Eggs for Dinner

A.K.A. “Basque Pipérade with eggs.” Yes, another recipe post. I made this dish for dinner this week and it was so yummy that I wanted to make sure I wrote it down for future reference.

I’m always up for new ways to eat breakfast-y things like eggs for dinner. A few years ago I saw a recipe for “Eggs in Purgatory” an Italian dish of eggs cooked in marinara sauce. I made it, but Big Man and I were less than impressed. When I saw this Basque variation of the recipe on Pinterest I figured I’d try again. This one was a home run! Big Man and I really loved the flavors, with lots of emphasis on paprika and pepper. The roasted red peppers gave a nice sweetness and overall it was just a comforting, homey meal perfect on a chilly night. I simplified the recipe slightly from the original, changing the ingredients for what we had in the pantry and cutting a couple unnecessary steps. I plan on making it again soon, and I hope you’ll try it as well!

Basque Pipérade with Eggs (adapted from Cured by Bacon)

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (julienned)
  • 6 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder*
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin*
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano*
  • Pinch cayenne pepper*
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced into strips
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • Crostini or grilled bread, for serving.
  • *These 4 ingredients can be subbed out for 1 tsp. chili powder*

1. In a cast iron skillet (or other heavy, ovenproof pan), heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 3 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, red peppers, bay leaf and sugar. Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and taste to check the seasoning. It’s ready when the flavors meld together and the tomatoes no longer taste acidic.

3. Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

4. Use a large spoon to make 4 “wells” in the sauce and gently crack an egg into each well. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny (or to your desired egg done-ness). I used extremely large chicken eggs (about the size of duck eggs) and it took about 12 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and serve immediately along with bread scoop up the sauce and dip in the eggs.

6. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Bolognese

I haven’t posted a recipe here in forever, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. I’ve been (lazily) archiving a lot of my cooking adventures in Pinterest, linking the original recipe and making my own notes in the pin comments. But I’d like to get back to writing up the recipes I really love so I can easily repeat them, so I’m going to try to write recipe posts more often.

I made this Bolognese sauce this week and it was truly delicious. The only “bolognese” sauce I’d made before was adding cooked ground beef to a standard marinara. This sauce is entirely different and much more like an Italian-flavored meat stew than a tomato-y sauce. The vegetables cook down and add their unique taste, and the tomato flavor is a blended note instead of the main event. The wine helps deglaze the pan and add some sweetness and the whole thing is wonderfully balanced and flavorful. Big Man said it was one of the best dinners I’ve ever made.

I really loved this dish as well and I plan to make it again soon. One of my favorite things about it is the make-ahead factor. This sauce greatly benefits from a night in the fridge to let all the flavors blend and get happy. So I actually made the sauce one morning when I had a little extra time to hang out in the kitchen. The house smelled amazing the whole day, which was an extra bonus! I refrigerated the sauce overnight (in the Dutch oven where I cooked it – no extra dishes!) and for dinner the next night all I needed to do was heat up the sauce, cook some pasta, and make the garlic bread. A super easy, quick dinner that felt like a special occasion instead of a normal Thursday night. And like I said, the taste here is fantastic. With freshly grated Parmesan over the top and paired with a nice Moscato, it was a stand-out dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Bolognese Sauce (adapted from Vikalinka)

Serves 4-6
Time: 2.5 to 3 hours, plus overnight refrigeration
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (I used grass-fed)
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1.5 cups red wine (I used a Malbec)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • To serve: cooked spaghetti, Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven (or large, heavy-bottomed pot) with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a couple minutes more. Remove the vegetables to a bowl.

2. Lightly re-coat the bottom of the same Dutch oven with a bit more olive oil. Add the ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking it up into small pieces and making sure it browns on all sides. Once browned, remove to the bowl with the veggies.

3. Add the ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and brown it, just like with the beef.

4. Once the pork is browned, slowly pour in the wine, stirring and scraping all the browned bits (a.k.a. flavor!) off the bottom of the pan. Return the beef and veggies, and add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, and another good dose of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer for at least an hour and a half (I simmered mine for a little over 2 hours). While it’s simmering, cover with the lid askew so that steam can escape.

5. Taste a few times through the simmering and adjust seasonings as needed. Once the sauce is cooked and seasoned, cool completely, then cover and refrigerate at least overnight.

6. To serve, re-heat the sauce until it is simmering, then add al dente spaghetti directly to the sauce. Give everything a good stir to coat the pasta and serve. Add freshly-grated Parmesan to each serving, if desired.

7. Enjoy!

Chicken and Corn Chowder

I know, I’ve been absent from the blog lately. It’s not my fault: it’s because of them! You know, the Little Ones. The cutest, most lovable little people in the world, who also have this amazing ability to transform into black holes consuming all their parents’ time and energy. Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks. Those times where I feel like my life has become a constant game of catch-up, revolving around feeding and cleaning and laundry and answering endless questions. Those days when I make mac ‘n’ cheese from a box for dinner and count it as a victory because I didn’t order a pizza.

But it’s not all bad. “Those days” still come with hugs from Big Man and kisses and snuggles from the Little Ones. Plus an excuse to eat extra chocolate because “it helps me de-stress.”

I’m always looking for easy recipes are doable on a weeknight but not full of pre-processed ingredients. Fortunately, I recently found Pioneer Woman’s Corn Chowder recipe and after tweaking it quite a bit for my family’s tastes it is now a go-to weeknight dinner. One of my favorite summer foods is fresh corn, and I love how this soup highlights the sweetness with just the right about of background spice. Did I mention it also has bacon?! My version of the recipe is scaled down from the original and feeds 2 adults and 1 toddler perfectly. I’ve been serving it with homemade biscuits, but it would be lovely with a salad as well. So if you are looking for a great summer soup that’s easy even on a weeknight, I hope you will try this one out.

P.S. This post is linked-up at this week’s Company Girl Coffee

Chicken and Corn Chowder (adapted from Pioneer Woman) Serves 2-3

  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, hulled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1 (14 oz.) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tablespoon corn meal
  • 1/8 cup water

Slice the corn kernels off the cob. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to make a “stand” with a small bowl placed upside down in a larger bowl. Hold the cob upright with the larger end braced on the “stand” and slice downwards. That way you can keep the cob steady and the kernels fall neatly into the bowl (instead of flying all over your kitchen).

Place a medium pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until the fat is rendered and bacon is cooked to your desired crispiness. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces to a paper-towel-covered plate to drain, and set aside.

Add the chicken to the pot and cook in the bacon fat until nicely browned and cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and cook in the bacon fat (add a pat of butter if needed) until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add the corn and stir well. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any brown bits (a.k.a. FLAVOR) on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken back in, and stir to combine.

Add the chili powder, salt, pepper, chicken broth, green chilies, and cream. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk corn meal together with water. Stir into the soup, cover, and simmer on low for another 10 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in the cooked bacon from earlier and serve immediately.

Homemade Pancake Syrup

I know what you’re thinking. Is that a pickle jar sitting next to a plateful of pancakes?

Yes. Yes it is.

There is a reason for this, I promise. The pickle jar contains the absolute best complement to a stack of pancakes: warm, sweet, maple-y, homemade syrup. See, this is the syrup I grew up eating. The recipe passed down from my grandmother, to my mom, to me. And for as long as I can remember, my mom stored the syrup in an old pickle jar. No idea why, but I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t open up the refrigerator and see the pickle jar full of syrup sitting there on the shelf.

So this post is a tribute to my mom. She is a full-time homekeeper too and she is one of the main reasons I chose to stay home with my kids. Homemade syrup is just one of the many things she did when I was growing up that made breakfast special for us. She made a hot breakfast every single day. Pancakes (from scratch) on the weekdays and eggs, biscuits, muffins, or waffles on the weekends. Cinnamon rolls on special occasions or when my brother and I had a test at school. And the pancakes and waffles were always served with this syrup. It’s what I grew up with, and as such it will always be my favorite.

I’m not saying you need to keep it in a pickle jar, but I do hope you’ll try this syrup. It’s really tasty and totally easy to make.

Thanks for the recipe, Mom, and for all the homekeeping inspiration you have given me.

Homemade Pancake Syrup (my Mom’s recipe)

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. maple extract or imitation maple flavoring

Combine the water and sugars in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat just until boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Removed from heat and stir in vanilla and maple flavorings.

Will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

Garlic Knots

Things have been busy here! Little Man had his second birthday party this past weekend and loved every minute of it. Rainbow cupcakes, balloons, gifts, and tons of love and attention; what’s not to love? He is talking more and more, learning to kick a soccer ball, and rocking his new “big boy” haircut.

Little Lady is getting so big! She is starting to crawl, babble, and she finds the world utterly fascinating, especially her big brother. She really enjoys trying out new foods and her hair is finally starting to grow (slowly)!

In the midst of all this, we still have all the rest of the normal life stuff, like Big Man’s job, church, grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking. It can be a bit overwhelming, and I am learning that it is not only OK, but necessary to admit that I can’t do everything all the time. Not that Big Man asks me to do everything; he helps out so much. But there are days when we are both pretty tired and everything just feels a little off kilter.

This past week was a little rough, so when my mom called and asked if I would like her to drop off some homemade chicken soup for dinner, it was a wonderful treat! A yummy, healthy meal (even Little Man loves that soup) that I don’t have to cook? Yes, absolutely. Thank you, Mom! Since the main course was taken care of, I figured it would be nice to make some dinner rolls to go with the soup. I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and tweaked it a little to our tastes, and to account for the high altitude.

These rolls were a perfect accompaniment to the soup. Soft and fluffy, with just the right amount of garlic and spices on top. And the recipe was super easy: you don’t even need a mixer! I mixed the dough with a wooden spoon and kneaded by hand. I especially liked that the recipe only made 5 rolls, so I didn’t have to worry about having too many leftovers. I’ll definitely be making these rolls again soon, and I hope you will too!

Garlic Knots (adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

  • 1-1/2 cups bread flour*
  • 1/2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. quick-rise (instant) dry yeast
  • 1 (scant) tsp. salt*
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tbs. butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
*These measurements are for high altitude baking. If you are not at high altitude, use 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, and 1/2 tsp salt.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the olive oil, milk, and water, and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms (it will be quite wet and sticky). Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (you may have to add more flour). Transfer to a bowl that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with cooking spray and turn dough once to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour.

Turn out risen dough onto floured surface and divide into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope (about 3/4 to 1 inch diameter) and tie into a knot, tucking the ends under. Place rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover with a clean towel and let rise 45 minutes, until the rolls look puffy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the topping, combine melted butter with garlic and herbs. Brush the topping onto the risen rolls, and bake until golden brown, about 16-20 minutes. Enjoy warm with your favorite soup or chili.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

There are some times when a picture is not worth a thousand words. This is one of those times. Some dishes don’t photograph well even for people with good photography skills, and since I don’t have those, I end up with a photo like the one above. But you need to trust me on this one. Even though it isn’t very pretty, this pot roast is so good. And it fulfills (almost) every possible recipe desire!

Comfort food? Check

Easy to make? Check

Meat and potatoes dish for the man in your life? Check

Minimal list of ingredients? Check

Great leftovers? Check

Makes the house smell uber-yummy all day? Check

So even if you can’t trust the picture, please trust the words. This recipe really is easy, tasty, and perfect for those chilly fall and winter days when the comfort food cravings are strong. I like to serve the meat and lots of gravy over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, and the leftovers make awesome French Dip Sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast (my own recipe)

3-3.5 lb. chuck roast*
2 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup/dip mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup red wine**
*I find the cut marked “chuck tender roast” is my favorite, but cuts marked “chuck roast” or “pot roast” work well also.
**You can substitute beef broth for the wine, but if you do, use low sodium broth and condensed soup.


Slice onion into 1/2-3/4 inch slices, crosswise (as if making onion rings). Place slices into slow cooker (you are making a place for the roast to sit). In a bowl, stir together condensed soup, dry soup mix, water, and wine.

Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chuck roast and dredge both sides in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear roast on both sides until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer roast to slow cooker, placing on top of onion slices. Pour soup/wine mix over the roast. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Shred meat with a fork, removing any excess fat, and serve over preferred starch with lots of gravy.