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Cinnamon Pecan Bread Pudding

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I love when the weather turns cooler and the menu starts featuring more hearty goodies and cozy treats. It seems like most of my pinned recipes lately have been dishes that are perfect for cold, cozy days when you just want warm socks, a toasty fire, and delicious food.
If you’re like me and collecting recipes to try, I think you’ll want to put this one in the mix. It’s a cinnamon pecan bread pudding that is easy to make and the perfect ending to any meal. I’ll let you in on a delicious little finding…it’s absolutely divine for BREAKFAST too! It is like a perfectly baked french toast and it pairs so well with bacon, eggs, fruit and coffee. Top it with a little drizzle of maple syrup (treat yourself to the real stuff) and you’ve got a tasty addition to breakfast and brunch. It would also be the perfect way to fill tummies after opening gifts Christmas morning! 
Here’s how to make it:

Cinnamon Pecan Bread Pudding
8 oz. French Bread softened
2 Eggs
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 c. Sugar
3/4 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
2/3 cup Pecans
Powdered Sugar or Maple Syrup, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place bread cubes in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake until edges are slightly golden and bread is dry, about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, place eggs, egg yolks, sugar, milk, cinnamon, vanilla salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Combine well using a whisk.
Butter a 2 quart baking dish with the softened butter. Set aside.
Once the bread is slightly toasted, add to the large bowl with the custard mixture and toss to combine thoroughly. Pour into the greased baking dish and top with pecans.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the center springs back when tapped lightly. 
Let cool slightly. Serve dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with maple syrup and extra pecans, if desired. 

On a side note, this is my final blog post here at A Glimpse Inside. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that it has been a pleasure writing for this blog. Allison has been a dream to work with and I’ve truly enjoyed sharing recipes with everyone and trying some of the fun projects. It was a pleasure to connect with fellow readers and creators, and I hope every one of you finds something merry and bright to celebrate the holiday season well into 2017. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful world of blogging! -Kathrina

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Take-Out Style Noodles

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The other night I found myself wanting noodles from a takeout place about 20 minutes from our house. I also found myself showered, in pajama pants, and possessing very little desire to go pick up the noodles I craved. Fortunately, I also had the ingredients to make my own in the fridge and pantry, so I went about making my own.
I realize my fridge and your fridge may not have all the same ingredients, so you may or may not require a run to the store. However, if you do find yourself needing to grab a few things to make this dish, the ingredients I used are all very easy to find in just about any grocery store. 
I’ve also included a few variations, just in case you need to make substitutions. Dishes like these usually lend themselves to a few changes with no loss in flavor or ease. It’s also a great way to use and stretch any leftover veggies or meat that won’t make a meal on their own.
Next time you find yourself wanting a large bowl of noodles but you don’t necessarily want to go get them, try pulling these together. I think you’ll enjoy them.

Take-Out Style Noodles

2 packages Yakisoba Noodles, seasoning packets discarded (may substitute Ramen)
2 Tablespoons Oil
2 cups Cabbage, thinly shredded (may use coleslaw mix containing cabbage and carrots)
1/2 cup Carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Celery, thinly sliced
3 Green Onions, chopped
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Paste (optional)
1 cup shredded Chicken or Pork

Cook Yakisoba according to directions, undercooking just slightly. Drain excess water and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add cabbage, carrots, and celery. Cook until they are softened and slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. 

Add green onion, soy sauce, oyster sauce, pepper, and chili garlic paste, if using. Cook another 2 minutes. Add in the chicken or pork and toss to combine, using two forks to separate the noodles. Cook until everything is heated through, adding more soy sauce or oyster sauce to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with extra green onions, if desired. Enjoy! 

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Pastina (Little Pasta)

It’s official…we’ve got the crud. I can aways tell when school is in full swing and we’re getting settled into our groove because about 6 to 8 weeks in, everyone starts falling ill. My youngest came home not feeling so great and within 12 hours I was joining her on the couch for marathons of Netflix, mountains of tissues, and mugs of hot tea. 
Usually, a bowl of chicken soup sounds absolutely magical, but I stumbled across a recipe for Pastina or “Little Pasta”, which was described as the Italian Grandmother’s Cure-All. We were definitely in a place where we welcomed anything that sounded like a cure, so we quickly pulled together the ingredients and gave it a try. 
YUM! Are we ever glad we gave this recipe a go! It was warm, creamy, cheesy, comforting, and exactly what the doctor ordered. It also uses just one pan, needs NO draining and you can have it on the table in less than 10 minutes. Music to our feverish ears.
Give this recipe a try when you’re looking for something fast and comforting, or when you’re craving something cheesy and delicious. Since it doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, use the best ones you can (I splurged on some Irish grass-fed butter—game changer!). I hope it heals and soothes you as much as it did for us.

1 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Orzo or other Tiny Pasta
1 Egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Butter
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

Place the chicken stock in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the stock is boiling, pour in the orzo or other small pasta, and cook until the broth is almost completely evaporated. 
Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the beaten egg with a silicone spatula. The heat from the pasta will thoroughly cook the egg, leaving it dreamy and delicious. Stir in the cheese, butter, and season with black pepper and salt, if needed.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with extra parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. This recipe doubles or triples easily, just in case you find yourself needing to cure more that two people. Enjoy, and if you’re sick, feel better!

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Smoky Cheddar Wasabi Snack Mix

I don’t know about the people around you, but almost everyone I know is completely excited about Fall coming up soon. I must admit, I am too…it’s always been my favorite season. While I’m excited about scarves and boots and hot cocoa, I’m really excited about Fall cooking and gatherings. However, it doesn’t exactly feel like fall yet where we live, so I think the heavy duty fall-like cooking will have to wait for a little while longer.
Meanwhile, I do have this really tasty and very simple snack mix that’s perfect for Fall gatherings, whether they are around the television for a football game or in the stands at an event (marching band competitions, if you’re like us). It comes together in a snap, it’s easy to transport, and the smoky, cheesy flavors with the little kick of heat and crunch from the wasabi peas and nuts really makes this very snackable. If you have little ones or people that simply don’t dig the spice, feel free to leave out the wasabi peas and add in a few extra cheese crackers, pretzels, or nuts.
Smoky Cheddar Wasabi Snack Mix

1 1/2 cups small Cheddar Crackers (I used Goldfish)
1 1/2 cups small Saltine Crackers (I used Goldfish, may use Oyster Crackers too)
1 1/2 cups Pretzel Sticks
1/2 cup Almonds
1/2 cup Cashews
4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Grill Seasoning Blend
Pinch Cayenne
1 cup Wasabi Peas (usually found in the Asian Snack section of grocery stores)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine crackers, pretzels, almonds, and cashews.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, garlic powder, grill seasoning and cayenne pepper. Stir well.
Pour butter mixture over the cracker mixture and stir gently. Mix well, then pour onto prepared baking sheet. 
Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 
Remove from oven and sprinkle wasabi peas over the entire pan, tossing gently to incorporate. Let cool. Serve and store any remaining snack mix in an airtight container at room temperature. 
*For a spicier variation, increase the cayenne to 1/2 teaspoon and add a couple dashes of hot sauce in with the melted butter. Toss in a few more wasabi peas and a pinch of dried red pepper flakes at the end. Enjoy! 
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Cuban Quesadillas

Hi everyone! Who here needs a little cheesy goodness in their lives? I think I’ve put together something that will satisfy that need. When cooking, one of my favorite things to do is combine flavors and techniques from my favorite cuisines. I guess you could call it fusion cooking, but it’s just on a home level.
One of the things that really pair well together is a quesadilla and a Cuban pressed sandwich. In all fairness, pretty much anything is delicious in quesadilla form, but Cuban sandwich flavors work particularly well. The ingredients are simple to find, if you don’t have them on hand already, and they can be on the table in under 10 minutes. Paired with a little fruit salad or maybe even a cup of soup, these are perfect for lunch or dinner anytime.

Cuban Quesadillas
4 large Flour Tortillas
4 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
8 slices Deli Ham
4 ounces Swiss Cheese, sliced or shredded
1/4 cup Dill Pickle, chopped
1/4 cup Red Onion, finely chopped
Oil for brushing
Kosher Salt

Preheat a skillet or a grill pan over medium heat. Place one flour tortilla on a flat surface and spread with 1 teaspoon of the mustard. On half of the tortilla, layer on a little cheese, the ham, a Tablespoon of chopped pickle, and a Tablespoon of the onion. Finish with a little more cheese and fold over to close, pressing down lightly to help the ingredients stick together. 

Brush the outside with a little oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and ingredients. Place in the preheated skillet and cook until the cheese is melted and the outsides are crisp, about 3 minutes per side. 

Remove from skillet and let sit for 2 minutes before cutting, so you don’t lose all the yummy oozing cheese. Happily devour with the side dish of your choice, or enjoy them on their own! 

You can also make these ahead if you’re making them for a party or if you want to get ahead on your meal prep. Just assemble each quesadilla and place in the fridge, covered, until you are ready to cook. Then preheat the skillet, brush each quesadilla, and season with kosher salt and cook as directed. Enjoy! 

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Chocolate Chip Malted Milk Cookies

It’s pretty hard to find someone who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie. They’re a classic and a staple for a reason—they’re delicious! What you will find, however, is a multitude of preferences when it comes to those cookies. Some people love thick, chewy cookies, and some people love thin, crispy cookies. I’m partial to toasted pecans in my cookies while others don’t want any nuts near theirs. What we can agree on it this—they’re always room for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I’ve got one of my favorites to share with you today.
These cookies feature an ingredient that isn’t used often in baking, but it really brings something to the party. It’s malted milk, and it makes all the difference. The addition of this ingredient instantly makes the cookies more toasty and complex tasting, but it definitely retains the chocolate chip deliciousness. The finished cookies are crispy on the edges, softer in the center and so good you’ll find it difficult to stop at one. 

Chocolate Chip Malted Milk Cookies

2 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 cup Malted Milk Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt 
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 sticks Butter, softened
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Butter flavoring
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Combine flour, milk powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl using a whisk. 

In a large mixing bowl blend the sugars and butter until well combined. Add in eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and butter flavoring. Blend until combined, scraping down sides as necessary. 
Slowly add in the flour and malted milk mixture. Mix until almost blended in, then add in chocolate chips. Stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place tablespoons of cookie dough onto prepared sheet pan about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes or until they are set and lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire racks completely and store any leftovers in an airtight container.
These cookies are perfect with a glass of milk, cup of coffee, or tea! They’re also great for ice cream sandwiches featuring your favorite ice cream! Enjoy!

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Sautéed Apricots with Vanilla Almond Granola

I love that the produce section is becoming more and more filled with lovely stone fruit and berries. Every year around this time I get excited about their appearance and I buy lots of it; nectarines, plums, cherries and apricots. And every year I’m reminded why I should probably wait until a bit later in the season to buy it. Early stone fruit is good, but it isn’t as tasty as it can be. Because of this, I usually have to figure out ways to coax as much flavor out of it as possible. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I end up creating recipes like this one: Sautéed Apricots with Vanilla Almond Granola.
This is an easy, summery dish that is the perfect ending to any meal. All you need is a few apricots, some granola, and a little sweetened condensed milk or cream to pour over top. Even better, the granola is easy to make ahead and store, meaning this dessert can be pulled together in a snap!

Sautéed Apricots with Vanilla Almond Granola
6 Apricots, halved and pitted
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
1 Tablespoon Bourbon or Rum
Vanilla Almond Granola (recipe follows)
Sweetened Condensed Milk, for serving

Place butter, sugar, and bourbon or rum in a small saucepan. Melt over medium heat, then add apricot halves, cut sides up. Simmer over medium low heat about three minutes, then carefully flip over. Let simmer until softened and the butter and sugar mixture is syrupy, about 5 minutes. 
Place 3 halves in a small bowl. Top with granola and drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Serve warm. This also works very well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just top the ice cream with the softened fruit and crunchy granola for an extra special dessert. Enjoy! 

Vanilla Almond Granola
1/3 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1/4 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1/4. cup Honey (use local, if you can)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Pinch ground Nutmeg
2 cups Oats (use old fashioned)
1/2 cup chopped Almonds
1/4 cup chopped dried Apricots (optional)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, honey, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until combined.  Don’t worry if the oil separates, that is normal.  Stir in oats until well combined.
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with a little cooking spray to prevent sticking. Spread out the oat mixture using a silicone spatula.  Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven.  Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the granola and stir to combine.  Return to oven for 5 minutes. Stir once then bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and stir.  Return to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, keeping an eye on the color and aroma of the granola.  It should be golden and smell toasty.  This can happen rather quickly.  Remove from oven and set on wire racks to cool.  Don’t worry if the granola doesn’t seem crisp.  As it cools, it will become crisp and crunchy. If using the dried apricots, stir in after the granola has cooled.  Store in an airtight container for up to one month.

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Easy Patatas Bravas

I’m pretty convinced that I haven’t met a potato I didn’t like. Baked, mashed, fried…all are welcome on my plate.

This recipe features roasted potatoes, another favorite, and they’re just outstanding. They’re called Patatas Bravas or Spicy Potatoes. Patatas Bravas are the darling of any decent Spanish tapas menu, and it’s easy to see why. Crispy, tender potatoes are drizzled with a spicy tomato sauce or a garlicky aioli and nibbled along with a glass of wine or sangria. The ingredients aren’t complicated but they deliver big time on flavor. Best of all, this is really easy to make at home, meaning any night can be tapas night.

Patatas Bravas with Garlic Aioli
3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Juice of 1/2 small Lemon
Pinch Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Sliced Green Onion or Cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. 

Spread onto prepared baking sheet and bake until crispy and browned on the outside, about 30 minutes. Stir halfway through to encourage browning on all sides of the potatoes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, garlic, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper (if using). 

Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

When potatoes are done, place on a platter or in a bowl for serving. Drizzle with the aioli and sprinkle with sliced green onions or cilantro for garnish. Eat them alone or if you’d like, grill some fish or grab a rotisserie chicken from the store and make this a fantastic side dish.

In case you are feeling a little extra, and can’t leave well enough alone (like me), take this dish over the top and plop a fried egg on the side. Just like that, you can have Patatas Bravas for breakfast, although there really isn’t a bad time of day to consume potatoes or eggs. Give this one a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
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Quick and Easy Yeast Rolls

If you’re a bread lover, you know there is nothing that elevates a meal like fresh baked bread. Unfortunately, it can take a long time to make bread from scratch and we often settle for a favorite store bought brand or (horrors!) go without. 

Today, I want to change that by sharing my favorite quick and simple rolls that are perfect for the nights you want to bake, but you’re low on time. As a bonus, they’re good enough to make even when you have the extra time. Next meal that needs a boost, pull this recipe out of your pocket and find yourself rewarded with that lovely aroma and pillowy rolls in under an hour.

Quick and Easy Yeast Rolls
2 1/4 teaspoons Rapid Rise Yeast
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt 
3 1/4 cups Flour
1 cup warm Water
3 Tablespoons Butter, softened

Combine yeast, sugar, salt and 3 cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl. Stir in warm water and softened butter until a shaggy dough forms.

Lightly flour a surface and turn the dough onto it. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, slowly adding in enough of the remaining 1/4 flour to keep the dough from sticking. Dough should become smooth and elastic in about 5 minutes.

Flip the bowl over and use to cover the dough while it rests for 15 minutes. After it has rested, divide into 12 pieces and shape into rolls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. 
Heat oven to 375 degrees. When rolls are finished rising, place in hot oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. You may brush with butter right out of the oven, if you wish. 
Orange Honey Butter
3 Tablespoons Butter, softened
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Orange Marmalade
Pinch ground Cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
These rolls have certainly accompanied many pots of soup, plates of pasta and casseroles galore on our table. I hope these rolls and the delicious butter find their way to your table time and time again. Enjoy!
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Breakfast Polenta with Blueberry Compote

I’m sure you’re familiar with polenta, either as a bed for a flavorful braised meat or maybe sliced and fried crisp before topping with chopped tomatoes and crumbled cheese, but have you had it for breakfast? Turns out, it’s perfect for breakfast since the ingredients are simple, the creamy polenta is comforting and warm, and the prep time is minimal. 
I’ve topped it with a quick blueberry compote that provides a burst of flavor, color, and texture. The compote can also be used as an ice cream topping, spooned over waffles or pancakes, or tucked into a flaky, buttery croissant. 

If you decide that you want to go for a simple version without the compote, this is fantastic topped with a drizzle of honey or real maple syrup, a sprinkle of nuts or just a dab of butter. Any way you decide to serve it, I think breakfast polenta should certainly make its way onto your breakfast table.
Breakfast Polenta with Blueberry Compote
1 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Sugar (may need a little more or less depending on sweetness of berries)
pinch Salt
Zest of one Lemon
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
2 1/2 cups Water
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Fine Yellow Cornmeal
1/4 cup Half and Half or Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Sugar

Let’s make it:

Place blueberries, water, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and juice in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Sit to combine and let cook until thick and syrupy, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. When boiling, add salt and whisk in cornmeal to prevent lumps. Cook over medium heat until thickened and smooth, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in half and half, vanilla, butter and sugar. 

To serve, place polenta in bowl and top with compote. Enjoy this easy, creamy, treat anytime you want a simple and comforting breakfast!

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