Thursday, November 10, 2011
So onto the fun!
You will need a skillet, a spatula, and a measuring cup and spoon. Did I mention this was easy? One pan meal folks.
1 lb of ground sausage of choice (comes in tubes similar to ground beef)
2 tbs of butter
2 to 4 tbs of flower
1.5 to 2 cups of milk
A good tbs of pepper
Salt to taste.
The How To
To start, throw your biscuits in the oven and your sausage in the pan.
Once your sausage is nice and browned, it's time to make the gravy. Now, to avoid annoying lumps, start by adding the butter and 2 tbs of flower directly to the pan. This is basically making a rou that is spread over the sausage. Once you've got the rou sufficiently mixed in, add your milk. You have some freedom here dedepending on how you like your sausage to gravy ratio. Add pepper and other seasonings to taste and let simmer until it thickens. You can add more flower as necessary (I find I don't need to add much more. Generally maybe 2 tbs more).
Once the gravy is thinkend and the biscuits are golden brown, it's time to dig in!
What a great and simple way to start the day.
If you have left overs, simply serve over toast at dinner for what my family lovingly calls SOS (S@#$ On a Shingle).
Enjoy and happy munching!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Today I bring to you potstickers (or Asian dumplings)! My husband and I have messed with this recipe together for awhile and though it requires specialized equipment, they are super easy and can rival any dumpling house.
A steamer, bowl, cup of water, cutting board, and a spoon. Note: If you don't have a steamer, you can fry these. I'll supply instructions for both.
1 lb of turkey (what I usually use just because) or pork sausage
1 tsp or so of olive oil
3-5 good spoon fulls of sauerkraut
A helping of soy sauce to taste
A dash of garlic pepper
Other Asian spices you may have on hand (optional)
Approx 30-40 or so won ton wrappers (find these in the produce section)
Alright, so the ingredients aren't all so authentically Asian but the results are no less yummy for it.
Anyway, first take your bowl and combine your sausage of choice with the kraut, soy sauce, spices, and oil and mix well. Once that's done, I find it best to set up a little assembly line as making these buggers can get tedious.You'll need your freshly mixed bowl-o-filling, cutting board to work on, cup of water and, of course, won ton wrappers.
Now that you've set your area up for maximum ease and productivity, it's time to start working! Grab a won ton wrapper, wet the edges all around with water, and then spoon the filling into the center. To finish them off, just fold over and pinch the edges together to form a triangle. And huzzah! Go ahead, take a minute to admire your lovely dumpling! A word to the wise, it's better to start with to little filling than too much. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to fiddle with sealing an overly full dumpling. It's much simpler to add a bit more filling into the dumpling if you need it.
Potstickers aren't very big so you will make quite a few before you finish off your filling depending on how full you fill them. About 10 dumplings per good-n-hungry person is a good serving, so take what dumplings you need to cook and the rest are easily frozen. And if your just lazy like me, you can safely store the filling itself in the fridge -just a day or two- or freezer and assemble more dumplings later (I don't like freezing as you will then just have to defrost the filling to make the dumplings and that lessens the quality of the meat).
To cook, just set in the steamer for about 30-45 minutes (or about an hour frozen). If you don't have a steamer, just fire up the skillet and head up a 1/4 cup or so of oil and fry them one side then the other until golden brown!
Serve with soy sauce or other Asian dipping sauce of your choice and enjoy!
This is much the same concept as ravioli! Just use beef and/or your choice of cheeses and boil rather than steam and serve with a yummy marinara sauce! Though I do recommend an egg wash to just water to seal the edges for these. See you get a twofer today!
Until next time, Happy munching!
Monday, September 12, 2011
It sure has been awhile! Summer heat has caused a heating blanket of blah and a black hole of nothingness to settle in my life and suck my energy away. There was no escaping the ghostly, hot even horizon. That and with my beloved hubby gone at work, it's been hard to be motivated to cook.
But! Today is a new day, I am in school, and I have come back fresh with ideas!
As you have no doubt noticed, I have changed the name of this blog so be sure to update your bookmarks. I have decided to expand the function of my corner of the web here to include some of my many other crafty passions (you'll just have to wait and tune in to see what those are :3). Don't worry; there will still be lots of food! I just think I have a lot more to share than the occasional recipe.
I'm super excited to get started on this new venture, especially with the Harvest and Holiday seasons upon us. Lots of yummy fall and winter food, gift ideas, and much much more to come!
I will have an actual post for you later this week (upcoming tests are at the forefront of my mind at the moment) and will do my best to keep to twice a month update.
So with that, I offer my apologies for my absence, and my hopes of your continued support and readership.
Lots of love and Happy Crafting!
Friday, July 1, 2011
Now you can always use the FF versions of many of the ingredients, but keep in mind that research shows that the occasional, moderate indulgence can keep you from swaying off your diet plan.
So lets get started on my Three Layer Chocolate Pudding Pie!
Spoons, knife, a mixing bowl, whisk, an electric mixer, and optional cutting board.
2 packages of chocolate pudding mix
2 cups of milk
6 oz (about 2/3 cup) of cool whip
2 oz cream cheese
The first layer is the chocolate goodness. Easy peasy, just mix two packages of pudding mix with the whisk according do the directions. Just reduce the amount of milk you use by about half. This makes the pudding a more pie filling like consistency. Add this first layer to your pie. It should be mostly full as this is the major portion of the dessert.
Next is the strawberries. Just slice 5 fresh and yummy berries and arrange evenly atop the chocolate.
Now for the coup de gras. The final layer that brings it all together. Rinse out your mixing bowl (or grab another) and blend the cool whip and cream cheese together. If the cool whip has been in the freezer, let it warm up a bit first. Take your time and let the topping get nice and whippy smooth. Add the topping to the pie. Of course you can make more than I did (I made a fairly thin layer) but keep the ratio the same for the ingredients. Too much cream cheese will make it too thick and not as whipped as you'd want.
Once its assembled, just let it set in the freezer and enjoy! Just not too much.
No baking involved! What could be better than that huh? And these aphrodisiac ingredients are perfect for impressing a date or, in my case, for a special evening with your spouse.
And as always, happy cooking!!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
That's right, I said microwave.
Sacred yet? Well you shouldn't be. You don't have to slave over a melting pot of chocolate to create delicious treats that I promise will deliver. So...lights, camera, kitchen!
You'll need a microwave safe(!!!) bowl, spoon, wax paper, and a cookie sheet.
1 bag of chocolate chips (I prefer semi sweet, but they do offer dark and milk varieties)
1 bag of pretzels
2 tbs of coco powder
2 tbs of Crisco
First you'll add the chocolate chips into your bowl along with the Crisco (some evoo will work in a pinch) and toss in the microwave for about 45 seconds or until melted. It won't take long!
Once all the chocolate is sufficiently melted, add your coco powder. This is preferred though I always have Ovaltine in the pantry (the Hubby's favourite drink!) and works just as well. Do NOT add the powder beforehand. It WILL burn. I learned this the hard way.
Now that that's mixed, you can start covering your pretzels. There's many ways to do this; none are right, and all are messy. You can fold a few in the chocolate at at time with your spoon, dip one by one, spoon the chocolate, however. Just have fun! Place the generously coated pretzels on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and place in the fridge (or freezer) until nice and hard. You can finish with a drizzle of white icing if your feeling advanced. Just be sure the chocolate is cold when you add it, and that you return the pretzels to the cold so the icing sets.
And that's it! Sneak in your purse when you see your next flick and enjoy!!
Note: I have to give credit for this to my dear Lindsay Jacobs. First time I made (a similar version of) these was with her showing me how.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Per my usual, this isn't real precise, and you can make it your own by adding more or less of a certain component. So rev your blenders folks, its smoothie time!
All you'll need is a spoon, your blender, and a cup to serve in.
1 cupish of wild strawberry sorbet
1 handful of frozen mixed berries
2 cups of your favorite fruit juice (for the adult version, I used most of a bottle of blueberry lemonade Smirnoff Ice)
Simple, simply combine and blend! You can add more juice or Smirnoff if you like your smoothies on the thinner side, more sorbet if you like them creamer, or more fruit for more body. You can also choose to highlight a certain berry if you want. It's up to you. This is just close to what I normally whip up. Another note: your welcome to use fresh rather than frozen berries. However, I prefer frozen simply because it provides the chill factor and I don't need to use ice.
Now sit back, sip away, and enjoy! And as always, happy blending!
(Confession: The picture isn't exactly what is described. Usually the smoothie will turn out a bit more purple. I forgot I didn't have any mixed berries, but I needed a picture...)
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Herbs can come in many forms and we will discus these as needed. Of course, there are fresh, dried, powdered, and so on, but for today, we will need essential oils. Personally, oils are my favourite form of herb to work with so far. But be warned, they can be expensive. However they will last quite a while, and some can be found in the spice isle of your grocer. And really, if you enjoy working with them, oils are a great investment; for instance, homemade bath and body goodies are wonderful gifts and a great way to save on Holiday shopping. Who doesn't like that idea, right?
Now, without further delay, my Luscious Lavender Relaxing Bathsalt.
You'll need a mixing bowl, a smaller bowl to mix your oils, an eyedropper is optional, and a spoon.
Lavender essential oil
Vanilla oil or extract (make sure it's genuine!)
Vitamin E oil
Food coloring (optional)
In the big mixing bowl combine your Epsom salt and sea salt at a 2:1 ratio and add just a pinch or two of the baking powder (just to help keep it dry and usable and retains the smells).
Now you'll want to get your oil mixture right before adding it to your salt. Lets discuss these one by one.
5 parts Lavender: This is great for cleansing body and mind, relaxing, and dreams. It has a wonderful, unique earthly floral smell.
2 parts Vanilla: This is great for comfort and bringing back good memories and thoughts of home and is also a good moisturizer I've found. We all know what vanilla smells like.
1 part chamomile: Chamomile is great in tea and has long been used to induce sleep and has a long range of other health benefits. It has also has a floral earthy smell.
1 part Vitamin E oil: No smell here. Vitamin E is just great for skin. Sometimes it can be sticky though, so be careful.
When you mix these, be sure if your using a universal dropper that its thoroughly washed after each oil. You don't want to contaminate your oils with the smell of another oil. Typically, you can find bottles of oils that allow you to dispense individual drops slowly without the need for separate equipment. Smell constantly, and don't be afraid to tinker with the ratios to your liking.
If your making a big batch you may need a carrier oil like evoo or jabooba oil to put the essential oil mixture in. I typically don't do this for salts though.
Now that your oils are mixed, you can add it to the salts, mixing thoroughly. Once satisfied, you can add color if you want, or leave it white. Just allow to dry and store in a cool place in an air tight container or divide into little bags.
Bathe and enjoy!!!
I hope you learn to love herbs like I do. Once you get familiar with them, they offer such a wide variety of uses, you will use them everywhere.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
You might think the grill is typically a man's domain. Not today loveys! This chick was Grill Mistress this memorial day with an old American standby. McDonald's beware. These Belt Busting BBQ Ranch Bacon Burgers are full of flavor and simple enough to manage easily during your grilling season celebrations.
Before we get started, quick note about grills. I have always used charcoal. My dad uses it, my father in law and husband use it, and I use it. It just gives that special smokey flavor you can't get with electric or propane. If you don't have a chimney starter, just stack the charcoal fairly neatly and soak with your choice of charcoal starter for about 10, 15 minutes. Then go ahead, spread them out, and light. Let them burn down to a nice smoulder before cooking so your grill is nice and hot. Always start with a hot surface when cooking with meat, even indoors on a griddle. Everyone has their own methods and such, but this is what I've learned from my grill loving family.
Now, let the dogs or kiddos out, grab some sweet tea, and it's on to the grill!
Grill and the usual grilling necessities (or you can use a griddle on the stove), spatula, mixing bowl, tin foil (optional), plate.
2 lbs of beef
1/2 cup or so of BBQ Sauce
2 tbs of Ranch Dressing
Dash of Tony's (yeah, I use it a lot. So what?)
8 strips of Bacon
Standard Hamburger Topping Goodness
Easy enough, just mix all the ingredients together- sans the bacon- and mix carefully. You don't want to handle your meat too much (LOL). You can customize the flavor by using which ever BBQ sauce or type of ranch dressing you prefer. This time, I used a new find that's absolutely amazing; Brother's Gold! These people are awesome at what they do and they are all homemade, award winning, true Texas BBQ sauce. I had the pleasure of meeting them at Fresh By Brookshires in Tyler, but if your not in Texas, they have a blogspot, facebook, and website where you can order from.
Okay, ending the product placement, you should now have a bowl of ground beef mixture ready to go. Form into 1/4 patties. If you have trouble with measuring, just think that 2lbs of meat should yield 8 patties. You can make them bigger, but it will extend your cooking time, and if you do go bigger, don't make them too thick, they won't cook evenly. Patties formed, wrap a strip of bacon around each one.
Once you have the patties at the ready, head out to your already heated grill. You can slap the bacon on the grill first for just a few moments to grease up and flavor the grill, but it's not necessary. If you do this, just wrap the bacon around your patties just before they really start cooking.
Now just cook until your desired doneness is reached. Flip occasionally (but not before each side has been allowed to cook a good 4 minutes), and whatever you do, don't press the burgers. This just makes the juices leave the patties and cover your charcoal. If you find your grill isn't cooking quite hot enough after about 45 minutes, you can feel free to finish them in the oven at 350*. Be sure, once they are done, that you allow them to rest just a couple of minutes to let the juices back into the burger.
We all have our favorite toppings. Me, I can't have a hamburger without cheese. My cheese of choice for this burger is pepper jack cheese. It compliments the spicy sweentess of the BBQ sauce nicely. Once your patties are close to ready, slap your cheese on there, allowing it to melt. These were also good with a nice alvacado sauce my Father In Law made, I'll have to get that recipe and post it here.
I hope this grilling season gives you readers lots of fun, lots of extra good food, and family time.
LINKS FOR BROTHER'S SAUCES:
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Today we tackle what is possibly one of my favorite foods, Macaroni and Cheese! More specifically, Beefy Mac-n-Cheese. Meat, cheese, and noodle goodness. What could be better!
Now I know what your thinking, seems kinda low brow. But believe me, this goes beyond the normal Kraft powdered box stuff (though we will talk about that a bit later), and once you taste this, you won't get enough!
Onto the kitchen!
You'll need a pot, large spoon, pan, a strainer, and a spatula.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 lb of ground beef
This is a recipe that I usually eyeball and isn't really specific. But that's part of the beauty.
First, bring to boil some generously salted water and add your noodles (usually, I use about half of a standard package). If your brave, whole wheat noodles go great with the sharp Cheddar and pesto.
While that cooks, start your beef to browning in your pan at a medium high heat. I like to season my beef with salt, pepper, and sometimes a.dash of Tony's. It just adds that little something more.
Don't forget those noodles! Usually around 8 minutes gets them nice and just al dente. Once strained and back in the pot, it's time for the cheesey goodness.
Start by adding milk and butter to the noodles (this isn't baking so just eyeball it). Usually about 2 tbs of butter and 1/2 cup of milk to start with works best. Now keep your pot on a medium low heat and start adding your cheese to your hearts content! Just grate the Cheddar and parm directly into the pot, stirring frequently so it melts. Then just a few cubes of velveeta will give it that extra melty goodness. Add more milk as needed. Once your happy with your cheese mix, throw a couple of tbs of pesto for that herby flavor. Now go ahead and add the beef and shred just a bit more Cheddar on top for good measure and enjoy.
For some variation, use your favorite chilli and add corn instead of pesto.
If you must use a box mix, always add your own extra cheese to the mix. It will be worth it.
Okay readers, hope you like it. And as always; eat, drink, and be cheesey!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
NON EDIBLES: Roasting dish or baking pan, tin foil, bear hands
EDIBLES: 9 chicken legs (usually they come 9 to a package in the frozen section)
Salt and Pepper
Tony Chachere (you know the stuff) Chilli Powder
Defrost the chicken and preheat your oven to 350*. For less cleanup, just place your thawed legs directly on the baking pan. Toss some salt and pepper over the chicken to taste. Now, the first two you'll brush with some olive oil and then sprinkle with the parmesan and garlic salt (garlic pepper or garlic powder works as well). The next two slather with your favorite BBQ sauce (Heinz makes a good one) and some exta pepper, Tony's, and a bit of chilli power. And the last two add your lemon pepper and douse with some lemon juice. Put just a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan to keep moist and cove with tin foil. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, it's very important the chicken gets done.
And its a meal! I like to serve this with some rice and veggies. Yummy. Chicken is a pretty blank slate flavor wise which maks it so versatile so don't be afraid to bring the flavor! Happy cooking!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Seriously though, diet or not, we all need a little bit of a break to get away from the wrong kind of order that stresses us day to day. And what better way to do that, than a homemade batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sure, you can go ahead and buy them ready made and such, but it's so much more rewarding to make your own. It's it's own kind of magic, cookie chaos magic if you will! And with this easy recipe, you can whip up a batch of "Eris's Best" in no time. Okay, okay, enough of that. On to the kitchen!
This recipe is one I modified from the Toll House original recipe my mom gave me many moons ago. I found their version to be a bit cake-y, so after a little though and a bit too much Food Network, I upped the sugar (just a tad!), lowered the oven temp, and Huzza! Ooey Gooey greatness! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
You'll need 2 mixing bowls, spoon, beater, measuring cups, cookie pan, and, if you like, a spatula
2 1/4 cup of Flower
1 tsp of Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1 cup of softened butter
1 cup of sugar
1 1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
A hefty pinch of pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1 bag of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of nuts (also optional)
I know, a lot of ingredients, but these are not hard, I promise.
Before gathering your essentials, preheat thine kiln to 350*. Once that's done, you'll first start with the dry stuff. Just throw the flower, baking soda, and salt together in one of your bowls and toss it all together.
Next, beat together your butter (just toss it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so), sugars, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice into your other bowl.
Now that that's sufficiently creamy, add your eggs and continue beating until mixed.
Gradually add your flower mixture and keep on beating until you have a nice cookie dough.
Now it's time to add your chocolate chips and nuts (i prefer mine without nuts, personally).
Your dough is now ready for cooking! Just take your spoon and dollop the dough onto a VERY lightly greased cookie sheet. Toss the cookie sheet into the heated oven . Go ahead, lick the spoon, the bowl, and the beaters. You know you want to. And after 8 minutes, you will have delicious, comforting, chaos inducing cookies!
But above all, ENJOY! That's what cookies are all about.
Until next week dear readers,
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I'm not a "chef" by any means. That is, I don't enjoy slaving long hours over a hot stove or oven (well...maybe occasionally :-P). Why am I here then, you ask? Well, you don't have to spend lots of time, or have culinary training and expertise in order to create extravagant gifts of deliciousness. Cooking has become a creative outlet for me when I can't find the motivation to write, but I love to keep it simple. It's fun to explore new - and easy! - recipes, and I hope that by chronicling my simple creations, experiments, and tips, that I can foster a love of the kitchen in you. Now, my kitchen is very small, I don't have a proper pantry even, so these recipes will be tailored for convenience in small spaces. You can do wonders with the room you have. I cooked a whole course, Turkey Day dinner with a tiny stove and a few feet of counter space. So sit back, relax, it's not rocket science (well, maybe a little science), and enjoy these offerings from Zaden's Kitchen to yours!
Okay, obligatory introductions out of the way, ON TO THE FOOD! That's what your here for after all, right?
In honor of Easter just past, I bring you an easy stand by Easter time treat that's great for all summer. Deviled Eggs! I know, I know. Not everyone likes these. But I do, and they are surprisingly easy and customizable. Here's a simple, slightly spicy option you can whip up in no time.
You'll need a pot, spoon/fork, knife, bowl, serving tray, and, if you like, a pastry bag/plastic bag with a hole cut in the tip.
FF Miracle Whip (or not FF if you prefer. I'm on a diet!)
Course Ground Mustard
Salt and Pepper
Vinegar (also optional)
Okay, hard boiling eggs is super easy, but a bit scary since it's hard to tell when they are ready. I find about 15 to 20 minutes works best, but you can push it to 30 if you are nervous. Fill your pot with water and set your eggs in gently. Be sure you have the burner just below the highest setting. You want a boil, but not too vigorous as you don't want the eggs to move around and crack.
Once done, you'll naturally peel the eggs. A couple of tablespoons a vinegar in the water supposedly helps makes the shells softer, but isn't necessary. I find peeling the eggs under gently running, cool water makes for easy peeling. Now that you have the soft, hard boiled treasures peeled, cut them long ways and spoon the yolks out into a separate bowl and set the whites aside on your serving tray or plate.
Now the fun part! Add 2 to 2 1/2 TBS of miracle whip, about a TBS of course or stone ground mustard (if you have a squeeze bottle, just a squeeze or two will do), and salt and pepper to taste. Mash this up with your fork until it's nice and creamy.
When sufficiently mixed, your ready to add the yellow yolk mixture back into the eggs. Now, if you want to get fancy, you can spoon the mix into a pastry bag or just a plastic bag with the tip cut off, and "icing" the eggs. Me? I just spoon the filling into the eggs directly with my spoon. Garnish with paprika for extra pizzazz!
And your done! These are best served cold. You can set them in the fridge (maybe a couple of hours) until they are cold or the freezer if your in a hurry (thirty minutes will be just right).
Easy right? And other than cooling time, very quick! Now, deviled eggs are extremely customizable depending on what you like. You can use mayo, other herbs, regular mustard or honey mustard, ect. So go forth, and make them your own!