Category Archives: Food

That Time “Being a Cheerleader” Made Me The Best Baker Ever

This post has a whole lot of things in it. I’m just warning you now. And I’m sure that this title probably makes you think I’m overestimating myself.

But you guys, I’m totally not, because LOOK AT WHAT I DID!!

Yeah, I made this. In real life. And guess what? It was flipping delish.

Yeah, I made this. In real life. And guess what? It was flipping delish.

Now you’re curious aren’t you? I just bet you are. And guess what friends, I’m here to tell you THAT YOU CAN DO THIS! And it’s easy. And you’ll wow all your friends. And everyone will call you Martha Stewart. And then you will take over the world. Or go to jail. Tough call really.

Anywho, I was inspired by one lovely amazing Speedway Motors employee (thank you Carol!) who had brought this cake into the office and she promised me it was easy and gave me the frosting recipe and encouraged me and said other nice things that made me believe it was possible for this non baker to succeed at something so outlandishly out of my reach.

So I bought an icing kit thing-a-ma-jig (from IKEA – total win for frugality). And some cake pans. And I waited for the perfect opportunity to attempt such a feat.

And then it happened. My amazing new roommate moved into my house and that just seemed like the perfect occasion to bake a cake! I mean, if you moved in a house and your new roommate was all “Hey, welcome to the house, I baked you something amazing” – you’d just know the partnership was going to be an instant success right? Absolutely. And because I was concerned I was going to catch the house on fire burn the cake, I made sure that New Guy could come over to supervise me.

Step one: Bake Cake. Pick the flavor you want (I’m plain, so I went with white). You need two pans (same size) and one box of cake (lesson: you don’t need a box of cake for each pan… #oops). Follow directions on box. Yes, making the cake is actually that easy and then you end up with these guys…

Awe, this guy came out perfectly. It's twin brother didn't fare so well. Whoops. Cool news, you just cover these suckers with frosting... no one would ever know!

Awe, this guy came out perfectly. It’s twin brother didn’t fare so well. Whoops. Cool news, you just cover these suckers with frosting… no one will ever know!

While those guys are cooling… it’s time to make the frosting! The recipe comes straight off of Food.com and it’s White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened (no subs)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces white chocolate or 6 ounces white baking bar, melted and cooled
  • 3 -5 tablespoons whipping cream or 3 -5 tablespoons half-and-half

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners sugar at low speed until fluffy.
  2. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate and whipping cream (start with 3 tablespoons and add in more to achieve desired consistency).
  3. Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula.

Yes, it’s literally that easy. We made 1 1/2 times the amount… because we thought 3 and 1/2 cups may not be enough? And we were glad we did! So you end up with a whole amazing tub of this:

This $5 hand mixer is literally the best money I've spent. Maybe ever. But most definitely all of 2013.

This $5 hand mixer is literally the best money I’ve spent. Maybe ever. But most definitely all of 2013.

And then you cut the cake. Wait, what? Yes. Cut the cake. Before you frost it. It’s to make the top of the cake flat so that the second layer doesn’t slide off the first layer… Genius. And luckily, my genius roommate was at home to teach me how to use the handy tool that came with the frosting kit!

Get excited. I think you'll be seeing this girl on the blog rather often!

Get excited. I think you’ll be seeing this girl on the blog rather often!

Because really, if you saw this tool, would you have instinctively known that it was made to slice off the top of a cake? Let me just answer that for you. No. No you wouldn’t.

We can all take a moment here to appreciate how funny it is that THIS GIRL owns cake making supplies. Happy sigh.

We can all take a moment here to appreciate how funny it is that THIS GIRL owns cake making supplies. Happy sigh.

P.s. Happy note. Those little cake shavings are a really great way to test your cake. You know, just to make sure it’s not poisonous for when you serve it. It’s selfless of you to try it. You’re such a giver. Making sure everyone will enjoy it. High five you.

Once your cakes are nice and cooled and sliced and diced. You’re ready to start frosting. Take bottom cake, frost the whole thing, put second layer on and frost that whole puppy as well. Basically this step evens out any imperfections the cake has… and gives something for the piped frosting to sit and adhere to!

Bottom cake & top cake with a nice overlay of frosting!

Bottom cake & top cake with a nice overlay of frosting!

Aren’t you so excited? See, old Betsy would have thought “okay, the cake is done.” Because really, it looks sort of nice – and if you were using store-bought frosting, you’d be out. But NEW Betsy was super ready to make it look amazing. So out comes the piping bag. And here’s where being a cheerleader somewhere in my former life comes into play. Those hours and hours of making locker signs and swirls in puff paint and glitter… REALLY pays off. All you do with your piping bag is add this pattern over and over on the cake.

Why yes, I did design this in paint just for you all. I've got mad paint skills.

Why yes, I did design this in paint just for you all. I’ve got mad paint skills.

I’m sure there’s somewhere you’re supposed to start on the cake, but I just sort of went and it turned out just fine!

Swirl. Swirl. Swirl. Swirl...

Swirl. Swirl. Swirl. Swirl…

Did you want to see it one more time? Yes? Okay fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine I’ll show you the final product again!

This time with a fancy filter! I know, I know,  my pictures leave a little bit to be desired, someday I'll become Smitten Kitchen... until then, you'll have to settle for Instagram.

This time with a fancy filter! I know, I know, my pictures leave a little bit to be desired, someday I’ll become Smitten Kitchen… until then, you’ll have to settle for Instagram.

And let me tell you what, it wowed the pants off people. Because it was not only beautiful, but tasty delicious as well. Like eating a stick of butter… (or six)…

I adore this cake.

Other things I adore?

Having people in the kitchen with me to laugh through my absolute confusion on the little things and to encourage and guide me. And then laugh some more. I’m telling you, this new roommate is going to be awesome. We’re totally on the path to becoming best friends (too soon?!).

Last great thing? While The Roommate (should we call her that?) and I were laughing and bonding in the kitchen, New Guy set up my internet so it wasn’t the gobbly-gook that internet company guy set. I mean, really, who on earth needs a password with 16 letters and numbers in it? That’s just messy and hard. And without any input from us, he named our network this:

I died.

I died.

I mean, how well does he know me? And also, HOW FLIPPING GREAT IS THAT?! High five New Guy. Sets my internet up, offered to build me shelves (look forward to that in a later post) and although he’s deathly allergic to my dog, still comes over to hang out with me. All while putting up with my mediocre cooking efforts. We’ll keep him.

(Note: if you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect, please go now and watch it. Right now. Okaygreatthanks.)

I’m more than happy to share the password with you if you come to visit. It’s clever too. And if you’re really lucky, maybe I’ll bake you an amazing cake too.

I’m feeling pretty daring and confident right now. Anything else there I should try? I’m accepting suggestions… you know, now that I’m a professional baker! Okay, okay, a mildly decent baker who has the ability to follow directions…

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Chili and Cinnamon Rolls May Just Be Catching On…

Remember the amazing Emily Gray I told you about yesterday?

She invited me over for dinner because her husband makes incredible chili.

AND GUESS WHAT SHE DID?!

LOOK! It's catching on!

LOOK! It’s catching on!

Okay, the title probably gave it away. But, CHECK THAT OUT! They know how I feel about cinnamon rolls being paired with chili. They know I think it’s normal. And because they LOVE me… they made them for me.

Adorable. Knife Girl and Emily Gray for the win!! They are just wonderful friends. I mean, they are actually sisters. But they are wonderful friends… to me!!

That’s all I had to tell you today. Just know, my heart is filled with happiness and joy right now!

Tagged ,

Martha Stewart in the House!

People that bake amaze me.

If you enjoy spending time mixing things, beating things, rolling things, testing things, watching the oven with one eye and then committing to making all of the perfect finishing touches using some sort of plastic bag full of icing – you are my hero.

One time, I made a pie  FROM SCRATCH and it took me multiple days and two trial runs to perfect it.  For a pie. That you eat. And then it’s gone. And after I made that pie, I thought “nope, I’m never doing this again, I will BUY a nice pie next time.” Which has been my general philosophy about baking since then.

Learn to make chicken? Sure, I’m game.

Try out a crockpot? Why the heck not, bring it on!

Set your apartment on fire trying to fry something? Sounds like fun!

But when it came to baked goods, I let someone else with patience and more mad skills than I possess try it out. Or I bought it. From the store. Because I’m fancy like that. Those little pre-cut pre-rounded cookies on a tray you just throw into an oven? I’m all over that. Those I can do. Thank you Pillsbury for understanding me and appreciating my need for cookie dough. I mean honestly, who just has sugar/flour/baking soda laying around their house?! (This is not a joke. For the longest time, I did not.)

And then, this week, everything changed, life was no longer the same. All because the amazing Chesemore family, got me an amazing gift… a Nebraska cookie cutter.

People – in case you don’t know me/haven’t met me/never been around me… my love language is gifts. You buy me a gift and I just know you love me.  And a Nebraska cookie cutter? That’s just the most thoughtful gift out there.

And if you give a mouse a muffin me a thoughtful gift, you’d better believe I’m not letting it go to waste. No way, no sir. So I did the only thing I could think of… I baked. I started by whipping out my baking cookbook (that was another great gift from my beloved Jillian Michaels), searching through it for a recipe for sugar cookies and then read up on all of the best practices about icing, rolling dough, etc. But really – the most helpful part? Martha Stewart was in town.

She mixes, she stirs, she bakes... She's basically the entire reason this post exists!

She mixes, she stirs, she bakes… She’s basically the entire reason this post exists!

No sillies, her name isn’t really Martha, but since she came to town and was game for my baking adventures, it’s going to stick as her blog name. So welcome Martha to the blog. M. Stewart is a former roommate of mine, a fantastic friend and a serious motivator and life encourager… not to mention, one of the Godliest woman I know. She’s just flipping awesome. I’m lucky to know her and super happy she came out to visit me!

Check out that cookie cutter. That's true love right there.

Check out that cookie cutter. That’s true love right there.

We followed the recipe, we let the dough chill, we baked cookies, I learned to make real frosting and then we decorated them all.

You have no idea how much food coloring it takes to turn white frosting into red. A whole bottle. For real.

You have no idea how much food coloring it takes to turn white frosting into red. A whole bottle. For real.

Boy oh boy did we decorate them. And who knew… I LOVE me a ziplock bag with some frosting in it! All those years of making locker signs really did pay off. Who knew that hours of cutting out construction paper, using puff paint and sprinkling glitter would come in handy sometime in my future adult life?!

I could not be more proud of myself. Selfish. I know. BUT LOOK AT THAT COOKIE!!

I could not be more proud of myself. Selfish. I know. BUT LOOK AT THAT COOKIE!!

I’d share the recipe, but they aren’t the best I’ve ever tasted… so consider me ‘on the hunt’ for the greatest sugar cookie recipe out there. Please feel free to share if you’ve got one you love!

Because I will try again. It was fun! It’s by no means a ‘quick solution’ if you’re just need to throw something together for a block party – but if you’ve got a little time in advance and you’re wanting to really wow the crowd, I could totally pull this off.  And really, who wouldn’t want to eat 100 cookies that look like this?!

The perks of having a short nickname... Can you imagine trying to get Elizabeth on that sucker?!

The perks of having a short nickname… Can you imagine trying to get Elizabeth on that sucker?!

Oh, just me? Whoops.

THE FUNNY THING ABOUT COOKING…

Just when you’re beginning to think you’re becoming the worlds next kitchen rock star…

You fail miserably at something.

But hey, it’s all a learning game right?

Right?

Please say yes.

Anywho, last night I had BIG plans for an amazing well rounded meal. Steak. Potatoes. Brussel Sprouts. Cantaloupe. Chocolate chip cookies.

Which I can do all of on the grill. Grills are easy. But alas, I do not have one here. So my new friend Jason gave me some pointers on how to do all of this magically with a skillet.

And by pointers, I mean, he wrote out my grocery list, gave me step by step directions (including what to do and in which order to time it all perfectly) and included plenty of encouragement. Probably my most favorite “recipe” of all times.

In fact, I love it so much, I’ll just share the whole thing with you. Because the directions were fantastic. It was my execution was just a little wobbly.

The highlights include:

  • The use of too much cayenne pepper on the sprouts… like, WAY too much.
  • Under cooking the potatoes.
  • Burning the cookies.

But the steak was fantastic. And the sprouts were so beautifully quartered. And it’s really hard to ruin cantaloupe. So – partial success?! For any of you other grill-less friends, here’s a little something something to help you out.

Shopping List:

  • Steaks: Look for thicker cuts. Filets are always good!
  • Brussel Sprouts, at least a pound.
  • 2 lemons.
  • Cayenne pepper.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • 2 Russet potatoes (not too large, but big enough. Preferably the same size.)
  • Olive oil.
  • Chili flakes.
  • Onion powder.

Set oven to 400 F.
While oven is heating, you are going to start the potatoes.

POTATOES:

  1. 2 sheets of tinfoil, big enough to completely wrap around each potato.
  2. Coat each potato in olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Completely close the tinfoil.
  4. Place in oven. These take about an hour to cook, so start these first.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS:
Quarter brussel sprouts and set aside.

STEAK:

  1. Make sure the steaks are room temperature, otherwise they will dry out.
  2. Coat each steak in olive oil, salt and pepper. Be generous, but don’t over do it. A lot of the seasoning will end up in the pan.
  3. Heat a deep pan for a few minutes so the steaks sizzle when you first put them in to the pan.
  4. Let each steak cook on each side until there is a good color (about 3-4 minutes each side). BE PATIENT AND DON’T TOUCH THE STEAKS. Let them cook!
  5. After each side has been seared, place on a cookie sheet that has a cooling rack on top (this allows the entire steak to be cooked the same….it’s an airflow thing!)
  6. Place in oven and let cook for 10 minutes (medium rare/medium).

BRUSSEL SPROUTS:

  1. In the same pan the steaks were being cooked in, ad a little bit more olive oil (not too much!) and put the brussel sprouts in, stirring to make sure they all get coated with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (just a lil bit), onion powder, and chili flakes. Let them cook, stirring occasionally. I like my sprouts to have a nice deep golden color too them.
  2. After about 5 minutes (the sprouts should be tender), squeeze the juice of one lemon over them and let them soak up the juice. Make sure you stir pretty often.
  3. Taste and make sure they are good.

By this time, the steaks should be done. Take them out and let them rest for a couple minutes to let the juices settle.

Once the steaks are done, the potatoes should be done as well. Pull them out. Test them with a knife. If should be easy to cut through!

PLATE UP AND ENJOY!!!

At the risk of ruining these adorably written out directions – I did not add my own thoughts. I did however underline, bold and italicize the fact that he warned me to use JUST A LIL BIT of cayenne. To which I ignored and added just as much as salt… or pepper… #oops

The other note to mention is that as I was preparing to melt the butter for the cookies… I realized I don’t have a microwave.

So now I’m wondering if maybe my land lady has been reading the blog… and knows about the Cheese Frenchee Incident…? Hm…

You win some. You lose some.

But I dominated those steaks. So, I’m still calling it a win.

Tagged , , ,

ADVENTURES IN FRYING… THE FUNNEL CAKE

No need to destroy anything else in the apartment kitchen right before I move out…

After searching around and discussing with people about “easier” frying recipes, I’d decided on funnel cakes. You make some batter, you throw it in a pan and toss a little powdered sugar on it.

It sounds easy and manageable right?

And guess what?

It TOTALLY is. Thank. The. Good. Lord.

Recipe taken from the amazing Paula Deen (I mean, if you’re frying, go big or go home) from Food Network.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) melted butter
  • Powdered sugar, for topping

Directions:

Combine milk, egg, vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar and gradually add to wet ingredients. Beat with a mixer until a smooth batter forms. Fold in melted butter. Pour batter into a funnel or squeeze bottle while using your index finger to stop the flow of the batter.

Just remember... cut a SMALL slit!

Just remember… cut a SMALL slit!

Bring the funnel over the hot oil and release your finger to start a stream of batter while moving the funnel in a circular motion to create spiral-like shapes.

When it says HOT oil... I now know that it's really just middle hot oil. Noted.

When it says HOT oil… I now know that it’s really just middle hot oil. Noted.

Cute little squiggles all over.

Cute little squiggles all over.

Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown and slightly puffed. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

How pretty is this? For serious? Also it's delicious.

How pretty is this? For serious? Also it’s delicious.

And here’s what we learned… if there’s only three of you, you probably SHOULDN’T make an entire batch… because it’ll make you sick to try and eat even half of it 🙂

The other thing… this was EASY. Really easy. If you’re having a small group over and people want to take turns making their own dessert – this is an absolute winner of an idea.

We cooked. We laughed (hard). And then we feasted. It was glorious and I can officially tell you that I’m so much less terrified of hot oil then I used to be…

Tagged , ,

Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Something I’m learning about myself, I really, really despise cooking meat. It just grosses me out. Which, is not saying anything about how I feel about eating meat – because I really really like eating meat. Don’t worry. I promise not to become ALL granola living out here in the mountains. I just don’t really like to cook the stuff.

But I’m trying!

And that starts with learning to cook beef.

I know how to put a steak on the grill.

I know how to cook hamburger in a skillet.

And that’s it.

So when I stumbled across this recipe for Beef and Broccoli, I was bound and determined to give it a chance!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 pound(s) uncooked lean trimmed sirloin beef, thinly sliced against the grain (there’s a lot of words here I didn’t understand… so I bought some beef that looked like I could cut it into strips… which is probably wrong, someone feel free to jump in and teach me)
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided (I forgot the broth at the store… so I used water)
  • 5 cup(s) uncooked broccoli, florets (about a 12 oz bag)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced (As if. I didn’t own it. Therefore, I went without)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup(s) water
  • 1/4 cup(s) low sodium soy sauce

Instructions:

On a plate, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch and salt; add beef and toss to coat.

 

I mean, this meat worked... Also, yes I just wanted to showcase my incredible knife.

I mean, this meat worked… Also, yes I just wanted to showcase my incredible knife.

Heat oil in a large nonstick wok or large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and stir-fry until lightly browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes; transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add 1/2 cup broth to same pan; stir to loosen any bits on food on bottom of pan. Add broccoli; cover and cook, tossing occasionally and sprinkling with a tablespoon water if needed, until broccoli is almost crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover pan and add ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes; stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Seriously, I wish you could have been there to enjoy the smell with me. Yum.

Seriously, I wish you could have been there to enjoy the smell with me. Yum.

In a cup, stir together water, soy sauce, remaining 1/2 cup broth and remaining 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch until blended; stir into pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer; simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Return beef and accumulated juices to pan; toss to coat.

Meanwhile, while following those fairly simple steps… I was making some quinoa on another burner so that it all finished right about the same time.

And friends – LOOK AT WHAT IT MADE!

I MADE THIS AND THEN GOT TO EAT IT FOR DINNER. Wow. Color me impressed!

I MADE THIS AND THEN GOT TO EAT IT FOR DINNER. Wow. Color me impressed!

And you know what else? It made for incredible and amazing leftovers the next day. So if you like broccoli and you don’t hate cooking red meat, I’d give this one a chance!

 

Tagged , ,

A LITTLE PIZAZZ – TURKEY BURGER STYLE

Friends, I’ve discovered a very very important new thing.

You can bring your lunch to work.

It’s a radical new concept, I realize, but guess what – it saves you time, it saves you money… AND it’s typically the healthier option.

One morning a week or so ago we had a random delay for a snow day. Because my super awesome Jesus loving job takes into consideration your safety… and calls snow delays. Have I mentioned my job rocks?

Anywho – I still go up at my alarm (fine – a few snoozes after my alarm) and had plenty of free time. I made some coffee, I showered, I curled my hair… AND I PREPARED A LUNCH.

I got out the skillet – I cooked a turkey burger, sliced up a tomato, avocado, some mushrooms and a red onion and threw it in a Tupperware on a bed of spinach.

 

It's so many great things in one container.

It’s so many great things in one container.

And kids, it was delightful.

Well, if we’re being honest – I’d also thrown in some bacon bits – because – they make EVERYTHING better, but by the time I ate it, they were soggy. And soggy bacon bits lose a bit of their magical powers, you know? So – word to the wise – don’t leave bacon bits in a container with moist (yikes – I know) things. Lesson learned.

So if you’ve got an extra 20 minutes in your morning – I vote for you to use some time really preparing your lunch because:

  1. It makes you feel SUPER fancy at work.
  2. It gives you the warm fuzzies.
  3. Your co-workers are bound to be impressed.
  4. It’s GOT to be better for your waist line than another trip to Chick-fil-A!

If you have other quick/easy-to-make lunch ideas – shoot them my way! I’d love to try them!!

 

A Happy Hearty Food Filled Easter

I’m hoping all of you had the happiest of happy Easter’s today. Filled with great worship, those you love, chocolate bunnies… or at least a killer meal.

Because it just wouldn’t be Easter without a feast.

This last week I realized that I wouldn’t be traveling home to see family and loved ones and decided to plan an Easter celebration lunch with my new friends. Luckily Knife Girl hosted (as my apartment gets a wee bit tiny for a 10 person meal) and everyone brought a dish to share.

I was pretty torn between attempting some sort of Quiche and cheesy potato casserole.

So I made both.

And people, we can officially deem the fear of the kitchen long gone.

Because I had a wonderful time following the recipes and learning to make something new. In fact, I’d almost missed it!

First up… Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole! Thanks to Pinterest I found the recipe on a site that attempts to mimic restaurant recipes. And I’ll tell you, the casserole is great… but I don’t really think it tastes like the cheesy hash browns of Cracker Barrel…  Oh and whatever you do… don’t think that you’ll just double this because it doesn’t look like very much. Because this recipe fills a 9×13 pan TO THE BRIM.

Ingredients:

1 2 lb. pkg. frozen Hash Browns
8 oz. Sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick butter
1/2 C. Chopped onion
2 C. grated Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

Place potatoes in a greased 9×13 inch pan. Season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in the microwave. In a bowl add minced onions, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup, and melted butter. Mix these items together.

This is the one large bag of potatoes. If you happened to buy a second large bag... bad news bears, looks like you'll be eating hash browns for breakfast/llunch/dinner for the rest of the week!

This is the one large bag of potatoes. If you happened to buy a second large bag… bad news bears, looks like you’ll be eating hash browns for breakfast/lunch/dinner for the rest of the week!

Yeah. It is that gross. My hint: through that cream of chicken soup out immediately after you use it. If left in your kitchen - it WILL smell.

Yeah. It is that gross. My hint: throw that cream of chicken soup out immediately after you use it. If left in your kitchen – it WILL smell.

Pour soup mixture over potatoes; sprinkle with Cheddar Cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until all is completely warm, and the cheese begins to melt. (Also: you can make this the night before and then reheat at 350 degrees for 15 minutes!)

Whoops. Forgot to take an after, I was apparently just so excited with how it turned out!

Whoops. Forgot to take an after, I was apparently just so excited with how it turned out!

For the Quiche I found a recipe from good old Martha herself. Almost makes me want to subscribe to the Martha Stewart Living Magazine  – because the Sausage Potato Quiche was worth every bite.

Ingredients

1 homemade or store-bought single-crust pie dough (homemade? silly cute people. store-bought all the way.)
1 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
2 cup(s) crumbled cooked spicy Italian sausage (I mean… I used pork sausage. Is that not the same?)
Coarse salt
Ground pepper
6 large eggs
3/4 cup(s) heavy cream
3/4 pound(s) russet potato, cubed and steamed until tender
1 cup(s) (4 ounces) finely grated Parmesan (I went all out and got the REAL kind, that I shredded myself. So great.)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly flour a rolling-pin and work surface and roll out dough to a 12-inch round. (Again, cute.) Place in a 9-inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edge. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until edge is dry and light golden, about 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights.

The last time I made a pie, I underestimated the importance of using "pie weights." This time, I used rocks. I mean, those are weights right?!

The last time I made a pie, I underestimated the importance of using “pie weights.” This time, I used rocks. I mean, those are weights right?!

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add sausage, season with salt and pepper, and cook until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cream. Add sausage, potato, and cheese and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Milk... with meat... Yum.

Milk… with meat… Yum.

Whisk to combine, pour into crust, and bake until center of Quiche is just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Beautiful. Just lovely.

Beautiful. Just lovely.

Same as the casserole. Made this last night. Put it in the fridge and then reheated it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes after church.

Both dishes got rave reviews. And this Quiche thing. This is happening way more often. It takes maybe 15 minutes of prep time. 40ish minutes of bake time (while you’re doing other things around the house). And then you can eat immediately or keep it for later. How handy!

Oh and what do you know, I happen to have enough ingredients for a round two. Looks like I might be re-making this dish sooner than expected!

May all of your weeks be filled with happiness!

And remember: He is risen indeed!

Tagged , ,

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This happened before the ‘Cheese Frenchee Incident of 2013’ but I felt like it was such a win… and the blog could use a little pick-me-up. So I’m going to roll with it and tell you all about it!

I made BBQ chicken in a crockpot. It was great. You put a package of chicken in with water, you let it cook for four hours and you take it out, shred it, drain the water and then add BBQ sauce. Keep that sucker on low for another few hours and you have tasty delicious protein for the next week.

I had BBQ chicken on an everything bagel. I had BBQ chicken with a side of rice and veggies.

And then I had a lot of BBQ chicken left and wanted to make a quick meal.

And then it came to me. You know what I love? BBQ chicken pizza.

Yes, I'm mainly showing you this image so that you can see my beautiful fabulous wonderful knives. Thank you brothers.

Yes, I’m mainly showing you this image so that you can see my beautiful fabulous wonderful knives. Thank you brothers.

Store bought crust rolled out and pre baked a bit, add a little BBQ sauce as the base, add the chicken, red onion, corn and mozzarella cheese.

Yuuuuuuuuuuuum.

Yuuuuuuuuuuuum.

It was incredible.

Also – one large pizza is much too much for one person. Noted.

But it does make for excellent leftovers.

And writing all of this out gives me a wee bit more faith in myself.

I’m good with the oven. I can handle the oven.

I’ll just stick with that. Maybe we’ll try the stove top again in 2014. Maybe.

Tagged ,

THE CHEESE FRENCHEE INCIDENT OF 2013

Well kids, this is going to start off like any other blog post.

And then it’s going to go wrong.

Very, very wrong.

It all started when I mentioned the cheese frenchee at work and I got the blank stares. Again. I’d found yet another thing that simply wasn’t a thing outside of Nebraska. And as I described the concept of a grilled cheese that was filled with mayo, bathed in batter, coated in Ritz crackers and then fried… I realized it was a something that people just had to try to love.

Which, was fine, because this girl knows how to cook.

Bring it on cheese frenchee.

And while we’re frying things, let’s make onion rings – I mean if the oil is already hot…

So I research recipes for both and I find ones that look easy and promising.

And so begins. Batter made for onion rings…which is supposed to take an hour to set (really?!).

Onions. Check. Batter ready. Check.

Onions. Check. Batter ready. Check.

Then I turn to the main dish. Crusts cut off. Cheese added.

Just think of the headache saved if I would have just quit here and stuck with good old fashion grilled cheese.

Just think of the headache saved if I would have just quit here and stuck with good old fashion grilled cheese.

And then this is where the evening took a turn.

A nasty nasty turn.

I had already opened the windows and doors because it was gorgeous outside (thank you LORD), but I noticed a smoke smell. Coming from the pot on the stove. The pot filled with an entire carton of oil. Not a skillet. No, I had elected for a giant spaghetti pot. Because I had heard that would work and that seemed genius.

Do we see where this is going?

Yes, it’s really that bad.

So I opened the lid of the pot… and then there was fire. Lots of fire.

Yes I took a picture. The camera was right there. And if my apartment is about to burn down, I'm documenting it. I was in a panic people. Bear with me.

Yes I took a picture. The camera was right there. And if my apartment is about to burn down, I’m documenting it. I was in a panic people. Bear with me.

Yes, that’s the lid sitting in the pot, completely engulfed in the flames.

In my mind I think “grease fire don’t use water” and baking soda swam into my mind. Instincts are a funny thing aren’t they? I ran and grabbed the box from the cat litter box (who is making fun of the cat lady now?!) ripped it open and poured it on.

Which made the flames instantly grow.

And then die a little.

So I ran back, grabbed another box and then dumped it on.

Which again, made it grow, maybe destroying the microwave…and then die down.

At which point I found my pot holders, grabbed the pan and RAN outside with it.

Which is, yes, when I burned my hand (only a little everyone – it’s nothing worse than a curling iron burn – don’t panic). Eventually (much much later) the pan fire stopped.

I mean, do you even try to save the pan at this point?

I mean, do you even try to save the pan at this point?

The smoke alarms are going off. The pets are in a panic. BUT MY APARTMENT IS NOT ON FIRE.

God. Is. Good.

I immediately shut the pets in my room. Prop the doors wide open and rush to fan some of the smoke out.

And look at the damage.

It's just smoke on the cupboards. They are fine. The microwave on the other hand. Is not good.

It’s just smoke on the cupboards. They are fine. The microwave on the other hand. Is not good.

There was baking soda everywhere. Absolutely everywhere.

But you know what? There wasn’t fire.

And I learned a valuable lesson: I will never fry anything ever again. And honestly, it might take me awhile to cook again.

It was terrifying. No one warned me about that. The recipes don’t say “oh hey, don’t get your oil too hot or it can start a massive and very scary fire that could burn down your entire apartment building.”

So I’m here to tell you: DON’T DO THAT. Oil gets hot. Super hot. And self combusts.

And as the smoke filtered out and the alarm stopped sounding… my friends arrived. And they helped me clean up. And they gave me hugs. And they laughed with me as I recounted the story in hysterics (I blame the adrenaline). And then they took me out for dinner. Because they are great.

I thought about skipping this post. About not telling you about this.

But I decided this was part of the adventure of blogging. Telling you my failures and letting you learn from them.

Because if I can save you one big and massive oil fire on your store. I will totally take that one for the team. I don’t wish that fear upon anyone.

Also, it’s pretty therapeutic to blog about it.

So with that. Be expecting my next blog posts to be all about baking.

Because baking? Yeah, there’s no fire involved in that.

And yes, I will absolutely be thanking God tonight for all of my blessings today. And tomorrow. And every day after that.

And then I will call my landlord…

(Yes, I realize that I didn’t include the recipes. As you can tell, I have no idea how they turned out and I felt like it wasn’t fair to tell you about them if I couldn’t vow they were good!)

**Update: Here’s something my fabulous Aunt Di shared with me that I’d like to share with you in case you want to try this at home!

  • Don’t ever cover hot oil. Any steam trapped in the pot could cause oil vapor/droplets to catch fire. Even if you’re frying in a pan with oil, don’t cover it with a solid cover–the steam or water from the food can cause the same eruption.
  • Regulate the temperature. You can do this with an electric frying pan/pot that will do this automatically but, if you don’t want to spend the extra cash money, just get a good thermometer to monitor the temp of the oil. And keep an eye on it.
  • Have a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. It can’t hurt to have it tucked away in the corner where you can grab it if need it. Plus, once you get one, you will never need it! Right?!

And also, maybe have another person present. Because an extra set of hands when fighting a fire couldn’t hurt…**

Tagged , , ,