Chorizo and Fried Egg Sandwiches

Do I really need to say anything about that sandwich?! It was delicious!!! An awesome combination of flavors and a great break from our standard dinner. The girls even ate the egg on theirs (and they are weird about eggs lately). I ate mine on ricecakes and still loved it :-)! Oh, and This recipe is one from Rachael Ray.

Ingredients:
* 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
* 1 large tomato, chopped
* 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Juice of 1/2 lime
* Salt and pepper
* 12 ounces fresh chorizo, divided into 4 patties
* 4 eggs
* 4 ciabatta or french-style rolls, split and toasted

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and the lime juice; season with salt.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the sausage patties, turning once, for 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet, then fry the eggs; season with salt and pepper.
3. Divide the avocado salad among the roll bottoms. Layer with the sausage patties, fried eggs and the roll tops; serve at once.

Cranberry Pear Tossed Salad

I went looking on All Recipes for a new salad to make for my girls' night dinner and this is the one I went with. I really liked the dressing and thought it was a great compliment to the rest of our meal!

Ingredients:
* 1/3 cup apricot nectar
* 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup canola oil
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 12 cups torn mixed salad greens
* 3 medium pears, sliced
* 1/2 cup dried cranberries
* 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
1. For dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients; set aside. In a heavy skillet, melt sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add walnuts; stir to coat. Remove from the heat.
2. In a large salad bowl, combine greens, pears and cranberries. Drizzle with dressing. Add nuts and blue cheese; toss.

Cheese Cake Sheet Cake

This dessert, which I found on Taste Buds, looked too good not to try. It was absolutely delish...moist and spongy with a great glaze frosting. Not to mention easy enough that I didn't mess it up :-)!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I actually used 1/3 fat cream cheese, because that's what was in my fridge and it still was wonderful!)
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups cake flour

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cheese, and sugar for 3 minutes on high speed. Add vanilla then one egg at a time mixing well after each egg. Add flour and mix well. Pour batter into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Frost immediately with glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 3 minutes. Do not stir! After three minutes add chocolate and butter and stir until blended. Pour and spread over cake. Place in freezer for 45 minutes.

Baked Ham in Dijon Cream Sauce

So, when it came time to figure out what to do with my ham for my girls' night dinner I went to Hormel's website first and when I saw this I thought it sounded absolutely delish! I think this sauce got more rave reviews that night than anything else and it was seriously so easy!!!

Ingredients:
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices Ham (I used 8)
* 2 cups whipping cream
* 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375ºF.
2. In ovenproof skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add ham; brown lightly on both sides. Remove ham to plate.
3. Add cream to skillet; whisk to release any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Whisk in mustard. Return ham to skillet. Bring to a boil.
4. Bake 20 minutes. If cream does not thicken, return to stove and gently boil 5 minutes or until thickened.
(I browned the ham in a skillet, and then placed them in a big baking dish. I whisked the cream and mustard together and then poured over the ham to bake it.)

Girls' Night with Foodbuzz and Hormel

This weekend I hosted a girls' night out dinner. Through Foodbuzz and Hormel I was given the opportunity to try out Hormel's new Cure 81 Ham and it was the perfect excuse to throw a little party. I had never cooked ham in my life, so I was a little nervous, but since the Cure 81 ham was already cooked it was super easy. I even found some of my recipes right off Hormel's website! Who knew :-)?
Here is the menu I planned, followed by the appetizer recipes (and the rest to come soon).

Appetizers:
Brie Bites
Bacon and Blue Cheese Crostini
Devils on Horseback
Main Course:
Baked Ham with Dijon Cream Sauce
Individual Potato Gratins (which I made in one big 9x13 dish instead)
Dessert:

Brie Bites 
 (recipe from Big Red Kitchen)
Fill each mini fillo cup (found in freezer section) with a tiny cube of brie, a spoonful of blueberry fruit spread (I used a baby spoon), and top with a pecan half. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese has softened and pecan is toasted. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Devils on Horseback 
(recipe also from Big Red Kitchen)
Wrap dried apricot halves with cooked bacon slices and secure with a toothpick. This is usually done with prunes but the texture of the apricots in this dish is fantastic. 
(I used Hormel's pre-cooked bacon, all I had to do was heat it up in the microwave...these were the easiest appetizer ever!)
Bacon and Blue Cheese Crostini 
(recipe from Hormel)
Ingredients:
* 24 garlic crostini
* 1/2 cup crumbled Danish blue cheese
* 1 (2.1-ounce) package Hormel® Fully Cooked Bacon, coarsely chopped 
(I actually used their crumbled bacon, which meant NO prep!)
Directions:
1. Heat broiler to 500ºF.
2. Top each crostini with 1 teaspoon cheese and generous pinch bacon; place on baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from heat source 5 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and bacon is hot.

Orange Beef with Cilantro Rice

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that I finally got around to making tonight. I haven't been in much of a cooking mood lately so we've been relying on easy, old favorites. This was a fun new flavor to add in the mix though!

Ingredients:
* Grated peel of 1 orange and juice of 2 oranges
* 2-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
* 1 pound skirt steak, thinly sliced on the diagonal and slices halved crosswise
* 1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
* 1 bunch scallions, white parts thinly sliced and green parts cut into 1-inch-long pieces
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
* Salt

Directions:
1. Place the orange peel and juice in a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil and the soy sauce and vinegar. Add the steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, bring the rice and 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Cover; simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and keep warm.
3. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Using tongs, transfer the meat from the marinade to the wok and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
4. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the scallions to the wok and cook over medium heat, stirring, until wilted, 2 minutes. Transfer to the beef. Pour the marinade into the wok and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and reduce by half. Whisk in the sugar and return the steak and scallions to the wok; turn to coat.
5. Stir the cilantro into the rice; season with salt. Mound some rice and beef onto each plate.