Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Mac Pizza (?!?!)

Say Whaaaat? Yep, I said it. Big. Mac. Pizza. I have to give credit where credit is due, and here it is due to my sister. She told me she made this a few weeks ago and when my 17 year old brother tried it, he told her she could cook for him whenever she wanted. Anything that gets those kind of accolades from a 17 year old boy warrants my attention. Well, that, and the hubs and I have a weakness for some big macs.

Somehow I feel that this is healthier than going to Micky D's and getting the real thing. Think about it, you aren't eating 3 (!!) buns, and you are in control over how much or how little you actually put on this pizza. You can also sub the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken. Again. this recipe is super easy (what do I make that's not?) and its not so much of a recipe than it is an assembly. Here's what you need to make this fabulous pizza version of an American indulgence.

Big Mac Pizza

1/2 pizza dough (from pizza dough recipe posted on 1-20-12)
thousand island dressing
1 T oil
1 lb ground beef (or turkey or chicken)
1 medium onion (1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced)
4-6 slices American cheese
chopped lettuce
sliced pickles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in saute pan. Add chopped onion, saute until translucent. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until cooked through. Roll out pizza dough in a rectangle, transfer to oiled baking sheet. Spread on desired amount of thousand island dressing. Top with browned ground beef, spread evenly. Top with cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes until crust is risen and golden. Top with onions, lettuce and pickles. Slice and serve.

Hope this Thursday finds you all well! Have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All for MEEE!!

The hubby is out of town today and won't be home until late tonight so that means I get to make something all for myself for dinner. I'm lucky that Adam is not that much of a picky eater- usually anything I make he eats without too much complaint. There's only a few things that he's not that fond of- sausage, pork products (other than bacon), bell peppers, eggplant, baked pasta dishes, and sweet potatoes off the top of my head. So, I am going to take this opportunity to make something for myself without trying to please the hubs as well.

I think tonight I will make baked pasta with mild Italian sausage and sauteed sweet peppers. Check. Check. Check.

This dish is easy enough- just boil whatever pasta you desire (I think I'm going to use whole wheat penne), brown up the sausage and add to your pasta, mix in your desired sauce (I'm using the leftover sauce from when I made stomboli last week). Transfer into an oven proof dish, top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Just bake in a 400 degree oven until cheese is melted and slightly browned. As for the peppers, just heat some butter or oil in a saute pan, add your peppers, some salt and pepper and saute until they are soft and sweet. Voila! The perfect "My husband is out of town and I'm going to eat what I want" meal!

I hope you all are having a fantastic Wednesday- HUMP day! Whoo!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Taco Tuesday (Well Sort Of)

Is it Tuesday again? The weeks are just flying by...its almost February! I didn't post yesterday since I had a bit of a catastrophe. Well, catastrophe may be a bit strong, but dinner didn't go quite as planned. In honor of Chinese new year, I decided to make potstickers from scratch. They weren't the worst things ever but lets just say that I'll leave it to the pros from now on. So, lets move on to today's menu and a realm that I am MUCH more comfortable in.

Tonight we are not having tacos (shock! horror!). But its Taco Tuesday, you say? Calm down, we're having my Chicken Tortilla Soup. It combines all the best things about tacos into a delicious soup. I've been making this soup for years now and its one of my most favorite recipes and I'm happy to share it with you now. I think I am also going to make Cornbread Pudding to go with the soup tonight.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 T oil
1/2 medium onion chopped fine
1 garlic clove diced
1 small can chopped green chilis
1 box chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne
1-2 Cups shredded or diced pre-cooked chicken
1/2 Salsa or Rotel
1 14 oz can corn
1 14 oz can beans of your choice
Salt and Pepper

Heat oil in large dutch oven. Saute onion, garlic and chilis until onions are translucent and fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and simmer until ready to serve.

Corn Pudding

1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 egg
6 T melted butter
8 oz sour cream or 4 oz cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a round 2 qt baking dish (like Corning ware). Combine all ingredients well, and transfer to baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and pudding is set.

Hope you enjoy this easy, prep ahead dinner. It smells so good in my house right now! Can't wait to eat! Have a good Tuesday, and remember to watch the State of the Union address tonight. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Pinterest is the devil and I've been addicted the last week or so. I ran across this recipe for 5 minute chocolate cake, baked in a coffee mug. I just had to share this since this is just way to awesome of an idea not to. Here is the recipe, but head HERE to see where it was originally posted. You can also go HERE to see another really cute blog post about this recipe.

5 Minute Cake
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 3 tbsp nutella
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • Pinch salt
  1. In a mug ( I use a 300 ml coffee mug), break the egg and whisk a little with a fork.
  2. Add milk, oil and mix together.
  3. Mix in the nutella well.
  4. Add sugar, cocoa, salt and espresso powder. Mix well.
  5. Fold in the flour with fork. Mix well but be careful as to not over mix else you will get a rubbery, tough texture.
  6. Microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on high. You will have to figure out how long you want to microwave. For me the cake is done after 2 min 45 sec.
  7. Let cool a bit and dig in.

Freezer Friday...On Saturday?

We are doing Freezer Friday today (Saturday) since yesterday we discovered a whole chicken in our fridge that needed to be made. My husband put it on the grill and just grilled some sweet peppers to go along with it. Pretty basic. If anyone wants to know how to do this exactly, let me know :)

So tonight is Juicy Lucy Burgers and frozen prepared onion rings. The burgers are so easy to do. I just set out about 1 lb of ground beef (you could use turkey if you'd like) to defrost this morning and all you need is salt, pepper, garlic powder, and two slices of American cheese. Divide the meat in half and then each half in half again (you should have 4 balls of meat). Flatten each ball into a patty. Fold your American cheese slice into fourths and place the square of cheese on top of one patty and top with another. Pinch around the edges to seal the cheese inside. Repeat with the other 2 balls of meat and slice of cheese. Season the burgers with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook on a griddle or on a large skillet until the burgers reach your desired done-ness (I recommend at least medium for these burgers so that the cheese melts).

Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! Have a great weekend everyone! Its a cold, wintry day outside today so I think I'm going to go curl up with a nice book until I need to start dinner. Hubby is passed out on the couch with the pup, so I think I need to follow their lead.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Dinner

Ooops, I meant to post this yesterday...just pretend its the 19th :)

Happy Birthday to the greatest husband on Earth! Its my hubby's 25th birthday and I am making him his favorite meal. He LOVES Stromboli and his great aunt's no-bake cherry cheesecake so I of course offered to make it for him. I can't believe he's 25....I met him when he was 16 (I was 15) so its almost been 10 years since we met. Time certainly does fly when you're in love.

These recipes are SUPER easy. There are a few steps involved but the basic recipes are very easy. You could also make it easier on yourself by buying a pre-made pizza dough from the grocery store or your favorite pizza place, but pizza dough is so easy to make it is definitely worth it to do it yourself- just make sure you have time. Lets get to the birthday dinner recipes!

Stromboli (serves 2)*

1/2 Pizza Dough (recipe to follow)
toppings of choice:
shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg - for egg wash
pizza sauce for dipping

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 10 x 14 inches. Spread  with desired toppings leaving a 1 inch border. On one of the long edges, brush with egg wash. Starting with the long end with no egg wash, start rolling up into a long roll, tucking in edges. Seal pressing together the edge with the egg wash. Let the Stromboli rise 20-30 minutes. Place on greased baking sheet and brush the top of the Stromboli with egg wash. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 20 minutes until golden. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired, and return to oven for about 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Slice and serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

Basic Pizza Dough**

1 C warm water
1 (1/4 oz) packet of active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 T plus 1.5 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 C all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and 1 T oil and stir to combine. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1.5 C of the flour and the salt mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 C at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still sticky. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3-5 minutes.

Oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.

* Borrowed Heavily from Emeril Lagasse's recipe on
**Credit Emeril Lagasse from

Adam's Favorite No-Bake Cheesecake

1 Packet Dream Whip, whipped using only 1/3 C milk and 1 tsp vanilla
1 oz Package Cream Cheese, softened
1 C Powdered Sugar
Graham Cracker Crust*
Cherry Pie Filling

Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add dream whip and fold to combine. Spread into prepared graham cracker crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Voila!

*To make your own, just combine 1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs, 6 T butter and 1/2 C sugar in small bowl. Press into pie dish making sure to evenly distribute the crumbs on the bottom and sides of the pan.

So there you have it! That's the hubby's birthday dinner! Since I am posting this on the 20th (again, oops) I can say that it was a hit. Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chinese Orange Chicken and Fried Rice

One of my husband's and my favorite things to do is to stay in, order Chinese food and watch a good movie (or more recently the Republican debates), but unfortunately it is just too expensive to do all the time. So, I set out to create my own Chinese food at home. It is surprisingly easy with pretty simple ingredients. This recipe has quickly jumped into being one of our favorite dishes. If you love Chinese food, but have never made it yourself, I encourage you to try this recipe- you'll want to make it all the time once you try it!

Just like yesterday, I am using chicken thighs. I have considered doing this recipe with beef, so substituting beef brisket or something similar would work in this too, I think. Obviously you can use chicken breasts in place of the thighs- use whatever you have on hand! One ingredient in this recipe, rice vinegar, you may or may not have in your pantry. You can sub cider vinegar or even red wine vinegar (just add a bit of sugar too), you just need that acidic punch that the vinegar adds. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Orange Chicken

2-3 T Veg Oil
3 Chicken Thighs cut into strips
3 T flour
1 pkg Baby Bella Mushroom (or shitake) sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp ground ginger
2-3 T green onions chopped
pinch salt
1/2 Medium Onion thinly sliced
3 T Orange Marmalade
2 T Rice Vinegar
3 T Soy Sauce
1 T Citrus Juice
Dash or Ground Ginger
1 tsp Sugar to taste

In medium bowl, combine 2nd half of ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 1 day. When you are ready to begin cooking, in a medium bowl, combine flour, red pepper flakes, ginger, green onions, and salt, stir to combine. Pour over chicken strips in zip top bag. Shake to combine. In wok, or large skillet heat veg oil over high heat. Add the floured chicken. Saute until brown. Add mushrooms and toss to brown, about 1 minute. Add the soy/vinegar mixture. Stir until the sauce has thickened. Serve with Asian Fried Rice.

Asian Fried Rice

1 T Butter
1.5 Cups Cooked White Rice
1/2 Onion chopped
1/3-1/2 C Frozen Peas and Carrots
1 Egg
Soy Sauce
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Sesame Seeds (if desired)

In saute pan, heat butter over medium high heat, add onion and saute until onions are translucent and just beginning to brown slightly. Add the rice and stir to combine with onion. Add just enough soy sauce to turn the rice brown and give it a salty flavor. Saute for about 30 seconds. Add the frozen peas and carrots and saute until heated through. Add more soy sauce if needed. Make a well in the center of the pan, and crack egg into pan. Scramble the egg and combine with the rice. Season with garlic powder, black pepper and sesame seeds to taste. Serve and enjoy!

I can't wait to see if any of you try these recipes. Chinese food made at home is just as good (or better!) than getting take out. Its definitely cheaper and in this economy, cheaper is ALWAYS better. I hope you enjoy!