Hard Cooked Eggs in the Oven

During our last grocery delivery (yes, I have our groceries delivered, it saves time, money and gas but more on that later), I had a very large batch of eggs delivered.  60 egg count to be exact.  No, we don’t eat THAT many eggs but I discovered that you can freeze eggs!  I’ll create a blog post for that later though.  This one is about the eggs I haven’t frozen.  Instead I want to talk hard boiled…er… baked.  First, let me just say that of all my culinary accomplishments, boiling the perfect egg is not one of them.  I don’t know why I fail at this nearly every time but I do. From undercooked to overcooked to half the white coming off with the shelling, I just don’t seem to have that knack.  Until now.

I’ve seen a few posts come across my feed suggesting baking eggs instead of boiling them and I just had to try it.  It’s ridiculously easy.  Here’s the instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place eggs in the pockets of a muffin pan or something similar so they don’t roll around.
  3. Once your oven has finished heating, place eggs in the pan on the middle rack and set your timer for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove from the oven and place eggs in an ice water bath using tongs.
  5. Allow to fully cool (roughly 10 to 15 minutes) and peel.

That’s. It. Right?  Who knew?!  Well now we do!  And I have to say, that peeling them was MUCH easier and the yolks seem less dry or somewhat creamier than boiled.  So it looks like I have a new way to make some tasty hard cooked eggs for deviled eggs, egg salad, with just salt & pepper or in cobb salad!  Oh yeah… we might end up eating eggs a bit more often at this rate.

The eggs will get little brown specks on them while cooking, this is completely normal.

 

How cooking can make you a Superhero!

With all the slow cooker recipes I’ve been posting, I’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding the huge 6 quart CrockPot I use and how many people I’m feeding here!  LOL!  Let me start by saying, there is only two people I’m cooking for and no, we don’t eat that much in a single meal.  But that’s sort of the point.  I’m not cooking a single meal.  On average, I can get about five meals from a single 6 quart batch of whatever.  I freeze the remaining portions.  Here’s some great reasons why you might consider this method of meal prepping at home:

  • It takes only minutes longer to prep several meals at once.  Generally my recipes are a half hour of prep per cooking session.  So naturally if I’m making enough for five meals, it might take me perhaps five to ten minutes longer depending on what needs chopping, cutting, blending, etc. but that’s it.  So either I spend ONE day cooking for FORTY minutes or I spend FIVE days cooking for THIRTY minutes each!  Large batch cooking saves me an average of two hours to four HOURS of cooking time a week. SAVE TIME!
  • When I don’t feel like cooking, we don’t have to order out.  I simply warm up an already home cooked, healthy meal.  SAVE TIME & MONEY!
  • I’m always ready for company!  I freeze the food in individual portions so I can feed just the two of us, or five of us with a single batch and not worry about all that time trying to cook for unexpected guests!  SAVE TIME, MONEY AND SANITY!
  • IT’S GREEN!  A slow cooker uses less energy than an oven even over the hours it sits cooking on your counter (I tested this theory myself as I have a meter that I can plug appliances into and it will tell me how many amps it uses over extended periods of time).  It’s a great way to save energy even if you don’t use the slow cooker because you are cooking five times the amount of food in a single electricity session.  Great way to help lower that electric bill.  Plus, less waste!  Not just less food wasted (because you are dividing it into individual meals and thus have less chances of leftovers being left to spoil) but also in actual trash.  Cooking in bulk allows you to buy in bulk and thus less individual packing to toss out.   SAVE TIME, MONEY, SANITY AND THE PLANET!
  • Less chances of food contamination.  If the food is already cooked, all you’re doing is heating it up.  You are far less likely to have insufficiently cooked meals and risking the chances of being sick.  SAVE TIME, MONEY, SANITY, THE PLANET AND YOUR HEALTH!
  • Lastly, and my absolute FAVORITE reason…. LESS DISHES!  I cook once for five meals.  That means it’s one or two pot, pan, casserole dish, whatever for every five meals!  For the meals I heat up, it’s only the container(s) the meal was in and the dishes used to eat it off of!  Got to LOVE that idea!  Plus, doing less dishes means using less water.  So now its… SAVE TIME, MONEY, SANITY, THE PLANET, YOUR HEALTH and WATER!
So basically… cooking in larger batches makes you a superhero.  Now all I need is a cape and a catchy theme song.

Chicken Pot Pie Pockets (or any other meat you like)

Okay, I have to admit it… I seriously need to invest in pre-made refrigerated dough.  I buy them by the case and can come up with just about any creative way to use them.  I’ve used pre-made croissant rolls for my minced meat pies and for my egg-n-cheese breakfasts on the go.  Now I’m telling you how to make some pretty tasty chicken pot pies in a really short amount of time by using pre-made roll dough.

Ingredients:

  • 2 containers of Pre-made roll dough (8 rolls per can)
  • 2.5 cups of cooked and cut chicken ( or beef, pork, turkey, etc.)
  • 1 can cream of chicken (or turkey, broccoli or potato)
  • 1 can of cheddar cheese (found in the soup section of your grocery store)
  • 1 cup mixed cubed/diced frozen or fresh veggies (don’t use any canned veggies as they become mush)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • Optional: Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook your meat of choice however you like (this is great for leftovers!): boiled, sauteed, etc.
  2. Cube, dice or tear your meat into small pieces.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Toss everything but the dough into a bowl and mix (no need to thaw frozen veggies).
  5. Grab a muffin pan and line each pocket with a roll, creating a bowl shape.
  6. Spoon the mixture into each dough pocket, packing it down, until it is level with top or slightly heaping.
  7. Optional: add some shredded cheese on top of each pocket.
  8. Put pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until roll edges are golden.

Note:

  • I’ve made these several times and cooking times vary.  If the veggies are frozen, it takes a little bit longer.  If you use only cheddar cheese and not the canned version, it takes less time.  I recommend checking the pockets after ten minutes and every 3 to 5 minutes thereafter.
  • You can “top” the pocket with a layer of dough but remember, it will expand greatly and you might end up with a lot of attached pockets.
  • This recipe does NOT work well with seitan.
  • A great variation of this is to make a thick beef stew and fill the pockets with that!
  • Thin soups do NOT work in this recipe.
  • If you have ramekins, add a flattened roll on the bottom, fill ramekin, then add a flattened roll on top!  Great for a meal!

Chicken with Country Gravy

Talk about a quick dinner!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast
  • Refrigerated dinner rolls/biscuits
  • Instant stuffing
  • Frozen corn
  • Country Gravy packet

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken into bite size portions and sautee lightly with butter.
  2. Mix instant stuffing and frozen corn into a bowl, boil water and pour into stuffing/corn mix as per instructions on stuffing container.  Allow to sit and cool, mixing a few times to ensure all the corn is thawed.
  3. Make gravy according to instructions on packet.
  4. Make biscuits according to package.
  5. On a plate, add a bed of stuffing/corn mixture, top with chicken and drizzle with gravy and serve with biscuits on side.

Quick, easy, tasty.

Garlic Bread

Want a great garlic bread that is quick, easy and so simple you feel stupid you didn’t think of it before?  Forget those frozen garlic breads that are so laden with fake butter its like eating grease cakes!  Here’s one that’s tasty and done in about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Bakery bread (generally has a hard crust and soft bread inside or similar breads are sold in slices which save you the time of slicing it)
  • Butter/margarine
  • Olive Oil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Minced garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Foil
  • Options:
    • mozzarella cheese instead or with the parmesan
    • garlic powder or garlic salt instead of minced garlic
    • Dried tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300F (lower temperatures allows the bread to bake without burning)
  2. If you are making a loaf, tear a piece of foil big enough to wrap around the loaf.  If you are working with slices, lay foil on a tray large enough to accommodate your slices and another piece that will cover the top of them.
  3. If you are working with a loaf, cut it in half length wise (makes only two pieces, you’ll cut it into slices before serving), or lay out your slices on the foiled pan.
  4. In a medium size bowl add 4 tablespoons of butter/margarine, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, oregano and basil to taste (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each).
  5. Blend well.
  6. Spread the above mixture across each piece of bread, covering it completely (not the crusts).
  7. Cover slices with Parmesan cheese (again, as much or little as you like).
  8. Cover in foil.
  9. Put in oven for roughly 20 minutes to a half hour or until the edges of the bread begin to crisp (turn slightly brown).  If you like a harder bread, don’t foil it but keep it in a pan to catch any drippings.
  10. Slice (if needed) and serve.

 

Quick Homemade Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Pre-packed pizza crust
  • Jar of tomato sauce (any style including the chunky ones work fine)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter/margarine
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • Spices (to taste): garlic powder & oregano
  • Options:
    • White pizza: ricotta and broccoli (no tomato sauce)
    • Hawaiian: pineapple chunks and Canadian bacon or ham
    • Cheese burger: ground beef (browned first) and cheddar cheese (instead of mozzarella)
    • Pepperoni
    • Meat lovers: (meat should be precooked) sausage, ground beef and ham (a great alternative is deli meats)
    • Cheese lovers: Anything but gouda, feta or the pungent tasting cheeses as they don’t always blend well
    • Veggie lovers: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach (goes great with some ricotta as well)
    • Great additions: olives, purple onions, bbq chicken, shredded bbq pork/chicken (can find it pre-cooked), pasta with mozzarella & ricotta, basically… just about anything you can get on a pizza from a shop!

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a small bowl, add butter, oil and spices.
  3. Mix well.
  4. On a pizza pan (or cut the pre-packaged pizza crust into half or slices to fit smaller square pans), lay out your crust.
  5. Using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush, add a thin layer of the butter/oil mixture covering the entire crust.
  6. Using a large spoon or ladle, spoon out the sauce and spread it across the crust (go to the edges or leave 1/2 inch from the edge to make it a bit cleaner when eating).
  7. Add your options (remember, these crusts aren’t as “sturdy” as normal pie crusts and sag or break under weight)
  8. Add your cheese.
  9. Place in oven.
  10. Cook till the cheese is melted thoroughly but not burning.

Quick Danishes

Ingredients:

  • Jam or preserves (strawberry, raspberry, whatever you prefer)
  • Frozen/fresh fruit (matching or complimenting your jam/preserves such as strawberry preserves with blueberries)
  • Pre-packaged croissant rolls
  • Cream cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven according to directions on the croissant roll package.
  2. In a bowl add a heaping teaspoon of jam/preserve per roll (packages usually average six to eight rolls).
  3. Add a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese per roll.
  4. Blend well.
  5. In a muffin pan, gently stretch each roll to fill the bottom of a muffin indentation and leaving some dough to wrap around the top.
  6. Fill each cavity with the cream cheese/preserve mix.
  7. Add the fruit (mostly or completely thawed if frozen).
  8. Wrap remaining dough around mixture to seal.
  9. Bake until dough is a light golden brown.