February 26, 2011

Rosemary and Garlic Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Dipping Sauce

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I am always in the mood for a good crunch. There is something comforting about a salty savory fry that everyone comes back looking for more. Now fries out at a burger house or at the dive diner around the street are always so perfectly crisp and tasty but I really like to bring that bite home... and with sweet potatoes. Paul makes bake potatoes all the time loaded with sour cream, cheese and chives but after a while that can start to get old and I thought a sweet potato would be a nice change of pace and of course throw in a little spicy dipping sauce.

Rosemary and Garlic Sweet Potato Fries with Spicy Dipping Sauce
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno


1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 tbsp fresh minced rosemary
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp garlic salt
Fresh black pepper

Pre heat the oven to 425. Combine rosemary, garlic salt and oil in a large bowl until you have a heavenly scented paste. Cut the sweet potato into rounds (or "fry cut if you prefer) and toss into the oil mixture. Using your hands, thoroughly coat each fry with the garlic and rosemary.

Lay the fries out on a rimmed baking sheet being sure to leave plenty of room between fries (if the fries start to overlap they will end up steaming instead of roasting!). Bake for 12 minutes, remove, flip and bake for another 12 minutes. Sprinkle with one little kiss of salt as soon as they come out of the oven and enjoy!

Spicy Dipping Sauce:
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablesoon Siracha Chili Sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well to mix through.
Makes about ¾ cup

These were so nice and crunchy with just enough zing from the garlic and rosemary. The spicy sauce really adds some punch and takes on a flavor all its own. Either way we just love these and they make a perfect pairing with any dinner entree or just as a snack.


February 23, 2011

Roasted Edamame Salad

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Paul and I are huge sushi lovers but having a sushi dinner out even once a week can be a costly food habit to get into. We really enjoy our simple favorite rolls like the Alaskan, Spicy Yellow-tail and the always famous Shrimp Tempura Roll but there’s always that small issue of filling up on sushi without emptying out your entire wallet. We we have now resorted to getting sushi take-out and enjoying our own bottle of wine at home which makes dinner much less expensive.
Being that we both have been trying to eat healthy and chose our carbs in smaller/ lighter portions, I have branched out to add my own little flair on dinner. Tonight we ordered our regular sushi favorites and instead of adding on two side salads and an edamame appetizer I decided to whip up my own edamame salad at home for an extra veggie punch to dinner and a really nice pairing to our tasty sushi rolls.

Roasted Edamame Salad
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno
1 package frozen edamame, shelled (I got about a cup and a half)
1/2 c corn
3/4 c chopped green beans (I used frozen)
1/2 c green/ yellow peppers
3/4 c broccoli 
1/2 c mushrooms
5 or so cloves garlic, quartered
3 bunches scallions, chopped
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread edamame, corn, green beans, peppers, broccoli, garlic and scallions in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper (maybe toss in a few chili flakes?). Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the veggies are starting to brown a bit (not too much!). Juice the lemon over the roasted veggies and let cool. Taste for salt, then serve... or chill and serve cold with tomatoes and basil or cilanto to jazz it up. 

The measurements I made were on the heftier side, not exactly portioned for two people, however in preparing a side dish like this I wanted to make sure there was enough for about 4 servings… and even better for us, we had plenty of left over’s for us both to have as our lunches for the next day. 

The taste of the Roasted Edamame Salad was so light with burst of each veggie flavor. The lemon juice was the perfect tinge to really bring all the different vegetables together while holding such bright colors. The dish in presentation was so colorful, mouthwatering to the two of us who couldn’t wait to jump in and try it. With just the right touch of salt and pepper, that is all this dish needed to stand on its own as a scrumptious side.  
Paired with sushi…yum. I dashed a bit of the left over soy sauce and it was so flavorful. I also loved that this dish isn’t so much held to a certain season. As long as you have fresh (or frozen) vegetables you can really throw whatever you want in here to mend with the weather. It was a great dinner.

February 21, 2011

Chorizo, Spinach and Onion Frittata

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Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner? I for one am a huge fan and definitely try to mix it up as often as I can. I had never heard of a frittata before, only quiches but man did this dish pack a punch. I was watching the food network a few days ago and saw Marcela from 'Mexican Made Easy' cooking with Chorizo and I thought how delicious would that be in a Frittata. In Marcela's recipe for a taco meat she pushed the chorizo out of the casing, however I wanted that meatier chunky bite to each slice so I just sliced pieces on an angle. 

Normally dinners include some type of chicken or pasta for us so I thought this would be a nice change of pace plus it was a challenge to see what I could make out of this. I really wanted to add a lot of flavor so i started to grab spinach, onions, garlic, goat cheese (of course) and then a bunch of spices and herbs. This was going to be fun.

Chorizo, Spinach and Onion Frittata
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

1 lb. Chorizo, cut into small dices and browned
1 lg onion, sliced and sautéed
1 lb spinach, chopped and sauteed
8 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs all-purpose flour
1-1/2 salt
Fresh ground pepper
¼ crumbles fresh goat cheese
1 tbs thinly sliced chives
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 lg garlic clove, minced and sautée
2 tbs olive oil

Prepare chorizo, onions and spinach as directed in the ingredients. Let cool slightly before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. You don’t want to add the egg mixture when the chorizo mixture is pipping hot.

Heat the oven to 350F. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the heavy cream, flour (no worries if the flour forms lumps), salt, and pepper grinds (to taste). 

Combine the chorizo, onions, spinach, fresh goat cheese, chives and parsley with the egg mixture, folding them in gently.

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a 10-inch oven proof or nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the egg mixture, spreading everything evenly. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the eggs are set about 1 inch from the sides of the pan, about 8 to 10 min.
Uncover the pan and transfer the frittata to the over. Bake until the top is puffed and completely set, about 15-25 minutes or so.
Remove pan from over and run a rubber spatula around the sides of the pan and let the frittata cool for 10 min before cutting and serving.

Yum, Yum, so much flavor. This was such a filling meal that really had a lot of zing with each bite. Cooking this dish was so simple and easy clean-up as well being that you use the same pan on the stove and then transfer it into the oven. This was the ultimate 'pie' for a dinner meal and one that you could have as either your main course or with a buffet of a few other dishes for, say, a midnight meal or brunch for a crowd.

Eat up and Enjoy!

February 20, 2011

Spicy Shrimp, Guacamole and Tomato Fajita Wraps

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We love mexican food. It's very healthy when made at home and there is always the right amount of spice to jazz it up. Also, for quick throw together meals, it's so simple to put the spicy shrimp in a wrap or just eat in a pile on your plate for a full and satisfying meal. Yum. We frequently make our own salsa so when we are having tacos such as these, it comes in handy to just throw an avocado into the salsa and you have instant guacamole. Everything is healthy, homemade and simple... all of my favorite things.

This dish, if made in large or small quantities, can work perfectly for a hearty lunch or a full course dinner. I like to set out all the fixings bar style for a casual dinner or entertaining so everyone can grab and fix up each of their wraps.

Spicy Shrimp, Guacamole and Tomato Fajita Wraps

Recipes and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno
1 lb. shrimp (26 to 30 per lb.), peeled
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (to taste/heat)
4 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 small onion

1 'on the vine' tomato
1 jalapeno
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 avocado, diced 

1 lime, half juiced (about 1 Tbs.) and half cut into wedges

1 clove garlic, minced

4 tortillas wraps, warmed

Toss the shrimp with 1 Tbs. oil, the Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a medium bowl, mash the avocados with the jalapeno, onion, tomato, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they turn pink and become just firm to the touch, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

To heat the tortillas but keep them from ripping or cracking, warm them in your toaster oven or in a skillet, 10 to 15 seconds on each side, and then put them between layers of damp paper towels until they are ready to be served. This keeps them nice and warm.

Let your friends help themselves...and trust me, they will.

February 18, 2011

Crispy Breaded Tilapia with Classic Tartar Sauce

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A healthy lifestyle always involves fish, fish and more fish. Now I can eat sushi and shellfish all day long because the tastes are so fresh and they always come with some kind of delicious dipping sauce like melted butter, soy sauce or my favorite spicy mayonnaise, but fishy fish is something that I had to train my palate to like. Not anymore.

I found so many fun and new ways to whip up different fish dishes without taking away from it's healthiness...but of course I had to add a dipping sauce for that extra pow or flavor. The more and more I cook the more I am understanding and possibly even giving a little more credit to these professionals that put together food pairings and wine pairings, because you know what, they are on to something.

My favorite thing about this dish is the warm breaded crunch of the Tilapia with the cool relishy tarter sauce that creates such a mmmmmm pow taste. You have to try it.
Crispy Breaded Tilapia with Classic Tartar Sauce
Photos by A Healthy Jalapeno
Original recipe by: Fine Cooking


1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs. minced red onion
2 Tbs. sweet pickle relish or dill pickle relish
2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper
4 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 oz. each)
Vegetable oil for the pan
1 large lemon, cut into wedges

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, red onion, relish, parsley, capers, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.
Line up two wide shallow dishes. Put the eggs lightly beaten in one and put the breadcrumbs in the other. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper. Working with one fillet at a time, coat it with flour and shake off the excess. Then dip the fillet in the egg and dredge it in the breadcrumbs, patting them on to help them adhere. Set each breaded fillet on a plate or tray as you finish it.

Pour the oil 1/4 inch deep into a 10- to 12-inch skillet. Heat over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking, or until a breadcrumb sizzles and browns quickly when dropped in the oil. Cook two of the tilapia fillets until they are crisp and browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining two fillets.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.


February 17, 2011

Rustic Rosemary Tarts

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We are always having people pop over the house and it's nice to have something to quickly throw together for a snack or bite to eat while we're all just chatting away. Nothing too filling but just enough to make people feel comfortable and welcome. As I mentioned earlier, we do not have the accommodations to entertain large parties of people but we'll be able to have upwards of three couples or a few of the guys over and that creates the perfect amount of testers for creative but quick appetizers.

The simplicity of this recipe jumped off the page for me because I always thought of a tart as being a sweet dessert and to think of switching things up by using the same concept but with cheese and herbs sounded too delicious not to try. Goat cheese is a huge favorite of mine that I put with many different dishes but I have only recently started to dabble with fresh rosemary and pastry sheets. Goat cheese has such a creamy tangy taste... a natural cheese for cooking and perfect for any course!
Rustic Rosemary Tarts

3 oz. Bûcheron goat cheese (or fresh goat cheese)
3 Tbs. heavy cream
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 lemon
3 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
Thinly slice the cheese and then crumble and tear it into a small bowl. If the cheese has a rind, make sure it's torn into small pieces. Add the cream and mash together with a fork until combined.

Roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 12x17-inch rectangle. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the pastry in half lengthwise and then cut a 3/4-inch strip off all 4 edges of each piece of pastry. Transfer the two large pieces of pastry to a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Dip a pastry brush in water and brush a 3/4-inch border around each large piece of pastry. Stack the trimmed strips of pastry onto the damp dough, creating a border all the way around.

Dollop and spread the cheese mixture inside the borders of each pastry. Evenly grate the zest of the lemon over the cheese. Scatter the rosemary leaves and grind a little pepper evenly over the top. Bake the tarts until puffed and deep golden brown on the top and golden on the bottom, about 17 minutes, rotating the pan half way through baking. Cut each tart into 3 or 4 pieces and serve hot.

Photos by A Healthy Jalapeno
Original recipe by: Fine Cooking

These were gone almost before I could snap a picture. I fully cooked them however, the next time I make these yummy finger app's I think I will undercook them just a bit and then broil for 30 seconds before taking them out of the oven to give them a creamier bite while still getting the crusts and rosemary nice and crispy.
My pastry's came with two sheet in the box so I will be making these again... and soon.


February 15, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto, Onions and Garlic

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There is a huge push in our house to eat healthy these days. I have been reading book after book about our food industry, the politics with our food system, farmers and of course, diets. There is so much information out there its hard to take focus on what is fact. 

I read the book Skinny Bi*tch and although I really liked the premise of the book, the message got lost with the forced idea that if you are not a vegan than you are fat and unhealthy. I absolutely don't believe that to be true however the book did explain certain foods health benefits and concerns as well as what the food does to your body.

Well with a longer introduction to my tasty version of how to get your delicious pasta craving while cutting tons of calories, we decided to make Spaghetti Squash. It's a filling dish with all the fun of spaghetti... whats not to love. I love squash! Spaghetti Squash is fun and you can put almost any regular spaghetti topping on it... spaghetti sauce, pesto, garlic and oil, sausage, whatever you would like!

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto, Onions and Garlic

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

1 Spaghetti Squash 
2 Tablespoon Garlic Olive Oil
8 oz Pesto Sauce 
1 Onion, thinly sliced 
4 cloves of Garlic, minced 
Pepper to taste 
Parmesan Cheese to taste (optional, but yummy)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds and membranes. Place squash into a deep baking dish and add enough water to just cover the bottom of pan. Cover pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is soft and tender. Use a fork to pull out the spaghetti-like strands from the inside of the squash. 
In a deep pan, add oil and bring to medium heat. Add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft and wilted. Toss the Spaghetti Squash with the roasted onions and garlic and add the pesto sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and Done!

February 13, 2011

Superbowl Sunday Fiery Crispy Chicken Wings

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Now as I mentioned before my family isn't known for our high class dishes but what we lack in caviar we gain in party dips, snacks and you guessed it... the best spicy crispy wings. 

Football games are a great time. There's tons of great munchie food, beers, good friends...and of course the games, every Monday, Thursday and Sunday for months. Who wouldn't love a weekly tradition like football to relax and unwind whether you're watching the games or not? I don't know how my mother got a hold of such a great recipe or if she actually came up with this one by herself but it has become such a crowd favorite and has become a must have at all football get-togethers. Again, the recipe is so simple yet the flavor and crunch to these wings are just so NOT finger-licking but just good.

The secret to these wings are in marinading the wings overnight or for at least a couple of hours to make the heat in the hot sauce to really infuse the wings. Then right before cooking they are rolled in Bisquick and baked to create that extra crispy crunch on the outside. Fiery inside and crunchy on the outside make these wings irresistible. They are so tasty all there own that you don't even really need blue cheese to dip, however if you aren't too keen on spice the blue cheese can help mild out the heat.
Superbowl Sunday Fiery Crispy Chicken Wings

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

1 family pack chicken wings
1 large bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 small box Bisquick baking mix
1 large zip lock bag or tupperware container
¼ stick butter
Celery and Blue Cheese dressing (optional)

Cut wings into 3 segments and discard the pointy part. Put wing pieces into zip lock bag and pour about ½ the bottle of Franks’s into the bag. Squish the chicken around in the bag so it is all covered with the hot sauce. Leave overnight or even for a few hours to marinate.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rub your largest cookie sheet with butter.
In a small bowl full of Bisquick, coat each wing piece and put onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes then use spatula to turn them over. Don’t worry that some of the Bisquick comes off. After they bake another 30 minutes on the other side, they will be nice and crispy!
Serve alone, or with celery and Bleu Cheese dressing and you can also use the remaining Frank's Red hot to dribble over your wings or to dip... depending if your taste buds want to take a walk on the wild side. As my mom would say watch out, they will come running... they’re gone in minutes!!
Come link up and see what other delicious and healthy Super Bowl snacks we're all sharing at:

February 12, 2011

Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Artichokes

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My fathers fiance has a knack for taking whatever is in the kitchen and throwing it into a dish that absolutely tastes out of this world. Early this past fall she literally pulled out random items in her cabinet, a few left overs and the remains in the bottom of condiment jars and whipped up the most outrageous pasta salad I've ever had. The blend of her ingredients not only seemed to be so simple but the flavors melded so wonderfully together and the dish presents beautifully all on its own. Sometimes what she creates entices my interests even more because her recipes are ones that are so simple with such robust flavor yet you wonder how she just looked in her fridge and say, ahh yes, ill whip that together with this and bam there's dinner.

Even now in the middle of winter I wanted to make this dish being as pasta can be a very hearty heart warming meal especially as a side dish paired with grilled chicken or a nice fish.

Mary, my fathers fiance, made her pasta salad with a basil pesto but with not having that in my fridge, this is what I was able to whip up...

Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Artichokes
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño 

4 cups uncooked penne pasta (use rice pasta for wheat-free version)4 oz fresh goat cheese 1 jar artichokes, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped black olives with jalapenos
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/2 jar capers
1/2 cup Parmigiana
Several fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp garlic olive oil (or hot garlic olive oil if you can find it)
Salt and pepper

Other added options:
1 cup peas
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1 cup fresh basil pesto

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Make sure the water is salted (at least a half teaspoon per quart). Remove pasta from heat and strain when pasta is cooked, but still firm (al dente).
Put pasta in a big bowl and mix all the ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill or serve at room temperature.
Serves 6-8.
Wow. The pasta is a slightly creamy yet moist blend of fresh herbs and vegetables. The garlic oil really adds so much to this pasta and really brings out the other flavors. Fresh herbs and veggies were really the way to go with this one and it payed off...very good.

February 03, 2011

Mozzarella and Basil Grilled Cheese

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So I was perusing the food isle and saw the best looking bread I've seen in a while. It was a deep rustic Whole Grain baguette and it just had to come home with me. In finding such yummy bread I had a really good idea in mind... and it was going to be a simple taste-bud delight.  I also searched two stores until I finally found some fresh basil... not exactly easily accessible in the blizzard days of February.

Grilled Cheeses are one of the comfort foods that will always be a favorite of mine. How can you go wrong with crispy fresh bread with melty good cheese. This is going to be sooooo good....

My Fancy Mozzarella and Basil Grilled Cheese
Original recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

2 hearty cuts of a Whole Wheat Baguette
2 slices Mozzarella Cheese
Butter (for spreading)

Just as every grilled cheese butter one side of each piece of bread. Put once slice, butter down on the pan and add two slices on mozzarella cheese, add with basil and top with the second piece of bread, butter side out. Pan grill your sandwich flipping half way through and your set.

This is so crunchy, gooey and delicious. Paul decided to add a piece of my Spicy Citrus Chicken from last night for an even larger pow of flavor. I defiantly snick a bite and it was worth it.

(with chicken)
Such goodness, and a must try.

February 01, 2011

Layered Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

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I love vegetables whether they are grilled, baked, sauteed or blanched. One challenge I love to give myself is to find different ways to have vegetables with dinner either as a side dish or the main menu and always keeping in the back of my mind that we need to eat more veggies more ofter. I've never been a lover of eggplant and would defiantly pass and eggplant dish up if there is any other option but when I came across this recipe my mouth just started to water and I could taste just how good this dish could be. Do you ever have that feeling where you see a picture of a perfectly arranged dish or a cooking show on tv and it just makes you want to run out and make whatever they were showing... well this that one of those moments and luckily I had most of the ingredients in the fridge but I wanted to change a few things up.

Layered Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

Photos by A Healthy Jalapeno
Original recipe by: Food&Wine


3 T. olive oil, plus more for greasing and brushing
3 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
2 eggplants (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/3 inch thick
salt and pepper
2 tb minced garlic
1 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 freshly grated  parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
8 oz mozzarella cheese 
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup panko or coarse dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425.
Oil 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Put the zucchini slices on one sheet and the eggplant on the other. Brush the slices all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on each sheet in a slightly overlapping layer. Bake for 15 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until slightly softened and bubbling, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Oil a large, shallow baking dish (about 10 by 15 inches). Lay half of the eggplant in the dish and spread one-fourth of the tomatoes on top. Scatter with half of the mozzarella and basil. Layer half of the zucchini on top, followed by another one-fourth of the tomato and the remaining basil, eggplant and zucchini. Top with the remaining tomato and mozzarella. Mix the panko with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and parmigiana and any leftover herbs and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot or warm.
I swapped out feta for mozzarella because it's just such a better taste and let me just tell you Paul and I absolutely loved it. The taste was so rich and warming on these cold winter nights. I paired the dish with a large cut whole grain baguette with a little garlic olive oil. Delicious!
I hope everyone loves this as much as we did.