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Croque Madame Casserole

Croque Madame Casserole

Gooey!

I love Croque Monsieurs and Croque Madames.  I love the creamy sauce oozing over the crunchy corners of bread and the salty smoky ham inside.  For the Croque Madame, I love the fried egg cooked in a hot buttered skillet, then slapped on top of the freshly broiled sandwich.  Unfortunately, making multiple croques simultaneously at home is not convenient, and then neither Olivia nor Jackson will have anything to do with a fried egg. Sigh.

This dish consolidates the flavors of Croque Madame; egg, ham, gruyere and a creamy béchamel augmented by honey mustard, gruyere cheese and a hint of nutmeg.  I find cubing the bread helps reduce any sharp corners of crust and they better absorb the custard mixture.

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray’s Croque Monsieur Casserole

Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce Copycat

Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce Copycat

I SO miss Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce. I have tried a few other canned varieties but they taste like, well, can. I tried the powdered packets and found one brand that was almost passable, but I had to add tons of spices and I thought 

Ranch Dressing – no Mayo!

Ranch Dressing – no Mayo!

We despise mayonnaise but love the creamy and tart flavor from buttermilk and sour cream and the bite from the onion in Ranch Dressing. And how great is it on a salad made from crunchy iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, shredded carrots and cherry tomatoes – plus 

Spinach and Broccoli Cheese Pie – Starbucks Hong Kong copycat

Spinach and Broccoli Cheese Pie – Starbucks Hong Kong copycat

Baked pie

Olivia and I love the Starbucks spinach and broccoli cheese pie, which for some reason, has disappeared from the local Hong Kong outlets over the last few weeks.  This savory, bright and comforting treat became our go to item at the Hong Kong airport, or around town when we wanted something other than starch for a snack.  We kept saying that we should try and replicate it at home, and since the disappearance of this pie, it seemed like the time had come to experiment.

Based on the item description, we knew the two main vegetables.  Also, I detected a hint of oregano which reminded me of spanakopita and thus it seemed that a bit of creamy feta and ricotta would do the trick.  Well – big surprise, our local Hong Kong grocery store did not have ricotta cheese that week, so cottage cheese to the rescue!  Sometimes ricotta can be grainy so I actually vote for creamy cottage cheese, even if it is less sophisticated.

We don’t like pre-made pie crusts, so I made  the Cream Cheese Pie Crust from the Kitchn.  Unfortunately I lack a food processor, so I made the crust old school style with a pastry cutter.  Due to the high humidity here, I only used 1/2 the amount of water.  This recipe makes enough for 2 full 9″ pie crusts.  Please note, crust dough needs to rest in the refrigerator 45-60 minutes.  Clearly, you could make this in a traditional sized pie crust, but then they wouldn’t be nearly as cute – or portable in school lunches!

Rolling out the dough
Rolling out the dough
cute pie crust ready to be filled
cute pie crust ready to be filled
Lemony Blueberry Muffins

Lemony Blueberry Muffins

Olivia and I love blueberry muffins, or are these really just mini cakes?  Blueberries are on sale! Yay! only 10HKD per box, which is about 1/3 the normal price.  I bought 4 boxes and since we always have lemons, we made zingy fluffy lemony blueberry 

Chicken with Wine, Shallots and Mushrooms

Chicken with Wine, Shallots and Mushrooms

Even if you think that this is too brown looking or boring for you, you might want to reconsider, if only to create a yummy rich fragrance for your home.  There is nothing better than butter, wine and shallots bubbling away.   I don’t usually like 

Herb Ricotta Pea Dip

Herb Ricotta Pea Dip

Fresh Herb Pea Ricotta Dip

It is neither pesto nor guacamole (but you knew that based on the mint garnish, right?)  A bright and herby lemony fresh dip that goes well with fresh or toasted baguette, or just as great as a dollop on a cherry tomato or sliced cucumber.  And guess what? The next day you can thin with a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of boiled pasta water and stir through cooked ravioli or any short pasta.

Moroccan Chicken

Moroccan Chicken

We were in the mood for some sort of Moroccan/Tagine type of chicken.  Quickly ruled out anything requiring preserved lemons as it would take all day to locate them, if at all.  It seemed that the spices in various recipes differed greatly, some with cumin