Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grilled Green Beans

Yeah, I will grill anything. Especially on my new indoor grill. I first used this marinade on broccoli and it is seriously the best thing that happened to vegetables since... cheese sauce. I've used it on broccoli, asparagus, and green beans. The measurements are approximate since I usually just eyeball it, so use your best judgement.



-Ingredients-
8 oz green beans (I used haricot vert- french green beans)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder (I love garlic...)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

-Directions-

1. Mix all ingredients except the parmesan cheese in a large ziplock bag. Let flavors marinate for 10 minutes or so.
2. Put on a grill over medium heat, turning frequently until crisp tender. About 10 minutes. (Use one of those special grill skillets or a cast iron skillet if you are worried about losing beans through the cracks.)
3. Remove beans from heat, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Easy!

Hey guys! If you like this grilled green bean recipe, check out my recipe for Balsamic Marinated Roasted Veggies! It's amazing! 

Grilled Marinated Pork Chops

Santa Clause got me this awesome new indoor grill and I was beyond excited to use it! I went to the store and got the thickest pork chops I could find, threw them in this marinade and waited (not so) patiently for them to be ready to grill. 

The grill was everything I could have dreamed of. I see a lot of grilling in my future.



-Ingredients-
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 thick cut, bone in pork chops (or whatever you have)

-Directions- 
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put in a Ziplock bag and add chops.
2. Marinate 30 minute in the fridge, but no more than 4 hours. Seriously.
3. Pull out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. Flip it around occasionally.
4. Thoroughly dry your chops. Cook on med-high heat 5 minutes on each side. 

Mom's Super Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Ok sooo... heres the thing. My mom makes cheesy potatoes twice a year: Christmas and Easter. It's not like I can't make them... but they are always so much better when my dearest mother makes them. So When I left Raleigh yesterday my mom sent me home with a bag of leftover potatoes for me and a bag for me to deliver to my sister. I ate some for dinner last night. I fell asleep. Mr. Picky thought the other bag belonged to me so he finished off my precious bag of cheesy potatoes. When he found out the truth today he felt bad. Really bad. Because I almost sobbed.

There was a time that I dropped my last helping of leftover potatoes when I pulled it out of the microwave, splattering them all over the floor at Rachel's dad's house. That time, I did sob.

This time, I pouted about it all day. Then I realized.. um I cook all the time. I am fully capable of doing this. So I pulled my depressed self out of bed and went to the store. With Mr. Picky's money, because he owed me this one. :) They're so easy, why don't you make some?

I didn't call my mom and get her recipe.. I just did it by memory. They're in the oven right now. Hopefully they're close to hers. Then I'm cut off cheesy potatoes for a while... until Easter at least.



-Ingredients-
2 lb bag hash brown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can of milk (use it after you pour the soup in, obvi)
1/4 c sour cream
3 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese (oh yeah)
1/2 onion, diced
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

-Directions-
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except the 1 c of cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Pour into a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining c of cheese on top. Bake covered for 45 mins at 375*. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. (See. I told ya it was easy. And oh so delicious)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! Broccoli, Ham and Cheese Wreath- Guide Recipe

I have been so busy the past few weeks! I graduated from UNCW last weekend and Christmas this weekend, phew! I have been cooking a lot but I haven't had a chance to post. I have the luxury this year of being lazy on Christmas day with my family. My laptop has also been out of commission because the charger was not working.......but now I am on my moms and I have finally posted my recipes! I have had a wonderful Christmas with my family and I hope you all have too! 

I made this wreath last week and fell in love with it. You could literally put ANYTHING in this, and I will be playing around with this whole wreath thing a lot. All year long. I call it a wreath now because its Christmas but we can just call it a... round or something the other 11 months of the year. :) Next I'm going to try a Cuban Sandwich ring, how good does that sound?! This is what I used this time:


-Ingredients-

2 cups cooked, chopped ham
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c mayo
1/2 c ranch
1 tbsp ranch dressing powder
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled 
2 packages crescent rolls


-Directions-
1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl except the crescent rolls and bacon.
2. Line a pizza pan with foil and spray with Pam. (I used a large skillet because Mr. Picky did not have a pizza pan at his house. I just wrapped the handle in foil so it wouldn't melt. Worked!)
3. Arrange the crescent dough triangles in a circle on the pan with the large parts of the triangle overlapping. (see picture above) Spoon the filling in a circle over the overlapped portion of the dough. 
4. Fold the short end of the triangle over the filling towards the center and tuck underneath the overlapped dough. Sprinkle the crispy bacon evenly on top.
5. Bake for 30 minutes in a 375* oven or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before slicing.


Cream Cheese Spaghetti Bake

A different way to serve up spaghetti. So easy for a weeknight but special enough for company. I don't usually condone using jarred pasta sauce but it doesn't make much of a difference here. I used a spicy pepper sauce because I *hate* how sweet jarred sauces can be. The recipe calls for 12 oz of spaghetti which is odd, but I suggest you weigh or eyeball out 12 oz because I just used the entire box (16 oz) and it was a little dry with the extra pasta. It was still yummers!



-Ingredients-

12 oz spaghetti
1 28 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

-Directions-

1. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package instructions. I suggest breaking the pasta in half to make it easier to stir later.
2. Meanwhile, brown the beef. Drain the fat and add the jar of sauce. Set aside.
3. Mix warm, cooked spaghetti in a large bowl with softened cream cheese, italian seasoning and clove of garlic. Mix well until cream cheese is melted and spaghetti is well coated.
4. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and spread a little bit of the meat sauce on the bottom. Pour in the spaghetti mixture and top with the remainder of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with the cheeses.
5. Bake in a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Serve with a salad and some garlic bread!

Olive Garden Salad

Okay, so I've made this dressing a couple of times and I can't lie and say that it tastes exactly like Olive Garden's. But it is darn good and the flavors are close so I suggest you try it out.
You can put whatever you like on this salad, obviously. I didn't put black olives on mine because my roommate and I don't care for them. No sense in wasting money just to make it look like an Olive Garden salad. The real recipe here is for the dressing. 


-Ingredients-
1/2 c mayo
1/3 c white vinegar
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp corn syrup
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
1 T lemon juice

-Directions-
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add some sugar if it is too tart. It kind of was for me.




Monday, December 19, 2011

Chicken & Dumpling Casserole

This was an easy and delicious meal to prepare. I will say that it is not QUITE like real chicken & dumplings but it is tasty for what it turns out to be. Serve this with a nice crisp salad and some crusty bread and you've got a home cooked meal in no time.



-Ingredients-

3-4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 c flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c milk
1 can cream of chicken soup

-Directions-
1. Melt the butter and pour into a 9x13 pan. Spread it around evenly.
2. Sprinkle the chicken evenly throughout the pan on top of the butter.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, baking powder and salt. Pour mixture evenly over the chicken. Do NOT stir!
4. Whisk together the broth and cream of chicken soup. Pour over the flour mixture evenly.Do not stir!
5. Bake in a 400* preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the dumplings are golden brown.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

I know, I know. I JUST posted a recipe for macaroni and cheese. But this one is different, and who can have too many mac and cheese recipes?! This recipe came to me through my sister. She made this for Thanksgiving and I loved it, I had to have the recipe! I made it for my class and it was so easy and still good! The kids told me I was the best cook and some of them even said my macaroni and cheese was better than their mom's ;)


-Ingredients-
Cook 2 cups of cooked macaroni (elbow noodles)
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese 
1 can Campbell Cream Cheddar Soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt, pepper, and dry mustard
2 eggs

-Directions-

Once macaroni is cooked and strained mix in with above and put in crock pot on high for at least 2 hours.  Do not cook over 3 hours(it will dry out)  I also add an extra cup of shredded cheddar while in crock pot after about 1 1/2 hours.

Holiday Cookies & Cream Pudding Cookies

My last day at Blair was on Wednesday and I got to do all of my favorite things. Well of course my TRUE favorite thing is cooking so I brought my favorite food- macaroni and cheese (recipe is coming!) and I absolutely LOVE anything cookies and cream. So I saw the recipe for cookies and cream cookies and I knew I had to try them! I did put a holiday twist in for fun though :) 


My pictures are getting slightly better, aren't they?

-Ingredients-
3/4 cup butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1 (4.2 oz) packet of Oreo cookies and cream pudding mix
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
2 1/4 c flour
14 Oreos, crushed (I used the Christmas peppermint Oreos for a twist- it was delicious!)

-Directions-
1. Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth.
2. Beat in the pudding packet and mix until well blended.
3. Mix in the eggs one at a time and add vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Slowly incorporate into the butter mixture. Mix well until your dough forms.
5. Stir in the crushed Oreos.
6. Roll into one inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet.
7. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Before football started this afternoon I was laying on the couch watching Good Eats on my favorite channel (Cooking Channel) and Alton was making all sorts of mac and cheese deliciousness. It was then I decided I needed some sort of mac and cheese today. But then again.... I have been craving buffalo chicken dip for a while and I was planning on making that for football tonight. Solution? Buffalo chicken mac and cheese. Brilliant.




It was everything I could have hoped for and Mr. Picky had 3 (BIG) servings. It is somewhat spicy so if you don't like spicy food then, well.... you shouldn't make buffalo chicken mac and cheese. :)

-Ingredients-
4 T unsalted butter
8 oz (1/2 lb) elbow macaroni
1/2 c onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 c shredded rotisserie chicken
3 oz buffalo wing sauce (I used Texas Pete)
1 T flour
1 t dried mustard
1 1/4 c half-and-half
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded pepper jack
1/3 c sour cream
3/4 c panko bread crumbs
1 T chopped fresh parsley


-Directions-
1. Boil pasta according to package directions for al dente pasta. 
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 T butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and 2 oz hot sauce (seriously.. just eyeball it. Cover the chicken in hot sauce). Heat through, reduce heat and keep warm.
3. Heat 1 T butter over medium heat in another sauce pan. Mix in flour and dried mustard, whisk to combine and make a roux. Slowly add half and half and a couple more tablespoons of hot sauce. Stir until thickened. 
4. Add the pepper jack and about 1 1/4 c of the shredded cheddar and stir until melted. Mix in sour cream and stir until smooth.
5. Combine pasta, chicken and cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9 inch baking pan. 
6. Heat 1 1/2 T butter in the microwave until melted. Mix with bread crumbs, remaining cheddar and parsley. Cover the macaroni and cheese with breadcrumb mixture.
7. Bake in a 350* oven for 35 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.



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Friday, December 2, 2011

Bubble Up Enchilada Bake

This is a recipe I got from my new favorite food blog, Plain Chicken. She has so many good recipes, especially for tailgating! I wanted to make something different tonight and this recipe seemed to fit the bill. Laura and Mr. Picky joined me and they said that it was . A wonderful alternative on Mexican food night! Plus, it is SO easy to make and would be great on a busy weeknight. I dare you to try it!

-Ingredients-
1 Can refrigerated biscuits
1 lb lean ground beef
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 c shredded mexican cheese

-Directions-
1. Brown the ground beef. Drain the fat and add the enchilada sauce, tomato sauce and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.
2. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Stir into the beef mixture.
3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Pour the mixture in and bake at 350* for 25 minutes. 
4. Sprinkle the mixture with the remaining cheese and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes for serving.

Sorry I never got a picture.. but head over to Plain Chicken and check hers out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

This is a recipe my mom came up with Thanksgiving morning when she decided she didn't want to just bring plain potatoes to dinner. They turned out to be a hit! There were no leftovers, much to my dismay. The amazing (frustrating) thing about my mother is that she NEVER has recipes and can rarely tell you how much of something she puts in. This was the best I could get out of her. (Love you mom). 



-Ingredients-
8 potatoes
1 c shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for the top
1/3 stick butter, softened
3 oz sour cream
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
bacon bits
green onions

-Directions-

1. Boil the potatoes whole in their skins until soft. Peel potatoes. (You could probably do them regular mashed potato style too if you chose- already peeled and cubed then boiled until tender).
2. Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, soft butter, sour cream, and dressing mix and mash. Add a few sprinkles of bacon bits and green onions and mix. Whip the potatoes with a hand mixer until smooth.
3. Top with remaining shredded cheddar. Bake in a 350* oven for 25-30 minutes or until hot.
4. Top with more bacon bits and green onions, if desired.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Classic Green Bean Casserole

We all have green bean casserole on the holidays. It just isn't Thanksgiving or Christmas without it for many of us! I know ya'll don't need the recipe. But I'm posting it anyways, because this is what I was elected to make for Thanksgiving this year. 


-Ingredients-

1 can cream of chicken mushroom soup (sorry for the typo. Thanks Cara!)
1/4 c milk
2 cans cut green beans, drained
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/3 c French's onions

-Directions-

1. Mix soup, milk, and pepper in a 1 1/2 qt baking dish until blended.
2. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup fried onions.
3. Bake at 350* 30 minutes.
4. Take out of oven, stir and top with remaining fried onions.
5. Bake 5 more minutes or until golden.


Chocolate Chess Pie

If you've ever been to Angus Barn in Raleigh, you've heard of chocolate chess pie. My sister and I can't make it out of there without at least sharing a slice. In high school, we even had my mom make it for our special Sunday dinners once in a while. It is rich, gooey, and chocolatey. Basically everything I want in a dessert. I did not sign up to bring dessert to Thanksgiving tomorrow, so I guess I will just have to surprise them with this perfect pie. 



-Ingredients-

1 1/2 c sugar
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
1/4 c butter
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

-Directions-

1. Mix together sugar and cocoa powder. Mix the eggs then beat them in. 
2. Beat in the milk, butter and vanilla. I let the mixture beat for about 5 minutes.
3. Pour prepared mixture into pie crust.
4. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool before slicing.
5. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some fresh made whipped topping.

Overnight Sticky Buns

Since my family is spending Thanksgiving with the Barhams this year we knew we wouldn't have those all familiar smells filling our home when we woke up this morning. I took that as an opportunity to make my home smell like sweet sticky buns. These were so easy to throw together the night before and even easier to stick in the oven this morning as we got ready to make our other dishes. 


Even dad ate one! They were so sugary and warm, the perfect kick off to the holiday season. I might add cinnamon next time. Or even some chopped up pre-cooked bacon....yum.
Recipe Source: Plain Chicken

-Ingredients-

1/2 chopped pecans
9 frozen dinner rolls (Rhodes work best. Of course Lowes was sold out so I had to manage)
1/2 package butterscotch cook and serve pudding (NOT instant)
1/4 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
cooking spray
-Directions-

1. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Scatter the pecans in the bottom evenly.
2. Arrange the frozen dinner rolls around the pan on top of the pecans, evenly spaced.
3. Sprinkle the buns and the pan with 1/2 the package of pudding.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and melt, stirring.
5. Pour the mixture over the buns and on the pan.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise overnight.
7. The next morning, cook the rolls at 350* for 20-25 minutes. Invert the rolls onto a serving dish. Enjoy with a cup of coffee. 


Fried Egg over Cheesy Potatoes: Guide Recipe

I woke up this morning and needed to make breakfast quick. My parents are coming in town and I, of course, have some last second cleaning to do. I remembered my leftover cheesy ranch potatoes I had in the fridge and my lightbulb went off. 



Leftover potatoes of any kind are perfect for breakfast in my mind. If you have leftover roasted potatoes, heat them up in a frying pan with some onions and make a hash. Serve with eggs. You can use leftover mashed potatoes to make fried potato "pancakes". Leftover baked potatoes can be cubed and also made into a hash. Since my potatoes were already in hashbrown form and covered with cheese I had it easy! I just heated them up, fried an egg and plopped it on top. Something about that yolk mixing with my rich cheesy potatoes let me know I was going to have a great day :). 

I don't really need to explain ingredients and directions for this one. Its leftover potatoes and a fried egg. How easy is that!?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chocolate Candy Cane Pie

Have a little bit of time on your hands this holiday season? I made this pie last year for Thanksgiving to kick off the Christmas season. It is very rich and delicious, especially if you love the chocolate/peppermint combo like I do. It takes some TLC but it is well worth it! Surprise your family with this special pie, which could be served frozen or simply chilled. Mmm..


-Ingredients-
1 Oreo pie crust

For the Chocolate Layer:
3 T water
3/4 c chocolate chips
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c powdered sugar

For The Peppermint Layer:
1 1/2 c miniature marshmallows
1/4 c milk
1 c heavy cream 
1/2 c finely crushed candy cane (7 regular canes) or you could use some crushed peppermint bark
sweetened whipping cream, for topping (that's about 3 c total for entire pie)

-Directions-

1. Chocolate Layer: heat chocolate chips until melted in a double boiler. (Or you could put a glass bowl over some simmering water, just make sure the bowl does not touch the water or your chocolate will burn.)
2. Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.
3. Chill a large mixing bowl and the beaters in the freezer. Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff. Fold in cooled chocolate.
4. Pour this mixture into the bottom of the pie. Chill.
5. Peppermint Layer: Break candy cane into chunks. 
6. Combine marshmallows and milk in wok. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Cool this mixture until just slightly warm.
7. Prepare whipping cream as before with chilled bowl and beaters. Stir in peppermint candy. Fold in marshmallow mixture. Chill mixture for 10 minutes.
8. Top chocolate layer with peppermint layer in pie crust. Chill pie until set. It can also be frozen.
7. Serve with a dollop of freshly made whipped cream and some additional crushed peppermints.

Recipe Source: food.com


Quick and Easy Turtle Cheesecake

I made this recipe a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving and I have been thinking about it a lot recently. I was really hoping to make it this year but the soiree I will be attending will already have PLENTY of desserts. Maybe I will save it for Christmas. I suggest you try it this holiday season!


-Ingredients-
1 Oreo pie crust
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
2 eggs
6 oz pecans, toasted and chopped
7 oz caramel candies (half a bag)
1/4 c milk
1/3 c mini chocolate chips

-Directions-

1. Preheat your oven to 325*
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended.
3. Add eggs; mix until just blended and pour into pie crust. 
4. Bake 30-45 minutes or until center is set.
5. While your cheesecake is cooling, microwave caramels and milk on high until melted. Pour caramel over cooled cheesecake. Tilt the pan until there is an even layer of caramel.
6. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans on cheesecake.
7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: food.com

Hasselback Potatoes- Guide Recipe

I've seen recipes for these little gems all over the internet and I have always wanted to try them. After making them I don't know why I waited so long! They're no more difficult to make than a baked potato but they look so much more elegant. They would look great on any holiday table.


I just made a couple using some small white potatoes. You could make these using new potatoes or even large russets. It just depends on how many you are feeding. You could also add cheese between the slices, flavored butters, fresh herbs etc... you don't need to follow this recipe to a T. Add whatever you and your family like! The possibilities are endless. Here is how I did mine.

-Ingredients-

3 small white potatoes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
butter
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

-Directions-

1. Wash potatoes thoroughly and dry. 
2. Slice a little bit of the bottoms of the potatoes to create a flat surface.
3. Place a potato in a large spoon and slice. The spoon ensures the knife will not cut all the way through the potato and will give you the fanning effect. Repeat with all potatoes.
3. Here is where you add your own spin: I thinly sliced a couple of cloves of garlic and inserted them in every other space. I alternated with thin slices of cold butter. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
4. Bake at 425* for about 45 minutes. (Time may vary depending on the size of your potatoes).
5. Top with a dollop of butter or sour cream and serve hot!
2. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.



Pepperoni Calzones

I let Mr. Picky decide on dinner last night since he was buying. But I didn't like what he picked so I decided to make calzones. :) I really was just craving anything with my homemade marinara sauce, and calzones fit the bill. The great thing about calzones is that you can make them to suit anyones tastes. They're also pretty easy to make!



I bought a ball of frozen pizza dough and let it thaw under a damp towel for a couple of hours. I then was presented with the task of separating the dough into two separate balls and stretching it out. This frustrated me. If any of you have been around me when I'm trying to do something that frustrates me I quickly transform from a woman to a 4 year old child that pouts and screams. I walked away from the dough and came back and formed to nicely shaped 10 inch rounds to build my calzones. A sight for sure.

Speaking of sights... I found myself watching some Martha Stewart special on pies Saturday night on the cooking channel. (I mean....I was out raging with all my friends). Anyways I finally learned how to make crusts look pretty. I was happy to use my new skill.

-Ingredients-
1 ball frozen pizza dough
7 oz ricotta cheese (about half of a small container)
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese
~Optional Ingredients~
Pepperoni
cooked sausage
ham
pineapple
onions
black olives
etc...

-Directions-

1. Thaw dough (either in the fridge overnight or for 3ish hours at room temperature.) Separate dough into two equal parts. Lightly flour and roll or stretch into 2 10-inch rounds. Place on a greased baking sheet and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine cheeses. Separate into two equal portions and place on one half of your calzones. Then pick your pizza toppings and add them to your calzones. I added a handful of pepperoni to each, some sliced deli him and onions to mine. I put black olives in Mr. Picky's. The possibilities are endless! I mixed some of the toppings in with the cheese and placed the rest on top.
3. Fold the dough over and seal the edges well. Poke holes in the top of the calzone to let the steam out.
4. Bake your calzones at 450* for 10-15 minutes or until hot and golden brown.
5. Enjoy with your favorite marinara dipping sauce! (I made my own. Very against jarred sauces. Yuck.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chicken Poppers and Cheesy Ranch Potatoes



Last night was an "empty your pantry" kind of night. I had some chicken tenders in the freezer, a few slices of bacon in the fridge and hash browns in the freezer. What is a girl to do? Make a delicious meal, thats what.



And delicious it was, even Mr. Picky agreed. Of course, he didn't know there was almost a full container of sour cream in the potatoes. Shh.. our secret.

I'm sorry for the poor quality photo. It was another from my phone and also I was STARVING.. can't waste time taking exquisite pictures :)

I got the idea for the chicken poppers from my fantastic brother-in-law. He actually does this using pork loin instead of chicken and he grills them. Truthfully, I like those poppers better but this is what I had and they turned out pretty darned tasty! He also does not use the sugar, I got that from a similar Paula Deen recipe and thought I'd try it out. I could take it or leave it.


For the Chicken Poppers

-Ingredients-
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into one inch cubes
Allegro Hot and Spicy Marinade
1 lb bacon
2/3 c brown sugar
2 T chili powder

-Directions-

1. Marinade the chicken in the Allegro for at least an hour.
2. Cut each slice of bacon into three.
3. Wrap the marinated chicken in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
4. Dredge in the sugar mixture, then place on a greased broiling rack and pan.
5. Bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes or until bacon is crispy. Yum!

For the Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

-Ingredients-

1/2 a bag of frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 c garlic croutons
1/4 c french fried onions

-Directions-
1. Mix everything together but the croutons and the onions in a large bowl. Transfer to a greased 8 inch casserole dish.
2. In a Ziploc, crush the croutons and the french fried onions into a fine crumb and combine together. Sprinkle mixture on top of the potatoes.
3. Bake alongside the chicken in a 350* oven for 35-40 mins or until hot and bubbly.

This turned out to be a wonderful dinner with things I just had in the fridge and cupboards! The potatoes were really different with the addition of ranch dressing, we really enjoyed them.






Thanksgiving Oreo Turkeys



You can find a lot of different variations of these all over the web. I cannot take credit for making these little beauties. A room mom of ours was nice enough to make these for our Thanksgiving feast and they turned out great! The kids were really excited to eat them (as were many adults).



-Ingredients-
Double Stuff Oreos
Can of Chocolate Frosting
Candy Corn
Malted Milk Balls (Whoppers)
Cinnamon Red Hots

-Directions-

1. Take the Oreos apart, separate the creamed side from the plain side and make two different piles.
2. Spread the chocolate frosting the flat side of the plain chocolate cookie. Press the candy corn into the frosting to resemble turkey feathers.
3. Insert the frosted turkey into the cream of the other cookie half.
4. Put a little bit of icing on the malt ball and press it on in front of the frosted cookie.
5. Frost a red hot and place that on top.
6. If desired, pipe a little face on.
7. You can also use the white part of a candy corn and stick it on with frosting to look like a beak. Cute!

Our classroom was a disaster after the "feast." Signs we had a good time!




Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies



This is dangerous. Not as in it will make you ill dangerous but... sinfully dangerous. These are brownies topped with an extra rich EGG FREE cookie dough, so its safe to consume as much as you want without fear of getting sick.

That, my friends, is why these delicious morsels are dangerous.


I don't really like baking and I don't do it much. I hate feeling restricted to a recipe and that is how I feel when I bake. Plus I really don't like sweets that much. But I was asked to make brownies for our Native American Feast tomorrow in my class and they handed me over a boxed brownie. How boring. So I searched the internet until I came across these beauties. And.. oh my..

Forgive the picture. I left my camera at school and had to use my phone!

Recipe Source: Recipegirl

The original recipe calls for homemade brownies. If you love baking then go right on ahead and make your favorite brownies from scratch to fill a 13x9 pan. I just used a family sized boxed variety.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Yield: 32 brownies

-Ingredients-

1 family sized box of brownie mix
3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c granulated sugar
3 T milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 c mini chocolate chips

-Directions-

1. Make brownies according to package instructions. Let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
3. Spread the mixture on in an even layer on top of the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is firm. The more firm the dough is, the easier the brownies are to cut. Wipe your knife between cuts to avoid a mess.
4. Top with extra chocolate chips, if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meat Loaf



I haven't had beef in over a week. WHAT. This is very out of the ordinary for me. I'm making a meatloaf tonight and I plan on having some yummy, low point meatloaf sandwiches in my future. I like how this meatloaf is different in that it incorporates a lot of veggies. Not as good as mom's but honestly, what is? This came from the WW new complete cookbook.



-Ingredients-
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 c finely chopped white mushrooms (I left these out)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef (7% fat or less)
1/2 c quick-cooking oats (not instant)
2 large egg whites
3 T ketchup
1 T Worcestershire
2 t finely chopped thyme or 1/2 t dried
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c tomato puree or tomato sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add all remaining ingredients except tomato puree to vegetables in bowl; mix well. Press meatloaf mixture into 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch loaf pan.
4. Bake for 3 minutes. Brush tomato puree on top of loaf. Bake for another 30-45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into 8 slices.

Per Serving (2 Slices): 243 cal, 8 g total fat, 3 g sat fat, 15 g carb, 2 g fiber, 26 g protein
Points Plus Value: 6

Strawberry Jam

Spring is here and summer is not far! I had about 5 pounds of fresh, ripe delicious strawberries and I knew we would not be able to eat all of them. Wes' dad made the suggestion of making preserves with them. What a wonderful idea! And it made the house smell like a juicy strawberry while it was cooking. It is on the sweet side, but the sugar helps the jam thicken without pectin. Once it set, it is not overly sweet, don't worry! It's perfect :)

-Ingredients-
2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled
4 c white sugar
1/4 c lemon juice

-Directions-
1. Mash the strawberries up until you have about 4 cups.
2. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine mashed strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low until sugar dissolves.
3. Increase the heat to high and bring to a rolling boil. Boil, while stirring until mixture reaches 220 degrees F. This took me about 10 minutes.
3. If canning, transfer to sterile jars and process in a water bath. If you are using it immediately, just let it cool before refrigerating. YUM.t

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Deviled Eggs



Happy Easter everyone! In honor of my favorite Spring time holiday, we made some deviled eggs yesterday. We celebrated the holiday a day early since my parents were able to come in town on Saturday. We had a wonderful time, complete with a water fight! What a blast.

I know I don't need to tell anyone how to make deviled eggs. I think us Southerners are just born with the know how to whip up a delicious batch of creamy deviled eggs. These, however, are lightened up and still delicious!



-Ingredients-

8 large hard boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
4 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and fresh pepper to taste
4 tbsp chopped chives

-Directions-

Cut eggs in half long ways, scoop yolks out into a bowl. Add the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Mash and mix until smooth. Pipe the mixture back into the eggs. Top with chopped chives and paprika, if desired. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Smoked Sausage-and-Vegetable Pile-Up




This recipe was found in WW 5 ingredient 15 minute recipes. I chose to bypass the "15 minute" part and instead of buying pre-chopped veggies, I chopped my own. This is supposed to be an alternative to those "all-in-one" bowls that they have at KFC and the likes but much healthier.


-Ingredients-

Cooking spray
7 oz smoked turkey sausage, diagonally sliced
1 c chopped onion (I used red)
1 c chopped bell pepper (I used yellow)
1 c sliced zucchini (I sliced them into half-moons)
1 20 oz package refrigerated garlic mashed potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)
2 c frozen whole-kernal corn

-Directions-
1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; saute 2 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
2. Return pan to heat' recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, and zucchini. Coat vegetables with cooking spray; saute 5 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown.
3. While vegetables cook, heat potatoes according to package directions.
4. Add corn and cooked sausage to onion mixture. Saute 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve sausage mixture over mashed potatoes.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 c sausage and vegetables and 1/2 c mashed potatoes).
PointsPlus value: 8

Per serving: CAL 306; FAT 9g (sat 4.6g); PRO 12.9g; CARB 46.2g; FIB 6g; SUG 10.1g; CHOL 37mg; SOD 434mgt

Something New

Ahh! I'm back! I have been SO incredibly busy the past few weeks you don't even want to know what I have been calling "dinner." But here I am ready to get back into the swing of things!

Just as a random FYI... I have started following Weight Watchers. I tried to do it back in the Fall without actually paying for the program... that was hard but I DID lose 10 pounds. However, it was hard to stay motivated when they changed the program and I could no longer access materials for free. I have decided to pay for 3 months in advance so.. expect some healthier recipes! Not to worry, I know WW and dedicated followers have some awesome recipes out there, so we will still be eating some delectameals.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Many Thanks!

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the beautiful Sarah Baker at The Zesty Baker for making me the gorgeous delectameals banner on the top of my blog! How awesome is she?

I promise I will post a new meal soon! And something without meat for Mrs. Baker :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Herb Crusted Pork Chops with Balsamic Onions and Creamy Parmesan Orzo


Not gonna lie, this was an awesome dinner. The best part is how EASY it is to make, even on a weeknight. There was very little clean up which made for one happy Julia.

For the Pork Chops:

-Ingredients-
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 c Panko bread crumbs
1 T thyme, finely chopped
1 T rosemary, finely chopped
1 t basil, finely chopped
1 t sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 center cut pork chops
olive oil, as needed for pan frying

-Directions-

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place flour, eggs, and panko in 3 separate bowls next to each other for a breading station. Add the chopped herbs to the panko and mix around. First, salt and pepper the chops. Coat them in the flour, dip them in the egg, and then coat them generously with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes so your coating won't fall off while frying.

3. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the pork chops and fry until golden brown on each side. (2-3 minutes per side). Transfer to a cookie sheet.

4. Place the chops in the oven and cook until they are done (about 5 minutes, depending on thickness). Remove from oven and allow to rest briefly. Serve with balsamic onions.

For the Balsamic Onions:

-Ingredients-

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar

1. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent.

2. Season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook until the onions are completely caramelized and very soft. Serve on top of the finished pork chops.

For the Creamy Parmesan Orzo:

-Ingredients-
1 T butter
1 c orzo
1 1/4 c chicken broth
1 1/4 c water
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c frozen peas
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

1. Heat butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add orzo and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and water and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, simmering until all of the liquid is absorbed by the orzo, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheese, peas, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

St. Patty's Day Gnocchi



Well, I told ya'll I would not be able to post as much once spring break was over! I made this dish on St. Patricks day and to be perfectly honest... I did not enjoy it too much. The first few bites were delicious but it was so SO rich that I found myself picking out the gnocchi and shaking most of the sauce off. I did want to share it with you though!

Next time... I would definitely halve the sauce as there was so much when I was done it looked like a chowder. Otherwise I would have really enjoyed the dish. Oh.. would have used a lot more cabbage too! It cooks down so much while you're caramelizing it you cant even taste that its there!

-Ingredients-
2 T butter
1 T canola oil
1/4 c small diced carrots (but on the actual episode he said to chop them larger so they don't get mushy during all of the caramelization)
1 c diced cabbage (would use more!)
1 T minced shallots
1 t minced garlic
2 c cooked corned beef, sliced and shredded
1 t fresh ground pepper
1/4 c white whine
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c half and half
1 T dijon mustard
1 T whole-grain mustard
1 T prepared horseradish
2 c grated sharp Irish cheddar
3/4 c peas, fresh or frozen
1 package gnocchi (recipe called for 1 lb linguine but I thought gnocchi would be better!)
1/4 c grated parmesan

-Directions-



1. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and canola oil. Add the carrots and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage starts to caramelize, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the shallots and garlic and saute another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corned beef and black pepper and cook until beef is crispy, about 10 minutes.

3. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the cream, half and half, the mustards and horseradish. Let simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheese.

4. Meanwhile, cook your gnocchi (or linguine). When done, stir into the sauce and add the peas. Serve immediately garnished with the parmesan cheese.



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meaty Meat Lasagna



Lasagna. What is more comforting than that? This is not a recipe I received from anywhere, but I have learned it through watching my mom and making my own sauces over the years.

I will admit, it is odd trying to measure what I put into my bolognese sauce.. I usually just throw in proportions measuring with my hands or my eyes but I made an attempt to get measurements for blog purposes. :)

Please, don't use jarred sauce. It is so easy and just as cost effective to make your own sauce.

-Ingredients-
1 lb ground beef
1 lb hot italian sausage, casings removed (or bulk)
4 cloves garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 6 1/2 oz cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c dry red wine
1 T salt
1 t pepper
1 T oregano
2 T sugar
1/2 T basil
2 bay leaves
2 c mozzarella
3/4 c grated parmesan
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 box no boil lasagna noodles

-Directions-

Preheat oven to 375.

Brown ground beef, sausage, onions and garlic. Drain.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves and seasoning. Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves.

Combine ricotta with the 2 eggs, mixing thoroughly.

Layer your lasagna in a 13x9x3 inch pan:



1 1/2 c sauce
4 noodles, overlapping (they will expand to the outer edges while cooking)
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/4 of the sauce
1/2 c mozzarella
1/4 c parmesan

4 noodles, overlapping
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/4 of the sauce
1/2 c mozzarella
1/4 c parmesan

4 noodles, overlapping
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/4 of the meat sauce

4 noodles, overlapping
1/4 of the meat sauce
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese

Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and place on top of lasagna (sprayed side down). Cook 55 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let lasagna rest uncovered for 15 minutes before serving.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Roast Half Spring Chickens with Potatoes, Olives, and Lemon



This is a Rachael Ray recipe. I use her recipes a LOT. I know we just had roasted vegetables last week but.. I love them AND this recipe looked different to me.

I was terrified to cut a chicken in half, but it was actually very easy. Watch a video showing you how here.




Anyways, the dish turned out great and smelled awesome while cooking. Brining made the chicken so succulent and the olives and lemon gave the veggies a different flavor. I did not use spring chickens because they had a regular fryer chicken on sale at Lowes so I grabbed that. It was a lot of food for the two of us but we have lots of leftover chicken! This recipe serves four.

-Ingredients-


For the brine:
4 tablespoons Kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 stems rosemary, cut into two inch pieces
A few bay leaves
A few sprigs thyme
2 1/2 quarts water

2 halved small spring chickens (2 birds, 3-3 1/2 lbs, halved)

1 sack pearl onions
2 pounds baby potatoes, smaller ones whole larger ones cut in half
1 bulb garlic, cloves crushed and skinned
2 lemons, one sliced, the other cut into quarters
1 cup good quality green olives
A few fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
oil
salt and pepper

-Preparation-

The day before the meal, combine the brine ingredients and the chicken in a large bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day:
Preheat oven to 500.
Boil water in a medium pot and add pearl onions. Cook 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath. Squish onions out of their skins, leaving them whole. Place in a shallow roasting dish. Add potatoes, olives, lemon, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Drizzle with a little bit of oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place a cooling rack over the baking dish.


Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry. Coat skin with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on top of the vegetables and roast at 500 for 35 minutes then turn down the heat to 300 and roast for another 20-30 minutes.

Turn the oven off and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve chickens with the quartered lemon to squeeze on top. Serve with the vegetables on the side.