Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil, Chopped Vegetables, Rosemary, and Pancetta

It’s fun looking through my Marcella Hazan cookbook and finding new simple recipes to make that taste good. This one has vegetables built in, and because they are chopped rather than diced, they remain fresh tasting in the sauce. The pancetta adds a bit of flavor and meat to the dish, if you or your family members (ahem, K) require that in a meal. If not, you can make the same dish without the pancetta. This dish is also toddler-friendly with the fun pasta shapes and easy to chew vegetables.

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Chicken Marsala

If you had asked me for my chicken marsala recipe, I would have said, well, I add a little of this and a little of that….just check my blog. It turns out, I didn’t have a recipe on here for it. And my recipe is still “add a little of this and a little of that”. This most recent time I made it, I made sure to take pictures so I could write about it…and I discovered that Shiraz works just as well as Marsala! So, Chicken Shiraz? Sounds fancier, but no difference.

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Tips-y Tuesdays: Breakfast Skillet Ideas

This wasn’t the perfect breakfast skillet, but I can let you know what YOU should do to make a better skillet dish, so I am sharing it with you today. Happy Tuesday! Unless you’re reading this on some other day. And then…Happy Day That Isn’t Tuesday!

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Mixed Bag (Part 7): Burgers, Brioche, Baked Chicken, and (Date) Bars

Half of these recipes are from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Country. The chicken is from the Food Network Magazine and the last one was a random blog I used to make something date-related for the Fudgelet. None were super successful, as you will see below. All are B-related! Maybe these are B recipes for their grades, too.

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Ground Beef, Turkey, and Cheese Gozleme (Calzones)

One of the side-effects of blogging with baby is that I don’t have as much time to make food. I am not the fastest person in the kitchen, and I think blogging helped speed me up a bit. I needed to be able to take pictures while cooking in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, my pictures were sometimes rushed or blurry, but I did okay. Usually, I could even take multiple pictures of a step and pick the best one. Well, nowadays I don’t always remember to even take a picture for a step, or there just isn’t time. Maybe we’re running late for dinner (not an issue with adults, but it is with a set dinner/bedtime routine for a toddler!), so I am rushing the food-making process, or my hands are dirty and I would need to stop, wash up, take a picture, dirty my hands again, wash up, etc. and I decide it isn’t worth it, or I just forget. Today’s recipe was more the dirty hand issue. Making dough recipes means flour gets everywhere. We had an ant outbreak this summer, and so I’ve been trying to be extra careful of where flour and other food particles end up in the kitchen. (Although, both sets of neighbors had ants really bad last year, and we didn’t have any, so I guess it might have just been our turn. Sigh.)

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French Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella Tart

For me, having a baby means trying to find the right balance of being “me” and being “Mommy.” Obviously “me” = “Mommy” in many contexts, and I also have very little non-“Mommy” time to be just “me.” My husband K tries to help, and offers to take the Fudgelet at different points on the weekends. Usually this gets me a shower without a baby watching me (only weird when he gets older–haha) and a workout (mostly) free from worrying about the Fudgelet waking from his nap early. As far as my old hobbies, like reading books, watching tv, listening to music, etc….these things seem less important, and I have put almost all of those on hold. A few hobbies I have kept (for now), and these include exercising and cooking. Both are necessary. I have exercised regularly for over ten years now, and it has definitely helped with my stress and mental health. Cooking is also necessary since we need food to survive.

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Now, I could just make really basic meals. I could also make the same old food over and over. Nothing wrong with those options, but for me, cooking gives me a chance to do something I loved before I created the Fudgelet. K sometimes thinks I should tone things down, but it makes me feel more “me” by cooking fancier dishes on occasion. This was one of those occasions. Just like with the cake, this was something I made fairly early on. In fact, you can see how long ago by checking out this picture I took while making this tart:

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So small! And now he won’t sleep in my baby-carrier unless I cover up his head so he can’t see as well. Sigh. Anyway, I still decided to streamline this dish for cooking. Being a mom to an infant gives me a few naps during the day to get things done. I was able to use one nap to prep the tart shell and another nap to prep the filling. When it was dinner time, it was easy to throw it together. Obviously you could also do it all at once, but not everyone has that luxury, so I give you some options below.

One step that is not optional is how you cut the onions. The directions explicitly stated to slice the onions this way:

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Before cutting crosswise like you see below. Supposedly this is key to how they cook, with the textures and all for the tart. I didn’t try the other way because I chose to believe them. 🙂

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Directions for French Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella Tart

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book 

Crust

  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • Ice water

Spray a 9-inch tart pan with baking spray, then set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter butter on top of the mixture, then pulse until it looks like coarse sand (about 15 pulses).

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Add 2 Tablespoons ice water (and more if necessary), pulsing until large clumps form and no powdery bits remain.

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Pat the dough into the pan, starting in the middle, and working out to the edges.

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Put plastic wrap on top, then flatten and smooth the dough. Freeze it for 30 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart on a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap and place a sheet of aluminum foil on top (sprayed with baking spray), pressing against the dough. Fill with pie weights and bake for about 30 minutes.

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The dough should just start to brown. Remove the foil and pie weights, then bake for 10 more minutes. Set it aside. You can cover it and chill it for a few hours if necessary before continuing.

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Filling

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1.5 pounds onions (not sweet onions), halved through the root end and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Ground pepper

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.

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Remove from the pan.

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Leave 2 Tablespoons bacon fat in the pan. Add the onions, salt, and thyme.

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Cover and cook until the onions release liquid and start to wilt (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low and cook with the lid slightly ajar until the onions are very soft and lightly brown (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. You can chill them at this point and continue the remaining steps when ready to eat.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and some pepper. Add the onions.

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Pour into the tart shell, then sprinkle the bacon and mozzarella evenly over the top.

Bake the tart until the center feels firm to the touch (about 25-35 minutes). Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the tart pan.

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Directions for French Onion, Bacon, and Mozzarella Tart (without pictures)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book 

Crust

  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
  • Ice water

Spray a 9-inch tart pan with baking spray, then set aside. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Scatter butter on top of the mixture, then pulse until it looks like coarse sand (about 15 pulses). Add 2 Tablespoons ice water (and more if necessary), pulsing until large clumps form and no powdery bits remain. Pat the dough into the pan, starting in the middle, and working out to the edges. Put plastic wrap on top, then flatten and smooth the dough. Freeze it for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart on a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap and place a sheet of aluminum foil on top (sprayed with baking spray), pressing against the dough. Fill with pie weights and bake for about 30 minutes. The dough should just start to brown. Remove the foil and pie weights, then bake for 10 more minutes. Set it aside. You can cover it and chill it for a few hours if necessary before continuing.

Filling

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1.5 pounds onions (not sweet onions), halved through the root end and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Ground pepper

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove from the pan. Leave 2 Tablespoons bacon fat in the pan. Add the onions, salt, and thyme. Cover and cook until the onions release liquid and start to wilt (about 10 minutes). Reduce heat to low and cook with the lid slightly ajar until the onions are very soft and lightly brown (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. You can chill them at this point and continue the remaining steps when ready to eat.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and some pepper. Add the onions. Pour into the tart shell, then sprinkle the bacon and mozzarella evenly over the top.

Bake the tart until the center feels firm to the touch (about 25-35 minutes). Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the tart pan.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Lemon Sauce

For me, this is the kind of recipe I could almost cook blindly. I like to make chicken in a Dutch oven with sauces and mushrooms. It’s easy and tasty. This is slightly different since I’ve been cooking with lemons a bit more recently. There is something about lemons that make it feel more like summer.

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