Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for yet another delicious recipe! These are a nice change from mashed or baked potatoes. They’re nice enough to serve to company, but simple enough that you don’t have to slave over them. They’re kind of a cross between a baked potato and a french fry – crispy and salty. I served them with a beef roast, and they were great.

PW suggests seasoning them with the herb of your choice, but I chose to use only salt and pepper, which turned out just fine. Whatever floats your boat!

Crash Hot Potatoes a la Pioneer Woman (Recipe found here)

  • 12 small round potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Rosemary or other herb of choice, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


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We love making pizza at home. For the longest time I’ve been using the Olive Oil dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, which is good and easy to make. But this time around I decided to try Pioneer Woman’s pizza crust recipe, which she raves about, and when have I ever made anything of PW’s that’s been less than stellar? Answer: never.

So I got started and I wasn’t too far into the recipe when I realized it called for 1/3 cup of olive oil, and I had… none. There was no going back at this point, so I used regular ol’ vegetable oil. Did it make a difference? No idea. The crust was awesome. A definite winner over the crust I’ve been making. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. When has PW ever steered me wrong? Answer: never.

This was supposed to be a pepperoni and olive pizza. Unfortunately as I started to put the pepperoni on, I realized they’d been in the fridge a little too long and had mold on them. Sad 😦 So we had olive pizza. And it was delicious! I really didn’t miss the pepperoni at all. You can use whatever toppings you like, of course. Even if it’s just olives.

Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Crust (from her cookbook)

  • 1 tsp or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive (or vegetable) oil, plus more for drizzling

Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water.

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

With an electric mixer on low speed, drizzle in the oil until just incorporated. Or, you can use a spoon. Which is what I did.

In a separate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture, and drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball. You can use your hands if you like, which I did here, until the dough comes together.

Drizzle a little oil into a clean bowl, or mist with cooking spray. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil.

Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare the pizza, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Or use parchment paper and no oil.

Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape. Spread sauce and/or desired toppings over the dough and bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

The other half of the dough may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days before use, or frozen for up to 6 months.

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Sincerest apologies for the terrible photo – but I figured a phone photo would be better than no photo at all.

This was SO good. I love muenster, and I have Annie of Annie’s Eats to thank for turning it into a scrumptious mac & cheese. Plus its near-ridiculous simplicity just made it that much better. It isn’t diet food by any means, with a cup of heavy cream, 8 oz of muenster cheese, and a buttery Ritz cracker topping, but it sure is worth the calorie splurge!

Muenster Macaroni and Cheese (Original recipe here)

  • 16 oz macaroni pasta
  • 5 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz Muenster cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste (Important – salt is hugely important in mac & cheese!)
  • ¼ cup Ritz cracker crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.

Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.  Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.

Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well.  Stir in the warm cream and the Muenster until the cheese starts to melt.  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish (or in my case, a regular ol’ 9×13).  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Mix in the cracker crumbs.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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I love eggs. Scrambled, hard boiled, over easy… doesn’t matter. We had breakfast for dinner the other night (one of my favorites), complete with biscuits, bacon, and scrambled eggs.

[Allow me to take a minute here and explain that YES that is a canned refrigerated biscuit you see in the photo… although I would have gladly made buttermilk biscuits from scratch, one of JW’s favorite things in the world is canned biscuits. So… every so often I oblige.]

Scrambled eggs are one of those things that should be easy that isn’t necessarily. Up until recently, I was always in the “low, slow heat, stirring frequently” camp. But I came across an article not too long ago that changed my thinking. They said no, in fact you should scramble eggs over a hotter temperature – medium to medium-high – and don’t stir too much, just every so often. I tried it and wow! SO much better! It’s not that the others were bad, per se, it’s just that the consistency was different. This way you actually end up with fluffy chunks of egg you can stab with a fork, instead of having to scoop up all the little egg bits.

Stabbable fluffy chunks are definitely preferable to scoopable little bits.

Maybe everyone else knew this but me. Maybe I’m slow to get on this wagon (this is very likely true). Either way, it sure has made a difference in breakfast time around here, regardless of whether that happens to be 7:00 AM or 7:00 PM.

On a different note, I have a new camera! It came in the mail yesterday… SO EXCITED!! I can’t wait to start using it. I just have to figure it out first… 😉

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I’ve tried several “light” alfredo sauce recipes in the past (including one that was primarily cottage cheese – THAT was gross), and this is the only one JW has given a thumbs-up. I attribute the difference to the cream cheese – which is never a bad addition to any recipe 🙂 This one came from Our Best Bites – such a fun blog, I highly recommend visiting it if you haven’t before!

The original recipe uses a blender to mix the first ingredients together, but since I don’t have one I have sometimes used a food processor (only do this if it is water-tight unless you want milk everywhere – not that I would know from personal experience or anything), or an immersion blender. This last time, I just kind of whisked it all together. It was lumpy, but it all breaks down once it’s heated anyway. So do whatever floats your boat.

I added chicken this time, and chopped up some parsley for a little color. It was SO good.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce (Recipe found here)

  • 2 C low-fat milk
  • 1/3 C (3 oz) low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T butter
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 C grated Parmesan cheese

Combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender (or food processor, or bowl… see note above). Process until smooth and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don’t want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly.

Add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be thicker now. When it’s nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Serve with pasta, pizza, breadsticks, anything you like!

If you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

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SO SORRY for the ridiculously long hiatus! I should probably “officially” state on the blog that we are expecting a little girl, due in December 🙂 so between that and a variety of other things going on, I’ve either not been cooking as much or forgotten to photograph what I do make.

As far as symptoms go, I’ve really had a pretty easy time of it. Nothing too exciting to speak of… although my nesting instinct did kick in last week and I decided it was high time I remodel the bathroom, beginning with the flooring. Yes, there is a nursery that could have been worked on, but why work on the nursery when you could remodel the bathroom? My thoughts exactly. So I will post before-and-after photos of that when it’s finished. Should be fun.

I don’t want to leave you without a recipe since I’ve neglected you for so long already, so hopefully you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re looking for a heartier pancake that has some nice texture and is super yummy, give these Golden Oat Pancakes a try. I originally got the recipe from Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn, and I have made it many many times since then. If you want to go the even-healthier route, you can pick up some white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur) and use that in place of white flour… but if that doesn’t float your boat, white flour works just fine.

Occasionally I’ve had a little trouble getting the middles of these fully cooked, since they tend to be pretty thick – but just be sure to keep them cooking long enough or add a splash more liquid to the batter. The photos with the original recipe don’t look as thick as mine, so I’m not sure what the difference is.

Golden Oat Pancakes (Recipe found here)

  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 cup rolled old fashioned oats (I use quick cooking oats)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine milk and oats and let stand five minutes. Beat the eggs lightly in a separate bowl then add along with the oil. Combine flour, powder, sugar and salt and stir into oat mixture. Let sit for about five more minutes or until slightly bubbly. Pour onto a hot griddle, or nonstick pan; flip when bubbles form and the edges are beginning to look dry.

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I made this to go with our panko baked chicken, and I was pretty pleased with it. It’s kind of a take on that typical oriental salad you see with the Ramen noodles (which this one has too), but it is a little different. I thought it had some interesting flavors, but probably next time I will not add quite as much cabbage – just a personal preference. It’s a texture thing.

The original recipe includes mandarin oranges, but since those are almost (but not quite) up there with broccoli on my Foods-I-Don’t-Like list, I left them out.

For what it’s worth, JW thought it tasted better the second day.

Asian Pasta Salad (Recipe found here)

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad classic pasta mix
  • 1 pkg (3oz) Oriental flavored Ramen Soup Mix
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup frozen peas (original calls for snow peas or sugar snap peas)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup slivered (or sliced) almonds

Empty the pasta mix into a pot of boiling water. Gently boil for 10 – 12 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and shake to drain again.

In a large bowl stir together the seasoning mixes from the pasta and the soup mix, sugar, oil, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Add the pasta and the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine.

Just before serving, coarsely crush the dry noodles from the soup mix and stir into the pasta mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

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