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Upside Down Pizza (or, they can’t all be winners)

July 8, 2011

Upside down pizza.  Sounds good, right?

A layer of meat and sauce, a layer of cheese, topped with a nice golden brown crust.  And that is exactly what it turned out to be.  It actually looked pretty tasty.  And… separately… the components were tasty.  The meat and sauce combo would have been scrumptious on top of spaghetti noodles.  The crust and cheese layers melded together into something delicious, so I certainly won’t complain about that.  But together?  Meh.

While I won’t be making this exact recipe again, I may take note of the cheese/crust combo.  Any ideas on how to do that… without the meaty sauce?

Upside Down Pizza

recipe adapted from Recipe Shoebox
makes six servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped (we also added chopped green pepper and sliced mushrooms)
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef with onion and any other vegetables.  Pour off excess fat.  Add spaghetti sauce (or tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce mix) and simmer 10 minutes.  Spoon into greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Top with cheese.  Place in 400 degree oven to keep hot.
  2. To prepare popover batter, beat together eggs, milk, and oil.  Add flour and salt; beat until smooth.  Pour over hot pizza filling, being careful to cover filling completely.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, until puffed and deep golden brown.  Cut into squares and serve immediately.

Chicken Pot Pie

July 7, 2011

Chicken pot pie is one of my favorite things to eat.  It’s not exactly my favorite thing to make, though.  It involves two of my least favorite kitchen projects: 1) shredding chicken, and 2) making pie crust.  Shredding the chicken is a necessary evil in this recipe, however.  It just doesn’t taste the same when the chicken is cubed.  I suppose I could go out and buy a premade pie crust… but that just seems too much like cheating.  So I found the next best thing – earthquake pie crust.  It’s not the best tasting crust (it calls for shortening over butter), but you can’t beat its ease.  If I’m feeling ambitious, I’d certainly choose a traditional pie crust for taste.  Maybe someday I’ll be adventurous and try making a regular pie crust, “earthquake” style.  We’ll see.

After all of that complaining, though, I’d say making chicken pot pie is 100% worth it.  I wish there were leftovers.

Chicken Pot Pie

recipe adapted from Life As A Mom

makes 4-6 sevings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cup cooked, diced potatoes (I used smashed potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • double pie crust

Directions

  1. In large saucepan, melt butter. Sauté onion until clear. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbly. Whisk in broth and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Stir in seasonings.   Add chicken, vegetables, and potatoes to the roux.  Stir to combine.
  2. Cool completely if preparing for freezer.  Line pie plate with bottom crust. Pour in filling. Position top crust, crimp edges, and bake at 375° for 45 minutes, or until crust browns and filling bubbles.

Freezer Note: If you want to make this ahead and freeze, wrap with foil before baking, label, and freeze. To serve: Vent top and brush with milk. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes and then reduce heat and bake at 375° until crust is browned and filling bubbles, about 45 minutes longer.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

July 5, 2011

This recipe took me all of five minutes to make, including cleanup.  I’d highly recommend it for that reason alone.  Also… it’s going to make cooking tacos that much simpler!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

recipe from Beantown Baker

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 5 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Store for up to one year in an airtight container.  2 1/2 tablespoons is the equivalent of one packet of store-bought seasoning.

Oven Fried Chicken

July 4, 2011

Nothing says Fourth of July like fried chicken and corn on the cob.   Okay, possibly grilling burgers or a big slice of watermelon… but it’s right up there.  I’m not a “deep fried food” type of cook.  I prefer to leave the mess (along with the excessive amounts oil) to the pros.

Oven fried chicken, though… now we’re at least in the realm of possible.  The technique is nothing new – I use it with boneless pork on a regular basis – but I haven’t worked much with bone-in chicken.  It makes me a bit squeamish, actually.  I sucked it up (mainly because it was on sale), bought some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, and got some delicious results.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is an exact replica of fried chicken… but I will say it’s a tasty (and healthy!) substitute.  Especially when it’s served with corn on the cob and sour cream & onion smashed potatoes.  Bonus points if you have pig corn cob holders.

I’m going to apologize in advance for the recipe.  It’s one of those where a dash of this, a pinch of that is just better than exact measurements.

Oven Fried Chicken

adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • chicken pieces (bone-in, skin on)
  • panko bread crumbs
  • seasonings (garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, etc.)
  • mayonnaise
  • milk
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a baking dish by laying a cooling rack on top of a jelly roll pan (see below).  Lightly grease the cooling rack.
  2. In a shallow dish, mix together the bread crumbs and seasonings.  In a medium bowl, combine equal parts mayonnaise and milk until smooth.
  3. Coat chicken pieces with mayonnaise mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
  4. Place chicken pieces on prepared tray and bake for 40 minutes or until juices run clear.

Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

June 10, 2011

We’re a traditional Chex Mix type of family.  Until today, I’ve rarely varied the recipe aside from, say, adding a cup of mixed nuts instead of a cup of peanuts.  Just to spice things up a bit around here, I went wild and tried an entirely new (to us) flavor combo: cheesy ranch.

I’ll say this: not the original.  I’ll also say this: pretty tasty nonetheless.  I don’t think I’ll be exchanging our classic Chex Mix recipe any time soon, but this was fun to try, if nothing else!

Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix

recipe adapted from Chex
makes 26 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 9 cups Corn, Rice, or Wheat Chex (or any combination)
  • 2 cups bite-sized pretzel twists
  • 2 cups bite-sized cheese crackers
  • 1 cup mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1-ounce package ranch dressing or seasoning mix
Directions
  1.  Heat oven to 250. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven.
  2. Add cereal, pretzels, crackers, and nuts; stir to coat.  Add ranch mix and cheese; stir again.
  3. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes.   Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Burrito Pie

June 9, 2011

 

 

Similar to hearty taco casserole… but dare I say even better?  It’s certainly spicer – and that’s after I already omitted half a can of chiles.  It may have been the salsa I used (medium – I went wild).  With a heaping spoonful of sour cream and plenty of shredded lettuce to cool it down, though, it was absolutely delightful.  This is definitely a “keeper” recipe, though I must admit, I may go for store-bought refried beans.  I made mine from scratch, and I’m just not sure if it’s worth the hassle.  Does anyone have an easy way to make refried beans?

Burrito Pie

recipe adapted from allrecipes.com
makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 9  flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup shredded Colby cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired. Mix in olives, tomatoes with green chile peppers, and salsa.  Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 4 quart casserole dish. Cover with a layer of tortillas followed by a layer of refried beans.  Add more meat mixture, then a layer of cheese. Repeat tortilla, bean, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.  Serve with sour cream and shredded lettuce.

Iced Mocha

June 8, 2011

Iced CoffeeIt’s been HOT in our neck of the woods lately.  HOT hot.  The kind of hot where the thought of a steaming mug of coffee makes you cringe.  An iced mocha, on the other hand… now that’s more like it.  It’s not much trickier to make than chocolate milk, though it does take a bit of time to chill.  The main idea: mix together ice cubes, cooled coffee, milk, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and the tiniest splash of vanilla.  Simple as that!  I have a feeling we’ll see quite a bit more of this recipe in the months to come.

Here’s the “official” recipe in case you’re interested in making things much more difficult than they need to be.

Iced Mocha

recipe from Coffee & Tea Warehouse
makes two servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups strong hot brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 cup ice cold milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Handful or so crushed ice
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for garnish
  • 1 small piece semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine the hot coffee and brown sugar in a large measuring cup and stir until the brown sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate syrup. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Cool briefly at room temperature, then chill until ice cold. You can accelerate this step by putting it in the freezer, but just make sure it doesn’t start to ice.
  2. Combine the chilled coffee, milk, and vanilla in a small pitcher; stir to blend. Divide the coffee between 2 serving glasses, adding a small handful of crushed ice to each. Top each glass with whipped cream then grate a little chocolate over each one. Serve with straws.