3 month daughter) even helped arrange my mom and other sister to get seats and watch it in person. It was incredible being able to see all the breathtaking details of the flowers, though I did miss a bit of the announcer highlights they narrate on TV.
Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day Watching the 119th Rose Parade in Pasadena on New Year's Day

This year to accompany the bottle of sparkling that I cheered the parade on with as I watch, I also prepared this incredible Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole. You can prepare everything for this Biscuits Breakfast Casserole the day before and then just pop it in the oven, which is perfect for a non morning person or after a long night up. I like how this casserole basically puts all of breakfast – like a breakfast that would have Biscuits and Sausage Gravy as one item, and Cheesy Egg on the side, all together in every bite.
Recipe for Biscuit Eggs Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

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Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

I think these appetizers of Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers are adorable because of the way you can get multiple colors with the orange, yellow and red which are so cheerful, and then presentation wise the way they stand up in little rows or formations so bravely. These are vegetarian but can be made vegan if instead of feta and cream cheese you use Tofutti or some other vegan cream cheese.
Recipe for Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, easy peasy and are adorable because of the way you can get multiple colors with the orange, yellow and red which are so cheerful, and then presentation wise the way they stand up in little rows or formations so bravely

It does take a little time to stuff these, but I just did it sitting on the couch while watching Gilmore Girls. You can go faster if you pipe these into the peppers, but pushing them in with a little butter knife like I did will also do the trick.

These are perfect for a holiday gathering or potluck as you can just get a 1-2 pound bag of these and with approximately a pepper person get your lil cheese stuffed mini peppers soldiers in line or in wreath or tree formation or whatever you’d like! A 1 pound bag yields about 15 or so mini peppers, at least it did for me.
Recipe for Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, easy peasy and are adorable because of the way you can get multiple colors with the orange, yellow and red which are so cheerful, and then presentation wise the way they stand up in little rows or formations so bravely

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 ounce bag of mini sweet peppers
  • 5 ounces of fresh, soft feta cheese or alternatively goat cheese
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 4 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves worth of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut off top about 1/2 inch from the stem to make the hat, and also cut at the bottom about about 1/2 an inch so the pepper can stand upright. Remove the seeds from the top and inside the pepper if any (most of the seeds will be at the stem), and rinse and dry the peppers.
  2. As the peppers are finishing drying, in a mixing bowl combine the 5 ounces of fresh soft feta cheese, the 8 ounces of softened room temperature cream cheese, the finely chopped 4 tablespoons of chives, the 3 cloves worth of minced garlic, teaspoon of red pepper flakes, tablespoon of olive oil, teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix well until everything is a smooth creamy texture

    Recipe for Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, easy peasy as you combine the feta, cream cheese, chives, garlic, olive oil, red pepper and bit of lemon juice and mix until smooth

  3. Now, it’s just a matter of filling the peppers and topping them with its matching hat! After you are done, you can serve now or refrigerate until ready to serve (say the next day!)

Recipe for Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, easy peasy and are adorable because of the way you can get multiple colors with the orange, yellow and red which are so cheerful, and then presentation wise the way they stand up in little rows or formations so bravely Recipe for Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, easy peasy and are adorable because of the way you can get multiple colors with the orange, yellow and red which are so cheerful, and then presentation wise the way they stand up in little rows or formations so bravely

An alternative way to serve these cheese stuffed mini peppers is that instead of whole like you see above, to cut the peppers in half length-wise instead. Then you don’t need to deal with the stuffing… but I couldn’t resist this because I just found it so stinkin’ cute!

What’s your favorite holiday appetizer to bring to a party?

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Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes

I’ve always wanted to make a tomato pie or tart. Particularly, one with the farm fresh cherry tomatoes during the peak of their season. But, I have a unique problem in using tomatoes at my home: F loves them. Loves them so much that he always makes sure he knows which bag they are in and that they are at the top, and then as soon as the groceries are in the car he grabs the cherry tomato container and eats them on the way home. He can finish a Costco size container of cherry tomatoes before we’re even in front of our house as he eats them like an addict, popping them in his mouth one after another.
Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes

One time we bought them right at the farm and as we were stuck in the traffic leaving Sauvie Island, he complained his mouth felt a bit muddy. But he still finished all the tomatoes before we even crossed the bridge. Clearly he has a serious problem… Cherry tomatoes never last long in our home.

For this recipe, I purchased 4 pints of tomatoes the night before. Since they were gone by morning, I forced him to go get replacement ones, and finally I was able to make the tomato pie I’ve been waiting for. The 4 pints of cherry tomatoes that he brought back and you see partially in these photos, both on the Pie I made for lunch and the “extras”, were gone before dinner.

I used cherry tomatoes here because I love how they burst with a bit of pop of flavor. And, I particularly love this recipe because you only have to cook the pie crust- the tomatoes are NOT cooked (although they can be) so that you can taste them at their most juicy.
Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe was inspired by a few things. Southern Tomato pie is a concoction with tomatoes in pastry with cheese and mayo – and I wanted one less rich, aka without the mayo (though there’s nothing wrong with mayo!). I saw a version of Southern Tomato pie that included along with those requisite ingredient also adding in summer corn kernels and I loved the idea of that extra texture. I additionally seared mine ok the pan for extra smokiness.
Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes and (optionally) seared corn to really celebrate the flavors of freshness

Also, similar to tomato tarts, I picked a cheese combo other than the regular cheddar and mozzarella because I wanted different flavors than essentially a variation of pizza or bruschetta – instead here we’ll be using goat cheese and ricotta mixed with scallions (as inspired by O&O Eats’ Tomato Tart with a Scallion Goat Cheese Filling) and the previously mentioned corn. The best ricotta is one you make yourself – it’s super easy, and you can find my version here for homemade ricotta on this blog post. Using fresh cheeses like goat cheese and ricotta adds creamy texture but still tastes light.
Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes and (optionally) seared corn to really celebrate the flavors of freshness

You can make your own pie crust if you’d like (or make this a tart), but I used premade pie dough. Because of that this entire process took about 35 minutes for me as I did the prep for the filling while the Pie Crust baked.

Ingredients:

  • 1 9″ Pie Crust (your own recipe or purchased)
  • 4 ounces of plain chevre / goat cheese
  • 4 ounces (about half cup)  fresh Ricotta
  • 2-3 chopped scallions (about half cup)
  • 1/2 cup of Cooked corn kernels (approximately one ear of corn)

Directions:

  1. Pre-bake the pie crust according to your recipe or instructions on the package. Make sure you use pie weights or other weights like beans, rice, etc. to weigh down the Pie (placed atop parchment paper) after using a fork to make an even amount of holes.
    Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes starts with a pie crust that you prebake before adding the cheeses and tomatoes
  2. Meanwhile, while chopping the scallions, you can additionally sear the corn kernels like I did –  a teaspoon of butter melted in a pan on high heat, add in blanched corn kernels and let sit there untouched for at least 7 minutes before stirring to sear. Alternatively steam or grill the corn per your preference because they should already be cooked.
    Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes uses optionally some summer corn, I like to sear mine for an additional little bit of smoky flavor
  3. In a bowl, mix together the goat cheese, ricotta, scallions and if you choose to add it, corn (let it cool a little, don’t add it to the cheese fresh from cooking so it doesn’t melt the cheese mixture too much). For other flavor variations you might try flavored chevre instead of plain.
    Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes uses a mix of chevre, ricotta, and scallion or green onion
  4. Spread it carefully in the pie than top with the cherry tomatoes- I placed them in whole to get the burst with every spoonful, or you can choose to halve them. You may also want to consider already cutting the Pie into six pieces before topping with the tomatoes so each piece has nice whole grape tomatoes.
    Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes
  5. Sprinkle a little corn on top to fill in gaps between tomatoes.
    Tomato Pie Recipe with Fresh Cheeses and Uncooked Cherry Tomatoes and (optionally) seared corn to really celebrate the flavors of freshness

Pair this with a glass of white and eat this al fresco to fully celebrate all the bounty of this late summer and early fall season!

Have you had tomato pie before? What is your favorite recipe using cherry tomatoes?

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My Review of Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

My review of Cravings by Chrissy Teigen is that it delivers on exactly what it promises in it’s title and cover. There’s plenty of photos that look Instagram ready, per someone who has such a social media following. There’s plenty of her enthusiastic foodie voice – that is, Chrissy is not a trained culinary professional, or in the food industry – she just LOVES food openly and unabashedly. And, her writing on every page is evidence of that love of all things delicious.
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

The recipes vary over a wide range except for dessert. She and I are alike in that way of preferring savory foods especially our love of cheese or cream and eggs to sweets. The recipes are very homey that are a combination of things you would expect in a family, inherited from various people and passed down because people like it for everyday meals.

  • 11 things for breakfast, and I think it’s completely Chrissy’s fault that for the past couple months I’m in a breakfast craving period – I usually go straight to dinner type dishes, but this summer I’m all about breakfast and brunch dishes and lots of eggs. You’ll soon see because starting next Friday I have a whole Best PDX Breakfast Sandwich series I’m kicking off!
  • 7 soups,
    Cravings by Chrissy Teigen cookbook, recipe for Pot Pie Soup with Crust Crackers
  • 9 hearty salads,
  • 14 recipes under noodles and carbs,
  • 6 recipes of homemade Thai stuff from her mom Pepper in a “Thai Mom” section, which I adore her mom-love and that thsi section includes some unusual Thai choices – not Pad Thai or Fried Rice but Jok Moo (Thai Pork and Rice Porridge) and Pepper’s Pork-Stuffed Cucumber Soup
    Cravings by Chrissy Teigen cookbook, recipe for Pepper's Pork Stuffed Cucumber Soup
  • 15 of stuff for parties,
  • 8 short recommendations for stuff on toast on a two page spread,
  • 9 vegetable dishes,
  • 6 “things that intimidate people but shouldn’t”,
  • 17 dinner entrees.

The recipes themselves generally focus on not being healthy, but being crave-worthy – often tasting rich. A recipe for Cheesy Cheeseless Scrambled Eggs with burst cherry tomatoes uses 12 eggs and 1/2 cup of cream and blistered cherry tomatoes to make a rich tasting egg but distribute it over a big dish for many people. Same goes for her party dish of Steak Bites with Melty Blue Cheese Butter that pairs 1/2 pound of NY strip steak and 2 ounces of blue cheese to serve 4-6, or a trick of substituting potatoes with Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Garlic and Ricotta so it is still creamy and garlicky.
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen cookbook recipe, Pull Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Then there are the recipes that just don’t care. The same breakfast section yielded her Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs that are decadent with a cup of Parmigiano Reggiano and 1/2 heavy heavy cream for two servings of 2 eggs each for brunch. But damn if that wasn’t incredibly tasty. One of her soups is a Pot Pie Soup with Crust Crackers with multiple sticks of butter and 1/4 pound of deli ham and a pound of skinless rotisserie chicken meat. Her Chrissy’s Mac and Cheese with Cheesy Garlic Bread Crumbs boasts 3 cups each of grated cheddar and Gruyere or Swiss cheese *plus* 16 slices of American cheese.

Some recipes you can only trust must be incredible because how else would you come up with combos like Cheesy Jalapeno Tuna Casserole with Potato Chip Topping, or Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal (with yellow cake box mix and oats and raspberries and peaches) or French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes.
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen cookbook recipe, Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal

The best part of this cookbook is her voice in how she isn’t afraid to be dorky about her food love. If you are into that type of voice rather than a knowledgeable one with lots of tips and tricks or history to a dish, and into a mix of recipes that are a bit all over the place, then you will think this cookbook is fun and enjoy it.

And, I really appreciate how amazing some of the food porn photos are. I eat with my eyes a lot and so it really encourages to make so many of these recipes.

Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs Recipe

Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs Recipe adapted from Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen. I like it as sobering up food/get over a drinking night food over leftover rice like shown here
The recipe I’ve made most often from her book is the  creamy parmesan skillet eggs that are decadent with a cup of Parmigiano Reggiano and 1/2 heavy heavy cream for two servings of 2 eggs each for brunch. The change I made is that I took out her call for salt, as I think the cheese already adds a level of saltiness to it. This is currently my new hungover/drinking night recovery breakfast meal. The whole thing takes only 15 minutes so that relief for an upset stomach of alcohol is fast.

My favorite way to serve this is generally on top of leftover rice from some Asian delivery (usually Chinese – soften the rice, usually about 2-3 cups worth, in the pan for a few minutes with a sprinkling of water over it and set aside before making the eggs). She recommends dividing the recipe in half to make it in two 6 inch skillets to serve two people, mainly because it looks cute presentation wise. I don’t care about presentation and just make it all together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely grated or shredded Parmigiano – Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspooon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste as desired
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

  • In a bowl, combine the 1 cup of grated or shredded Parmigiano – Reggiano, and 1/2 cup heavy cream, and teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and mix. I’ve done this with both the grated and shredded Parmesan – if you want it a bit more creamy, the grated Parmesan is the way to go. If you want a more solid almost like a soft cheese crispy, use the grated. You’ll be able to see both photos shortly of what it looks like finished…
  • In a 12 inch pan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, add in your cheese and cream mix and wait until the mixture is bubbling all the way through.
    Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs Recipe adapted from Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen. I like it as sobering up food/get over a drinking night food over leftover rice like shown here
  • Crack the 4 eggs into the skillet and cook a few minutes until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. I use a silicone spatula to loosen the bottom to make sure it is firm – you should see a bit of a caramelized crust from the cheese and cream under the eggs.
    Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs Recipe adapted from Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen. I like it as sobering up food/get over a drinking night food over leftover rice like shown here
  • Remove from heat and serve in the skillet or pour the entire hot mess over rice on a platter. Top with more black pepper and chopped fresh thyme.

To the left, you can see the recipe with grated Parmesan, to the right is my version with grated Parmesan which you see has a more solid cheese layer that is a bit crispy at the edges.
Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs Recipe adapted from Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen. I like it as sobering up food/get over a drinking night food over leftover rice like shown here Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs Recipe adapted from Cravings cookbook by Chrissy Teigen. I like it as sobering up food/get over a drinking night food over leftover rice like shown here

Do you know who Chrissy Teigen is? What do you think of some of the dishes she includes are recipes in her book that I have mentioned? What’s your go to food in the morning after a big drinking night to settle your stomach?

Disclosure: This book was provided to me as part of the Blogging for Books program, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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