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.

Onion Petals & Fried Garlic



This is by far the longest blog break I've taken thus far, but I feel as though the last couple of days have been a bit busier than usual. Whenever it seems as though I've got an abundance of onions, what better to do with them aside from making onion petals? Well, there is one thing that is better than onions, and that my friends, is garlic. I hear people say that garlic just isn't their thing, and I have to wonder if they've recently been released from the crazy house. I know, I know, to each their own. But garlic? Really? There are a few down falls to garlic. One, peeling garlic makes your hands really sticky, and they smell of garlic for days. Two, it makes your breath smell... awful. I believe tooth brushes were invented because of garlic, and well, we all know that garlic was invented in the prevention of vampires. So there we have it, fried onions and garlic. Also known as a heart attack on a plate. Delicious.

I use an onion petal breading that I find at Wal-Mart, however, I know there are some simple mixtures you can come up with consisting mainly of flour and spices. That's the route I would have taken if I would not have randomly come across this box of mix. All you do is add water. Anyways, I added a 1/2 cup of Panko for some extra texture and crunch for this last batch, but honestly, I couldn't tell the difference.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Steak & Potatoes


If you've signed on to read my blog day after day, I commend you. My husband has finally figured out he's in fact, the butt of each of my jokes. I mean, it's all in good nature, right? One of my followers, or, biters as I call them, suggested that I make Meat Loaf for dinner last night. Then, of course, my husband had his little heart set on meat loaf, but I shot him down. I mean, I do make a really good meat loaf and my husband does in fact love it, but, I really had my heart set on kabobs. Well, you know that the one time I really want something, I wouldn't have the skewers for it. Come on, who doesn't keep their house stocked with over-sized tooth picks.. of sorts. Well, apparently this gal doesn't.

I was even willing to drive to the commissary to pick a few up. Wouldn't you know the commissary on post is closed on Mondays? Well, with the steak already thawing in the sink I figured I better put it to good use. This resulted in steak and potatoes for dinner. Not just potatoes though. Oh no, they were grilled to tender perfection with whole cloves of fresh garlic, large slices of white onion, and carrots! Now, I normally make these for only potatoes and onions, but I've got some fresh garlic and carrots that are in need of being used before they go bad. Who doesn't like carrots anyway?

I've had these foil pouched potatoes since I was younger. I remember my brother coming up with the idea when we had a tiny little charcoal grill in my mom's driveway. I also remember my brothers potatoes always being very crispy and a lot of it burning and sticking to the foil when it was all said and done. Well, not to brag or anything, but I've basically perfected the foil potatoes. Hey, if that sounds like boasting, take it for what it's worth people, take it for what it's worth. I did give him credit for the idea after all, right?

My trick? I take a mixing spatula and spread a thin layer of butter across the foil before placing the potatoes on it. Wha-la, and that my friends, was how the perfectly cooked foiled potatoes were created.

I seasoned the streaks with ground black pepper, garlic salt, and (steak & chops) seasoning grinder that my dad got for me before I moved down here. Mmm.

Ingredients:
2 steaks (your choice on cut)
2 potatoes
1 onion
6 cloves of garlic
3 carrot sticks
butter
ground black pepper
garlic salt

You'll also need foil... and a grill, just in case you haven't quite caught on yet.

Directions:
I'm not going to explain how to season and grill the steaks because, I'm hoping you already know that part. As far as the potatoes go, scrub clean and slice into 1/4 in. slices. Place on buttered surface of square of foil. Make sure your foil is large enough to place your food on and wrap up with no food being exposed. I double wrapped mine to prevent burning, which worked quite well, but it was a pain to check the tenderness of the potatoes.





Place 1 sliced potato, one sliced onion (slice into larger pieces so they don't burn) , cut up carrots, and 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole onto the foil. Top with 2 tbl. of butter, ground black pepper, and garlic salt. Wrap up, place on the grill over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes total, turning every couple of minutes. The foil was just sitting over an open flame people, so, for the love of blog, please be careful.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


I made a batch of these cookies a few months ago, a week later, most of them were being thrown away. They were okay, not the best cookie ever though. I got this recipe today, but decided to change it just a tad. You see, I like chocolate, I mean, I am a girl after all. I do not, however, like tons of chocolate chips in my cookies. In fact, there used to be this cookie shop by my aunt's restaurant that always has, and in my eyes always will have the best cookies, ever. I think it was the texture that I loved most. Either way, they closed shop a couple of years ago, but before they did, my dad was able to convince them to make me a batch of chocolate chip cookies, hold the chocolate chips. Although that sounds boring, they were the most amazing thing ever.

I couldn't decide if I should go for the standard chip cookies or opt for a more, textured approach. I think I made the right decision. You know how cookies taste one way right out of the oven and then a completely different way once they've completely cooled? These were amazing at both points, but even better cooled, which most of the time doesn't happen for me. I mean, is there anything better than ooey gooey chocolate-oatmeal-cookie goodness in your mouth? I mean sure, your wedding day, the birth of your first born, because let's be honest, it's just not quite as exciting the second time around, right?

The same could be said about cookies. The excitement of pulling the first batch out of the oven immediately once the timer begins to beep. Then the second batch goes in, eh, you're not so inclined to stay in the kitchen for that whole eight minutes. By the third batch, boy oh boy, are you ready to be done baking or what? So, today's conclusion is that baking cookies is much like child birth. Well, I can only go by what I've seen and heard, but for now, I think I'll stick with cookies!

Ingredients:
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 c. unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (milk chocolate)


Directions:
Mix dry ingredients together, set aside. Blend together sugars and butter. Add vanilla and eggs, beat well again. Mix in dry ingredients. Last, fold in the chocolate chips and oatmeal.


Using a cookie scooper, drop cookies onto non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. And that's the way the cookie crumbles. It had to be said, right?

Stuffed Shells


Ah, Monday morning. A day to make up for the housework in which I lacked over the weekend. Not really, I actually just took a two day break from vacuuming the house, aside from that that, everything is pretty caught up. Last night's dinner was... delicious... and a disaster all at the same time!

I've made this before, but with less sausage, cheese, and much more sauce. The outcome? The husband complaining there was too much sauce! So, I opted to minimize the sauce, and instead of using pre-packaged frozen stuffed jumbo shells, I boiled my own and stuffed them too! Now, I'm not sure if it was shells or manicotti, but I remember my dad stuffing some type of pasta a few years ago, so I stole his stuffing trick. Ah, thanks a heap, dad! As you'll notice there will not be a completed picture of this meal because, well, although it tasted amazing, it did not look very pretty! After allowing the cheese to melt and the sauce to start bubbling inside the oven, I pulled the rack out just an inch or two to make sure the sauce in the middle was hot as well. Before I put the spoon up to my mouth there was a loud slam and a huge wave of sauce spilled all over the inside of the oven door and onto the floor. Well, my husband got his wish! There was actually the perfect amount of sauce once it was all said and done!

I was pretty lucky to have not had dinner go down my leg. Could you imagine telling the doctor why you have 3rd degree burns down your leg? 'Ahhh, it's the ricotta and pesto jumbo stuffed shells fault, ahhhhh' with loud obnoxious whines and cries? Ah, I can see it now. I quietly cleaned up the mess, sliced a few more slices of cheese to melt back on top and popped that bad boy back in the oven for an extra five minutes.

I had strategically placed that food in a certain way into my casserole dish, and this had to happen. I mean, how am I supposed to deliver delicious goodness to my blogger babies when I'm spilling things on the floor. First, I forget to capture the panko breaded pork chop goodness, and now, I spill dinner onto my feet. What is this kitchen coming to?! Well, I'll get to explaining, and stop this complaining. You might want to note that... that rhymed. Don't you love when that happens?

Ingredients:
1/2 box jumbo shells
1 c. ricotta cheese
3 mild Italian sausage links
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese (sliced)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbl. pesto
1/2 jar pasta sauce (I used chunky garlic and onion)

Directions:
Mix 1 cup ricotta cheese and 2 tbl. pesto together. Place mixture in a Ziploc baggie and cut a corner of the bag off. It should be similar to a pipping bag for frosting.


Boil shells in one pot and sausage links in another. Once noodles are *almost* done, remove from heat, and drain.


Take shells and stuff with filling.


Pour 1/2 jar pasta sauce into casserole dish,sprinkle 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese on top of sauce, place shells into the sauce. Slice your sausage links and place on top of your shells followed by the sliced mozzarella. I sliced mine about a 1/4 in. thick. I could have shredded but I figured I'd save time, and use my handy dandy cheese slicer for the first time! Anyways, bake for 25 minutes at 375F. Try not to spill it, but hey, it's good either way!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Breakfast Island


Breakfast... what? Well, with it being Sunday morning and all, I figured why not start it off with a big huge mess? My husband was already gaming when I woke up, which now includes Skyping while gaming. I just cook away, pretending as though it's my very own cooking show. I can dream right?

I figured since I'd never tried to make homemade hash browns that I'd give it a whirl. There's this hole in the wall cafe, across the bridge from Omaha in Council Bluffs that has amazing breakfast. I'm not a huge fan of breakfast, but hey, I'd always get out of bed early to join my brother there. One morning we were being seated, my brother his girlfriend and I. As we were walking past the already filled booths, we all stopped to notice some familiar faces in one of them. There was my aunt, uncle, and my dad. What are the odds? Pretty good at this place.

My main point about that place is that they have the most amazing hash browns ever.

Before this place came along, there was another little breakfast cafe in Benson that the family used to eat at frequently. My dad and brother often ordered the Breakfast Island. It was a huge plate of basically everything breakfast. A layered meal of hash browns, scrambled eggs, biscuits, and sausage gravy. I figured if I was going to risk my fingers shredding potatoes, I might as well go the whole nine yards. I mean, what's to loose? Besides my fingers of course.

A few nights ago, I used Panko for the first time. We had pork tenderloin sandwiches, kind of. I mean, it was pretty close. I just breaded pork chops in the Panko, ah, it was a different type of breading, but it was great. Definitely something I want to try again. As soon as we finished eating I remembered I had forgotten to take a picture of my new creation! I have failed my blog. I was a blog-aster. Get it? Like disaster? Well, I'm off to take the pup outside so, I'll blog ya later!

Too much?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bacon Cheeseburgers


Who invented vegetarianism and more importantly, why!? Is there anything better than a huge, juicy, bacon-y, cheesy, burger? Well, probably, but it was pretty good nonetheless. I had pulled out a lb. of ground chuck yesterday afternoon to grill up some burgers for dinner, but, plans changed. Instead of doing the wifely dinner thing, I hung out with a couple of gals, had a few drinks, and got home way later than I originally intended. I could not crawl into bed soon enough! Well, since it sounds as though we have plans tonight, I figured I should use up the thawed meat today, so for lunch, we had burgers. I have to add that our 50 lb lab mix is currently trying to snuggle with our 4 lb. kitten on the end of the bed. It's probably more adorable than a basket full of puppies. Well, I guess it would depend on the breed, there are some pretty stinkin' cute puppies out there, let me tell ya!

On our way back onto post to pick up a friend, I realized I had left my purse... including my military ID and driver's license, but you know me and my persuasive ways, was able to convince the guy to let me on post without any form of ID. Now, this may or may not have included offering to give him my home address, as proof people, as proof. Jeez, what kind of person do you think I am?!

I felt a little bad that I didn't blog my dinner last night, but it was a nice little blog break if I may say so. This really can be exhausting! Demanding hours, late nights, overtime. I will say, being my own boss has it's perks. I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out with me all day?

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chuck
2 sesame seed buns
fresh lettuce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
2 slices American cheese
2 slices Swiss cheese
mayo

I'm not going to give you directions, but if I did it would be something along the lines of... mix ingredients together with hands. (minus the bun, lettuce, cheese and mayo) and form into patties. I'm not going to take the time to explain to you how to cook a burger because well, if you don't know that much, you need a lot more help than I'm able to give you. Until next time my little blogger babies.

Oh, I threw in a picture of the animals for good measure. Who doesn't love pictures? Well, you might not if you were from the South Pole, those elves are angry.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta


Mmm. This pasta was lighter than your typical bowl. Can pasta really be light? Anyways, when I purchased the pesto for the pizza the other day I saw this jar next to it and it looked equally delicious so I thought I'd give it a whirl. This was an easy and fairly quick meal, although I never realized just how long it took to boil penne noodles! I ran and got my tan on at this place called 'Sun-N-Side' before starting dinner. Get it? Sun-N-Side? Ah, I didn't catch that my first few visits. I'm sure that my face is, or soon will be equally as red as a tomato soon enough. So, this meal is very appropriate.

My husband apparently hates tomatoes. Hey, I'm not a huge fan myself but pasta sauce does not equal tomato in my opinion. Either way, he always complains when there is too much sauce, so, I think this might be perfect for him. He's currently at the gym so we'll find out. By the time he gets back and re-heats it back up, it probably will have lost it's deliciousness right? Well, even if that isn't the case, I can always blame it on that if he tries to claim it's horrible. I topped mine with a scoop of ricotta cheese and a pinch of parsley flakes. I'm trying to come up with things to use this ginormous container of ricotta I still have from last weeks pizza. Any idea how long it lasts? Hmm.

Ingredients:
2 mild Italian sausage links
1/2 lb. penne pasta
1/2 jar sun-dried tomato pesto sauce
garlic salt
ground black pepper
ricotta cheese (optional)
parsley flakes (optional)

Directions:
I boiled my sausage, and then browned for a few minutes in the skillet after removing from water and slicing. Cook pasta according to package. Once drained, combine sausage, penne noodles, pesto, a few shakes of garlic salt and pepper, and mix. Top with a spoonful of ricotta and sprinkle of parsley to dress it up a bit. I thought the ricotta was an amazing little addition.

This may be my shortest and un-wittiest (is that a word?!) post thus far. It's getting late and I'd love to jump in the shower and dry my hair before bed time, which somehow seems to get here faster than ever!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup


Chicken noodle soup, ultimate comfort food? I think so. Not so long ago I came down with a pretty good upper respiratory infection, well that was self diagnosed, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was. With mountains of used Kleenex piling up around me I lay snuggled up in bed until my husband came in asking if I needed anything. I threw a, we'll call it small, temper tantrum. I just wanted my dad or my brother to make me some soup. My husband just looked at me, as pathetic as my fit was, he still offered to make me Ramen noodles. Ramen noodles are in no way a comparison to chicken noodle soup. And by no means am I talking about canned here. Even the noodles are home made.

I made this back when I lived with my brother on a pretty regular basis, and even a few times back with my parents, too. My husband tried it once, he 'doesn't like dark meat' and thinks 'the noodles are weird'. Well, I'll have you know that my husband ate the soup tonight with no complaints! He even said the noodles were good! I think he's just a pathological food complainer.

I think just about everyone in the family on my dad's side has made this once. We all seem to have a slightly different version, but it's all pretty close. This is a recipe where nothing is measured so, I'll try my best.

My best friend loves this soup. What's better than mashed potatoes and gravy? Mashed potatoes smothered in homemade chicken noodle soup. Most people crinkle their noses up at us when we explain the mashed potatoes in the bottom of the bowl, until they try it. Ultimate comfort food.

I'm used to making a pot so large it could make twelve large men's bellies explode with homemade chicken-y goodness. Creating this for two wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Well, not for someone like me, you know, master chef and all.

Soup:
I've never measured this so, work with me. I just cut down the amount of stuff I normally would throw into a huge pot, and did the exact same thing in my smaller pot. I filled it about 1/3 of the way full with water and set on stove on high. Add a bit of garlic powder, and chicken bouillon, this is definitely a season to taste sort of meal. Normally, we use bone-in chicken and cook it then remove the bones, piece the chicken and add it back to the pot. I only had boneless-skinless chicken breasts so I used one and cooked it, and then pulled it out to pull apart and throw it back in. I cut 3 stocks of celery and 2 large carrots (although add the carrots when you add the noodles so that they don't cook to mush). You want the celery to cook down, so add that with your seasonings in the beginning. Once you've added the noodles and carrots, allow them to cook through and then set your stove down to simmer until you're ready to serve. Again, serving over mashed potatoes makes this meal for our family!


Noodles: Make a shallow pit in a pile of flour. I used about 2-3 cups. Crack 2 eggs into the middle of the pile. It should look similar to this.


With a fork, begin mixing eggs in a circular motion, keeping the walls of the pile up, push the flour up for reinforcement if needed. While stirring in circular motion, continue to mix flour from sides into the egg mixture. This will last a couple of minutes until a ball of dough is finally formed. Again, it should look like this.


Flour your surface and rolling pin. Roll dough out to about 1/4 of an inch.


Take your pizza cutter and cut into strips. You can be sloppy, we don't make them into square strips by any means. Then cut across a few times so that your noodles are not 2 feet long. Your noodle will expand, a lot, so don't worry if some of them look small.


Once cut, gather together and sift with remaining flour on counter to ensure your noodles are not gooey and sticking together. Then, sift extra flour out of your pile of noodles by tossing back and forth in your hands. Place noodles into your soup and allow to cook until cooked through and they stop floating at the top of your soup.

This soup is even better as left overs. It thickens up a lot over night, but I know my brother and I always ate up the leftovers the following day for lunch!

Shrimp Scampi


Ah, what could be better than shrimp and pasta in the same meal? Well, I'm sure there a few things that come to your mind but, hey, it's an easy meal, and more importantly, an easy clean up. My mood sat at somewhere between good and bad all day. For no particular reason, really. You know, just one of those days. I had originally planned on making homemade chicken noodle soup, I even had the chicken in the sink thawing before I decided to change my mind. I threw that chicken in the fridge as though I was playing a quick game of hot potato by myself. Could you imagine? My husband walking into the house and there I am, playing hot potato?

It's early. I'm humoring myself. Well, I suppose it doesn't matter what time it is, I'm always humoring myself. If you can't make yourself laugh, you really aren't that funny now, are you?

This is another not really homemade but I made-it-at-home sort of meals. I use SeaPak's frozen shrimp scampi, then boil my own angel hair pasta, toss with a little olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper, combine them, and call it dinner. I will go a little out of my way to make some good garlic toast, no, not frozen.

I butter bread, sprinkle a little garlic salt, or garlic powder, for those of you trying to watch your sodium intake. To finish, top with shredded mozzarella, a sprinkle of parsley flakes, and toast in the oven at 325F for about 7-8 minutes.

I guess I should have said off the bat, somewhere between the Kielbasa Quesadillas and the Lemon Cookies that my oven is a freak of stoves and cooks way faster than any oven I've ever used. I sometimes have to cut cooking times in half. No worries, I'll warn you ahead of time if that's the case. Normally it's just a few minutes fast. Not that I'm sure if anyone really finds this site useful. Besides my husband of course, for loving that it occupies my attention so he can game nag-free, at least for one post. That's sarcasm people, sarcasm.

About a week ago I woke up to an eaten power adapter for my MacBook. (insert really sad face here) Our ever so lovely kitten was the colporate, which was strange, because she'd never destroyed anything before, except maybe a can of tuna or two. I've been anxiously awaiting the UPS truck to pull up in front of the house, the delivery guy's shadow to pass in front of the front window, and the door bell to obnoxiously ring. Ah, blogging-bliss is near. I can smell it in the air. Or, that may be puppy gas. One can never really be certain when it comes to Dixie. Oh yeah, that's our almost-one-year-old pup. She really enjoys blogging time. Normally an entire hour goes by with no one asking her to shake, other shake, or double shake numerous times, and for what? We don't reward every shake with a treat, why you ask? Dixie likes to shake every time you sit down. When you go to the bathroom, when you go to bed, when you're cooking. You look down and BAM. There it is! That not so dainty black paw upon your knee. It is kinda cute, I'll admit it.

Anyways, this is something I make every couple of weeks. It's really easy and the clean up is easy. Tonight, as promised though, is chicken noodle soup. I invited my best friend from back home over for dinner, she couldn't make it though, something about not wanting to hit rush hour in St. Louis or Atlanta.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chili

I'm wondering, is it possible for dog and man to sync their snores? I swear last night as soon as my husband's snore would stop, our dog in the corner of the room would let hers out. It was like a damn teeter-totter of snores! Have you ever tried falling asleep with one continuous snore? I mean, it just would not stop. This was of course after my dad called and woke me up. Our families don't seem to remember the one hour time difference most nights, and well, as I'm A-OK with staying up late enough so that family can call when it's still 9:00 their time, that means it's 10:00 our time and well, that's just a little too late for my husband to keep his eyes open. I haven't quite decided if it's because his eyes are so tired from staring at video games for hours on end, or if he just really enjoys getting a full 12 hours of sleep a night. Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating a bit there, but hey, being able to exercise my sense of humor on here as done wonders for my mood!

Oh, and as if I couldn't forget, my random 3:30ish random number phone call. I mean, who calls someone on accident at 3:30 AM!? Luckily it didn't take me too long after that to fall back asleep. Long enough to lie there and think about what should be on today's menu of course.

If you're at all familiar with Georgia weather, especially this time of year, you're probably wondering why in any right state of mind would I make chili for dinner. With the heat index, it normally hits 114F in a heart beat around here. Well, a simple solution to cooking anything you want during the blistering hot summer is to keep your house at a cool 68F.

Alright, alright, I understand that isn't exactly an option for most people. Though, that is one perk to living on post. My husband wanted chili last week, but I had been out of ground beef for a little while with no grocery run in sight, I pushed chili off the menu, yeah, until last night. I typically enjoy chili if I have some Frito scoops to accompany it with. After arguing back and forth all day over who was going to go buy them, and even trying to threaten not making it at all, I of course, caved.

This was my first experience using a chili kit. My friend back home uses this same kit so I thought I'd give it a whirl. The chili (based off my mom's chili) that I normally make isn't quite as thick as the kit turned out, but it didn't have any tomatoes in it, so my husband was pleased.


Though the kit only called for you to add the ground beef, I added one small diced onion, can of dark red kidney beans, and a large can of chili beans, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, yum. I thought it was actually one of the better pots of chili I've made since I've been down here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blueberry Pancakes


Now, after my blueberry adventure yesterday I wasn't quite sure with what to do with the leftovers. I hardly made a dent in the fresh blueberries I brought home the other day, and there they were, staring me in face this morning when I woke up. Thus, the blueberry pancakes were born. Or... made.

Again, another successful hit for the husband. I'm not so much for the loaded pancakes so I skipped out on this meal, but they did look delicious.

Ingredients:
1 c. Bisquick mix
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. sugar
3 tbl. butter
1/2 c. blueberries
1 egg
1/2 c. milk



Directions:
Mix Bisquick mix, vanilla, 1 tsp. sugar, egg, and milk together.
Heat skillet on stove for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Grease lightly with butter before applying pancake mix. I made these pancakes a bit thicker than normal since I was adding the blueberries to them. Once you pour mix onto skillet, add 1/4 c. blueberries on top of pancake. Once edges lift and batter bubbles around the edge, carefully flip pancake. Allow to cook for another minute or so, and remove. Once you've stacked your pancakes, add a tbl. butter on top, sprinkle with sugar and a few more fresh blueberries!

Crispy Chicken Sandwiches

Who doesn't love a giant crispy chicken sandwich from that hole in the wall cafe across town, or even one picked up through the drive-thru? When your palate simply is saying 'no go' to a cheeseburger, what's the next best thing? A crispy chicken sandwich.


Dining out, even if it's just fast food adds up. Big time. We try to cut costs by eating a home, and hey, if I were married to myself, I'd love to eat at home too. Normally we cut it cheap when it comes to buns. Why go fancy? It's summer and burgers on the grill taste just as good on a pack of 98 cent buns as they do on fancy sesame seed buns, right? Eh, I'd normally argue for the cheapies too, but hey, if you're going to have a giant mouth watering crispy chicken sandwich at home, you might as well splurge an extra dollar for some good buns!

My husband was very pleased with this meal, to say the least. With the blueberry lemon cheesecake bar later for dessert, it's safe to say our stomaches were happy, as were our hearts. Awwww.

Since I felt like I was in the kitchen, literally, all day yesterday, I decided to just make some baked fries for a side. Yes, they were fresh cut by the chef herself, me.

Ingredients:
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut width wise to create two patties
2 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil (for frying)
1/3 c. corn startch
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. garlic salt
4 tbl. olive oil
2 potatoes (cut into fries)
2 seasme seed buns
4 tbl. mayo
fresh lettuce

Directions:
Oven Baked Fries:
Place cut fries into plastic bag with 3-4 tbl. olive oil to coat. Remove and place on cookie sheet lined with foil. Make sure you place in a single layer to ensure they all cook evenly. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, and garlic salt before placing in oven for 15-20 minutes at 375F.

Sandwich:
Heat oil in pan. Mix cornstartch and spices in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs well into a seperate shallow dish. Coat chicken in dry mix first, and then dip into egg. Place both chicken patties into oil and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Place on papertowels to soak up excess oil. Add mayo and lettuce to bun, and last, but most importantly, add the chicken to the bun, and eat your heart out!

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars


As my husband talks smack on COD in the background, I had to do something to get into my blog state mind. Ah yes, it's Meatloaf. No, no, not for dinner. On YouTube. Who doesn't love listening to a little Meatloaf while blogging about little cheese cake bars sent from heaven above?

I figured my best bet for blogging bliss would be to barricade myself into the bedroom, as far away from the blaring television and shouting husband (at the t.v. of course)as I possibly could. My bliss lasted a mere two minutes before our kitten managed to open the door. She's a cute little Siamese thing, very vocal, and boy does she love me. As long as I can keep her fury little paws away from the keyboard, I should be set to blog away!

These bars looked amazing before they even hit the oven. I should let you in on a little secret. I'd never purchased lemons or blueberries until the other day, just for this science experiment, I mean, recipe. With a delicious graham cracker crust, and the colors of fresh lemons and blueberries working together, I figured these would be a hit with my husband.

I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake, but I saw these little guys on the web and could not help but to try and make them. They were very simple to make, and after listening to my husband moan and groan about the three hour chill time required, we both enjoyed the lovely taste of, what was that? Ah, yes, it was heaven.

Ingredients:
Crust:
9 graham crackers
2 tbl. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 stick of sweet cream butter (melted)

Filling:
2 pkg. cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 lemons (zested and juiced)
3/4 c. fresh blueberries
1/4 c. powdered sugar (for dusting)

Directions:

Rinse fresh blueberries under cold water and set aside to dry.

Place graham crackers into plastic bag and crush into small pieces. Combine crackers with cinnamon, melted butter, and sugar. Place in greased glass baking pan.



Using a glass press firmly down on mixture to spread evenly while packing down to form crust. Bake at 325F for 8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Combine cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl and mix on high for 3 minutes or until filling is smooth.

Spread evenly on top of cooled crust. Evenly distribute the fresh blueberries on top of the filling and place in the oven for 30 minutes. The top should not be brown. Remove and let cool on counter, then place in fridge to chill for 3 hours. Cut into 9 bars and dust with powdered sugar before serving.