What’s Cooking This Week

This week, we’re testing out some of the fun things that came in my last delivery from Misfits Markets. I have to say, we’ve been really happy so far with what we’ve received. And of course I’m still playing with the air fryer on a regular basis (spoiler)!

First up is the easiest pasta dish I make. I tried cooking the broccoli in the air fryer, cooking it for about 7 minutes (I tossed it with red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic powder). I was pretty happy with the texture and the flavor. We tend to disagree in our house about “how done” broccoli should be. I like it a little more firm, so this seemed to be a nice compromise with the smoky flavor. Cook 2 cups of rigatoni in boiling, salted water. While the pasta is cooking, I used a grill pan to grill up some organic chicken sausages that were in my last Misfits’ order. I love using chicken sausage to lighten things up without losing that sausage flavor in pasta. Once the sausage is cooked, slice it into 1 inch pieces, return to the pan with the broccoli and add the pasta. No sauce you say? Using some of the pasta water to deglaze the pan and adding a bit more as everything comes together works beautifully. Hit it with some oregano, more red pepper flakes and a bit of parmesan. Transfer to a serving platter, and add a little more grated parmesan on top. Perfect.

So next I wanted to try something different with eggplant, so I diced it, tossed it with some rosemary-infused olive oil, garlic power and Italian seasoning and put it in the air fryer for 10 minutes (shaking it halfway through cooking). I tossed it in a greased casserole dish, topped it with some fresh mozzarella (which I ordered accidently) and Panko and let it go in the oven while my chicken cutlets were baking (such a simple breading mix of breadcrumbs and parmesan – the real key is using some melted butter mixed with Worcestershire sauce and spicy mustard to dip the chicken in before breading). But while all that was in the oven, it occurred to me I forgot a potato. So I decided to see how frozen, shredded hash browns would play in the air fryer. And let me say they sure do without the mess of cooking them on the stove or the hassle (and poor health) of frying them in a ton of oil.

A winning week with our Misfits ingredients! As I head to prep some food for the week, what was your kitchen fave?

Eat well!

Bacon, Cheddar and Potato Soup

We took a trip down to the Carolinas last week and just being in the sun, feeling the warmth and not having to bundle up in all the clothes I own to go outside has me longing for spring. Unfortunately, the weather when we returned home didn’t cooperate. So I went to one of our favorite comfort soups: bacon, cheddar and potato soup when then winds and snow picked up here. There are about a billion different recipes to make it, but this one is one of my favorites!

6 slices of bacon, diced (who am I kidding, there’s always more bacon than that)

1 cup each diced onion, celery, and carrots

6 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced

1 carton chicken stock

2 cups shredded cheddar

1/2 to 1 cup milk or half and half (depending on how creamy you like your soup)

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy. While the bacon is going, cook the potatoes in the microwave in salted water for about 15 to 20 minutes (I find this helps speed up the cooking time and I have a terrible time gauging how long it will take to cook potatoes in a soup).

Drain the bacon and reserve about a tablespoon of the drippings. Cook the onion, celery and carrot until they are softened in the drippings. Drain the potatoes and add them into the pot. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture to how you like it. We like everything pretty well blended. Others prefer a little texture. No immersion blender? You can pour the soup in a regular blender to complete the process. I’m an incredibly messy cook, so I try to avoid this whenever I can!

Once every thing is the consistency you like it, add the milk, season with salt, pepper & red pepper and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Add about half to 3/4 of the cheese, stirring until it melts. Finally, add in most of the cooked bacon (save a little for garnishing the top of each bowl).

Serve it up with some nice, crusty rolls that have been warmed in the oven. A nice tossed salad works well too. Garnish each bowl with a little shredded cheese and the bacon bits.

What’s you go-to soup to fight off the winter chill?

What’s Cooking This Week

I’ll confess, we broke down and bought an air fryer after the holidays and I’m completely hooked! So this week in the kitchen I’ve been trying to perfect healthier versions of some of our favorite fried foods to make them more accessible. This week’s triumph was crispy onion rings and fried ravioli. (No, I didn’t serve them together). The ravioli made an appearance on a game day charcuterie board (along with some amazing jalapeno poppers & meatballs) and the onion rings were the perfect side for grilled steaks.

Note to self: share post on our new love of charcuterie & small plates!

One thing that’s been getting on our nerves is the weekly trip to the grocery store. We’ve been pretty regular customers of one of the big chains popular in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region and my husband was beginning to doubt my reports that I didn’t come home with half the items on my list because the shelves were bare. Plus what items I did secure put our grocery bill at a higher level than when we were trying to fill our strapping son’s appetite. So he decided to join me last week and saw I wasn’t censoring his food choices!

So we decided to try out Misfits Market because I’ve heard good things from friends, love the convenience of having groceries delivered to my door, and the prices were much less on staples than I was paying. Our first box was filled with pantry staples (the organic flatbreads made the perfect pizza crust) and fruits & veggies (now we’ll have fresh guacamole for the Superbowl, plus tons of carrots & celery to munch on with our wings. That will be made in the air fryer – obviously!) This week’s box will be one of their cold boxes, filled with cheeses and organic meats. I’m excited.

We also tried our another local grocery store. Of course, my resident skeptic had to accompany me and we were both happy to see fully-stocked shelves! It was significantly cheaper than what I’d been paying, even adding in the cost of the Misfits box. That’s my long way of saying that we’ll continue this experiment for another few weeks.

So, as I head to the kitchen to prep some of the abundance of extra produce I received, I’m wondering your favorite tips for fighting rising grocery costs. Bonus points for sharing your favorite things to make in the air fryer.

Eat well!

Zucchini Puffs

In my last grocery box, I received one of the biggest zucchini’s I’d seen since summer. After having it for dinner, I still had enough left to make these perfect, simple bites.

3/4 c flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (option, but gives it some kick)
3/4 c milk (buttermilk works well too)
1 egg
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded zucchini (squeezed dry)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. Recipe will make 24 mini-muffin sized puffs.

Mix dry ingredients well to incorporate. Add in milk and egg stirring to combine.

Fold in cheese and zucchini.

Spoon into the greased muffin tins.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the puffs are golden brown.

Enjoy hot from the oven or at room temperature.

Almond Raspberry Streusel Bars

Digging out from yesterday’s snowstorm, Valentines Day approaching… today I decided it was time for a treat for us! And these are super easy and made with ingredients you probably have in your pantry!

  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1/3 c butter (softened)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c raspberry jam (seedless)
  • 1/4 c crushed almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch square pan (I used a metal pan).

Mix cookie mix, flour, butter, almond extract and egg. It’s going to end up being a little course.

Press two thirds of the batter into the bottom of the pan (reserve the last third of the batter). Bake for 15 minutes. While the bottom layer is baking, add the crushed almonds to the reserved batter and mix to combine.

Remove bottom layer from oven and carefully spread jam over the base. Crumble batter/almond mix over the raspberry layer. Return to oven and back 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Let pan cool completely, then cut into squares (I cut mine into 5×5 bars)