Blueberry & Croissant Breakfast Puff

Blueberry & Croissant Breakfast Puff is my new favorite breakfast food!

I love breakfast, I love going out for breakfast – however, since finding this Blueberry & Croissant Breakfast Puff recipe I may never eat out for breakfast again!

I made this for a brunch with family and friends over the holidays! It was a HUGE success.

I was a little taken back by the cream cheese addition – but it absolutely makes the dish. It cuts the sweetness, adds a creaminess without dominating the palate.

The blueberries are the perfect fruit for this dish as they swell with cooking and then release all their juices and flavor in each bite.

I dislike bread pudding and equally ‘soggy’ foods – so I was slightly concerned that this would turn into one of those dishes………it didn’t! The croissant pieces on top stay flaky and buttery while the underneath becomes creamy, gooey and delicious!

Blueberry & Croissant Breakfast Puff is a firm favorite with Captain America & I and will be staying on our breakfast menu for a while to come.

If you are hosting a brunch with friends or family, or just want to try out a new breakfast recipe with your family then this is a must! Try it this weekend!

Ingredients

6 large croissants, cut up (about 10 cups)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cup milk (we used rice milk)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place croissant pieces in a 9 x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with blueberries.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition.
  4. Pour evenly over croissant pieces. Let stand 20 minutes.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until set in center and golden brown. You may want to cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes if the tops are getting too browned.

Find the original recipe here

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I don’t know about you but for me the month of January spells eating lots of leftover Christmas candy while trying to keep warm and not gain any more weight! No simple feat!

This recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash is a warm, winter dinner that’s low on calories and high on taste that hopefully helps you fulfill that goal!

I was a little dubious about stuffed acorn squash at first – it seems like quite a lot of effort for very little result and it all seems a little too healthy for me 😉 However, I was surprised by the delicious result and how simple it was to make!

You could probably use any large squash for this dish – but Captain America and I picked up this massive Acorn squash at Apple Hill and I decided to use it for a main dish rather than a smaller side dish. If you can only find smaller acorn squash at your grocery store or Farmer’s market then it would make a great side dish, or maybe use a whole squash per person for a main dish.

While researching “How to cook squash” I found this excellent post from one of my favorite cooking website The Kitchn – check this out for some basic tips on How to make stuffed roasted squash

Ingredients

1 acorn squash (or equivalent)
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1lb ground turkey
1 carrot, grated
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion salt
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 C breadcrumbs
1 C Grated Italian cheese
3/4 C pine nuts (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the Acorn squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and pour in enough hot water to fill the pan by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish loosely with foil and place the dish in the oven.
  2. Roast the squash at 375F until very soft and tender when poked with a fork or paring knife, 30 to 50 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size and variety of your squash.
  3. While the squash is roasting cook the ground turkey, onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot and seasonings in a pan until the turkey is fully cooked. When it is cooked remove the filling from the heat until the squash has finished roasting
  4. Flip the cooked squash halves so they form bowls. Rub the inside with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs, cheese and pine nuts to the filling.
  6. Divide the filling between the halves — it’s fine to really stuff the wells and also to mound the filling on top.
  7. Bake the stuffed squash halves until bubbly: Re-cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until both are hot and bubbly. Top with extra cheese and serve immediately.

Cataldo Family Christmas Ravioli

The Cataldo Family has a wonderful family tradition at Christmas – homemade Ravioli!

They are so delicious and made from scratch!

A few months ago we all got together for a family gathering to make the ravioli ready for the holidays. I must admit that most of them did not make it to the holidays as we ate them all well before – but more will be made in time for Christmas Day where we serve them alongside Prime Rib and many other delights!

I will admit they are not a fast or simple dish to make – which is why we all made a HUGE batch of them to freeze and eat over time. The results are well worth the effort and time!

I have never made pasta or ravioli before – however the rest of the family had made it many times before! I am delighted to tell you that I passed the test, my Mother-in-Law said I did a great job and she should know she has been making them for decades!

Here’s me with my rolled out ravioli!!

I was very nervous to get started but I had excellent supervision and tutoring! Rolling out the dough is easier than it looks although I did have buff arms after a few batches!!

The family has a cool ravioli rolling pin that really makes the job easier! These gadgets come in all different sizes but we prefer the smaller ones.

After you roll out the dough you put filling in a very thin layer on one half of the dough and then fold the dough over the top and then roll it out using the fancy rolling pin!

Here’s the recipe: 

Ingredients

To make the dough:
28 C flour
6-8 eggs (depending on size and moisture)
a little oil
warm water
To make the stuffing:
3 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3lbs ground beef
1lb ground pork, ground black forest ham or ground Italian sausage
4 bunches spinach or swiss chard (we prefer swiss chard)
3 carrots
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 C finely ground breadcrumbs
1 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
6 eggs
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
2 tbsp basil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp allspice
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Mix together the ingredients, kneed well (use a machine to help with this stage!) Roll out thinly – so it looks like paper
  2. To make the filling: Chop onions and garlic very finely and saute in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and pork to to the onion mixture and brown. Set aside.
  3. Boil the carrots and and swiss chard/spinach in salted water. When tender, chop coarsely and add to the skillet mixture.
  4. Reserve spinach water in case you need to add any to alter the consistency of the filling.
  5. Add breadcrumbs. grated cheese and eggs to the skillet.
  6. Pour into the food processor and blend until mixed well.
  7. Add the spices and taste! Adjust seasonings to taste.
  8. To assemble the ravioli: Roll out dough very thinly on a well floured surface into a rectangle shape. Brush the entire top surface of the rolled dough with a lightly beaten egg.
  9. Spread ravioli stuffing very thinly onto one half of the rectangle. Fold the uncovered half of the dough on top of the filling and press down lightly.
  10. Using a ravioli rolling pin roll over the dough and PRESS DOWN HARD. Then cut between the ravioli using a ravioli cutter.
  11. If you are not cooking and eating the ravioli immediately:
  12. Place each ravioli on a baking tray covered in parchment paper and freeze. When fully frozen you can transfer them to a freezer proof bag and store until you are ready to eat them.

From our family to yours – we hope you have a fantastic time celebrating the birth of Jesus with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas from Captain America & His English Rose!

We are taking a little blogging break over the holidays and we will be back in the New Year!

My Favorite Apple Recipes

What better way to celebrate Fall than with a Apple recipe round-up!

As you will have realized by now I am a HUGE fan of baking!

I also LOVE FALL! It’s my favorite season!

Today we are in Apple Hill in Northern California – one of my favorite places to visit during the Fall!

I really hoped we would be able to make the trip but the past few weeks have been so busy – Captain America decided to treat me, kind of like a belated Anniversary celebration day out and took me to Apple Hill!

While I am stuffing my face with all things apple – you get to delight in this wonderful round up of my favorite apple recipes that I have gathered for you to feast your eyes upon!

There were so many of my favorite apple recipes I decided to compile them into a Pinterest board which you can find here:

It has everything from apple pie to caramel apples, from apple cider to apple cider doughnuts. I was drooling just compiling the board, and probably by now I have just about had my fill of apples and all foods containing apples……wait….I’m not sure that would ever be possible!

I hope you enjoy my favorite apple recipes contributed to The Pretty Pintastic Party over the past few months!

Now get in that kitchen and staring baking!

My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

I am a HUGE fan of pumpkin recipes! I cannot get enough!

 

Even after Halloween is over I still never get tired of Pumpkin recipes.

There are so many wonderful recipes out there to get you inspired and get your creative cooking juices flowing I wanted to find some of my favorite pumpkin recipes out there are compile them in one big round-up.

From Pumpkin Muffins, to Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, from Pumpkin Pie to Roast Pumpkin Risotto. I have brought together some of my favorite pumpkin recipes from The Pretty Pintastic Party and added them to one Pinterest board for you to savor over, get inspired and get cooking!

Many of the recipes are REALLY simple, and some take a little time and skill but hopefully there is something for everyone to enjoy, savor and have a go at!

You know you have leftover, half-carved pumpkins – don’t throw them away! Use them to create delicious recipes from the list of my favorite pumpkin recipes!

To make it easy for you and to make sure you don’t miss a single recipe I posted them all on this Pinterest board which you can view here and follow! Enjoy!

31 People: Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is one of the main reasons I became passionate about food!

He taught me a lot about cooking, growing my own food and how simple, delicious food can be. I have tried to implement his approach here at Captain America & His English Rose of creating simple, yet delicious dishes – that anyone can make!

Jamie Oliver taught me how to make risotto…..properly! His Pizza Dough Recipe is a staple at our house, it helped me overcome my fear of dough AND it is by far the most successful post I have ever written on this blog – so for that I am truly grateful!

I own many of his cookbooks, but rarely follow his actual recipes – yet they inspire me to create new dishes and to try out new methods. I loved his TV shows and found them to be the most inspiring. Jamie At Home was a series I particularly enjoyed as it taught me about growing my own vegetables, how simple it is and some amazing dishes I can make with the results. The summer after I watched that show I grew many vegetables and became a lifetime convert to a kitchen garden.

One of the things that inspires me most about Jamie Oliver is that his recipes are not complicated or pretentious – they often don’t involve expensive ingredients that are difficult to get a hold of and they don’t take hours. He breaks them down into simple steps that anyone can follow.

Don’t believe me – check out his Youtube channel ‘Food Tube’ or his website, jamieoliver.com and see for yourselves!

Simple Chicken & Shrimp Tom Yum Soup

A friend of ours recently gave us a few Asian ingredients as she is moving house and needs to downsize!

She knew we loved to cook and would make good use of them! She was right! Our recipe for Simple Chicken & Shrimp Tom Yum Soup was created.

I started googling some of the ingredients she had given us to see how best I could put them to use. I found a few options, but nothing that was jumping out at me. I decided to take the high risk approach and create my own Asian soup recipe! Being the least Asian person I know (!) it was literal guess work and while the result was exceptionally good (even if i do say so myself!) it may not be the most genuine Tom Yum Soup recipe ever created and for that I apologize!

 

Every recipe I read told me how to make my own tom yum soup base….but I already had that, so I used that as a base and added to it as it was pretty bland. I wanted to make sure the chicken was thin enough and cooked in the same way I as I had eaten in other Asian soups. I turns out the method is to essentially boil the chicken – which I would never think to do usually – but it worked! The chicken absorbed all the delicious flavors of the soup base while it cooked!

This recipe for chicken & shrimp tom yum soup was a huge fluke and yet a real success – that’s the best kind!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Simple Chicken & Shrimp Tom Yum Soup

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8

3 quarts water

22 oz (3 packets) Udon noodles (do not use any seasoning packets that may come with the noodles)

1 can baby corn, chopped

2 C finely sliced chicken, uncooked

1 C tail-on shrimp

1 red onion, slivered

1 bell pepper, slivered

2 C mushrooms, sliced

4 tbsp Tom Yum Soup Paste

1 tbsp hot pepper paste

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp thai fish sauce

1 x 14 oz can chicken broth

2 tbsp garlic salt

2 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp fresh cilantro

Directions:

Add the water to a large pan, add the tom yum soup paste, hot pepper paste, lime juice, fish sauce, chicken broth, garlic salt & garlic powder to the pan and bring to the boil.

Add the chicken, onion and bell pepper, stir and reduce the heat to an active simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the shrimp, mushrooms and baby corn and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the noodles and fresh cilantro and stir well to break up the noodles as they cook. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the noodles are cooked through and serve

 

Homemade Tomato Salsa

Everybody love chips and salsa, right?

It’s the ultimate snack, party dish, appetizer – and what better than a delicious bowl of homemade tomato salsa!

Captain America and I took a recent trip to a local Farmer’s Market and got the inspiration to make a delicious tomato salsa. We found lots of ripe tomatoes and even a stand selling all types of peppers – so we could pick the ones we wanted!

 

Captain America, being the lover of all things spicy, has made this before so I have to give him credit for this recipe – I made it but he directed!!

We shared the salsa at a pot-luck BBQ the following day and it went down a storm. We made a HUGE batch of it too – enough to share at the party (with about 20 guests) and we kept some at home too.

It had a great flavor and a little heat (which you could increase depending on your palate) and the best thing was that it was made with fresh ingredients and it was REALLY simple!

You know I am a huge fan of simple recipes – life is complicated enough without adding challenging recipes to the mix.

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

Makes about 10 cups

1 1/2 yellow onions

1/2 red onion

2lbs 6oz tomatoes  (this amount can vary slightly depending on the size of your tomatoes)

1 serrano pepper

1 poblano pepper

2 Hungarian wax peppers

10 cloves garlic

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp fresh cilantro

1 tbsp sea salt

3 tbsp chives 

1 tbsp onion salt

2 tbsp parsley

2 tbsp oregano

Directions:

Using a Vitamix (or blender/food processor) wet chop the onions and garlic and add to a large bowl

Chop the tomatoes in the vitamix and add to the bowl

Wash, de-seed and chop the peppers and add to the bowl

Add the seasonings and fresh, finely chopped cilantro to the bowl and stir.

TASTE the salsa – at this point you get to decide if it tastes good! We found there was very little heat from the peppers but the garlic heat was very intense. You may need to add a little more seasonings, salt or lemon juice. This will vary depending on the flavor of your tomatoes and heat from the peppers.

Bear in mind that the flavors develop with time – we made the salsa the night before the party and then taste tested it right before we served it in case we needed to add anything.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container until you are ready to serve.

 

Blueberry Crumb Pie

I am a huge fan of desserts – especially pie!

Captain America unfortunately cannot eat many desserts as he is allergic to dairy (except cheese) and chocolate…..which rules out many desserts! He is, however, a HUGE fan of pie…..and blueberries! Needless to say, this Blueberry Crumb Pie got devoured!

It was a huge cheat dessert and SO SIMPLE to make, especially as I cheated and bought pie crust!

For the avid readers among you – you will know about my dislike for making pie crust  and my many not so successful attempts at making my own! Yes, I know it’s really easy and all you need is__________ (fill in the blank) Trust me I have tried many a ‘fail safe’ recipe and I still end up with a mediocre crust. This time I bought a frozen pie crust and it was delicious!

The blueberries were in season and exceptionally cheap so this was not only easy, but cheap!

The balsamic vinegar is a tip I read a while ago and I tried it with a few pie fillings and it was wonderful – but it MADE this recipe – it really brings out the flavor of the fruit, cuts the overly sugary-ness of a normal pie filling and added a zing to the berries! No-one could taste the difference and the few people I told were very surprised!

 

If you can find a small bottle of Balsamic Brandy Glaze (it is often sold in smaller foodie stores, olive oil shops etc) BUY IT! It is well worth the money, you can use it in so many more recipes than you would expect and it lasts for ages! You will not regret it!

Now onto the recipe for Blueberry Crumb Pie!

 

Ingredients:

1 ready-made pie crust

32 oz blueberries

3/4 C sugar

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp balsamic brandy glaze (optional)

For the crumb topping:

1 C flour

1 C brown sugar

1 C oats

1/2 C butter, melted

Directions:

In a small pan heat the blueberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar and balsamic glaze for a few minutes until the blueberries become coated and start to disintegrate.

 

 

Remove from the heat, allow to cool for about 10 minutes and add the cornstarch, stirring it to thicken the sauce.

Add the mixture to the pie crust (follow the instructions on the packet for how best to handle the pie crust) and set aside.

 

In a small bowl, mix the flour, oats and sugar, then add the melted butter and rub together using your fingers to form the crumbs.

Gently spoon the crumb topping onto the pie ensuring all the filling is covered evenly

Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, checking occasionally so it does not burn. Cook until the crumb topping is golden brown.

 

Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings!

We are kicking of this new season with one of our favorite dishes of the summer – and what better day to celebrate our return but with Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings this Labor Day!

Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of the summer with the last BBQ before the Fall weather begins…..but here in California we will probably be grilling for a few more months this year and today the weather is just shy of 100°F!

This year we are praying in some rain and Fall-like weather – I long for some cozy Fall afternoons snuggled on a couch drinking a pumpkin spice latte while the rain pours outside! Please God let this be the year!

In the meantime I wanted to share this recipe for Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings – this has been a regular visitor in our house this summer! We always like to find new uses for freezer staples such as ground beef and ground turkey and this was one of those perfect solutions.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 extra-large (or 4 regular) burger patties

1lb ground beef

2 tbsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tbsp basil

1/2 tsp ground mustard

2 thick slices mozzarella cheese

Trimmings:

Bread rolls or Iceberg lettuce leaves

2 oz sliced mushrooms

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

mustard/mayo/ketchup – optional

Directions:

In a bowl add the ground beef and seasonings and mix well.

Divide the ground beef into 2 or 4 balls and form burger patties using your hands.

Make a small indent in the center of the burger making sure not to go all the way through the patty.

Insert the mozzarella slice into the indent (you may need to cut the cheese into smaller pieces)

Cover over the indent with the ground beef making sure the cheese is completely covered in a think layer of meat.

Place in a hot pan and cook for a few minutes and then turn over, repeat this step until cooked thoroughly.

In a separate pan, cook the onions and mushrooms until soft and set aside.

To assemble the burgers:

For a burger in a bun:

Place the cooked patty on the bread, add the onions, mushrooms, lettuce, avocado and any additional garnishes.

For a protein style burger (no bread):

Place 3 iceberg lettuce leaves on a plate so that they are overlapping, place the patty on top of the center leaf and then add the onions, mushrooms and avocado, and any additional garnishes. Wrap the patty in the lettuce and secure (if necessary) with a toothpick.