Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Recipes to Share - Barbacoa

I will add these as I get them done! I'm supposed to be sharing 3-5 recipes. So here's the plan.


Barbacoa Tacos
Tortilla Soup
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Here is the first one. We LOVE Mexican food in our house and we LOVE soup! So many of our recipes are just that. This one has many ingredients, but the planner should help with that! Other than that, it is one you can throw into the crockpot and let it go! It is also best on day 2, but I dare you to try to keep your fingers out of there by the time it is cooked on day 1!

We have leftovers for days with this and everyone loves it.



The 30 Meals Plan

The girls over at Nanny Goat have come up with a 30 day meal plan that sounds like a great way to have staples for the meals you & your family like on hand. If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, run right over there and check it out. They have some great ideas for organizing your recipes and shopping lists.

Okay, I have had two sick kids, so I am a bit behind, but I've started my recipe card pile. They had a great idea where you laminate your recipe cards and put them on a ring so you can remove them as you need them. I like this idea, but I have no laminator, so I grabbed my cheapo $1 photo albums from the Dollar Tree that I never had any intention of using as a photo album. {I've been putting my recipe cards in them.} I'm thinking I will cut these books up and put my recipe cards in them. Then I will punch a hole in the corner and connect them all with a metal ring.

Here's what the photo albums look like. I made the cover with a scrapbook kit. {Sorry to whomever's it is... I wasn't planning to show this when I made this a year ago}. I may change the cover once I decide what the recipe cards are going to look like. FYI- the plaid binders behind the photo albums are my recipe binders which are in no particular order, so I have to search like a mad-woman to find any recipe that I may need.


Well, this is step one. Getting the cards typed up will be step 2!




If you decide to join in the fun, let me know in the comments. I'd love to see your recipe planner!

I am adding to this blog entry because I made my recipe cards. If you would like to print it out for yourself, feel free! This should print on an 8.5x11 inch cardstock perfectly and will print out a 4x6 card.

Click on this card first! Then you can save it to your hard drive in a larger size.




Monday, April 27, 2009

Pizza on the Grill or Grilled Pizza!


One of my favorite things about summer is making pizza on the grill. It is so simple and the flavor is so wonderfully smoky and yummy that it is undeniably something you are missing out on if you've never done it.


It really IS simple! Here's how to do it.


What you'll need...
-Pizza dough (my recipe is at the end, but the grocery store pizza crusts that are
made fresh are pretty good too. Don't get the pre-formed ones)
-Spray oil (PAM)
-Your favorite pizza sauce (this isn't my fav, but the best we had)
-Mozzarella cheese (fresh is best, but this one my hubby bought will do in a pinch)
-Corn Meal (optional. Just makes it crunchier on the bottom and stick less to the peel)
-Your favorite pizza toppings

Step 1:
Heat your grill to about 300 degrees F. You need to keep it somewhat low. Make sure the flames are low and that you have a hot side of the grill and a cooler side of the grill as you will move the pizza over to the cooler side to continue to bake & to melt the cheese after the bottom is browned.
Step 2:
Flatten your dough into a disk. Keep it somewhat small because it is easier to flip on the grill. Think Personal Pan Pizza size.
Create a bottom and a top to your pizza by adding corn meal to the bottom. IF you skip this step, you can cook either side first.
Step 3:
Spray both sides of the pizza with PAM. Don't skip this because this keeps it from sticking to the grill.

Step 4:
Cook the TOP of the pizza first. This seems illogical, but this is the way you need to do it. You'll see why in a minute.
See? Cornmeal-side UP first!

Check the cooking side often. You want it to look like this. This can be done with the grill open.
See how yummy it looks? Okay, so don't cook the other side at this point.
Step 5:
Take the pizza crust off of the grill and place it UNCOOKED-SIDE DOWN on the plate.
Step 6:
Give it to your friend/child/spouse/significant other and let them have fun putting their choice of toppings on it. Kids love this part! {Note that we only used boring cheese and sauce. Our pizza-making choice was last minute}
Step 7:
Now take the pizza and put the uncooked side down. Notice I didn't capitalize this because I'm assuming this part should be pretty obvious!
Step 8:
Allow the pizza to cook for a few minutes, making sure to check often for browness. It should look like that crust above. If the bottom is browned nicely and the cheese isn't yet melted enough, move the pizza to the part of the grill which is less hot. Close the top and allow it to bake for a few minutes. This will melt the cheese and make sure your inside isn't doughy. {I've never actually had a doughy inside with pizza on the grill, so I guess that works itself out!} Here's my white pizza I made. I put garlic, olive oil, mozzarella and white pepper on mine. YUM!
Here's hubby's...
And here are the boys enjoying their first yummy bites!

Enjoy!!! Summer is coming!

Now for the recipe for Pizza Dough:

1 package of dry rapid-rise yeast
1- 1/3 cup of warm water {test water temp by putting your finger in. Should be able to keep
it in there for 5 seconds}
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups (approximately) of all purpose flour

Mix the yeast and honey into the warm water. Proof the yeast by allowing it to sit for about 10 minutes. Add salt, olive oil. Add the flour using the dough hook of your mixer, a cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of the mixer bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and put it on a floured surface. Allow to rest 5 minutes. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Allow to rest again 5 minutes. Now cut the dough into 4 pieces and flatten into a disk. Flatten as much as possible and then allow to rest for about 5 minutes again. Flatten some more so that it is about 1/4 inch thick. Sit the dough on top of some cornmeal sprinkled on your flat surface.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How to Make a Perfect Chocolate Butterfly

I had to make cupcakes for a bake sale, so I created these little cuppies. In order to make the perfect butterflies, I did the following:

What you will need:
Cupcakes
Buttercream icing
Melting Chocolate Disks in your fav. colors (I used Wilton's)
Optional: Wilton Large Confetti (I got mine at Michaels)
A gallon-sized Ziplock freezer bag



Make your cupcakes as usual and pile your icing nice and high so that the butterflies have something to land on. I also added some sprinkles to mine.

Next, right click on this image and print it out. You can print it on low resolution if you'd like. It is just a pattern.Next, place the image under a large piece of waxed paper.
Put your chocolate melting disks into the freezer bag and zip. Place in your microwave for about 20 seconds. Check to see how melted they are. Keep doing this until you melt the disks completely. Once you know how long your microwave takes, you can do it all at once. Mine takes about 1 minute for about 40 disks but all microwaves differ. Also, I do mine on high, but you can do it on medium if you'd like.

Tip: Depending on the type of melting chocolate, you may have to add about 1/2 tsp-1 tsp. of shortening to the disks to get them to be runny enough to squeeze out of the bag.

After the chocolate melts, mush it into one of the corners and twist the bag so that you have a make-shift pastry bag. Of course, if you have a pastry bag and know how to use it, you can do it in with that, but you can't put the tips in the microwave so you have to put the tip on later. Also, the problem with pastry bags is that most of them are solid so you can't see through them to see if your chocolate is melted.

Now you can cut a hole in the tip of the bag and start tracing your butterflies. I did the wings first and let them dry a bit. Then I did the bodies so they would be more 3D.   While the chocolate is still wet, add the confetti for dots. If you forget, you can use the melted chocolate as glue and put them on with it.

Another fun thing to do is this. Put a pretzel rod in the melted butterfly and pipe some chocolate over it to hold it on. Makes a cute lollipop, don't you think?
You can refrigerate your butterflies if you'd like, or just let them get hard on the counter. Once they are dry, remove from the paper carefully and sit them on top of your cupcakes. How SPRINGY are those?
Please send me pictures if you make these. I'd love to see how they turned out.
BTW... you can use any graphic you have and make any topping you'd like!
Tami



Monday, April 13, 2009

Pierogi Lasagna

Let's not talk about the Un-South-Beach-Friendliness of this recipe. OK?

I recently saw a recipe online somewhere for pierogi lasagna. I didn't keep the recipe, but I did think, "Wow, what a great idea. I've made pierogis from scratch and they are a pain. I bet this way would be easier." So, I gave it a try with GREAT results. Everyone loved them and they weren't terribly hard to do. (PS. I made these for my inlaws who are Slovak and they loved them. That means they are awesome.)

Here is a step-by-step for you to try if you'd like to make it.

You will need the following ingredients:


10-15 New Potatoes (I leave the skins on for added nutrition. LOL!)
1 package of Lasagna Noodles
2 onions (I prefer Vidalia, but didn't have them at this time)
1 stick of butter
6 oz (or more if you like more cheese) of 3 different cheeses of your choice.
(I prefer the one pictured below mixed with the already grated orange variety)
3 tbsp. milk or cream or sour cream
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.
These Cora lasagna noodles are awesome. Don't get the ones that cook in the oven because there isn't enough liquid in this recipe to cook those noodles. (I don't think. I hate those anyway)

Really good Irish cheddar. Yum!
Okay, now 1. Cut up your potatoes into approximate 1-inch cubes.
2. Put them in cold water and add about 2 tbsp of salt.
3. Heat over high heat until they start to boil and then turn them down to Med-high.
4. Test them for doneness after about 15 minutes. If they are soft, they are ready
to be mashed.
5. Remove the potatoes from the water using a colandar.
6. Put them in the bowl to your mixer and mix. Stop the mixer and add
a few tablespoons of milk or cream or sour cream. Try 2 and then after you mix
in the butter, try more for creaminess.
7. Add 1/2 stick of butter and mix until melted and the potatoes are to
your liking.
8. Salt & pepper to taste. Potatoes take a lot of salt. Add, mix and taste.
Next, fry the onions in butter. I start out with about 2 tbsp. of butter and slice the onions.
They take a while to brown and carmelize. Don't use high heat because they may burn. You don't want to blacken them. Just nicely carmelize. This can take 20 minutes with occasional stirring. So, put them on while starting the noodles. (next step)
Boil some water in your pasta pot and add the noodles according to the package directions.
While those are cooking, do the following.
1. Grate your cheese.
2. Butter your pan or pans. I tend to use two bread pans because we don't usually
eat that much lasagna at a time. I freeze one of them and cook the other for dinner.
The pierogi lasagna is very rich, so you will probably eat less of it than you would
regular lasagna. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Next, put two layers of the noodles in the bottom of the pan(s).
If you and your family like the onions, you can layer them right into the lasagna. I found that my boys like them, but not that many of them, so the second one I made, I didn't do this step.
Next, you layer the potatoes on the noodles and then about 1/3 of the cheese.

Repeat these steps until you layer all the way to the top of the pan. It took me 3 layers of
noodles. I also found that you should end with potatoes & cheese on the top rather than noodles and cheese. The edges of the noodles got really hard on my first one. So, ending with potatoes and cheese worked better. If potatoes brown, they are really good so it works better that way.
Now put it in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and you smell it cooking. YUM! To serve, melt some more butter for over the top and serve with the carmelized onions on the side so people can add as desired.
I forgot to take pictures of the finished, plated dish, but you can tell from this picture that it is yummy and melty cheesy!
I forgot to tell you that this recipe is part of a recipe blog party! If you want to see the other recipes go to the swap at Learning Together Hand In Hand!
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