Friday, March 30, 2012

Mexican Dinner Pies

It's Friday! Time for the weekend and maybe a little winning of 540 million dollars. Muahahahaha. But seriously, I know I'm 1 of like 176 million who fell victim to the urge to get a ticket. Unlike everyone else though, I got mine with a decaf coffee and some skittles. So, I've already won with the whole Skittles part. Plus, when 11 o'clock comes around tonight and I don't win it will be ok cause I have a bottle of wine at home already with my name on it, specifically for drowning my sorrows in. Just kidding... sort of. Anyway, enough about the lotto and more about food as usual! The other day I was feeling like I needed a little spice in my life and what better way to get it than Mexican, duh. Mexican dinner pies to save the day! More like a mixture of a pie and biscuit but who really cares anyway? They are muy bueno and quite tasty with a side of some Mexican Slaw which will be coming up next. Make these tonight and serve them up with a couple margaritas to celebrate the weekend.

Mexican Dinner Pies
Yield 12 pies

1 pound chicken
1 onion
1/2 green pepper
1 cup corn/black bean salsa
1 cup cheddar cheese
dash of garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup bisquick
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut up chicken into 3/4-1 inch squares. Put a little oil in a pan and add in the chicken, onion, green peppers, and dash of garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes. If you like spicy, go a little heavier than a dash of red pepper flakes. Cook until chicken is finished, then mix in the salsa. In a bowl, mix the milk, bisquick, and 2 eggs. Pour about an ice cream scoop sized amount into the bottom of a greased cupcake tin. Then put enough of the chicken mixture to fill it up about 2/3 of the way. Next sprinkle as much cheese as you would like on each hole. Last pour another ice cream scoop sized amount to fill up each little cup. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cakey Puppy Chow

MAN! I am SO bummed right now. For the first time ever I got a lottery ticket. I went to bed last night imagining what it would be like when I came in to work today. I would log on, check the winning numbers and I would about have a heart attack. I would quietly walk upstairs to my boss and tell him I didn't feel very well and needed to leave for the day. I would then figure out my plan of attack to let the powers that be know that I was the winner. I was advised though by a source not to tell anyone though "especially my friends because when I was invited to their weddings and only gave them a Cuisinart Panini Press they would be mad at me." This person sure gave me some good advice, huh? Oh well, guess I'll have to play my odds again for only the second time in history this Friday. Until then, I will be eating puppy chow. Not just any puppy chow but cake mix puppy chow. This is way better than plain old regular puppy chow and it brings a nice little unexpected pump of deliciousness to the chow. What's even cooler is you can use any kind of cake mix to give it whatever flavor you want, but it's a better flavor because cake mix is godly.

Cakey Puppy Chow
Yield 8 servings (1/2 cup)

4 cups Chex cereal
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 tablespoon shortening or butter
1 cup yellow cake mix (or whichever flavor you prefer)
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Place chips in a bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals until chips are melted. Stir in the shortening/butter. Next mix in the chex making sure to get all the cereal pieces covered with the mixture. After mixing, put the cake mix and powdered sugar in a large ziploc bag and  pour the cereal mixture in. Shake around until all the pieces are covered with the powder mixture. Serve and eat almost half like I did.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thai Drunken Noodles

It's Monday! Definitely not a yay for Monday though. The beautiful weather we've had for almost two weeks decided to take a break for the weekend. The one good thing about the unbeautiful weather was that it took also took a break for the 3 hours I used to move my things into my new place! I was so worried the torrential downpours would be soaking all my belongings but the rain literally stopped 10 minutes before we started moving. The weather gods were nice that day, maybe because they knew a weather lover needed their help. Or maybe cause they knew how miserable it would be for my dad and boyfriend to deal with me if our plans had to be adjusted. Either way, things went great and that evening my new room mate (i.e. boyfriend) and I celebrated with the fugdiest chocolatey brownies ever. There may have only been half the pan left in the morning. Now the weekend is over and it's Monday, my least favorite day of the week. At least some joy can be brought to your life by this dish and you will have all week to make it now. Thai drunken noodles is in my top 2 favorite Thai dishes ever. The other is curry. In fact, Thai food is my favorite type of food in the entire world.

Pad Kee Mao
Thai Drunken Noodles
Yield ~4 servings

1 pound shrimp
1 jalapeno
1 onion
6 green onions
3 plum tomatoes
1 serrano pepper
1/2 green pepper
~ 3/4 cup basil leaves
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 tablespoon canola oil
~1 cup rice noodles

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
dash pepper

Turn burner on medium high heat and place a tablespoon of oil in skillet. Add in red pepper flakes, serrano pepper, and jalapeno. Next add in the shrimp, garlic, onions, and green peppers. Meanwhile bring another pot of water to boil, place rice noodles in and boil for about 7-8 minutes until tender. It won't take very long. Once onions and peppers begin to cook through mix in the basil, green onions, and tomatoes. In a separate bowl mix all the ingredients for the sauce. Once noodles are finished cooking, drain and add into the skillet with the vegetables. Mix together then pour in the sauce and stir together. Reduce heat and let noodles soak up the sauce and flavor for a few minutes, then dish is ready.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

In my everlasting attempt (I say attempt for a reason) to always eat healthier I came across an idea for a cauliflower pizza crust through my constant food browsing. Lately this word has just meant pinterest. I click on someone's pin then I find myself immersed into another fellow food blogger's site. Then I am lead to another and another and there goes over an hour of my time. The internet is and will be the downfall of me. It's no wonder I'm left wondering why I have zero time to do anything. Last year I rarely used my computer, now I have so many bookmarks it's almost a miracle of God that pinterest was created. I tried for a very long time not to jump on the pinterest band wagon but I had to give in and upgrade my Facebook to timeline just so I could join. Now my Facebook is just even more confusing.

On to the reason I even brought up pinterest. Cauliflower pizza crust... this crust was really good! It was a definite change from your typical pizza crust but it reminded me more of a flatbread. Now you should go make this crust and create as many culinary masterpiece pizzas as you wish. I just loaded mine up with a bunch of vegetables and some shredded chicken. I thoroughly enjoyed mine and I know you will too!

Cauliflower Crust
Yield ~2 8 inch pizza crusts

2 cups grated cauliflower
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 egg
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take a head of cauliflower and grate ~2 cups of it. If you have a food processor you can put about half the head of cauliflower in and pulse it. Next mix this in a bowl with the mozzarella, egg, pizza seasoning, and salt. If you do not have pizza seasoning you can just throw in a dash of dried basil, oregano, and some garlic powder. Spray a cookie sheet and cut mixture in half and form pizza crusts. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes depending how crispy you like your crust. Take out crust and put toppings on and increase heat to 500 degrees. Place back in once complete with toppings and bake another 5 minutes or so.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New News

It might be hard to believe I do anything besides bake food, let alone have time to do anything else, but I have lots of awesome things coming up in the next few months and they have nothing to do with it. Imagine that?! I'm so excited about everything and I can't contain my excitement so I had to write about it and bombard you all with the silly things that make me happy. I'm moving this Saturday which I'm slightly super looking forward to, even though I'll miss where I am now. Also, I JUST signed up for my first 10K today. Just the other week I set up my first fundraising event. Then I'm going to Aruba and doing the Take Steps Walk for the second year. My spring is chock full of fun.

First off, let me say signing up for a 10K is a big deal. Two years ago I couldn't and wouldn't run more than a mile. One year ago I ran 2 miles. In October I ran 4 miles and I've never gone past that. I will officially be running 6.214 miles kids. I'm going to do the Clyde's 10K. Why this one of all races? Well my boyfriend used to manage here and participate and he told me about the awesome brunch buffet at the end of the race. I was sold. A big buffet is totally worth semi-training for, right? I think so. Plus, I'm hoping maybe one day I'll be able to run farther so I guess this is a good start. I started officially "training" last Sunday but it won't get too tough though until the end of the month.

Before I get to do this race though, I am having my first fundraiser for Take Steps! Last year, I did this and it was such an awesome experience for so many reasons. I have Crohn's so it was a big deal to me and so began my journey to raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. You can read all about my story or make donations on my Fundraising Page. Last year I had a fundraiser day at Chevy's in Annapolis and it was a blast so I just set one up again for this year all day on April 5. If you live in the Annapolis area and are interested in joining us for some fun or happy hour you can see the details here. You know you want a margarita... or four. Make it happen! Life is always more fun with a margarita and chips and salsa (my all time favorite snack in the world) in front of your face. It's even better if it's raising money. So for the mean time, I'll be looking forward to that. Then in the middle of May I am going to have a huge yard sale and donate all the money made from it towards the walk. Hopefully, we'll get to our fundraising goal but I know we'll make it happen :) Last year we were the top fundraising team which was so awesome to see how generous all of our friends and family were. Here's a picture of us walking last year. I'm kinda hoping next year maybe I can do the half marathon. That would definitely be a huge milestone for me!

Anyway, check back tomorrow for some cauliflower pizza crust. It was pretty darn amazing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breakfast Cookies

Good Morning! Hopefully you all had a good weekend. I am just coming back to work today since I was at my friends wedding this weekend which by the way the most amazing culinary experience of my life. I've never experienced such a large and tasty cocktail hour ever. This resulted in a mondo food overload though which requires some healthier eating to make up for it. These "cookies" could probably do it. They really could be eaten any time of the day too. They are totally suitable as breakfast, or part of your lunch (or dinner), a snack, or dessert! Although, I would eat a huge bowl of the chocolatey-est cookie dough for breakfast so personally, I don't need a "healthier" version to take it's place. Most people don't participate in those kind of escapades though which is why we have these guys. They remind me of oatmeal raisin cookies with a touch of banana. They are mighty tasty though and don't use any flour, butter, or sugar. All you need is already in the main ingredients.

Breakfast Cookies
Yield ~30 cookies

1 1/2 c oats
3/4 c coconut
1/2 c ground almonds
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 c oil
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In one bowl mash the banana and mix in the applesauce, oil, salt, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, and maple. Meanwhile toast the almonds to bring out the flavor then place in a plastic bag and mash them into small pieces. Add those to a separate bowl with the oats, coconut, and raisins. Then pour in the liquid mixture to create "dough". Form into small balls about 2 tablespoons large and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake for about 16 minutes until dough is drier.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Here I am, leaving you with my last St. Patrick's food posting of the year. Maybe you're kind of glad about this and you'd rather me be making Thai or Mexican posts. I know I might prefer to be eating those currently or maybe not considering I just ate 6 cookies. Eeeep! If you have followed any of my recent posts though, you have read about my quest to cook corned beef and cabbage. Lent put a little damper in my plans but I wasn't about to give up. I did a quick rescheduling for the corned beef and set out to make it this past Saturday. Step one: set up everything in the crockpot. Step two: Set alarm for 1AM to get up and plug in and turn on crockpot (which I thought I did) Step three: Wake up to amazing smells of beer and meat. Step three never happened because for some unbeknownst reason the darn outlet wasn't working! My crockpot doesn't have a light that goes on, you just switch the knob to low or high. When I woke up at 7:30 I smelled nothing and quickly realized crockpot never was on. Once again my plans were thwarted. Another readjustment and quick thinking and I put everything in a huge pot and boiled it for 3.5 hours. Luckily, it turned out perfectly and it was the best tasting fall apart corned beef and cabbage I've had.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

2.5 pounds of red potatoes
3+ pound corned beef (and seasoning packet)
1 head of cabbage, quartered
1 cup carrots
1 onion
1 12 ounce can of beer
2 tablespoons brown mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut up potatoes into quarters and onion into slices. Place onion, carrots, and potatoes at bottom of crockpot or large pot. Add in brown mustard and brown sugar. Place corned beef on top of vegetables and pour seasoning packet on top of the beef with garlic powder. Last add in the beer and enough water to leave about 1 inch of the meat uncovered. Now, if you are going to cook this in the crockpot turn it on low and cook for about 10 hours. When you have about 2-3 hours left add in the cabbage. If you are cooking this in a large pot go ahead and add in the cabbage and turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. After it has been boiling for about a half hour, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for another 3 hours. By the end of both of these cooking methods the meat should be falling apart and perfect!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patrick's Funfetti Blondie Bites

St. Patrick's is almost here! Only a few more days to make as many green and Irish things as possible. This weekend I went to the Green Beer Races which is quickly becoming a tradition. This is the third year I've gone and it only gets better every year. It's green beer though so I don't know who would be able to resist that. Since I was in such an Irish mood I wanted to make some St. Patty's treats. My favorite cake is funfetti and I've been obsessed lately with blondies so I bring you the St. Patrick's Funfetti Blondie Bites! OK, so maybe they should really be called Greenie bites? Leprechaundie Bites? They aren't so blond once you add in that green food coloring. Andddddd you should really wait until they are completely cooled so yours turn out in perfect squares versus my oddly shaped ones. They just tasted so good I couldn't stop cutting/eating them immediately after they came out of the oven.

St. Patrick's Funfetti Blondie Bites
Yield ~25

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
green food coloring
1/4 cup sprinkles

Candy melts (whichever color you prefer, I used green for St. Patrick's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and mix in with brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Next add in the baking powder, salt, powdered sugar, and flour. Last mix in the green food coloring (if you'd like them to be green, omit if you want plain funfetti) and the sprinkles. Pour into a small baking dish. I used a small 6x6 but you could easily double the recipe for a 9x9 baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, check on blondies and bake a few more minutes or as needed until firm. Let blondies cool, then cut them into 1 inch squares. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. Once they have hardened up some, melt the candy melts in a bowl microwaving for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. Place a square onto a fork and dip into chocolate shaking excess off. Then place the blondie on a sheet of wax paper to harden and add sprinkles if desired. 

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Spaghetti Cupcakes

The best part of today is my NEW blog banner! I'm in love with it and I have to thank my wonderful friend Allison for making it for me. She's a real pro with that design stuff. She's also a real pro singer too. She's so unbelievably talented and I'm so happy to have her in my life :) You should all let me know what you think of it in the comments! BUT anyway, what's a blog post without a recipe?

These are the dessert I told you all I brought to the Italian potluck dinner I went to last weekend... Spaghetti Cupcakes! I'd been dying to make these forever (like since last summer) but I never really had a reason to until the potluck. It was destiny, obviously Italy was calling my name. These probably didn't last longer than an hour. My recipe made a ton of them and I only brought half a ton. I should've brought all of them so I wasn't left alone with the rest on Sunday.

Spaghetti Cupcakes
Yield ~60 mini cupcakes or 24 regular size cupcakes

No Fail Vanilla Cupcakes
1 package vanilla cake mix
1 package vanilla pudding mix (3.9-5 ounce)
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
enough milk to get desired consistency

Strawberry Preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together eggs, sour cream, oil, water, and vanilla. Add in the cake mix and pudding mix and stir until all combined. Bake about 15 minutes or until slightly golden. For frosting cream butter and vanilla together. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Add in milk until desired consistency is reached. To create the spaghetti noodle frosting you will either need a small tip for your frosting bag or you can put the frosting in a strong sandwich plastic bag and cut a small opening in the corner. Squeeze the frosting out in random directions to make it look like noodles. After you have finished, take about 3 tablespoons or so of strawberry preserves and mix it with 1 tablespoon of water. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on top of the frosting for sauce. If you are making larger cupcakes you can use Ferrero Rocher's to place on top to look like meatballs, for the smaller version you can use Whopper's.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baby Stuffed Peppers

These puppies make me happy purely by the colors. When you just look at this dish doesn't it put you in a good mood? What's even better is today I am going to the store to get little baby seeds so I can get a head start on our gardennnnn! I'm going to get so many types of peppers (and tomatoes, cucumbers, etc) then I can just have a bunch of these right outside.

This past Saturday I went to an Italian potluck. I definitely brought a dessert but I really wanted to make a dinner dish too. I had to throw something unexpected in there. I love stuffed peppers so I decided to make those on a smaller scale so they were a bit more party friendly. One thing this meant though was I had a lot to carry to my friend's place. She lives in downtown Annapolis so parking is limited which means long walks to her place sometimes. On the walk home, somehow all the dishes ended up in a box being balanced on top of my boyfriend's head while we sang the Lion King song... I have no idea what to even say about that except it made the walk home much more enjoyable.

Baby Stuffed Peppers
Yield ~25 baby peppers

25 baby sweet peppers
3/4 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 lb ground chicken
1 onion diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic
1 can tomato sauce (~15 ounces)
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
dash salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil 3/4 cup rice with 1 1/2 cups water until cooked. In another pan spray with vegetable or canola oil and add in ground chicken, onions, and garlic on medium high. Keep on heat until chicken is cooked through. Once rice and chicken are cooked add them to a bowl and mix in the parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, worcestershire sauce, half the can of tomato sauce, and salt and pepper. Place the baby peppers in a casserole dish and then fill them with the filling. This could also be used for regular sized green peppers. It should make about 5 or so. Once you have filled all the peppers fill the dish about 1/2 inch with water and pour the rest of the tomato sauce on the peppers. Place uncovered dish in oven and bake for about 45 minutes.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tears of Butter

Hold the phone YA'LL! Paula Deen has further proven how annoying she is. Since I speak in food and weather and occasionally some bitchin, I have some of that for the first time. This morning a friend shared this article with me. I am not surprised that she would be involved in a restaurant that has racist tendencies especially towards the employees. This is probably what she is telling the authorities right now.
I actually watched her show the other day, not because I really wanted to know her recipes but because listening to her talk makes me laugh in a painful way. Trust me, I love Southerners. My mom's entire family lives in Georgia and I love going down there. When I listen to Paula though, I sort of cringe and when she takes a bite of her buttery dishes I almost barf because who in their right mind really gets that much enjoyment out food? I mean, of the top 3 things I enjoy most in this world food is in there but she just makes it sexual. Last year I even tried to make one of her recipes and followed it to a T. It was a huge flop so I'm not even sure how it made it on her site. At any rate, Paula is just crying tears of butter now because she's been figured out.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Colcannon Potatoes

Guess what!?! St. Patrick's Day is getting closer and closer. I love St. Patrick's, the last 3 of them my dad and I have gotten into some fun mischief so I always look forward to it. Whether it be roaming the streets of Grand Forks, North Dakota screaming "Yep, OK!, and You betcha" in typical North Dakota accents as we drank our green beer or going to the Eastport Green Beer Races it's always a blast. This Saturday, we're going to the green beer races again. So, today I'm bringing you a little pre St. Patrick's food inspiration. Maybe you can add this to one of your dishes in your Irish festivities.

The same day last week that we had all that crazy weather I made these potatoes too. Pops and I were going to the local Irish bar to hear to some tunes so I figured I'd make us a nice traditional Irish dinner to get us in the pre St. Patty's spirit. Originally I had planned on making corned beef and cabbage so I went out and bought everything for it. Then I realized the day before I plan to make this it's going to be Friday aka no meat day during lent. I was quite disappointed and I had to do some rethinking but I still got to use my potatoes and cabbage.

Colcannon Potatoes
Yield ~2 8 inch round pans or a casserole dish

9 red potatoes (1 1/2- 2 pounds)
1 cup milk
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 head of cabbage, diced
dash salt
dash pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut up potatoes into quarters and place in a pot of water. Bring to boil until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, cut up onion, cabbage, and garlic and place into a pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Saute with a dash of salt and pepper until vegetables are no longer firm. Once potatoes are finished cooking, drain the water out of the pot then mash your potatoes with milk, 1 tablespoon butter (more if you wish), salt, and pepper. Next fold in your cabbage and onion mixture. Place mixture into baking dishes and bake for 30 minutes or until tops get a nice browning.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Banana Bread

What do you do when life gives you a ton of bananas going bad? Make banana bread. At least that's what I did. Friday was a great day to be inside baking. It was 50 and raining and I got off work early because one person did something well so the whole division got rewarded. Seems kinda silly but I'm not complaining. I came home and baked this and some Colcannon potatoes which will be on here soon! Meanwhile I had the weather channel (which I normally refuse to watch) on in the background so I could see what was going on with the weather. Yesterday was an epic weather day. Holy ridiculous tornadoes batman! It was unbelievable to look at the radar returns. It just looked like tornadoes could have popped up EVERYWHERE. If this picture below doesn't get you excited you must have serious problems.

Banana Bread
Yield ~1 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups banana (3 bananas) mashed
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbs vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, wheat flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl melt the butter and add in the eggs, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Then add the liquid mixture into the dry bowl along with the Greek yogurt. Last fold in the walnuts. Pour the batter into your loaf pan and sprinkle the top with oats. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until firm.

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