Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One Cheesy Calzone

I wanted to make something that was as close to pizza as possible, but not pizza. This way I could please everyone and also sneak in some greens at the same time. Besides the “white” cheese, everyone seems to like it and I’ve found a new favorite for myself.
What You Will Need:

1 (13.8 oz) can of pizza dough
½ C ricotta cheese
¾ C parmesan cheese, grated
1 ½ C mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 garlic cloves
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 large bag of fresh spinach
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 T olive oil
1 T flour
Medium bowl
Large skillet
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
1) Preheat oven to 425˚.

2) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cumin seeds and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach to wilt.
3) Pour spinach mixture into medium bowl.
4) Sprinkle flour over parchment paper on baking sheet.
5) Roll out dough onto baking sheet.
6) Sprinkle half of dough with ½ of parmesan cheese.
7) Add ½ of mozzarella over top of parmesan and then add spinach mixture.
8) Sprinkle remaining parmesan and mozzarella overtop of spinach.
9) Dollop ricotta over other two cheeses.

10) Fold dough and pinch sides tightly, so it is secure.
11) Brush with olive oil.
12) Bake for 18 minutes.

13) Slice and serve!
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Foodie Friday

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Stir, Stitch and Straighten

Have fun and add as many as you can! I want to make this party as big as possible. I have kept your links from last week to keep it going. Help spread the word. Thank you so much for coming back every week!
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Foodie Friday

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unbeatable Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am alway in search for the absolute BEST oatmeal cookie.  What makes them the best for me?  They are crisp on the outside and soft inside.  I like to taste a hint of saltiness that doesn't overpower the sweetness from the brown sugat.  I also LOVE to replace the raisins with chocolate chips.  You can imagine the look on my face when I discovered this recipe from www.allrecipes.com.  These are incredibly delicious.
What You Will Need:

1 ½ C quick oats
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 C flour
2 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 C butter, softened
1 C brown sugar, packed
1 C white sugar
4 cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper
Wax paper
Medium bowl
Large bowl
Hand mixer
Ice cream scoop
1) Preheat oven to 350˚.
2) In medium bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Sift onto wax paper.
3) In large bowl, cream sugars and butter.
4) Add egg and vanilla and beat until mixed.
5) Add flour mixture gradually.
6) Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

7) Using ice cream scoop, drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheets.
8) Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

9) Cool on rack and store in airtight container.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

We all know that the longer you let spaghetti sauce cook, the better it will taste. Making the sauce in a slow-cooker is essential for a successful marinara or meat sauce. I use ground turkey for the health benefits, so my sauce is delicious and good for you. I have never seen a frown on anyone’s face when they see a plate of spaghetti in front of them.

What You Will Need:
1 lb ground turkey
1 yellow onion
1 large clove of garlic, chopped
1 C carrots, diced
16 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
Grated parmesan
1 box angel hair pasta
What You Already Have:
1 chicken bouillon
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 C water
Dash of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 T olive oil
Large skillet

1) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
2) Add onions, garlic and carrots to skillet. Sauté for 10 minutes. Transfer to slow-cooker.

3) Brown turkey in same skillet. Drain and transfer to slow-cooker. Set skillet aside.
4) Stir in tomato sauce, paste, bouillon, oregano, parsley, bay leaves and water. Season with salt and pepper.

5) Cook for at least 2 hours.

6) Prepare pasta according to package directions about 15 minutes from end of cooking time.
7) Serve over angel hair pasta and garnish with grated parmesan.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Crowd-Pleasing 'Role

Why does it feel like the Holidays are starting so early this year? I have heard people embarking on their Thanksgiving holiday this week already! Thanksgiving is more than a week away! Not such a bad idea when it comes to traveling costs though. You can save if you start early. I thought it would be fitting to start early on casseroles to feed these family crowds.

I threw this one together in a flash and it was fairly satisfying. I would not jump out of my seat and rush to the store for it, but it serves its purpose. It feeds a crowd and it has everything in it you’ll need for a meal.

What You Will Need:

1 lb chicken breast tenders
2 packets long-grain 10 minute rice
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, remove bottom of stems and then split in half.
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 ½ C chicken broth
1 jar of pre-sliced mushrooms, drained
½ C panko

What You Already Have:
¼ C grated parmesan cheese
2 T unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper
1 large casserole

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2) Combine all ingredients except chicken in casserole. Place chicken on top. Season with salt and pepper.

3) Mix cheese and breadcrumbs together. Spread over top of casserole.

4) Drizzle butter over top.

5) Bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
6) Serve.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stir, Stitch and Straighten

Please remember to pass this onto your friends.  Anyone can contribute!  Have a great week everyone!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Foodie Friday

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crispy Garlic Chicken

Who doesn't love fried chicken?  How about a lighter version without removing the flavor?  I found this family-friendly meal in Woman’s Day when I was planning our menu for the week. It’s well-rounded and extremely satisfying. Top it off with one of the leftover Double Chocolate Mint Super Cookies and you’re stuffed!
What You Will Need:

2 lbs chicken thighs with skin and bone
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon
2 T butter
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper
Large skillet and lid
1) Melt butter over medium heat.
2) Remove skin from chicken while butter melts.
3) Season chicken with salt and pepper.
4) Brown chicken on one side for about 5 minutes. Add garlic to pan. Flip chicken, lower heat to medium-low and cover for 20-25 minutes. (Turning chicken twice during this time.) Sprinkle with cumin.
5) Uncover. Turning again, sprinkle with more cumin and turn heat back up to medium-high and cook for 3-5 minutes.

6) Serve with lemon wedge.
7) Accompany with Rice Pilaf and spinach salad.


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Colorful Ricotta Cookies

When I make up my list for the grocery store each week, it’s based on the recipes I’m going to prepare along with some extra staples. Last week I bought ingredients for sandwiches, but I forgot the star of the show! Instead of going back to the store, I improvised. Ricotta happened to be leftover. I wanted to bake something special for the Oldest for finishing another “school” year, so I found this sweet recipe on www.allrecipes.com that used Ricotta. I didn’t change the recipe except for the way I presented the cookies in the end. Wow, you are going to love these!
What You Will Need:

15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
2 C sugar
4 C flour
2 T baking powder
1 C unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
Decorator’s sugar
Food coloring
1 large bowl
3 medium bowls
Hand mixer
4 cookie sheets
1) Preheat oven to 350˚.
2) Beat sugar and butter until well-mixed. Beat at a higher speed until fluffy.

3) Add eggs, vanilla and cheese and beat until well-mixed.

4) Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Gradually add to butter mixture until all is gone.

5) Divide dough into 4 bowls.
6) Add desired amount of food coloring to each bowl and mix until dough is tint you want.
7) Drop dough onto cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with decorator’s sugar.

8) Bake two sheets at a time for 15 minutes or until cookies are fully baked.
9) Repeat until all dough is used.
10) Cool and serve.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Moroccan Pork and Apples

My mission is to educate my kids’ palates as best I can without breaking the bank and without making it hard on myself. I have definitely jumped a few hurdles along the way, but it’s been worth it. I don’t want them only growing up on grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs.

Our dinner was excellent last night. It was definitely different, but I incorporated a few things that I knew the kids would enjoy. The meal was a success and one I will keep for the future.

What You Will Need:
1 lb ground pork
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 C uncooked couscous

What You Already Have:
1/3 C raisins
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp dried basil
1 T olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 chicken bouillon
Large skillet
Medium saucepan with lid

1) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add apples and onions. Sauté for 10 minutes.

2) Stir in red wine vinegar and basil.
3) Add pork to skillet and cook until no longer pink. Crumble.

4) Season with Worcestershire, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well.
5) Add raisins to skillet.

6) Add 1 C water, 1 tsp olive oil and bouillon to saucepan. Bring to boil. Stir in couscous. Cover and remove from heat.
7) Serve pork mixture over top of couscous.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gourmet Tacos

I call these "gourmet" tacos because they don’t involve typical taco seasoning from a kit. Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit and use fresh, local ingredients. Already planning a taco night, I walked into my local market the other day and there was a display with everything I needed! It was meant to be! You’ll think so too after trying these.  I found this super simple marinade on www.about.com.

Don't forget about these unbelievable Pork Tacos too!
What You Will Need:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 glass casserole for marinating
1 pkg soft flour tortillas
1 avocado, cubed (sprinkle with lemon juice to keep green)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4 cloves of garlic, each cut in half
Sour cream
Shredded cheese
Refried beans
What You Already Have at Home:
1 glass casserole for marinating
Grill ( I used my indoor grill pan b/c it’s cold!)
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C white vinegar
1/3 C cider vinegar
1/3 C chopped cilantro
2 T cumin
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
1) Prepare marinade in morning, so the flavors have time to marry before adding chicken.
2) In casserole, mix oil, vinegars, cilantro, garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, and lime juice. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
3) Add chicken later in the day, so it has time to marinate for a few hours.
4) Preheat oven to 350˚. Warm tortillas in foil.
5) Grill chicken then slice for tacos.
6) Prepare each tortilla with beans, chicken, avocado, onions, tomatoes and cheese. Add salsa and sour cream for garnish.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting

I never believed the people I’ve heard say that “baking is relaxing” until this past week. Life is a bit crazy at the moment, so I took some time for myself one afternoon last week. The kids were napping; the repairmen were fixing outlets in my bathroom; the dog was barking at the stray cat that wanders through our yard; I turned my phone off. I gathered up enough ingredients that would make this dynamite recipe I had in mind and I preheated the oven to 350˚F.

Before I knew it my fingers were coated in flour and I was laying out muffin baking cups on cookie sheets. After whipping up the frosting and smelling the aroma from the oven, I knew a masterpiece was in the works. I forgot where I was too! The results were amazing and I had plenty of cupcakes to share with my neighbors and family. The best part was that I wasn’t interrupted! The combination of pumpkin cake and ginger-cream cheese frosting is perfect for this time of year. Go ahead relax and treat yourself.

What You Will Need:

12 oz of canned pumpkin
1 ½ tsp pumpkin spice
1 C light cream
6 oz cream cheese, softened

What You Already Have:
½ C vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 C granulated sugar
1 ¾ C flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
¾ stick of unsalted butter
3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp dried ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
Large bowl
Hand mixer
Medium bowl
Measuring cups
Foil baking cups

1) Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2) Sift together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3) Add pumpkin pie spice to dry ingredients. Mix in vegetable oil and then eggs. Cream together.

4) Pour in cream and vanilla and beat at medium speed. Spoon in pumpkin and mix again.
5) Fill baking cups almost halfway with batter.

6) Bake for 25 minutes.
7) While cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting.
8) Clean your hand mixer.
9) Slightly melt butter in microwave for 20 seconds and then add to medium bowl.
10) Add vanilla, ginger and cream cheese. Sift in powdered sugar and beat at low speed until all sugar in absorbed.

11) Beat at higher speed for desired consistency. Gradually add milk for a thinner frosting.
12) After cupcakes have completely cooled, add frosting. (Tip: Fill Ziploc bag with icing, twist and then cut off tip of bag. Squeeze icing onto cupcakes for a more gourmet look.)

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