One woman's adventures in cooking for her Dutch-American family.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Frittata Bites with Chard, Sausage, and Feta

As I've been reading foodie books like "My Life in France" by Julia Child, I make note of all the recipes that seem intimidating to me for whatever reason. Sometimes it's because it uses yeast (my nemesis!), sometimes because it require skill I don't think I quite have, sometimes it's time-consuming or complicated. I'm not actually sure why frittatas were on this list, maybe I usually think of it as being served at high brow sorts of affairs.

At any rate, I was looking for recipes to use up the dozen or so eggs in our frig and found this frittata which also used a green, which was convenient, because I also had some extra kale. I certainly didn't have anything to be worried about with this one. It was a bit time-consuming--mostly baking time and setting time, which I didn't account for. Totally my fault, not the recipes. I added a pinch of garlic salt and a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, and of course, exchanged the chard for kale. It was delicious!

from epicurious.com with my adaptations

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 12-ounce bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs removed (I used kale)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • pinch of garlic salt
  • 8 ounces mild Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I used milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • Fresh Italian parsley leaves (I used dried parsley)
  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Spray 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Bring large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add Swiss chard (or kale, or spinach, or whatever green you have on hand) and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  • Drain.
  • Finely chop chard, then place in kitchen towel and squeeze dry (or use your snazzy new salad spinner!). Set chard aside.
  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and garlic salt to skillet and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add sausage and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with fork, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes a few minutes before the sausage is done.
  • Remove from heat and cool.
  • Whisk eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend.
  • Add chard and cooled sausage mixture, then feta; stir to blend.
We're definitely getting our greens in tonight!
  • Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.
  • Bake frittata until set in center, 45 to 55 minutes.
  • Transfer baking dish to rack and cool frittata 15 to 20 minutes. Place platter atop dish with frittata.
  • If you want to be all fancy, use oven mitts and hold baking dish and platter firmly together and invert frittata onto platter; place another platter atop frittata and invert again so that frittata is right side up. Cut frittata into 20 pieces.
  • If you're serving at home for breakfast or breakfast for dinner, cut into 12 pieces.
  • Transfer frittata pieces to platter. Garnish each piece with parsley; serve warm or at room temperature.
Fresh from the oven.
The boys inspect the source of all that smell-goodness.
Post-dinner status. Not much left for leftovers.

Gingerbread Steel Cut Oats

I discovered steel cut oats several months ago when I was going through Jillian Michael's "Master Your Metabolism" cookbook. While her recipe is still the standard (and eventually I'll link to it here), I love to experiment too. This recipe was the "happy accident" of a new blogger I accidentally found, Beth at Budget Bytes.

by Beth at Budget Bytes, with my adjustments.

  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil. (Beth uses 4, but I like my oats a bit thicker. I also use part almond milk, part water). Once it reaches a boil pour in the uncooked steel-cut oats. Stir with a spoon and reduce the heat to low.
  2. As the oats simmer on low, stir in the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Let the oats simmer until it is to your desired thickness, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Once the oats have thickened sufficiently, turn off the heat and stir in the molasses and raisins. (Beth used 1/3 cup, but that way too strong for me).
  4. Makes four one-cup servings.
As I continue to reduce the amount of processed foods we eat at home, I've been looking for more breakfast items to make in advance. This is great because I can enjoy one serving, and put the other three away for the rest of the week.

Menu Monday: Week of January 31

I've been meal planning for about a year and a half now. I liked the idea for longer than that, but I was overwhelmed by the idea. Now that I've been doing it though, the idea of not doing it seems overwhelming. I go over my process in another post, but for now, I want to start posting my weekly menu (which I actually make on Friday, but Menu Monday sounds better than Menu Friday!). My sister Carisa told me that she looks at my recipe pictures on Facebook and tries quite a few. We were talking about how we were sort of having a long distance dinner party. I love that.

So here's what's cooking in our house this week:

Leftovers (I've been cooking a lot so our freezer is full. Plus, we were running around this day).

Gingerbread Steel Cut Oats*. I love steel cut oats, and I love trying new variations. I'm trying to get away from processed foods (i.e. Cheerios) so I'm getting in the habit of making some sort of breakfast item I can eat all week. I'm eating them as I type this and while they are very good, I would use half the molasses next time, maybe even less as it overpowers the spice mix. (I also only used 3 cups of water, because I like my oats thicker).

Frittata Bites with Chard, Sausage, and Feta*. I've never made a frittata before and it's on my "cooking challenge list" (guess that's another post idea). This one uses a few things I already had so I'm looking forward to trying it. We are actually going to use kale instead of chard.

Chicken Fried Steak*. Another item on the challenge list. I'm feeling ambitious this week! The hubs has dropped quite a few hints that he loves this dish, which is a lot like the Dutch schnitzel, so we'll give it a go.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes* I can't believe I've never made mashed potatoes before, though I've made some Dutch meals that are practically the same thing.

Leftover Parmesan Roasted Broccoli. We have a bit of this left, and it completes my goal of veggies at every meal.

Leftovers for dinner.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread*. Since we've having leftovers again, that gives me time to make some bread. I tried adapting a bread recipe before to make cinnamon raisin (which the hubs loves), but I guess you're supposed to soak the raisins first. Who knew. So we'll see how this one goes.

Indonesian Pilaf* One reason cooking isn't too stressful for me anymore is that I give myself lots of grace. If I'm having a bad brain day, we can always have leftovers (now that our freezer is stocked) and I can make the meal the next week. January was pretty rough on my noggin so we employed this strategy more than once lately. This pilaf recipe is a carry-over from last week.

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken. I love easy crockpot recipes. Since I have an appointment with my neuro in the morning and don't know how I'll feel afterwards, the crock pot is my sous chef.

Leftovers for dinner.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. I LOVE sun-dried tomatoes. I don't care for regular tomatoes so much, but love them sun-dried. Our adaptation of one of our favorite recipes (Elegant Orzo) uses sun-dried tomato pesto and since I just used up the last of it, I'm going to whip up some more.

Dill Croutons. A week or so ago, I made some dill bread using a new bread recipe. We've had so much luck with our other recipe that I was feeling cocky. It was awesome right out of the oven, but the bread was a little denser, which the hubs does not prefer. So, I have a bit left over. I've made croutons before using this recipe, so I thought I'd try to make a variation with the dill bread.

* New to me recipe

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

I got this super easy recipe from a mommy friend, whose name sadly has slipped my mind. (Maybe she'll see this and take proper credit). It's a pretty casual recipe so you can play with it a bit until you figure out what you prefer. One thing I really like about this recipe is that the crock pot doesn't need all day, so as long as you have all the basic ingredients, you can still start at noon and have dinner ready on time.

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (enough to fill up the bottom of the crock pot)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite teriyaki sauce or marinade
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • handful of dried apricots
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli
  • Put chicken in crock pot and coat with teriyaki sauce.
  • Pour entire can of pineapples--including juice--over the chicken. Then add dried apricots.
  • Make sure the chicken is covered with sauce and juice to keep it tender. Then cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2- hours or low for 4-6 hours.
  • I throw the broccoli in for the last 30 minutes.
  • Serve with brown rice.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jen's Online Cookbook

I started this on our other blog, but it seemed fitting to move here. Here's a list of (most of) recipes I've tried since my cooking adventures began. It's nice to have them all in one place, especially when we travel and want to cook for our hosts!

Pasta & Grains

Indonesian Pilaf (02.04.11)

Lemon Dill Chicken (04.12.10)
Chicken Diane (10.28.10)

London Broil (04.24.10)
Pasties (01.21.11)

Dutch Delights
Dutch Almond Boterkoek (03.17.10)
Dutch Letter Cookies (04.02.10)
Stampot, aka Boerenkool met rookworst (04.11.10)
Hutspot (step-by-step) (04.22.10)
Indonesian Chicken Sate (step-by-step) (05.05.10)
Bitterballen (step-by-step) (05.05.10)
Dutch Macaroni (06.03.10)
Vla (02.09.11)
Oma Kitty's Peach Pilaf (02.09.11)

Misc. Meals
Basic Quiche (02.22.09)
Rice Pizza (05.26.09)
Bubble and Squeak (09.28.09)
Stromboli (08.08.10)

Sides & Salads

Banana Bread (01.26.10)
Dill Bread (05.08.10)
Irish Soda Bread (03.17.11)

Blondies (03.07.09)
Pumpkin Roll (09.12.09)
Almond Poppy Seed Muffins (03.31.10)
Spice Cake (04.03.10)
Spice Cake (04.14.10)
Homemade Granola (07.30.10)
Pita Chips (08.02.10)
Anissa Meyer's Almond Cherry Scones (09.15.10)
Fresh Apple Cake topped with this frosting. (09.22.10)
Apple Crisp (10.20.10)
Baked Kale Chips (01.08.11)
Apple Granola (02.08.11)

Sauces and Soups
Cauliflower Soup (04.15.11)

Fun Lunches with D

Okay, these are not particularly gourmet meals, but there are super fun. One day a few weeks, while we were walking around my hubby's hometown, we hung out in a bookstore. I love bookstores in general, and now that my Dutch has improved, I'm able to (mostly) follow the instructions in Dutch cookbooks.

One of my favorite souvenirs from our trip to Holland was this Dutch cookbook for kids.

Roughly translated, the title is "Garnish with Kids" and it's full of step-by-step photos of fun meals for kids that look like animals and vehicles and things.

I haven't found anything similar in English...yet.

D and I have had lots of fun with lunch this week. I've had to improvise quite a bit and my options are rather limited until we go shopping tomorrow, but it's been a really cool way to spend our long car-less days at home. (We'll be getting a new car on Monday). One of D's favorite things is to "help" me cook. At least once a day, he'll pull a chair over to the kitchen counter and say, "Cook, Mommy?" Sometimes he'll go over to the pantry and start handing me seasonings. I love that he loves food, and this cookbook is an especially good way for him to appreciate the process of putting a meal together. For now, his job is to watch, help gather the ingredients, and most important, sample often!

A few of our recent creations:




Thursday, January 13, 2011

Savory Cheese Cookies

One of my favorite food blogs is Kayotic Kitchen. Kay's a Dutch cook/photographer extraordinaire. I've used her site a lot as I'm learned to make my hubby's favorite foods from home. I spent some time looking over old posts while we were in Holland for Christmas and found this one for Savory Cheese Cookies. I had never heard of savory cookies before, so I was quite intrigued. I couldn't wait to put it on the menu plan for this week. These cookies have rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes (one of my favorite foods!) and Parmesan cheese. Yum!

Be sure to check Kay's site at the link above for her beautiful step-by-step instructions, but if you want a quick recipe, here you go:

Savory Cheese Cookies


1 cup flour
1 cup Parmesan, grated (100 gr)
1 stick salted, cold butter, diced (roughly 120 grams)
Rosemary, minced or dried (Kay uses a sprig, I used about 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes (on oil), minced finely
Dash cayenne (I used paprika)
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Combine flour, cheese, butter, rosemary, cayenne and salt.
  2. Pulsate a few times until the dough forms a ball, take it out of the food processor and place it on your kitchen counter or cutting board.
  3. Add the minced sun-dried tomatoes and knead until it’s a supple dough. Shape the dough into a log and place it on top of a piece of foil or wax paper. Wrap tightly.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 400F (200c). Use a really sharp knife and slice the dough in fairly thin slices. Don’t be fussy about it -they’re home made cookies and there’s simply no need for them to be absolutely, perfectly round! Part of their charm is the imperfection and the huge amounts of love you put into making them! Now press a single rosemary leaf in a few cookies.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
Jen's thoughts:

Other than substituting dried rosemary for a sprig of fresh and Spanish paprika for cayenne (because I didn't have any), I followed this recipe pretty closely. The only adjustment I had to make was that I added about a tablespoon of olive oil because I buy sun-dried tomatoes in a bag (no oil) from our super cool farmer's market-y type place. The mixture doesn't really turn into a dough without the oil.

My cookies ended up like squares because I am not a good roller. Shaping was easier for me. Also, my cookies are pretty small, which is how I usually make them. That way I can eat more!

Eet Smakelijk!

"Eet Smakelijk!" is a Dutch phrase that translates roughly to "eat tastefully." It is used like the French "bon appetit" to encourage diners to enjoy their meals. It seemed a fitting name for this blog about cooking, written by a woman who married a Dutch citizen.

When our son, D, started solids about eighteen months ago, I was really overwhelmed by the idea that I was responsible for teaching him to eat well. I got off to a slow start, but over the last year and a half, our family has become more and more intentional about the foods we eat. We tend to eat most of our meals at home now, except when we travel, and we're eating more and more whole foods. Meal planning has become a regular part of our week, and Saturday mornings start with a trip to our local farmer's market-y store. We've seen our grocery budget cut almost in half, and I'm well on my way to my goal weight for the first time since college many moons ago. As for D, he's happy, healthy, and a wonderful eater. Inspired by the book, "My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus," I set and met my goal that by the time D turned two, he would eat whatever the rest of us ate for dinner. He also likes our breakfasts and lunches, but I especially wanted him to embrace a wide-range of dinner options, not just the typical toddler selections of mac-n-cheese, pizza, hamburger, chicken nuggets and grilled cheese. In fact, he doesn't care for any of those things!

I've been posting about my cooking adventures for quite awhile on Facebook, but since I enjoy reading so many other cooking blogs, I thought I'd throw another one out there to the interwebs.

Eet Smakelijk!
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