I’m slowly easing my way back into this here blogging thing… And by “slowly” I mean “sometimes I get around to it”. Anyway, back in February there was this thing called the Super Bowl, or at least that’s what they told me. I have no interest in football at any point, and not a whole lot more when there’s a trophy at stake (although the Idaho Potato Bowl, which has a bowl of potatoes as a trophy, is pretty awesome), but I do like excuses to make tasty food. And what better excuse to invite people over to eat said tasty food than this once-a-year commercial party that apparently people like to watch?
This year we ended up with more people than usual, because that’s the way these things seem to be going in my life (check back for the Easter post in about two months, there’ll be more of that). I’m going to assume that’s because people like it when I cook things for them, and that it makes me a good party host, because that’s nicer than assuming that people just don’t say no. But regardless, we had lots of mouths to feed this time around, and we decided to go a bit overboard. The menu included Stuffed Baby Potatoes, Slow Cooker BBQ Cranberry Meatballs, Artichoke Spinach Dip, and Pumpkin Mocha Cupcakes (which I’ve been promising for a while). I’m actually going to give the cupcakes their own post, since they were featured on Cupcake Friday with the original recipe, and they deserve the honors of their own Cupcake Friday now that I actually made them. But the others I’ll write about here.
This year for Thanksgiving (yes, I’m finally getting around to the Thanksgiving posts), we initially decided we would be making “green bean casserole that doesn’t suck”. Two years in a row we have made green bean casserole that does suck, and for some strange reason for the third year we decided maybe we should do something different. Who knows – maybe we’re just tired of not wanting to eat our greens?
I looked around for alternative recipes and actually found a few that looked promising, but then I found this recipe in my new Joy of Cooking cookbook (there’s a story behind that – I promise I’ll tell you later) and thought maybe the solution to green bean casserole that doesn’t suck was to skip the green beans! We all love broccoli (and anyone who doesn’t should learn – it’s the vegetable of champions), and we definitely all love cheese, so really how could we go wrong?
On this fantastically rainy day, it seems like time to start posting on my poor, neglected blog again. This is one I wrote months ago and never remembered to post!
I love pizza. I’m a total sucker for the kind with really thick, cheesy crust and just a bit too much sugar in the dough and sauce, aka the kind they deliver to your door, aka Papa John’s. But making my own pizza dough has a lot of appeal, too. I get to play with flour, I get to make as much pizza as I want, and I get to brag about how I made my own pizza. Also, the calories only count half as much if you make it from scratch, right?
Quiche is one of the things that I always wish I made more often. Since I now have the world’s fastest and easiest pie crust recipe thanks to my awesome sister-in-law, and I have the world’s most fool-proof (you would think…) quiche filling recipe, I really have no excuse. So this week, we embarked on another quichey adventure.
The pie crust recipe makes enough for one 9-inch pie pan, but I really like thinner pie crusts, so I typically end up with too much dough. This time, I solved that problem by doubling the recipe and making three quiches (well, okay, two and a tiny) instead of one. My filling problem, oddly, goes the other direction – probably because I actually have a 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie pan. So in order to make enough filling for all three quiches, I basically faked it in the realm of 2 1/2 times the recipe.
Lasagna is one of our favorite fall-back recipes, because it always makes an amazing amount of leftovers. It is time consuming, because layering does take a while and it has to cook for 45 minutes or so, so it’s not a last minute meal, but it’s worth the effort when you have the time.
We make ours with spinach, sweet Italian turkey sausage (I don’t like the spicy kind), mozzarella cheese, and a little bit of some other cheese to add extra flavor. We use whatever pasta sauce we have in the house. I always drain as much of the grease out of the meat as possible, and use as much spinach as possible, to make this as healthy as possible. If you added more veggies, you could even use fewer layers of pasta and it would be even better. (Calin doesn’t like vegetables, so we don’t do this often. I did try it with one layer of thin slices of zucchini once, and you could barely taste it, but I felt healthier just knowing it was there.
Our wonderful friend (and my surrogate daughter) Jill gave us a crêpe pan as a wedding plan. Until last week, I have loved it from a distance, too intimidated to use it. Thanksgiving, however, is (at least in my family) all about trying new and possibly incredibly difficult and irrational things, so I figured this was my best shot. Besides, you need a good solid breakfast if you’re going to be cooking and eating all day. (Ahem.)
The recipe was surprisingly easy. I found it in How To Cook Everything, which is tied for my favorite cookbook. (Tied with The New Best Recipes, which equally surprisingly did not have a crêpe recipe.) Anyway, Mark Bittman provided incredibly simple instructions for how to make the perfect crêpe, minus the fact that he shows you how to roll them instead of how to fold them like the French crêpe stands do. Fortunately, I’ve been to France often enough and recently enough that I could handle that part on my own. (more…)