Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bowties in Sausage Cream Sauce

Today while I was making lunch, I received a call from the school nurse wondering if I wanted to take my child in to the doctor.  My middle son, Quinn whacked his head on the playground equipment and was bleeding pretty profusely.  By the time the nurse called me, she had gotten it to stop bleeding.  She said that it was gaping just a bit and was about an inch long.  I asked if he had a headache and if he was OK.  She asked him and he said he felt fine.  I asked where it was (for scarring reasons) and she said that it was covered by his hair up high on his forehead.  So...I told her to put a band-aid on it and call it a day, basically.  I kinda felt like a bad mom for not coming to check it out or anything after I got off the phone.  I know a few years ago I certainly would have.  The fact is, Q is an accident prone child and we have been down this road...MANY times. I a neglectful mother?  Would you have ran to the school and (possibly) taken your child in?

Anyway, this pasta is SO GOOD!  I got the recipe off of Tasty Kitchen.  I will be making it again because even all 3 of my kids really liked it!

Bowties in Sausage Cream Sauce

1 lb. Bowtie pasta
1 lb. Italian sausage
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. onion, chopped
28 oz. diced Italian tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried basil

In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water until al dente; drain.  

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the sausage and red pepper flakes until the sausage is done.  Stir in the onion and garlic until the onion is tender.  Add the drained tomatoes, basil, salt, and cream.  Simmer over low heat about 10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened a bit.  Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta.  

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Very Favorite Pizza Crust

My family, like so many, LOVES pizza.  We have basically always had pizza at least every other weekend.  We used to order our pizza from a pizza chain.  About 3 years ago, we moved a few miles out of town and get one would deliver pizza to my door.  I was flabbergasted.  Since once I am home, I am usually too lazy to get back in my vehicle and drive back to town, I had to come up with another plan.

Luckily, I discovered a deliciously easy whole wheat crust from a friend.  It is also fairly healthy, which is wonderful.  I still make this one on occasion.  I probably would have stuck with it forever, except that my oldest complained one day, "can't we make a crust that is more like Pizza Hut?"  So, for a time I tried Pizza Hut copycat crusts.  Then I discovered that, for us, Pizza Hut did not in fact make the holy grail of crusts.  That is when I began to branch out.  I am so glad I did because, for us, this crust is perfection.

When you make it for the first time, do not be alarmed, it is EXTREMELY wet compared to every other pizza dough I have worked with.  It can be difficult to work with if you don't know a few tricks.  For instance, DO NOT try to roll it out with a rolling pin.  That will only lead to lots of stickage and frustration.  In my experience, it is best to work with this dough while it is warm, with your hands, slowly stretching it out to size. It is soft and pliable so you can finish stretching it out to fit the pan after you place it on your pan.

Please be advised: I used weights for the flour because that is a MUCH more accurate way to measure flour.  Also, you may want to keep an eye on the dough the first time you make it because it does typically hit the top of my bread machine. I just wipe the top down with a damp cloth when it does this.

My Very Favorite Pizza Crust
Makes 2 large pizzas

2 1/4 c. warm water
3 tsp. yeast
3 tsp. sugar
24 oz. bread flour (about 4 1/8 cups)
5.25 oz. semolina flour (3/4 c.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

Place warm water, yeast, and sugar in bread machine.  Let sit to make sure your yeast is active (you will begin to see small bubbles forming).  Add all of your dry ingredients  and start bread machine on dough setting.  Once the bread machine is done kneading,  add 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan, close the bread machine, and let it finish the dough cycle.  

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Roll out the dough (I prefer to work it with my hands) and place it on two greased pizza pans.  At this point I like to brush each pizza with about 1/2 Tbsp. of EVOO.  Bake for a few minutes, just until crust barely begins to turn golden.  Put on your desired toppings and bake until done.

Make Ahead Tips:  Make several pizza crusts ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 5 days (the dough will just get tastier with time).  Let rise once, punch down, and store in a ziploc bag until ready to use.  Let dough come to room temp. before proceeding.

You can also let the dough rise, then freeze it for future use.  Let it thaw for a couple of days in the fridge, or for about 4-6 hours on the counter.  Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 16
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 185.7
  • Total Fat: 1.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 219.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 38.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
  • Protein: 5.3 g

The Best Banana Bread

Yes, I know there are a gazillion banana bread recipes out there.  I have tried many of them;P  This one really is the best though.  So please??  Try one more, OK?

The Best Banana Bread

1/2 c. butter (softened to room temperature)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream (I often use light)
3 medium bananas, mashed (should equal about 1 c. worth)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, whip sugar and butter together until it is light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  

Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir into the butter mixture until smooth.  Finally, fold in the sour cream and mashed bananas.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  

Johnny Carino's Bowtie Festival

While I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this recipe having never had it at Johnny Carino's, I can say that it is a delicious treat.

Johnny Carino's Bowtie Festival

2 oz. melted butter
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/4 c. diced red onion
1/4 c. diced cooked bacon
1/2 c. diced Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 lb. sliced, cooked chicken
2 oz. heavy whipping cream
6 oz. Alfredo sauce (recipe follows)
1/4 c. Asiago cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 lb. bowtie pasta, cooked

In a heated saucepan, combine butter, garlic, onions, bacon, tomatoes, chicken, and spices.  

When onions begin to turn translucent, and heavy cream and Asiago.

Once cheese and cream have reduced by half, add alfredo sauce and bowtie pasta.  Toss until well-combined and remove from heat.  Allow to cool for a few minutes so the cheese and sauce can thicken.

Alfredo Sauce

2 c. Heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 Tbsp. black pepper
1/8 c. whole milk

Bring heavy cream, milk, and black pepper to a consistent boil.  Remove cream mixture from heat and fold in parmesan cheese.  Store completed sauce in fridge until use.

If you have extra alfredo sauce (which you should) you may want to serve it as a dipping sauce for some french bread or breadsticks.  

Crockpot Baked Beans & Sausage

Today I am playing catch-up.  I had several recipes I planned on posting this week that I didn't get around to.  My pictures are building up, so I made a commitment to myself to get everything that I photographed from March up today.  I really can't let myself get so behind!  There is actually one delicious looking recipe that I can't for the life of me remember how I made it or where I got the original recipe!

This one is a winner.  My entire family loved it.  It is so quick and easy to throw in the crock for those evenings that you have activities and won't have time to cook.  It think it would be a fantastic addition to a BBQ potluck.  

Crockpot Baked Beans & Sausage

1 lb. kielbasa type sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c. ketchup
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
3 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained

Mix together ketchup, sugars, vinegar, molasses, mustard.  Set aside.

Cut kielbasa into bite-sized pieces.

In a crockpot, mix together the kielbasa, onion, and beans.  Add ketchup mixture and stir well.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

This is a great basic mashed potato recipe that I have been meaning to get on here for awhile now.  I have made it several times.  These are a more light and fluffy recipe that goes wonderfully with gravies or sauces although I also think these taste great on their own.  My husband does prefer my other mashed potato recipe (it is thicker) but I think I might prefer these.  I think they are more similar to what I remember my grandma making:)

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Kosher Salt
3 lbs. boiling potatoes (such as Yukon gold- I believe I used Russet here)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter- unsalted (I sometimes use salted because it is what I typically have on hand)
3/4 c. -1 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, bring 4 Qts. of water and 2 Tbsp. salt to a boil.  Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes and add them to the boiling water.  Bring the water to a boil again, and lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them,  Mash the potatoes (I usually whip them with my hand-held mixer).  Mix in the butter and milk.  Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy.  Add 2 tsp. salt and the pepper, to taste.  

Source: Modified from the Barefoot Contessa

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oatmeal Caramelites

Not long after I met my husband, he introduced me to these sinful bars, Oatmeal Caramelites.  They are a favorite in his family and I can see why.  They aren't something that I make too often due to their high calories content (maybe a couple times a year) but there isn't much that can beat them.  

While I have been making these for years, I recently saw them featured on The Sisters Cafe .  I was so glad that I looked at their recipe because it cured me of my least favorite part about making these!  Unwrapping the bag of caramels and melting them!  I don't know why I never though of it, but their recipe uses caramel ice cream topping thickened with a bit of flour.  Genius!  Now those pesky wrappers won't keep me from making these.  Jeans, beware!

Oatmeal Caramelites

1 c. flour
1 c. quick oats (can also use regular oats)
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. chocolate chip (semi-sweet or milk are both fine)
3/4 c. caramel ice cream topping
1/2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter, melted
3 Tbsp. flour

Mix flour, oats, sugar, soda, salt, and butter.  Press half of mixture into a 11 x 7 inch pan and set the other half aside.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Blend 3/4 c. caramel with 3 Tbsp. flour.  Drizzle over chocolate chips.  Sprinkle the remaining oat/flour mixture over the top.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until light brown.  Cool, then slice.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

PW's BBQ Meatballs

Yes, I am, once again, posting a recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  I have made these a couple of times.  The first time, I followed her recipe to a tee.  The second time, I cheated.  In my opinion, the meatballs were still delicious despite shaving time and fat off the recipe by cheating, so that is the route I will go in the future.  Either way, these meatballs have a classic, tangy flavor, perfect for serving with some mashed potatoes and green beans for a real comfort food meal.

My green beans that you see pictured I canned myself, along with the help of some of my in-laws.  When I buy green beans from the grocery store, I tend to stick to either fresh or frozen. There is something about canning vegetables yourself that makes them taste ever so much better. I am so looking forward to planting my garden this year!  I want to do more canning and freezing than ever before!  I just love eating my own vegetables year round and knowing exactly where my food came from.

BBQ Meatballs
Serves 8

For Meatballs:
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 c. quick oats
1 c. 1% milk
3 Tbsp. very finely minced onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
plenty of black pepper, to taste

For Sauce:
1 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. worcestershire
4-6 Tbsp. onion, finely minced
1 dash Tabasco 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Combine all meatball ingredients.  Roll into medium sized balls and place in 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  

Combine all sauce ingredients.  Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  

Serve with egg noodles, crusty french bread, or, my favorite, mashed potatoes.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 8
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 324.2
  • Total Fat: 18.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 65.6 mg
  • Sodium: 1,009.6 mg
  • Total Carbs: 19.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
  • Protein: 17.5 g

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lucky Green Velvet Cupcakes

I realize that St. Patrick's Day is over and done with, but I really wanted to make sure that I saved this cupcake recipe.  It really was fabulous, both the cupcake AND the frosting.  Besides, green is also a wonderful spring color AND both my boys' favorite color (although you really could do them any color you heart desires)!  

Lucky Green Velvet Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I used Canola, I never use Vegetable oil anymore)
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 c. plain yogurt or sour cream (I used light sour cream)
5-8 drops green decorators paste (I just used the regular old food coloring that I had on hand.  It worked just fine although it took much more than the decorators paste would to get a nice green)
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a stand or electric mixer, add cake mix, eggs, water, oil, pudding, and sour cream or yogurt.  Beat on medium for 1 1/2 minutes.  Slowly beat in decorators paste or food coloring until you get your desired color.  

Scoop batter into paper-lined cupcake tins.  Bake 15-18 minutes or until cooked through.  Let cool completely.  

Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and add sprinkles if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar (the recipe calls for it to be sifted, but I can't be bothered with that;P)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.  Mix in vanilla.  Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

Recipe Source: I saw this recipe featured on both Picky Palate and Real Mom Kitchen.

Monday, April 12, 2010

No Peek Beef Tips

It is cold, overcast, and windy here in ND today and my daughter and I have plans of staying home all day with our slippers on.  Certainly, a big benefit to being a stay-at-home parent:P  This cold day made me think of the No Peek Beef tips that I made and photographed (although not well) last month.  They were SO good, I actually made them twice last month, actually.  It really is comfort food and with the warm weather spell we were having, I guess I wasn't in the mood to post them.  Anyway, I will certainly be making these again and again.  They are easy, comforting, and delicious.

No Peek Beef Tips

2 lb. beef tenderloin tips, stew meat, chuck roast, or chuck eye (cubed)
1 can, cream of mushroom soup
1 pkt. brown gravy mix
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 small can mushrooms (I had to leave them out because of my mushroom hating hubby.  Boo.)
1 c. water or ginger ale (I used water)

Add cubed meat to a 9x13 inch pan.  In a big bowl, mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the meat.  Add the mushrooms and stir to coat.  Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours. DO NOT REMOVE FOIL UNTIL TIME IS UP.

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles.


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