Bacon, lettuce and tomato quesadilla

Here is a fun way to serve a classic sandwich with a new Tex-Mex twist.  I use sun-dried tomatoes, either quick microwave crispy bacon or traditional bacon, and shredded Fontina cheese.  I also like to use Romaine lettuce.

Gather the ingredients. Heat the tortilla shells in the oven for five minutes and then add the ingredients and return to the oven to bake on 350 degrees until the cheese is nicely melted.  That usually takes around 8 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and enjoy.

Oatmeal and Tea at Brew

We took a quick trip up North last week to enjoy the cool fresh air and the lake views of Northern Michigan.  The beautiful blue water captivates me every time we drive into Traverse City, and it is nothing less than spectacular.

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While there, we stopped at Brew, which is a local coffee-house featuring bakery items, breakfast, sandwiches, appetizers, soups and a variety of amazing beverages including beer and wine.  I could stay there all day, just sipping on almond oolong tea and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.Brick and harvested barn wood covers the walls and is a perfect rustic contrast to the upscale beverage bar with shiny espresso machines and steamed milk frothers working overtime. The building has been refurbished from days gone by as the old Opera House.

We had a quiet breakfast one morning and although it was mid-week, the establishment was filled to capacity.  Every table, sofa, high-top and even the beverage bar was occupied with locals or guests.  Not even the high season for the resort community, Brew seems to be offering just what this community desires.

As an oatmeal aficionado, I had to order mine with chopped pecans.  It was served with a hot-pot of water, so I was able to make my own bowl, adjusting for the optimum consistency of the mixture.  I loved this and asked for the brown sugar on the side. Nothing was more perfect or simple for a delicious breakfast.

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Others were enjoying a variety of offerings and everyone seemed to be totally enjoying their choices.  If in Traverse City, be sure to check out Brew, I highly recommend it for any time of day.

For more information, please follow this link: http://www.brewtc.com/

 

roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

I felt “Fall” in the air this past weekend in Michigan.  I must admit, I love this season the best of all of the seasons of the year.  The brisk mornings and the changing leaves make the season so comfortable for me.  I have been looking at many recipes over the past few weeks just getting ready for comfort food season.  I found this one in Jamie Deen’s cookbook titled Good Food.  It felt perfect for dinner last night, since I still had a whole bowl of tomatoes from the garden ready to be used in a recipe.

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I have made homemade tomato soup several times before and have posted recipes on the blog, but not for roasted tomato soup.  I must say that the tomatoes had an extra layer of flavor, since they were combined with the roasted onions and garlic.  The soup was delicious, making extra for lunches and to freeze for another colder fall evening dinner.

I loved the grilled cheese croutons.  They were delicious in the soup and were such a great garnish.  My husband had an extra grilled cheese on a plate, since the croutons were just not enough for his meal. The sandwiches could also be cut into strips and served with the soup, for dunking.

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to make the soup recipe:

Gather the following ingredients for the recipe–3 pounds of fresh tomatoes, or a mixture of fresh for roasting and boxed, one Vidalia onion, 6 cloves of fresh garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock and dill.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice the tomatoes in quarters, and the large onion into chunks.  Separate the garlic into cloves. Place all on a heavy sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Mix well together.  Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and take out the garlic cloves.  Smash 2-3 cloves depending on their size and return to the pan,  discarding  the rest.  Place all in a blender to puree in batches.  Mix any browned bits from the baking pan into the chicken stock. Using about 2 cups of stock, add to the soup pan on the stove.  Add the tomato mixture from the blender along with other boxed tomatoes as needed for the recipe volume.

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Season as needed.  Simmer for at least 25 minutes. Add the rest of the stock to incorporate during the cooking time.  Stir in the dill during the last minutes of cooking to taste.  Or use as a garnish on the soup when serving. I also used fresh basil from the garden as a garnish.

 

to make the grilled cheese croutons:

Prepare a sheet pan with cooking spray.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Using margarine, spread one side of each slice of bread making a sandwich.  For 4 sandwiches, that would be eight slices of bread.  Place butter side down, one slice for each sandwich.  Add shredded cheddar cheese or other cheese slices.  Place the second slice of sandwich bread on top, butter side up.  Bake in the oven for a total of 20 minutes.  I usually bake 12 minutes on one side and flip the sandwiches.

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Cut into slices, strips, or cubes for croutons.  Delicious and so perfect for Fall.

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open faced tomato sandwiches

all of my summer tomatoes have ripened and for the past few weeks, i have been making a variety of recipes to take advantage of their delicious homegrown taste. this past week, i made open-faced tomato sandwiches. this process is really not even a recipe, but just a personal preference on how to make a tomato sandwich.
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one of the best steps of the sandwich, is to grow your own tomato. if it is an heirloom tomato, then the sandwich is even better. i toast my slice of bread, add a smear of low-fat mayonnaise, a bit of crumbled crispy bacon, some fresh lettuce leaves, and then the sliced tomato. sometimes i even top with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

served with a side salad, this is one of my favorite “end of the summer” meals to enjoy for lunch or dinner.

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meatball sliders

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are you tired of the traditional summer sloppy joe?  or maybe, you are looking for a smaller portion burger to serve to your guests.  this recipe is very tasty and has just the right ingredients to make mini sliders for a party of 12.

using one pound of ground round, add about 1/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of milk, and minced garlic to taste.  season with salt and pepper as desired.  combine the mixture and using a meatball spoon, form into balls.  bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or longer until done.

in a large deep skillet, add one tablespoon olive oil and brown one chopped onion.  add 3/4 large jar of marinara sauce to warm.  when the meatballs are done in the oven, transfer to the stove top skillet.  combine and prepare to serve.

using small slider buns, open and add shredded mozzarella cheese as desired, and then top with a meatball to serve.  i added dill pickles as well.

a great idea for easy breezy summertime at its’ best.  this meal leaves more time to spend in the garden !   enjoy.

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pressed Italian sandwich

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are you planning a picnic, going camping or just having an outdoor meal on the deck?  if so, this is an easy prepare ahead hearty sandwich that is pressed over a period of a few hours in the refrigerator.  really, anything goes with this sandwich.  choose your ingredients, and then wrap in foil and press.

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i used an oval cast iron lid over the foiled covered sandwich on a thin cutting board.  every hour or so, i opened the refrigerator and pressed down to compress the sandwich.  this technique worked very well.

to make the sandwich:  brush the inside of the ciabatta or french bread with olive oil, tapenade, or a combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  season with herbs, like parsley, thyme, and basil.  layer thinly sliced turkey, ham, or a combination of meats. choices could include Genoa salami or thinly sliced prosciutto.  add provolone cheese or Swiss cheese.  Add additional condiments as desired.  I added thinly sliced dill pickles, sliced red onion, and a mix of greens.  delicious and easy. serve with salad or cole slaw and fresh fruit.  pressing makes the sandwich soft and easy to eat.  the bread no longer feels dense. if desired, some of the inner lining of the bread could even be removed before the first step of preparation.

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party sandwich sliders

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here is a great party sandwich recipe that can be increased to make up to 24 sliders for entertaining.  this is another baked sandwich recipe that can be prepared ahead and then baked just before serving to guests.  any type of sandwich meats and cheeses can be used, based on the time of year or the theme of the party.  i made these for my Oscar night party and used turkey pastrami and provolone cheese with red onions.  any type of condiments or toppings can be used.  the secret to these sandwiches is to use small-sized dinner rolls with the poppy-seed topping sauce.  the sauce is what your guests will comment about, as it takes the sandwiches from ordinary to extraordinary.

to make the sauce:  in a small bowl, mix together these ingredients — 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard, 1/2 cup melted margarine or butter, 1 tablespoon minced onion, and 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.

Pour the sauce over the sandwiches just before baking.  Use as much sauce as needed to cover the tops of the sandwiches without drenching.  Allow the sandwiches to rest about 5 minutes before baking.  cover the sandwiches with foil, bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  uncover and cook for 2 more minutes until the tops are slightly browned.  serve warm.

this is perfect for parties, since the sandwiches can be assembled and kept in the refrigerator until ready to top with sauce and bake.

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