Grilled Pear and Brie Sandwich with Arugula

Grilled cheese is something I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of, although as I’ve gotten older my grilled cheese has gotten… fancier?

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Brie is probably my favorite cheese (if I could pick a favorite child…), and it gets nice and melty in a grilled sandwich. The pear and apple butter are the perfect sweet to complement the spicy arugula, and the only complaint I have about this sandwiches that it was a bit too much for bread I used, and a thicker french-bread kind of roll would probably work better.

Ingredients and Directions:

Butter the two outsides of your bread slices, and spread a layer of apple butter on the insides. Add in thinly sliced pears (I used about 1/4 of a pear), sliced brie cheese (about 3/4 of an oz) and a large handful of arugula. Grill sandwich until cheese is melted and bread is a toasty golden brown.

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Dinner Lately

As much as I love food and cooking, sometimes I don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort into dinner. Here’s a preview of what my minimal-effort dinners have looked like this past weekend:

On Friday I hung out with my good friend and college roommate, Kenna. Senior year we had “wine and cheese night” a few times a month, where we would go to Market of Choice to buy a small wedge of cheese, usually Brie or Camembert, a baguette, and a $6 bottle of wine. The evening would be spent browsing Pinterest, eating and drinking everything we bought, and most definitely not studying for classes.

In honor of our frequent college dinner, we had wine, cheese, and bread, and with the addition of salami, garlic- sauteed zucchini, and blueberry-walnut chutney to serve with the cheese. Because now that we’re adults,* we decided that including a vegetable and a protein source in our meal was probably the responsible thing to do.

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* Obviously I use the term “adults” very loosely, since as you can see we’re eating our dinner on the floor… But Kenna and her husband, David, are getting a dining room table this weekend, woohoo big kids!

Saturday night I was definitely feeling breakfast for dinner, so I went with my breakfast staple, pancakes. By the way, when you work on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, pancakes for dinner and going to bed before 10 is totally the thing to do on a Saturday night, just sayin’.

However, since these were dinner pancakes, and not breakfast pancakes, I could add a secret ingredient- ALCOHOL! And it’s finally fall, which means I can add my favorite fall ingredient- PUMPKIN!

That’s right folks, I made Pumpkin Porter Pancakes.

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Why yes, I do like to serve my pancakes in a giant pool of maple syrup.

 

These pancakes were made even easier, because I had a mix to use and made a single serving amount (yes, I realize it is a very large single serving, but I’m serious about my pancakes).

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of your favorite pancake mix (I like Bob’s Red Mill)

dash of pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 cup porter (I like Deschutes Black Butte Porter)

1 egg

3 tablespoons canned pumpkin

 

Combine all the ingredients and then cook. I don’t feel like going into the details of cooking pancakes here, because I’m tired, remember?

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

There are two things in this world that I am obsessed with. Ok, there are way more than just two things, but two are coming to mind right now; Justin Timberlake and anything that is buffalo-chicken flavored.

With JT’s new album out (finally!), it seems like a good time to 1) declare that it is the best cooking/ washing dishes/ writing blog posts/ general life events music to listen to and 2) finally share the recipe for my FAVORITE enchiladas (and enchiladas are another thing I’m obsessed with… but don’t get me started on that again…)

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Just take a minute to soak in all the melty, cheesy goodness

Mmmmmmm. I want some right now.

I could put Frank’s hot sauce on just about anything, but these enchiladas are definitely my new favorite route to go. Besides the usual enchilada suspects (sauce, cheese, chicken, onions) I added blue cheese and celery to get the whole wings-sauce-celery sticks- blue cheese dip effect going on, and it was definitely a genius idea.

I love these enchiladas so much I made them twice in one week. And I’m not sorry about it.

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Ingredients:

 Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef

olive oil

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

6 large flour tortillas

3 stalks of celery, finely chopped

1 small onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 c each shredded mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese

1 10 oz can of enchilada sauce

1/2 c hot sauce (I like to use Frank’s), because I like spicy! Use less to start with if you’re unsure, and taste and add more sauce as you go

1/2 c crumbled blue cheese

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the celery and onions in olive oil until translucent and soft. Add in the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add in shredded chicken, mix, and kill the heat.

In a separate bowl mix together the enchilada sauce and hot sauce. Pour enough sauce into a 13×9 baking pan to just cover the bottom.

Divide the chicken mixture into sixths, and fill the tortillas one at a time with the chicken and a small amount of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese (you’ll end up using about a half of the cheeses in the actual enchiladas, save the rest for the top).

Roll up the tortillas and place in the pan seam side down. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Drop crumbles of blue cheese over the enchiladas.

Bake until the cheeses are melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Admire how many times I used the word “cheese” in the last few sentences.

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Apparently the tortillas I used were XXL?

In the future I plan on finding a medium enchilada sauce to use instead of mild, and keeping the amount of hot sauce the same… Like I said, I like spice!

Shaved Asparagus, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Pizza

I love homemade pizza. Love love love it. So when a friend of mine gave me the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for my birthday last week, I knew immediately what I had to make first- this pizza.

With the addition of goat cheese, juuust enough mushrooms in the fridge (seriously- mushrooms go like chocolate cake in this house), and thanks to Portland’s mild winters, fresh rosemary, this might be my new favorite pizza. Might be. Ask me that next week when I’ve tried a new recipe…

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I might make a lot of pizza, but this is possibly the closest I’ve gotten to a circular crust

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough

flour for rolling out dough, cornmeal (optional)

olive oil

1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella

1/2 lb asparagus

1 c sliced mushrooms (crimini, white, or other varieties of a similar size)

3 oz goat cheese

1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza pan, if desired, and roll out dough and transfer to pizza pan.

To shave asparagus, simply hold onto a spear by it’s tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and make shavings using a vegetable peeler (y-shaped ones work best), moving from the tough end to the tip. Don’t worry if the shaving are different thicknesses, thinner pieces will become more crispy in the oven and add to the texture. Toss asparagus shavings in a bowl with a small drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.

Drizzle olive oil on pizza crust and top with shredded mozzarella, shaved asparagus, and sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle on crumbled goat cheese, chopped rosemary, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbling.

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Together my roommate (read: mom) and I ate 5/6 of this pizza… I challenge you not to do the same!