Trying to keep my sanity in tact, while keeping bellies full

Monday, March 28, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 3/30

This last week, we were eating a whole lot of tomatoes, including Tomato Bacon Puffs.

I saw some awesome recipes linked up last week! Here's a couple of my picks:
Twice-Cooked Gnocci from A Moderate Life

And these Banana Sour Cream Muffins from Talking Dollars and Cents

What goodies have you been cooking up this week?
Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.



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Friday, March 25, 2011

Tomato Bacon Puffs

The husband and I have had a blast trying out new recipes with canned tomatoes. The husband even jumped in on the cooking a time or two! While figuring out some new things to do with tomatoes, I stumbled across this recipe from Allrecipes:

Bacon Cheese Puffs

See my changes in italics

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 1/2 2 cups shredded Cheddar Swiss cheese
  • 1/3 c Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 4 tablespoons prepared mustard cream cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound sliced pumpernickel party bread 12 buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 3 T chopped green onions

 

Directions

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
Preheat oven to broil. 
Drain tomatoes well.
In a medium bowl combine the bacon, cheese, cream cheese, green onions, tomatoes and basil.mustard and mayonnaise. Stir well. 

    Arrange party bread on a cookie sheet. Spoon mixture onto each slice of bread.Roll out biscuit dough to about 1/2" thickness and cut large circles. (I would have shown the pictures of this, but really, it was just a flour-y mess!!) Press dough circles into muffin tin. Fill each biscuit well. 

    Broil for 5 minutes, or until bubbly.


      We had these with pasta and veggies in a white sauce...super yummy!



      I'm linking this up to Ott,A's Iron Chef Challenge. This month is sponsored by Red Gold tomatoes. 
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      If you don't live in the midwest, you may not know about this company. Here's some info from their website:

      "Our Mission:
      "To Produce The Freshest, Best Tasting,
      Tomato Products In The World"

      A good harvest begins with strong roots, and we can trace ours back three generations. Red Gold began in 1942 when Grover Hutcherson and his daughter, Fran, rebuilt a Midwest cannery to provide fresh-tasting canned food products for the war effort. More than half a century later, we remain a family-owned business based in the heart of Tomato Country. "

      I grew up on Red Gold tomatoes--honestly not knowing there were other brands until I started working in a grocery store at age 16! My family is from Elwood, Indiana where there's a Red Gold facility. I remember driving though Elwood many times and seeing the Red Gold signs everywhere. I guess it really stuck with me because I've never bought any other brand!

      Thanks again to Ott,A and Red Gold for sponsoring this month's Iron Chef Challenge!

      Monday, March 21, 2011

      Made From Scratch Tuesday 3/22

      Thanks for all the great links from last week!

      I saw some very tasty recipes, including this one from Mo' Betta for flourless brownies using BLACK BEANS!
      I can't wait to try those!

      This last week, we had lots of dishes containing tomatoes. A Latte With Ott,A is having another Iron Chef Challenge this month and we love Red Gold Tomatoes around here. And the best part is Kroger has them on sale right now, so if you buy 10 cans, you get them for .49 each! I also love a good deal. I'd show you all a picture of my canned goods cabinet, but then you might find out I'm a food hoarder.


      What goodies have you been cooking up this week?
      Here are the rules:
      1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
      2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
      3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.



      Saturday, March 19, 2011

      Tomato Corn Salad/Quesadillas

      Remember the last time I thought I was a genius? Well, it’s happened again. This time, Red Gold  did it to me. I used to always make this tomato/corn salad which required taking a can of Red Gold diced tomatoes and adding lime juice, red onion, garlic, cilantro, green onion, jalapenos, vinegar, salt and a can of corn. I guess I’ve had my blinders on in the grocery store because Red Gold has everything listed above (minus the corn) already put together for me in one can.  

       Hmmm…maybe someone should tell them to add the corn too! How could I have missed this for so long?! So I’m not really sure if this qualifies for a recipe since it only involves opening two cans, but here goes the two ingredient salad:

      One can Petite Diced Tomatoes Mexican Fiesta
      One can corn

      Drain both cans and pour into bowl. Mix well and chill.

      Yep…that’s it. So what do you do with this salad? Well, we use it for two meals. Generally, we have this when we cook on the grill. It seems to be a perfect companion a juicy steak or piece of chicken fresh off the grill. 

      But we usually have some left. For the leftovers, it becomes the perfect addition to quesadilla filling.

      To make the quesadillas:

      Flour tortillas
      Santa Fe cooking cream
      Cooked chicken, cut into pieces
      Cheese
      Tomato/Corn Salad (above)
      Any other filling you’d like (black olives, bacon, etc)


      Preheat quesadilla maker
      On one tortilla, spread about a teaspoon of the cooking cream all around.

      Add cheese, tomato/corn salad, chicken, etc and one final layer of cheese. Top with second tortilla and place in quesadilla maker until browned. Let cool a few minutes and slice!
      Thank you to Red Gold for sponsoring this month's Iron Chef Challenge with A Latte From Ott,A!
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       *Red Gold provided me with free product and coupons for participating. All opinions expressed are my own.
      Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!


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      Thursday, March 17, 2011

      Fiesta Bake

      Every now and then, I make something that the husband just loves. Last night was one of those times. Now this is nothing fancy, but there really is something to be said about all these flavors coming together! And the best part is the unlimited possibilities. You can change this up so many ways.

      What you'll need:
      Corn chips, crumbled (or flour tortilla chips, crumbled)
      1 lb ground turkey (or any other ground meat)
      2 c salsa
      1 can diced tomatoes
      1 can chili beans (or black beans)
      1 clove garlic (chopped)
      1/2 c cilantro, chopped
      2 Tablespoons chopped green onion
      1 medium red onion, finely chopped
      Juice of one lime
      Sante Fe style cooking cream
      Cheese...I used the "mexican" blend along with some fresh mozzarella

      To start, brown the meat and drain. Then add the salsa, tomatoes, garlic and beans.



       Cook this down, on low to medium low heat, until most of the liquid has cooked out. That'll take about 20 minutes. While that's cooking down, chop your cilantro and onions. Now, time to assemble! Start by putting the crushed chips in the bottom of a casserole dish.


      Then add the meat mixture.

      Sprinkle cilantro, green onion and red onion over meat.

      Next, add the juice of one lime, cooking cream and cheese.

      Bake at 350 until the cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes.

      We had company over last night; the two guys polished this off! We decided next time to try adding a can of black olives and maybe some more garlic.

      Canned tomatoes are the theme ingredient for March's Iron Chef Challenge from Ott,A. Big thanks to Red Gold for sponsoring this month!


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      Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!



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      Monday, March 14, 2011

      Made From Scratch Tuesday 3/15

      This Friday, my bloggy and IRL pal Ott,A is launching the third round of Iron Chef. This month's theme ingredient is canned tomatoes and is sponsored by Red Gold.

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      Red Gold sent me a "welcome" package a couple weeks ago full of some great Red Gold products. I heart Red Gold. Here's some info from their website which really captures the spirit of Red Gold:
      "A good harvest begins with strong roots, and we can trace ours back three generations. Red Gold began in 1942 when Grover Hutcherson and his daughter, Fran, rebuilt a Midwest cannery to provide fresh-tasting canned food products for the war effort. More than half a century later, we remain a family-owned business based in the heart of Tomato Country."

      Anyway, since you gals all know how much I love spending time in the kitchen, I'm going to share the early bird version of my entry to Ott,A's Iron Chef Challenge-Canned Tomatoes.

      Red Gold Bruschetta

      What you'll need:
      1/2 loaf Italian bread, cut in half lengthwise
      1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
      olive oil
      fresh mozzarella
      fresh basil
      garlic salt
      pepper

      Brush a light coat of olive oil on each half of the bread. Add the tomatoes to each side. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Add a layer of basil leaves, then top with mozzarella. Put each loaf on a baking sheet and place in the oven on the "high broil" setting. (You'll want the rack to be about 4 inches from the heating element.) Broil about 5 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Or...Red Gold has tomatoes canned with garlic and basil already in the cans. Now, I still prefer to add the fresh basil leaves, but really...could they make it any easier?



      Back to last week's linky...WOW! I was so impressed with all the recipes everyone shared last week!! I had so many favorites, I'm not even sure where to begin. As I've said before, I'm still trying to work on my relationship with Twitter. I admit, I didn't try hard last week. I promise to make an effort this week. I'd like to feature some of your great recipes, so if you're in the twitter world, be on the look out for some tweets coming from @MessHall2Bistro.

      What goodies have you been cooking up this week?
      Here are the rules:
      1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
      2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
      3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code on the top right of my sidebar.

      Fondue for Two


      Since Borders is closing, we did some shopping lately and found some things we didn't necessarily need, but definitely wanted. That's where I found this cute fondue set. It came with a little book of fondue recipes, but I figure why go with someone else's creation when I can make my own, right? Now a while back, I joined up with Coffeemate and the Brew Crew. Cute, right? Anyway, the Brew Crew hooked me up with a sample pack to share coffeemate with my friends. I had planned on sharing all my goodies with my bloggy pals, but the weather happened and I couldn't make it to my January meeting, so I shared with another group of pals.  But never fear! I will be sharing recipes created using coffeemate on here for you all.

      Sunday, March 13, 2011

      National Maple Syrup Festival

      What happens the first two weekends in March in the tiny town of Medora, IN? The National Maple Syrup Festival! Last year, we didn't go due to the cold, rainy weather. This year, the second weekend was perfect weather. We spent the day taking in the beautiful scenery during the 2 hour drive and learning about all things Maple.
      The festival starts out with a bus ride to the farm. They played a tape of the history of Indiana, the settlers, and the Burtons along with a brief introduction to syrup and sugar.


      We pulled up to the farm and were surrounded by maple trees with buckets hanging all around. You see, not much has changed since the native americans processed the deliciously sweet sap hundreds of years ago. Now obviously they didn't have the metal buckets, but same principle.

      Our first stop on the walking tour was the settler reenactment.



      It was so neat to see how everything was prepared from sap to sugar. It was truly amazing to see how the clear sap turned into a product that was used for not only a sweetener, but also as a means of preservation in the days before refrigeration. We even got to sample the sugar they had worked so hard for the day before.

      After the tour, we had certainly worked up an appetite. Off to the food tent!

      Pancakes with lots of ooey gooey syrup and sausage, yum! Didn't want breakfast? No problem! They also have a pork chop dinner consisting of 2 barbecue/maple syrup chops, potatoes, maple ham and beans, and a roll. Amazing!!
      There were tons of kids activities as well. If you haven't made it down before, be sure to check it out next year. It's always the first two weekends of March. A great time for the whole family to learn about a great Indiana product and see history in action.


      Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!



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      Monday, March 7, 2011

      Made From Scratch Tuesday 3/8

      We had some awesome links last week!  Since the husband has been working evenings for the last week, I was a little lazy with my cooking. My biggest accomplishment was the mini angel food cakes. So, instead of giving you gals one of my recipes, this week I'm going to feature some of my favorites from last week. If you didn't get a chance to see them before, head on over and check them out! In no particular order, here are some recipes I found interesting:

      See this pizza from Cranberry Morning? It looks great, right? Well, here's the coolest part....she made her own mozzarella!

      This honey mustard chicken from Hun...What's for Dinner? made my mouth water!

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      Now for this next one, I was all in at the word "cookie". But Olympic Cookies from Joy in My Kitchen? Yes please. I'll take two...dozen!

      Thanks to everyone for linking up all your fantastic dishes! I can't wait to see what you all come up with this week!

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      What goodies have you been cooking up this week?
      Here are the rules:
      1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
      2. My only content rule is it has to be made from scratch.
      3. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code on the top right of my sidebar.

      Sunday, March 6, 2011

      Mini Angel Food Cakes

       I did something I swore I would never do. I used a Martha Stewart recipe. I don't know why, but that woman truly irritates me. But, when I googled "mini angel food cake recipe" that was the first thing that came up.

      It all started because I was shopping with my mom and found mini angel food cake pans. Now really, how can you resist these? Especially when I'm making something for just me and the husband. If I make a full cake, we end up throwing half of it away. I used the Martha Stewart recipe and scaled it down to make 2 instead of 12.



       Here's the recipe from Martha Stewart's website:

       

       

       

      Old-Time Favorites: Mini Angel Food Cakes


      Old-Time Favorites: Mini Angel Food Cakes
      Though it's not often served at weddings, angel food cake never disappoints. Guests will be delighted by these individual versions of the heavenly confection; each one is glazed and then topped with a single sugared flower (an edible rose, viola, or primrose), making them elegant enough to present either in lieu of a classic wedding cake or as part of a dessert buffet. Cake stands dusted with pale pink sanding sugar give them the stature they deserve.

      Ingredients

      Makes 1 dozen
      • 1 1/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
      • 1 1/2 cups sugar
      • Pinch of salt
      • 12 large egg whites
      • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
      • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      • Poured Fondant Glaze

      Directions

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lower third. Sift flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
      2. Beat egg whites on medium-low speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until foamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in cream of tartar and vanilla. Raise speed to medium-high; beat until medium- stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to medium-low; add remaining 1 cup sugar in a steady stream. Beat until stiff (but not dry) peaks form; transfer to a large bowl.
      3. Sift one-third flour mixture over egg-white mixture; gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat to incorporate remaining flour mixture. Gently spoon batter into a large pastry bag without a tip. Pipe batter into 1-cup angel food cake molds so each is 2/3 full.
      4. Bake, rotating molds halfway through, until cakes are pale golden and tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 minutes. Let cool in molds on wire racks 30 minutes.
      5. Invert molds, and sharply rap them on a towel-covered work surface; gently release cakes from molds. Spoon poured fondant glaze over top of each cake, letting it drip down sides.

       I didn't do the fondant glaze. Instead, I made a berry syrup.


      To make the syrup, put 2 cups of mixed berries (mine were frozen) into a small sauce pan and simmer until the berries cook down. How simple is that? No sugar added to this; just the sweetness of the berries. So maybe Martha isn't so bad, well except for that whole insider trading bit.


      Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!

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