Monday, August 27, 2012

To-Do List: California Style

A friend of mine has taken up blogging and recently posted her 'Bucket List' for their time in CA. I have a list in MS Word I made a while ago. My husband made fun of me. But I figured I would share it and having it online would be a better way to keep track of it. I hope!

  • Disneyland
  • Universal Studios
  • Warner Bros Studios
  • Dog Beach w/ Lilly
  • Dinner or brunch cruise
  • Coronado Island
  • Sea World
  • San Diego Zoo
  • San Diego Safari Park
  • Lego Land
  • Knott's Soak City
  • San Fransicso
  • Big Bear
  • Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
  • Jet Ski
  • Camp on the beach
  • Have a party on the beach
  • Catalina Island
  • Channel Islands
  • Laguna Beach/Hunington Beach
  • Los Angeles/Hollywood
  • San Diego County Fair
  • Eat @ Kansas City BBQ

There may be more to come!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Seven Sunday (Late Edition)

I can't believe the hubby and I spent all Sunday inside the house laying around and I forgot to do my Sunday post! So here is the late edition of Top Seven Sundays brought to you today thanks to my stomach bug! :(

And since I am not feeling so good, today's post is going to be my Top Seven Comfort Foods!

1. Baked Mac & Cheese: Mac and cheese is one of my ultimate comfort foods, not too mention the food I could eat anytime and over and over! This recipe includes four different kinds of cheese, including cream cheese. I can only imagine how creamy and delicious it is! We love cheese in this house.  Will be trying this recipe soon! Watch out for a follow-up post!

2. Mashed Potatoes: This particular recipe sounds pretty simple in the crock pot. When I make my mashed potatoes I like to use butter, milk, sour cream, dill, and CHEESE!  Or if my mom is making mashed potatoes, I take them with her brown gravy! Mmm, gravy is amazing too! 

3. Broccoli Cheese Soup: This is creamy, cheesy, and warm! Perfect for a dinner pick-me-up. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. Add some bread bowls and enjoy!

4. Pot Roast and Veggies: This one doesn't really need a recipe. Chuck round roast, potatoes, carrots, onion, roast seasoning packet and golden onion soup. Low for 6-8 hours. And pure delicious-ness. Love carrots cooked this way. This meal also can make gravy! :)

5. No Machine Ice Cream: Of Course any ice cream pretty much fits this bill, but its even better if you can just make it yourself. I do not yet own an ice cream machine and this ice cream is easy and very rich and creamy! :)

6. Pizza: Be it delivery or homemade (I was never really a frozen pizza girl) this is a must! We used to make it 'homemade' with my family, but we really just used box crust mix and added our own toppings. Now, David and I make it all homemade. I have found an awesome crust recipe that is easy and delicious! We can add anything we want on top and have the classic comfort food...or not so classic. I am wanting to try mac and cheese pizza :)

7.Chicken Pot Pie (Chicken Dumplings): This is a recipe my mom and grandma make that is my all time favorite! It is more of a chicken dumplings, but we always called it chicken pot pie. Basically a chicken broth with dumplings, all warm and thick. I WILL be making this recipe soon! SOO GOOD!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits

This is an excited recipe to master for me and it ended up being ridiculously easy and not really a recipe at all!

The other night I asked the Hubby to pick up sausage for the spaghetti sauce. He thought he was clever and brought me home 3 different kinds of sausage (he said he just didn't want to put them back ;] ). So anyways I had breakfast sausage hanging out in my fridge and decided to finally make Mom's sausage gravy! This wasn't even a planned dinner. And the homemade biscuits and gravy together took about 30 minutes! Move over Rachael Ray! :)

Here is the recipe I used for the Biscuits. They are normal biscuits, but perfect for this dinner.
For the gravy...
-Breakfast sausage

Start by browning the sausage. Break it up as it cooks. 

While the sausage cooks, mix up your biscuit dough. I used a Rubbermaid container to cut them out and I LOVE that they were rounded-squares! :)

After the meat cook, resist the urge to drain it. Add enough flour to soak up all the grease. It will be more than you think, so keep mixing until the drippings are gone. Then you need to add milk to the mixture. Again, you will be adding more than you think. Start slow and mix. Let it simmer on low and as it thickens, add more milk to your liking.

It will be a thick gravy consistency. I like to break up my biscuits and put the gravy on top. It is delicious and so easy folks! Not the healthiest, but a classic in my household!



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Top Seven Sundays!

So I am trying something new. On Sundays, I want to share various 'Top 7' lists with you. This will give you a chance to get to know me better and to be honest it will be fun for me to make!

Today I want to start with a Top Seven:Kitchen Wish-List! They aren't in order from 1-7, but these are the 7 things I really want in my kitchen!

1. Ice Cream Maker : Sure my recipe for ice cream without a machine is fabulous, but I have been finding so many awesome recipes for ice cream in a real ice cream maker! Plus, I always grew up with my grandparents and parents using an ice cream machine. Its a tradition!

2.   KitchenAid Pasta Attachment : This also goes back to family tradition. My grandma on my Dad's side is Italian and for as long as I can remember, we have made homemade pasta. I am sure there is a way to do it without the press, but I honestly don't have that much time on my hands. Plus this gives me another chance to use my fabulous Green KitchenAid Mixer!

3. Food Processor : I haven't gotten real into researching good food processors yet, but I am sure KitchenAid wouldn't steer me wrong. I have a Magic Bullet and it gets most of the jobs I want done, but a real food processor would be a must in the long run!

4. Wilton 101 Cookie Cutter Set : This is so awesome! Not only do you have multiple sizes of circles, stars, and hearts, but you have holiday cutters and the alphabet and numbers! Need I say more?

5. Mandoline: This is another one I have yet to do major research on, but this particular mandoline has high ratings on amazon. This goes along with the food processor. I could do the task by hand, but having a mandoline makes everything uniform and a whole lot easier!

6. Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat: This is one I could use all the time! From what I have heard it works wonders with anything you bake on a 'cookie' sheet! And non-stick, yes please!

7. 3-Tier Cooling Rack: This would be helpful with any baked goods. I always run out of room on my single layer cooling rack!

So there you have it! My Top Seven Sunday list! Hope you have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mexican Pizza

I apologize in advance because this recipes is accompanied by multitudes of photos like the last recipe was. However it was one we whipped together and had to share because it is so good! The dough recipe I use is really easy and makes some pretty tasty crust. This time when I made it, I doubled it and froze them in individual pizza balls.

What you need:
  • Pizza Crust Dough
  • Ground Beef
  • 1/4-1/2 Onion (optional)
  • Taco seasonings
  • Refried Beans
  • Shredded cheese
  • Toppings: lettuce, tomato, diced jalepenos, diced green chilis, sour cream, salsa etc

Stretch your pizza dough onto the pan of your choice. For the crust I had, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Start browning your ground beef. I cooked mine with diced onions and jalepenos and used various mexican seasonings. Whatever you prefer your taco meat to taste like is the idea.

While the meat is browning, spread a thin layer of beans on the crust. If you want salsa on it, do so now. Then I put a layer of shredded cheese and the cooked ground beef mixture. Cover with more cheese. (I used some velvetta cheese and it was 'nacho' like and cheesy how we enjoy everything!) Bake it until the crust is golden brown.

When it comes out of the oven you can top it with the cold toppings. I didn't use salsa, but we had some Taco Bell sauce in the fridge and that made it perfect!

**Just to give you an idea...I made one 9x13 (aprox) size pizza and we used about 1/2lb of ground beef for the topping and about 1/3 can of refried beans.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

The title sounds a bit hypocritical, but they are delicious and taste pretty darn good. I am sure the chocolate off-sets the zucchini, but I used dark chocolate which is good to have sometimes! I edited this recipe from From Which Things Grow.

Here's the line-up:

1 C flour
1/2 C Oatmeal Flour
1/2 C cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C Vegetable oil
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 C grated zucchini 
1 C dark chocolate, small chunks or chips

*You can use the teaspoon of cinnamon but I think it messed with the chocolate flavor and I didn't like that!
(Ganache Glaze):
1/2 C heavy cream
1 C dark chocolate (or regular) chips
First you need to wash the zucchini. I got a giant one from a friend and it was pretty nice to use! I used my handy grater bowl from IKEA (thanks mom!) 

Don't grate the seeds. I did along all the edges until I hit the seeds/mushy part. You need two cups. You can drain some of the liquid, but not all. It keeps the muffins moist. (Also if you have a large zucchini like I did, you can chop the grated Z down so its not in such long strips.)

I decided to try something new and ground some oatmeal to use in place of the flour. I read you can do it about 50/50 but I did 1/2 cup oat flour and 1 cup AP flour. I ground some in my Magic Bullet until it was fine textured.

In a medium bowl mix together: flours, cocoa powder, b. soda, b.powder and salt.

In your mixing bowl combine oil, sugar and vanilla. (Wanted to try subbing in honey for part of the sugar but I didn't have enough)

Add the eggs one at a time and combine. Then add the zucchini and mix well.

Add the dry mixture to the wet. Scrape the sides and mix until combined. You can add the chocolate chips now.

Now you are ready to bake them. I used my homemade No Stick to grease the pans and the muffins came out like a charm! Mini muffins will cook 10-12 minutes, the large 15-17 minutes. 

Now, the first time I made these I didn't make the ganache and they really don't need it. But this time I wanted to try it. In a double boiler (or microwave) heat the heavy cream and c. chips together. Stir until the chips are almost completely melted. Take off the heat and stir until well combined. Then you can dip the muffins. I let them cool a couple of minutes.

& Delicious-ness! With some veggies hidden in! <3