Monday, February 6, 2012

I know what my Cheese has been missing!

I figured it out!!!! When I don't know what I want for dinner, I make something pasta. When I was on Weight Watchers, I learned how to make an easy cheese sauce that is not that unhealthy (depending on how much cheese you add). 

Here is what I needed:
  • pasta
  • veggies - frozen
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • cheese
  • spices that you love
Here is what I did:
  1. Cook the pasta. When it needs another 2 minutes, add veggies from largest to smallest to the pasta pot. I added broccoli, waited a few minutes, then added the corn for 30 seconds. Drain.
  2. Put the pot back on the stove and turn the heat all the way down to low.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the flour and milk together. Then add to the pot and whisk to avoid burning.  Add cheese. Add your favorite spices (mine was cumin and Adobo spices).  Add your pasta & veggies. Mix.
  4. Eat. But only one serving :)
The corn added so much. I loved it. I wish I had added a whole bag of corn instead of just one cup. It was amazeballs! Matt loves adding pesto and tuna fish. But for me, it is VEGGIES!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie

In case you were unaware, I have an internet addiction. I spend lots of time everyday reading about more or less random stuff. But I always make sure to have time to check out recipes. So recently I found a recipe for individual pies on Our Best Bites, and thought, "HOLY COW I won't have to share my crust with anyone!!" And then I realized that was a selfish thought, but I still wouldn't have to share! And then I realized that the only difference between pie and chicken pot pie is the filling.

This recipe is easy but a little time-consuming.  I cooked the chicken ahead of time and made way too much!  But that was good for sandwiches later on.  Then I had two different pans going at the same time for the onion and taters.  But once all the pieces are made, it goes very quickly.   Be aware that this recipe makes a lot of pie! And there is always leftover filling.

Here is what I needed:

  • 2 unbaked pie crusts
  • 1 lb. chicken (cooked and pulled into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 bag (12-16oz) thawed veggies
  • 1 onion - minced
  • 5 small potatoes
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • salt & pepper to taste
Here is what I did:
  1.  I boil chicken every Sunday to have in my salad at lunch. So I boiled an extra few boobs this week to account for this recipe, and that Matt likes to eat my chicken. When I boil it, I add whatever spices I want into the water (in almost heaping quantities). Matt loves Old Bay. I love cumin and paprika.
  2. preheat the oven to 400
  3. Boil the potatoes & cut into chewable pieces 
  4. saute the onion in a little butter
  5. Mix chicken, onion, potatoes, veggies, and soup together in a bowl.  Season the mixture now with salt and pepper and whatever else you like.  I like cumin.
  6. ***If you are making ONE PIE - put one pie crust in a pie dish, fill, and cover with the other crust.  Crimp edges and cut vents.
  7. ***If you are making individual pies, fill your bowls and cover with pie crust.  Still crimp the edges and cut vents.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crusts are golden brown
  9. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes before eating. 
Side Note: I have a confession to make. I didn't bake all the pies I made. I put some in the freezer. Since I made individual pies, I only cooked the ones I needed. They are all in glassware - some in Mason jars, others in Pyrex bowls. So I wrapped them up and froze them. Now when we want a dinner that is ready to go, I made a frozen meal. Just start with step 8. I did all the other steps already.

And really. Sometime I will start taking pictures while I cook. I had every intention of doing so when making these, but my camera was upstairs and I was rushing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Birthday Pie

I don't know when this started in my family, but my Mom never baked birthday cakes for us growing up because we insisted on BIRTHDAY PIE. I know it is a recipe she inherited from my Grandmother. But more than that, it is a happy memory of every birthday I can remember. I am sure it had another name growing up, but for me, it was always Birthday Pie.
It is a meringue pie shell with chocolate mouse and whipped cream inside. Its lovely! I can't believe it, but in honor of my 29th birthday today, I am going to share it with you! Be careful with the recipe, once you start making this, you will not be allowed to stop!

Here's what I needed: 

  • 4 egg whites (keep the yolks for later)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (spice)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips (or more)
  • 4 egg yolks (I told you you would need them!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 
Here's what I did: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300.
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff (not dry). They should stand at peaks.
  3. Add sugar (SLOWLY) and beat until it looks glossy.
  4. Spread in your pie shell. It should have a deep ring around the edge.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.

    We normally make the shell the day before and refrigerate it overnight. Be careful after it has cooked, fingers are adept at removing small chunks prematurely.

  6. Melt chocolate in the microwave.
  7. Beat in egg yolks while still warm (same bowl as the chocolate)
  8. New bowl. Beat cream adding sugar slowly (to taste) until stiff. This is homemade whipped cream!
  9. Fold half of the cream into the chocolate GENTLY.

  10. Spread the chocolate mixture in the pie shell. Add the remaining cream on top (in whatever pattern you choose. We normally spread it around the edge of the pie shell). Chill and Enjoy.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Easy Peasy Pizza Crust

We love pizza. Shocker! I know right, that came out of left field. Who would have thought that we like pizza at all? Sorry. I can focus.

So Matt found a recipe we have been using for awhile to make pizza. We normally substitute the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, but be aware it normally needs more moisture when you do that.

Here is what I needed:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Here is what Matt did:
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over top and let stand until foamy (10 minutes).
  2. Add the olive oil and salt to the yeast mixture. Then add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Mix (by hand) until dough starts to come together. Then spread the remaining flour on your work surface and knead dough until all flour is absorbed.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the entire surface. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425.
  5. Take the dough and roll it to desired thickness and shape. 
  6. Place on well oiled pizza pan/baking sheet.  UPDATE - we love our new pizza stone!!! It makes every pizza more crusty!
  7. Cover with favorite pizza ingredients. (We used chicken, pepperoni, pesto sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, and CHEESE the last time we made this.) 
  8. Depending on the thinkness of your crust, cook for 16 to 20 minutes until golden. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Peppermint Bark

Oh I how I love peppermint!  And this is one of my favorite Christmas candies.  Every year I wait and look for it in the stores. I can't wait for it to come out.  So I found a recipe and made my own!  It was so easy!

This was beyond easy and was requested over and over again. I brought it to school with me, and my student aides requested more every day.

Here's what I needed:
  • 1 bag chocolate chunks
  • 1 bag white chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp oil (x2)
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (x2)
  • candy canes  
Here's what I did:
  1. Cover a cookie sheet in wax paper.
  2. Put about 5-7 candy canes through food processor until broken into a dust.
  3. Melt chocolate with 1 tsp. oil in a double boiler. 
  4. Add 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract.  
  5. Spread on cookie sheet and sprinkle with candy cane dust.  
  6. Refrigerate.
  7. Repeat with white chocolate. 
UPDATE: *** It is easier to break bark at room temperature. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

Another dinner brought to us with love from the pressure cooker.  I have a secret addiction.  Which if I share it with you here, won't be a secret anymore.  Although lots of people already know this about me.  On Sundays before football, I watch QVC.  They have a show that only shows kitchen stuff.  And I love kitchen stuff.  So I bought a pressure cooker a few weeks ago from them and I have used it a few times.  But I didn't grow up with a pressure cooker (Mom never used one).  So I went back and bought Bob Warden's Great Food Fast, which you can only buy on QVC.  And I love it!  So here is one of Bob's recipes that I tweaked a little bit.

Here's what I needed:
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 small onion, diced (I used 2)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup half & half (I used soy milk)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • salt to taste
  • a few handfuls of spinach
Here's what I did
  1. Put the squash and water into the pressure cooker and set on HIGH for 6 minutes.
  2. Use this time to get everything else ready.
  3. Release pressure (DUH).  Drain squash.
  4. With the lid off, change setting to brown.  Melt butter & oil.
  5. Add the onion and saute until soft.  About 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in rice for about 1 minute.
  7. Add squash, stock, vinegar, spices, & sugar.  Lock the lid.  Set on HIGH for 6 minutes.
  8. Release pressure (really, I did write that twice).  Add soy milk.  Add salt (if needed - depends on your stock)
  9. Stir in spinach.  I wanted more veggies.  
Oh goodness this was delicious!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mac N Cheese

I made macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight.  In the pressure cooker!  It took 8 minutes to cook the pasta and melt the cheese.  But then I baked it for crunchies.

Here's what I needed:
  • 2 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 mozzarella cheese shredded
Here's what I did:

  1. Put the pasta, stock, cream, and spices in the pressure cooker.  Set it to rice and cook for 8 minutes.  Mine didn't have that setting.  So I put it on low pressure and cooked for 10.  
  2. When it's done, add everything else and stir. 
  3. Then I put it in the oven with crushed pretzels on top for crunch.  

Matt loved it!   I added cumin, but not enough.