Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday: Pepperoni Noodle Pizza

Super frugal meal time. This is another fun recipe from my Dinners on a Dime book. I LOVED this one. It's basically a pizza that uses noodles instead of a pizza crust.
Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground beef
4 3-oz. pkgs. beef-flavored ramen noodles, uncooked and divided
1 Tbs. oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup sliced black olives (I left this out, but I am sure it would have been might tasty)
25 slices pepperoni (or less)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Optional: Italian seasoning to taste.

Directions:
Brown beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain, remove beef from skillet and set aside. Cook noodles as directed on package; drain. Stir in 2-3 seasoning packets to taste, reserving the rest for another use. Add oil to skillet; heat over medium heat. Spread noodles evenly in skillet; pour eggs over noodles. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes, until eggs begin to set. Spread sauce over noodles, leaving a one-inch border around the edge. Top with beef and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes. Cut into wedges. This cuts beautifully after it is cooked. I wish I had taken a picture of it after I had cut into it, but I didn't so this will have to do. Serves 4.







Zucchini Bread

It is that time of the year for zucchini again! In the past I have had friends give me some from their own backyard. Next year, I am hoping to grow some in my backyard since my kids will be just a tad older and I can let them all play together outside while I tend to my duties. In the meantime, I found a monster zucchini at my local farmer's market. I bought it thinking I might get a few zucchini breads out of it to freeze for later. Take a look at at this baby. This thing only cost me a dollar! 9 cups of shredded zucchini, I found out later, for one buck! That's enough to make 9 zucchini breads! You can't find zucchinis like that at just any old Walmart. Check out your local farmer's market if you haven't already. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find there.
Okay, so now for the recipe I used. For zucchini bread, I always refer back to one of my first cookbooks, given to me as a wedding gift. It's the "new" Better Homes and Gardens CookBook.Ingredients:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini
¼ cup cooking oil
1 egg
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

Grease bottom and sides of 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. Set aside. (This was about the point that I was doing the math and realizing we did not have nearly enough sugar to be making 9 zucchini breads, so I had to send my hubster out to the store to pick up a bag for me)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, zucchini, cooking oil, (I used my coconut oil on this one and loved it) and egg. Add dry mixture to zucchini mixture & stir until moistened. Fold in nuts.

Spoon into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 mins. (I used many different kinds of cooking pans, including my mini muffin pan. If you do this, cut down on your cooking time. My mini muffins were done in just 15 minutes!) Remove from pan and cool completely on rack. Check these out! I froze some, ate some for breakfast with the family the next day, and took some to some of our neighbors. They were delicious!

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Side note: I used a grater dish from IKEA that I wanted to show off, because I loved it so much. WHOMP! Here it is! Isn't it so cute? Check this out. Grate up cheese, veges, or whatever, and it falls right into the bowl it is attached to. (There is a fine shred and a coarse shred) If it is full to the top that is 4 cups. And it comes with a lid for storing your food after it is shredded. These are going for 4.99 right now. Okay, sales pitch is over. And NO, we are not getting any money for saying that I liked this grater. :) Look at all of our splendid zucchini after it was shredded! (This is my huge 34 cup bowl, by the way) It did occur to me half way through that I could have gotten out my food processor and saved some time, but by then I was half way into my arm work out with my grater, so I decided not to stop. :0) It also occured to me that I should probably be saving some of these huge seeds, rinsing them and drying them out on a plate to be planted next year. Little tip, if you are going to be doing this: you know they are dry enough when they crack if you try to snap them. Once they are dry you can store them in a labeled bag.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Delicious Peanut Butter Cookies recipe

It's amazing that with all of the cookbooks I have, I continue to reach for my All You magazines for recipes instead lately. I always seem to go through phases with my cooking, and this phase of cooking from my magazines has been going on for a couple of months now. Have you ever noticed that you eat a particular meal over and over and over again for a few months and then all of a sudden you just stop making it? Does everyone do that or is it just me? I used to make grilled chicken sandwiches at least once a week every week when we first got married, and now I NEVER do. ? Anyway, back to the point of this post...PB cookies! I decided to make these when my other Peanut Butter dessert bombed last week. This recipe is a classic one, but I thought I would share the recipe anyway. You might even consider doubling the recipe and taking some cookies to a neighbor or a friend who could use a hug. EnJOY!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

Preparation

1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter with both sugars for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth and well combined. Beat in peanut butter. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 2 batches, until just combined. My darling husband came home from work while I was making these and he pitched in to help them get made quicker. Ain't he sweet?

3. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheets. Flatten each ball by pressing with tines of a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake, switching pans halfway through, 14 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown on bottom and barely colored on top. Cool on pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. With a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

These cookies were muy fantastico!! Try them. :-)

CROCKPOT MEAL! Salmon Loaf

It's quick, it's effortless, it's salmon LOAF! This recipe is a perfect summertime dinner idea because your oven does not have to be on and it can be put together in a jip. This recipe comes from my Dinners on a Dime cookbook. My daughter helped me make this one. My son helped me eat it. :0) Check it out.

Ingredients:
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (I used Stove Top. One package from this box is a little over 2 cups)
1 cup chicken broth (I used one buillion cube and one cup water)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 can (14 3/4 ounce size) salmon -- drained, bones and skin removed (I used two packets because it's what we already had from a time when it was a great deal...it worked fine.)

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Add salmon and mix well. Transfer to a slow cooker coated with nonstick cooking spray. Gently shape mixture into a loaf.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

I served mine with some green beans. My husband and son LOVED this stuff. :0) Who knew? Seriously, my children are so unpredictable when it comes to eating. :0) Here's a shot of my 4 yr. old son reclining back as he enjoys his piece of the salmon loaf...

Hope your kids like it as much as he did! :0)




Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday: Rustic Artichoke and Ricotta Pie


Let me start by saying that I wish I would have added tomatoes to this somewhere. It seemed dry to me, but other than that, not completely terrible. My husband is not a fan of the artichoke, so I probably won't be making this one again, but wanted to warn you all...use tomatoes. :)
1 Tube Refrigerated Crescent Rolls
1-1/2 cups Ricotta Cheese
1/2 onion
14 oz. jar artichoke hearts
Garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup fresh parsley

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat up 1 Tbs. oil in a saute pan.
2. Cook up some chopped onion (I did about a half an onion) and some garlic powder (Ideally you would use minced garlic cloves here, but I had to improvise since our garlic wasn't looking too good and needed to be thrown out) in the oil. 3. Spread out, pinch together and, roll out, crescent rolls until they form a large rectangle. (Ideally you would use pizza crust here, but we already had crescent rolls, so again, I improvised)4. Mix Parmesan, ricotta, and parsley. Add in your onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

5. Spread out mixture evenly onto your dough.
6. Drain artichoke hearts. Cover with artichokes hearts. (I was in a hurry to get to work when I made these, but...I would chop these up smaller, and I would also add the chopped tomatoes, and maybe some black olives here, if I were to do it again.)
7. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese.

8. Sprinkle with extra basil. Cook until crescent roll crust is golden. (About 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.) Serve warm.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peanut-Butter Balls rolling right into the trash.

Okay, so if you connect with us on facebook, you may have already heard that I attempted at making Peanut Butter Balls from a recipe blurb I found in my Parents magazine a while back. On a day when I had my two youngest children down for a nap at the same time I suggested to my 4 year old that we make Peanut Butter Balls together. I got him all excited, by showing him the picture of these delicious looking treats from a magazine page and getting out the few ingredients necessary to make them. (Peanut butter is his favorite food, and my husband LOVES any dessert that contains peanut butter, so I figured this was going to be a WIN all around)The problem was that there wasn't actually an Ingredients list. It was truly just a blurb in the magazine. Since I improvise all the time when I cook I did not think much of that. That was my first problem. :) The end result: we made Peanut Butter cookies and ate those instead. (I'll post that recipe later, because that one is a guaranteed success every time) Read on...

Okay, so here is my picture of the ingredients I thought should have worked:My ingredients:
Instant nonfat dry milk
JIF peanut butter
Honey
Semi-sweet cheapo brand chocolate chips

Directions I followed: (with my two cents typed in red font, for your entertainment purposes more than as some sort of helpful tool to you all)
Mix 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter, 1/3 cup honey, and 1 cup powered milk in a bowl. (Is there a difference between powdered milk and "dry milk"? Mine seemed gritty)Roll into 20 1" balls. Melt 6 oz. dark chocolate (I used chocolate chips that we already had on hand) and dip balls into chocolate. (even when done correctly, this sounds like it could be messy. I didn't think about that until I got to this point) I decided to microwave my chocolate chips. I did 30 seconds and then took them out to mix them up a bit. It seemed REALLY thick, so I added 1Tbs. of butter and melted it some more. I thought I saw that idea in another recipe I had done in the past. When I took it out it was not smoother, and creamier like I had imagined it would be. It was more like this: So, you can see how dunking peanut butter balls into this might not work so well. I tried to slather some chocolate on anyway, because I just couldn't see wasting all this food. That looked like this: Did I mention that they were supposed to look like this? You know what I thought was a hoot, though? My son begged to eat just one. I let him eat it, and he acted like it was fantastic and then ran around our house for about an hour afterward with a huge bolt of energy. I dumped the rest anyway. So, here's the rest of the directions, for those of you who care to even bother trying. :)
Refrigerate until chocolate hardens. If desired, pipe letters with leftover melted chocolate. (not exactly an option in my case)

Two questions:
1. What kind of chocolate would you have used here? The kind you melt to make chocolate candies or something?
and
2. Is dry milk "powdered milk" or is that something different all together?