Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Have you ever wanted to make a pan of cookie bars so you just made a regular recipe of cookie dough, threw it in a pan and then were disappointed with the final results?  I think it has something to do with the amount of leavening required to make the bars rise enough in a pan vs just as a small cookie on a sheet pan.  Enough science though, let’s talk dessert. These oatmeal bars are a real gem – they don’t contain any butter or eggs, and bake for less than 20 minutes – peanut butter and milk provide the glue to hold these together, and lend a more earthy and hearty flavor to the end product.  They’re great served warm with milk, like their cookie cousins, but will leave you feeling a little more full thanks to the oatmeal and peanut butter.  And just like a cookie (or a Lay’s potato chip), I bet you can’t eat just one. 

Oatmeal bars v1

Oatmeal bars v2

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
Yields 24
A hearty and sweet dessert bar filled with oats, peanut butter and chocolate
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup light brown sugar
  2. 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  3. 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 2 cups quick-rise oatmeal (not instant)
  6. 2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1 cup milk
  9. 12oz mini chocolate chips (1 regular bag)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease two 9x11 metal baking pans.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream together the brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla until light in color and well blended. Scrape down the sides.
  4. Add the dry ingredients - flour, oats, baking soda and salt - and mix to combine. The dough will be dry and crumbly.
  5. Add the milk to the dough and stir just to combine.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and fold in to incorporate.
  7. Place half the dough in each greased baking pan. Wet hands with water and flatten dough into the pan.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
  9. Let cool, then cut 12 squares from each pan.
Notes
  1. This recipe is delicious using a gluten free flour like Bob's Red Mill or Betty Crocker's Rice Flour blend.
  2. This recipe can be halved to make 12 squares, or one 9x11 pan of bars.
  3. These bars can be frozen and defrosted to serve at a later date. Will freeze well for at least 4 weeks.
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Chicken Salad Wraps

Earlier this summer I was in search of an appetizer I could bring to an outdoor BBQ party when the weather was nearly 100 degrees and I knew most people would be walking around with a plate and not sitting down for a full meal… I knew it needed to be something that didn’t require a fork and knife, and better yet, no plate, and might even be considered refreshing given the heat and humidity.  Where did this search and such challenging requirements land me?  Chicken Salad Wraps, my friends, that’s where.  These little guys go by a lot of names – some people call them “Pinwheels” while others opt for the less-traditional but very funny “Redneck Sushi” name.  

One of the things I love about making these is that you can switch up the ingredients depending on your audience or what you have on hand – easy to swap out mozzarella or cheddar slices for swiss, or instead of chopped chicken breast you could use ham, turkey or roast beef.  Want to add some more flavor to the mix?  Add some dijon mustard to the cream cheese and mayo or even a little horseradish. 

With no further ado – there’s some instructions and the recipe!  Even though temps of 100 degrees are now a distant memory these are still delicious and would be perfect for an after-school snack or during a football game.

First, prepare the filling for the wrap.  Lay out a tortilla with 3 slices of cheese, then spread the prepared filling evenly over the center of the tortilla, leaving the top and bottom sections without any filing.Chicken Salad Wrap 1

Carefully roll up the tortilla, pushing the filling out evenly towards the end of the tortilla.  Once fully rolled, let the tortilla rolls rest while on the end, letting it seal.

Chicken Salad Wrap 2

After about 10 minutes, use a serrated knife to cut the sandwich rolls into slices, roughly 1-2 inches wide.

Chicken Salad Wrap 3

Chicken Salad Wrap 4

 

Enjoy!  If you have ideas or suggestions please leave a note in the comments! 

Chicken Salad Wraps
Serves 10
These little sandwich wraps are a delicious appetizer that's easy to prepare!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large flour tortillas
  2. 9 slices of cheese, mozzarella or cheddar
  3. 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  4. 1/2 cup mayo
  5. 1 cup cooked chicken breast, diced
  6. Ground black pepper
  7. 1 cup lettuce, shredded
Instructions
  1. To prepare the filling, mix the cream cheese, mayo, chicken breast, black pepper and lettuce until thoroughly combined.
  2. Lay a tortilla out, then lay 3 slices of cheese across the center of the tortilla.
  3. Scoop a third of the filling and place in the center of the tortilla, spreading out, leaving the top and bottom of the tortilla without any filling.
  4. Starting at the bottom of the tortilla, carefully roll the tortilla towards the top, being careful to not roll too tightly so as the squeeze the filling out. Let sit for 10 minutes for the ingredients to set.
  5. Cut the tortilla rolls with a serrated knife into 2 inch slices.
  6. Set tortilla sandwich wrap slices on a plate to serve.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Lowcountry Boil

When the weather is hot and humid and I can’t dream of heating up my cool, air-conditioned home with heat from the stove or oven I’ll make just about anything that involves outdoor cooking.  Once the appeal of grilled meat and veggies from the grill wears off it forces me to be more creative about preparing outdoor meals and one of our favorite meal discoveries in the last few years is now an all-time favorite – Low Country Boil!  This meal has a few names depending on the part of the country you live in (one less appealing option: Frogmore Stew) but the components are pretty much the same – fresh shrimp, corn on the cob, kielbasa sausage, small red potatoes and an onion, and Hot Sauce and Old Bay Seasoning for flavor.  That’s it!  

Low Country Boil 4

All the ingredients are boiled in hot water (on our outdoor stove) and served on the picnic table over newspaper, no silverware required.  Or you can class things up a bit and use plates and forks… whatever floats your boat.  Great served with crusty french bread and a glass of rose.

Low Country Boil 3

 

 

Low Country Boil 1 

Lowcountry Boil
Serves 8
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 6-8 cups of cold water
  2. 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning
  3. 5-10 dashes hot sauce (like Frank's Red Hot)
  4. 2 lbs small red potatoes
  5. 1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  6. 6 cobs of corn, shucked and broken into half
  7. 1 lb kielbasa sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces
  8. 1 lb raw shrimp, deveined and with shells on
Instructions
  1. Place the water, hot sauce and Old Bay seasoning in a large pot.
  2. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the potatoes and cook for 10-15 until soft enough to pierce with a fork.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-high, then add the onion, corn and sausage, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the water to a boil, add the shrimp and stir, then turn off the heat. The shrimp will cook quickly given the high temperature of the water.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit until the shrimp turn pink.
  7. Remove all ingredients from the pot and thoroughly drain.
  8. Serve immediately with french bread.
Notes
  1. This meal is naturally gluten free as long as you use a gluten-free kielbasa sausage - this is easier said than done so read your labels carefully!
Adapted from Men's Journal
Adapted from Men's Journal
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Veggie Pizza Appetizer

This time of year the calendar is packed with fun summer outings, picnics, parties and the like, and in the spirit of making it easy, most of the events on our calendar tend to be potlucks with everyone chipping in and bringing something to share.  One of my favorite go-to recipes is a veggie pizza appetizer because it’s easy to prepare, light and downright delicious.  

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The time saver in this appetizer comes from using a roll of refrigerated crescent dough, and rolling it out into one thin, solid piece of dough on a cookie sheet.  After baking and cooling, the flaky dough is topped with Chive & Onion cream cheese, cheddar cheese and a variety of chopped fresh veggies.  Let this chill in the refrigerator for an hour before serving and you’ve got yourself a real winner – the dough is light and flaky, the cream cheese is cool and flavorful and the toppings add tons of flavor and crunchiness.

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Veggie Pizza Appetizer
Serves 15
A light flaky dough topped with cool cream cheese and lots of veggies is the perfect start to an outdoor meal!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package of refrigerated crescent dough
  2. 1 package of chive and onion cream cheese, room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1 cup shredded carrots
  5. 1 cup bite-sized cauliflower
  6. 1 cup bite-sized broccoli
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, open the can of dough, lay flat on the paper and roll out into one thin, solid sheet of dough.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to turn light brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the baked dough cool completely.
  5. Once the dough is cool, spread the cream cheese over the entire surface.
  6. Top with cheese and veggies.
  7. Chill for at least 1 hour, then cut into 3x3 inch squares for serving.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Broccoli Grape Salad

It’s about time I add some variety to this blog, meaning some vegetables, as the last few posts have been about delicious yet not necessarily good-for-you foods.  This recipe is not only great for you but it’s delicious, and is best when made the day before, so if you like get your work done ahead of time in order to enjoy the party or meal, this one’s for you.

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My mom is the source of this Broccoli Grape Salad recipe and made it for us all the time as kids.  Imagine her glee that her 4 kids gobbled up this salad like it was dessert despite it containing broccoli, celery and nuts!  To be fair, this salad contains juicy grapes as well as a decadent dressing, so it’s not like you’re going to win some health nut contest for preparing this, but you’ll probably still get points for Vitamin E, fiber and protein – little known fact – broccoli is a good source of protein!

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Alright, food friends, a few more notes before we get to the recipe details:

1. Toasted almonds are optional, but delicious, and best if added to the salad right before serving.

2. This salad needs to be refrigerated at least 4 hours before serving, it not overnight.  You’ve got to allow the dressing time to do its magic and seep into those little broccoli florets.

3. Grapes vs Raisins – you can do either, or both, but I prefer fresh grapes, both green and red (seedless!!!) if available.  In the case of the batch I made for this post, you can see I didn’t have any grapes so opted for raisins and it is still great.  I’ve seen variations of this recipe online that call for yellow raisins or dried cranberries, so as I usually say on this site, add whatever makes you happy.  There’s no point in following a recipe to the letter of the law if you think a substitution could improve it.

 Enjoy!

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Broccoli Grape Salad
Serves 10
This salad is best served cold a day after preparation.
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 bunches of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 4-5 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. 5 stalks broccoli, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  4. 3 cups of green and red grapes, washed and sliced in half
  5. 1/4 lb bacon, fried and chopped (or 1 package of bacon bits)
  6. 1 1/2 cup mayo
  7. 4 tsp white vinegar
  8. 3/8 cup white sugar
  9. 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine the broccoli, green onions, celery, grapes and bacon.
  2. In a small bowl combine the mayo, vinegar and sugar, stirring to combine.
  3. Pour the dressing over the contents of the large bowl, stirring to combine and fully coat the salad ingredients.
  4. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours or overnight, before serving.
  5. In a small saucepan, turn on the heat over low, and add the almonds. Stir almost constantly under they begin to brown and you can smell a nutty aroma. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the almonds onto a small plate to cool.
  6. When ready to serve, garnish the salad with almonds.
Adapted from Patricia Remes
Adapted from Patricia Remes
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Buttermilk Brownies

Oh boy, this one is a keeper – if you’ve never made a recipe off this site, no hard feelings, but this is the place to start.  These brownies are incredibly moist, have a delicate cake texture and are oh so full of chocolate.  So tasty.  And you know what’s the icing on the cake?  The frosting for these brownies is made in the same bowl as the batter – no dish washing required.  And that’s a good thing because you need to pour the frosting on the brownies immediately when it comes out of the oven so there’s no time for dish washing at this stage of the game.  

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 This recipes comes from my mother via a woman named Carol Jacobsen, and my mom used to serve this as part of an awesome menu of homemade bread, lasagna and salad, followed up by this tasty treat.  And since my memory is terrible I’m sure I have the whole menu I just listed entirely wrong, but whatever, it ended with this dessert.  Additionally, because you pour the frosting onto the cake right when it comes out of the oven the frosting spreads over the cake incredibly quickly and soaks into the cake – check out the line where the cake and frosting meet.  Y. U. M.

I brought these bars to work a few years back and a coworker’s sister had moved to Texas and made him a similar recipe on a visit – but she called them “Texas Sheet Cake”.  Heck, I probably call these things cake, bars and dessert all in one conversation, and it doesn’t really matter what you them as long as you think they’re delicious and gobble them up.  With a glass of cold milk.

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 UPDATE:

  • My sister sent me a note after this post and I thought it was worth sharing – due to the risk of salmonella in raw eggs it’s risky to skip on washing the bowl before making the frosting.  Just to be safe, wash it up while the brownies are baking then head straight to making the frosting.
Buttermilk Brownies
Be sure to use a jelly roll pan when baking these brownies - it's important that these brownies are very thin.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. DRY INGREDIENTS
  2. 2 cups flour
  3. 2 cups sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. salt
  5. WET INGREDIENTS - TO BOIL
  6. 1/2 cup butter
  7. 1 cup water
  8. 1/4 cup cocoa
  9. 1/2 cup Crisco
  10. WET INGREDIENTS - DO NOT BOIL
  11. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  12. 2 eggs
  13. 1 tsp. baking soda
  14. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  15. FROSTING
  16. 1/2 cup butter
  17. 1/4 cup cocoa
  18. 1/3 cup buttermilk
  19. 4 cups powdered sugar (unsifted)
  20. 1 tsp. vanilla
  21. A few grains of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a large jelly roll pan with Crisco and coat the pan with flour. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt.
  4. In a 1 quart saucepan over medium heat combine butter, water, cocoa and Crisco, and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour the boiling liquid over the dry ingredients, and stir just to combine.
  6. Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla and mix well, quickly. Do not whip or overheat.
  7. Pour the brownie batter into the greased and floured cake pan and spread evenly.
  8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then test with a toothpick. If it doesn't come out clean cook 1-2 minutes longer, then test again with a new toothpick. Watch the brownies closely as the edges will easily burn.
  9. While the cake is baking in the oven, pour 4 cups of powdered sugar into the same bowl used for the brownie batter.
  10. Using the same saucepan as used for the cake batter liquid, combine butter, cocoa and buttermilk and bring to a boil, removing from the heat as soon as it does.
  11. Add the boiling mixture to the powdered sugar and stir until smooth, then add the vanilla and salt and stir to combine.
  12. Remove the brownies from the oven and immediately pour the frosting over them as it will spread more smoothly than when the brownies have cooled.
  13. Let the bars cool completely then cut into rectangles to serve.
  14. Wrap the remaining brownies in the original pan with plastic wrap to keep this fresh for a few days.
Notes
  1. You can easily make this recipe gluten free by substituting Betty Crocker GF Rice Blend flour 1-to-1 for the flour in the recipe - no need to use xanthan gum.
  2. And yes, I call this dessert both cake and brownies - feel free to use the terms interchangeably as there's no right name. 🙂
Adapted from Carol Jacobsen
Adapted from Carol Jacobsen
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

 

Chicken George Sandwiches

Hello there fellow food lovers!  Apologies for my extended blog absence, this warm weather has me outside most hours of the day while the sun is up (and I’m not at work) and I’ve fallen sorely behind here.  How about an easy transition back into recipe sharing with a simple and delicious sandwich that can be served, hot, cold or at room temperature? 

 

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This, my friends, is a Chicken George sandwich.  I have no idea where my mom got the recipe but it was always a favorite of mine growing up.  Best of all, you can easily make this sandwich your own by tweaking the toppings and creating many a related offshoot of the original.  The traditional Chicken George in the Remes house consisted of a whole grilled chicken breast on a bun, topped with swiss cheese, chopped bacon, a ring of pineapple and lots of thousand island dressing.  My updated version is very similar – I stick with a grilled chicken breast but chop it up to make it easier to take a bite without removing the whole breast, and leave out the pineapple ring because the Mr. holds a firm belief that meat and fruit don’t mix, and it has started to take a hold in me.  Or at least impact what I make us for dinner, at a minimum.

If this doesn’t sound quite up your alley, what could you do to make this your own?  Trust me, it’s quite tasty and quick enough to make that you’ll be back outside enjoying the sunshine in no time at all, but I firmly believe in playing with recipes until they fit just right to your liking.  Try a different dressing, say, ranch or blue cheese, and omit or swap the slice of cheese for cheddar, mozzarella or colby-jack.  There are no wrong answers here people.  Enjoy!

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 A little update from my mom after she read the original post: 

  1. I got the recipe from Suz (her sister) and it was called George after a woman whose first name I can’t recall but whose last name was George. I think she had a chicken business for a while.
  2. Do you marinate your chicken in Good Seasons Italian Dressing?
  3. Too bad Mr. doesn’t like the pineapple ring; I think that’s what makes this sandwich great.
Chicken George Sandwich
Serves 4
This sandwich is a cinch to make and so delicious - grilled chicken topped with bacon, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing - it's a great summer staple and also great year-round.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper
  2. 4 slices of bacon, fried and chopped, or 1/4 cup bacon bits
  3. 4 slices swiss cheese
  4. 4 buns, sliced in half
  5. Thousand island dressing
  6. 4 rings of pineapple (optional)
Instructions
  1. Grill the chicken until fully cooked. Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes, then chop into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Take a sliced bun, remove the top half, and place the bottom half on a serving plate.
  3. Place 1/4 of the chopped chicken in a pile on the bun.
  4. Top with chopped bacon and a slice of swiss cheese.
  5. Place in the microwave for 10 seconds to get the cheese warmed but not melted. (this step is entirely optional and up to you)
  6. If desired, top with a ring of pineapple.
  7. Top with thousand island dressing, to taste, then cover with the remaining half of the bun.
Notes
  1. This sandwich can easily be made gluten free by ensuring your dressing is GF, and by substituting a GF bun or two toasted slices of GF bread.
  2. If you're having trouble fitting all the chicken and toppings on the bottom half of the bun consider this - when slicing the bun in half, slice it so that the bottom half is 60-70% of the total bun height. Remove the top, then hollow out the bread filling of the bottom half to make room for all the goodies. Replace the top half once you've compiled the sandwich and you have the same end product and a little less mess.
Adapted from Patricia Remes
Adapted from Patricia Remes
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Tomato Bruschetta

Have you ever tried an item of food and once you do, wonder how you made it this long without it in your culinary life?  That’s how I feel about tomato bruschetta, oddly enough.  That’s not to say I had never tasted bruschetta but it had always been in a restaurant or not up to par with this recipe, so in my mind, it’s like I had never tasted it until this version waltzed into my life.

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A year or two ago my little family headed to my parents’ house for a day of sun, food and relaxation and my mom made this as an appetizer for us, served with crackers and slices of bread.  We were hooked (not just me – the Mr. too!).  It’s incredibly simple to make – just a bit of chopping required – and soon you’ll have tomatoes, parmesan, basil, garlic marinating in olive oil and waiting to be served on just about anything.  Anything can involve toasted bread, a baguette slice, grilled chicken breasts or a beef loin.

This dish is perfect to make ahead as it keeps in the refrigerator for at least a few days.  Feel free to experiment with the amount of oil and garlic, as well as with using grated or shredded parmesan.  

 

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Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 4
This tomato bruschetta is delicious as an appetizer dip served on crackers or slices of bread or served on top of grilled chicken or steak.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tomatoes, finely diced
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  3. 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  4. 10-15 basil leaves, rolled into a chiffonade and sliced thinly
  5. 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
  6. 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  7. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop tomatoes, dice garlic and mix in a medium sized bowl with the parmesan, basil and olive oil. Add the salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Notes
  1. This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days if kept in a sealed container.
Adapted from Pat Remes
Adapted from Pat Remes
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Aioli

The Mr. and I like to take a week day off of work every few months to spend the day at the movies and going out to lunch.  While the Twin Cities has some great restaurants and a teeming list of new places worth trying, we tend to get pulled back to our favorite spot, McCormick & Schmick’s at the Westin in Edina, nearly every single time.  It’s pretty quiet during the lunch hour when we saddle up to the bar, order a custom house creation off the drink list and start our meal with a side of sweet potato fries with garlic aioli.  This is the perfect little snack of warm, salty potato with a cool, tart aioli to tide you over while you peruse the menu and enjoy the day.  This recipe is my ode to these fries – the major difference is that these are baked and not fried… still delicious, but don’t pack the same tasty just-fried punch.  (If you head to M&S and don’t find these on the menu just ask – it’s not always listed but is always available).

What in heaven’s name is aioli?  Years ago when I was bartending at the California Cafe I asked the head chef that question and he laughed in response “That’s a chef’s way of saying mayonnaise”.  Of course, the man made his mayo from scratch, but that admission helped me be less intimidated by the name.  My aioli is a crack to make, made with store-bought mayo (Hellman’s or Kraft brand) spiked with fresh lemon juice, crushed garlic cloves and a lot of cracked black pepper.  Not difficult or intimidating at all.  This is best made at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to marry.

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The most difficult part of making this treat is to slice up the potatoes (and difficult is all relative, this isn’t actually that hard) – grab your sharpest chef’s knife and you’ll be in good shape.  The trick is to trim off the top and bottom of the potato where it becomes thinner, then set the potato on its tall end, and cut once length-wise.  Lay the potato down on the edge where you just removed the rounded side then cut the potato into long slices.  Once complete, stack the potato slices together and cut match-sticks of the potato.  Depending on your personal preference for fries, now’s the time to cut really thick or thin, depending on the outcome you want.  I find that about 1/4″ squares cook nice and even.  You’re not seeking perfection in your fry size, just consistency so that things cook evenly.

Cover a large sheet pan with tin foil, spray lightly with PAM cooking spray, then spread the potatoes out into a single layer.  Without the cooking spray these puppies have a tendency to stick to the pan due to all the natural sugar in the potato. Drizzle vegetable oil over the fries and season with salt and pepper to your liking.  My liking means a lot of salt but feel free to go easy on it and be kind to your heart. 

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Toss these in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, carefully flipping them after 20 minutes.  You’re looking for the potato to soften and begin to brown, but not to darken too much. 

Once out of the oven, cool for five minutes then serve with the chilled aioli.  This is a great side dish to serve with burgers, grilled chicken breasts or meatloaf – and is versatile enough to eat year-round.  Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Fries and Garlic Aioli
Serves 4
Baked sweet potato fries are crispy yet soft and warm on the inside, and the garlic aioli provides the perfect bite and chilled flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 large sweet potatoes
  2. Vegetable Oil
  3. Salt & Cracked black pepper
  4. 1 cup mayo
  5. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  6. 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced
  7. 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  8. 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl combine the mayo, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and salt. Stir thoroughly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cover a large pan with tin foil, spraying with cooking spray.
  3. Cut sweet potatoes into fries, and place on the covered pan.
  4. Drizzle with oil, and spindle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, removing to flip the fries, then returning to the oven for another 10 minutes until softened and beginning to brown.
  6. Remove the fries from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving with the chilled garlic aioli.
Notes
  1. The garlic aioli is best at least one hour ahead of serving to allow the flavors to marry.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/

Steak sandwiches with Chimichurri sauce

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Have you ever tried Chimichurri sauce?  This was a new one for me last summer, something I discovered in a Food Network magazine.  I went out on a limb, fried up a flank steak and served it smothered in the sauce and it was incredible!  Who would have thought this green stuff could be so tasty?  It’s a really great mash up of parsley, cilantro, shallot and garlic, pureed with red pepper flakes and olive oil.  It’s even great the next day, as this sandwich demonstrates.  I took these sandwiches to a pool party last summer and they were a hit, which was my inspiration for making them today – maybe if I make food that reminds me of summer, the weather will warm up?  Something along those lines.  Of course, I couldn’t find the recipe I used last summer so I hunted online for a new version and couldn’t find one I really liked so I made one up using inspiration from each I found online.   I was a little nervous that my experimentation with making the sauce might lead to a funny result but I was fortunate enough that the recipe gods were smiling down on me. 

So when the Krentz men went to work last weekend re-insulating our attic I thought they deserved a lunch that was out-of-the-ordinary as a thank you for their hours of effort.  The result – thin layers of steak piled on top of a baguette, topped with chimichurri sauce and slices of tomato.  Quite tasty if I say so myself.  You can make these and serve them immediately, or spread a little butter on the bread, then prepare these, wrap them up, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Steak Sandwiches with Chimichurri Sauce
Serves 4
Thin slices of grilled flank steak atop baguette bread smothered with chimichurri sauce and tomato slices.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb flank steak
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Salt & Pepper
  4. 1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  5. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  6. 1 medium shallot, diced
  7. 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  8. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  9. 1 tsp salt
  10. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  11. 1/2 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Remove the steak from the refrigerator and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Let sit out 30 minutes.
  2. Either on a outdoor grill or on a frying pan over medium-high heat, grill the steak for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and place on a cutting board to rest for at least 10 minutes.
  3. In a food processor bowl, combine the parsley, cilantro, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Pulse until finely minced and combined.
  4. Turn the food processor on to run continuously and pour in the olive oil to whisk to create the sauce.
  5. The sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a day.
  6. Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices.
  7. Slice the tomato.
  8. Slice the baguette lengthwise.
  9. Layer the steak onto the baguette, and pour the chimichurri sauce over the steak. Top with tomato slices and the second slice of bread.
Notes
  1. Sandwiches can be made in advance, wrapped in parchment paper and stored in the refrigerator up to 8 hours before serving. The bread will keep best if spread with butter before topping with the sauce, meat and tomatoes.
In Bryna's Kitchen http://www.inbrynaskitchen.com/