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Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

The past couple of weeks have been really busy, filled with research for both school and my Masters thesis, hanging out with friends, going to the movies with my family, and trying to get to the root of my back pain.

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but for a little over a year now I’ve had chronic pain in my lower back. Since months of physical therapy weren’t giving me the results my doctor wanted, he finally had me go in for an MRI. I had never had one before, but I was happy that they weren’t scanning my head because it was loud enough with my head sticking outside of the machine! All in all, it was an interesting experience. It really tested my ability to restrain myself from fidgeting or twitching. Every now and then I would feel a tingling in my toes or my fingers, which was followed with an inner chant of “Do not move. Do not move. Do not move!” One nice thing about the process was that the technician gave me a pair of headphones with what he called “top 40 songs” playing to listen to during the exam. It made me realize, however, how out of touch I am with the so-called top 40 songs. I’m just glad nothing super annoying played during the MRI..! ^_^

Having the MRI meant that I got to spend a majority of my spring break getting the results, having a procedure done, and recovering from the procedure. Woo.

The procedure was for diagnostic purposes, meaning it might not fix my pain, but my fingers are crossed! It basically involved getting six shots in my lower back. Everyone at the surgery center was really nice as well, so it was a good experience, which I really needed because I was screwed over once again earlier that morning when trying to buy a badge for Comic Con. The whole procedure took about an hour, but I can’t really be sure because I was under anesthesia.

Anesthesia is so disorienting. I was lying on my stomach, literally watching the anesthesiologist inject it, listening to him talk as he was doing it, when all of a sudden his voice was blurring or echoing–I can’t really describe it–and the next time I opened my eyes I was lying on my back in a different area with my pants half on and my shoes on my feet. After I woke up, I think I fell back asleep, but I’m not even be sure about it! There are so many other things I could say about the strange feelings that come from waking up from being under anesthesia, but instead I will just say this: it wasn’t as bad as when I had to be put under to get my wisdom teeth pulled out!

Although, the procedure was quick, it meant that I was basically on bed rest for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, that meant once I was fully awake it was dinner time and I wasn’t able fall asleep again until around 4am. This in turn meant that I slept most of the following day and stayed up late that night as well.

I hope to go to sleep a lot earlier tonight, aka right after I post this.

 

Before the procedure, the anesthesiologist told me a few things I wasn’t supposed to do for the rest of the day, half were serious and half were jokes: don’t drive, don’t cook, don’t shop online, and don’t do my taxes.

Since I wasn’t allowed to cook, I was glad that I had some French toast in the freezer!

Freezer French Toast is comfort food for me. My mom has been making it for my family for as long as I can remember. I asked her where she got the recipe once, and she thinks it was from a radio program.

Of course she’s adapted the recipe a bit over the years and I hope to play with it in the future myself. I feel like each time we make it together we discover new tricks to try or new ideas to make cooking it even easier than it already it. But as it stands, the recipe is a great, simple, comforting make-ahead dish.

First, you beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla, using either a mixer or a Kitchen Aid stand. I like using the Kitchen Aid because I can slice the French loaf while the ingredients are mixing.

Once the bread slices are laid out onto the baking sheets (which are lined with foil and sprayed with oil), you ladle half of the egg mixture over the bread, sprinkle them with nutmeg, flip them over, ladle the rest of the egg mixture, and sprinkle with nutmeg again.

Then, you stick them in the freezer uncovered for about three hours, or until hard.

When the bread is hard, put them into Ziplock bags. I highly recommend wrapping each slice in freezer paper to prevent the slices from sticking to each other. And be sure to write the date on the bag, so you can keep track on how long it has been in the freezer!

When you are ready to cook the French toast, just place the amount you want onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush the slices with melted butter, bake for 8 minutes at 450°F, flip the pieces of toast, brush with butter once again, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until they reach your desired color. Watch carefully so that you don’t burn the toast!

Serve with powdered sugar, syrup, and/or fruit—or all three! I had some strawberries on hand, so fanned a handful of them to make a simple but lovely presentation. The syrup I used was a souvenir from a family member’s wedding. Such a cute idea for a wedding guest gift!

So simple and so delicious. I really do love this recipe. Comfort food at its best in my opinion. And, since this week has turned into a week of rest and staying off my feet, I believe I will be making the rest of the batch of French toast my mom and I made together last month for breakfast this weekend.

 

Freezer French Toast

Ingredients:

8 eggs

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 lb. loaf French bread

ground nutmeg

1/4 cup of butter, melted at time of cooking

powdered sugar (optional)

syrup (optional)

fruit (optional)

 

Make-ahead preparation:

Cut the bread into slices that are about 1 inch thick. Divide the slices onto two cookie sheets lined with foil or freezer paper and spray with oil, such as Pam. Beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour half of the egg mixture over the slices with a large ladle and let it soak into the bread. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Turn the slices over and repeat. Freeze on the sheets uncovered until firm, about 2 to 3 hours. Wrap the slices individually in freezer paper, or possibly wax paper, and places into Ziplock bags. Label the bags with the date and place it in the freezer.

To serve:

Preheat the over to 450°F. Place your desired number of frozen slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each slice with melted butter. Bake for about 8 minutes. Flip the slices, brush with butter, and bake for an additional 6 to 8 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Optional: serve with powdered sugar, syrup, and/or pieces of fruit.

 

 

Yours smiling,

Miss Mo.

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Finally, part three, la pièce de résistance (or the Italian equivalent of the phrase, whatever that might be~): baked arancini!

The reason I decided to make these for my mom was because I made her a coupon a few years back promising to make arancini for her. Time passed and she never brought it up, so I decided to go ahead and just make them—this gift acted as the fulfillment of a past promise as well as a delicious surprise! 🙂

Going the baking route, I looked at various recipes I found for arancini on the internet, but I couldn’t find one that really excited me, so I winged it and created my own! Except for the mozzarella balls, I already had all the ingredients in my pantry, so it really was an easy and cheap dish to make. It made for a delicious lunch and could also make for a great dinner appetizer or party dish!

To begin, I made the rice the night before, so that it would have enough time to cool down. While many recipes I found online use leftover risotto as the rice portion of the dish, I didn’t have any leftover risotto on hand. Instead, I grabbed the first time of rice I found in the pantry, which happened to be Calrose, and used that. To add flavor to the rice, I melted some butter, added some dried parsley, and cooked the rice this combo for a few minutes. Then, I added some Better Than Bouillon (chicken flavor) to warm water instead of cooking the rice in just water. This adds a lot of flavor to the rice, so much so that I was tempted to just eat it right then and there! 😉

To the cold rice I added red pepper flakes, dried thyme, dried basil, beaten eggs, a couple small handfuls of grated parmigiano-reggiano I had grated a week earlier, salt, and black pepper. I’m sure fresh herbs would taste wonderful, but I didn’t have any at the time, so dried works wonderfully. I thought my rice mixture was a little too wet, so next time I might try two eggs first. Even though it I thought the mixture was very wet and a bit hard to handle, the end result was fantastic!

In a bowl, I poured in a good amount of Italian style bread crumbs. Then, on a plate, I cut the balls of mozzarella into smaller pieces.

Assembling the balls is where it gets messy, but that’s the fun of cooking! 😀 I scooped some rice into my hand, flattened it, placed a piece of cheese on top, wrapped the rice around it, rolled the ball in  bread crumbs, and then set it on a baking sheet. Some rice will fall off into the bread crumbs. Just push them to the outer edges and keep on rolling!

Put them in the oven for twenty minutes and deliciousness comes out!

Serve with marinara sauce and top with extra parmigiano-reggiano, and then enjoy. 🙂

Out of this also came a bonus ‘recipe’:

With leftover marinara sauce, a leftover mozzarella ball, and wheat English muffins that were in my refrigerator, I made a mini pizzas for lunch the next day!

Baked Arancini

Ingredients:

1 cup of uncooked rice

1 tablespoon of butter

2 teaspoons of dried parsley

2 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon

2 cups of warm water

2-3 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon or less of fine black pepper

1 teaspoon or less of Kosher salt

1-1.5 teaspoons of dried basil

Approximately 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano + extra for on top of the arancini after they are cooked

Italian style bread crumbs

Small balls of mozzarella

Marinara sauce of your choice

Cooking spay

Place a pot over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter. Add in the rice and dried parsley and cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the Better Than Bouillon to the water and stir. (If you don’t have Better Than Bouillon, then use 2 cups of your choice of stock.) Pour into the pot of rice and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 minutes and stir. Cook longer if there is still water in the pot. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover 2 baking sheets with foil and spray with oil.

Once the rice is cooled, add the following ingredients to it and mix them all together: eggs, red pepper flakes, thyme, black pepper, salt, basil, and parmigiano-reggiano. Cut up the mozzarella on a plate. Pour bread crumbs into a bowl.

Place about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture into your hand, flatten it over your fingers, placed a piece of cheese on top, wrapped the rice around around the mozzarella, rolled the ball in bread crumbs, and then set it on a baking sheet. Repeat until you run out of rice mixture. Line the balls on the baking sheets so that they are evenly spaced in a 3 by 4 alignment. There will be approximately 20 balls. Place them in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Pour some marinara sauce onto a plate, place the arrancini on it, and sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano.

BONUS ‘recipe’: English Muffin Pizza

Place an open English muffin on a baking sheet, spray with oil, and toast in oven for a couple minutes. Spread on marinara sauce and place on slices of mozzarella. Cook in the oven until the cheese melts.

Enjoy!

Yours smiling,

Miss Mo.

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