Buffalo Chicken Calzone

18 Sep

Calzones had been on my ‘to cook’ list for quite a while, and they turned out great! I will say that these things are pretty big and I probably ate only half of mine. But Dave chowed down the entire thing and then had the rest of mine for lunch at work the next day. To start with, I used my new favorite pizza dough recipe that only requires a few minutes of rising time unlike the whole hour required with the dough recipe I posted previously. This recipe has effectively replaced the one from the Joy of Cooking in our house for pizza nights. But it is also a great base for calzones! I found it on the internets.

Ingredients:

  • .25 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup 110 degree water
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar into water. Let rest for 8 minutes
  2. Add flour and salt. Mix well.
  3. Need dough for two minutes. Add a little extra flour if it is too sticky.

For Calzones:

  1. Prepare pizza dough in a bowl and set to the side.
  2. Cook about a half a pound of diced chicken in a bit of olive oil.
  3. After chicken is cooked through, throw it into a bowl with equal parts Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce and Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce. Basically, you want enough sauce to coat your chicken.
  4. Divide the dough into two balls. If you want to make smaller calzones, you could divide it in thirds. Roll out each ball of dough into a circle.
  5. On one half of the dough, spoon on some of the chicken mixture and top with mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  6. Fold the other half of the dough over the half containing the chicken. Pinch the dough closed with your fingers so none of the good stuff seeps out while the calzones are baking.
  7. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bake the calzones 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Gooey, Cheesey, Yummy

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Animal Crackers

2 Sep

Dave and I are leaving bright and early in the morning to drive down to Kentucky Lake for a little min-vacation with some friends of Dave’s from high school. I thought I would be domestic today (being temporarily unemployed and all) and make some of my FAVORITE cookies to share on our trip.  I think I am also going to drop some off at my parents house as a welcome home surprise for them and my brother and sister, who have been vacationing in Glen Arbor, Michigan for the past week. I couldn’t go this year, so I am pretty jealous of all the beach-y fun they are having “Up North.” I am looking forward to our trip down South, though, and these cookies should make the seven hour drive go a little faster! For Christmas I picked out some super cute animal cracker cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma–the recipe is theirs. After baking the cookies I put them in some cellophane bags I had leftover from my Valentine’s cookies and tied them with a little green yarn (…pretty sure I won’t be learning to knit anytime soon).

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. mace
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsps.) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Over a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace. Set to the side.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high-speed for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add sugar and beat for two minutes
  3. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for one minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low-speed until most of the flour is absorbed. Add the remaining flour and beat until all of it has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides.
  5. Turn the dough onto a work surface and divide into two balls. Shape each ball into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Roll out the dough to 1/8 of an inch thick on a floured work surface. Cut the dough with your cookie cutters and place them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Bake cookies for 12-13 minutes until the edges are slightly golden brown.

My Quest for the World’s Greatest Mac & Cheese

17 Aug

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I need to go on a quest. A quest for the World’s Greatest Mac & Cheese. Despite my deep and abiding love for Velveeta Shells and Cheese, a good cook needs to have a tried and true recipe for what is, in my opinion, the ultimate comfort food.

Damn you velveeta shells and cheese! Last night I got home and at a whole box of you… with a hot dog chopped up top.Why must you taste so damn good?

...more like crack & cheese.

The first contender comes from (who else?) The Pioneer Woman. You can link to her recipe here. I followed it to the letter, with the exception of using 1/2 pound extra sharp cheddar and 1/2 pound (regular) sharp cheddar. She uses 1 pound sharp cheddar in her iteration. Dave says, “It was really good.” I guess that is as descriptive as he wants to be right now. As for my impressions, I think it was excellent. Normally I am leery of baked macaroni because I think it tends to get dry. This version was extremely creamy prior to baking it, and a bit less so after taking it out of the oven. I may have enjoyed the texture of the unbaked version a little better, but it tasted so good that my texture issues fell by the wayside. I ate two bowls for dinner, and heated up a container full (with a dash of whole milk) for lunch the next day at work.

Yummy!

Topped with cheese in my Pyrex casserole dish

Summer Soup

17 Aug

I tried a new recipe this past weekend for a grilled sweet corn and chipotle chile soup I found on Annie’s Eats. It turned out pretty tasty, although I will admit it might not be the healthiest soup out there. I actually ended up halving the amount of heavy cream and half and half that was originally called for in the recipe. I also used chipotle chilis in adobo sauce in lieu of fresh chipotles because I couldn’t find them. I don’t think it makes much of a difference, personally, and the adobo sauce gives it that extra little southwestern kick. Without further adieu, here is my adaptation of Grilled Sweet Corn & Chipotle Soup.

Ingredients:
-5 cobs of fresh sweet corn
-2 chiles (from a can of chipotle chilis in adobo sauce)
-1 jalapeno pepper
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 cup half and half
-olive oil
-salt
-black pepper (to taste)
-cumin (to taste)

Instructions:
1. Shuck and silk the corn cobs.
2. Rub corn cobs with olive oil and salt
3. Heat up a grill pan, griddle, or outdoor grill.
4. Apply corn cobs to heat, turning at regular intervals. The goal here is to achieve blackening to a few rows of kernals. I personally used a griddle (I don’t own a grill pan and my outdoor grill was out of propane) and it turned out great.
5. After the corn is grilled to your liking, remove the kernels into a large bowl. I recommend a serrated knife, unless you are so lucky to have this. I also suggest sticking one of those corn cob holders in the top of the cob as you are removing the kernels because the corn is very hot!
6. On a cutting board, remove the seeds and membranes from the jalepeno. At this point I also took two chipolte chiles from the can and sort of squeezed out the majority of the sauce. Toss all of the peppers into a blender or food processor.
7. Add all but one cup of the corn (set this aside) to the blender along with 1 cup of the broth.
8. Add black pepper and cumin to the blender. I probably used about a tablespoon of each.
9. Blend!
10. Add the blended mixture to your soup pot along with the remaining broth, heavy cream, and half and half.
11. Heat the soup through. Be sure to stir regularly so the dairy does not burn.
12. Season the soup with a little salt–I found that the soup needed some.
13. To serve, ladle into a bowl and top with the corn kernels you previously set aside
**I chose to add some diced chicken to the soup and I think this was a great idea**

Soup!

An Old Stand By: Chicken and Noodles

17 Aug

Have I even mentioned how much I LOVE cream of chicken soup? It is so versatile and delicious. This is a dinner that I like to make when there isn’t a lot in the house (although today I had to run to the store for some ingredients…). It is a really easy recipe that reminds me of childhood. Until I was a freshman in high school, my Dad worked pretty late at his job so my Mom was in charge of dinner. One of the few memorable meals that my Mom cooked for me would be rice or pasta with cream of chicken soup. She didn’t do a lot of cooking, but she had a few tried-and-true child-friendly recipes in her arsenal. This is a variation on that theme, but this is my adult kicked-up version. I posted a photo of this dinner several months ago, but I realized I neglected to include the recipe. So here it is!

Ingredients:
-2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 pound of pasta (I like to use fun pasta for this dish. Usually something curly.)
-2 cans Campbell’s Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
-1 bag Bird’s Eye Steamfresh sweet green peas
-olive oil
-seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s)
-cayenne pepper

Instructions:
1. Dice chicken breasts into 1/2″-1″ cubes.
2. Start boiling water for your pasta. Make sure your pasta pot is big enough to put the rest of the ingredients in later.
3. Heat up a skillet and add a little olive oil–enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
4. Cook chicken through and set aside.
5. Microwave bag of peas (you could also use frozen or canned–I just like these best and they are super convenient).
6. When the pasta is al dente, drain and return to pot.
7. Add cooked chicken, cooked peas, and 2 cans of soup to the pot. Stir it up!
8. Season with Lawry’s (to taste) and cayenne pepper for a little kick.
**Note: If you feel like the pasta is a little too sticky after you add the soup, throw in a little chicken broth and that will give you a lovely consistency.

Galetti

I used galetti pasta this time which kind of looks like a large macaroni elbow with a little swizzle on the top. It was a delight. Some of my other favorite pasta shapes for this dish include penne, fusilli, farfelle (bow ties), or wagon wheels.

The Finished Product

My Motion Picture Debut

17 Aug

I made a video of my dog and I uploaded it to youtube. I am officially a member of the twenty-first century. Check it out:

Grandma Getz’s Italian Beef

19 May

I made my Grandma’s recipe for Italian Beef for dinner tonight, and let me tell you, it is GOOOOOD. So I will be sharing the instructions with you all out there in internet land.


Ingredients:
3-4 pounds boneless roast (sirloin tip or rump)
2 packages Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix
1 package Good Seasons garlic and herb salad dressing mix
1 bottle of beer
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (my addition)

Instructions:
1. Rub roast with salt and pepper
2. Place one package of italian dressing mix at the bottom of a crock pot.
3. Put roast in crock pot
4. Pour beer over roast
5. Top with remaining packages of dressing mix and red pepper flakes
6. Cook on high 2-3 hours and then turn to low for 5-6 hours; or cook on low for 8 hours
7. Remove roast and shred with a fork (or cut in slices with a knife)
8. Return meat to juice
9. Serve with good crusty buns (and hot giardiniera peppers if you are feeling brave!)