Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

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!

Advertisements

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… 😀

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!

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… 😀

  • 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!

Pork chops. ‘Nuff said.

8 May

Two amazing things happened today. One, I made lemon bars, which were AMAZING. Two, I made pork chops with pan sauce, which were also AMAZING. I’ll be posting the recipe and steps for the pork chops in this post, and the lemon bars in a separate post for ease of reading.

Anyway, onward ho!

  • 4 whole Pork Chops (medium-to-thin)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1-1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 1/2 cup Beef Broth (more If Needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 10-15 whole Peeled Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter (additional)

Just looking at the ingredients list makes my mouth start watering. I mean, you can’t go wrong with wine and garlic. It’s physically impossible. The only way to make it better is to add… you guessed it, bacon. However, this recipe has nothing to do with bacon, unless you consider that bacon and pork chops both come from a pig, but I’m going to stop rambling and get on with the recipe. Amen.

Sprinkle both sides of your pork chops with salt and pepper.

Stick them in a hot pan with 2 Tbs of butter. Let them brown. The idea is just to brown them, not to cook them all the way (yet).

After they’re nice and brown and good-smelling, set them aside on a plate.

Now, throw your garlic cloves into the pan with a tad extra butter (I never said this was going to be good for you, people). Let it cook for a few minutes until they’ve got some nice color on them.

Please and thank you ignore how black the bottom of the pan is.

After it’s been cooking for a few minutes, pour your wine in. If you’re feeling fancy, you could add a bay leaf, but I didn’t have any in my pantry… whoops.

I poured half of mine in first, and then poured the rest of it in after the first half bubbled violently for a few seconds.

Let this heavenly-smelling concoction bubble, simmer, and reduce for a few minutes. That’ll give the garlic time to soften and absorb all the flavors of the sauce.

After all that, throw your pork chops back into the pan, making sure to get all the juices on the plate in there. They will mix with the wine reduction and make it ever oh so GOOD.

How good does this look already?

I ended up letting this cook for five minutes or so while I pulled a lovely-smelling pan of lemon bars out of the oven. After that five minutes, drizzle your balsamic vinegar into the pan, along with another sprinkle of salt and pepper. When the sauce is nice and thick (add beef broth if it’s too thick for your taste), take the chops out of the pan and onto a platter.

Pardon the blurriness; I wanted food.

Stick a tablespoon or so of butter in the sauce and stir it in.

Pour the pan sauce over the chops, taking in the deliciousness unfolding before you.

Serve with a nice vegetable; see the alt text on the photo above.

Enjoy, and happy eating!

Mac and Cheese

2 May

I’m back! Finals are done, and I’m all moved back home, where I’ll have access to a full-sized kitchen, which pleases me to no end. Anyway, now that my small rambling streak is over, let’s get down to business. No, we aren’t defeating some Huns today, but we *are* making mac and cheese.

  • 8 oz cheese (I used cheddar), grated
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Pasta of your choice
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • Dash rooster sauce

The thing I love the most about mac and cheese is how bloody simple it is. Cook your pasta according to the package direction. I suppose if you were super dedicated you could make your own, but who on earth has time for that?!

When your pasta is draining, stick your milk in the still-warm pot.

Milk.

Pour just under half of your cheese into the pot, along with half your pepper and the rooster sauce.

Then, pour your pasta on top of all that, trying not to get burned by the steam like I did. Don’t do it- it sorta hurts.

And then pile up your remaining cheese on top of all that. Yes, it seems like a lot of cheese, but… well, it just is. Deal.

Anyhoo, set that back on a burner over medium-low heat and stir it all around until the cheese gooey and melted. Then, forget to take a picture of the final steps because I’m a silly goober and enjoy your scrumptious mac and cheese.

Happy eating!