Yep. That title is pretty lame.
What I’m making for dinner tonight is not! It’s so easy that I feel weird calling it a recipe.
Maybe it’s just an Indiana thing, but I’ve been eating smoked sausage with potatoes and green beans since…Well, probably since I could eat solid food. My mom would make a big pot of it so we even had leftovers. Much like chili, this is even better the next day.
To make this cold weather comfort food, assemble the following:
1 package Smoked sausage
About 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of green beans, drained
4 or 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 32 ounce box chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Heat a stock pot on medium. Cut the sausage into bite sized chunks and throw ’em in the pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring occasionally so nothing burns.
Add potatoes and green beans, then pour the chicken stock over everything. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium low and let simmer until potatoes are fork tender.
You could also dump everything into your crockpot and let it cook all day if you like.
I usually serve this with cottage cheese and biscuits. Tonight, I’m making 7-Up biscuits because my friend Carla says they’re the bees knees. I’m excited to try them!
What are you having for dinner?
I think we can all agree that pizza is full of awesome, and homemade pizza is even better. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn my nose up at a slice from a pizza place…but by the time we get it home (no one delivers to us country folk) the cheese has congealed and the crust is soggy. There’s just nothing quite like a slice of fresh – outta – the – oven pizza that you made yourself.
I’ve always gone the store bought crust route because, honestly, it’s just easier. I’ve always wondered if homemade crust would be better, though… So when I discovered a recipe for pizza crust in my KitchenAid book I decided to give it a shot. Was it better?
Leaps and bounds, y’all.
I know you guys probably can’t wait to try this for yourselves, so how about we get crackin’?
Pizza crust (Recipe from KitchenAid)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105° F to 115°F)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Cheese (whatever variety makes your heart sing)
I preheat my oven first (450°F) so the dough can rise on the stove top.
Attach the dough hook to your mixer, then pour the warm water into the bowl. Add yeast and let it dissolve, then add salt, oil, and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Mix on speed two for about a minute.
Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, then let it mix for about two more minutes.
Let dough rise in a greased bowl (I used olive oil) in a warm place for an hour, or until it doubles in size. Or until you suddenly remember it after getting distracted by your toddler’s newest daredevil stunts. You know, whenever. It’ll still be right there waiting for you.
Punch the dough down, then you can do a few different things. I divided it in two, then divided one half into thirds for O’s mini-pizzas. The remaining half got pressed into our cast iron skillet (brush it with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom and sides first).
You could easily make one big pizza out of this dough, or a couple of thin crust pizzas. It would make really good calzones, as well. The possibilities are practically endless!
Once you have your dough ready, top it with whatever your heart desires. We used a ton of pepperoni, onions, green peppers, and banana peppers (they just belong on pizza). O’s pizzas got a smidge of sauce, broccoli, green peppers, and cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until exposed crust is golden brown and cheese is melty.
Let is rest for five minutes or so before cutting into it… And try not to burn the roof of your mouth on the molten lava cheese.
This crust was so easy to make that it would be a crime to buy the pre – made stuff from now on. It actually stayed crunchy under the ton of toppings and sauce, which was nice. Floppy pizza crust is not delicious.
I happen to think this would make a great Super Bowl snack. You could even make a mini-crust for each guest, let them top it however they like, and then bake ’em up.
All I know is, next time I’m making a mini Hawaiian pizza and I’m not sharing.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Until last week, I had never experienced the joy that is carbonara. How I managed to go this long, I have no idea… I’ve seen it on restaurant menus and I’ve drooled over the recipe in more than one cookbook.
I think it really just came down to one thing: I was afraid of the eggs.
I know that sounds silly, but I was always worried that the eggs wouldn’t cook enough and I’d end up killing someone. Rather than risk food – borne illness, I just preferred to skip over the recipe when planning dinner.
One night last week, I felt a little braver than normal. I was looking through bookmarks when a recipe for pasta carbonara popped up. I read through it a handful of times and assembled the ingredients. It was time I stopped fearing the egg.
The recipe can be found on The Pioneer Woman’s site. I made only one tiny change… I subbed chicken stock for the wine. Something told me Moscato wasn’t what they had in mind when they said to add white wine.
Holy moly, am I ever glad I finally tried this. I already have plans to make it again, and next time I will pair it with some kind of chicken. According to the BF, half of a pound of bacon just isn’t enough meat.
I ended up reserving a little bacon for the boy… He had some whole wheat spaghetti with bacon, parsley, and Parmesan but no sauce… Just in case.
Maybe I’m not totally over my fear of eggs…
Do you have a (maybe slightly irrational) food fear?
I don’t know why, but all last week I wanted some egg rolls. Eventually that evolved into a craving for fried rice, too… And by the end of the week I was in serious need of Chinese food.
A can of pineapple has been hanging out in my pantry for a while… So I decided to make some kind of Chinese – ish chicken dish with it.
Get out your slow cooker, friends. This was good… like, my toddler couldn’t get enough of it. Like, I ate so much that I was miserable and still wanted more. Like, as I write this I know of a leftover container full of it in my fridge and I’m having trouble waiting until lunch. That kind of good.
…Yes, I’m planning to share the leftovers with O. But he did have a big breakfast so…He may not be super hungry. Darn.
Ok, so here’s what you need:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks
1 small onion
1 green pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons corn starch plus 1/4 cup cool water
Trim the fat from your chicken and cut it into chunks. Cut onion and green pepper into chunks as well. Toss everything into your slow cooker (line it with a turkey bag to make cleanup easier) and add the pineapple chunks and juice. I swirled a little water around in the can to catch any remaining pineapple and added that, too.
Add soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger. Give it all a good stir, put a lid on it, and turn it to high for about four hours.
After four hours, turn it to low and let it cook until dinner. I think mine was in the crock pot for about seven hours, total. As long as the chicken is done you could serve it any time. Right before serving, taste the sauce and add any seasonings you think it needs. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir to thicken the broth. Serve with egg rolls and fried rice.
A few years ago at a family Christmas, I had a bite of a cheeseball that was so delicious…so perfectly sweet and savory… I just had to have more. The next year, that delicious cheeseball was nowhere to be found (much to my dismay). I was sure my Aunt V brought it the year before, so I asked for the recipe…but she looked pretty mystified and couldn’t recall bringing any cheeseball to Christmas. I asked everyone…not one person remembered.
I’ve bugged everyone in my family at every gathering since… to no avail. It eventually became the Holy Grail of cheeseballs and I was on a quest to find it.
Yesterday I decided to start thinking of a Super Bowl menu. Truth be told, football is kind of dead to me after my Colts lost (and my backup team lost in the first round. What the hell, Packers?)… But I can’t just not watch The Big Game. Besides, it gives me a reason to make snacky foods. I love snacky foods.
*queue dramatic music*
I decided to attempt the Holy Grail cheeseball.
After a lot of Googling, I felt like I had an idea of how I wanted to make it. Turns out, it was pretty easy and super delicious. Here’s what you need:
1 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 stick of butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Roughly 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used a combination of peanuts and pecans)
Mix cream cheese, garlic, seasoned salt, and black pepper until combined. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge.
In a sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar, and worcestershire sauce together over low heat. Stir frequently, and if it doesn’t want to come together go ahead and add more brown sugar.
Seriously, like more brown sugar could be a bad thing.
Once everything is melted, remove from heat and let cool. Make sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t seperate.
Pour the cooled brown sugar mixture over the cheeseball. If your pan is big enough, you could probably also drop the cheeseball in and roll it around. When the cheeseball is coated, roll it around in the nuts. Wrap it in clean plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge for at least four hours.
EUREKA! Guys, I’ve found the Holy Grail (cheeseball)!
The BF and I stood at the kitchen counter and ate the entire thing in about thirty minutes. I might need to make a bigger one next time.
Stay tuned for more awesome snacky foods, perfect for a Super Bowl party or really any gathering…
Or just make ’em for yourself and pig out. I won’t tell.
What are your favorite party foods?
Who doesn’t love some banana bread? I mean, seriously… I’d even argue that it’s more American than apple pie. If you don’t like it, I’m not sure we can be friends… ya commie.
Ok, I’m kidding… But I really do love a slice of banana bread warmed and smeared with butter to go along with my morning coffee. I think you should, too.
Banana bread is super simple to make. Unfortunately, I still can’t find my loaf pans (I fear they are lost and gone forever) so I decided to make muffins instead.
Best idea ever.
I got the recipe from the BF’s old Fannie Farmer cookbook and it couldn’t be simpler.
3 ripe bananas
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
(The original recipe also calls for 1/2 cup nuts, which I did not have. Feel free to throw ’em in if you do.)
Preheat your oven to 350°.
I put the whole bananas into my stand mixer along with the eggs and turned it on 2. Once they were pretty well mixed (you’ll probably still see little banana chunks) I added dry ingredients, starting with the salt, then the baking soda, sugar, and flour.
Make sure everything is combined (you will probably need to stop the mixer and scrape the bowl down at least once), then pour batter into the cups of a greased muffin tin. Feel free to use paper liners if you like.
Each cup should be 2/3 full to get the nicest looking muffins. I got some cupcake batter scoops from the BF’s mom that work really well for this…too bad I forgot about them until I was filling the last one.
On a whim, I added mini chocolate chips to the batter before filling the last four cups. They turned out well, so you could sub chocolate chips for some or all of the nuts.
Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test and are golden on top.
These were dense and moist on the inside, with a slightly crunchy exterior. The flavor wasn’t really BANANA so much as just a subtle hint…but really very lovely.
The BF approved of the chocolate chip addition, and O couldn’t get enough of the plain ones. I think it’s safe to say this recipe is a keeper!
I hate oatmeal. Seriously, something about the gloppy texture just makes me want to gag. Unfortunately, oatmeal is really good for you, so I forced myself to eat it as often as I could while I was pregnant and especially while breastfeeding. In retrospect, eating it covered in a metric ton of brown sugar and butter probably canceled out the health benefits, but that was the only way I could choke it down.
I was really glad to put that cardboard canister on the shelf and forget about it… but when O started eating solids I found myself reaching for it again. Luckily, O will eat just about anything you put in front of him. He got it from his mama.
I felt bad giving him the oatmeal, though… By the time it was cool enough for him to eat it was a lumpy, congealed, sticky mess. Gross.
Not to worry, Pinterest came to the rescue. I remembered scrolling by a recipe (if you can call it that) for refrigerator oatmeal… It was really simple and didn’t require heating. After some experimenting, I found a way to do it that I really liked…As in, I would gladly eat this for breakfast every morning. It’s that good.
So for each toddler-sized serving I use:
About 1/4 cup raw oats
1 container of vanilla yogurt
About 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (or any fruit, probably***)
Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-sealing lid. Cover and refrigerate overnight. That’s it!
I kind of feel like a cheater, because this is so easy. If you have older kids they could even make their own.
O sometimes eats the whole thing, and other mornings he’ll eat about three quarters of it… I don’t know if it holds up well for another night in the fridge because when O leaves some in the bowl, I just finish it.
Sometimes being a mama is rough.
I think the trick is to make sure to have more yogurt than oatmeal, so if you need to increase the amounts just keep that in mind.
***Check with your pediatrician before introducing strawberries, as they are a potential allergen.
I actually had this one scheduled for tomorrow, but I thought of my lovely readers settling down for the evening with a good book and a blanket…What would be a better way to complete that snuggly little picture? Hot chocolate, of course!
This is not just any old hot chocolate… it’s a spicy chocolate that will really warm you up on this ridiculously cold evening. I first had it when I lived in Texas, and I never really bothered to attempt to make it myself until last night.
This recipe is not authentic at all. It’s made with what I had on hand since we are under travel restrictions. When I can get to the store, I’m going to pick up some of this stuff:
For now, though, Hershey’s cocoa powder will do.
To make one serving of this yummy beverage, you’ll need:
Milk (I used my coffee mug to measure)
2-3 heaping tablespoons of sugar
2-3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like cinnamon)
UP TO 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (go extremely easy at first)
Combine everything in a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring frequently, until it gets to your desired temperature. CAREFULLY pour it into a mug, add whipped cream or marshmallows if you like, and enjoy!
Remember, this is totally customizable. If you want more chocolate, dump more in! If you like it super sweet, really go for the sugar… I happened to have some of my chili dark chocolate left, so I melted a few squares of that in there. It’s hard to screw this up, and it’s leaps and bounds better than the powdered mix.
Stay warm, friends!