It’s August 1st…

1 Aug

…do you know where your children are? I kid. But seriously, it’s August first, almost 2 in the afternoon, and Camp NaNoWriMo is well on its way! Already, I’m at 3,339 words (out of 50,000), so I’m good to go for today. However, what with writing furiously away, I’m not going to have as much time to spend on this particular blog, but I’ll be posting updates every so often on my other blog, My NaNoWriMo Adventures. You should check it out- there’s some fantastic stuff going down in NaNo land.

So with that, I bid you a brief farewell for a month, but rest assured I will share what I can!

Happy eating/ Happy writing!

-Bec

P.S. I finally got around to adding the pictures to my Sloppy Joes post!

Rigatoni, Baked

29 Jul

I’m making 3-cheese baked rigatoni tonight! I’m mildly excited. I’ve never actually had it (at least this particular recipe) (shock!), so I’m anxious to see how it turns out. Anyway, here’s what you need.

(probably more garlic than is strictly necessary, but I like it, so it can stay.)

For the pasta:

  • 12 oz. ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. rigatoni pasta
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 large zucchinis, quartered and sliced
  • 10 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • Pasta sauce (ingredients below)
  • 15 oz. low fat ricotta cheese
  • 7 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ C. shredded parmesan cheese

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine (whatever you have on hand)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • around 8 basil leaves, chiffonade (or less, if you prefer… wimp.)

Mildly daunting, yes, but bear with me here. I promise it won’t be so bad.

Actually, I can’t promise that, because I’ve never made this before. Oh well! Moving on!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Boil your rigatoni in salted water for 10ish minutes or until it’s slightly under al dente (it’ll cook more in the oven). Drain, and set aside.

Fry up your sausage in a skillet with some olive oil* until it’s done (no more pink!), and set it aside but DON’T CLEAN THE PAN. Leave all those fabulous juices in there.

Add the onions to the pan and cook ‘em till they’re golden brown and yummy-smelling. I added pepper to mine because… well, because I could. And that’s just how I roll.

Add your zucchini and mushrooms, and cook the whole mess until all the veggies are tender. Add the snausage back into the pan. I may or may not have forgotten to add the snausage back to the pan until I had already stirred the ricotta cheese in… :D

Turn the heat on LOW, and wait until your sauce is done, which I’ll show you how to do now. Or, if you’re using sauce from a bottle, just add it in and skip the whole “amazingness that is homemade sauce” thing.

Sautee your onions in a medium saucepan over medium-high until they’re soft, and add your garlic in. Cook that for 30 seconds or so until the garlic is browned.

I forgot this next step, but don’t be like me. Add your red wine, and let it reduce by about half (2-3 minutes mayhap), and then proceed.

Dump in your canned tomatoes (if you’re willing to do a little extra work, you could use fresh tomatoes, but I’m lazy), trying not to splatter them all over the place, making your kitchen look like a crime scene. I may or may not be speaking from experience.

Silly camera, making everything all blurry.

Add your spices and basil, and stir well to combine. Cook for a few minutes, and add your sugar in. I definitely did not do that in order. Oh, well.

Cook that entire mixture for a good five to ten minutes to let all those flavors marry, and then add that succulent sauce to your veggie/snausage pan, bringing it up to a simmer and cooking for two minutes.

Add the ricotta cheese, and stir gently to combine.

Add half your mozzarella and parm, and wait till it’s melted and gooey to add the second half, making sure to save a little for the top.

Add your pasta (which should already be cooked and drained and stuck back in a pot) to the sauce stuff and stir to combine.

So messy, but so, so good.

Pour the entire thing into a greased 9×13 baking pan, top it with your remaining mozzarella and parmesean, and bake it for 15 minutes.

Diagnosis: Yuuuuuum!

Top with basil sprigs or chiffonade and serve immediately.

Happy eating!

Roasted Asparagus

26 Jul

Hey, people. I had roasted asparagus tonight. It was delicious. I have to stop and think every single time I type ‘asparagus’ because I want to spell it ‘asperagus’. Moving on.

  • 3 Tbs olive oyl
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

It’s quite simple, really. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and brush it with olive oyl, and then sprinkle some garlic powder on top of that (optional).

Prep your asparagus, breaking off the woody part at the end, and stick it in a bowl.

Combine your olive oyl, lemon juice, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl, and whisk to combine.

Pour it over your asparagus, and toss to coat.

Place in an even layer on your prepared baking sheet. Try not to crowd them, because then they’ll just steam and not roast. Then forget to take a picture before it went in the oven because you’re a goober. Oh wait, that’s me. Moving on.

Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until tender and caramelized.

Yummy! Serve hot as a side dish to whatever you’re feeling, or stick it on a pizza, or on a salad, or in shrimp gumbo… Be like Bubba Gump. Woah my brain’s shutting down kthxbai.

Happy eating!

Independence Day!

3 Jul

Hapy Fourth, everyone! Well, if you live in the US, anyway. Moving on.

A few things to share with you today…

1. Bacon is awesome. It should be considered sacrilege to let it go to waste. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love for bacon before, but I’m just reiterating.

2. I got a kitty! Her name is Nala and she’s adorable, if a little shy.

SO MUCH CAT HAIR.

3. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of classic “American Fare” is A) Bacon and B) Potato Salad.

Pretty short list, but I’m going to share my recipe for potato salad. It’s kind of awesome. Here’s what you need:

  • Poatoes
  • Mayo
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Dill weed (fresh or dried) OR Dill relish
  • Parsley (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Green onions
  • Yellow onions

And that’s pretty much it. You could add some hard boiled eggs, if you wanted, or assorted veggies (asperagus [yes that’s spelled MY way], bell peppers, etc.), or something crazy if you really wanted, but this is what I add.

First off, potatoes. I use red, because I like them, but you could use Russet or some other sort of white potato. Heck, you could even use sweet potato and that would work in some cases (not necessarily here).

Ignoring the fact that my potatoes were sprouting, stick them on a cutting board and cube those suckers.

Tolkien reference. Win.

Put them in a pot, and cover with enough water to cover the potatoes plus an inch or so.

Cover them until the water comes to a boil, and then uncover and continue to gently boil for about ten minutes, or until they’re fork tender.

Macbeth reference (I think). I'm on a roll!

While that’s happening, combine about a cup of mayo, a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard, a few teaspoons of salt and pepper, and the herbs.

Herbses.

Whisk them together. Adjust your measurements to taste.

I have no words.

When your potatoes are done, shock them with cold water, and then stick them in a bowl, and then add the veggies.

Pour your sauce on top of that.

So, step one and a half.

Mix well, cover, and stick in the fridge for a few hours.

Heh... marry.

On a side note, this bowl is frickin ancient.

Anyhoo, serve cold with some awesome bacon-covered meatloaf. Have I mentioned my love for bacon? I’m fairly sure I have.

Happy eating!

The Case of the Purple Pineapple

20 May

So, um, I made some pad thai tonight, along with some pineapple banana bread. The reason I’m somewhat flabbergasted at the moment is because, well, the pineapple in the bread turned… purple. I have absolutely zero idea how it happened, nor do I have photographic evidence of said purple pineapple, but I pulled it out of the oven and saw this random purple crap studded throughout the loaf (which, annoyingly, stuck to the pan despite a liberal coating of Pam). I poked it, and it was the crushed pineapple. Funnily enough, however, was the fact that I’m munching on a piece where the pineapple is now all a nice and uniform yellowish color, the way it should be. My brain is exploding. No, seriously, I have no idea what is going on.

So, with that being said, I’m not really sharing a step-by-step recipe tonight… I’m more just sharing a few recipes that I’ve made in the last few days. I might make individual posts about them at a later date, but for now, I’ll just describe the awesomeness.

For mother’s day, my sister and I took our mom to Bonefish Grill here in Omaha, and let me tell you- the food there is FANTASTIC. We had bang-bang shrimp as an appetizer (WHY DOES THIS BLOGGER REFUSE TO USE THE SHIFT KEY*!), and I had the most joy-gasmic Jamaican coconut pie I have ever had the pleasure to put in my mouth. Oh. My. Sweet heavens. “Good” does not even begin to describe this pie. It was custard-y and creamy and coconut-y and it had a caramel rum sauce on top along with whipped cream and- excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard. I’m back. Seriously though, this pie was absolutely divine. I could probably go on for another few pages about how awesome this pie was, but I won’t. Anyhoo, I looked online the next day (or the day after, I can’t remember) for a copycat recipe, not expecting that they would put the recipe ON THEIR FREAKING WEBSITE*! I know I already linked to the recipe, but… yeah. Moving on. I made the pie the next day, and it was every bit as delicious. I didn’t actually make whipped cream to put on top, but it didn’t need it. Om nom nom nom nom nom. So good.

*I do apologize… I don’s use caps lock often, but I truly cannot help myself here.

I also made pad thai tonight. I was going to use the recipe that I linked above, but I was missing tamarind paste and fish sauce, so I ended up using the recipe on the back of the noddle box, and it was still pretty dang tasty. Definitely a hit.

Did I already mention the coconut pie? Yes? Good. Either go eat it or make it because it is one hundred percent worth your time.

Aaaaaaand… other than the freaky purple pineapple (say that ten times fast), that’s what I’ve made in the last few days. Along with chicken picatta, herbed quinoa salad, and pseudo chicken paella, based on this recipe. Although, I really really want to make these. I might do that next week.

That’s about it for my ramblings for the night… See you all next week sometime!

Happy eating!

Sloppy Joes

11 May

I made sloppy joes. They’re pretty tasty, especially since I added some habeñero powder… :D

  • 3 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 3 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • 1/3 c. cider vinegar, plus extra for adjusting flavor after cooking
  • 1/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar, plus extra for adjusting flavor after cooking
  • 3 t. paprika
  • 2 t. dry mustard
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. chili powder, more or less, to taste
  • 1 t. fresh ground black pepper, more or less, to taste
  • 1 t. rooster sauce

Here’s what I did. Brown your ground beef in a large pot, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks.

Once it’s brown, add your chopped onions, red peppers, and carrots in. You could also add garlic in now, but I was lazy and didn’t feel like chopping any up (our slap-chop was in the dishwasher).

Throw in your spices, tomato paste, brown sugar, and basically everything else on the ingredient list into the pot, and let it simmer for however long you feel like, or until the veggies are nice and soft.

Toast some hamburger buns, top with meat filling, add cheese if you so desire, and enjoy!

NOTE: My computer is being silly and not letting me add photos so… I’ll go back in and add them later.

Edit: There’s pictures now!

Happy eating!

Lemon Bars

9 May

So I made lemon bars tonight (really last night by the time this post goes up, but you get the picture). They were delicious. I couldn’t find my 9×13 pan. But they were still delicious. Here’s the recipe.

for the bars:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

for the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Ironically, I’m snacking on one as I write this. Anyhoo, preheat your oven to 350 and butter a 9×13 inch pan really really well. It will stick like none other if you don’t.

So funny story, I couldn’t find my 9×13 inch pan, so I ended up using  a 10×14 inch pan… I think it’s used for broiling stuff, but it still worked. And yes, I measured. I also lined it with aluminum foil, because that’s just how I roll.

And I sprayed it with pam, because I was too lazy to soften some butter. Moving on.

In a big bowl, combine your flour (I definitely just typed that like “flower”), sugar, and salt.

Add your melted butter, attempting to not burn yourself on the bottom of the bowl like I did. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, crack three eggs in, and add your vanilla and optional lemon extract. I added it because I really like lemony things and I had it on hand. However, you don’t have to add it, but it certainly acts like a kick in the mouth of lemon flavor.

Don’t you love these bowls? I know I do! I’ve got two smaller ones in blue and pink. They’re fantastic.

Mix those suckers up. Then comes the fun part- zesting and juicing a big lemon.

Hm… you can’t really tell, but it’s all in there. Anyway, give it a quick stir to combine and then add it to your flour-sugar-salt-butter mixture.

Try not to eat/drink this batter, because it is quite delicious, and it smells DIVINE! But don’t eat it. You want to bake it into bars.

Pour it into your prepared pan, and stick it in your oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious, like so:

But here’s the thing… you really have to wait for this to cool before you glaze it and enjoy. I know, I know, it’s so hard, but trust me- it’s worth it.

To make the glaze, just combine 1 cup of powdered sugar and the juice and zest from another lemon. Adjust sugar to control thickness.

And don’t completely spill the powdered sugar all over the counter like I did…

Queue powdered sugar explosion.

Dump it onto your bars, making sure to use a rubber spatula to get all that glazey goodness out of the bowl. I am having so much trouble typing for some reason tonight.

Kindly ignore the beef bullion in the background… I made pork chops while these were baking. See the previous post.

Anyhoo, let these sit in the fridge for 5 minutes or so to set up, and then cut into squares, and serve!

Happy eating!

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