Dill and Lemon Deviled Eggs

Dill and Lemon Deviled Eggs

One can't help but think about eggs when thinking about Easter and I was wondering how I could enjoy some eggs over the holiday weekend. Since I am not the best at decorating eggs I was looking for something different and the first thing that came to mind were deviled eggs which I had been wanting to try making for a while. Deviled eggs are hard boiled eggs that are cut in half and then stuffed with various things. Since you just pulled the yolks out of the eggs to make room for stuffing the eggs, you might as well use the yolks as the base from the stuffing. From there you can add pretty much anything that you want but mayonnaise and mustard are fairly common ingredients. I had some fresh dill on hand and I figured that along with a hit of lemon it would give a really nice spring version of deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are pretty straight forward to make with the only challenge really being filling the eggs and that can be achieved by placing the filling in a zip-lock bag, cutting the corner off and simply squeezing the filling into the holes. I quite enjoyed the deviled eggs and the egg mayo and mustard combination reminded me of and egg salad. I look forward to further experiments with deviled eggs and next time I am thinking if a spicy version to make them more devilish.

Apricot Glazed Ham

Apricot Glazed Ham with Asparagus and Pesto Mashed Potatoes

With all of the warm weather that we have been having lately I was thinking spring while contemplating my Easter menu this year. Ham is one of my favorite meals to serve for Easter and with spring on my mind I was thinking about a ham that was glazed with a light and fruity apricot glaze. I have used similar apricot preserve and mustard based glazes with other meats and I was looking forward to trying it out on a ham. Given that it takes a while to cook a ham it is perfect for weekends and holidays and despite taking so long they are actually pretty easy to cook.

Even though the asparagus in the store right now is not local, I could not resist picking some up as asparagus just screams spring. I had a bunch of meyer lemon pesto left over and I decided to finish my meal off with some meyer lemon pesto mashed potatoes. The apricot glazed ham turned out really well! The sweet and tangy apricot glaze worked wonders with the salty ham and it does not hurt to whip up some more of the glaze to serve with the ham as a sauce. This meal certainly has got me thinking about warmer days, but until then I now have a ton of leftover ham to enjoy and I have to say, that the leftovers are one of my favorite parts of a ham dinner!

Baby Artichoke Heart Quinoa Risotto with Shrimp and Meyer Lemon Pesto

Baby Artichoke Heart Quinoa Risotto with Shrimp and Meyer Lemon Pesto

I certainly have been enjoying quinoa ever since I came across it a little over a year ago and one of the things that I like most about it is its versatility. By itself quinoa makes for a great side dish and I commonly use it to make quick salads but it also works really well in soups and even in porridge . In the most recent edition of Food and Drink I came across a new way of using quinoa, risotto style, which sounded particularly interesting. I did not really expect the quinoa risotto to get as creamy as the rice version but I figured that you could not go wrong coating quinoa in melted parmigiano reggiano. Keeping it nice and seasonal this risotto includes baby artichoke hearts and it is topped off with a meyer lemon pesto in addition to some shrimp. This dish has a few steps and takes a bit of time to make but it is pretty straight forward and it is well worth the effort! I really enjoyed the way the quinoa worked in risotto form and it was nice and creamy and yet it had a light feeling to it. The meyer lemon pesto added a burst of citrusy freshness that cut through the creaminess of the risotto nicely, cleasing your palate for the next bite. Overall this was a wonderful spring dish!

Caramelized Apple and Gorgonzola Omelette with Bacon and Pecans

Caramelized Apple and Gorgonzola Omelette with Bacon and Pecans

We had a few really nice warm days this week but its back to cold ones for the weekend. Those warm days got me to thinking that spring would soon be here and that I should start cleaning out all of these winter supplies. At the top of the list was the apples which have been ever present in my fridge since winter started and I knew just how to use some of them. Ever since I made the caramelized apple and cheddar omelette with bacon and candied walnuts I have been thinking about a version that uses gorgonzola rather than cheddar. The creamy and tangy blue cheese goes just as well if not better with sweet and tart apples as the cheddar and this was the perfect time to try it out for a nice weekend breakfast. The gorgonzola version of the caramelized apple omelette was amazing! I would be hard pressed to choose a winner between the two and you really could not go wrong with either. What a great start to the weekend!

Spinach and Feta Quinoa Salad

Spinach and Feta Quinoa Salad

Although I generally like to plan my meals out for the week, sometimes things don't work out as planned. At the end of this week I noticed that I had an extra bunch of spinach in my fridge that I had not used during the week and it now needed to be finished rather quickly. Luckily I had an idea of what to do with it; I had been thinking about using the spinach, feta and herb flavour combination in a quinoa salad and now was as good a time as any to try it. Well, perhaps not the best time, as I had envisioned making it with white quinoa and all that I had on hand was a mix of white and red quinoa, but that would not affect the flavour so I was good to go. This quinoa salad was pretty easy to make and once you had everything in the pot you can pretty much just sit back and wait for it to finish cooking. The spinach and feta flavour combination worked really well in the quinoa salad and the one thing that I liked the most, outside of the flavour, was how light and fresh the quinoa salad seemed. It is always nice when a last minute dish turns out so good!

Eggplant Parmesan (Lasagna Style)

Eggplant Parmesan

Normally when I make eggplant parmesan or melanzane alla parmigiana I keep it nice and simple with nice thick slices of eggplant that are either roasted or fried and then baked in a marinara sauce and topped with melted cheese. Recently I have come across several layered lasagna like versions of eggplant parmesan and despite the extra effort involved I knew that I would have to try making one and I got the chance to on the weekend. Roasted eggplant is really good and I often roast eggplant when a recipe calls for frying it to keep it a bit lighter. This time however, I wanted to go for the full on crispy breadcrumb coated version. Other than layering this eggplant parmesan the recipe is pretty much the same as my normal version, though this time I went with a kalamata olive marinara sauce to pack in even more flavour. The lasagna like layered eggplant parmesan took a bit more time to make but it was worth it! I quite enjoyed the layers of crispy coated eggplant with melted cheese and tasty marinara. Though I will likely continue to make the simpler version more often, I will definitely be making this version again!

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

Not too long ago I go an email asking me if I had ever been to a Houston's restaurant and if I had tried their 'evil jungle noodle salad'. That was the first that I had heard of either but the description that I had been given of the salad sounded really good. It was described as containing: mango, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, cilantro and mint along with the noodles and that was all topped off with some lightly seared sliced beef. This salad is just jam packed with so many good things and with the mango and avocado it reminded me a little of the mango, avocado and grilled shrimp salad with a peanut dressing that I had made a while ago and enjoyed so much. After reading the description and a quick search for recipes I threw together this version of a Thai beef noodle salad that turned out really well. (Don't let the long list of ingredients deter you as this is one really nice salad.) Once again I was amazed by the creamy avocado and sweet and juice mango combination that really brought this salad over the edge. The combination of the classic western salad ingredients worked really well with the more Asian ingredients and flavours and the steak of course finished the salad off nicely turning it into a more of a light meal.

Baked Goat Cheese Salsa

Baked Goat Cheese Salsa with Tortilla Chips

Not too long ago I discovered a great new appetizer, the baked goat cheese marinara , where the goat cheese is baked in a marinara sauce and it is then served with toasted baguette slices for dipping and scooping. While I was enjoying the baked goat cheese marinara I thought that this would also probably work well with a salsa ranchera swapped in for the marinara sauce. When I look at the the recipes for a marinara sauce and salsa ranchera they are pretty similar save for the use of the chili peppers so I figured that it should work out pretty well. For the salsa ranchera I went with a simple version with some roasted serrano and poblano peppers. The baked goat cheese salsa was excellent! The creamy and tangy goat cheese went really well with the fiery hot salsa. I like the way that the goat cheese retains it shape only to crumble into melted cheesy goodness when touched. Although I am pretty sure that the baked goat cheese salsa would go great served with toasted baguette, I went with something that seemed a little more appropriate, tortilla chips.

Butternut Squash and Parmesan Pasta with Sage

Butternut Parmesan Pasta

I was looking through my fridge and to my surprise I found not one but two halves of butternut squashes from different squashes and they needed to be used quickly to make some room. Luckily I remembered seeing this simple recipe for a pasta with butternut parmesan sauce on Simply Recipes that sounded like a great way to enjoy some butternut squash. I know that the sweet roasted squash and savoury parmesan cheese flavour combo is amazing as I use it all the time in pumpkin risottos so I knew that this sauce would also be a winner. Sage also goes well with the squash and cheese combo and I could not resist adding some to this pasta sauce both for the flavour and for some contrasting colour. Once you have your squash pureed this recipe is super simple and it only takes a few minute longer to make than it takes to cook your pasta. Despite the fact that it is quick and simple, it tastes great! The sauce is sweet and creamy and the melted cheese adds a really nice savouriness along with the sage. I will definitely be keeping this recipe around and using it again and again.

Reuben Quesadillas

Reuben Quesadillas

The first thing that I think about when I have leftover corned beef is reuben sandwiches which are among my favorite sandwiches, but I was looking to change things up a bit. There was this half finished package of tortillas just sitting there begging to be used and I knew what I had to do, reuben quesadillas. I figured that a simple, straight translation of the sandwich recipe to a quesadilla recipe would be the best (It's too bad there aren't any rye tortillas around.), though I did saute the sauerkraut a little because I did not want a soggy quesadilla. I also warmed the corned beef up just a bit as I envisioned a nice and thick quesadilla and I did not want the center to be cold. The quesadillas version of the rueben turned out really well! The lightly toasted tortillas worked just as well as bread at holding this amazing flavour combination together. I made sure to keep all of the cheese near the tortillas to ensure that it all melted up nicely and it came out really ooey, gooey and stringy and good!

Apricot Glazed Corned Beef with Colcannon and Sauteed Cabbage

Apricot Glazed Corned Beef with Sauteed Cabbage and Colcannon

I don't know what it is about St. Patrick's day but every year I seem to go all out and this year was no different. Last year I came across this recipe for apricot glazed corned beef with sauteed cabbage and colcannon on Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy a bit late to make it in time but I have been patiently waiting and now it was finally time to try it. I have used apricot glazes in savoury dishes before so I know that they work well and the honey dijon glazed corned beef that I made last year was a great success with its sweet and tangy glaze so I knew that this one would also be great.

Roasted Beets with Caramelized Onions and Feta

Roasted Beets with Caramelized Onions and Feta

Beets are a vegetable that I enjoy, especially roasted, but I do not seem to have them nearly often enough. Because of this I am always looking for new ways to use them and recently I cam by this recipe for roasted beets with caramelized onions and feta on Our Life in The Kitchen that sounded really good. Roasted beets are pretty sweet and they go really well with strong cheeses like blue cheeses, goat cheese or in this case feta. Not only do we have the roasted beets and feta but we keep piling on the goodies with caramelized onions. I would not have thought of using mustard in this dish but after I heard it I jumped right onto the idea, though I did replace the dijon mustard with a grainy mustard which I have been into lately. This roasted beet dish turned out just as fabulous as it sounded! The sweet roasted beet and salty feta flavour combo was fantastic with the tangy mustard adding the perfect bite and the caramelized onions just took it over the edge. It is always nice to find another way to enjoy beets.

Apple Pie Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A while ago, when inspired the the idea of an apple pie with cheddar cheese, I created the caramelized apple and cheddar omelette which was an amazing combination of sweet and savoury. While I was enjoying it, I thought that grilled cheese sandwiches are also a good vehicle for the sweet and savoury combination and that I would have to try a caramelized apple grilled cheese sandwich. For all intents and purposes this is essentially an apple pie grilled cheese sandwich and how can you go wrong with sweet apples covered in warm melted ooey, gooey cheese? The caramelized apple grilled cheese sandwich turned out just as well as I had hoped, which is to say that it is addictively good and I have already made it more than a few times! The warm caramel coated apples with a hint of cinnamon go so well with the strong, melted cheddar cheese and the toasted crispy and buttery bread wraps it all up perfectly. Make sure to spoon any caramel sauce left in the pan after cooking the apple into the sandwich before closing it off and grilling it up.

Closet Cooking is now on Facebook

Due to popular request Closet Cooking is now on Facebook. I really don't know why it took me so long to getting on Facebook but I finally made an account along with a fan page for Closet Cooking. If you spend all of your time on Facebook, and it is quite addictive, become a fan and get Closet Cooking updates on the Closet Cooking Facebook fan page.

Guacamole Omelette with Salsa

Guacamole Omelette with Salsa

Over the last few months I have been experimenting with omelettes and in particular I have been focusing on open faced omelettes but lets not forget the classic folded omelette. It has been a while since I last made a folded omelet and as soon as I saw this recipe for a guacamole omelette with salsa on Kalyn's Kitchen I knew that it was time to try making one again. I would not have though to use avocado let alone guacamole in an omelette but as soon as I had heard the idea I was intrigued. The folded over omelette is a bit trickier than an open faced omelette but as long as you don't over stuff it and fold the one side over gently it is still pretty easy. It was hard not to over stuff this omelette but judicial snacking on the guacamole before it made it to the omelette helped out a lot and the guacamole omelette turned out great. Guacamole works so well stuffed in an omelette! The cool and creamy guacamole was surrounded by warm melted gooey cheese and light and fluffy eggs and overall it was amazing. The spicy salsa topping finish this breakfast off perfectly.

Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Quinoa Salad

I have been enjoying quinoa ever since I discovered it and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is in a simple salad. I tend to add some beans to the quinoa followed by some vegetables, often roasted, a nut and then I finish it off with a dressing and some herbs. I recently came across a quinoa chickpea salad on The Whole Kitchen that both followed that basic outline and looked really good. The recipe highlighted cinnamon and I immediatly thought of Moroccan cuisine which often uses complex spice mixtures including cinnamon. Moroccan spiced roasted carrots also happened to be on my to try list so I decided to merge the two ideas and make a Moroccan roasted carrot and chickpea quinoa salad. Of course, I made my own Moroccan spice blend and to ensure though flavouring, I tossed the carrots in some before roasting them, I cooked the quinoa with some and finally I mixed some into the dressing. The roasted carrot and chickpea quinoa salad turned out very nicely! I particularly enjoyed the spice blend and how it both accentuated the sweeter aspects of the salad in the form of the carrots and the raisins and also how it added a nice bit of heat. This salad would make a nice side for many Moroccan dishes and it also goes well by itself.

Mushroom Bouyiourdi

Mushroom Bouyiourdi

Mushrooms and cheese individually are two of my favorite foods and when they are combined together it always catches my attention. The other day I came across this magical combination in the form of this recipe for a mushroom bouyiourdi by Peter of Kalafagas that I just had to try. Not only did the dish contain both mushrooms and cheese but it was done in the form of a bouyiourdi which is more traditionally made of tomatoes, peppers and cheese. The bouyiourdi is baked until the cheese has melted and then it is served with crusty bread to be used for dipping and scooping up all of the melted cheese and tomatoy, or in this case, mushroomy goodness. I tweaked the recipe a bit replacing the cream with a bit of gorgonzola dolce, a blue cheese, both because I had it on hand and because it goes well with mushrooms. The mushroom version of the bouyiourdi was even better than the tomato version! You just can't go wrong with mushrooms and melted cheese and when you have a dish that is pretty much just composed of the mushrooms and melted cheese it is so good! I really enjoyed the creaminess and tanginess that the gorgonzola added and the heat from the peppers was also a nice touch. I will definitely be making this again!

Chicken Satay Quesadillas with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Chicken Satay Quesadillas with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

While I was enjoying my chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce my mind wandered to the fusion Korean/Mexican that I had been experimenting with recently and I wondered how a Thai/Mexican fusion would work. I had a bit of leftover satay along with some peanut dipping sauce and the first thing that popped into my head was quesadillas. I figured that the chicken satay and peanut sauce along with some cheese would form the base of the quesadilla but I wanted to fill it out a bit more and add some heat. Since one of the things that I like about Thai cuisine is all of the fresh ingredients I went in that direction and added some sauteed onions and red pepper along with some green onions and of course some cilantro. Adding the heat was the easy part with the addition of a chopped birds eye chili. I even had enough peanut sauce leftover to use for dipping. The chicken satay quesadillas with spicy peanut sauce turned out amazingly well! You really can't go wrong with tasty chicken and sauteed onions and peppers in a quesadilla but I was particularly surprised by how well the flavourful peanut sauce and cheese combo worked in these quesadillas! I was more than satisfied by this experiment with Thai/Mexican fusion and I am now looking forward to more!

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

I have been trying to make some room in my freezer lately and in doing so I have been coming across all sorts of interesting things that I had forgotten about. Most recently I found some panang curry paste which is essentially a red curry paste with peanuts in it. The first thing that I think of when I think of the panang curry paste is always the spicy peanut sauce which I think I may be addicted to. With the warm weather that we have been having the last few days I was thinking about summery food and I figured that the easiest way that I could get my spicy peanut sauce fix was to make a simple chicken satay and serve it with the dipping sauce. I am a huge fan of skewered grilled meat and this chicken satay is no exception! It is super simple to make, only needing a bit of marinating time and then you just throw it on the grill. The chicken came out nice and tender and light and fresh and it was packed full of flavour! Now I am looking forward to grilling season even more. Time to go see what else I can find in my freezer.

Huevos Motulenos

Huevos Motulenos

Even after making the migas last weekend I still had some corn tortillas left over from taco night so I threw them into the freezer. This weekend I was determined to finish them off and I knew just what I wanted to do to use them, huevos motulenos. Huevos motulenos is another Mexican egg and tortilla breakfast that is very similar to huevos rancheros . At their base, huevos motulenos are the fried tortillas, eggs, black beans and cheese. From there common extras include, ham, peas, fried pantains and salsa. As luck would have it, I also had just a tiny bit of ham leftover in the freezer that also needed to be finished! The huevos motulenos take a bit of work to make from scratch but it is well worth spending that time on a weekend morning to make this most excellent breakfast! There are so many really amazing flavour combinations and textures going on in this dish. Although I enjoyed everything about this breakfast, what impressed me the most was how good bananas fried in a little butter are!! I am going to be making this breakfast again and I can't wait to experiment with fried bananas further!

Palak Dal

Palak Dal

I have been enjoying the spinach and feta flavour combination a lot lately and I thought that it was about time that I branched out and tried something a bit different. Palak dal is an Indian dish consisting of spinach and lentils and it has been on my to try list for a while now. This dish is pretty much just the spinach and lentils along with some warm Indian spices and some chili heat. The lentils could be served as a side or as salad or with the addition of some rice or bread it can easily be a main. Most of the recipes that I found called for urad dal or chana dal but I did not end up having the time to pick them up so I just used the lentils that I had on hand, the green du puy lentils. This dish is pretty simple to make though it does require a bit of time to cook the lentils. The palak dal turned out wonderfully and I quite enjoyed the warm spicy flavour of the creamy lentils and spinach. This is definitely another great way to enjoy some spinach! I even tried adding some feta to the leftovers and that worked really well as well!

Kimchi Chicken Salad Sandwich

Kimchi Chicken Salad Sandwich

After waiting for a long month my new batch of kimchi was finally ready and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it to start. After the success of the kimchi egg salad sandwich I wanted to try a chicken version and as luck would have it I had just stumbled across a container filled with leftover cooked shredded chicken in the freezer. I pretty much just used the same recipe substituting in chicken for the egg. I cooked some bacon in a pan and then slightly caramelized the kimchi in the bacon grease to impart it with its flavour while eliminating any excess moisture to prevent the sandwich from getting soggy. After that it was as easy as mixing the chicken salad ingredients and assembling the sandwich. The kimchi chicken salad sandwich was just as good ans the egg salad sandwich version! I certainly have been having fun adding kimchi to dishes that I enjoy all the time.

Baked Goat Cheese Marinara

Baked Goat Cheese Marinara

When I think about which cheeses that I have in my fridge the most often, goat cheese is definitely up there and I am always looking for new way to enjoy some. Not too long ago I came across this recipe for a baked goat cheese marinara on Culinary Cory that sounded so good that I just had to make it right away! You just cannot go wrong baking cheese until it is nice and warm and melty and I liked the sound of baking it in a tasty marinara sauce . For the marinara sauce I made a simple and yet tasty one with kalamata olives (see below). Once you have the marinara sauce this dish is as simple as toasting some bread and baking the sauce with the cheese floating on top. I did however take one extra step and rubbed some fresh garlic onto the baguette after toasting it.

This baked goat cheese marinara is so good! I could easily have finished the whole thing all by myself in one sitting! Although the goat cheese retained its shape after broiling it quickly melted into the sauce as you pressed into it with your bread creating a really tasty combination of sauce and melted goat cheese...mmm... I was also impressed at how amazingly good the toasted baguette was made by the simple act of rubbing some garlic onto it and it added rather beautifully to the flavour medley.

Marinara sauces are pretty easy to make and I have been making my own for a while now. In their simplest form a marinara sauce is tomato based sauce with olive oil, garlic and herbs. I often like to add onions, carrots and celery for some more vegetable goodness and I often toss in other various things depending on what I feel like at the moment. Given that his dish was so simple with just the sauce and the goat cheese I wanted a savoury sauce that was simple and yet tasty. The carrots add a sweetness to a marinara so they were out and I did not have the celery on hand so that was out too. I had been wanting to try adding kalamata olives to a marinara sauce and I was sure that the sauce would be nice and tasty with just them in. After I made the marinara sauce I pureed it a bit to make it smoother as I figured it would be easier to scoop up with the bread that way.

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Apple Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream


It seems that I have not been doing too many desserts recently and I had been craving something sweet. I always enjoy using fruit in desserts and one of the quickest, easiest and most rewarding ways of using fruits in a dessert has to be in the form of a crisp or a crumble. They are pretty much as easy as; prep the fruit, mix the crumb topping, pour them into a baking dish and bake. Though I tend to use use fruits that are in season, sometimes I cheat and freeze some fruit for later. Apples are great for crisps and normally I would pair them with cranberries for a tart counter balance to their sweetness but when rhubarb was in season during the summer I thought that rhubarb would also work well with apples so I froze some for later. The other day while I was rooting around in my freezer I came across that rhubarb and it was finally time to try the combo out. The rhubarb ended up surviving the freezer in pretty good condition and went on to make a really nice apple rhubarb crisp! The tart rhubarb worked just as well with the sweet apples as I had been hoping for. I of course served the crisp with some melting vanilla ice cream.

Tip: I like to split the leftovers into individual sized servings and freeze them in plastic containers. If I want a sweet dessert I simply pull one directly from the freezer to the microwave and give it two minutes on speed defrost followed by two minutes on high. With that and a scoop of vanilla ice cream I have an amazing treat whenever I want in under 5 minutes.

Chicken, Roasted Butternut Squash and Feta Lasagna

Chicken, Roasted Butternut Squash and Feta Lasagna
Lasagna has to be one of my all time favorite meals. Although the classic lasagna will always hold a special place for me, I am always interested in trying new and different ways of making lasagna. I recently came across this recipe for a chicken, roasted butternut squash and feta lasagna on Cook Sister! that sounded amazingly good. I had tried a roasted butternut squash lasagna before so I knew that the roasted butternut squash worked well in a lasagna I really liked the sound of combining it with the feta in this one. Not only does this recipe have the feta and the mozzarella but it also has melted cheddar in the bechamel sauce for three kinds of cheesy goodness! How could you go wrong with all that baked in melty cheese? Like most lasagne this one takes a bit of effort but it is well worth it! For this lasagna you need to roast the butternut squash, make a tomato sauce, make the bechamel sauce, assemble and finally bake it and although there is a lot to do, everything is actually pretty easy. The roasted butternut squash works so well in this lasagna and the salty feta is the perfect accompaniment! Of course all of the melted cheese really brought this lasagna home. All of the flavours combined and made something much greater than the sum of its parts! Luckily there are lots of leftovers and I will get to enjoy them for lunches for the rest of the week.