Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I know I've been a bad blogger.. but I'm just gonna breeze in here with a quick thanksgiving post.. This year it was epic. Totally freakin EPIC. 2 appitizers, a 21 lb turkey, 8 side dishes, and 5 desserts. And 12 people to eat and enjoy it with me. Having my dad and his wife with us for the first time in many years was really great and I had to put out a big fantastic spread for him. I think he hurt himself eating so much. haha

First, I brined my turkey.. I did a combo of Alton Brown's brine, with Pioneer womans brine.. and threw in a few Me things as well.. Was good. Had Water and a couple cups of apple cider, a cup and a half of salt, a cup of brown sugar, a half a cup of white sugar, candied ginger, whole allspice, peppercorns and cloves; fresh poultry herbs: parsley rosemary sage and thyme.. the peel of 2 oranges and one lemon, a cinnamon stick... and.. Umm I think that's all. Aside from the ice LOL Basically everything including the kitchen sink. Brined it for about 24 hours then rinsed it off and let it sit on the roasting rack, lightly covered with foil in the fridge for about 10 hours, to dry the skin out a bit..

In the morning I took it out and let it come up to room temp a bit.. then stuffed garlic herb butter (poultry hers, grated garlic, salt and butter.. made a ton of it and put it in lots of stuff LOL) under the skin all over the bird, and inside the cavity.. then shoved some quartered apples, onions, and oranges a split head of garlic, and a bundle of fresh herbsa bundle of fresh herbs into the cavity and in the roasting pan around the bird. I poured melted herb butter all over the turkey and rubbed it around and splashed some apple cider into the bottom of the roasting pan and put it in the oven at 500 for about 15 minutes, then reduced the oven to 325 and let it roast for about 4 hours.. had a PERFECTLY cooked turkey. God it was amazing. I think next year I might give a covering the bird with a buttered cheesecloth a try. I saw Michael Symon do that on TV the other day and it sounds like a smart idea.

My dressing was pretty much the same as the one I made in my "Rogue Thanksgiving" a few years ago..which I am SO doing again next year.. already forewarned everyone. This one wore me out.. especially after the party we had 2 and a half weeks ago that I'll hopefully blog about another time... Because the food for that party was beyond epic. Let me put it this way.. there was a slider station AND a pasta station. Among numerous other things.

Anyway.. back to turkey day. I'm easily distracted.

I made the husbands favorite green beans.. With the addition of some half & half to the marsala wine.. WAY yummy. For real. My dad and my brother were most impressed. Must be a very manly green bean. LOL

I made my grandmothers corn casserole.. which is basically everybody elses grandma's corn casserole.. Cream corn, whole kernal corn (I chose frozen varieties of both and was extremely pleased with the results).. crushed up saltines (gonna use ritz crackers next time), some half and half (though grandma and mom use evaporated milk.. I just like and had half&half)... mixed up with crushed crackers and butter all over the top. Good stuff. Reminded me of my mom. I miss my mom. I hope she visits soon.

I made my new favorite version of mashed potatoes.. cream cheese and butter!!! YUM. So much better than sour cream and cheddar. There was supposed to be half&half (you're seeing a trend here, huh? I also used a whole quart of heavy cream in various parts of this meal too :P) but the husband was finishing up the mashed potatoes while I carved turkey and he put a spoonfull into my mouth and I didn't really look at them and realize there was no cream in them.. and they tasted good, so I said "they're good, put em in the bowl".. then looked at the half&half as I was setting the rest of the food out and said "whoops, oh well, all that butter and cream cheese, they be fine!" lol prolly gonna need a little cream on the reheat, but otherwise they were good. LOL

I did my usual apple pie.. but made it super pretty with a full top crust and made little leaf cut outs of the pastry to decorate it with..it turned out good.. but I don't think I put enough flour or maybe didn't bake it quite long enough, because it was very liquidy today, after sitting in the fridge all night. Oh well... for a pie made at 1am during complete and utter exhaustion after a baking marathon AND a last minute 2 hour shopping spree... it was pretty dang good. And looked gorgeous.

And I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.. OMG. I swear, pumpkin pie is dead to me. Pumpkin cheesecake has stolen my heart for ever and ever. Especially with a layer of spiced fresh sweetened whipped cream. Yeah. You drooled a little, didn't you?

And for my oldest baby, who turned 14 on this most Thankful of all days... I made some vanilla cupcakes with andes mint candies chips inside them.. and let him spread chocolate frosting and sprinkle with more andes chips over the top.

My sis in law made the candied sweet potatoes, the green bean casserole, brought the cranberry sauce and gravy.. and my dad's wife made cornbread salad.

It was a feast of epic proportions and very widely recevied.

Oh and those 2 appetizers for nibbles during the day.. Sweet and Sour meatballs.. chili sauce, grape jam, frozen meatballs... voila, every man and child thinks you are a genious. LOL And Asagio ham pinwheels.. puff pastry spread with a mixture of apricot jam and dijon mustard.. then layered with several slices of Virginia baked ham. On top of that, a sprinkling of grated asagio cheese and then a handfull of dried cherries, roughly chopped thrown on top.. roll it up longways, jelly roll style and slice it.. bake at 350 till the puff up and brown. YUMMY stuff. :D My sis in law made those as I talked her through the recipe while I was making the corn. LOL

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that still reads or has stumbled upon my little corner of the blog world!!! I hope your meal was spectacular and your tummy doesn't hurt too bad. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger lately. Partly because I've been distracted by reading, homeschooling Jason, etc... and partly because I haven't really made anything new lately. It seems I only post when I have a new recipe to write out.. I should really get back into posting more regularly..and I probably will. I made a butternut squash mac n cheese a few weeks ago that was really good.. I never did write about it.. infact I'd totally forgotten that I'd even made it until Sunday when we were cleaning out the fridge cuz I needed my red and white polka dot 9x13... and it had the mac n cheese still in it, turning into a science experiment. oops. LOL But I am still alive, just busy as usual. I'll get back to blogging and cooking new things to blog about soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pepper Steak in the crockpot


I made this yesterday.. it was the first day of school and I knew I was gonna have a ton of paperwork to fill out when the kids got home.. so I wanted dinner already prepared and cooking. All I had to do when it was close to time to eat was make some rice and garlic bread to go with it. It was yummy, Jason even ate the peppers in it! :)

Here's the recipe:

2lbs thin cut milanese style top round steak, cut into thin strips
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (to season steak, as much or as little as you like)
Olive oil (enough for browning steak and cooking onions)
2 medium onions, sliced thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
2 cans stewed sliced tomatoes
1/4 cup hot water
1 beef bouillon cube (dissolved in the 1/4 cup water above)
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced

Start by heating up a skillet (I prefer cast iron for stuff like this) while you slice and season your steak. Pour in a tad of oil, just enough for browning up the steak. Throw in the steak and let it sit there for a couple mins before messing with it, so it has a chance to get nice and brown. Then use some tongs and toss it around so it gets nicely browned on both sides. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your cast iron.. you definitely don't want to overcrowd the pan. I had to do mine in about 3 batches, and I was using a 14inch cast iron skillet. Once the steak is browned, toss it into the crockpot. Then saute the onions in the skillet with a bit of oil.. when they are slightly translucent, add the minced garlic. Then throw all of this into the crockpot with the steak. Turn the crockpot on to low and add in everything else, except the bell peppers. If you add the peppers in right now, they will be complete mush by the time the steak is done.. and idk about you, but I can't stand mushy peppers. So I like to wait till the last hour of cooking to add those in. You're gonna cook this on low in your crockpot for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is so tender its falling apart.

Serve this over some cooked rice.. and a little garlic bread on the side to sop up the wonderful sauce.

Enjoy!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School Craziness

Yep... it's that time of year. It's pure insanity. It took 3 hours and $231 at walmart last night getting school supplies.. And that was just for 4 of the kids... Jason is homeschooling this year, and I still gotta get a full curriculum once I figure out what I am going to go with. And I still have to get everyone new shoes..and clothes.. and Andy still needs a backpack.. and Justin and the twins still needs hair cuts. Aiy yi yi...This time of year is almost worse than Christmas. Almost. LOL

I do have something good planned for dinner tonight.. Balsamic Braised Chicken Breasts, and I'm gonna throw a jar of parmesan alfredo sauce on some thin spaghetti to go along with it. I think it'll be yummy. :)


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shrimp Puttanesca


I made this a week or so ago and it was really easy and super yummy. It was The Husband's first foray into the world of capers.. and it went so well, I'm thinking I might need to make him chicken picatta sometime in the near future.

Now back to this recipe... it uses a jar of pasta sauce.. *gasp* ..I know! but that's what I love.. this is an easy busy weeknight meal.

You're gonna need:

1lb linguini, cooked in salted water per package directions
1lb peeled deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
Splash of white wine (I used chardonnay cuz that's what I had in the fridge)
1 jar Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce (I used the Bertolli brand)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
2 Tbs capers
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar

Start by patting the shrimp dry with paper towels and season them well on both sides with salt and garlic pepper. Heat a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and chopped garlic and cook it for a minute or two, until it just starts to turn brown.. then crank the heat up to high and toss in the shrimp. Cook the shrimp until they are golden brown on both sides.. about 2-4 minutes.. Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine (if all you have is red.. use red!) when the wine cooks down by half, stir in the jar of sauce, the olives, capers, red pepper flake, sugar and some fresh cracked pepper... Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until sauce is heated through. Remove the lid and scoop out a cup or two of the sauce and set it aside.. Pour the pasta into the skillet with the sauce and cook for 1 minute, so the pasta can soak up some sauce.. Pour this into your serving dish and to with the reserved cup or two of sauce. Serve this with freshly shaved parm cheese.. oh and garlic bread, you GOTTA have garlic bread to soak up all that yummy sauce.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo




I've been a bad blogger lately.. I'm sorry... I am going to try to post two recipes tonight.. this one and the easy spicey shrimp puttenesca pasta.

My gumbo is pretty easy.. but *extremely* yummy. And it starts off like any good gumbo does...

With a roux... I took 4oz of canola oil, and 4oz (by weight) of AP flour and mixed them together over med-low heat for about 20 minutes in my cast iron dutch oven, until the roux was a nice mahogany brown.

While the roux is cooking, I dice up my veggies.. 2 green bell peppers, 2 onions, 5 ribs of celery, and 4 cloves of garlic.. Once the roux is the above color, add in all the veggies except the garlic into the pot with the roux and turn the heat up to med high.. cook the veggies, stiring often until the onion is translucent (about 10 min). Then I add in about a cup and a half of tomato puree and some canned diced tomatos and a quart of chicken stock (you could use seafood stock, or even better, make your own shrimp stock.. but I was in a hurry that day and just used chicken stock, which was just fine) With the tomatoes and the stock, I added some salt, some garlic pepper, some creole seasoning, and 4 dried bay leaves. I brought this to a boil, then covered and reduced the heat to low to let it simmer for 35 minutes. Now is a good time to start some white rice. While the rice cooked and the soup simmered, I sliced up a pound of sausage ( I used keilbasa cuz it's what I like and it's what I had).. I sliced the sausage on a bias and seared it in a small non stick skillet. After the 35 minutes is up, kill the heat and add a pound of raw peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp to the gumbo, as well as the sausage and a tablespoon of gumbo file' powder. Stir all of this very well, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes. Two things are gonna happen here.. The residual heat from simmering the gumbo for so long in a cast iron pot is going to cook the shrimp perfectly so they are tender and not rubbery. Second, the gumbo file' powder is going to thicken the soup nicely.

*a note, I personally do not like okra in my gumbo because I think it gets slimy.. I prefer to thicken it with just file' powder

Now when you're ready to serve this.. grab you a bowl.. make a little mound of rice (I used a smaller bowl to make the rice mound) and the ladle the gumbo around the rice, and pour the stock over the rice.. And it will look a little something like this:


It was yummy!! Make this soon! :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This weeks menu

Tomorrow (today I guess since it's 3:30am lol), I'm thinking probaby bacon cheese burgers. With salad and tator tots. Because I'm craving tator tots. (don't ask lol)

And for later in the week... I'm planning on making gumbo, over rice.. with maybe a hunk of cornbread on the side. This *might* end up being dinner tomorrow(today).. We shall see..

Also gonna make that ravioli ratataouille thing.. but i don't think I can really call it ratatouille.. cuz I decided to substitute the eggplant with yellow squash. LOL After my mishap with the eggplant for the lasagna last week.. Well, I just want a no problems dinner so I am using some yellow squash instead. LOL

And we're gonna have some beer brats with baked beans, mac n cheese for the kids and potato salad for me and Dave. Yum.

Oh and McDonalds one night.. on our way home from Six Flags. It's tradition. $1 menu double cheeseburgers and fries. LOL

Should be a yummy week! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bourbon Peach Butter Chicken


And here's what I made tonight..Not a great picture.. I took it from my spot at the dinner table, and the light isn't great there.. But this tasted SO yummy. Got the idea from this months Cooking Light magazine. It was easy,
and it was YUMMY. And the best part? 5 ingredients. Yep. I modified it a bit.. to suit my taste, as always.. here's

I blanched 6 peaches to get the skins off, then diced them. Put them into a pot with 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water and brought it to a boil.. then clapped a lid on it and turned the heat to medium low and simmered it for 20 minutes. Then I poured the peaches into the food processor, added about 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (the recipe called for 1/3 cup dark brown, but I had light and thought it needed more), then I added just under 1/2 cup of kentucky bourbon (wild turkey 101.. the husband's poison of choice lol) and a pinch of salt.. gave it a whirl for a min to puree and then poured it into a ceramic 9x13 dish and baked it for 2 hours and 15 minutes at 250 degrees, until it was nice and thickened. Just before the sauce was done, I seasoned chicken breasts with salt and garlic pepper and pan seared them until they were golden brown. Then to serve I just transferred the chicken breasts into my the baking dish with the sauce and served them out of that at the table along with some garlic cheddar mashed potatoes and green beans with onions garlic and bacon in white wine. It was easy and delicious! The kids all loved it. I think it'd be even better served with rice, to pour that sauce all over.. So I'll probably do it like that next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roasted Veggie Lasagna


I made this last week.. it was *divine*.. The angels sang. It was.. glorious. I got the idea from here. And I tried to do it their way.. sorta. But my eggplant fell apart in the oven, and I got a jar of roasted red peppers instead of doing them in the oven (I wanted the sweet tangyness the ones in the jar always have) and I did a few other things... So here is what I did..

I sliced up several zucchinis, about 5 or 6.. a couple of big onions, and a box of cremini mushrooms.. and also a big eggplant that I ended up not using.. I mixed the zucchini and the onions together on a sheet pan and then eggplant and the mushrooms together on another sheet pan and brushed them all with olive oil that I'd put some minced garlic into.. And threw them into a really hot (475) oven.. The eggplant didn't work out, it just fell apart and was mush and tasted bitter so I tossed it into the trash. I'm sticking to panfrying eggplant in the future. Anyway.. back to things that did go good. So while all this was roasting in a seriously hot oven (that was seriously making my kitchen hot as hell).. I made up my standard red sauce, chopped a bunch of basil, opened and drained a jarl of sliced sweet roasted red peppers, and a can of diced roasted tomatoes. Oh and sliced up a nice ball of fresh mozzarella and opened a bag of 2 % shredded mozzarella cheese. And got out an 8oz tub of fat free cottage cheese (cuz I just don't dig the texture of ricotta.. sue me lol) and added an egg and a whole bunch of fresh grated parm cheese and some basil, salt and garlic pepper to it. And I par boiled 12 lasagna noodles. And and and. LOL

So then.. I got out my purtiest baking dish, sprayed it down with some pam spray and spread some sauce into the bottom of it. Then I laid out 4 lasagna noodles and spread half the cottage cheese mixture onto the noodles, then I threw zucchini and onions on next and ladled enough sauce to cover it all up nicely and sprinkled a handful of mozzarella and some chopped fresh basil.. Then I layed 4 more noodles down, cottage cheese, then the tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms went on next, followed by the sauce, cheese and basil.. Then I put on the last 4 noodles, covered it with sauce and a sprinkling of basil and covered the whole thing with some heavy strength foil and popped it into the oven at 400 for 30 mins.. Then I pulled the foil off, layed the sliced of fresh mozzarella over it and put it back into the oven for 15-20 mins till the cheese was all melty and browned.. Showered it with the last of the fresh basil and voila... Utter yumminess.

Lets just not talk about the two trips I took to the store to get ingredients I had forgotten and the fridge had frozen my veggies so I had to get new ones. LOL Or the fact that it made my kitchen hotter than Hades making it. And at one point I was so vile to my family (in my overheated over annoyed state).. that it's a damn good thing it was so tasty..I think they've forgiven me.. especially since I promised not to make lasagna again, especially not a roasted veggie one in height of summer hell ever again. LOL

Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh and for fall..

I wanna make a tortellini soup with lots of tomatoes and onions and other yummy stuff. I need to remember that and post it here cuz I never will in a couple of months when it is finally cool enough to eat stuff like soups again. lol I'm not ever making lasagna in the summer again either. Especially not a roasted veggie lasagna that had my oven roaring at 450-475 degrees for over 2 hours on a 108 degree day. Yeah. Can we say STUPID? I think that's why I still haven't written the recipe up yet.. It scarred me. But I will. I promise. Soon.

Ravioli Ratatouille Bake

I just found a recipe for this on allrecipes.com It's on the homepage today... I am pretty sure that I absolutely NEED to make this like this weekend or something. Yup Yup Yup. Pretty dang sure. Yum. I'm also pretty dang sure that I need to make Gumbo really soon too. Yum Yum.

Busy Busy!

Sorry I've been away, dear readers! I've had a hectic week.. but I promise I've got a recipe for a yummy roasted veggie lasagna coming up.. Oh and I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday.. and put some of those new reeses mini peanut butter cups in them. Excuse my language, but they were the Mother F'in BOMB. And this week I'm planning to make a faux shrimp puttenesca over pasta. And I'm using a jar of sauce in it :-0 *gasp* I know right. lol But I'm also thinking about doing this little grilled chicken with a bourbon peach sauce/butter that is gonna be to die for. :) So it all works out. Oh and I'm thinkin about getting a rotisserie chicken and pulling all the meat off it and grilling some corn and having chicken tacos in fresh cooked tortillas with slices of avocado, some chopped fresh tomatoes and some of the grilled corn. Yum!

And oh my gosh, I am watching the best thing I ever ate.. and Alton Brown just stabbed a fried egg up just exactly like I do, all playfully and stuff.. I knew I loved that man for a reason! LOL

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fish Tacos and Baja Sauce





They turned out really good! I used some nice Mahi Mahi, and made a beer batter using cup of self rising flour, some salt, some garlic pepper, and 1 light lime flavored beer. (Bud Light Lime).. I whisked it together really well.. I seasoned the fish itself with salt and pepper and cut it against the grain into 1.5 inch wide strips.. then dipped the fish in the batter, and fried them in hot veggie oil until golden brown.. It was delicious!

To assemble. I took a freshly cooked toritlla and spread some tartar sauce on it.. then put 3 pieces of fish down the center, topped it with some cole slaw, then some of the creamy baja sauce, and topped with the regular baja sauce.

But before I did all of that... I had to make the Baja Sauce:


And the creamy baja sauce:



My dad loved trying fish tacos for the first time.. He even got seconds and praised them several times. :) I really enjoyed cooking for him... I'm so glad he's moved back to Austin. :)

P.S.

I totally cheated and got cole slaw from KFC and tartar sauce from Red Lobster. LOL Hey.. Red Lobby makes the best tartar sauce.. and KFC makes the best cole slaw.. I was already making this baja sauce with four million ingredients.. And besides.. I've never once made cole slaw at home that didn't make me want to gag. idk why.. but it's gotta be kfc for me.

Planning a week of good food..

So the bestfriends took us out to dinner at our mutal favorite place to eat together.. Canoli Joe's. It's an all you can eat Italian food buffet. And oh my word, it's like food heaven. They have so many things that are just out of this world.. like a butternut squash gratin. And this amazing pork meatloaf with sweet balsamic glaze.. and a roasted vegetable lasagna that I literally moaned "mmmmmmmmmmmm this is so good" every single time I took a bite of it. It was one of the few things on my plate(s) of food that I ate every single bite of. And went back for more. The only other thing I went back for more of was the mussels fra diavlo..

So this week I have vowed to recreate the roasted veggie lasagna. I have researched a few recipes.. found some that look pretty close, with a few changes.. And I'm gonna make this. I can't wait!

But I have to. Because tomorrow night I am making some fish tacos, with baja sauce, and fresh ready to cook tortillas (next best thing to homemade, because I just won't have time). We are inviting my dad over for dinner and tomorrow night is the only night he can make it.. And he's never had fish tacos.. So I want to make them for him. He's not a fan of Italian food, so I will save my roasted veggie lasagna for Wednesday night.

And Thursday night, we're going to have grilled pork chops and sweet potato fries. Yum! I can't wait to serve all this on my new plates :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Dishes!!

I'm so excited! I finally have all white dishes to photograph my recipes on!!! I decided instead of getting one big set.. I would get 2 pieces of everythinge, I liked.. so I got 3 different styles of plates, two styles of bowls, and 1 set of small plates for little stuff. Oh and I found a really pretty clear glass bowl that the mango salsa I made a couple weeks ago would have looked gorgeous in.. so I had to get one of those too. haha. I could have really gone haywire in there.. for being a dollar store they sure had some really cute stuff! I can't wait to start photographing my recipes on these new dishes.. especially the square dinner plates. :D That pasta I made Thursday would have looked SO good on them. Be on the lookout for my new dishes in pics this week! :) Oh *and* I found my digital camera.. so I will probably be using that instead of my phone for pics.

So basically, be on the lookout for new and improved pics of food! :)

Made the Tequlia Lime Shrimp..


It was yummy!! I used oranges, and made lots of the sauce..first I poured a bit of the sauce over the shrimp in the bowl.. and then tossed the linguini into the rest of the sauce and cooked it for the last 3 or 4 mins of the pasta cooking time in the sauce... Then we spooned shrimp over the pasta on our plates.. it was so freakin wonderful!! The only thing I'm going to change is to go ahead and get tail off shrimp.. The tails on make a nice presentation if they are like a normal main dish eaten alone.. but when mixed with pasta, they are a pain in the ass.. and you spend the first 5 mins of the meal pulling all the tails off so you can just dive in uninterupted. LOL I was really put out by this roadblock to chowing down on some seriously yummy food. So next time we are going with tail off. Otherwise this rocked, as usual. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits


Like all good Southern cooks, I make KICKASS homemade biscuits. They are tender and flaky and oh soooooo yummy. Here's my recipe. :) I usually double it for my brood.

3 cups AP flour
2 Tbs sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1/2-1 stick butter, melted

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with your hands.. Then work in the shortening.. you can use a pastry cutter, but I honestly just do it with my hands. I just rub the flour between my hands, working the shortening all through until the flour and like coarse crumbs. I usually dip my hands in ice water to keep them from warming the dough up. Once the shortening is worked in, pour in the buttermilk and work the dough together.. Dump it all out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute just until the dough comes together... roll it out into a half inch thickness and use a biscuit cutter (or as in my case, a wine glass LOL) to cut the biscuits into rounds. Place the biscuits on a greased pan (I like my cast iron griddle but when I am making a double batch, I just do them on a cookie sheet) and make a small indentation into the tops of them with your fingers... Brush the tops of the unbaked biscuits, filling the little indentation, with the melted butter and bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown and delicious.

**If you want layered biscuits (like grands flaky layers biscuits) simply roll(very very lightly, don't press too hard) the dough out and then fold it in half. Roll it again and fold it in half again Repeat this process several times before cutting the biscuits.. when they bake they will puff up and you will get layered biscuits.

Chicken a la King


Winner winner chicken dinner!!! That's what The Family had to say about tonight's dinner. Definitely gonna have to make this again. Got the idea from Diners Drive-ins and Dives last night. It was SO filling.. definitely stick to your ribs comfort food. But it was sooooo freakin good!

Here's what I did..

1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup AP flour
1 qt chicken stock or broth
1 cup milk
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic pepper
the meat from 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, pulled into big chunks
1 cup frozen peas

Okay so first I got my big red enameled cast iron dutch oven nice and hot and put the half a stick of butter and oil in it.. once the butter was melted, I tossed in all the diced veggies (but not the peas) and added a heavy pinch of salt to them and gave them a stir and turned the heat to medium low to let the veggies sweat. When they were cooked down and nice and soft and sweet, I added the flour to the pan and turned the heat up and cooked it for just a minute or two. Then I poured in all the stock and whisked the heck out of it. I added the milk, and the seasonings and let the whole thing come to a boil and thicken up to the consistency of gravy. When dinner was ready to be served, I stirred in the peas and the chicken meat. Serve it up over biscuits or mashed potatoes.. or both! That's how Justin did it.. tore up his biscuit, and mixed all of it together. And proclaimed how yummy it was several times while eating.

Really easy, REALLY tasty. Definitely making this again and again. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons


These are SO yummy, and so simple! I have a major thing for these, infact, these cookies are the reason I don't hate coconut anymore. Now to be clear, these are NOT delicate French Macarons. Just wanted to get that out there. LOL Now, for the recipe.

5 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (this is one 14 oz bag)
2/3 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (I used the fat free version)
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, flour and salt.. then mix in the condensed milk and extracts and work everything together with your hands until it's well mixed. Pop the bowl into the fridge for 30 mins or longer. This helps firm up the dough and make it easier to form into balls.

When you're ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 and use an icecream scoop to form even balls of dough.. squeeze the balls in your hands a little bit to make sure they are firmly packed together. Bake them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets for 18-20 minutes until the coconut is nicely toasted and browned. Let cool completely.

Now you can stop right there.. but went a step further.. I'm dipped them in chocolate! Yum! Now you can do this one of two ways.. You can buy the little tubs of chocolate in the baking aisle that's made specifically for dipping... or you can just temper some chocolate in the microwave.. I've got chocolate chips, so that's what I used. I melted 3/4 of my chocolate chips, with a bit of shortening, in the microwave in 30 second intervals until it was all melted, then stirred in the other 1/4 of the chips to bring the temp back down.

Dip the macaroons and let them set up and harden on parchment paper. Then devour and experience sublime bliss. Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tequila Lime Shrimp

Thank god I found it!!!!! I have been looking for this recipe all evening. I made it last year sometime, and was telling my sis in law about it. It's super easy SUPER yummy, and best of all... it's a weight watchers recipe(that I've modified LOL)! Yeah.. My foray into fried food is coming to an end.. its time to get a little healthier. I think that since my food bill is going to be drastically less next week, I might just have to make this. We'll see how it goes and if I have money for fresh shrimp after we pay the bills and such. Here's the recipe, so that I never lose it again. :D

Ingredients



1/3 cup(s) fresh lime juice
zest of lime
1/2 Tbsp jalapeٌno pepper(s), minced

1/2 tsp chili powder, chipotle is best but I usually just have regular

3/4 tsp sugar

3/4 fl oz tequila

1/4 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped, divided

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste (plus some for garnish)
1 1/2 pound(s) shrimp, jumbo-size, shelled and deveined (or leave tails on for a nicer presentation)


First you mix together the lime juice, the zest, jalapeno, chili powder, sugar, tequila and 2 tbs of the cilantro together in a small bowl and set aside. Season the shrimp with salt (and I always add pepper cuz i can't not add pepper to things)..

Then you heat up the olive oil in a nonstick skillet till its screamin' hot and toss in the garlic for about 30 secs to a min.. then you add in the shrimp and sautee for about 4 mins or until pink, being careful not to overcook the shrimp. remove the shrimp to a plate. then pour in the sauce and let it reduce for about 2 mins.. kill the heat and pour the sauce over the shrimp, garnish with teh rest of the cilantro and a bit of salt and voila. Yumminess.

I like to double the sauce and serve this over linguini or spaghetti.. but using the juice of an orange for the other 1/3 cup juice.

If I do indeed make this this week, you can be assured there will be pics.. but for now at least I have the dang recipe written down somewhere. LOL

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Finally made the chicken tacos!




Isn't that such a lovely looking plate of food?? It tasted just as lovely. :) I used the recipe for the chicken tacos with mango avocado salsa that I posted last week.. it turned out quite yummy! And I did my rice with the chicken stock and cilantro and lime... really good stuff, especially with the mango avocado salsa on top (thats how the husband did his and gave me a bite.. good stuff!) My sis in law made us homemade tortillas and oh man oh man... talk about AMAZING. Here is her recipe:

4 cups AP flour
1.5 Tbs salt
1.5 Tbs baking powder
1/2 cup shortening (or lard if you're adventurous)
1 cup cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then cut in the shortening with a pastry blender (I think you could prolly do this in a food processor as well) until it resembles coarse crumbs... gradually add in the cold water and knead into a soft ball. The dough shouldn't be sticky at all, so add more flour if it is. At this point we refrigerated the dough while we got the chicken and rice cooking. When ready to make the tortillas, roll the dough into 15 little balls, about the size of a golf ball, maybe a tad bigger. Then roll the balls out with a rolling pin into as round a shape you can get.. ours were quite interesting shaped LOL One looked like a dogs head. haha Cook them on a very hot griddle until they are browned on both sides. I used my cast iron griddle. I started cooking them while my sis in law finished rolling the balls into tortillas. Here's what they look like when you have flipped it at the right time:


Aren't they so pretty? They tasted so dang good. I've never done home made tortillas before, and I'm so glad my sis in law showed me her recipe and taught me to do it. The boys were all gone tonight on various sleepovers and camp.. but the twins really liked them and said that Aunt Jamie's "tortitas" rocked! hehe Try them someday soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Sammiches

That's what we had for dinner tonight.. it was *awesome*!! I just did my own thing with it though.. I seasoned the pork tenderloins with salt and garlic pepper and my BBQ rub, seared them off in the pan then finished them in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes.. The husband sliced them up nice and thin and we had it on kaiser rolls with bbq sauce drizzled over them. WAY yummy!

To go along with it I made some baked beans (not the oven ones with bacon, just my stovetop version), mac n cheese, and another layered salad. Skipped the peas and used avacado this time... which tasted great.. but made it REALLY creamy. Almost too creamy. I think when using the avocado under the dressing layer, I only need half the dressing. And PW says to salt and pepper the layer of lettuce, which I did both times I've made this salad.. but the problem here is: Salt makes lettuce weep and get soggy. SO. No more salting the lettuce. I *will* perfect this salad to my tastes. Dangit. LOL

It was a really yummy dinner and we all enjoyed it, even the kids.. and it was easy! This would definitely work as a Sunday Lake Day meal. Gonna have to remember that one of these weekends :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home made tortillas and cilantro rice

That's what I wanna make to go with the chicken tacos with mango and avacado salsa. My sis in law makes home made tortillas from scratch and I've never done it before.. So she's gonna show me something! I'm excited. :) I've been showing her tricks the whole time they've been here.. and so now it's her turn :)

Along with the tacos there has to be rice. But my kids just don't dig mexican red rice. They never eat it. So this time I'm thinking I am just going to cook the rice in some chicken stock, then when it is done, I will add in a bit of butter, a squeeze of lime, and a handful of chopped fresh cilantro. They love those flavors so I think they'll like that a lot. :) I'm kind of excited to try it too. :)

So many yummy flavors to look forward to that night.. but not tomorrow... tomorrow we are having chicken parm. It's my brother's only day off this week and I told him I would make him chicken parm to enjoy on his day off and he smiled really big and nodded his head. So, tacos will have to wait till Monday or Tuesday..

Oh and good news! They got the house! Yay! They are moving in on Friday, and are super excited. I couldn't be happier for them... and have to say, yes the food consumption of 11 people has been crazy.. but it's been a lot of fun. I have *really* enjoyed cooking with my sis in law for the past few weeks. And finally getting to show her so many of the recipes I've been telling her about but she never gets a chance to try has been great. :) Looking forward to a smaller grocery bill, though! lol

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Guess whats on the menu?

Yep.. both of the wanna make ideas.. At some point (probably this weekend) we are having the grilled pork tenderloin sandwhiches on kaiser rolls, and the chicken tacos with the mango avocado salsa. Mmmmm! I can't wait!

Other things I'm planning this week are chicken parmesan (at The Brother's vehement and repeated request lol), chili cheese hot dogs with homemade bbq chips, and thats all I got so far. We still need two more meals.. but I got stumped so I'll figure it out later this week and see if anything jumps out at me from some cookbooks and stuff.

Oh and I also got all the stuff to make that layered salad again.. but this time sans peas. lol Gonna put avocado instead of peas. Yum! Just haven't decide which meal that is gonna go with yet. Thinking with the pork tenderloin sammiches.. But maybe the chicken parm.. idk yet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wanna Make: chicken tacos w/ mango avacado salsa

Another one from MyRecipes.com that I got in my email. This may actually be the one I got today and the pork tenderloin sammich from the other day. This one looks really good.. it would obviously have to be quardupled for hte 11 people living her (OMG lmao) but would be easy enough to do.

This are the ingredients needed:
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled mango
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/3 cup prechopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Basically you mix the spices and sprinkle over the chicken then pan sear it, cooking it until it's down.. then you mix the rest of the ingredients except for the tortillas together to make the salsa. And serve in the the warmed tortillas.

Sounds really yummy and easy. One of the reviewers said they served it with yellow rice, which sounds terrific. I'm trying to get back into the swing of healthier eating and try to get some of this weight back off. I'm kind of disappointed in myself for regaining the weight that took me 4 months to lose in only 3 weeks. I mean it's been fun.. don't get me wrong! lol But I gotta stop frying things every other night and baking several times a week. Nevermind that I am making a box of "intense chocolate" brownies from ghiradelli tomorrow for the sister in law's birthday. But that's a special occasion, so it doesn't count! lol

Wanna Make: grilled pork tenderloin sammiches

I got a recipe for this in my email today from MyRecipes.com. Basically it was a spice rubbed pork tenderloin that is grilled, then during the last 5 mins of cooking it is glazed with a jalapeno jelly.. Then it's sliced up and served on crusty hamburger buns with a dressing made of light ranch dressing and bbq sauce.. idk how I feel about that combo, but who knows.. maybe it's kinda like a bbq thousand island??? I think I've seen The Neely's on food network do something similar to that before. I'm thinking I definitely wanna give this a go. I will probably use one of my favorite glazes from HEB on it though. The one I usually use on pork tenderloin, its a pineapple habanero glaze. This could be a really great Sunday Lake Day dish... Easy as hamburgers, but Lori won't grumble (she hates burgers), kinda like pulled pork, but I won't grumble since it's much less work. I'm digging this idea and we might just have to try it out this weekend.

Here's the ingredients so I can find them easily later when I wanna make this.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup hot jalapeño jelly
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup sweet hickory smoke tomato-based barbecue sauce (such as Bull's-Eye)
  • 8 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls

Notes for my next layered salad

My brother hated the peas. So if I were to make this again for him, I'd leave them out. I think that a mix of peas and carrots could be good.. or even corn instead of peas. I'm also thinking I would love a layer of chopped or mashed avacado. Maybe if not the frozen peas and carrots.. then a layer of shredded carrots somewhere in there. I really loved this though and can't wait to experiment more with it. Avacado just sounds MMMMMMMMMMM but where? Somewhere in the middle? Right under the mayo?? I'm kinda thinking right under the mayo.. yummm.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Layered Salad and Bacon Mushroom Cheesebugers


Isn't it pretty?! It tasted just as good, too! Gotta thank PW for this one.. With a few changes to fit our tastes. I put one head of chopped iceburg lettuce on the bottom(skipped the baby spinach, cuz my man is picky) and sprinkled it with salt and pepper, then layered on chopped hard boiled eggs(5, but i swear I made 6.. I think a kid stole one), crumbled bacon (1 lb package), then diced tomatoes (3 big romas), 1 small can of sliced black olives, then about 6 or 7 sliced green onions, shredded 2% cheddar cheese (about 6 oz), and about a cup of semi thawed frozen peas. For the dressing I whisked together just over half a cup of hellmans light mayo (when it comes to light mayo, it's gotta be hellmans for me), a little over half a cup of fat free sour cream, 1.5 tablespoons sugar.. I poured this on top of my salad and spread it around with a spatula and then sprinkled the top with a bit of shredded cheese and sliced green onions. And then I put it in the fridge while we lit the grill and got the burgers and stuff ready. When dinner was ready, I tried to toss the salad together while it was still in my pretty bowl.. but it just wasn't working because I kept spilling ingredients out on the counter/floor. So I gave up and went and got my huge tupperware bowl and dumped it all in there and gave it a good toss.

For the burgers... Yummy stuff. Simple patties, just salt and pepper.. kids had american cheese, all the grownups but me had pepper-jack cheese.. but I had the rest of the 2% shredded cheddar on mine. I sauteed sliced cremini mushrooms in a tiny bit of bacon grease and some butter over high heat.. Once they started getting nicely brown after about 8-10 mins, I sprinkled a pinch of salt over them, stirred them.. then deglazed the pan with a bit of beef stock and gave it one shake of worcestershire sauce. Man oh man.. these were some GOOD mushrooms!!!

In the picture above, you see normal burger buns.. but the grownups got to have some toasted onion poppyseed rolls. Those were *the bomb*. I made a little dijon mayo spread for my burger.. took 1 tbs of my light mayo with half a tablespoon of some super thick and grainy dijon mustard and mixed them together.. I spread this on my bottom bun, then spooned on some of my mushrooms, then my patty with melted cheese, a slice of bacon broken and crisscrossed over the top.. and a tiny bit of ketchup on my top bun (cuz I can't eat a burger without ketchup). This coupled with my layered veggie salad and a spoonful of my favorite storebought potato salad.. and man oh man.. talk about an all american yummy 4th of July dinner! The kids were most impressed with the bacon cheeseburgers.. we've never done that at home. And believe it or not.. my two little bacon hounds, Heather and Hannah.. took the bacon OFF their bugers.. wtf?! idk. I'm still stumped about that one.

All in all.. SO yummy! I kinda wish we'd been at the lake having our yearly 4th of July fish fry and watching fireworks.. but Dave hasn't been fishing in months and all the fireworks in town were cancelled due to the burn ban.. So we just made do at home. And you know what? I am kinda glad we did. We'd just now be getting home from the lake and its midnight.. Instead everyone is in bed and no one is maxed out. Works for me. :)

Happy 4th of July everyone!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Egg Rolls and Teryaki Noodles

Well I don't have a picture.. was so engrossed in getting eggrolls made and on the table for 11 people, I totally forgot. My egg rolls are pretty easy, though.. I just brown up a pound of ground pork in the wok.. When its browned nicely I add some oil and a couple cloves of chopped garlic and the pan screaming hot.. then I poured in a couple bags of cole slaw mix. I stirred it around with my big tongs and then poured about half a cup of soy sauce all over the cabbage in the pan, along with a few splashes of apple cider vinegar. I tossed everything really well the tongs and just let it stir fry for a few minutes, until the cabbage started to wilt down and soften up just a bit. Then we filled our eggroll wrappers and closed them up with an eggwash. I deep fried them in my big cast iron dutch oven in 360 degree veggie oil. Really simple and really yummy. We let the kids make a couple egg rolls.. those ones needed some "patches", but they did pretty good. LOL They had fun and that's what is most important.

I had some left over filling mix, so when I was ready to do the noodles, I heated up veggie oil in the wok and tossed in some cooked spaghetti (I had cooked it earlier then tossed it with olive oil so it wouldn't get sticky).. Then I tossed in the leftover egg roll filling mix (it was about 2 or 3 cups worth) and 2 sliced green onions.. Stir fried it all together for a few minutes then poured my Teryaki Glaze over all of it and stir fried it around for a minute or two..

I made a little bit of my special dipping sauce.. two parts thai sweet chili sauce and one part less sodium soy sauce mixed together.. yummy stuff.. and we had quite the feast. It was so good and I was so dang full my stomach hurt. The husband ate 5 egg rolls. He didn't like them or anything.

It was a full day of cooking. My feet hurt and I'm tired. Tomorrow night is going to be simple.. That italian sausage casserole I came up with last week.. This time I'll try to remember to take a pic of it.

Sweet Roll obsession!!!




Okay it's official. I am addicted to these suckers. So I made 4 different kinds, as planned... I made one full batch of The Pionner Woman's cinnamon rolls. Ree is an amazing woman. Bless her. I refrigerated my dough after adding the last cup of flour and the baking powder/soda. Had other things to do, like make a huge batch of egg rolls and teryaki noodles for dinner.. That I completely forgot to take pics of. LOL Anyway, after dinner and the mountain of dishes were cleaned up.. I got started on the different fillings.

For the blueberry ones, I simmered a pint of blueberries, a cup of sugar, a tablespoon or so of cornstarch and half a cup of water with the zest of a lemon, and the juice of half a lemon.. I cooked this until the blueberries burst and the sauce thickened up. Turned off the heat and let it sit there and cool while I started working on everything else. Then I took a cup of white sugar (which ended up being too much.. more like half a cup woulda been fine) and zested a lemon directly into it.. then worked the lemon zest all through the sugar with my hands until I had a gorgeous sand like yellowish lemon scented sugar. (this was a gorgeous substance.. the orange was even tastier) . When it came time fill these rolls, I slathered half a cup of melted butter and spread most of the blueberry filling out on the rolled out and rested dough (more on this later).. there was simply too much filling so I didn't need it all... After spreading as much filling as I thought that dough could hold, I sprinkled it with the lemon scented sugar and rolled it up, pinched it closed and sliced into 1-1.5 inch rolls and laid them out in a 9x13 that had been rubbed down with melted butter. It was an ooey gooey mess.. Everytime I cut a roll, blueberry filling splurged out onto the table. It was quite the mess!! Thank god I had my sis in law there to help me clean up as I went or I'd probably still be scrubbing things. LOL For the glazed on these, I took about a third of a bag of powdered sugar and the zest and juice of one lemon, about 1/3 cup melted butter, and a few splashes of milk and whisked it together.

For the orange rolls.. I did the same trick as the lemon scented sugar.. zested 1 whole orange into 1 cup of white sugar and worked it through with my hands. This tasted amazing all by itself.. but I really wanted to know what it would be like with a tad clove and cinnamon.. so I took a small portion out and tried it.. I liked it.. but The Husband wasn't wild about it, and my sis in law preferred the plain orange. Well after thinking about it.. I had a PMS moment and grabbed a couple chocolate chips, and sorta dipped them into the orange sugar.. and popped them into my mouth.. cuz I love orange flavored chocolate so much. And I had an epiphany! I needed to put chocolate chips in my orange sweet rolls!!! And so that's what I did. After slathering the rolled dough with the required half a cup of melted butter, I sprinkled the entire cup of orange scented sugar (since there was no blueberry filling, I needed the whole cup in this batch) all over the surface and then liberally dispersed chocolate chips.. Rolled it up, sliced it, put it in the buttered dish. I die. For the glaze I did the same as the lemon glaze, except obviously replacing the one whole lemon for one whole orange.

For the chocolate chip round, I did it just like PW does hers.. Slather with melted a butter, a combo of white and brown sugar, generous sprinkling of chocolate chips and rolled it up and sliced it (Sis in law actually did this batch :)) and set it into the buttered pan. For the glaze on these I took a third of a bag of powdered sugar, added a couple teaspoons of vanilla (I actually got a little carried away with the vanilla, oh well LOL), 1/3 a cup of melted butter, and several splashes of milk, and whisked together.

The last pan was my standard version of PW cinnamon rolls.. melted butter, a mix of white and brown sugar, a hefty sprinkling of cinnamon.. roll 'em up and slice 'em. For the glaze I softened(actually accidentally mostly melted lol) 2/3 a brick of cream cheese, 1/3 cup melted butter, 1/3 bag powdered sugar, a teeny splash of vanilla and a couple splashes of milk to make a cream cheese glaze.

Now my note on rolled and rested dough.. Even though my dough had already risen technically twice.. once warm and then the second a slow cold rise in the fridge.. I like to roll out the dough and then leave it for 10-20 minutes before spreading the filling onto it and rolling it up. I find that because I tend to roll it rather thin no matter how hard I try not to.. this allows the dough a minute to sorta puff back up so the spirals inside the roll are nice and prominent and not tons of tiny spirals that fall apart. So what I ended up doing was rolling out all 4 portions of dough in separate spots on the table (thank god for a big table!), once I was done with the last one, the first was nice and puffy again and ready to be filled. Once the rolls are filled and sliced they have to rise one last time for 30-45 mins, depending on how cold the dough was from the fridge. I do it on the back of the stove while the oven warms up.. the oven vent provides heat that really makes them puff up and rise nicely.

Here's a pic of my rolls rising.. as you can see the ones in the back, by the vent are nice and big and ready to go.. once those were in the oven, I moved the other two pans to the back and they got just as big..


Being risen techincally 3 times resulted in a REALLY yummy tasting dough. I couldn't have been more pleased with all of this.. and refrigerating that dough after the first rise instead of going ahead and making rolls right away, really made the dough SO much easier and less sticky to roll out. All in all, a really fun project and I'm glad I finally experimented with some new flavors.

As of right now, I've only had the orange chocolate and the blueberry lemon, because I'm showing self restraint.. both were amazing. I tried to go with just half of each.. but.. well PMS got the better of me and I went back for the other half of the orange chocolate one. It reminds me so much of those "whack it and unwrap it" chocolate oranges that you can get at christmastime. I *love* those things and that's just what the inside of these rolls taste like.. I just can't even get over how in love I am with it. Yummy stuff. Best idea EVER!!! :)

Oh and just because I really needed a plain orange sweet roll.. I pulled the chocolate chips out of two of them before rising and baking, so that I'd have a couple that are just like my orange ones from the can.. but better. :D I hid them in a tupperware in my room. Those heathens woulda stolen it by morning. I don't trust em. Not with my sweet rolls! lol

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Dough is Rising

I have my sweet roll dough rising on the back of the stove. I love the smell of yeast as a dough is rising. So yummy. I probably won't make them right when it's done.. I wanna refrigerate the dough so it is easier and less sticky to work with.. and it'll be time to get started on egg rolls when right when the rising is finished.. so yeah, I'm just gonna put it in the fridge and work on them tonight.. I love baking at night anyway. Things turn out better. :)

I went to the store and got a pint of blueberries and 4 lemons.. Gonna give that blueberry lemon idea a go. Lori says if it's going to be the Lori Sweet Roll, it's gotta have nuts of some kind. Idk if I have any nuts.. or what would be good with this combo.. maybe almond? Idk.

Definitely going ahead with my orange plans. I never did make any orange scented sugar.. I'll have to go do that in a minute. I think I'll do a lemon scented sugar as well, to sprinkle over the blueberry filling. mmmmmmmmmmm

Oh and I got a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I is a baaaad girl. Chocolate chip sweet rolls.. yeah baby. I blame PMS.

Post with pictures and details of what I decide to do with them (I'm still working it all out in my head LOL) coming soon :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

OMGosh! a sweet roll just for Lori!

So Jamie and I are planning to experiment with the cinnamon rolls tomorrow.. I'm going to make the full recipe of dough, so I'll have at least four 9x13 pans of rolls.. And I want to do them in different ways.. I know I'm going to do an orange sweet roll.. I'm thinking white and brown sugar on the dough, orange zest.. or maybe orange scented sugar?? Oooh, I could go make that tonight. Anyway.. A little cinnamon and a tiny smidge of clove.. Then for the glaze.. powdered sugar, orange zest, orange juice and melted butter. Mmmmm I'm excited just thinking about it.

Now for Lori's sweet roll. Lori's favorite cake is my lemon cake with blueberry filling. So I'm thinking I need to fill one batch of dough with blueberry filling and some white sugar, and then a glaze made just like the orange one, but with lemon. I really think she's gonna love this!

For the other two pans.. I'm not sure.. probably at least one traditional cinnamon.. and one pan I'd *really* like to do some chocolate chips and a vanilla glaze.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy Life

Yep.. that describes it. With my brother's family here I find myself on the computer less and less..but we are definitely cooking up a storm! I made some pulled pork for Sunday Lake Day that was really awesome.. But I think next time I'm gonna use more liquid smoke and not wrap the shoulder in foil. I wanna get a little crust on the outside from my rub. And so it's not sitting in the fat drippings.. it just gets TOO wet and soggy when it sits in the drippings the whole time.

Tonight I'm making fried pork chops with rice and gravy and the husbands favorite green beans. And if the husband can find any... some soft white dinner rolls.

And at some point this week the sis in law and I are going to experiment with my cinny roll recipe.. and make orange sweet rolls! Mmmmmm Whenever we buy canned cinnamon rolls, I always grab a roll of the orange flavored ones cuz they are my favorite.. so I wanna give some orange ones a try with my from scratch recipe. I also think at some point I should make some with chocolate chips. No, I'm not PMS'ing or anything. And no I did not just eat a candy bar that I bought for the sis in law on Friday night but she never ate. Nope. No issues with chocolate cravings what-so-ever right now. haha

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas.. plus cupcakes!





Don't they look good?? Gosh. LOL These were so freaking good. Dave ate 6. Yes SIX. And I did something new.. I added a ton of stuff to my filling with the chicken and cream cheese.. Here's what I did..

First I took some boneless skinless chicken breasts and rubbed them down with some olive oil and salt and peppered them and put them in a 425 degree oven for 20 mins. Then I sliced up one box of cremini mushrooms and asked my sis in law to slice up an onion.. Threw them into a really hot pan that had butter and olive oil in it... sauteed them till they were golden brown and then tossed in some minced garlic.. Then I deglazed the pan with some marsala (I know.. weird right? it was good!) and let it cook down. During this time my sis in law sliced up some black olives and some pickled jalapeno peppers. When the chicken was cool enough to handle (not really, I burned my fingers lol) we pulled it apart and shredded it a bit, leaving nice big chunks.. Then we put all of this into a big mixing bowl with half a block of cream cheese, a handfull of shredded cheddar cheese (literally a handful lol) and about 1/3 of a big can of diced green chilies and I mixed all this together. It was really hard to not just grab forks at this point and go for it straight from the bowl, forgetting the tortillas and sauce all together.. but somehow we managed some sort of self restraint and mixed up the sauce..

For the sauce I mixed a 16oz container of sour cream (I used fat free) and a can of.. a can... uhm. Dangit I'm ashamed of the next ingredient. But I used it, I can't lie.. I used a can of cream of crap, I mean cream of chicken, soup. There I said it. Flay me now. But it works so good. LOL
Anyway.. I mixed together the sour cream and cream of crap, then I added in the rest of green chilies, a big handfull of chopped fresh cilantro, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of onion powder, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of garlic pepper. This tasted yum!

We rolled a hefty portion of the filling into flour tortillas and lined them up, seam side down in a buttered casserole dish.. Then I ladled sauce down the middle of the row of enchiladas, leaving just the edges of the tortillas bare from sauce (I like this way this looks personally.. you can smother them if thats your thing LOL).. then I put a few handfulls of cheese down the center of line of sauce, sprinkled it with some sliced black olives and popped them into the oven at 375-400 until the cheese was all melted and the enchiladas heated through.

Best enchiladas I have EVER made. Mushrooms and olives were the best freakin thing. THE BEST!!! :)


The cupcakes we made today were really yummy too... Just look:


The cake is actually just a mix my sis in law had in her stuff, from Paula Deen... we added some of my vanilla bean paste to it to doctor it up a bit... Then I took those frozen berries I've been trying to decide what to do with into a pan with a couple cups of sugar and some water and cooked them down.. sent them through the food processor to puree them.. back into the hot pot and added a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. Filled the cupcakes, using my new cupcake filler tip after hollowing out a small portion in the top of the cupcake (I'll post pics of how to do this tomorrow) . We made a buttercream with almond extract in it that tasted devine.. Then I showed my sis in law and our three girls how to do the rosettes I learned how to do over at iambakers blog. So cute, so yummy!!!!

Tomorrow we are thinking of doing the other box of cupcake mix with some banana cream filling she has in her box of pantry stuff.. and icing them with some leftover chocolate buttercream I have in the fridge and the leftover almond buttercream. Can we so oh hell yeah? MMMMMMMMMM lol And tomorrow night dinner is gonna be spaghetti and meatballs. :) Yum. Shoot. I forgot french bread. Dangit. Gonna have to send the sis in law to the store I think.

I love cooking with my sis in law.. we have such a good time. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fun Day :)

I took the kids to the water park here in town today.. We had a blast. They were stoked that I stopped at McDonalds for 10 bucks worth of dollar menu double cheeseburgers to take with us. LOL Poor baby girl Hannah's face is FRIED though. She still had sunburn scabs from Sunday, and even though I put tons of sunscreen on her, and zinc stick over and over again.. they are bright red. :( Poor baby. But she loved every minute of being there. :) It kills me that they are big enough to go around the lazy river by themselves.. and too big for the playscape. We've been going to this water park for years.. and they have always played in the baby pool, or on the playscape.. and now they are big girls.. that can swim really well.. and are tall enough to walk around the lazy river without me. Growing up so fast on me! I can't believe they are 9. Craziness. Where are my babies? Weren't they just babies? I swear they were! The boys had fun, too.. Even though I was a cruel mom and wouldn't buy them a snowcone.. after spending 60 freakin dollars that day, on entrance fees, sodas and water, the aforementioned double cheeseburgers, an out of the way stop at walmart for goggles that were not full face and just eye goggles (park rules) .. nooo this was not all enough.. "Dont we have enough money for snowcones??" No. We don't. Just like we didn't 30 minutes ago. And just like we didn't the 30 minutes before that. STOP ASKING! Sheesh. I did order pizza on the way home, though. Sad when you start out with a $100 bill and at the end of the day you have $1 of it left. It was fun though. :)

Tomorrow night.. Enchiladas with my sis in law.. and we have some plans for those babies!!! Like sauteed mushrooms and onions and some black olives inside the filling with the chicken and the cream cheese. MMMMMMMMM And a sour cream sauce with lots of green chilis. Some sliced green onions over the top... Yeah baby! Gonna be yummy. But I'm gonna need more mushrooms for greenbeans later this week. LOL

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In other news..

In other news.. we have house guests for the next few week.. my brother and his family are going to stay with us for a couple weeks while they look for a new house to live in. It's going to be an adventure.. a crowded adventure, that's for sure.. but it will be fun.. The kids are here all the time anyway. And my sis in law and I love to cook and bake together, so I am sure we'll have a lot of fun. One day this week we're going to make chicken enchiladas together... and we've already decided we have to bake something.. and there is a graham cracker crust about to go out of date coming from her kitchen.. so I'm sure we'll have to use that up right away! lol It should be fun! Oh I'm also going to show them my green bean recipe I posted last week... and going to make those with some fried pork chops and rice with brown pork gravy over top. That happens to be Jason's favorite meal of all time, which I never make because I'm usually dieting lol, so I'm sure he's REALLY excited. LOL I have to admit, I'm kind of excited too :D What else for this week? Uhmm.. Spaghetti and meatballs I think. Tonight I just did a frozen tray of baked tortellini I picked up at walmart with some totinos pizza rolls.. because we were helping them pack and get stuff to storage and needed a big meal for hungry people that didn't require tons of work. It felt dirty. But it was decently good, about like a frozen lasagna is passable but never compares to the real thing. I vowed to make a homemade version of this tortellini thing with my own sauce and my own pesto and real parm cheese. I'm thinking that for next week sometime.

The weekend was great.. spent the day at the lake on Sunday, drank beer.. got sunburned. On my belly. No, I didn't wear a bikini.. haha not there by a long shot. But I did lift up my swimsuit top as I was laying on my big flower shaped floaty out in the water. I'm sure the half cove was thinking "that fat girl needs to pull her shirt down" and the other half of hte cove was prolly thinking "awww what a cute pregnant mom, sunning her belly". haha You think I'm joking... I gotta get back on weight watchers. After the pizza pot pie. And the enchiladas. And the fried pork chops. Yeah. after all that. (and prolly then some)

Pizza Pot Pie

Huh? Yeah, I know.. that's what I thought. I'm watching "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network. And this guy just showed this pizza pot pie. They took a bowl, brushed it with olive oil, layered *several* slices of cheese (they said it was a wisconsin brick cheese, I think? idk, I bet provalone or mozz would work) then they put in 3 white button mushrooms (I'd use cremini and prolly add some black olives too, but that's just me) and ladled in a thick meat sauce that had onions and peppers and pork sausage.. then then took pizza dough (some secret Sicilian triple rise pizza dough) and draped it over the bowl and baked it in the oven (I'd salt that and maybe put a bit of dried herbs up there, but again, thats me) ... Then at the table, they dump it over onto a plate for you and it looks like a deep dish pizza!! Now how cool is that? I'm pretty sure I might need to rip off this idea (with my a fore mentioned suggestions) (have you noticed I like to use parenthesis a lot? I'm weird I know)... Soon. Yes soon.

I also saw, in the same episode, some apple pie that had pine nuts and new mexico hot green chilies in it. Idk about that. It sounds interesting. Veddy Interesting. Just not sure it's a good or bad interesting. lol

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Girls Night :)

Spent the evening with my brother's wife. We went to one of my fave mexican restaurants and had cocktails and yummy food.. We got the "ultimate fondue".. basically queso with crawfish tails, shrimp and scallops in it.. and IDK what the know it alls say.. Fish in cheese is okay with me! It was some yummy stuff! And then we shared a shrimp stuff avocado. Have you heard of these? If not.. oh my word. They take half an avocado and stuff it with cheese and shrimp.. then they some how bread it and it all holds together while they deep fry that sucker. It is some damn yummy stuff!! And the mexi martini wasn't half bad either.. they were heavy on the tequila which is always nice when you're only getting one drink. lol Oh and the donuts from the new donut shop half a block away.. REALLY freakin yummy! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

No cookin' for me tonight

I spent 3 hours in the car today, picking up my niece from girl scout camp.. and after everything I've made this week, I most definitely earned the night off. I do have to still run to the store though.. gotta at least pick up some chicken nuggets or pizza rolls or something one of the kids can throw in the oven for dinner. I might make Dave pick me up some form of take-out. :)

Brownies

I don't mean to brag.. okay yeah maybe I do... But I make *amazing* brownies. Fudgy and chocolately and oh so perfect when you're PMSing and will hurt people for chocolate. My love of chocolate is well noted. I don't care for it all of the time.. infact sometimes I'll pass it over completely for something cinnamon. But there are times (and it's usually when mother nature is present or on her way).. when chocolate is all I can think about and lust for. These brownies fill that void perfectly, everytime. I die from bliss with each gooey fudgy bite. The best part is that it's so easy.. just as easy as a box, but wayyyy better. :)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Butter and flour a 13x9 baking dish (or just spray it with some pam) and preheat the oven to 350. Mix the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl (I use the kitchenaid).. Pour in the butter with the mixer on low and add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Mix just long enough to get everything well incorporated and then spread it out in your prepared pan. It is a VERY thick batter.. this is okay :) Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins. Let it cool a bit then cut into squares.. and prepare to die from chocolate bliss.