Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oreo Bark


While I made peppermint bark last year, I figured the Peppermint Pretzel Rods were enough and went with something I really wish I could try! Oreos may or may not be.. okay they are my one weakness. Though I haven't eaten a single one in months, that doesn't go to say I didn't smell them before I had my kid sister smash them up for these delicious treats! My husband's brother at one point asked 'Who made these 'cause they're friggin' good!'. That then turned into his other brother and dad trying it. I'd say that it went over pretty well. I had left over melted bark and chocolate chips so I went ahead and drizzled the top of the bark for a more appealing look and I'm glad that I did!



Ingredients:
2/3 pkg. Oreos
2 pkg. milk chocolate, chocolate chips
2 pkg. white chocolate chips

Directions:
Lay wax paper inside of a large baking pan or cookie sheet. While the chocolate chips are melting in the microwave, place 2/3 of the package of Oreos into a ziploc bag and crush. I let my little sister use a rolling pin and have some fun. Remember that you want some bigger pieces in there too, don't let the kids crush them all into crumbs! Take the melted chocolate chips and spread evenly onto the wax paper. Sprinkle a handful of the crushed cookie pieces over the melted chocolate chips. Allow to set while you melt your white chips. Spread melted chips over the now set chocolate chip spread. I try to do it fast before the white chips re-melt the chocolate chips so that they don't mix together. You can set aside a small amount of the white chips for drizzling later if you'd like. Take remaining cookie pieces and spread evenly over melted white chips. I take a fork (or spoon) and gently press them down into the mixture so that they don't all fall off once it sets. Cover with foil and set in fridge for 30 minutes or until set completely through. Break into desired bark pieces. Drizzle with extra melted white chips for a more appealing look.

Toffee Peanut Clusters


I'm a huge toffee fan, or I was when I was able to eat it! When we originally bought the chocolate for the clusters I noticed the bags of Heath candies sold and then when I got to thinking of ways to spice up my somewhat simple and boring peanut clusters I figured why not mix some in and sprinkle the top for decoration?

Ingredients:
1 pkg. chocolate chips (milk chocolate)
3/4 pkg. Heath candy pieces
1 pkg. Spanish peanuts

Directions:
Lay out about two feet of wax paper. Melt chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave until smooth. Mix in package of peanuts and 1/2 the bag of toffee candies. Once combined well, drop desired amount to create your clusters on the wax paper. Before the clusters set, immediately sprinkle with remaining 1/4 package of toffee pieces. Allow to set and eat 'em up!

Caramel Drizzled Peanut Clusters


Every year we make the same peanut clusters. Easy, delicious, and to the point. I mean, can you possibly go wrong with peanuts and chocolate? I think not. Well, what's better than plain 'ol peanuts and chocolate? Peanuts, chocolate, and carmel. Yum! We had already finished our holiday baking grocery shopping but I called my mom and insisted on picking up a few more ingredients to spice these bad boys up. I'm sure glad I did, they looks so much prettier and my brother basically ate the entire batch of 'em Christmas morning.

Ingredients:
1 pkg. chocolate chips (milk chocolate)
1 pkg. spanish peanuts
1/2 pkg. caramel candies (unwrapped)
1-2 tbsp. water

Directions:
Lay out wax paper large enough for your batch. About two feet should do it. Melt chocolate chips in bowl in microwave. Once smooth, mix in entire package of peanuts. Drop onto wax paper with a spoon in desired cluster size. I use a heaping spoonful. While clusters are setting, place unwrapped caramels into bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of water and microwave until melted. Take spoon and drizzle desired amount of caramel over the clusters. I used a good amount, and they must have been good because they sure did get eaten!

Peppermint Pretzel Rods


I hope all my little bloggers had the most delicious Christmas and Holiday season ever. I don't know about you, but our events are not quite over yet. We've got another Christmas gathering for my dad's side tomorrow night, the traditional meal? Prime rib. Mmm. We also do that on my mom's side, I have the honor of seasoning up and cooking that oh so expensive and mouth watering slab of meat. I must say, it was amazing this year. We only ended up doing a few of our holiday treats this year. With most of us in the house not eating sugary snacks I decided to just make a few plates of goodies and leave it at that. I first made these for my mom's Christmas Tea she used to throw for her interpreter friends. They sure are pretty but I'm not sure how many adults taste pallets enjoy the salty pretzel with the minty crunchy candies in the same bite. I know that my kid sister and the kids at my husband's Christmas event liked them. I supposed as long as someone eats them, they're successful, right? If not, they are a great little display candy!

Ingredients:
1 pkg. pretzel rods
1 pkg. white almond bark
1 pkg. white chocolate chips
30 crushed up peppermint candies

Directions:
Lay out a long sheet of wax paper on your counter or table. Melt chips and bark together in a bowl in microwave for a few minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Dip pretzel rod into melted mixture leaving about 1/2 an inch un-dipped. Immediately sprinkle all sides of pretzel with crushed candies. Lay on wax paper to set. Whaaa-la!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No-Roll Sugar Cookies



This batch got the thumbs up from my husband. I've made a few batches of these since we've lived in Georgia but I was sort of in a baking mood yesterday so I whipped up the dough, and then let it sit in the fridge over night. So inevitably, I had to again be in a baking mood today so I could actually bake them. I'm totally guilty of typically grabbing a cookie right out of the oven and shoving it in my mouth for the first taste test, but not anymore. So I had to patiently wait for my husband to return home for lunch from work and try them. They looked pretty perfect, not to toot my own horn or anything, I mean, when have I ever done that? I'm not the biggest fan of cut out sugar cookies. I've found that most of the time they taste like cardboard unless you've got a huge heaping hill of frosting loaded onto them, and I my friends, am just not that big of a fan of frosting. So, I googled my heart out, took a chance with this recipe, and am sure glad I did. They're so much easier and less messy than sugar cookie cut outs, not that I haven't made some delicious cut outs, and boy, can they be cute, but I haven't mustered up that much time for baking one thing in years, literally. My mom and I did the cut out and frosted cookies when I was in middle school. I had a really great recipe from my Home Economics class. I think the majority of the class ate more of the cookie dough than the actual cookies, but I really do wish I still had that recipe.

You can refer to this link for the recipe. A few tips from the chef herself would be to sprinkle the cookie with sugar after you have flattened it with your glass, and then again right when you pull them out of the oven. I only bake mine for 7 minutes, but my oven is a little funky. Regardless of this oven, I tend to always bake cookies for less time than required on recipes because they seem to cook just a bit more while on the cookie sheet, and no one likes a burnt cookie. Remove these cookies and place on a cookie sheet to cool almost immediately after removing them from the oven. I store them in an airtight container with a slice of bread or two to keep them fresh. They are tasty for days!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies



Well, I have to trust my husband's cookie expertise since I wasn't able to try them myself. He seemed pleased enough. I'm sending some to work with him in a bit because with him being the only cookie monster in the house I don't want 1/2 a batch of freshly baked goodness to go to waste. Now, my husband came home earlier than expected. I had just finished my cookie photo shoot which was just in time for him to drink the milk and eat the spoonful of peanut butter. He first questioned me... thinking he caught me in some sneaking food ritual or something. Diet (not that I like that word...) or no diet, I don't like milk, and I surely don't like spoonfuls of peanut butter. Yuck. These were really easy but I have to admit, cookie dough that has to be placed in the fridge for 2-3 hours is sort of a pain unless you're on a baking spree and are able to knock out a few things in that time. I'll get on with how to make the cookies now... until next time bloggers, until next time.

Ingredients:
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. extra crunchy peanut butter
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. softened unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

**1/4 c. extra sugar for rolling

Directions:
Mix first 7 ingredients together until well blended. Then add remaining four dry ingredients. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours. Using a cookie dropper, scoop and then roll into round ball with your hands. Roll around in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Make a criss cross design with a fork. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar if desired. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes. Cool on a cookie rack immediately.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chicken & Cabbage Soup



It's been tough for me trying to find things that fall into no carb categories for recipes. Now, I threw this together and even my husband agreed it was really good! Now, I'll admit, he did try a few spoonfuls, but his tummy is currently filled with a breaded and fried pork chop, baked potato topped with butter, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese... and creamed corn. Though I do smell like a fried pork chop, I'm glad there isn't one currently sitting in my stomach! Not that it didn't look delicious, but my jeans might disagree with me tomorrow! Now, this is only the second time I've cooked with cabbage since I've started my... new eating ways. I love cabbage and it's a nice change when you're getting sick of the same old veggies!

Ingredients:
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
About 8 cups of water (sorry I eyeballed it!)
3 tbsp chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste (I go light on the salt because of the bouillon)
Pinch of parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 medium onion, sliced
1/3 head of cabbage, sliced

Directions:
Place water in a large pot, heat over medium to allow chicken to cook through. Begin adding your seasonings once water has come to a boil. Remove chicken and slice into desired size. I personally don't like cubed chicken in soup, for whatever reason, so I sliced mine. Feel free to cube your chicken! Add onions and cabbage. Turn heat up to high and allow soup to boil rapidly, covered for 5 minutes. Turn heat down to warm-low, leave covered, and allow all the tastes to simmer together and the onions and cabbage to cook down for 30-40 minutes. Delicious!

For those of you who aren't watching what you eat... I would suggest incorporating potatoes, carrots, and bacon!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Green Olive Dip




Well, here it is. My husband's Grandma T has made this for years I'm told. His Grandpa B has told me (a few times) the story of when my husband and his brother were little. They were making their plates and his brother asks 'is this stuff any good?' with which his grandpa told him 'no' or 'it's terrible'... something along those lines. My husband turns around and goes 'that means it's good, take A LOT!'. Now, if you know all the key players in this story, it always makes me laugh just because I can picture it. Her version typically comes out a bit more smooth, but I didn't have a food processor and ended up having to use a hand chopper for my green olives. I found a lot of really similar recipes online but they all called for quite a bit of mayo, and that didn't seem right. I gave T a call and she led me in the right direction. I doubled the recipe since I was assuming there would be a ton of people, I saw one person touch it the whole time, and threw it out later that night. Well, lesson learned! Anyways, I myself am not a fan of green olives, but I did try it one time and I'll admit, if I liked green olives, I'd LOVE this dip! This is more of a cracker dip than a chip dip, but to each their own! Very rich in taste, but I love the idea of having something different. It just seems like you always see the same dips at parties and such. I like to mix it up... sometimes!

Ingredients:
2 8-oz. pkg. Cream Cheese (room temp. for easier mixing)
4 tbsp. Mayo
1 medium sized jar Green Olives
1-2 tbsp juice from can

Directions:
In a food processor combine all ingredients, chill, and serve with crackers or your choice of something else! If you don't have a food processor like me, use a hand chopper or chop a fine as you can with a hand knife and combine with remaining ingredients. Combine well with spatula and follow remaining directions above!

Deviled Eggs




Well, I know I've been nothing short of absent for... quite awhile now! I had a nice but very long 3 and 1/2 weeks back in Nebraska with family and friends while the husband went off to Fort Leonardwood & Fort Hood for some schooling! I've switched my eating over to very low carbs/high protein, started towards the end of October and here I am still going strong welcoming in December. Now, I'll admit, I've had a few nights where I watched my husband shove his face with pizza or cookies and have had to mentally remind myself 'I love my new jeans, I love my new jeans'! We were thinking about 15 people would attend our Thanksgiving feast, but for various reasons not everyone was able to show up. I cooked A LOT of food. I was satisfied with how everything turned out but it was A LOT of work and I was more than exhausted by the time everyone left the house. Now, I didn't capture pictures of all my amazing food, especially the turkeys, yes, plural. I wish I would have but I was running around like a mad woman trying to finish everything all at the right time and make sure everything was simply delicious. I prepped for twelve hours the day before thanksgiving, yes, twelve. I only managed to remember to capture two things. These eggs, and well, the green olive dip that I figured my husband would appreciate, but didn't touch. That's another story though! Now, these went over quite well, I think they stink, and well, don't like eggs period. But hey, they weren't for me and they did get eaten so that's all that counts!

Ingredients:
18 large eggs
3/4 cup Mayo
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Paprika (to garnish)
1 tbsp. mustard

Directions:
Place eggs in a single layer in large pot. Cover with water so that water is about 1 1/2 - 2 in. above water. Bring water to boil rapidly for 1 minute. Cover pan and remove from heat. Allow eggs to sit in covered pot for 15 minutes. Gently place eggs in strainer and run cool water over them. While continuing to run cold water, one by one, take the egg and tap it on the counter on the bottom of the egg. There is a small air pocket that allows for an easy starting point to peel. I allow the water to run over the egg while peeling. If the egg is stubborn tap it a few more times around the egg to break up the shell. After all the eggs are peeled, slice in half length wise and pop center of egg into a bowl. Combine mayo, salt & pepper, and mustard to yolk mixture and mix well, breaking up the yolks. Fill large ziploc bag with mixture. Cut the corner as to make your own 'pastry bag'. Fill the hole in each egg halve. Sprinkle paprika on top of each egg to garnish. Whaaaa-la!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creamy Baked Chicken


Once upon an October night, this master chef made some delicious chicken. Her husband cleared his plate and ate it all up! Now I'm sure you all have lots of questions. What did you make? How did you make it? How did you become the greatest known chef there ever was? Oh, well, I may be getting a little ahead of myself now. We've had a pretty lazy Sunday, ya know, the usual video games, television, movie, and of course a few rounds of UNO! I swear my husband cheats. He magically always has all the 'draw 4' cards! Though, I'd rather have him cheating at UNO than screaming at the television because the Huskers are loosing! We had chili yesterday and not to toot my own horn but, it was pretty delicious... then again, what have I made that isn't?!

We used the yummy chicken gravy for our mashed potatoes! Just an idea!

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. milk
1 tbsp. chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish. Place chicken breasts into the mixture and bake for 60-80 minutes at 400F.

Friday, October 15, 2010

M&M Cookies


Mmm. These cookies are amazing! I made these for the first time right when we moved to Georgia. Now, I made these for the second time today, and they turned out just perfect! Since I'm so terribly distracted right now, I'm not going to go into a long drawn out post. Here it is, short and sweet.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. M&Ms

Directions:
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. Combine white and brown sugar with melted butter and shortening in a seperate bowl. Beat eggs and vanilla into sugar mix. Blend sugar and flour mixes together. Once combined well, add M&Ms and mix again. Using a cookie dropper, place scooped cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool on a cookie rack for a few minutes and whaaaaa-la!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts


Ah, blogger babies, I know you've been more than disappointed with the lack of posts lately. I'm attempting to mega-multi-task here. I'm currently attempting to catch up on Dexter, stay tuned into my husband and I's new video game world. That's right I said it. We're healthy addicted to the new Final Fantasy. Anyway, after a lovely trip back home, I had the two weeks of the husband at WLC and now he's off to two more schools. Since he'll be gone for about a month I'm going to spend the month back home for various reasons. I probably won't do much cooking at all while I'm there, so it's just fair warning. I'll try to get you a few posts before then. I got the first steps of this idea from the chicken enchilada recipe from the hub's grandma.

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices bacon
1/2 okg. cream cheese
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 large onion (sliced)

Directions:
Cook bacon until crispy. Set aside on paper towels to remove excess grease. Allow about 2 tbsp. bacon drippings to remain in pan. Place sliced onion in pan and cook down on medium heat. Place cream cheese in pan and cook down until melted. Once combined, add cheddar cheese until stirred together and melted. Slice open the top of the chicken breast and create a pocket. Spoon a generous scoop of cheese mixture into the pocket. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes. If you're cooking large chicken breasts it will take longer. I used smaller breasts.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Muffins


Let me start off by saying I absolutely can not believe that in just a few short days October will begin. The months are flying. In 2 weeks I will have been married for 7 months, which also means I've lived here at Fort Stewart for an entire 7 months as well. Now, I will admit these two weeks with my husband off at WLC has gone by slow, but only a few more days. I can stop my grandma-ness for a few days and enjoy him while he's home before I go back crocheting my life away! I've gotten 3 scarves finished in the last 5 days which was pretty impressive to me. Now, yesterday I decided to do a little deep cleaning. Towards the end of my cleaning frenzy I figured I would take Dixie outside. Since Dixie is such a good dog we always take her out without a leash, well apparently the neighbors had the same idea about their dog (which is our dog's male-puppy-twin!!). They thought it would be fun to go ahead and have a play-date together up and down the street, which equals both the furmamas chasing the dogs all around. Now, my feet are covered with big bug bites, my house is clean, and smells delicious! I keep hoping one day I'll walk outside and the weather will feel like it does in Nebraska, you know, like FALL! I have seriously lived in summer weather the entire 7 months I've been here, when does it stop!? So, with the air cranked, fans on high, I shall burn my fall/winter scented candles and pretend the leaves are blowing about outside and that I could walk outside in jeans and a sweatshirt and not pour sweat. These muffins basically follow the blueberry recipe, except a few things are different.




Ingredients:
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter (melted and cooled)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Filling:
1 apple (cored, peeled, and diced)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. brown sugar

Topping:
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter (softened)


Directions:
Grease muffin pan and preheat oven to 375F. Mix filling ingredients and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Using a masher, mash until apples are in small chunks. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs and sugar together. Add melted butter and oil until mixed well. Lastly, mix in buttermilk and vanilla. With a spatula, fold in egg mixture to dry mixture. Batter should be lumpy. Take an ice cream scoop and fill cups 1/3 of the way full. Take a tsp. of cooked apple mixture and set on top of muffin batter, top with another scoop of batter, the cups should be about 2/3 full. Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over batter. Bake for 13 minutes. Allow to cool on cooling rack before removing from pan.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crochet Creations

Feel free to check out Simply, bites' sister blog! http://abaileycrochetcreations.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pasta Cupcakes


Pasta whaaat? That's right, I said it, Pasta Cupcakes. Now, I realized about 30 seconds after attempting to plate these little guys that I didn't let them cool enough to set in their little cupcake shapes. I didn't have any cupcake liners so I greased the cups with olive oil instead. It seemed to work out fairly decent, except the shape reinforcement after removing them. Anyways, they actually tasted pretty good for something I threw together with hardly any food left in the kitchen. I've been attempting at proving a point while my husband has been away these two weeks that I don't spend money on un-necessary things. Well, I know that groceries are sort of a necessity but I'm good at making something out of nothing, hence tonight's meal. With a snoring pup at my feet and really wishing it was me doing the snoring, I'll make this quick.

Ingredients:
1/2 box rigatoni pasta (or your choice)
1 jar Classico Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Sauce
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450F. Mix together bread crumbs, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, set aside. Prepare noodles per package directions. Once drained, place one layer of noodles into bottom of greased cupcake pan. The next layer will be 1 tbsp. pesto (or pasta sauce of your choice). Another layer of noodles. A small spoonful of cottage cheese (ricotta would work nicely as well), topped with another spoonful of pesto. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Allow to cool enough for cupcakes to set.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Butter Cookies


Well, I have to confess that my husband's absence has certainly left my blogger babies in high anticipation for my newest post, am I right? Well, I'll have you know that I've become somewhat infamous for making these cookies. I typically send my husband to work with a baggie or two of these, with complaints later from people who didn't get to even try one. Now, this batch wasn't for my husband, his friends, or even myself. They were specifically meant for a fellow Army wife, that I love dearly. Though, we ran into some complications, so, even though they were made, they didn't exactly make it to their final destination, her tummy, of course! Now, for all of you concerned that since I've only blogged baked goods since the husband has left, no worries, I have been eating real food as well. Can you picture it? Me laying in a cookie-muffin-brownie-coma? Ahh, it sounds amazing, but not exactly how the last week has played out. Now, for all of you wondering what this cookie may taste like, imagine a cookie that taste just like a brownie, but has the texture of really moist cake, but is actually a cookie. Are you drooling yet? I've made these with a variety of cake mixes such as French Vanilla, Moist Chocolate, Devil's Food. I shared the recipe with some fellow Army wives who I know tried Carrot Cake and Strawberry. For this batch, I used the Devil's Food cake mix because they turn out the most moist. I have got to visit my husband twice in the past week where I was informed by him and a friend that they basically eat two meals at every chow time. Now, I felt like I had been tricked into feeling bad, bringing them fried chicken and brownies. Then my husband reminded me, 'here it's about quantity, not quality'. Aww.

And for all of my blogger babies that were worried about my cinnamon fist pumping tactics, no worries, I've found some liquid cinnamon potpourri that I'm hoping works just as well!

Ingredients:
1 box cake mix (your choice on flavor)
1 pkg. cream cheese (room temp.)
1 stick butter (room temp.)
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar (for rolling and dusting)

Directions:
Mix together cream cheese and butter with mixer. Add 1 egg, mix well. Add vanilla, mix well. Lastly, add cake mix until combines well. Cover mixing bowl with lid or plate and place in the fridge for at least one hour. Once dough is chilled, scoop with cookie dropper and then roll into hands to form ball. Roll the ball into powdered sugar. Bake for 8-9 minutes at 350F. Remove, allow to cool on pan for a few minutes to set, then move to cooling rack to completely cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while on the rack. These cookies keep great with a slice of bread of two thrown in the container!

I got this recipe off of Paula Dean's website, but I've added an extra 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and don't bake them for as long.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blueberry Muffins


Mmm. Blueberries and muffins go together so well. A nice sprinkle of lemon zest & sugar topping makes them beyond delicious. Just the perfect subtle taste of lemon when you bite in, but not enough to take away from the original goal. Now, one of my good friend's here at Fort Stewart has managed to show off my blog to a few people. One of those people just happened to be one of my husband's battle buddies. On a Saturday trip to the beach he asked if I could make blueberry muffins. Psh. Is there anything I can't make? Hello, master chef here. Obviously he didn't grasp the seriousness of my cooking abilities. So, I woke up this morning after my little shopping trip last night more than ready to begin my quest of creating delicious blueberry muffins. Now, this was my first experience purchasing or cooking with buttermilk. There is a first for everything! Now I need to google all the amazing things I can use it for, as to not let it go to waste of course. I think I actually may like cooking for people outside of the home more so than those within, just for the mere reason it's a good excuse to make it, try it, and give the rest away!

Ingredients:
Lemon Zest & Sugar Topping:
1/3 c. sugar
zest from one lemon

Blueberry Muffins:
1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
1 1/4 c. sugar (and 2 tsp. sugar for another process)
2 1/2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 tbl. butter (melted and cooled)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Directions:
Grease muffin pan and preheat oven to 375F. Zest lemon and mix with 1/3 c. sugar, set aside. Take 3/4 c. blueberries and rinse with cold water, set on paper towels to dry. Take remaining blueberries and cook over medium heat with 2 tsp. sugar. With masher, mash blueberries until almost all have broken. Cook for about 5 minutes until mixture has reduced into dark red/purple color. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add dried blueberries to dry mixture, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs and sugar together. Add melted butter and oil until mixed well. Lastly, mix in buttermilk and vanilla. With a spatula, fold in egg mixture to dry mixture. Batter should be lumpy. Take an ice cream scoop and fill cups 3/4 of the way full. Take a small spoonful of cooked blueberry mixture and with a fork swirl around top of muffin. Sprinkle with lemon sugar topping. Bake for 13 minutes. Allow to cool on cooling rack before removing from pan.

Stove-Top Tuna Noodles


I know that not far back I posted my mom's oh-so-famous tuna noodle casserole. Now, with my husband gone I figured that this was something I could make quick and easy, and eat the left overs for lunch today, which is exactly what happened! I decided to mix up my noodle options. I decided to grab my purse and make a trip to Wal-Mart. Remember the projects I was afraid of coming up with? Well one of them was to wax my own eyebrows. I may or may not have torn off a chunk of eyebrow that was defeintley not supposed to be removed. Let's just say that we're currently okay with the fact that the husband is gone for another 13 days! Now, I had originally planned on grabbing a box of penne pasta for this, but switched it up with bow-tie pasta instead. I'm not going to list the ingredients or directions because you can reference back to my other tuna noodle post if needed. Or, you could use a little common sense! Just omit the steps of adding the crackers and baking. I'm a little sleep deprieved today because I somehow managed to flip through the channels long enough to keep me up until almost 0300! Dixie, the poor pup, headed to bed at the usual time and didn't seem interested in budging when I tried crawling into bed a few hours later. I think it was more or less me being a bit uneasy about my husband being absent in the house at night. I'm not quite sure why he makes me feel any more safe within these tiny walls, I managed to jump out from the bathroom door at him two or three times last week and get the same scared face reaction every time! Which was great because he always tries to sneak around the house scaring me when I'm cleaning. Anyways, enough about waxing, late nights, and scare tactics.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sausage Tortellini


Well, here we are. Day 1 of my husband off at a training school. I know it's a great oppurtunity for him, so I'm trying not to throw too many fits over my boredum. This was his last home cooked meal before he left. Two weeks filled with MREs, chow, and whatever contraband they're able to sneak in. Actually, I'm not quite sure how strict this school is. Apparently they have visitation hours. That makes it sound like prison to me. I'm sure our bank account will see the perks of the hubby being gone but the blog I'm afraid will probably lack. I will try every few days to get something made and blog worthy. I've been toying with the idea of running to Wal-Mart all day. I've got to pick up a few ingredients for my as promised blueberry muffins this week. I'm afraid that I'll be left wandering the aisles for much longer than needed just to kill time. Or, I'll walk past something that sparks a project idea and I'll spend money that I don't want to. Ah, the challenges of a blogger.

I first decided that I'd use a red sauce. I normally purchase pre-made three cheese tortellini, but went with sweet Italian sausage stuffed tortellini this time. Well, I figured that the sausage would better be paired with a red sauce. My husband? He prefers white. Ah, and husband gets what husband wants. I changed up the alfredo sauce though, and it worked for me in the end.

Ingredients:
1 pkg. sweet Italian sausage stuffed tortellini
1 pkg. McCormick's alfredo mix
1 c. milk
3 tbl. butter
1 tbl. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions:
Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Drain, set aside. Instead of following the alfredo mix directions, I added minced garlic to the melting butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Once the butter is fully melted, add milk, whisk in pkg contents. Once sauce is bubbling, add pepper and continue to whisk. Follow remaining instructions on package. Combine pasta and sauce. Mmm.

I made homemade garlic cheese toast, just an idea!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Banana Bread


With three ripe bananas sitting in the freezer, again, I decided to make banana bread. Before the bread was even out of the oven my husband was demanding a few slices. When I told him a few slices would basically be half the loaf, he still insisted. Though I can deal with the out dated kitchen the Army has given us, I am starting to get frustrated with our oven. I ended up needed to bake this loaf for 20 minutes beyond what I thought, which is okay, but it's so hit and miss with baking. Cookies bake extremely fast and bread, extremely slow. Now, even more frustrating than my oven? Watching Hoarders on A&E. I mean, I get it. It's an illness. I guess I just don't understand why anyone would want their house filled with garbage. Maybe I've always just been good about going through things and throwing out the junk. I'm glad that I'm a compulsive complainer as apposed to a compulsive hoarder. My husband may disagree, but since he's a bit of a neat freak himself, I don't think the hoarding would go over so well. I'm suddenly getting a strong urge to clean my house so, I'll get on with the banana bread!

Ingredients:
2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 over ripe bananas
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. In a separate bowl, combine bananas, sugar, eggs and oil with masher. Fold in the banana mixture with the dry ingredients. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes. I cover mine with foil for the last 10-15 minutes to avoid over browning the top.

Kielbasa & Potatoes


As I attempt to fight off my husbands 20+ lb. cat from my keyboard, I have to wonder what goes through his head. I mean, this cat wants nothing, literally nothing to do with my husband and I unless we are sitting on the couch on our computers. Maybe it's because typically when we sit down with our computers it means that we will stay stationary for awhile, or for payback for our sometimes forced love sessions with him. His extra neck is currently covering my shift, delete, and return key so bare with me while I fight to get my way through fur and... kitty.

My friend back home gave me the idea to cook this. It isn't that I haven't made it before but it's not something that pops into my head on a regular basis. When our kitchen is sometimes bare, you can typically guarantee that you can still find potatoes, onions, and kielbasa. It's a fairly quick meal and hey, who doesn't like meat and potatoes? Well, I suppose if you're one of those vegetarians you might not. I'm only being snarky. I really have nothing against vegetarians. Heck, I wish I could do it. I know it's possible. My brother has gone on and off of the vegetarian diet. I think I lasted a few weeks when he put me to the test. Christmas was just around the corner, probably just the right time to go on the no-meat diet right? Wrong. It's a family tradition to eat prime rib for Christmas, and well, when you come from a family of meat eating dinosaurs, you just can't pass up prime rib. Not to mention, I felt like I was eating an abundance of pasta and more cheese than one should consume in a mere few weeks.

Now, my dad isn't a fan of kielbasa and manages somehow to remind me every time he hears I've cooked with it. I think it's easy, fairly cheap, and can be used in surprisingly a number of ways. Now, with Thor on my keyboard and Dixie running about the house with a squeaker toy upon her mouth, I will let you in on the way of kielbasa & potatoes.

Ingredients:
1/2 kielbasa (sliced)
2 potatoes (sliced)
1 onion (sliced)
3 tbl. olive oil

Directions:
After slicing all of your ingredients, heat oil in pan for a few minutes over medium heat. Place potatoes in skillet for a minutes on their own. After your potatoes start to get slightly tender, add your onions and kielbasa. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are cooked through. Delicious!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Penne Bake with Meatballs


I know that all of you are probably expecting many more posts with the lack there of the past week. I regret to tell you that all you're getting today is two. I failed to mention in my first post of the day about how our amazing trip home ended in a really sick me. Have you ever woke up at 5 am extremely sick and made your way to the airport to catch a few flights while you were at it? Well with my pocket-sized Kleenex in my purse, I somehow, and by somehow I mean barely, made it home. I've never seen anyone use those little white bags supplied by the airline but I was keeping a close eye on mine. Boy, what an awful, awful, traveling day. I didn't cook much once we got home. I believe that first night in fact my husband and I shared a Tostino's Party Pizza. That is a really sad day in this house. Well, last night's dinner was actually not planned. With my husband and I disagreeing on a particular event for most of the day, I tried warming up some soup and making my way back into the bedroom before I realized it was not the soup I had hoped it would be. Then, the Penne Bake was created. I served some of the garlic parm knots I've posted before with this. I think my husbands belly was happy by the end of dinner.

Ingredients:
1/2 box penne pasta
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
12 premade frozen meatballs, thawed
1/2 jar pasta sauce

Directions:
Cook pasta according to box. Once drained, add to sauce and thawed meatballs. Now, typically I wouldn't use packaged meatballs, but we had them in the freezer and this was a quick throw together meal that actually turned out pretty decent. You can make some from the recipe below if you choose. Top with Parmesan cheese and lastly the mozzarella. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.

Pizza Burgers


Well, as most of my blogger babies know, I was back in Omaha for Labor Day weekend. My husband and I were able to surprise his side of the family which was really great, exhausted and all! We were lucky enough to catch my father-in-law up watching tv and knock on the front door close to midnight. He has this sneaking suspicion to call my husband every time he's at the airport in attempts to sneak home for a surprise visit. I'm not quite sure why all of the visits are a surprise, but hey, it's sort of fun that way. I've got to give a shout out to my mother in law & all of her co-workers. Apparently I'm something of a celebrity around there. Alright, I'm a little full of myself today. I wish we would have gotten her face on camera when she noticed my husband in the car. I believe she 'raised the roof' the entire sprint through the parking lot. Good dancers must run in the family. Well, I can only imagine, I've actually never seen my husband dance. Can you believe that? Which obviously goes to show you that I have never even danced with him either. A few others? Bowling, the mall, long walks on the beach, and candle lit dinners just to name a few.

My mom & stepdad threw a nice cook out for our friends to stop by. I'd say everyone had a pretty good time, my husband might disagree but that would probably have something to do with a few beers and a heavy dose of aspirin that followed the next day. It was more than lovely being able to wake up and chat with my mom, while having my almost seven year old sister tug on my arm to play Barbies. Nice, nonetheless. My dad and his witty humor filled our tummies with amazing sushi, which I have missed dearly. My best friend? No worries, we worked in some laughs and adventures. My husband's grandparents are definitely a few people I more than enjoy visiting with. His grandma gave me an amazing looking recipe for Chicken Enchiladas which I will have to feature on here soon and his grandpa once again tried and failed to convince me to watch Nascar.

In four days we managed to fit every single food goal that my husband wanted. This list was well thought out my friends. We originally tried planning on eating at least 4-main meals a day to fit it all in, and wouldn't you know that by the first meal of our first day there, we were two meals behind. Somehow, he was still successful. It was nice to be able to take a cooking break, but boy does eating out break the bank. It reminded me just how much cooking at home saves you. Now, I must say that I threw together a Chili Cheese Dip for the cook out which went over quite well in my opinion. It's really easy and very delicious. I'll have to add it next time I whip it together. Not that any of this has anything to do with the Pizza Burgers I'm about to display, I just figured that you've all been dying in anticipation for information on where I've been and what I've been eating... I mean, doing.

Aside from the casseroles I gave my mom credit for, this again, is credited to my dear 'ol mom. Now, she managed to tell every single person this past weekend about the post where I said something about how she couldn't cook. Well mom, you can't! I still very much appreciate your loud smile and pretty voice. Or is that pretty smile and loud voice. Anyways, this one is for you mom. Love you!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
8 slices of bread
2 c. shredded mozzarella (I used 1/2 mozzarella and 1/2 cheddar)
1 jar pizza sauce

Directions:
Brown ground beef and season to taste. I used oregano, parsley, garlic salt, and black pepper. Using a sandwich maker, place buttered bread down and top with sauce, beef, and cheese. Add top slice of bread and close the sandwich maker until the amazing little green light turns on! Easiest meal ever and hey, my husband likes 'em.

With all that said, feel free to change your beef to ground sausage, pepperoni, bacon, etc. There really is no way you can mess these up. Don't have a sandwich maker? Use hamburger buns and place on baking sheet. Top the same way, but do not place the top of the bun over the cheese. Simply use it for your next pizza burger. Bake at 350F for about 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bun is nice and toasted!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Italian Meatballs


I'm a bit distracted by the Food Network channel today, so my sense of humor isn't really thriving. Go ahead and pop in Lady & The Tramp while eating this meal, it's very appropriate!









Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/3 c. milk
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

Directions:
Combine ingredients with hands. Roll into golf ball sized balls, place on greased (with olive oil) pan. Bake at 375F for 30-40 minutes. I allowed mine to simmer in pasta sauce for about an hour before serving but they are certainly good right out of the oven. Serve on a sandwich or over pasta with your favorite sauce!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meatloaf


Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it. I know that meatloaf is to fruit cake as cookie is to brownie. Okay so I was never good at those, but I know that meatloaf gets a bad reputation. Honestly, my husband tries to weasel his way into getting meatloaf quite often. My mom made meatloaf the same exact way each time, a lot, when I was younger. Now, I loved it when I was younger and then I got older and either my taste buds changed, or, mom started making it different. Yeah, that must have been it. She must have changed her recipe... right? I typically receive a more than lovely text or facebook update from my mom shortly after posting about how awful her cooking can be. Notice that I said can. She has some potential... some.

Anyways, for all you meat lovers out there... what could be better than an entire loaf.. dedicated to... meat. Don't worry. We add some stuff to make it more than yummy. Normally I pair mashed potatoes and corn with meatloaf, but since I've been trying to lessen the amount of butter filled potato mushy goodness, I didn't do that this time.

In case you're wondering how fist pumping with cinnamon went... well, I've been brain storming all weekend on the best method of getting cinnamon stains out of the carpet. I mean, I just wanted the smell, not the mess. I guess my best idea was to walk around the house making noises similar to those that Snooki makes, WAHHHHH. I mean, if running around the Jersey Shore pretend crying works for her, I figured it should work for me. I mean, we are both located on the East coast and of similar height after all. Apparently time zones and how far you stand off the ground have nothing to do with carpet stains... or meatloaf. Well, here it is.

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
1-2 slices of bread (pulled into small pieces)
1/4 c. Italian style bread crumbs (or any other type)
1/4 c. milk
1/2 onion (diced)
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tbl. parsley
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Paste:
1/4 c. ketchup
2 tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients with hands until mixed well. Form into loaf pan. I use a loaf pan with holes in the bottom that drip into an outer pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove loaf. Mix paste ingredients and place paste mixture on top of loaf. Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Leftovers? Make a meatloaf sandwich tomorrow!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sausage & Onion Pizza


Awhile back I blogged about my husband's battle buddy's birthday cake. I had purchased two 8-inch round pans for that and I figured, hey why not achieve that circular pizza I was complaining about not having in my Pesto pizza post. So, I figured that by making at least 1/2 the amount of pizza I normally do would cut down the amount we eat and thus, have full but not too full tummies. I was successful, except that my husband's pizza remains in the microwave where I placed it two hours ago. Apparently he has to show off his basketball skills at the gym. Honestly, I've never seen my husband play basketball, or any other sport for that matter, but he just doesn't seem like he'd have hoopin' skills, ya know? I mean, all I'm saying is that if I had to bet money... I'd probably not bet in his favor. I can't feel awful for saying that because... well he'll never read this anyways, so what's the harm? As long as I support him in all of the rest of his endeavours, I think that's all that counts. Plus, I got him addicted to Jersey Shore and that was enough to take away his lack of basketball skills in my eyes. Now, if I could only teach him how to cook. That's a blog of it's own people.

Ingredients:
2 hot italian sausages
1 pkg. Betty Crocker pizza crust
1/3 jar pizza sauce
1/2 small onion
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
butter (to grease pan)

Directions:
I normally use Jiffy pizza crust but couldn't find it at the commissary, so I went with this. Follow the directions on the back of the package. Boil sausage until cooked through, slice. Set aside. Slice onion, set aside. Shred cheese, set aside. Once your dough is ready, place into your pan and spread as thin as you'd like. Sauce, light layer of cheese, sausage, onions, and heavy layer of cheese. Again, bake according to crust instructions. Mine was 375F for about 12 minutes.

Banana & Raisin Oat Bars


Alright, so I figured there had to be something to do with the two frozen over riped bananas I had sitting in the freezer for the last couple of days. I know, there is always Banana Bread, but I was looking for something a little better for you. I know, shocking right? After my posts of fried onions, patty melts, and cookies, I thought maybe I should mix it up a bit and add a few.. healthier items. Plus, this recipe calls for cinnamon, and let me tell you, I love cinnamon. I remember my aunt owning a house over in Benson through out my childhood. Her neighbors were notorious, and I do mean notorious for having their home smell so strongly of cinnamon you could smell it outside. I'll never forget when they sent my cousin over to borrow a bag of ice from them. He comes trotting in with this bag of ice that you'd think had been laced with cinnamon goodness, but no, just the mere scent of their home. I wish my house smelled like that. Mmm.

Now, since my dad always yelled at my for having the scented plug in air fresheners, claiming that they put awful chemicals in the air and also that those chemicals just sit in your lungs until you die. Okay, he never said the last part, but the first portion of that sentence was true. Maybe a cheaper way to go about the whole 'make my home smell like cinnamon' plan should be to run around the house fist pumping (as seen on MTV's Jersey Shore, of course) with a bottle of cinnamon spice in my hand. No? Well, it's the thought that counts. For any of you who might not know what fist pumping is... I strongly recommend you get out more. Or, stay in and watch The Situation get his GTL on in the MIA. (If you're over 30 you probably have no idea what that means, and I apologize.)

Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1 c. old fashion oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 over ripe banana
1/3 raisins

Directions:
Mash banana, mix in cinnamon and egg whites. Fold in oats and raisins. Spread evenly into an 8 in. greased baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool before cutting.

Smothered Rice


I really felt like making something a bit different yesterday, and I guess by throwing together a bunch of random things I just happened to have, it worked. My husband didn't complain, so hey, I guess it's a winner in my eyes. At first I was wondering what I could do with an entire package of tortillas I've had sitting on the counter for awhile. Do those ever go bad? If there's no mold, they're edible to me! I played with the idea of maybe steak and onion filled quesadillas, or maybe like a fajita style dinner, but hey, is a fajita, a fajita with no peppers? It just didn't seem right. So, I went with this. I'll call it smothered rice because, well, I honestly don't know what the heck to call it. I figured 'Steak, Corn, Onions, Fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and Pinto Bean smothered Rice' was a bit much don't you think? Sort of like those people that have like eight names. I mean, I can see possibly four because well, I say that's not that weird, but eight?

I'm not quite sure where I was going with that, but, I'll have you know that this was really easy to make and with only two pans, it was an easy clean up as well. Now, I know people swear by rice cookers, and well, I probably would too if I ever took mine out of the cupboard and used it. Honestly, they make me nervous. I can use a sandwich press, a blender, and well, definitely a whisk, but, a rice cooker? I don't know. Can I put other things besides rice in the cooker? Can I season the water? It just brings up so many questions, and well, my husband obviously can't answer them. I suppose my handy dandy rice cooking manual might, but eh, I'm not much for heavy reading these days.

That's sort of a joke... my husband got me hooked on the Legend of the Seeker show on Netflix. We flew through the first two seasons to find out that, what, they cancelled the show after that! Now, I really want to finish the story, it sounds like now all I have to do is get through eleven or twelve books to do so. Did I mention that these books are supposed to be like twelve-hundred pages long? Looks like I better get started because the sooner I finish, the sooner my marriage and cooking can resume. I have this bad habit that once I get enthralled into a book or series of books, I'm lost in that world until I finish the page. Then I walk around in a daze for a day or two trying to adjust myself into my own life again. Twilight was hard for me folks, I mean, I really thought Alice and I were going to be best friends.

Alright, from food, to having eight names, to rice cookers, and reading, here it is. Smothered Rice... stuff.

Ingredients:
1 11. oz. boneless steak (your choice, cut into strips)
1/2 can whole kernel corn
1/2 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 can pinto beans
1 onion (sliced)
2 cups rice

Directions:
Using a small amount of olive oil, begin cooking steak and onions over medium heat in a large pan. Season to taste, I used black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and paprika. Once the steak begins to brown, add remaining ingredients, minus the rice. You should begin cooking your rice around the same time you begin preparing the.. smotherings. Allow steak to cook through, onions and remaining ingredients to cook through as well. Keep on simmer until rice is done cooking. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuna Noodle Casserole


Since I've been so far behind, I won't charm you with my witty humor on this one. I'll make it short and sweet and get right down to the good stuff. Well I mean, it's all good stuff, right?

Ingredients:
1 can tuna, drained
1/2 pkg wide ribbon noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 sleeve of Saltine crackers
A few tbl. butter/marg.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Cook 1/2 pkg noodles. Drain. Mix tuna, cream of mushroom soup, and noodles together and spread evenly into casserole dish. Crush nice layer of saltines over tuna mixture. Generously top crackers with chunks of butter/marg. Bake for about 12-18 minutes or until butter is melted and crackers are *lightly* golden. Not golden, not brown, or burnt, yuck!

*I know a lot of people make this stovetop and add peas, or top with chips (such as Lays) instead of crackers. This is just the way my mom always did it, so I'll stick to this method for now!

--Tonight's dinner was a repeat so I won't bother making another post about it. I will say that I captured it's true apparence on one of my new plates, again, compliments of the in-laws. The picture makes the dish look 1000x better. Check out the Shrimp Scampi!

Tater Tot Casserole


The next two posts are my mom's two famous casseroles. My mom, bless her heart, is an awful cook. There are a few things growing up though that my mom cooked on a regular basis. Now, you'd think I'd never want to eat them again, but they've become regulars around here, and so far, no complaints on these two dishes from my husband. They're both quick and easy meals, and hey, for those of us who love to cook, but sometimes just don't want to slave in the hot kitchen for more than 30 minutes, these are perfect. I did add cheese to this meal, which my mom never did, but my best friend back home does and well, everything taste better, and is worse for you, with cheese, right? So hey, why not?

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. tater tots
Sliced American cheese (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to (whatever temp. the tater tot bag says) the kind I use bake at 425. Brown beef in skillet, drain, season (I just use black pepper and a bit of garlic salt or powder) Mix beef with can of cream of mushroom soup and spread evenly into casserole dish. Place single layer of sliced American cheese. This step is optional, I recently started doing this. Top with single layer of tater tots. Bake according to the directions on your particular bag of tater tots. Mine is usually somewhere between 18-25 minutes.

Patty Melts


For all you rye bread lovers, this is for you... er, maybe not. I hate rye bread, to say the least. I don't make my patty melts on rye bread, and since it's my kitchen, I'll do as I please. Now, I don't know, and actually could care less if my husband likes rye bread because he's only known my patty melts to be served upon white bread and any complaints he may have can be taken up with my manager. I guess the perk in this situation is that I don't have one! Craving a grilled cheese sandwich? How about a burger? Why not combine the two, throw in some sauteed onions and an extra slice of cheese and call it a miracle? Yeah, miracle sounds like a good word choice there.

Before I made my way out into the scary off post world around here to purchase our grill, I made the burgers stove-top, which just doesn't have the same affect. For those of you who wish not to turn on the grill and would rather create a bit more heat in your homes this summer, be my guest, crank on those stove tops!

Since my first encounter with experimenting with horseradish, I can't help but to love to add a tablespoon or so of it into my ground chuck before I patty it up into burgers. It gives it an awesome flavor but, I understand if you are afraid of it, then simply omit it from the ingredients I list below. I can't for the life of me remember what I served with these.. so sorry in advance!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chuck
4 slices bread
2 slices american cheese
2 slices swiss cheese
1 onion
1 tbl. horseradish sauce (creamy)
butter (for toasting bread and cooking onions)
garlic salt
pepper
cayenne pepper (few shakes)

Directions:
Mix ground chuck, horseradish, and spices. form 3-4 burgers depending on how big you prefer. Slice your onion and begin cooking it in a small pan with 1 tbl. butter over medium heat. While onions are cooking, grill your burgers to your preferred doneness. I melt one type of cheese on the burgers while they're still on the grill. Your onions and burgers should finish cooking about the same time. Bread one side of each slice of bread, over medium heat place two slices butter-side down and place remaining two slices of cheese upon them. Add onions, burger and top bread. Allow to cook until golden brown and then flip and repeat for the other side.

Bagel Breakfast Sandwich


I guess I should put out an apology for the lack of blog updates. For my number one fan out there, the best friend back home, have no fear, dinner ideas are here. Well, this may not be a dinner idea per say, but hey, breakfast for dinner is always a good idea, isn't it you that calls it Brinner?

Anyways, I believe this was breakfast Sunday morning, or Saturday, ah, my days are all mixed up. I know that one morning this past weekend I made friend potatoes and onions, scrambled eggs, and bacon for my dear ol' husband. Remember I can't do eggs and I'd prefer to not make bacon a side of choice either, so it's normal around here for us to eat different things. You normally see what he gets because it's normally more appealing, or hearty, I guess that might be a better choice for it.

Now, for all of you that grocery shop with husbands, male children, significant others, gorillas, monsters, and whatever else you classify them as, back at home starving and waiting upon your arrival back home with arms full of grocery sacks... remember that you've made the best decision right there. I have learned in my mere 5 1/2 months of marriage to never, ever, under any circumstances let your husband go grocery shopping with you. You end up with a bill twice the average amount and a cart full of sugary snacks that last only a day or two. Now, with that said, I will give my husband props for somewhere down the line, before I learned not to leave my hungry husband at home when I ventured to the grocery store, he threw in a package of bagels. I remember them sitting on the counter for two days un-opened before I threw them into the freezer. I finally brought that package back out into the real world, let them thaw out, and served breakfast upon them. The bagel breakfast sandwich. Filling, bad for you, and scrumptious!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cinnamon Scones


I remember baking a batch of scones with my grandmother a few years ago. Though they were not homemade, they were my first scone experience, and they were good. She had a box of scone mix, which I've never seen since then, or maybe it's just that I'm not looking hard enough in the baking aisle. Either way, I figured I'd make some today, from scratch. They are not the prettiest things ever, but they tasted pretty good. I tried using a biscuit cutter which I believe my mother in-law gave me back home, but that didn't work very well. The dough was too sticky. So, with my handy dandy rolling pin covered in a sticky mess, and my hands filled with cinnamon scone goodness, I scrapped up the remains of dough and attempted to form them into triangle blobs on my cookie sheet. I succeeded. So, here they are, cinnamon scones!

Ingredients:
2 c. flour
2 tbl. shortening
9 1/3 tbl. butter
3/4 c. milk
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 egg

Directions:
Combine all dry ingredients. Cut in butter and shortening. In a seperate bowl, mix together milk and egg. Mix in egg mixture into dry ingredients. Shape dough into triangles and cook on non-stick cookie sheet for 16 minutes at 375F. I got 5 very large scones from this recipe. Mmm. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool slightly before serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar before eating.

Chicken Bacon Roulades


Oh, cheese and bacon stuffed chicken, how I love you.

This was one of the first 'experiment' meals I made when we moved down here. I was so proud of these creations. I remember I made them the night before my 21st birthday in fact. I only remember so vividly because I ended up burning the palm of my hand, bad. I spewed out a few profanities before taking refuge in the bathroom sobbing and running cold water over my hand, which I've heard you're not supposed to do with burns. Ah, I didn't care, that sucker hurt.

I remember barely being able to close my hand around the knife to cut my chicken, but I managed and it was worth it. The second time I prepared these delicious creations we took them over for a dinner party. Well, it wasn't really a dinner party, but you know, I made one thing and the other guy's wife prepared another thing, and we all sat down to eat. Is that a small dinner gathering? Well, whatever it was, it lead to last night's third time making them. I've got my best friend back home cooking these bad boys up for her and her boyfriend. I mean, can you really go wrong with chicken, cheese, and bacon?

I sound like a bacon crazed person, but honestly, bacon isn't really my thing. It's okay, but you'll never see me ordering bacon at a restaurant. No sir, no thank you.

The chicken breasts I used last night were much bigger than what I've used before so they didn't look as tightly rolled, but the taste was the same.

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices cooked bacon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300F. Pound out the chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper until 1/8 in. Place two strips of bacon lengthwise down the middle of the chicken and top with 1/4 c. cheese. Roll chicken tightly and use toothpicks to secure if needed. Sear in the remaining bacon drippings on each side for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat on the stove. Place pan (the same one you've already started cooking the chicken in on the stove) into the oven to cook through for about 20-30 minutes (depending on how big the chicken breasts are).

Make sure you grab the handle of the pan out of the oven with a hot pad. I did this, but when I went to place the pan in the oven a few minutes later (not being used to baking my pans) totally spaced that the handle was just baking in the oven, full palm grabbed the handle and began moving it from the the oven to across the kitchen in the sink. Well, I didn't make that whole trip before I dropped the pan, cried, and cursed.

Steak Kabobs


You know, I thought there was some sort of rain curse on my kabob night, but the clouds shifted, the sun shined upon us, and finally, kabobs were made. I think all the build up ruined this meal. I was way too excited to make these and then I was left disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I thought the onions and steak was very good. I didn't want the meal to feel like 'steak & potatoes' so I decided to omit the potatoes and as a side, served Couscous. My husband thought it was 'tasteless' but if you're not familiar with it, I can understand not being able to appreciate it. When I was younger I remember my dad making it. I've always thought it was good, it's something different, which is nice sometimes, ya know?

I marinated the steak in a BBQ mixture. That was really great I thought. I also wrapped some of the steak pieces in bacon, because who doesn't like a little bacon once in awhile? I mean, there's got to be something good about the dang stuff or Beggin' Strips wouldn't be such a huge market right? Oh, well I suppose dogs will eat just about anything, right? Either way, I'm sure whether you're human, dog, or meat-eating dinosaur, you can appreciate a little bacon.

BBQ Marinade:
3/4 c. BBQ sauce (your favorite)
1/3 c. oil
1 tbl. minced garlic
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
salt & pepper

I should also warn you, I stabbed myself pretty good with one of the skewers. (insert sad chef face here)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Garlic Parmesan Knots


Alright my little blogger babies. These have to be the easiest, and most delicious little creations I have made since my blogging journey began. I guess you're wondering where the kabobs are. Well, I don't know if someone has placed a curse on my kabob night or what, but let me tell you, I've never seen it rain like this in Georgia. Absolute cats and dogs. These weren't little kitten and puppy sized rain drops either! I should know just how bad the rain was since I hoped out of the car to check the mail and when I turned around to get back into the car my husband began driving down the street slowly so that I couldn't get back into the car! Well, typically that would be worth getting mad over but, me? Nah, I'll just threaten to throw ice cold water on you the entire time you're in the shower. That 'atta teach him!

I must go on to tell you that getting utterly drenched by rain water while checking the mail was totally worth it! We had a package sent from heaven above, alright not heaven, but back home. The in-laws sent me a few plates which I was so- excited for! I just had to make something worthy of placing on one of my new plates, and boy, were these totally worthy! Thank you to my mother & father in-law for the assorted plates! They are totally awesome and much appreciated.

Now, I'm starting to wonder if you guys were gettin' tired of staring at those god awful teal swirl plates...
Alright, I'll admit it, I was too!

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated biscuits
1/3 c. oil (I used 1/2 olive oil & 1/2 vegetable oil)
4 tbl. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley


Directions:
Combine ingredients (minus the biscuits) and set aside. Take each biscuit and roll out between hands until it's about a foot long. Tie the rope into a knot and tuck the two ends back behind. Bake on a non-stick sheet for 7-8 minutes. Bake at 400F. Once you remove the biscuits, brush mixture onto the hot biscuits and serve! Garlic perfection!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Pancakes


Could there be anything better, or more sweet for breakfast? I don't think so. When you're married to a sugar-aholic, the more sugar the better. I opted for an apple breakfast bar, but cooked a couple of these up for my husband before he left for work. I had about 2/3 of a cup of chocolate chips left from my cookies the other day so I figured why not make some chocolate chip pancakes, but add a heaping pile of peanut butter on top for good measure!

My husband's been making a point to tell me how much he loves my blog. Not that he sits down and reads it, but that I'm even more inclined to make a good meal with my blog depending on me. I mean, I know that my readers just simply could not go about their day to day lives without me posting what my husband ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, right? These follow the same ingredients and directions as the blueberry pancakes, except switch out the blueberries, butter, and granulated sugar for chocolate chips, peanut butter, and powered sugar instead. If you want to get a cavity or two, these are worth making!

***I forgot to add that I drizzled a bit of chocolate syrup on top, too!

Beef Enchiladas


Wouldn't you know that the second night I pull steaks out for kabobs it would start down pouring? I mean, it never rains longer than five minutes here in Georgia, but of course, kabob night was poured upon. I could invest in a sweet rain coat and some rain boots. That would be a sight to see. Ah, well, I shoved the steaks into the fridge, hoping for clearer weather tonight. I decided to pull out a lb. of ground beef instead and decided to make enchiladas. This was officially the third time I've attempted to make enchiladas. The first time was sometime during the first semester of my freshman year of college. I was living on campus and attempting to cook in a kitchen smaller than a bathroom. I found a recipe online for chicken enchiladas. The sauce was homemade... and awful. Awful might not even fully describe it.

Now, fast forward three years later and here we are. In our semi-bigger kitchen I attempted for the second time. It was beef enchiladas this time. I followed the directions for this recipe step for step. My husband and I both agreed that the tortillas were a bit doughy.

Finally last night I made a pan that was actually good. I placed the enchiladas cheese and sauce free in the oven for about 5-6 minutes to crisp up a bit. I think that was the best choice I could have made. A little crisp on the ends of the tortillas added a nice crunch to this meal.

Ingredients:
6 soft flour tortillas
2 cans Old El Paso Enchilada sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
I followed the directions on the back of the sauce can. Before smothering in sauce and cheese, bake at 425F for 5-6 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven, turn temperature down to 400F and smother in remaining sauce and cheese. Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for remaining 5 minutes to brown cheese. I suppose you can choose what you do next, but my recommendation would be... to eat!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Birthday Cake


This was originally supposed to be a Red Velvet cake... I had never had it before but my friend wanted me make it for our husbands battle buddy whose birthday is tomorrow. Once our husbands got wind of it not being chocolate or vanilla they threw little soldier temper tantrums... of sorts and I caved, decided maybe the more traditional cake was the way to go. I opted for a semi easy way out... I used vanilla and chocolate cake mixes and layered four layers, starting with vanilla on the bottom and ending with chocolate on the top. I did still go ahead and make a home made cream cheese frosting, which I had never done before, but I was pleased with the outcome. I want my bloggers to know that I'm fighting my unconscious husband (he's only sleeping, people) for space on the bed, listening to my dog snore in the corner, and my husbands cat is making some God awful growls, followed by hissing noises at our poor kitten. She was out of the house for 24-hours being spayed, and boy is my husband's cat pissed she came back! I'd like to think of myself as a crab fisherman. They never give up, even when a huge storm is about to throw them into the crab infested waters. So, I my friends, will not stop blogging. I shall blog on. Through the snores, the howls, and the elbows. All, for the love of blog.

Ingredients: (for the frosting)
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 lb. cream cheese (room temp.)
1 tbl. vanilla extract
5 c. confectioner's sugar




Directions:
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until completely blended and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the sugar until fully blended and sweet to taste.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich


The other night I posted about really wanting to make kabobs, but I didn't have the skewers. Well, wouldn't you know I picked some up the next day and still have yet to make those awesome little meat and veggie filled sticks for dinner? Hmm, maybe this weekend? Sometimes I find myself really starting to feel as though all I cook is meat and potatoes. Kabobs don't really help that feeling, although it is a nice way to incorporate some vegetables into the meal, it's still all the same in the end right? I grew up in a house where vegetables were never a must. Now, that came to bite me right in the tail end on day when I was forced to sit at my grandma's dining room table for 30 minutes before finally my dad intervened and told me I could get up. He always did have a soft spot for me. Now before you all go feeling sorry for my brother, remember that my mother always had that same soft spot for him. Is that just how children and parents work? Daddy's little girl and mamma's little boy? It might have something to do with the fact he was first born.. I haven't ever quite figured that one out yet.

Regardless, I'm glad that I've opened my heart up to at least a few vegetables with age. Now, my husband who has a broader sense for these earthly creations has no problem with munching on an apple, while the mere thought of an apple's texture makes me shudder. He snubs his nose at a grilled chicken sandwich with a tomato pesto spread. I guess it took me time to broaden my food choices, so hopefully he'll eventually grow out of the dinosaur chicken nuggets and smilie fries phase soon. Kool-aid to drink, please!

That was supposed to be funny, sort of. Don't pretend you didn't like those chicken nuggets. You always made the meat eater dinos pick on the plant eaters before biting off one of their heads while simultaneously making dinosaur noises.

And who couldn't be happy while munching on a bunch of smiles?! I'm smiling while thinking about them right now, though, smiling is my favorite after all.

Although this post really had nothing to do with the chicken sandwich, I'll go ahead and tell ya what I did.

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (butterflied)
2 sesame seed buns
2 slices of Swiss cheese (or cheese of choice)
Zesty Italian dressing
Sun-dried tomato pesto (optional)

After butterflying the chicken breasts, I marinated them in Zesty Italian dressing for about 30 minutes. Cook them on grill until cooked through, marinating left over dressing up until the last 5 minutes. Remove and place chicken on bun with slice of Swiss cheese. I used the tomato pesto as a spread on the top bun and found it to work quite nicely. My husband thought the pesto was weird.