Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pull Apart Garlic Bread

This garlic pull apart bread is super fun! I made it for our family Christmas dinner. We had really great lasagna, but the garlic bread stole the show! I was really nervous about making yeast rolls because my only previous experiment with yeast failed miserably, but it turned out just fine! Here is the recipe,

Ingredients -

16 frozen roll dough balls (I used store brand.)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

Thaw rolls for 45 minutes. While they are still cold, cut them in half and place in a bowl. Then, mix in melted butter and seasoning until each roll is coated. Carefully place the rolls in a single layer in a springform pan. Allow to rise in a warm place for approximately 2 hours or until they have double in size. Sprinkle with cheese.Make sure to place on a cookie sheet because the butter will leak out a little in the oven! Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes. Serve warm.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"The Pink Stuff" Salad Dressing Recipe

This is the dressing that I have historically used on my broccoli salad, but I've branched out and started using it on just about everything because it is just DARN good. It's excellent with any kind of Italian salad. People go totally nuts for it. It's not an exact dupe of Pizza Shoppe's "Pink Stuff," but if you like "The Pink Stuff," you'll enjoy this too! The best part is that it is so easy and cheap -- way cheaper and more healthy than commercially made salad dressing. Plus, people think you're a GENIUS when you tell them your dressing is homemade!

Ingredients -

1 cup of mayo
1 cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup of sugar

(FYI, The "true" "Pink Stuff" is heavier on mayo. I also think it has some ketchup, garlic and possibly pickle juice and/or horseradish in it. If anyone wants to give some variations a shot, let me know how they turn out!)

Directions -

Combine in a mason jar or storage container and shake until the sugar is dissolved. You can also play with the recipe a bit. I've found that I like it with less mayo (which makes it healthier,) so I prefer to make it more like a creamy vinaigrette by reducing the amount of mayo I use. No matter how you make it, you will enjoy this one!

And, just for fun, here is another salad recipe to use it on,

Mixed baby greens
Dried Cranberries
Red Onion Rings
Romano or Parmesan cheese shavings
Cracked black pepper
Dressing on the side


Friday, November 22, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

I apologize for this picture. I really, really struggle with the lighting in our new house. It is the main reason most meals never get shared here anymore. It's just so tough to take a decent picture!

Anyway, I decided to give this Pioneer Woman recipe a shot after I saw it on Food Network. I was impressed by how quick and easy it was, but I was really NOT convinced that I would like it. It turned out that my entire crew loved it. It is GREAT.

Here is the recipe,

1 lb box of Rigatoni (I actually used about 20 oz, so we'd have leftovers.)
4 tbs butter
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 cup chicken broth (I used water and buillion)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of milk or cream
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, oregano, parsley (whatever you have)

Cook pasta as directed and strain.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic until the onion is transparent. Then, add peppers until they are warmed through.

Carefully transfer the pepper mixture to the blender and blend (leaving some chunks.)

Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Pour in the pepper puree and stir in the broth, salt and pepper and cream (or milk.) Once the sauce is incorporated, drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Top with Parmesan and fresh herbs. YUM!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole

We recently had my parents over for a steak cookout lunch, and I decided sweet potato casserole sounded like the perfect side! My mom has always made Boston Market's version, but I am really not a fan. It's SO bad for you, and I always think it's a little watery. (Maybe because she boils the potatoes?) I tried this version from The Pioneer Woman, and we absolutely thought it was great!

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Bake sweet potatoes for 45 minutes at 375 until potatoes are fork tender. Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, scrape the flesh in to a mixing bowl. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Add the granulated sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt to the bowl with the sweet potatoes. Mash ingredients together until they are incorporated but the potatoes are still lumpy.

Now, in a separate bowl, mash the brown sugar, pecans, flour and butter with a pastry cutter or fork until thoroughly combined. The mixture should resemble a crumble.(I actually melted the butter and mixed. I do my crisps the same way, and I actually prefer it that way. I think it gives the butter more even distribution.)

Spread the sweet potato mixture in a 14-cup oval-shaped baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Angel Icing

When I was a kid, my mom used to always make angel food cake with this fluffy whipped frosting. It has been YEARS since she made it, but she needed to whip up a cake quickly for my daughter's fifth birthday. For some reason angel food with this easy frosting came to mind.

It's so easy! It's just a 12 oz (the big one) tub of Cool Whip with a small box of Jello Pudding mixed in! 

And it even looks pretty!

As we were discussing how good this frosting STILL is, we were talking about how many different Jello Pudding mixes there are from the "dark ages" (ie the 80s) when she used to make it. One of these days I'm going to test out some of the other flavors -- Pistachio? Pumpkin? Oreo Cream? Can you even go wrong???

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lemon Meringue S'mores

We had a little a little back to school party tonight, and it was super fun! I "borrowed" an idea from Pinterest to make Lemon Meringue S'Mores by subbing lemon curd for the usual chocolate. OMG. So good! I'm usually not a fan of S'mores because, even as much as I like sweets, they are too sweet! But...I can get in to Lemon Meringue S'mores. Delicious!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lemon and Basil Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I've been really bored by the stuff that we "usually"eat lately, so I've been trying some new variations of old favorites. My husband LOVES stuffed shells, but my kids tend to resist marinara sauce. (I know, weird kids!) I saw a recipe for lemon and ricotta stuffed shells on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a try using my own favorite recipes. My husband and kids really liked it. We thought it was a nice, fresh switch for summer! This is how I made it,

Ingredients for Filling -

1 big tub of cottage cheese (I used cottage cheese for affordability purposes!)
1 8 oz bag Italian blend cheese
About a half cup of Parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
Zest of one lemon
Fresh basil to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce Ingredients -

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used 2%.)
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Zest of one lemon (Plus juice if desired. We thought it was a little too lemony with the juice!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions -

Mix all of your filling ingredients together in a big bowl. (Reserve a little Italian and/or Parmesan for the top!) Set filling aside while shell noodles boil to "al dente" as directed. While your noodles boil, add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour to a sauce pan. Stir together as the butter melts. Then, stir in milk and warm through. Next, melt in cream cheese and Parmesan. (If your sauce is not think enough, you can stir a little sauce and flour together in a separate cup and add back to the sauce pan for thickening.) Once the sauce is smooth, stir in garlic powder, zest and lemon juice (if desired) and stir. Then, ladle a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Now that the noodles have cooled slightly, gentle spoon in the filling and place each shell in the pan so they are touching. Once the pan is full, ladle the remaining sauce over the noodles. Top with additional grated Parmesan and/or shredded Italian cheese and bake covered at 350 for about 40 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 or 10 minutes until browned on top. Cool for 15 minutes and sprinkle with fresh basil. Voila!