Sunday, April 1, 2012

Personal Pizza Pockets

It is inevitable. Every time I ask my three-year-old what he wants for dinner I will get one of three answers, Chicken Nuggets, Mac and Cheese, or Pizza. Those are great suggestions to satisfy any three-year-old's palate, but lets be honest... I like to think I am an adult, with adult taste buds. When do I get something that will satisfy me? I decided to compromise. I would cave and make pizza, but on my own terms. A satisfying pizza pocket that I could have my favorite toppings in and not just the sausage and cheese that is always requested.

In scrambling through my refrigerator I found some tubes of crescent rolls and figured they would work fine for a good ole crust. In order to make these into a decent pizza pocket, I used 4 triangles per pocket (hello calories!) and blended the angled seams together so my sauce wouldn't leak out. Put the sauce, toppings and cheese in the middle of the dough, top with remaining 2 triangles and crease edges together. Bake on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes at 350 until golden brown.


Andes Mint Bark

I have to admit, that a good portion of my day is dedicated the the ingenious recipes of others through fascinating blogs. I am inspired, envious, and down right annoyed by the creativity of some of these talented individuals. I was recently browsing the Brown Eyed Baker when I noticed her Delicious recipe for Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark. It seemed to be simple enough for even me to handle. I headed to the store on search for the one item I did not have---mint extract. Simple enough right? Five stores later still no extract. I could find peppermint like no other... not the same. Instead of using the mint extract I settled for some good ole fashioned mint chips.

 The process was uncomplicated, and to make it even more so, I bypassed the double-boiler and settled for the old trusty microwave.
  • 8 oz Mint Chips
  • 8 oz White Chocolate Chips
  • 16 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 5 oz Andes Mints, coarsely chopped
Combine Mint and White Chocolate Chips in microwave safe bowl. Put in microwave for about 3 minutes on half power. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds until mixture is smooth.

Pour into a prepared pan lined with parchment paper. (I used a 9x13, but when I do it again, I will opt for something a little larger, the bark was a little too thick for my liking) Put pan in to refrigerator for about 15 minutes or until well set.

Melt Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips in microwave safe bowl. Put in microwave for about 3 minutes on half power. Be sure to stir every 30 seconds until is smooth.

Pour over Mint layer in pan. Top with chopped Andes Mints. Be sure to press mints into chocolate layer. Return to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to insure that it is completely set. After bark is set cut or break into pieces. May be kept in a air tight container for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

Well, I suppose I should gather up my thoughts and spill them onto the computer. It's been a while since I've posted, but sometimes life gets in the way.  A couple of weeks ago I made a Mexican lasagna that is absolutely delicious.

(adapted from Best Church Supper Recipes)

1 lb ground beef
1 16oz can refried beans
7 oz can of diced green chilies
1 taco seasoning packet
12 lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 jar chunky salsa
2 cups shredded cheese
sour cream
4 green onions diced
1 4oz can olives
2 cups water

Brown meat, and drain. add refried beans, chilies, and seasoning packet and mix well.  I let mine refrigerate for about 4 hours to let the flavors mingle but if in a hurry you can just do it all together.

Put a layer of lasagna noodles in the bottom of your 9x13 pan then layer with meat and bean mixture and top with cheese. Repeat so that you have 3 layers.

Mix salsa and water together and pour over entire lasagna. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Uncover and top with olives, onions, and remaining cheese and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mid-Week Madness

Wow. Do you ever get so overwhelmed with life that you forget the little things? That is exactly how this week has been. It was nice to have a weekend to spend with some family and forget about the every day occurances, but when you step back into the real world-you realize how much you have actually missed. This past weekend we went up to my folks to spend some time with them. It's been about a month since we have actually had the chance to sit down and let the grandparents play with the little tyke. One day of playing turned into the whole weekend.

By the time we got back home on Sunday, I was exhausted and ready for another weekend. Alas, much to my disappointment, I had to get ready to start the week. Getting back to reality put me so far behind and sent me into a bit of a tailspin.

Since we were gone all weekend, I began to play catch-up on Monday with my weekly grocery shopping, coming home and refusing to make anything I had just bought- settled for grilled hot dogs and chips (don't hate me). Last night, after spending my entire lunch hour beginning dinner, I finished my slaved over Mexican Lasagna, only to have my 3-year old throw a fit because he wasn't allowed to cut it up himself.

After dinner I sat down to work on a paper for a class I am taking. Forget it. I wrote one paragraph and went in crawled in bed by 8:00. But here we are. Mid-Week Hump. I can see the weekend coming. I can get through this week. I will be victorious...or so I hope.

Chicken Tortilla Dipping Soup

My family and I decided to venture to my folks place this past weekend in which we stayed for much longer than expected. I decided to treat my folks to a good ole classic that is so easy it is scary, in addition my husband kept asking for "that chicken dip" and decided to take advantage of multiple people to get rid of the goods.

1 lb chicken diced and browned
1 can kidney beans , rinsed
8 cups water
1 package Bear Creek Tortilla Soup


Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips

Add all ingredients to a crock pot, let simmer for 3-4 hours. Thicken with cornstarch if desired. Serve with toppings and use your tortilla chips as a spoon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moment of Insanity

Yesterday, I had to make a quick jaunt to the store. I was standing in line with my basket when I noticed what the individual in front of me was putting on the counter. I do this quite frequently to see what mix-mash I can conjure up to see what they are going to have for dinner. All of the sudden I had an incredible urge to drop everything and go running to the dairy case. Is it possible? Can it be? It's as though the clouds parted, the angels began singing, and a single ray of sunlight came down and began shining on this wonderful concoction.  There it was waiting for me...

Let me start with a precursor. I despised egg nog until last year. Couldn't stomach the stuff. Textures can make or break a food or drink for me. Egg nog is very thick and is definitely an acquired taste. Christmas time last year, we had a couple of family members over for dinner and they happened to bring a half-gallon of egg nog. My husband jumped right to it and poured himself a glass. After several cocktails and not feeling the need to get myself anything else, I took a sip out of his glass-it was love as soon as it touched my lips. The aroma enticed me. The taste baffled me. It was a match made in heaven.

To be honest I have tried multiple varieties of this from homemade, light, regular, different brands and so on. Nothing compares. Meadow Gold Egg Nog is top notch. I am more than willing to try any other brand, or recipe to put it up for comparison but this has to be as close to perfection as you can get.

Sadly, I denied my urge to become a linebacker and plow through the isles and isles of people to find this angelic drink, as I knew if I were to crack open my first jug- it would be a staple in my fridge for the next five months and I'm not quite sure I am willing to give into my addiction so early in the year....but we will see what happens when I make my weekly grocery jaunt tonight. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inside-out burgers

Well- it was one of those days. Not wanting to cook- but definitely not wanting to go out. Instead I settled on a concoction of both worlds-sort of. One of my husband's uncles introduced us to these wonderful masterpieces a couple of years ago... and have been a hit ever since. The greatest thing about these is you can literally stuff them with whatever you have on hand, mushrooms, cheese, ham, ranch, bacon, onions the list goes on.

Step 1- make patties about 1/4 inch thick and 5-6 inches in diameter (trust me they shrink to bun size) It's easiest to keep each patty on a piece of wax paper. Each hamburger requires 2 patties.

Step 2- Stuff them. Make sure to keep all the fixin's in the middle of the patty and leave about 1/2 inch all the way around from the edge clear.

Step 3- Put another patty on top of the fixin's. Pinch the edges together with the bottom patty. Make sure this is a tight seal otherwise you will have leaky fixin's.

Step 4-Season with your favorite seasoning. I am a big fan of the Grill Mates Hamburger or Monterrey Steak seasonings if you want to go quick and easy.

Step 5- Put burger into your frying pan or on your grill. One key to these being successful since they are so large is to cook them slower and longer. At the end of the cooking process, be sure to cover for a couple of minutes with a lid if it is on the stove top-just to insure it is good and cooked.

Step 6- ENJOY- Throw it on a bun, add your favorite condiments, some homemade fries and fry sauce.

For those of you who are non-Idahoans-fry sauce is a delightful mixture of Miracle Whip or Mayo if you prefer, ketchup and various seasonings. I use onion flake, and garlic salt.