Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eats of the Week

Late Easter Dinner at my Mom and Dads. I brought:

Green beans


(My daughter's elementary school's fundraiser night!)




Mashed Potatoes

This is actually my husbands recipe! It is so important to have a great way to make your mashed potatoes. Everyone is different in how they like theirs, and the second we tasted these, we knew this was it. This was our favorite. Everyone that has had them has raved about them! I'm not sure's so simple. I don't know why this tiny combination makes them so much better. But it does! I get a little annoyed by mashed potato recipes that get a little over the top, so it's nice to have a simple way that makes a great difference!

What you will need:
  • 6 large potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cubed (if you want to get particular, half Russet potatoes and half Yukon Gold is perfection)
  • Heavy Cream
  • 2 T butter
  • Boil your cubed potatoes until fork tender (about 20-30 minutes depending on how large your cubes are)
  • Drain the potatoes and dump them into a large bowl
  • Mashed the potatoes up a bit
  • Pour in some heavy cream a little at a time until it reaches the consistency you want
  • Add in the butter and mash 
  • Add salt & pepper to taste

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

Another Pioneer Woman Recipe. Can you blame me?! I'll be honest, though. This recipe was pretty delicious, however, all of the flavorings were on the skin on the outside and never really sunk into the chicken itself. So I'd adjust my tactics next time to fix that! My kids devoured these, though, so I guess it didn't really matter to them!

What you will need:
  • 24 whole chicken legs (I think I used 18)
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 T of your favorite seasonings (I don't remember what I used, but I know I threw some garlic in there somewhere)
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • Melt butter in sauce pan
  • Add lemon juice and seasonings to melted butter
  • Rinse and pat chicken legs dry
  • Using tongs, grab each leg and dunk it into the melted butter
  • Place chicken legs on foil lined baking sheet
  • Brush the chicken legs with more butter mixture
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, basting once more half way through
  • Turn on the broiler for the last minute to get them nice and golden

Spaghetti Sauce

So this sauce was looking a little elaborate for my taste, but only because Pioneer Woman's recipe makes a TON so you can freeze some! Her post about it was so funny to read because she adds a jar of store bought marinara sauce and she was totally mortified by the whole thing but swears by it! I tried it all out and good heavens...can this lady do anything wrong?!

This served my family plenty of sauce for spaghetti (I served it with Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks), plus 2 large ziploc bags full of leftovers to freeze. She recommends lasagna and sloppy joes! At first I thought the sloppy joes idea was kind of weird until I could smell and taste the sauce and it totally fits. This recipe can be halved for a regular amount of sauce (it will still leave you leftovers but you'll want them anyway!)

What you will need:
  • 5 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 C white wine (or low sodium beef broth....or neither...since I spaced this step. Heehee)
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste (or none since I didn't have any. Whoops)
  • 1 jar marinara sauce (I ended up just using prego traditional pasta sauce)
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 C minced parsley
  • 1/2 C grated parmesan
  • Rind from Parmesan wedge (optional)
  • Brown the beef in a large pot
  • Remove beef from pot, and drain the grease
  • In the same large pot, add olive oil and let it heat up a bit
  • Add minced onions and green peppers to the oil
  • Saute' for a couple of minutes
  • Add the minced garlic
  • Pour the white win over the vegetables and let it cook for a minute
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and marinara sauce
  • Add the seasonings 
  • Let it simmer for about an hour
  • Add in the parsley
  • Add in the parmesan and wedge if you so desire
  • Let is simmer for another 30 minutes
  • Serve with fresh parsley and parmesan

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

So I usually make garlic bread with some nice bread from the bakery and my own garlic butter spread. So when I found this recipe for dough to make bread sticks I had to try it out! She and I do our garlic spread a bit different but I'm sure either way will be delicious! My husband was going to be late for dinner and I literally had to bribe my kids to leave him some of these. They were extremely upset, but obliged and left him 3. He took one bite and "MMMMMMMM" with his eyes closed. They're good. Real good.

What you will need:

Bread Sticks (can also be used for pizza dough!)
  • 1 C warm water (I aim for 110*)
  • 2 1/4 Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 C bread flour (I used all purpose and it still ended up amazing! I only ended up using 2 3/4 C)
Garlic Butter Spread (and cheeses)
  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 T seasonings of your choice ( I used a blend of some rosemary and thyme but get creative! Or skip this step, it won't matter :) )
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Grated Mozzarella cheese  to taste

Bread Sticks
  • In your mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over your warm water and let it activate and foam up
  • Add salt, olive oil and half the flour to the mixing bowl and combine
  • Add flour 1/2 C at a time until your dough is sticky but won't come off onto your fingers when you touch it
  • Knead the dough for 6 minutes exactly 
  • The dough will be able to scoop out of the bowl and not be stuck to the sides
  • Scoop the dough out and mold it into a bowl
  • Spray your mixing bowl with non stick spray and put the ball of dough back in
  • Cover with plastic wrap or cover with a towel and place somewhere warm to rise for 1-2 hours
  •  Preheat the oven to 500*
  • Roll out the dough out into a nice big circle
  • Spread the garlic butter all over on top
  • Sprinkle both your cheeses on top (I also added a little parsley to mine)
  • Bake in the oven for 9 minutes
Garlic Butter Spread
  • Grate garlic into the softened butter and mix together
  • Add your seasonings (optional) and combine
  • Spread over dough
  • Top with cheese

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pizza Dough

So once upon a time I swore off baking anything with yeast for 3 1/2 years. Not because of some superior knowledge of how deadly it is (because literally every food in existence is apparently trying to kill us according to the internet), but because I couldn't figure out how to bake with it in Portland. :(

To be fair, I only tried maybe 5 or 6 times before giving up. No matter what I did it was always really dense and awkward. I hated it. So I avoided it.

Back in Idaho and I'm celebrating by baking everything I can think of with yeast. Pizza dough included.

What better recipe to try than....*gasp*...Pioneer Woman? So unlike me....;)

This was beyond easy to make. I'm angry at how easy it was to be honest. It was easier than driving to the store to buy premade, or waiting at home for delivery. Plus my girls loved every second of it. They're on a dough kick like me. It's basically like Christmas around here when they find out I'm making more dough for them to play with.

Anyways. Fun, delicious, easy.  
This recipe also makes two crusts.
So don't go using all the dough for one pizza and then yelling at me for it coming out skiwompus.
Refrigerate the other half if you plan on using it in the next few days. Or freeze it!
What you will need:
  • 1 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 C warm water (I stick with 110*)
  • 4 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
  • In the bowl you plan on mixing in, combine the flour and the salt
  • In a separate bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it get all foamy
  • Slowly add in the olive oil to the flour in your mixing bowl and combine
  • Add your foamy yeasty water to the flour mixture and combine
  • Grab another mixing bowl and spray some non stick spray in there
  • Form your dough into a ball and roll it around a bit in the non stick spray bowl
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you're ready to use it (I made mine the night before and pulled it out the next evening. Made things go really fast and easy! I also plopped my dough into a large seemed to be just fine that way!) 
  • When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 500*
  • Use your hands and fingers to press the dough out to the shape you want
  • Add your toppings
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Crushed Taters

Two things to say about this recipe.

1. My husband kind of just thinks potatoes are "eh." That doesn't make sense to me. I'm an Idaho girl. He's an Idaho boy. He must love potatoes as much as I do. He doesn't. If I didn't love him so much I might pick legit fights about it when I'm feeling grumpy but lucky for him, I love him a lot. So when I'm grumpy I pick fights about other stupid things instead. Win/win, right?

Where was I? He thinks potatoes are "eh." Except for these. He says these are his favorite and actually gets excited when I make them.

2. I found the recipe from Pioneer Woman, however she calls them Crash Hot Potatoes (I can't help but call them crushed taters) and makes them according to how normal potato lovers would make them. I, however, am dealing with Mr. Fancy Pants that has a crazy refined palate and knew right away I'd be in need of a potato a little more jazzed up with something other than just salt and peppa. So our recipe's are the same, but quite different. I hope at least a little of this makes any sense.

What you will need:
  • Red potatoes (however many you think you want. I usually eat two and my kids eat one. I think my husband eats two or three, depending)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings of choice (I have just been using some mixed blends in a thing I got at some gourmet kitchen store. I tend to go for the ones with some thyme, rosemary, garlic-ee blends)
  • Salt & pepper (I like the kosher salt that's big and crunchy. Mmm)
  • Boil your potatoes until they are fork tender (about 20-25 minutes)
  • Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil
  • When potatoes are done, place them on the baking sheet 
  • Preheat oven to 450*
  • Use a potato masher and press down to crush the potatoes (don't go all the way down when you press. Just a little smoosh is fine)
  • Slowly lift the masher back up and push any potato still on the masher back down onto the potato
  • Melt your butter in a small saucepan
  • Grate the 4 cloves garlic into it
  • Spoon a little garlic butter over each potato
  • Season your potatoes
  • Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with a little olive oil
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes