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I enjoy cooking,eating food, being creative with food, and like to try new things. I try to avoid pre-packaged foods as much as I can.

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Oct 31, 2011

Pesto on Pasta

Happy Halloween everyone and happy Monday! Today's been an enlightening day. I feel quite empowered after attending entrepreneurship and want to follow my dreams even more than I had before. It is my ultimate dream to own my own bakery and perhaps have my own twist on what is baking/cooking... and I really want to change people's perceptions of it. It's a big dream, but it can become reality. I just have to plan and re-plan, and plan some more. Hehe. Yay for innovative and creative thinking. Another cool thing today was that History class got out early and both my RA and my professor gave us candy. Woohoo! Overall, not a bad Halloween in my book.

Alright... you know how way long ago I said that store bought pesto isn't that great on pasta. Well, I tried homemade pesto on pasta. I'll admit, it is a bit better, but I am still not much of a fan. I added some Parmesan cheese and tomato so that it was bearable. I guess I am just not a person for pesto on my pasta. If you like that sort of thing, well that's up to you. I'll stick with mini pesto pizzas or pesto chicken and stuff. I just can't seem to enjoy plain pesto on my pasta. :( 

So, since today was another one of those ho-hum sort of food days, I have pics of my pasta and of my Halloween toe socks for your enjoyment. 


Look, my toes are smiling! xD



This was before I added the tomato. 

Well, once again, Happy Halloween! I hope you all found some delicious things to eat! As always...

Bon appétit! 

Copycat breakfast: Homemade McMuffins

I took today and slept in till 2:30 pm. It was refreshing. I finished my two stacks of dishes, went grocery shopping, put away my band uniform, and tidied up my room. One of professors e-mailed the class and told us that we don't have one of our regular quizzes on Tuesday! YES! Just to prove how much of a nerd I am, I literally did a dance when I brought all my groceries back and put my fresh produce in the fridge. It's amazing how something as simple as a tomato can make me happy. I didn't really do any school work this weekend, but that's ok. I'll be getting up a bit earlier than usual to do a bit of homework tomorrow. To be honest, this weekend went by way too fast. Whenever we have a football game on Saturdays it seems to be that way. -.-

Anyway, the recipe for today is something that I wouldn't have thought to do, but it is crazy easy. I am glad I tested it out, and my brother, sister, and my dad surely weren't complaining either!

Homemade McMuffins


Ingredients: (depends on how many sandwiches you wish to make- I made 12)

  • 12 english muffins (use whichever kind you like... I used the healthy grain ones)
  • 12 eggs
  • 12 cheese slices, or shredded cheese of your choice
  • vegetable oil or butter, for greasing the muffin pan
Instructions:
Close up
    They had already helped themselves to the sandwiches!
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease your muffin pan with butter or vegetable oil. A good tip (if using vegetable oil): pour a bit of vegetable oil in one cup and get a paper towel. Use the paper towel to make sure the muffin cup is completely greased. 
  3. Crack an egg into each cup.
  4. While you are waiting for the oven to finish heating up, half your English muffins and arrange on a baking tray. You will need 2 baking sheets if you are making 12 sandwiches.
  5. Put the muffin tray of eggs into the oven for 15-20 minutes. 
  6. Put the English muffins in when you have about 10 minutes left on the timer.
  7. Once the eggs and English muffins are done, compile your sandwich. You could also add cooked sausage, cooked bacon, or cooked ham to your sandwich as well.
  8. Eat now or let them completely cool so that they can go in the freezer.
  9. If you want them in the freezer, after they are cool, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then put all of the wrapped sandwiches in a gallon sized Ziploc bag. Eat within a few weeks of making. 


I absolutely loved these sandwiches. I am going to make a whole bunch next time I go home so that I can have breakfast in the dorm for a while. I think I know a variation on this that I am going to try though. I am excited to make these again! Hope you all enjoy and get a chance to try! 

As always...



Bon appétit! 

Oct 29, 2011

A cold day and Corn Chowder, mmm

Today was a cold day. My heater has decided to spazz and either is so hot that you have to open a window, or not hot enough. I have decided to leave if off for a while and just enjoy the air from outside through my open window. Ah. Our football team won the football game today, so that was cool. Always more fun to be on the winning side. Another stroke of luck is that I am sorta feeling better, yea! My sleep schedule is still a bit batty, but that's nothing worse than usual. Hmmm... I finally get to go grocery shopping after 3 weeks! I went home last weekend, so I haven't had time to get all my fresh stuff for my microwave cooking fun, haha.  But yea, that's what is up with me. I hope you all had a lovely Saturday! :D (maybe even with the cold weather)

Alrighty, so today I have a recipe that is simple and can be tweaked to your taste. The coolest part of this recipe? It has optional bacon! I am sure many of you out there are ready for this recipe now!

Corny Ramen Chowder  (from Taste of Home: Simple and Delicious cookbook)


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 package (3 oz.) chicken ramen noodles (I used creamy chicken just because I had them on hand.)
  • 1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (14.75 oz) cream-style corn
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley (optional)
Instructions: (this recipe can be made on the stovetop or in the microwave)

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Break noodles in large pieces and add the noodles and seasoning packet to the water. (If using a microwave, put the noodles and water in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 3 - 5 minutes, till noodles are tender. Then add the seasoning packet and microwave one more minute.)
  2. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until noodles are tender.
  3. Stir in the corn, cream-style corn, milk, and onion. Heat through.
  4. Stir in the cheese, bacon and parsley until blended.
Yield: 4 servings
Time: about 15 minutes (less if using the microwave)

So, it's a simple recipe. Now, remember how yesterday I said that I used my Irish Soda Bread as a topping? Well, I used it over this chowder. Soooooooo yummy! However, I think that I will add some potatoes the next time I make this chowder. I just felt like potatoes were missing... don't ask me why. Definitely recommend trying it though! I hope you all enjoy this recipe and as always...

Bon appétit! 




Oct 28, 2011

A wee trip to Ireland: Irish Soda Bread

My throat has been randomly hurting today and I have a nasty cough... I think it has to deal with my sinuses and the weather being so beserk lately. History was alright today, but it is definitely feeling like fall. Cold. I need to get out this weekend and take some pictures of the beautiful trees we have and I want to get more pics of the creepy campus squirrels. I had a nice 4.5 hour nap today, and that helped me feel a wee bit better. I haven't eaten too much today, which I suppose is a good thing, but I have been drinking water as if it was the last water I will ever have. Hopefully this icky feeling will be gone by tomorrow, or I might not be able to go to the football game. Blah.

Anyway, today I am providing a recipe that will partner with my post for tomorrow. I use this bread as a sort of "topping" but it can also be sliced and eaten that way. I have had a few slices with butter and mmmm, it is good. I was awful when this came out of the oven, because I kept taking small chunks and munching on them. I let my picky-eater brother try it and he even enjoyed it! Yea! This recipe is easy (especially for bread), so I hope you all enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread (from Allrecipes)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder (I promise, this is the correct measurement. I was skeptical, but the bread is awesome!)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
For brushing over the top:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 
  2. Lightly grease a large baking sheet, or put a piece of parment paper on a baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and margerine. 
  4. Stir in the cup of buttermilk and the egg.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. 
  6. Form dough into a round and place onto the prepared baking sheet. 
  7. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and the 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Brush this mixture onto the loaf.
  8. Cut an X into the top of the bread with a sharp knife.
  9. Bake for 35- 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter and buttermilk mixture while it bakes if you wish. 
  10. Serve and enjoy!
Yield:  20 servings
Time: A little over an hour.

As you can see, this recipe isn't that difficult. There isn't a rising time, which is fantastic! I love making bread, but it is nice to have a recipe that doesn't take 4 hours between rising and cooking. I hope you all get a chance to try this!

As always...

Bon appétit! 

Oct 27, 2011

A comfort food: Cornbread


Alright, so I didn't blog yesterday.  To be honest, I had dinner at 10:30 pm and then eventually had to sleep because I had to be up early in order to set up for a speech. It went well I think... We shall see... I shall add a disclaimer right here and now that on certain days, due to unplanned or unforeseen circumstances, a blog may sadly not be put up. So, yea...

Anyway, today I am bringing you an easy recipe that doesn't take long. It's one of those "mix it all together and bake it" sort of recipes. Delicious and simple!

Cornbread (from All Recipes)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F or 175 degrees C. 
  2. Grease an 8 inch square pan. (I used a rectangle one instead)
  3. Melt butter and pour it into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar immediately and stir well.
  4. Add the eggs and beat until well blended.
  5. Combine the buttermilk with the baking soda and add to the mix. 
  6. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until the mix is well blended and few lumps remain.
  7. Pour into the pan.
  8. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Yield: 9 servings

This cornbread is quite tasty, and I recommend this easy recipe for those who want to make it from scratch. Happy baking! As always...

Bon appétit! 



Oct 26, 2011

Pesto Chicken Pasta

Alrighty, Tuesday was a day of practically running from each activity. Blahhhh. I also found out that my professor changed the due date on our book review thing at the last minute, so it is due Thursday. I was peeved. -.- I am sad to report that I am currently making some ramen noodles to eat with my irish soda bread. Blahhh. I am not against ramen, but I do know that the sodium in it is nuts! But yea... My day was nuts and I never want to have another Tuesday like that again! At least the rest of the week will be a bit better.

As far as the recipe goes, I adapted it from Jolen's recipe. I didn't have any big pasta shells, so I used small ones. I also skipped the chicken just because I didn't want to cook extra chicken just for this recipe. However, if you would like chicken, it would make the dish even more delicious!

Pesto Chicken Pasta (Or just Cheesy Pesto Pasta)


Ingredients:

  • 1 box of shell pasta (medium shells or small shells)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese  (1/4 cup is for topping)
  • 3 - 6 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought), to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (can be excluded)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. 
  4. Pour the pasta into a baking dish that has a light coating of olive oil. 
  5. Take the 'sauce' and spread it over the pasta. 
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the pasta.
  7.  Bake pasta for 10 minutes, and then give it a good stir. 
  8. Bake pasta for an additional 5 - 15 minutes. 
  9. Serve and enjoy! 
* To make ahead/freezer meals - Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven- and freezer-proof baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts. 

This recipe was an easy fix and my dad loved it! He mentioned that he liked how the sauce stuck to the pasta because it made it easy to eat. Nice to know, haha. Hope you all get a chance to try it!

As always...

Bon appétit! 

Oct 25, 2011

How to make Pesto

Well, today has been a never-ending day, but what else is new. Have you ever just had one of those days that you just want to sit on the floor and throw a tantrum like a 3 year old? Perhaps not... but that was my day. I am so over school and I have to make it to December! Yuck. I suppose on the bright side is that I got an A+ on my History test. I did not see that one coming. As far as my schedule for tonight, it won't be pretty. I have most of the last paragraph for my partner speech finished, but I still have to find negatives about buses for the environment. Yay... Also I have to do this book writing assignment (she changed the due date to make it due the same day as our "revised" project proposals) and Revise my project proposal (because she clearly couldn't tell us what structure we needed to use before we wrote and turned in the project proposals that she basically didn't read... hmph). So yea, fun times in my world. Once Tuesday is over, I will be much more sane... well, who am I kidding... I'm a college student and I don't think we could ever be perfectly sane, although I could be wrong...

Anyway, now that I feel a little bit better, let's move on to the recipe of the day: Pesto! No, not Presto! It's Pesto! Hehe. I made 2 different types over fall break: Basil and Spinach, Arugula, and Basil pesto. Num num num. This recipe needs to be here today because it plays an important role in my pasta recipe that is coming soon! So yea... I'll let you actually see the recipe now!

Basil Pesto (as found on Simply Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (or 1 cup arugula/spinach, 1 Basil... or you could just do an arugula and spinach pesto if you wanted to...)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (do not use the stuff in the green shaker container. Do not!)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. If you are using walnuts, pulse them a few times. If you aren't, add in the pine nuts and the leaves (for whatever you are using) or put in the walnuts and leaves.
  2. Pulse a few times in the food processor. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the processor is on (or you can just add the olive oil and parmesan cheese in at the same time like I did because we don't have a feed tube for the food processor). 
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse a few more times. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve and enjoy!
Yield: 1 cup

Pretty simple to make, all in all, just takes a few minutes to prep the ingredients and then put them into the food processor. I hope you all enjoy and that your Monday went swimmingly!

Oh! I almost forgot... since I had to grate so much Parmesan cheese by hand, I had to do it in segments. When I was finally done, I felt like singing "Ding dong the witch is dead" except like "Ding dong Parmesan wedge is dead" or something like that. Random, I know... but yea. "Just keep grating, just keep grating, just keep grating grating grating, what do we do? We grate Parmesan..."

As always...

Bon appétit! 




Oct 23, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

I am still trying to figure out why I went to bed before 9 pm last night. I was hoping for a nap... and then my phone battery died... byebye alarm. I ended up waking up around midnight and set my real alarm, but it was still weird. I can only think that not getting enough sleep last week and cooking for about 8 hours straight might have caused me to just collapse. My stomach was feeling a bit sick this morning and I kept twitching, but I am fine now. Hopefully I am not getting sick again... otherwise I might just have to scream...

My speech partner decided that we should wait to meet on Tuesday instead of today and Wednesday. I honestly only think we need Wednesday practice, but we shall see. I am a bit stressed because one of my groups for our group project hasn't e-mailed or anything. I am freaking out because we have to present on Tuesday. This is a problem... This is why I tend to hate group projects. Luckily my other group project is going well. Two of these group projects will soon be over, thank goodness. It is kinda crazy to keep them all straight. I also have a group project for business, but we are half clueless about what we have to do. Evil group projects... 

Anyway, within that 8 hours of cooking stuff, I made a bunch of dishes. I made scones and "clotted cream" this morning because I was just done after cooking and baking for 8 hours straight. But yea, this recipe is a slow cooker (crockpot) recipe. I absolutely adore this recipe, but I will admit I was skeptical. I have never had chicken and dumplings, so I had no idea how it was made. My mom asked me if she was going to die from eating the chicken and dumplings... I said no... She just remembers my failure of squash macaroni and cheese... -.- That was truly disgusting... Anyway, she gave her approval for the chicken and dumplings, and my dad even had some, even though he had already had my pasta. I am glad I found something that was enjoyed.

Anyway, now that you are all caught up on my life happenings... here's the recipe:

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp. butter/margarine
  • 2 (10.75 oz) cans condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 (10 oz) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
Instructions:

  1. Place one can of the Cream of Chicken soup at the bottom of the crockpot. Put 3 of the chicken breasts over that.
  2. Put the Cream of Mushroom soup over the 3 chicken breasts and lay the last 3 chicken breasts on top. Pour the last can of Cream of Chicken soup over top of that. 
  3. Add 3 - 4 cans of water to cover. 
  4. Put the onions and butter into the crockpot.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 - 6 hours on High. Stir occasionally. 
  6. While this is cooking, cook your biscuits according to the directions.
  7. About 30 - 40 minutes before serving, put the biscuits into the slow cooker, on the top. Make sure to dunk them down in order to soak up some of the broth.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Again, I adjusted a different recipe. The original recipe is from allrecipes.com. Feel free to view the original recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings. I hope you all try this recipe and please feel free to leave a comment below! 

As always...

Bon appétit! 

P.S. it is just past 9 pm and I am so utterly tired. What is going on with me? :( I better not be sick! 

Oct 22, 2011

Eek! - Pumpkin cream cheese dip

Alright so... this week... right. It happened. I got a cold... then allergies kicked in and that was fun stuff. Hardly slept, got lots of homework, had midterms, quizzes, project proposals, and homework. Hmm, also just had a busy week. I apologize for not blogging, dear readers. It was just one of those weeks...

I hope your week was much better! I made another pumpkin dip or spread... whichever. It can be used both ways. I used it as a dip for my apples. It was super yummy! Very easy to make, although I used more cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and more pumpkin than asked for. I still enjoyed it. :) So, here it is for all of you to enjoy as well...

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip/Spread


Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. of cream cheese
  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin
  • 2 - 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 - 4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 - 4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 Tbsp. of brown sugar (add more if you would like)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
Instructions:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix or blend till combined.
  2. Prepare your apple slices for dipping or spread it on a bagel or something of your choice.
  3. Enjoy!



For the original recipe, click here to see it. I altered the recipe a bit because I wasn't going to use just a half can of pumpkin. I still think it tasted awesome though! I hope you all try it!

As always...

Bon appétit! 

Oct 16, 2011

Need some Energy for Monday? Might want to make some Energy Bites...

After mixing
So this weekend has been pretty busy up. I completely messed up my sleep schedule... as usual. The only way I am going to get through this week is to remember that fall break is on Friday! Thank goodness! I am soooo excited! Also, me going home means actual oven baked food! Woohoo! Anyway... I still have some homework to do and need to take a shower, so I shall just dive on into the recipe.

Energy Bites (this recipe is from Smashed Peas and Carrots blog)


Ingredients:


  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions:
  1. Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
I didn't have flaxseed, so I skipped that, but these were still pretty good. If I leave them out, I catch myself eating them, haha. Gotta hide them in the fridge. Anyway, let me know what you think and as always...

Bon appétit!



Oct 14, 2011

Hawaiian Pizza Dip: An interesting experience



Alright, so today was an ok day. I had my History Exam and it went... well... as alright as it gets. I took a super long nap today and I am not looking forward to the Homecoming game tomorrow. It is supposed to rain and we have to stay whether it is raining or not. Kinda stupid really... Another thing that I am not looking forward to is having to practice in the morning and the stupid parade that we have to do. No me gusta... I also went through a College Cookbook today. I found a whopping 8 recipes that I want to make... and can actually make in the microwave. This book had such random tips on pages that didn't even deal with what the tip was talking about, didn't have ANY pictures (that just bothers me), and even though they tried to make everything simple, some things were just over simplified... more like a duh kind of moment really! It frustrates me, a lot! >.> Anyway...

As far as the recipe today, I made it as the recipe said and was sitting there tasting so much cream cheese that it was painful. After adding another 1 - 1.5 cups of tomato sauce, it was much better and actually an enjoyable dip. I would advise having English muffins, bagels, or bagel chips to eat the dip with. Definitely give it a try and let me know what you think! If you don't want to add the extra sauce right away and want to taste the dip first, please feel free to do that!

Top view
Hawaiian Pizza Dip


Ingredients:

Side view
  • 1 eight oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 - 2.5 cup(s) canned pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce or jarred sauce (really up to you)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 can diced pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup Canadian bacon or ham, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped (Probably would have tasted better if I used this instead of dried onion...)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't have enough to add this)
Instructions:
I made a pizza sandwich! 
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the cream cheese, pizza sauce and Italian seasoning.
  2.   Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes until warm.  
  3. Smooth the mixture evenly in the bottom of the bowl/pan/dish (to create an even layer), and then top with ham, pineapple, onion and both cheeses.  
  4. Microwave on high for another 2 to 3 minutes, until dip is hot, and cheese is fully melted.
  5. Get out your english muffins, bagels, or bagel chips and enjoy!
I am going to have to play with this recipe later on and see if I can make it taste even better! I hope you all enjoy today's blog post and as always...

Bon appétit!

Oct 12, 2011

Just a note

Remember that pumpkin pie dip that I made? No? View it here. I put some in the freezer and it is almost like ice cream! So tasty! Definitely use the Cool Whip if you are making this "ice cream"

Another thing... did you know you can freeze fresh spinach? I looked up a tutorial on how to do it because I had a lot of it... click here. It is really interesting and I definitely learned something new. Anyway, that is all!

My room smells like Lasagna now...

I don't think my body understands how much I have to do this week. Yesterday I wanted to take a little nap at about 9:50 pm. However, my body decided that it was bed time... Needless to say, I never did make my dinner and I didn't blog either. Sadness. This week has already had a few crazy days, so if I happen to miss any more blogs this week, I apologize in advance. It is the week before midterms and I feel like there should be 3 of me in order to get done all the work that I need to. As I am writing this blog (at 10 pm), I am currently eating "dinner" consisting of tomato and mozzarella salad. If you haven't seen that recipe, please click the link and you will be taken to that blog entry. Honestly, it is so good that I could probably eat it for days! But yea, this week is homework, homework, more homework, slight break, and... you guessed it... more homework. Oh the life of a college student, lol. I was thinking earlier that maybe once every 2 weeks or once every month I could record myself making the recipe and post it on Youtube. Sound interesting to anyone?

As you have probably guessed, today's recipe is lasagna. If you are looking for an oven lasagna, please look at lasagna recipe or veggie lasagna . The links will take you directly to my previous posts about my delicious oven lasagna. However, I made a microwave lasagna. Sound interesting? I hope so!

Microwave Lasagna

Ingredients:
Before Cooking
Before cooking
  •  4 cups homemade or purchased marinara sauce (Italian Garden Sauce for me)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano (Optional)
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped (I used a few tsps. of dried basil)
  • 1 sandwich baggie full of washed spinach (I used less than the recipe itself called for, and my Spinach was mixed with Arugula)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced (or you could use some garlic powder... the garlic salt was a bit much)
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  1 8 oz box of no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 egg ... could be left out... The store ran out of the eggs I use! :-(
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar or jack cheese (I only used about a cup)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I got the big block of mozzarella and used 3/4 of it)
Instructions:

After cooking

  1. In a large bowl, stir together marinara sauce, oregano, and garlic. 
  2. Pour about a third of the sauce mixture evenly into a 7- by 11-inch microwave-safe baking dish (or a large glass bowl). Stir water into remaining sauce; set aside. (I recommend using the water to get out the remainder of the sauce from the jar.)
  3. In a food processor, combine the washed spinach and basil.  Process until everything is finely chopped.  Add in the ricotta cheese and 1 egg, and process again until the cheese, egg, spinach, and basil are all fully mixed. (If you do not have a food processor, rip the spinach and basil and mix with the ricotta cheese. Add in the egg and make sure it is all mixed well.)
  4. Rinse uncooked lasagna noodles with cold water. Then arrange a third of the uncooked noodles in a single layer atop sauce in baking dish.  
  5. Spread a thin layer of the spinach/cheese mixture atop the uncooked noodles, and then add a layer of cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese (about a third of each cheese).  
  6. Next, pour a third of the remaining sauce to make the next layer.  Add another layer of lasagna noodles on top, and repeat with another layer of spinach/ricotta cheese, followed by cheddar and mozzarella.  
  7. Finally, repeat with one more layer of sauce, lasagna, ricotta/spinach, and cheddar/mozzarella.
  8. Cover and microwave on high heat for 25 minutes, giving dish a half-turn after 12 minutes. Remove from the microwave at this point and let the lasagna stand, covered, for about 10 minutes.  
  9. Scoop out a portion, serve, and enjoy!
As I noted in the ingredients list, I did adjust a few things, leave a few things out, and adjusted measurements sometimes. This recipe is based off of spinach lasagna recipe. I couldn't help but sample a bit after it was covered for 10 minutes. Super tasty! It was cheesy and was spiced well. I'll tell ya, I absolutely hate flat tasting lasagna. I had lasagna twice in Scotland and I was disappointed both times. Just a tip... never EVER use nacho meat and nacho cheese sauce in lasagna. So nasty! Anyway, please feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to and definitely let me know about the whole Youtube video of a recipe every 2 weeks- every month. I think it could be interesting... 

As always...

 Bon appétit!






Oct 11, 2011

Italian Turkey Roll Ups

Before rolling
So, the internet is being an absolute crazy nut today. On and off and then flickering again. I just hope that I can finish this post before it spazzes again...

Italian Turkey Roll Ups


Ingredients:
After rolling

  • 2 pieces of sliced deli turkey
  • 2 slices of Provolone cheese (or different cheese)
  • 4 spoonfuls of sundried tomato pesto (tomato sauce if you wish)
  • 2 spoonfuls of Basil pesto (optional, but very tasty)
Instructions:
  1. Put your 2 slices of turkey on a plate, on two separate sides.
  2. Put a piece of cheese over each piece of turkey. 
  3. Spoon the 2 spoonfuls of tomato pesto and 1 spoonful of Basil pesto over the cheese.
  4. Roll up and enjoy!
Yep, that is pretty much all there is to it. Quick and tasty! Sorry for this being such a short post! As always...

 Bon appétit!


Oct 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Dip: A flavor of fall

So, I didn't post a new blog the other day (technically did, but not really), but anyway... I apologize. I was out with my friends till 3 am... and by then I was ready to go to bed. Moving on...

I didn't do much today because of my late night. I didn't get up till 3 pm and I discovered that in my zombie state I had somehow turned my phone to silent. So much for my alarms... Oh well. The only thing that sucked about waking up so late is that I basically only ate one meal today... and am now eating again. It's just weird and I need to stop throwing my body off schedule! However, I did go grocery shopping today, tidied up a few things, and made a to-do list for tomorrow morning. Since I didn't get everything done that I should have done this weekend, it shall be an early Monday for me.

Ingredients
So, about the recipe... I was perusing things through pinterest.com and I came upon a recipe for Pumpkin Pie dip. I thought that at least sounded interesting so I clicked on the picture and was taken to Skinnytaste. The website is really cool and I definitely encourage you all to check it out! So, I looked over the ingredient list and thought it seemed ok. Well, I was so excited to have food that I just had to make something and I chose this. To be honest, I don't like it with the whipped cream as much as I did right after I added the yogurt. Something for me to remember next time. So, for today I am bringing you Pumpkin Pie Dip, adapted from the recipe on Skinnytaste. It is definitely something that goes along with the fall tastes and something that I hope you all will enjoy!
Pumpkin pie dip and apple slices

Pumpkin Pie Dip


Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon*
  • 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
  • 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt or plain regular yogurt
  • 8 oz cool whip (optional)
*or to taste

Dipping an apple slice
Instructions:
  1. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla together.
  2. Add the can of pumpkin and mix well.
  3. Add the yogurt.
  4. Add the Cool Whip (if you are using it).
  5. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Dipping suggestions: Nilla Wafers, Apple slices, Graham crackers, etc. 

This recipe could honestly be tweaked, especially if you wanted to add a bit of a different spice that isn't on the list. I think this dip is perfectly fine without the Cool Whip, but feel free to add it if you want to! If you are curious as to what makes pumpkin so great, this website tells all about pumpkin. I found it informative and very easy to read. I hope you all get a chance to try this and as always...

Bon appétit!





Oct 8, 2011

A seemingly weird sandwich that doesn't taste weird

So, today was an interesting day. It was beautiful day, weather wise because it got up to 72 degrees F! Woot! I got an A on my History test (1/10 out of the 30 people in class) so that was exciting. I also got to hang out with one of my friends. We took a walk and I tried to skip rocks and failed. She's actually good at skipping rocks. Since it was about 9-ish, there were lots of couples there. Slightly awkward. We then went back to her dorm and I helped her plan out what meal she is going to cook with one of her friends. We also watched the pilot of New Girl which is really good and funny! So, overall a great day. The only downside is that I just recently had "dinner" at 12:30 am and I didn't eat lunch today... hmm.

So, today's recipe is a bit quirky. I just started grabbing things out of my fridge and tried to think of how I could eat more of my baked beans. Well, I figured out a sandwich that could do just that... Before you all go running and hiding in the hills, I have to say that the sandwich sounds weird but it is super tasty! Just the right combination for my tastebuds. :)

Finished sandwich!
The Oddball Sandwich


Ingredients:

  • A few spoonfuls of baked beans
  • about a tsp. or so of honey  mustard
  • 2 slices of bread
  • a few pieces of sliced deli turkey
  • a few slices of Provolone cheese
Instructions:
Before the beans
  1. Heat up the baked beans. (I heated up a whole bowl because I had them with the sandwich as well.)
  2. Put the mustard on one piece of bread and spread it so that you have a thin layer. Add the turkey on top of that.
  3. On the other slice of bread, put the cheese. Once the baked beans are warm, put them on top of the slice of bread with the turkey/mustard.
  4. Put the other piece of bread (with the cheese on it) on top of the other side.
  5. Heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  6. Enjoy!

After the beans were added


Again, I know it sounds really weird... however, the bite from the mustard and the sweetness of the baked beans was excellent! I enjoyed it immensely! As always...



Bon appétit!

Oct 7, 2011

Baked Beans

I cut my finger on a can lid for the first time today. :( Not fun... Guess there is a first time for everything though. Other than that cut, today's been a decent day. It is nice knowing that I did a lot of my dishes today and that I don't have any homework that is due tomorrow, woo! My "baked beans" recipe came from this. I don't like lima beans and I just thought it was weird to put green beans in with other beans, so I left those out. I skipped the bacon, used dried onion instead of fresh, and used a can of black beans, a can of dark red kidney beans, and a can of baked beans. I'd say that this reminds me a lot of my mom's baked beans that she makes at home, minus the bacon.

Looks so yummy!
Baked Beans (or 3-bean "salad")

Ingredients:
Doesn't look as appetizing, but I was trying to show how much food the recipe made.
  • about a 20 oz can of baked beans, undrained (I don't remember exactly what mine was.)
  • 15 oz can of dark red kidney beans, undrained
  • 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped onion (or a couple tsp. of dried onion, to taste. I probably used at least 3 tsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (for less sweet beans, use a bit less)
  • 10 strips of crispy bacon (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
See, it makes lots!
  1. If using a chopped onion, put the olive oil in a bowl with the onion and microwave (or use a pan on the stovetop) on high for 2 - 3 minutes. If using dried onion, then just move to step 2.
  2. Combine the undrained kidney beans, baked beans, and drained + rinsed black beans. Add the onion, bacon, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil (if you use dried onion, still add the olive oil).
  3. Microwave on High until heated through (should be about 8 - 15 minutes). You could also use a pot on the stovetop or a baking pan in the oven, whatever floats your boat.
  4. Scoop out a helping and enjoy!


I hope you all are reminded of the times when baked beans were made for you. This recipe is a definite keeper and I have oodles of leftovers! As always...

Bon appétit!

Oct 6, 2011

BBQ pulled pork

Alright, so I have a legit excuse for this being about 20-ish minutes late. The internet has been batty all of today and I went and edited all the tags on my previous posts. I didn't realize you had to put commas after every one of them... oops... >> I also edited all of the blog titles so that they had the recipe name in them because I think that it will make it easier to find what recipes you are looking for. I found a new site today pinterest.com and I thought it was really cool. I definitely found some new recipes that I want to test! Anyway, since I went home this past weekend, I had some leftover pork and wanted to eat it up. I decided to shred the pork and add some BBQ sauce and boy it was delicious! I'll go ahead and link a video on slow cooker BBQ pork and link a recipe as well (since I just added BBQ sauce).

BBQ Pulled Pork


BBQ sauce and pulled pork

After the BBQ sauce

The finished sandwich

It is probably against the "sandwich code" or something, but I ate this sandwich with a fork. I had too much BBQ sauce on it to eat it normally. It was super tasty though! 

For a BBQ pulled pork recipe, click here. However, I find that the slow cooker recipes are simpler... Here is one recipe: 





As always...   Bon appétit!

Oct 5, 2011

My Pantry Essentials

Well... at least when I was thinking about this blog, it was still Tuesday here... oh well. Lol. The life of a college student... Today was an insane day. Running from thing to thing and place to place. I really need to get a new planner... Another downside is since I was so busy (and I still have yumminess from home), I didn't cook. I had 2 mini muffins for breakfast, a hot pocket for lunch, and a calzone for dinner. Without my snacks I got really hungry... so I also ate all the corn my mom sent with me and 2 whole grain dinner rolls. -.- I really have to get my habits back on track, hahahaha. I also asked one of my friends (she's a vegetarian) for some recipes that she recommends. Hopefully I will find something somewhat simple and completely tasty!

Anyway, since today was another no cooking day (Sorry!), I took a picture of some staples for my food cabinet in the dorm. It's a small pile of staples, but keep in mind that this is only the stuff I always have. I add more stuff to it, just don't always have everything else. Without any further rambling, I bring you... dorm pantry staples!

Garlic salt, salt, pepper, coffee, Ramen, popcorn, coffee, rice, noodles, PB, sauce, olive oil, salsa, black beans
So, those are my cupboard staples. What are yours? Leave a comment and let me know. :)

As always...

Bon appétit!

Oct 4, 2011

Fail Pasta

Since I got up insanely early to drive back to campus, I have felt tired all day. Even after 3 naps... Classes went alright today and I took the Meyers Briggs Test and found out my personality. Definitely an introvert, hahahaha. Have been for a while. :)

Today is going to be a bit different... because I have a story of a failed dish. I really don't know what I was thinking as I put this dish together... but I put it together and regretted it quite fast. Even with the added Parmesan cheese and tomatoes... blech. The things I do for this cooking blog... hahaha.

Since you are probably wondering what I am talking about... let me show you.

I tried Basil pesto on pasta...


It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be :(



So make a note to yourself... don't put store-bought basil pesto on pasta... well... at least not egg noodles! Fail on my part. I think it would probably taste better with a homemade pesto... There also is a basil cream sauce that I cannot wait to try! Till tomorrow, folks... As always...


Bon appétit!




Oct 3, 2011

No Bake Cookies

This weekend was a blast. I won't really be getting much sleep because I am getting up super early to return to campus... but I had so much fun at the Renaissance Festival and the apple orchard! I now have lots of goodies to take with me to school... which means I will be cooking again, woo! I sadly didn't get an opportunity to cook (my mom already had dinners planned out anyway), but it's alright. I found a few recipes that I can make in the dorm and that makes me super happy! Hmm... so anyway... I thought I would quickly post the last recipe for the 3rd dessert that I made for my friends. I don't make them like most people make them... but I think they still taste awesome!

No Bake Cookies
Ingredients!


Ingredients:
Ready to cool off

  • 1 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips (I used a mix of milk chocolate and semi sweet. I think the semi-sweet turned out better tasting.)
  • 1/2  - 1 cup of peanut butter (I taste the chocolate, PB, and butter mix to make sure it has enough PB taste. I love PB!)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 - 5 cups of plain oatmeal (It really depends on how well you stir and how well your mix takes to the oatmeal. Oh, and you can use quick cook or old fashioned.)
Equipment:
  • large glass bowl (or one that can go in the microwave)
  • spatula
  • spoon (a normal silverware spoon is fine)
  • wax paper
Instructions:
Single cookie, partly cool
  1. Combine the butter, chocolate, and peanut butter in your bowl.
  2. Heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Check it and give it a stir. If it needs more time, add 45 more seconds. Again, stir.
  3. Once your mixture has reached a liquid state, mix in the oatmeal until it still sticks together, but has enough oatmeal to use up the batter.
  4. Place heaping spoonfuls onto the wax paper.
  5. Let cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container. 
These cookies remind me of Reese candy. So yummy! Hope you all try it out! As always...


Bon appétit!