Friday, November 1, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa

This was a super easy dinner that my super-carnivorous husband even loved. He looked at is with distaste when he realized there was no meat in it, but he admitted after dinner that he really loved it even without meat :) I like this because it is sort of reminiscent of macaroni and cheese, but it feels more acceptable to eat for dinner as an adult. 
1 1/2 cup quinoa
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 lb frozen broccoli, thawed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Meanwhile, sautée the onions and garlic in the butter until the onions are soft. Whisk in the flour and mustard for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time. Gradually add about 3/4 of the cheese, stirring until the cheese is smooth and melted. Combine the quinoa and broccoli. Pour the cheese sauce over the quinoa and stir to combine. Cook this in a lightly greased dish at 400 for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining cheese to the top and bake for about 5 more minutes. 

Greek Pizza

We make a lot of pizza around here. Pizza is one of the few foods I actually crave, and it's so easy to make/so expensive to buy. All of those awesome pizza deals on the mainland don't exist here in beautiful Hawaii, but I would never complain because I can walk to the beach and make my own dang pizza ;-) 

We usually stick with pepperoni and mushroom, but I gave this Greek pizza a try.  When the commissary was closed due to the government atrocity, we bought some chicken sausage in bulk from SAMs Club, and a quick google search of chicken sausage recipes gave me this suggestion.  The picture I found had lots of olives, which I suppose makes it more Greek, but I left those off because I think they are revolting. 

For the crust:
1 package instant yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt
Garlic bread sprinkle (this is a delightful thing I found with the spices at the commissary. Garlic salt is good too)

For the toppings:
1 jar marinara
Baby spinach
Chicken sausage,diced 
Sundried tomatoes
Crumbled feta

To make the crust, combine the yeast and water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and knead dough.  I make this in my stand mixer with the dough hook, and I just let it run for about 5 minutes until a nice dough ball forms.  Place dough in a bowl that is coated with nonstick spray and cover it with a damp towel.  Let it rise for 45-60 minutes.  When the dough has risen, divide it into 2 parts, one part being 2/3 of the dough. This will roll into a regular pizza pan size. I use the remaining 1/3 to make garlic bread. If you like really thick crust, you can use the whole dough ball. With floured hands, stretch the dough and press it into the pan, rolling the edges to create crust. 

Drizzle olive oil on top of the dough. Spread the marinara, and add the sundried tomatoes. Add the spinach ans top with mozzarella.  Add the chicken sausage and feta (and olives if you're into that sort of thing).  

Bake it at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

I'm beginning to think cheese balls are a strictly Southern thing after some of the reactions I've gotten from making one for dinner parties. I don't think I ever went to a dinner party at home where there wasn't some kind of cheese ball, and I am thankful I am not lactose intolerant for this reason. I love me some cheese. This recipe is for the most basic and easy cheese ball I've ever made - it's a really simple and quick option for an appetizer. I used the "low fat" options for the ingredients, but really, you're eating a big ball of cheese on buttery crackers, so it's not like it makes a huge difference.

1 tbsp light sour cream
1 pack dry ranch dressing mix
8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
1/2 lb shredded cheddar
1/2 cup pecans (pronounced pee-cans, not puh-cahns)

Combine the sour cream and ranch mix until it's smooth. Add the cream cheese and the cheddar. I used a form to mix them, but you may need to just combine with your hands to get it totally incorporated. Refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes, and then shape it into a ball. Roll the ball in the pecans and refrigerate until it's time to serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Easy Pita Bread

Since I made a big batch of hummus and had it all to myself, I decided to try making pitas because I am not a fan of how store-bought pitas go stale so quickly. These were really easy, and they turned out great! 

1 1/8 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
t tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Combine all ingredients until combined. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and and roll into flat circles. Place the dough on a metal cooling rack, and cover it with a damp towel for 30 minutes again until the circles get slightly fluffy. Keep the pitas on the cooling rack (2-3 will fit), and place the cooling rack directly into the oven. Bake the pitas at 500 degrees for 4-5 minutes, or until the puffed up tops begin to brown slightly. Take them out of the oven and immediately cover with the damp towel again. Repeat this until all of the pitas are baked. After they cool, cut or break them in half.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Red Velvet Bundt Cake

I made this a couple of weeks ago for an OSC event. I was really glad I took it somewhere to share it because my waistline would be in grave danger if this thing was sitting around the house. It was really moist/dense/scrumptious. 

For the cake:
2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 oz red food coloring
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder

For the icing:
1 package Neufchatel cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

Mix the eggs until smooth, and then add the remaining wet ingredients. Add flour 1 cup at a time followed by remaining dry ingredients. Bake it in a greased bundt pan for about 50 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool it in the pan on a wire rack until completely cool. Run a knife around the edge before turning out on the serving plate. 

To make icing, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour it over the cooled cake. I had a lot leftover, so you could ice the whole cake instead of drizzling.

Easy Hummus

At several parties and events I've been to recently, there's been hummus that I just couldn't get enough of! I asked my friend for her recipe, and she sent me the link to a Food Network recipe. No wonder it was so good! I didn't have some of the ingredients on hand, but I had most of them, so I gave it a shot. Luke was gone at the time, and I finished it on my own pretty quickly :) the recipe below is what I used, and the Food Network link is copied below that! I blended it all in my Cuisinart chopper, and it barely fit. I had to grab a few carrots to scrap some off of the side of my chopper ;-)

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoon salted 
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup water
Paprika, as desired

Read more at:

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

The first week that Luke was gone flew by thanks to planned dinners/visits every night of the week. While they were all a blast, I particularly loved getting to see some friends from the mainland who took time out of their family vacation to come see me (and give me a much-needed hair cut!). I've been looking for a reason to try this recipe, and I thought a visit from some fellow Southerners was the perfect excuse! It was seriously amazing - it tasted just like Fall, which continues to escape me here in beautiful Hawaii. Poor me, right? I don't remember where exactly I found this recipe, but I had it written on a note card stuck inside one of my cookbooks, which probably means I copied it down from someone else's cookbook!

For the cake:

4 eggs
3 medium sweet potatoes, cooked & mashed
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp half & half
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix the eggs, butter, vanilla, and sweet potatoes until creamy. Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Pour batter into a sprayed bundt pan, and bake it for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees. When it's done, cool it in the pan on a wire baking rack until completely cool. Run a knife around the edges and turn the cake out onto whatever you're going to serve it on.

To make the glaze, mix the ingredients until the powdered sugar is incorporated and the glaze is smooth. Drizzle it over the cooled cake.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Quinoa Chili

When Luke is galavanting around the world with the Marine Corps, I am free to try meatless dinners! I have no moral opposition to meat; in fact I am a full-fledge, flag-waving carnivore. I love all the meats, really. But sometimes I just like to try things, and if Luke is home, there are no meatless recipes tried within our 4 walls. I found a recipe similar to this, but it was a stovetop recipe. I made a couple changes so I could put it in the slow-cooker. It turned out great, and I will definitely make it again.

3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, diced
1 15 oz-can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and papper to taste
1 can red kidney beans
1 can white kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 cup cilantro, chopped
juice of 2 limes

I just threw it all in the crock pot and cooked on the "warm" setting for 8 hours and then flipped it to high when I got home from work and let it go for about 2 more hours.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


My second favorite cookie of all time, second only to oatmeal chocolate chip, is the snickerdoodle. I've mentioned before how much I love cinnamon sugar, particularly when it is of the Auntie Anne's variety. I made these snickerdoodles a couple of weeks ago for our OCF snack, and I did not get to bring any home! Good thing I stashed one at home for desperate times.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar (key ingredient for taste)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Beat the butter and sugar until smooth, and then add one egg at a time, followed by the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Shape the dough into round balls. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Roll each cookie ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake them on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8-12 minutes at 400 degrees.


Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this a couple of weeks ago to take to some friends' house. I looked around my pantry and refrigerator to figure out what I could make without going to the commissary on a Sunday (death wish?), and this is what I came up with. It was super delicious - I will definitely make this cake again. You may be thinking that this doesn't really look like cake, and you're right. I assure you it looked much more like cake before I tried to transfer the leftovers to tupperware and dropped it heavily in the container. But, it tasted just as delicious crumbled as it did whole.
For the cake:
5 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 tsp vanilla

For the icing (random compilation of ingredients I had on-hand):
6 oz Nuefchatel cream cheese
1/4 jar marshmallow cream sauce
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Place the finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl, and pour the hot coffee over it. Stir it occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients. In yet another bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until they thicken. Slowly add the oil, vanilla, and buttermilk, followed by the melted chocolate. Slowly add the dry ingredients until well blended. Divide the batter into 2 greased round cake pans. Bake at 300 for about 45-55 minutes. To make the icing, beat the cream cheese until smooth, and add the marshmallow cream sauce. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, and then add the vanilla. Blend until smooth. I left the icing off of the cake since it was so sweet and just let each person drizzle the amount she wanted over her piece of cake.

Lemon Garlic Chicken & Veggies

This was a really simple dinner I made a couple of weeks ago (when there was a man appetite around my house). I just juiced a couple of lemons, minced some garlic, added olive oil, salt, and pepper, and tossed some green beans, red potatoes, and chicken in the mixture, and I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

3 chicken breasts
1/2 lb green beans
4 lemons, juiced
10 red potatoes, quartered
7 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

I've had my Southern status questioned on more than one occasion when it's revealed how much I hate sweet tea. Sorry, not my thing. But I think I have a redeeming Southern quality in making buttermilk biscuits. These are so soft and completely melt in your mouth. They are miles above any canned or frozen biscuit and actually really easy to make.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and cut in the butter in small chunks. I mix it with a potato masher until it looks like a coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and mix it just until it's combined. The dough will be very wet. Turn the dough out on a floured cutting board, and pat (not roll) it down to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut your biscuits. Place them on a cookie sheet. If you want soft biscuits, place them on the sheet with edges touching. If you like flaky biscuits, leave space between them. Bake them for about 10 minutes.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

If you've spent any significant amount of time in Asheville, NC, you're probably familiar with The Hop on Merrimon Avenue. This is one of my favorite ice cream shops, second only to Annapolis Ice Cream Company. One of my favorite flavors that I have gotten there is key lime pie, and for some reason, I have been craving it this summer even though I haven't had it in at least 10 years. I found a recipe in an old Southern Living magazine and gave it a shot. Typically I prefer ice cream with some sort of chocolate in it, but this was really delicious and refreshing!

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 cup half & half
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers

Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Gradually whisk in the milk and half and half. Stir constantly over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Remove the sauce pan from the heat, and whisk in the egg yolk. Pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Let it cool completely and then add the lime juice, lime zest, and graham crackers. Freeze in an ice cream maker, or freeze overnight in the freezer.

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Bread

Whenever Luke heads out for any amount of time, I have the lovely task of eating what's left in the refrigerator. It usually results in dinners composed of random assortments or me trying to find recipes to use exactly what I have. This time, I had 3 boxes of blueberries that were knock knock knockin' on Heaven's door and several lemons, so this bread was my first choice. It turned out to be really moist because of the yogurt, and it made more than I could (should) finish, so I had plenty to share with friends.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup plain yogurt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup blueberries

Combine dry ingredients and then gradually add wet ingredients one at a time. Gently fold in the blueberries. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan at 350 for 55 minutes. Yum!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lemon Fruit Dip

This is a really easy and delicious fruit dip that my mom makes. It's really good on strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and apples - probably on other fruits too!

16 oz lemon yogurt
3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding
4 oz Cool Whip

Just mix it all together and chill it! I usually use sugar free pudding and Cool Whip, but it's good with the regular kind too. I could eat this stuff with a spoon and have on many occasions. No picture because I forgot to take one.

Roasted Garlic and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Do you ever go on vacation, find a restaurant you love, want to eat there again, but know you should branch out and keep trying new places? No? Just my family? That place was Kona Brewing Company for my family, and I can't even pretend like I don't share the obsession. KBC has an awesome happy hour with half price appetizers, and we went twice while my parents were visiting (and they went there twice while they were on the Big Island). The pizza rolls are an obvious choice for appetizer, but we also tried the "roasted garlic" without really knowing what to expect. When it came out, there was literally a bulb of garlic, a bowl of cream, and bread. Really, how could this not be amazing? I gave it a shot at home, and it turned out great!

1 bulb of garlic
olive oil
1 1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
loaf of sour dough bread

To roast the garlic, remove some of the outer layers of the skin, but leave the skin of the individual bulbs in tact. Cut about 1/4-1/2 inch (depending on the size of the bulb) off the top of the bulb to expose the individual cloves. Put the garlic head in a muffin pan cup, and drizzle it with olive oil. Cover the garlic with aluminum foil. Bake it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cloves are soft. You should be able to squeeze the top and get soft garlic to come out.

To make the cream sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan, and stir until melted and thickened. Spread some of the soft garlic on the bread and top it with the cream spread. It. Is. Amazing.

Soft Pretzels with Buffalo Cheese Dipping Sauce

Having family in town is a great reason to try out some new recipes that make things in bulk and are thus too large for just Luke and me. I LOVE soft pretzels. When I used to go to Annapolis to visit Luke, I was always bummed when I was waiting in the airport for my flight to head back home. Since retail therapy in the airport is limited to heavy hardcover books, neck pillows that make me sweat profusely, and Baltimore souvenirs, I resorted to eating my feelings, and Auntie Ann was always there for me. A hot cinnamon sugar pretzel got me through many goodbyes. This recipe is not for cinnamon sugar pretzels, but the pretzel turned out to be amazing. I am going to try this recipe again to make cinnamon sugar in the near future, and I will not require house guests to help me eat them. I found a recipe similar to this on Pinterest.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp if you're using jarred yeast)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
non-stick spray
3 quarts water
2/3 cups baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Sea salt

Buffalo Cheese Dipping Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buffalo sauce

To make the pretzels, combine the 1 1/2 cup water, sugar, yeast, and butter, in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix it on low speed until it's combined. Increase the speed to medium and let it knead until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Coat a big bowl with non-stick spray, and put the dough in the bowl to rise. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let it rise for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil, and add the baking soda. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and roll them into pretzels. Boil the pretzels 2 at a time for about 30 seconds, and put them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pretzels with the egg and season with sea salt. Bake them for about 15 mins.

While the pretzels are baking, melt the butter for the sauce in a sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add the flour and whisk together. Add the milk, and turn the heat to low. Continue stirring this until it thickens. Add the cheeses, stirring until all of the cheese melts and is smooth. Stir in the buffalo sauce, and season with salt and pepper if you want.

This was seriously so delicious. The picture is awful because I just wanted to dig into it. I really might make these again, even though I'd be eating them solo....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Barbecue Jack Burgers & Baked Fries

On Friday night, we planned on taking my parents to Waikiki to see the Friday fireworks and drink lava flows on the beach. However, it was rainy so we ended up staying in, grilling out, and playing Setters of Catan, which was just fine by all of us. After the trade winds blew out the grill a few times, we finally got it lit and got going.

2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 cup BBQ sauce - I used Jack Daniel's original
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
sea salt
garlic salt

2 large Russet potatoes, sliced in 1/3 inch fries
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
garlic salt

This ended up making 8 burgers, so I froze 4 for later. For the fries, just coat the potatoes with oil and salt, and baking them at 450 for 25 minutes. Turn them and bake them for 25 more minutes. This was good with Jack and Coke :)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I made this one for another friend's birthday, and it was so, so, so delicious. It was soft and gooey and literally melted in my mouth. I used Emeril's recipe, so no surprise that it was awesome. The 2 sticks of butter probably didn't hurt.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars together, and then all one egg at a time. Add the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Add the vanilla extract, and then fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the cookie dough on a greased circular pan and bake it at 375 for about 20 minutes. Mine ran over the sides of the pan a little bit, so I put a large cookie sheet underneath to catch it.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I tried a new recipe for a friend's birthday cake, and it was so awesome! I found this in an old church cookbook. Southern church ladies really never disappoint when it comes to baked goods, and this will definitely be replacing my old go-to red velvet recipe.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups cugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz red food coloring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup prepared plain hot coffee

2 8-oz packs of cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 stick butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the buttermilk, vanilla extract, red food coloring, vinegar, and coffee. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into greased and floured round cake pans, and bake it at 325 for 30-40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on a cooling rack until the pans are warm to the touch. Take the cakes out of the pans and cool them completely before icing.

To make the icing, mix the cream cheese, milk, butter, and vanilla with a hand mixer until smooth. Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Peach Ice Cream

For the past week or so, I have really been missing Georgia. Hawaii is incredible, beautiful, and serene, but as the saying goes, there's no place like home. While we mostly miss our friends and family, we aren't ashamed to have a weekly conversation about a longed-for Chickfila milkshake. I decided to give this peach ice cream a go, and I was so glad I did! It's really awesome, and it made a lot, so I dropped it off at Luke's office so we wouldn't eat the whole batch by ourselves.

3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 peaches, pitted and pureed
2 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Mix it all together and blend it in the ice cream maker! Easy and  sweet.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cinnamon Coffee Ice Cream Cake

This was a doozy but so worth every second put into it. There are 5 layers to this ice cream cake, and all of them tasted amazing individually and together. I sampled each one a few times just to make sure.

2 rows of Oreos
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Coffee Ice Cream:
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (decaf)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp finely ground coffee
1 tbps ground cinnamon

Fudgy Center:
1 row of Oreos
1 jar hot fudge ice cream topping
3.4 oz instant chocolate pudding

Cinnamon Ice Cream:
1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp chocolate syrup
2 cups half & half

Chocolate Cream Topping:
2 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tbps unsweetened cocoa powder

I made the coffee ice cream first. It was pretty involved, but not too difficult. Heat the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt, and cream in a meduim saucepan until it's warm and steaming but not boiling. Remove it from heat, cover, and let it sit for an hour. Then, reheat the mixture on medium heat until it's steaming but boiling again.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and sugar mixture over the eggs, whisking constantly. Put the whole mixture back into the sauce pan.

Stir this mixture over medium heat with a flat-bottomed spatula so you can scrape the bottom on the sauce pan - you don't want the eggs to cook and end up in scrambled egg pieces. Continue stirring constantly until this thickens and coats the spatula without being runny.

Pour the mixture through a strainer into another bowl. I let it sit in the strainer for a while because it was so thick that it was taking a long time to make it into the bowl. When it has strained, throw away the beans, and add the vanilla, ground coffee, and cinnamon to the mixture.  Chill this mixture in the refrigerator. Finally, run it through an ice cream maker to thicken it up. Put it back into the freezer.

While that ice cream was freezing, I made the crust, which was just ground up oreos and melted butter. Put it in the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan. Put the pan in the freezer until the crust hardens.

For the cinnamon ice cream, simply combine all of the ingredients and run it through the ice cream maker. Freeze it for about 6 hours afterward.

The fudgy center is just a mixture of the hot fudge, crushed Oreos, and pudding.

The topping is made by combining the whipping cream and vanilla and then sifting the powdered sugar and cocoa into it, whisking constantly.

When I put it all together, I spread the coffee ice cream on the crust and topped it with the fudgey center. Then I spread the cinnamon ice cream and topped it with the chocolate whipped topping.  I froze it overnight and it was ready to cut right when I took it out of the freezer to serve. This is seriously delicious. Here's a picture of the semi-melted leftover piece that doesn't do it any justice.

3 Bean Salad

This was another cool side that required no cooking and thus did not heat up my kitchen. It was good as a side and also good on tortilla chips!

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 package frozen corn, thawed
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Combine the beans, peppers, onion, and corn. In another bowl, combine all other ingredients. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture. I made this a day ahead as well.

Easy Pasta Salad

When lots of people come over, it tends to get hot in our house, so I decided on sides that didn't have to be cooked to reduce oven and stove top time. I made this a day ahead, and it's a really easy, cool option.

1 box rotini pasta, cooked
1 cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bottle fat free Italian dressing (I used about 3/4 of the bottle)

Vodka Strawberry Lemonade

This was my alcoholic contribution to the coffee. I originally planned to make some sangria, but after    Luke's wet down, we had a ridiculous amount of vodka leftover, so I gave this a shot. It's very sugary - not sure how it would compare to using lemonade from concentrate, but it's probably pretty similar.

1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 pint strawberries
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
3 cups vodka

In a deep skillet, heat the sugar and 1 cup of water, stirring it until the sugar dissolves. This is really sticky. Let it cool to room temperature. Blend the strawberries in a food processor or blender until they're smooth. Combine the strawberries, lemon juice, vodka, and remaining 7 cups of water. When the sugar water mixture is cool, mix it in. It goes down easy - maybe a little too easy : )

Being as there is a good chance there will always be a pregnant person present, I also made some plain lemonade.

1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups lemon juice

Again, heat the sugar and one cup of water until the sugar dissolves. Combine it all after the sugar water cools.

Chicken and Steak Kebabs

At every place we've been with the Marine Corps so far, the wives get together for "coffees." Imagine my surprise when I went to my first wives coffee in Lawton, OK and there was no coffee to be found. I quickly realized this is just the antiquated name for monthly get togethers that may or may not involve wine depending on the duty station. So far, I like the Hawaii "coffees" best because there is always wine, or alcohol of some variety. I hosted the June coffee this week and made some of my favorite summer foods. I thought I was going to have my very own grill-master home from the rifle range to grill up some kebabs for me, but he ended up spending the night in the field, so the griddle was an acceptable substitute.

For the steak marinade, I used
olive oil
red cooking wine - don't waste the real stuff!
a little vinegar
minced garlic
sea salt
a little cumin

I made about 25 steak kebabs with 2 pieces of steak on each, so the amount of marinade is really just dependent on that. I coated the meat and let it sit overnight.

For the chicken marinade, I used
olive oil
a little vinegar
lime juice

I blended all of this in the food processor, coated the chicken, and let it sit overnight. I used squash, zucchini, and mushrooms on the kebabs.I only stabbed my finger about 4 times in the process of making 50 kebabs, so I consider this to be successful. I cooked them on the griddle, rotating them every couple of minutes or so. I kept them warm in the oven at 170 degrees for about 15 minutes until I was ready to serve them.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can't believe it's been 2 years since Luke graduated/commissioned. In some ways, it seems like USNA was so long ago just in that it was a different season of life, but in other ways, it feels like this time has flown by, probably because we've hopped around so much from  TAD to school to school. Luke was promoted last week and had his wetting down over the weekend with 6 other LTs who promoted at the same time. I made these cookies along with some other party snacks. I loved them so much that I made another 1/2 batch on Monday for the Bachelorette viewing party.

2 sticks butter (all great recipes start with this ingredient...)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugar together until it's fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients one at a time until incorporated. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Sausage and Spinach Gnocchi

I always say that I am going to meal plan. I know I should meal plan. Of course it makes life easier and saves money, but I just never seem to get around to doing it to the full extent. Now that school is out for the summer, I am in the office all day with very little to do. It turns out that when kids are not at school, the behavioral health specialist has very little to do! So I used some time to meal plan last week, and we ate pretty delicious food all week long. We even had enough leftovers to get us through most of this week too. I'm hoping to be able to keep it up once summer school starts and I get a little busier because it really did make life easier. So last Friday, after a fun afternoon at the O Club with Luke's CO guest-bartending, we went home for sausage and spinach gnocchi. I wish I could say I made the gnocchi myself, but that's a feat for another day.

1 package pre-made gnocchi
1 bag baby spinach leaves
1/2 lb Italian sausage (I bought Johnsonville sausage. This won't come as a surprise to many, but it's pretty difficult to find real food/quality sausage at the Commissary)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp butter
sea salt

Bring a pot to a rolling boil and add gnocchi. Don't let the gnocchi return to a rolling boil, but let it simmer heavily until the gnocchi is floating - this doesn't take long.  Add a little salt to the water. Drain the gnocchi, but reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid.

In a skillet, cook the onions until they're soft and then add the garlic and sausage. I cut the sausage into bite sized pieces to speed along the cooking. Cook it until it browned and add the spinach, salt, and pepper. Toss it frequently until the spinach starts to wilt . Add the gnocchi and the reserved cooking liquid and toss it with the spinach and sausage. Top with some Parmesan.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beer and Jack Chili Mac

Luke has had to work late the past two nights - huge bummer, but at least he's not deployed or training off-island! Yet. I tried something new for dinner, and it made so much that I ended up taking some to him and the person with whom he's working tonight. Before I even made it the one-mile drive from the block house to our house, he had texted me to ask for more. It is that good. I love it when a recipe from pinterest turns out to be as amazing as it sounds. This recipe for beer and jack chili mac (link) was so fantastic. The mac and cheese is so good that I'd eat it alone, but it was really amazing with the chili too. I made the mac and cheese exactly as the original recipe states, but I made a few changes for the chili based on what I had in my pantry and the fact that my husband does not approve of meatless dinners.

For the mac and cheese:
1 box elbow noodles
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup beer (I used Corona)
1 cup cream
8 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz Neufchatel cream cheese

For the chili:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beer (again, Corona)
1 can black beans
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can fiesta corn
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 lb ground beef, browned

So in the original recipe, it says to make the mac and cheese first. However, the chili has to simmer for 30 minutes, so when I make this next time, I'll make the chili first and make the mac and cheese while it's simmering to cut down on wasted time.

Saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeño in the butter until the onion is translucent. In a large pot, combine all of the chili ingredients, and cover this and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the macaroni noodles. I used my pasta boat so I could forget about the noodles while I was making the sauce. In a large skillet, melt the mac and cheese butter and add the flour, whisking until a paste forms. Whisk in the beer and cream. Bring it to a low boil, and then add the cheeses. Combine until they're thoroughly melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix.

Lastly, add the macaroni to the chili. I found that making a whole box of macaroni was too much to be added to this amount of chili, so I added about 2/3 of the macaroni to the chili. Bonus: now I have beer and jack macaroni to eat too! Next time I make this, I think I'll make some cheddar jalapeño cornbread to go with it!

Oatmeal S'more Cookies

Last night, we had a potluck cookout with OCF. I love these things because the food is always amazing (bacon-wrapped pork and bacon-wrapped chicken. seriously.) and it's a great time to socialize outside of our regular Bible study gatherings. I made Parmesan orzo and oatmeal s'more cookies. I love oatmeal cookies, and I love s'mores, so I LOVED these cookies. They were really easy to make too, so that's always a plus, especially since I went straight from work to the commissary and back home to bake right beforehand. Nothing like putting it off til the last minute! I found this recipe on pinterest, but had to do it a little differently, particularly because I did not have an hour to chill the dough, again citing my last-minuteness.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 jar (or homemade! ...ain't nobody got time for that) marshmallow cream sauce
30-40 Hershey's dark chocolate kisses

In/with a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until it's fluffy. All the eggs one at a time, followed by the milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Gradually incorporate the fry ingredients into the wet ingredients until thoroughly blended.

The original recipe (link) said to chill the dough for at least an hour but no more than 4... I chilled it in the freezer for about 20 minutes because that's all the time I had. I tried to make the cookies round-ish without taking the time to form them into balls when I put them on the cookie sheet - this helps keep the marshmallow cream sauce from running off the cookie. Bake them for about 10 minutes on 375. While they're baking, unwrap the Hershey's kisses for quick transfer. When the cookies come out of the oven, use a spoon to make an crater in each one and spoon a little (or a lot, depending on the size of the crater) marshmallow cream sauce into the craters. Add the Hershey's kisses, pushing down until you feel the kiss lodge into the cookie. Obviously, don't stack them because the marshmallow cream sauce doesn't harden. These are so delicious!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pineapple Sorbet

The battalion wives started out having bimonthly dinners for the solo wives, but they're so much fun that everyone comes anyway and just leaves husbands at home. Tonight we had and island themed dinner with some delicious kalua pork and Okinawan sweet potatoes, which were a first for me. They're purple, y'all. The gal who made them mixed in some coconut syrup, and they were delicious. My contribution was pineapple sorbet. It couldn't have been easier, and it was a really refreshing dessert.

1 fresh pineapple, cored, diced
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar

Blend it all up in a blender. I put it in the ice cream maker (you could skip this) for about half an hour and then froze it overnight. I left it out on the counter for about 30 minutes for it it soften before we ate it. The original recipe (link) suggests adding a little rum to it, and I might try that next time I make it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chicken Piccata

We knew that one of the very few downsides of living in Hawaii was going to be the high cost of everything. This proved to be true, but I'll be the first to say the beaches, rainbows, shave ice, friendly locals, slow pace of life, etc. etc. etc. far outweigh this minimal downside. That being said, we are making a conscious effort to try to eat out less. We have frequented a local Italian restaurant in Kailua on the suggestion of several people, and the chicken piccata is my favorite thing on their menu. The sausage gnocchi is a top contender, but I haven't braved that yet. So in an attempt to eat at home a little more, I gave chicken piccata a try. I found this recipe in an old cookbook I have, and it was good! I'll definitely make it again.

2 chicken breasts, cut in half
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Angel hair pasta
Parmesan cheese

Melt 4 tbsp butter in a large skillet. Coat the chicken breasts first in egg and then breadcrumbs. Put the chicken breasts in the warm skillet, and cook them on low-medium heat for about 6 minutes on each side or until their cooked through. In a pot, bring the stock and lemon juice to a rollin boil. Turn the heat to medium and add the capers and parsley. Cover it and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Toss the pasta with the sauce, reserving some sauce to top the chicken. I added a little extra squirt of lemon on the pasta and sprinkled a little Parmesan cheese on top.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rum Chocolate Chip Cookies

I stumbled upon this when I was 3 steps in to making chocolate chip cookies and realized I was out of vanilla extract. I saw the imitation rum sitting there and thought it was worth a shot. And it was definitely worth a shot because these were really delicious.

3/4 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup  sugar
1 egg
2 tsp imitation rum extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and rum and let it mix. Once incorporated, add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Once the dough is formed, mix in the chocolate chips. Bake them at 350 for 10-12 minutes. The cornstarch makes them chewy and soft, and the rum was a great flavor!

Star Burst Mirror

Now that there is a Pier 1 nearby, I'm always lusting after decor that is not in our budget. I figured I'd give one of these starburst mirrors a shot. I spent $8 on the mirror (the only craft store we have here is Ben Franklin, so it's definitely more pricey than mainland craft stores), $4 on 2 packs of dowel rods, and $3 on spray paint. So if it was a bust, I only blew $15. I was able to use the dowel rods for a couple of other things too, so I was hoping it wouldn't be a complete waste. I am pretty happy with how it turned out, though I would do a couple things differently if I were to do it over again. On the suggestion of a friend, I hot glued the dowel rods to the back of the mirror before painting them so I wouldn't have to rotate them and have them roll around when I sprayed. I used some of our leftover packing paper to cover the front of the mirror. I wish I had taped all the way around because some paint did get under the edge, but it was nothing a little paint thinner couldn't fix. I took a flat hanger off of an old picture frame and glued it to the back of the mirror. It turned out okay! I'll leave it up for a while and won't cry if it breaks in the next move. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Margarita Cake

I do not normally go for citrus-y desserts. I am of the mindset that dessert should be chocolate or it is worthless. However, I really liked this cake. The original recipe called for an orange cake mix. I know that I definitely saw orange cake mix at the commissary on one of the end of the aisle displays a couple weeks ago, but of course, they had none in stock when I needed to buy one. So I used a lemon cake mix because I remember seeing in the comments that someone did this and it turned out fine. So, if I do make this again, I will try it with the orange cake mix instead. But for this, I just juiced an orange into the mix to add some orange flavor.

1 box lemon cake mix
1 3.4 oz vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
juice of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup tequila

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp tequila
juice of 1/2 lime

Mix all the cake ingredients and beat for about 2 minutes. Bake it at 350 in a greased/floured bundt pan for 45-50 minutes. Drizzle it with the glaze before serving. I didn't take a picture of this but will when I have a leftover slice tomorrow : )

Chicken and Steak Fajitas

This is one of my favorite things to make. The marinade I used for the chicken and steak was almost identical except for one ingredient.

For the chicken marinade, I used:
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Blend it all up in a food processor or something similar, and then spread it over 2 lbs of chicken cut into fajita strips. I usually marinade it over night and then cook it in a skillet or on the griddle.

For the steak marinade, I used:
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh, chopped cilantro

Same process, and I spread it over 1.5 lb of flank steak cut into fajita strips and marinaded over night.

I also chopped up some red, green, and yellow peppers and onions and cooked them in a skillet with some olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. I love, love, love these fajitas and I am so excited that I have leftovers! I also made some tomalito and will be eating this for dinner for the next 4 nights.

(thanks to Bailey and Lucy for giving me this absolutely beautiful platter!)

Ranch Bean Dip

Tonight I hosted a get together for the ladies in the battalion who are sans-husband. I made fajitas, and we did pot luck for appetizers and desserts (so many yummy dips!). I saw this recipe on pinterest this weekend and thought I'd give it a try since I had all of the ingredients and because it looked really easy.

1 can refried beans
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pack dry ranch dressing mix

Mix them all up and heat it on medium heat. So good warm but goes down easy cold too. I don't normally like Ranch dressing, but I really loved this! I'll definitely be making it again.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dark Chocolate S'more Ice Cream

After taking a long walk on the beach yesterday (this is not a personal ad), I started feeling pretty awful and was on the couch with a ridiculous fever and body aches for the rest of the afternoon. This was definitely not how I wanted to spend this weekend, but Luke was a good sport and went to buy medicine and a new thermometer. Nonetheless, I had a big Easter dinner planned, and I wanted to still do it since Luke will be gone soon. On Sunday morning, we went to a beautiful Easter sunrise service at Kailua Beach Park and got to see 30 people baptized after accepting the Lord as their Savior. It was seriously beautiful.

This ice cream needed to be refrigerated overnight, so I started it on Saturday evening, and it was perfect in time for Sunday dessert. It's rich. It's creamy. It's thick (still not a personal ad). It's amazing.

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups skim milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 egg yolks (hello, egg whites omelets!)
1 cup sugar
6 graham crackers, crushed
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups small marshmallows, melted

Put the cocoa in the a saucepan and gradually add the cream and milk stirring with a wooden spoon until a thick paste forms. Add the vanilla extract, and heat the saucepan over medium heat until the mixture is steaming but not simmering. Remove this from heat and add the 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, stirring until completely melted. In a small bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar until it is fluffy. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, gradually add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, mixing/whisking rapidly. Return the mixture to medium heat, stirring it constantly for 5-6 minutes. Don't leave it on the heat for too long because the eggs could scramble and that would be disgusting. Remove this from heat and let it cool. Once it is cool, pour it into a container, cover it, and refrigerate it over night.

The next day, it should be thick like custard or soft serve. Process it in an ice cream maker (if you don't have one, just fold in the mix-ins and freeze it over night). Pour half of the batter into a glass container, and add the graham crackers, 4 ounces of chocolate, and melted marshmallows. Fold it in and then add the rest of the batter, folding the mix-ins through all of the ice cream. Freeze this for at least 3 hours before eating.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

I started my new job 2 weeks ago, and this past week was my first week with students. I got to ease into the job, as the students were on spring break during my first week and only came to school for 2 days last week. I was really thankful for this because as soon as the students came back, I was going full speed ahead. My position has been unfilled for about 2 months, so I feel like I am really behind, but I am trying to remind myself that I don't have to catch up overnight. Luke has had a very busy couple of weeks as well, so we were both exhausted by the time the weekend rolled around. We still have plenty to do, but this morning, all we wanted to do was have breakfast and take a walk on the beach, so that's exactly what we did.

These pancakes were really fluffy and filling, and I am always up for pumpkin.

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp vinegar

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until they're incorporated. Cook them in a greased skillet on low. It made about 10 small pancakes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Zucchini Yellow Squash Gratin

Last Friday, we went to a "barbecue." Let be clear about something. It is NOT a "barbecue" if there is no actual barbecue served. Barbecue includes: pulled pork, smoked pork, barbecued ribs (of pork or beef variety), and barbecued chicken. If hotdogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, or grilled chicken are served, this is a cookout. So as you see, there is a fundamental difference between a barbecue and a cookout. I digress. This particular cookout included bratwurst and hamburgers. I struggled to think of a side to make that could feed a lot of people and wasn't macaroni and cheese - someone already claimed this, and I'm glad she did because it was awesome. Nonetheless, my go-to cookout side was claimed. I stumbled upon a list of Martha Stewart's favorite side dishes, so I figured there had to be one winner on the list. And I found exactly one thing on the list that sounded appetizing to me. Here is the recipe: Zucchini Squash Gratin I followed it exactly, and it was really delicious, which can probably be attributed to the cream.

I forgot to take another picture, but here's a great shot of of the vegetables before the cream canceled all of their nutritional value!

BBQ Chicken Pineapple Pizza

I sent Luke to the store to buy the things I needed to make the zucchini and squash gratin. He did pretty well, except he brought home mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan. No big deal, I told him. We still had a day, and he drives by the commissary on his way home. So the day of the cookout, I asked him to stop by again and pick up parmesan. He came home with mozzarella again. I just looked at him and he said, "Why do I think they're the same thing?" Bless him. He went back, and as the adage goes, third time's the charm.

So I had everything for the zucchini squash gratin and 4 pounds of mozzarella cheese. On Saturday when we were elbow deep in unpacking the office and guest bathroom, we started craving pizza. I considered ordering until I remembered the mozzarella stock in our refrigerator. Luke loves barbecue chicken pizza, so in an act of love I made him something I hate. We had some tiny pieces of pineapple leftover from a delicious Dole pineapple that worked perfectly for pizza, and since the dough makes enough for 2 pizzas, I stuck with a normal mushroom pizza for myself.

3 cups flour
1 pack instant yeast
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/3 cup warm water

BBQ sauce
shredded chicken, cooked
crushed pineapple
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese, depending on how much you like

I love making dough in the stand mixer because I get really tired of mixing it by hand. I mix all of the ingredients with the dough hook until the dough is loose, for about 8 minutes, sometimes less. Divide the dough in half and form it into two balls. Brush it with a little more olive oil and cover it with a damp kitchen towel for about 45 minutes to an hour. About 15 minutes into the rising time, I starting preheating the oven to 500 so it would be nice and hot when I was ready. With floured hands, form the dough into a flat circle on your pizza pan or stone. I used a little bit of nonstick spray. Top it, and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Being as I would never eat this, I can't attest to how it was, but Luke really loved it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pumpkin Scones

Today is my last day of unemployment, and I am thrilled to start my job tomorrow! The school district is on spring break right now, so I will have a couple of days to do trainings and get my office set up before the students come back. I have already started putting together all of my office supplies, and I can't wait to meet my students! So today I am doing some things around the house, like the unending laundry (we've already done 18 loads, and I'm not done yet), organizing our home office, etc. But I figured starting by day with some pumpkin scones would be ideal. This recipe made 8 scones, and they were so good! The recipe claims to be a Starbucks copycat - I've only had one of their scones, and it was a while ago, so I can't attest to their similarity, but I can attest to their awesomeness.

2 cups flour
7 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp half & half
1 egg

1 cup + 1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp half & half

The original recipe (link) says to mix the dry ingredients on low in a food processor, but I used my stand mixer. After the dry ingredients are mixed, gradually add the 6 tbsp of cold butter. Let this mix until it looks like a cornmeal texture. I just let my mixer run while I blended the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. When the wet ingredients are blended, gradually add them to the dry ingredients, and let this mix just until it is incorporated and forms a large dough ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface a couple of times, and flatten the dough into a circle. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into triangles. I cut mine into 8 scones (the original recipe said 6 scones, but I think this would be too big after I saw the size of the 8 I made). Bake these on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 425 for 13-15 minutes. After they have cooled, top with glaze. It's going to be hard to wait until tomorrow to eat another one!

Shepherds Pie

This is what I made for Saint Patrick's Day. I had never made it before, but it was really easy, and I think it turned out great. And no, we did not have green beer with it, because that is ridiculous.

4 large carrots, finely diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
10 oz frozen peas
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
1 glass red wine
8 oz tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef stock
10-12 red potatoes
sour cream
skim milk salt
1 egg, beaten

Scrub and boil the potatoes.

While potatoes are boiling, sauté the carrots and onions in olive oil on low-medium heat until they are tender. Add the beef and thyme, mixing with the vegetables and cook until the meat is browned. Drain the fat and add butter and peas. Sprinkle the flour and mix. Add the tomato paste, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce this to low heat and let it simmer before adding the stock. Add this to a greased baking dish.

Drain the potatoes and mash them. Blend in sour cream to taste, and desired amount of skim milk and salt. Top the meat mixture with mashed potatoes. Brush the beaten egg on top of the mashed potatoes, and bake it at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes look golden on top.