Oh man… I made it to Day 30?!? I can't believe it. I didn't think I was going to make it to the 5th day of this 31 Day Challenge. In-SANE. Tonight's challenge (because, let's face it, I'm running out of ideas), was to make a dinner under $10. Also, because pay day is TOMORROW, and we're kind of broke. ANYWAY. Greg went to the store, and picked out the ingredients, and we had a pretty basic dinner tonight. I am SO not complaining. BTW - the word "bolognese" just makes it sound fancy - and NOT like a $10 dinner, am I right? (LOL)
Cheese Tortellini Bolognese Ingredients: 1 package (13oz) cheese tortellini 1.5 lbs ground beef (80/20 is fine) 1 container pasta sauce (your choice) Instructions: 1. Cook the ground beef. 2. Add the sauce (and leftover roasted garlic if ya got it). 3. Simmer the sauce on low heat until heated through. 4. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. 5. Drain the pasta and serve! ENJOY - you just made a $10 dinner. Actually, $9.71 to be exact. :)
I am a sucker for anything with cheese. This is made evident by my last post (actually my Grandma Sylvia's recipe). I love cheese. Basic bruschetta…with a twist of mozzarella cheese.
Bruschetta - MY Way Ingredients: 1 lb tomatoes (I typically use Campari tomatoes, but you can use any that you like) 1 large sweet (vidalia) onion 1 lb mozzarella block Fresh basil Salt & Pepper Olive Oil Balsamic Vinegar Instructions: 1. Cut up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. 2. Chop the onion. 3. Cube the mozzarella cheese (feel free to snack on some pieces…you know you want to). 4. Chiffonade your basil. 5. Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl. 6. Add salt and pepper to taste. 7. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste (some like it light, others more tart, etc - this is where you come in - season how you want, and taste as you go!!). Enjoy it as a crostini (toasted, sliced baguette), or as a "salsa" to grilled chicken.
So my Grandma Sylvia (my father's side) was an amazing woman. Best recipes ever, and had a sense of humor a mile long. I will NEVER forget this recipe. I'm pretty sure it's ingrained in my memory forever. If you're feeling cold, or want some hearty food, but no meat, then eat this. This is not for the people watching their cholesterol either - this recipe has an entire stick of butter in it. Yes - an entire stick. Salted. Butter. ONE STICK. Deal with it - it's delicious.
Grandma Sylvia's Baked Macaroni Ingredients: 1 lb fine egg noodles (cooked) 1 stick butter, sliced into 1/2" pieces 1 1/2 lbs ricotta cheese 3/4 large mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan Cheese Pasta Sauce (of choice) Instructions: 1. Place noodles back into pot that they were cooked in. 2. Add the butter pieces and mix together until melted. 3. Add the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and mix until blended thoroughly. 4. Spread in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. 5. Cover the top with a layer of pasta sauce. 6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. 7. Cook, uncovered, at 350 for approximately one hour, or until bubbly. THEN…take it out of the oven, and let it sit for about 10 minutes - trust me. Cut it into larger than normal pieces, and eat it! DELICIOUS.
Monday. My BFF Tiffany came over with some stuff that needed to be cooked. Kind of like a remix on our Chopped days!! Challenge ACCEPTED!!
So, I did what I could…I literally put everything in one dish…and it came out amazing.
Sausage "Hash" Ingredients: 1 lb Italian Sweet Sausage 2 yellow bell peppers 1 sweet (vidalia) onion 1 small package mixed mushrooms 3 tomatoes (on the vine - chopped) 1 cup (2 cups cooked) Israeli Couscous Instructions: 1. Cut up the pepper, coat it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put it in the oven to roast (shocking, right?). 2. Begin cooking your couscous - once cooked, set aside. 3. Take the sausage out of the casing, and sauté it in a pan. 4. Remove the sausage from the pan (leave the fat), and set aside. 5. Sauté an onion in the sausage fat, and add the chopped tomatoes. 6. Add the mixed mushrooms to the onion/tomato mixture. 7. Add the sausage back into the pan (and mix together). 8. Add the couscous and mix well. 9. Take the peppers out of the oven, and add THAT to the mixture. 10. Heat the mixture all the way through - allow it to simmer under LOW heat until all the flavors have come together.
SUNDAY… October 26 - Greg and I had these pumpkins…so naturally, I wanted the seeds…because…ROASTED…PUMPKIN…SEEDS. Heck. Yes. I wish I had a photo of me trying to pull all the seeds out of the insides of those pumpkins. I'm pretty sure two VERY LARGE pumpkins took me close to two hours…sitting on the floor of our living room, with two trays in front of me…separating out the seeds from the guts. Don't feel too bad for me - we were binge-watching Breaking Bad…Season 1 is done (finally). Don't judge - we're behind. LOL.
ANYWAY…. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (3 Ways) Ingredients: Pumpkin Seeds Olive Oil Suggestions for seasonings: Salt/Pepper/Cayenne, Old Bay, Cinnamon/Sugar Instructions: 1. Pull apart the seeds from the guts of the pumpkin. 2. Put the seeds into a pot, and fill with water. 3. Let the pot of water come to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes. 4. Drain and rinse the seeds. 5. Dry seeds thoroughly. 6. Place seeds in a mixing bowl, and add your seasonings of choice, along with a tablespoon of oil. 7. Spread seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 8. Roast in the oven (at 350) for approximately 30-45 minutes. Periodically (every 10 minutes or so), check on the seeds by shaking them around, and making sure they're not burning. 9. If needed, keep them in the oven for additional time - you'll want the seeds crispy. Take them out and enjoy. Here are the Salt/Pepper/Cayenne seeds:
Day 25 was a pretty calm stay-in evening. Greg wanted steak, and I wasn't stopping him. He did the seasoning, cooking, and cleaning! BONUS!
Grilled Skirt Steak & Baked Potato Ingredients: Skirt Steak (2-3 pounds) 2 potatoes Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce (any variety) Butter Salt & Pepper Sour Cream (optional) Instructions: 1. Begin with your potatoes - get those in the oven first 2. Then your steak - trim the END fat off the pieces, and cut into servings. Skirt steak typically comes in a long strip - so you'll need to cut it into portions. 3. Get a gallon baggie - put the steak in it, and then the BBQ sauce - make sure it's coated, and place it in the fridge. 4. Once the potatoes are about halfway done, cook your steak to MEDIUM RARE to RARE. Anything cooked MORE, I'll hunt you down and punch you in the face. It's too tough if it's cooked more than that. 5. Get your plate together, and EAT. *Note - as far as veggies go, use what you have - if you want something special, go for it, but I still had those delicious sautéed zucchini and squash on hand, so I just heated that up.
REMEMBER - just because it's the fall doesn't mean steaks are out - use that broiler!!
I'm just going to start Day 24 with a confession. I LOVE garlic. To the point of exaggeration. No joke. If a recipe calls for 3 cloves, I use 8. 1 bulb? 3. Not kidding. And even then, I'm all like…NOT. ENOUGH. GARLIC. So…how to remedy this? Make Roasted Garlic. Yes - and eat it right out of the friggin' bulb (or on toast)…however you like it. But me? I take after my father (yes, the one that gave me life), and eat it straight out of the bulb. With a tiny fork. I'm pretty sure Greg thinks I'm nuts…but I mean LOOK at this.
Who wouldn't want to just eat this? Roasted Garlic Ingredients: Bulb (or bulbs if you're incapable of sharing) of garlic **raises hand** "Guilty - I cannot share - I usually buy 3 or 4 bulbs of garlic Olive Oil Salt Pepper Aluminum Foil Instructions: 1. Cut off the top of the bulb of garlic. 2. Nestle it in a square of aluminum foil. 3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over the open part of the bulb of garlic. 4. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the top. 5. Close the aluminum foil packet, and create a little "packet" of garlic. 6. Place the packet (or packets .. again if you can't share) in a 450 preheated oven. 7. Let cook in the oven for up to an hour (periodically checking to see if it's soft). *You just need to check by gently squeezing the "packet" with an oven mitt - if it's soft like an over-ripe avocado, you're good to go!! NOW…either get some toast…or just some forks, and go crazy. Eat up! Just don't forget to take a shower after…you'll wreak of garlic the next day if you don't. Oh and beware - if you sweat, that'll smell like it too. Word of advice? If you have any leftover garlic, SAVE IT. Take the remaining cloves OUT of the bulb, and put them in a tupperware with a little bit of oil. Add it to any sauce, and you're in business!!
Ok - don't judge…I'm almost 10 days behind on this 31 Day Challenge. Like I said in this post - it's not that I've forgotten! I've been a good blogger! I've taken pictures of my food, and actually MADE food - I promise! Ask Greg!! ANYWAY…let's get down to brass tacks blogging about cooking. This…has got to be the BEST pizza I've ever made - and yes - I cheated - I used pre-made pizza dough…but the toppings, and what we DID to it…definitely worth the cheat on the dough part.
Chicken Parm Pizza Ingredients: 1 package pre-made pizza dough (or homemade - your call) Flour (for rolling out the dough) 1lb boneless, skinless, chicken tenders 1 egg (for the chicken) Panko Bread Crumbs (for breading the chicken) Oil (for frying) Pepperoni Mozzarella Cheese (for pizza topping) Instructions: 1. Let your pizza dough (especially if it's pre made), come to room temperature. 2. Roll out your pizza dough on a floured surface. If you have a rolling pin, this is easy - if you don't - you can use a label-less bottle of whatever you have on hand. In our case - it was a Svedka Vodka bottle. HEY…use whatever works…right? 3. Put that pizza dough on a round stoneware (you can purchase one here if you don't have one). 4. Let it sit in the oven (at 350) for about 20 minutes. 5. While your pizza is cooking, fry your chicken. Don't judge - I used a fryer (thanks Mom!!). I did an egg wash, then breaded the chicken with panko, then deep-fried them. 6. Once your pizza has been in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, take it out and let it cool SLIGHTLY. 7. Add the sauce to the bottom layer, then the toppings. We did the chicken (sliced), then pepperoni, then cheese…yummy cheese. 8. Put the pizza BACK in the oven, until the cheese is golden. 9. Once the pizza is out of the oven, garnish with some chopped basil, and some lemon zest (my personal favorite). 10. EAT!!!
Oh HEY there Day 22 - I haven't forgotten about you. You, Mr. Mocha Sorbet of Day 22 was absolutely delicious. So much that, by day 30, it's all gone. Let's be real…by day 25, you were gone. No joke. This delicious recipe barely lasted 3 days in my chocolate-craving house.
Adapted from this post (of one of my favorite bloggers), I made my own twist on this delicious Mocha Sorbet - using the same technique I used when I made my raspberry granita - because I still don't have an ice cream maker. Let's be real…they don't grow on trees, and they're kinda pricey… Santa?? :) I have to say, when I wanted chocolate over the course of those three days, this sorbet hit the spot. AMAZING. Mocha Sorbet Ingredients: 1 Cup sugar 1 Cup brewed espresso (or coffee) 1 Cup water 1 Cup milk 1/4 Cup dutch-process cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon Pinch of salt Instructions: 1. Heat everything in a pot on the stove until the sugar is melted, and everything is mixed. 2. Put the mixture in the fridge to cool completely. 3. Pour the mixture into a 9 1/2 x 11 baking tin and use this process to create the sorbet. OR…if you actually HAVE an ice cream maker - use that too. It works. THEN…ENJOY. Trust me - you'll want to make this again and again. Next time - I'm adding peanut butter…that's happening…just think…Reese's Peanut Butter Cups…in SORBET FORM…who WOULDN'T want that??