The Queen’s Kitchen


Favorite Breakfast Casserole August 29, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carrie @ 7:01 pm

I’ve made this several times, usually with turkey sausage. It’s sooooooo goooooood.
Ham and Cheese” Breakfast Casserole

Serves 6 to 8
4 cups (loosely packed) day-old challah or other egg-enriched bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound pancetta (thickly sliced), diced
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, from about 4 ounces

Grease an 8-inch square baking dish (or another 1 1/2-quart to 2-quart baking dish) and spread the cubed challah in the bottom.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium to low heat. Add the onions, salt, and sugar. Sauté until they are lightly caramelized (a medium golden-brown color), about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another heavy skillet, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the pancetta until the fat is almost all rendered and it begins to get crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set on a paper towel to drain.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, nutmeg, and thyme. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous quantity of black pepper.

Spread the pancetta over the bread cubes, then layer the onions on top. Sprinkle grated Gruyère on next, and then pour the egg mixture over the entire thing.

Press down on the top gently, so that all of the bread cubes get soaked a bit with the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge so it can warm on the counter, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 50 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and the top begins to brown. The baking time will be greatly dependent on the depth of dish you use. Check the interior with a knife; if it comes out clean the bread custard is baked through. (Cover with foil near the end of cooking if the top is already browned.)


21 Day Fix Mexican Fiesta January 14, 2017

Filed under: 21 Day Fix,Chicken,Healthy,Main Dish — Carrie @ 2:54 pm

Mexican food is my downfall, but it can be made to fit the 21 day fix if you give up chips and cheese. . . the best parts!

Here’s what I’ve been enjoying.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
12 large tomatillos
2 jalepenos
1 onions
1 T. minced garlic
1 bunch cilantro
olive oil spray
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F

Clean the tomatillos and cut them in half. Put them in a single layer on a large jelly pan or in a roasting pan. Add in the minced garlic.
Clean and rough chop the onion, then add to the roasting pan.
Clean and deseed the jalepenos (I do this with ziplock “gloves” to prevent the oils from getting on my hands). If you like heat, keep several seeds. If you prefer mild, only keep a few seeds. Put the jalepenos on the baking try.

Lightly spray the vegtables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the vegtables for about 30 minutes or until they are getting brown around the edges.

Remove from oven and let cool at least 30 minutes.

Put the vegtables, including liquid, into a food processor. Add one bunch of cleaned cilantro and pulse until the mixture is pureed.

I count this salsa as green. It makes about 2 greens.

Now for the Mexican Fiesta part!

Spice a bunch of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders with salt, pepper, cumin, & garlic powder. Place them in a crockpot, then cover with a cup of the green salsa. Cook on high 3-5 hours, until the chicken easily shreds. This is a great protein base.

For your meal, you can do all kinds of things depending on how you are budgeting your boxes.

For vegtables, I like to roast bell peppers and onions together. I use four bell peppers of various colors and one small red onion. I lighly spritz with olive oil spray and roast in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes.

Now you can do a ton of stuff, just depending on your taste. You can do salads with chicken and black beans or you can do a burrito if you save up your yellow containers.

Roasted vegetables–green
whole wheat tortilla–yellow
refried beans–yellow
black beans–yellow
2 corn tortillas–yellow (I never fry my tortillas, I always just brown them over a non-stick griddle. Don’t need Pam or anything)
1/4 avacodo–1 blue
Tomatillo salsa–green
Tomato salsa like pico de gallo–they count this as a purple in the book


Breakfast Casserole December 25, 2016

Filed under: Beef/Pork,bread,breakfast,Main Dish — Carrie @ 9:23 am

This is a recipe I adapted for our Christmas morning, since most recipes are for a large number of people and we just needed a two person recipe. This will serve 4.

Prepare night before you plan on eating!

1/2 loaf challah bread, cubed
8 oz quality sausage
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp thyme
1 cup grated smoked gouda
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Put cubed challah bread in a large bowl.

Brown sausage in skilled over medium heat until cooked through. Put sausage into the bowl with the bread, leaving fat in the pan.

Gently brown the diced onions in the sausage fat. Add in sugar, salt, and pepper. Once onions are carmelized, add to bread mixture.
Put cheese into bread mixture. Gently stir the bread mixture so ingredients are evenly distributed.

Put the bread mixture into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.

Crack eggs in a bowl and beat with milk, mustard, and thyme. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture and cover tightly. Put in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake casserole uncovered for about 35 minutes.


Lemon Chicken December 13, 2016

Filed under: Chicken,Main Dish — Carrie @ 5:11 pm

I saw a video with a recipe that looked intriguing, but then I lost the video and couldn’t remember exactly what I was supposed to do. This is a result of me trying to recreate the video. It is delicous!

Chicken thighs
1 lemon, thinly sliced then quartered
2 T minced garlic
4 T flour
2 T rosemary
2 T thyme
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 T olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350F.

Warm up a dutch oven on the stove. While it is warming, dust the chicken thighs with flour. Mix together the rosemary, salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil. Brush over chicken thighs.

Brown chicken thighs over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. If you are doing a lot of thighs you may have to do this in two batches.

Put all thighs back in the dutch oven, cover with the sliced lemons and sprinkle the minced garlic around. Put in preheated oven about 30 minutues or until chicken is cooked through.

When chicken is done, remove to plate.

Mix 2 T of flour in with the remaining juices and brown for 2 minutes over medium heat. Whisk in chicken stock and wine, then cook over med-high heat about 5 minutes or until thickened.


Best Chocolate Cake January 2, 2015

Filed under: Dessert — Carrie @ 1:34 pm

This is a recipe from Ina Garten. You need this recipe in your life. The cake is super sticky, so be sure to use parchment in your pan, or better yet make it in a 9×13 pan and just frost the top of it instead of doing a layer cake. The hot coffee is a must. I don’t drink coffee, so just have a stash of Folger’s singles on hand. You could also go to a drive through fast food place and get a cheap cup of coffee.

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

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Oriental Noodle Salad May 27, 2013

Filed under: Healthy,Side Dish/Salad,Uncategorized — Carrie @ 4:06 pm

This is a great dish to take to potlucks since there are no eggs or dairy to worry about. Everyone who has tried this has loved it!

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

1 package of soba or ramen noodles, boiled and drained
1/2 cup washed and cut up cilantro
1/4 cup rough chopped peanuts
big handful of matchstick cut carrots (or grated carrots)
big handful of sugar snap peas

Mix together the dressing while you boil your noddles. Drain and rinse the noodles, then combine the dressing and other ingredients. Toss well, cover, then refrigerate for an hour. When it is time to serve, toss again. Add more soy sauce and vinegar if it appears dry.


Christmas Cut-Outs December 18, 2012

Filed under: Dessert — Carrie @ 4:20 pm

I hate sugar cookie cut-outs. There. I said it. They are a holiday staple. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Yet I hate them. They don’t taste good and they are a major pain to make!

At least I’ve gotten better about making them. Instead of trying to do it all in one day, I make the dough one day, do the cutting out and baking one day and we decorate another day. That helps immensly. So does having a Kitchen Aid stand mixer!

Here’s a recipe I just found and I actually like it. They are not the soft sugar cookies that I dream of (make these drop sugar cookies if you want awesome cookies), but they are much nicer than most. They are actually a short bread–they totally melt in your mouth. Plus, with no leavening they don’t puff up. Even your most delicate designs will still be recognizable.

Sugar Cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (or any other flavoring)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and blend well. Add extract and blend. Mix flour and salt and gradually add. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill dough for about 2 hours. Working with about 1/3 of the batch at a time, briefly knead the chilled dough and roll about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes. Bake cut out cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets at 375 for 6-8 minutes.


Seven Minute Frosting February 14, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Uncategorized — Carrie @ 9:27 pm

I thought this was the only kind of frosting people used on homemade cakes until I went out in the big, wide world and discovered people use butter cream. I’m not a butter cream fan.

My grandma always made this, so I was really happy to find a recipe that tastes just like hers. Easy-peasy, but very time consuming.

* 1 cup sugar
* 1/3 cup water
* 2 egg whites, room temperature
* 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 242 degrees F (firm-ball stage).

Meanwhile, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl until foamy.

Slowly pour in hot sugar mixture; continue to beat on high for 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla. Continue beating until frosting reaches desired consistency, about 2 minutes.


Asian Peanut Chicken August 28, 2010

Filed under: Chicken,Healthy,Main Dish — Carrie @ 6:22 am

Asian Peanut Chicken
1/3 c peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 t ground ginger
Dash cayenne pepper (add more if you like it spicy)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.

½ cup Sesame Ginger Marinade (I use Lawry’s brand)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken

Cut chicken into bite sized chunks, then cover with marinade and set aside for at least 20 minutes

Assorted vegetables, cut into chunks. You can use anything cut into bite sized pieces. I use red bell pepper, thinly sliced carrots, green onions, pineapple, and sugar snap peas

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Pour a little vegetable oil in the pan, then add the chicken. Brown chicken on all sides, then add all the vegetables. Cook the whole mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring often, then add in the peanut sauce. It will thin out and coat everything. Continue cooking until chicken is done.

Serve over white rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and chow mein noodles.


Roasted Vegetables and Pasta May 28, 2009

Filed under: Chicken,Healthy,Main Dish,Uncategorized — Carrie @ 7:54 am

This is so yummy I make it whenever we have guests. It also has the advantage of making us look healthy. We all know it’s a lie.

1 eggplant, chopped with skin on
1 or 2 yellow squash, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 red bell peppers, chopped
a few baby carrots or grownup carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped

Throw all your veggies in a baking pan, coat with olive oil and salt and pepper them. Bake at 375F about 40 minutes, or until they are looking roasted.

1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces

Throw the chicken breasts into a baking dish with salt, pepper and olive oil. Bake them in a 375F about 20 minutes.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t dried tarragon

Mix the sauce ingredients together.

1 box pasta (I use whole wheat penne), boiled and drained

1/2 container feta cheese

When the vegetables and chicken come out of the oven, dump them into the drained pasta. Stir around. Add the balsamic vinegar mixture and the feta cheese. Stir around some more.