Friday, August 23, 2013


Bacon.  Yum.

I guess there are many ways to cook bacon but my mom has always microwaved it.  She presses slices of bacon in a paper towel sandwich, then places them on a paper plate and microwaves on high for about 3 minutes, give or take 30 seconds - depending on your microwave.  The result?  Crunchy bacon, that's not greasy.  You can tell its ready when the paper towel gets crinkled up a bit and you can see the bacon fat brown and crisp.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Spaghetti monsters

I can't remember how I came across this recipe idea but its absolutely genius.  Spaghetti threaded through hot dog bites, or in this case meatballs.  Fresh sausage works too.  I wonder if I can thread spaghetti through zucchini or mushrooms for a vegetarian version?  I'd love to serve this for Halloween.

First time around, a hit for Mr A, who ate 4 and Miss J, who ate 1.  Second time around, Miss J didn't enjoy any because Mr A gulped them down so that there weren't any left for her.


I paired these spaghetti monsters with marinara sauce and some veggies, kind of like a fun take on pasta primavera.  Next time ill have to make more than 6 so the rest of the family can enjoy them, not just Mr A.

Spaghetti Monsters

Adapted from Very Culinary

6 meat chunk/bites (hotdog, fresh sausage, and meatballs work well)
A serving of spaghetti, uncooked
1/4 c marinara sauce
1/2 c mixed veggies (I used carrots, zucchini, and baby spinach)
Parmesan cheese, optional

  1. Thread uncooked spaghetti through center of meat bites.  Cook in boiling water, per pasta directions.
  2. Add carrots into water, about 7-8 minutes to go.  Add zucchini 4-5 minutes to go.
  3. Rough chop baby spinach and place in colander.
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.  Drain in colander.  Spinach will wilt when the hot liquid is poured over it.
  5. Heat marinara sauce and add in spaghetti monsters and veggies.  Add as much of the cooking liquid as needed to cost coat everything nicely.
  6. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Cauliflower Pasta

Pinch of Yum is one of my favorite food blogs.  She's a teacher, loves food, she's funny,  she's from Minnesota, and she loves cauliflower.  I like to think that we could be friends in the real world.

Cauliflower.  Love it.  One of my favorite dishes from my childhood that my dad made was cauliflower with ground pork and cream of mushroom.  The recipe is pretty simple.  Brown ground pork.  Add cauliflower and 2/3 cup of water in pot.  Steam / boil cauliflower until soft.  Drain water until about 1/4 cup left.  Add in cream of mushroom soup.  Stir until no more lumps.  Serve with rice.

But now, I've become aware that my precious cream of mushroom soup has MSG in it.  MSG makes me thirsty.  It makes my tongue feel dry.  I'm really buying into the Real Food movement, so I'm trying to move away from the canned soups.

Where am I going with this?  Pinch of Yum posted about Creamy Cauliflower Sauce and using it as alfredo sauce, and using it with rice.  Um, yum?!  So, as I was reading the recipes, the sauce reminded me of my cauliflower puree, maybe a little thinned out, but adding pasta to it - genius!

Cauliflower Pasta

1 c cauliflower puree (see recipe below)
1/2 lb pasta of your choice
1/2 c frozen peas
1 lb mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1/2 c meat of your choice (optional)

  1. Make cauliflower puree.
  2. Cook pasta.  Put in frozen peas during last 2 minutes of cooking.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.  Drain.
  3. Saute mushrooms and meat, if desired.
  4. Combine pasta, cauliflower sauce, mushrooms, and meat.  Add reserved cooking liquid to thin out, if needed.

Cauliflower Puree
1 head cauliflower
1 oz cream cheese
1 T butter
1/4 c milk
1/4 t garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Boil or steam cauliflower until very tender and it falls apart.
  2. Drain water and place cauliflower in food processor.  Add in 1 oz. cream cheese, 1 T butter, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.  Pulse until cauliflower is broken up.  You may need to push it down a bit.
  3. Gradually add milk and blend until desired consistency (like mashed potatoes).
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Did you ever have the Mrs. Field's cookie cakes?  Something about a way too big chocolate chip cookie is just so tempting.

I first saw a skillet cookie at Gimme Some Oven and I was intrigued.

Then I saw another one at Damn Delicious.  I took it as a sign from the Food Gods that this cookie was to be made!

I ended up Googling another recipe simply because of the amount of butter required in GSO and DD's versions.  I settled with a version by How Sweet Eats via Tasty Kitchen, that called for 1 egg and 1 stick of butter.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

(by How Sweet Eats via Tasty Kitchen)

  • 1 stick Butter
  • ½ c Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1½ c All-purpose Flour
  • ½ t Baking Soda
  • ¼ t Salt
  • 1 c Semi-sweet Chocolate, Cut In Chunks

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let rest until pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.
  2. Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture, and use a fork to whisk it into the mixture. Place flour, baking soda, and salt on top, and very carefully stir into the mixture until smooth and well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks. Place in the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until starting to turn golden on the top and around the edges, but still soft in the center. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pasta Primavera

What to make?  What's in my fridge and what's in the cupboards?  There's pasta, veggies, and marinara sauce...  Pasta primavera!  Well, actually, I don't even know what pasta primavera exactly is.  I think it's pasta with vegetables.

Here's what Wikipedia says...  And Giada de Laurentiis' recipe says to add Italian seasoning or herbs de Provence.

Well, here's my take, based on what I had on had.
Ground pork, zucchini, and carrots.
Sautéed together with garlic, salt, pepper, and herb de Provence.
Added some marinara sauce and whole wheat rotini.

Awesome use of what I had on hand.  (Pats self on the back.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bacon Cheese Garlic Pull Bread

Oh, hey! It's my bloggiversary! (Can you believe spellcheck doesn't know this word?  Haha.)  Well, I wasn't even going to post but since it's kind of a special day, I have just a few minutes left to August 1, 2013 to get this out there.  I have to say, there were some times when I wasn't sure I'd keep this up, but I have.  Some times, I have no new ideas, then other times, there's a ton.  For year 2, I'm going to see if I can be more of a regular poster, maybe twice a week.  That seems a little daunting, especially with school starting back up in a couple weeks.  Well, I will try!  Now on to some yummy food!

When we were little, my brother and I had a babysitter named Janet.  She introduced us to the world of grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon.  Mmmm...  It's been a while since I've made one, but this here bacon cheese garlic pull bread might be the grown up version of the grilled American cheese and bacon on white bread from my childhood.

Remember the pesto cheese pull apart bread?  This is the same idea except with garlic butter, cheddar, and bacon.

Wrap it in foil and bake until melty and the bread is soft and warm.  Then crank up the heat, toss on some more cheese if you'd like until it's crunchy and toasty.  Yum.

Bacon Cheese Garlic Pull Bread

1 sourdough bowl
1 T butter, softened
1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
Garlic powder or minced garlic, to taste
Pinch of salt
1/4 c cheddar cheese, grated
6-8 strips of bacon, crumbled

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, cream cheese, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Cut bread bowl in 1-1.5 inch slices, careful not to go through the bottom of the loaf
  4. Spread garlic butter on slices.
  5. Cut bread in opposite directions, creating a cross hatch pattern.
  6. Spread remaining garlic butter on other sides of bread.
  7. Sprinkle cheese in between pieces.
  8. Cover in foil and back on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes.  Remove foil from top and let bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.
  9. During the final 2 minutes, sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.  Add more cheese if desired. Return to oven until cheese is all melted.