Friday, February 28, 2014

Easy Sausage Pizza Skillet

The nice folks at Jimmy Dean contacted me and asked me to create a recipe using Jimmy Dean Sausage crumbles.

I didn't even know Jimmy Dean made sausage crumbles did you?

Well now I know and I have to say....they can be a time saver in the kitchen! You can find them in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. They make a turkey sausage crumble too and they come in a handy re-sealable bag!

I decided to try something with a pizza theme since almost everyone loves pizza. Are there people who don't love it? I can imagine???

Anyway, I thought about for a week or so and I came up with this very easy one skillet meal. You don't have lots of pots and pans to clean, you don't have a sink full of dishes to wash, but you do have dinner in under a half hour. A very delicious dinner I might add.

If you have little ones in the house, you could even have them help you prepare this!

Easy Sausage Skillet Bake
recipe from Lisa @The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
1/2 cups Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles (I used the original, but you can use the turkey crumble if you prefer)
1/2 cup diced pepperoni
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Grands buttermilk biscuits cut into 8 pieces each

In a 9 inch cast iron skillet (or any oven proof skillet), place the sausage crumbles and the diced pepperoni. Let them heat up just until they are warm. Add in the can of diced tomatoes, and the Italian seasoning. Remove from stove.

Cut 6 grands biscuits into 8 pieces each. Gently toss the biscuits into the skillet along with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 400 for 20 - 25 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly golden brown. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and serve warm!

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Jimmy Dean. This could include Jimmy Dean providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

I needed something sunshiny and lemony.

I needed a little taste of spring.

This cake was it.

Yes there is still snow on the ground here, but we had a lovely weekend where the highs were almost 50! That was amazing for us in February. I saw kids in shorts and loads of people without jackets. It doesn't take much to get Rhode Islanders going. We are all ready for another rude awakening cause the Polar Vortex is here again.

I bookmarked this cake a few weeks ago. I knew it would just the lift we needed. I love the combination of lemon and blueberries. Just love it.

I used my frozen berries that I picked last summer. Each year after I spend a day food vaccing berries I always tell myself it's way too much, and every winter as I pull the last few bags from the freezer I think, I should have picked more.

There were 3 things that went a little different for me with this recipe.

The batter. I read all the comments and the author said over and over again how thick this batter would be, but mine wasn't overly thick. It wasn't a loose batter by any means, it just wasn't as thick as I had expected it to be.

The quantity it made. Again, I read the comments and even asked the author if I could use 2 cake pans instead of 3 and she said no, there was just too much batter and that I could make cupcakes with the remainder. I used 2 cake pans, filled them 2/3 full and had no problems.

The amount of lemon juice. The author stated: "You’ll need 3 medium lemons. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice". I used the zest of 3 lemons but I had 3 tablespoons of lemon juice from just 1 1/2 lemons. As I said before, the cake batter wasn't overly thick. Adding the juice of all the lemons would have made it even looser. I guess it depends on how juicy your lemons are.

I was pleased with the finished cake. It was light and moist and had just the perfect amount of lemon zing.

Remember not to overmix your batter!

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake
recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
For the Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to over measure!
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
zest + juice of 3 medium lemons * see note above
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3.5 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. (*I didn’t have 3 cake pans that were the same size so I used 2 and split the batter in half and it came out perfect) Set aside.

Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 10 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat on low until just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick.

Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. *(I baked my 2 pans for 35 minutes until they tested done). Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.

Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.

Make 1 day in advance if you'd like. Extras keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3days.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Italian Winter Soup

I don't get much alone time.

I started to really think about it over the last few weeks. I'm alone for about 25 minutes a day. That's not much is it?

From the time my youngest heads out the door for the bus stop until I head out to work it's about 25 minutes. What am I doing during those 25 minutes? I'm gathering up the laundry, I'm putting the last of the breakfast dishes aways, I'm straightening up the house, I'm wiping down everything in the bathroom (boys are gross), I'm packing my lunch, I'm gettin' stuff done. I'm up and I'm on the go until 7pm each night. That's when I finally get to unwind.

Usually John and I will watch something we taped. We rarely watch anything in real time cause if it's on past 9:00pm we are usually snoozing. I'll work on the blog a bit, look through some magazines,  surf the net or I will read. Oh how I love to read. Me, my blankie, a cuppa tea and a good book. I'm set.

Right now I'm reading "Tell the Wolves I'm Home". I can't get enough of this book. I force myself to put it down at cause I know if I don't I'll stay up too late.

I think of all the things that I don't have enough time for in my life, not reading all that I want to bothers me the most. I'm a carnivorous reader. I'm a fast reader. I dive straight in. I think about the characters for days. I weep with them, I laugh with them, I'm so into their lives. It's pure joy for me and I just wish I could find the time to read more.

Time has me struggling with posting during the winter months too. I've said it before...taking photos in New England during the winter months is a difficult task. I'm limited to the weekend and all the working moms out there will tell you, the weekend is when most of us get stuff done. *sigh*. So I just muddle along and do the best that I can and try and savor all good in each day, even if it's never long enough.

I wanted to share this soup with you. My friend Sara pointed it in my direction and I knew I wanted to make it the minute I read it. I love long slow soups. The kind that simmer for hours and fill the house with great smells.

Now when I'm making soup, I don't usually cook the pasta or rice in the soup so I was hesitant to cook the arborio rice in the this, but trust me, it works.

I added escarole for a touch of green. You can add any greens you like. I also used half and half instead of the heavy cream that was originally called for in this recipe.

This recipe is by the DiGregorio family of St. Louis. This hearty soup is actually more like a loose risotto. Choose spicy, sweet, or a combination of Italian sausages. If you are craving veggies, stir in a handful of greens; the heat of the dish will wilt them. I used escarole.

Italian Winter Soup
adapted from "The DiGregorio Family Cookbook: A Taste of the Hill From St. Louis"
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of Italian sausage (sweet or hot, your choice. I used a garlic & cheese sausage)
1 medium onion , chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
12 cups chicken stock
2 cups arborio rice
¼ cup parsley
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 head of escarole - optional
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to paper towel to drain off any grease. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes) then and garlic to the pot. Cook for 1 minute longer.

Add the sausage and the chicken stock to the pot along with the oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the soup for 30-45 minutes.

Add the rice, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender but still has some bite.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the half and half, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Roasted Asparagus with Proscuitto and Parmesan & giveaway winner!

If you asked me what my favorite vegetable was I would, without hesitation say asparagus.

There are some close seconds like eggplant, onions and artichokes, but asparagus is the vegetable I love the most.

I've been known to eat a pound of one sitting. True.

I usually roast it in the oven or put it on the grill. I'll eat it pretty much anyway anyone makes it. I just don't do the canned asparagus. That's pretty disgusting.

Normally when I roast asparagus I toss it with salt & pepper. Since the proscuitto and the parmesan are already salty enough, I skipped the kosher salt and just used pepper.

The breadcrumb mixture makes give this a little added crunch.

My body always starts to crave green this time of year. I suppose it's the lack of all the spring and summer fruits and veggies. Thankfully I have asparagus to carry me through!

Roasted Asparagus with Proscuitto and Parmesan
recipe from Lisa @ The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 - 1/2 pound proscuitto
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
olive oil for sprinkling
cracked pepper

Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Wrap each piece of asparagus with proscuitto. Start at the top and spiral it down the stalk.

Sprinkle a little olive oil over the asparagus and gently toss to coat.

Add the parmesan and panko into a small bowl and add just a little olive oil so the crumbs are a little moist. Place the asparagus on the baking sheet and sprinkle with panko mixture. Crack some fresh pepper over the top and bake at 400 for 20 - 35 minutes depending on how thick your spears are.

The winner of the Eco-Tools is......Carolyn C.M!

Carolyn, please check your email!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Giveaway - Eco Tools!

I’m not big into makeup. I often joke and say that even though I’m the only girl in the house, I take the quickest shower and can get ready faster than any of the guys can. Of course I don’t have to deal with any kind of hair styling so that saves some time.

Makeup for me is a little eyeliner and some mascara. If I’m going to a wedding or some kind of big shindig I’ll even put on some eye shadow and some lipstick, but most days it’s minimal.

I do love a great beauty tool though, especially if it's made by a company who is earth conscious,
so imagine how happy I was when I received an email from Eco Tools asking me if I'd like to do a giveaway for my blog readers! I looked into the company and this is what they are about:

We are inspired by beauty inside and out and in the world around us. While we always want to look our best, we feel great when we can make earth-conscious choices. Our products are inspired by the nature around us and instill the beauty that is nature.

Whether you’re planning to get all glammed up for a big night out, or primping from head to toe for a romantic night in, EcoTools has you covered with tips for how to make your look really pop.

Romantic Night In: When staying in on Valentine's Day, you want to look naturally polished. It’s all about a flawless look with perfect skin, a fresh glow and lots of lashes. The bottom line is - you want to look like yourself, but extra irresistible.

Big Night Out: Whether you are headed to a black tie affair, have a big date or are hitting up a hot party, a night out demands your most stunning self. Play up your peepers with lots of lashes that are sure to deliver come-hither appeal wherever the night takes you.

Girls Night: Girls Night Out is the perfect time to play with dewy skin and color and trends. Have some fun and incorporate a fun color into an updated twist on the cat eye.
Looking to recreate these looks at home?

I’m offering a Valentine’s Day Glam Giveaway with everything you need to make jaws drop this season! The nice folks at Eco Tools are sponsoring this giveaway. Enter for your chance to win the following:

Natural Accent Lashes
False lashes have never been easier with these beautiful and versatile lash sections. Our Accent Lashes allow you to put volume where you need it! Determine how many lash sections you want to wear, and apply without formaldehyde-free lash glue and applicator. These are great on the outer corners as accents or to fill in anywhere along your lash line.

Skin Perfecting Brush
Specifically designed for use with popular BB/CC creams to create a smoother application and eliminate oil transfer from hands to face. The angled edge of the brush allows for easy application in hard-to-reach areas on the face while the cut and soft bristles make for give a smoother finish, even around the eyes and nose.

Day to Night Set
For uneven spots, touch up with the pointed concealer brush and the round powder brush.Perfect your pout with the detailed lip/liner brush. Blend out creases with the stay-there shadow brush. Finish with the smudge brush to create a smoky eye perfect for a night out!

Wouldn't you love to win all that?

Here's how to do it......leave me a comment by answering this question...

What is the one makeup item you can't live without?

If you don't have a blog, please leave me email address to contact you (no email and I'll move on to the next name).

There are three ways to enter: (1) leave a comment on the blog (2) If you haven't already, go “like” The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on Facebook or (3) Already a fan? Just leave a comment here or on Facebook to let me know! Facebook comments will count as entries.

Giveaway ends on midnight Sunday, February 16th eastern standard time. Good Luck!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blueberry Honey Bun Cake

Howdy from snowy New England.

We've got quite a bit of the white stuff lately. More than most New Englanders like. I'm not like most New Englanders. I love it. I can easily stay tucked away in my jammies for days on end while the white stuff piles up.

I love it. I really do.

I only wish I had a wood stove. That would make my winter complete.

When it's cold out I always have a soup going on the stove top and I always feel the urge to make a cake. I pinned a few recipes for Honey Bun Cakes and then I ran across this one with blueberries in it. I knew I had a winner.

Leave it to me to make a cake with honey in it when I start to watch my sugars!

I just love to torture myself! I only had a a very tiny little piece. The guys put a hurtin' on this cake in a big way. Half of it was gone in minutes.

This would be a great breakfast cake. That little touch of honey in the middle is to die for.

Blueberry Honey Bun Cake
slightly adapted from a recipe at Buns in my Oven
For the batter:
1 package Yellow Cake Mix (with 2 tablespoons set aside)
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
For the filling:
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional, I omitted)
1 heaping cup blueberries (I didn't measure, I just filled the whole top of the cake with blueberries).
Powered sugar for sprinkling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Measure 2 teaspoons of the dry cake mix and place in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the remaining cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, water, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture lightens and is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

For the filling,
drizzle the honey across the top of the batter. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on top of the honey.

Place the blueberries in the bowl with the reserved cake mix and toss to coat. Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the batter and place cake in the oven.

Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool slightly, dust with powered sugar.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower - the whole head!

Hey. Hi.

I’m here. I’ve been absent for a bit. I’m sorry about that, but not really. I know that sounds strange, but I really didn’t feel like blogging. I wasn’t making anything interesting to blog about and the month of January really kinda kicked my ass, so yeah, I was away but now I’m back.

I’ve had quite a few health issues. I don’t usually talk about those kind of things here, but it’s no secret to some of you that I’m living with an auto immune disease which can really bring me down some days and it seems like the winter intensified everything and kinda had me curled up into a little ball for the last month.

I’m watching my sugar and my carbs, so be prepared for some different recipes from me. I’m learning to be creative and trying to adapt low sugar, low carbs into delicious recipes.

I’m starting off with a delicious recipe for cauliflower....the whole head of cauliflower! I never heard of roasting the whole head before, but it kinda makes sense? This one is slathered with Greek yogurt and spices. It looks really goopy when you put it in the oven, but as it bakes the yogurt mixture hardens and gets nice and crunchy. So good!

I bought a green cauliflower. I've also seen purple and yellow ones!

Just slice it into wedges to eat. I love it!

Roasted Cauliflower
recipe from Bee Hive Hat

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 head cauliflower
1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. (I used a piece of parchment). Set aside.

Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.

Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. I just held it by the base and slathered it on by hand. Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)

Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges.