Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Bowl/Super Food

Do I like Super Bowl? 

It depends on how you define Super Bowl. 

Do I like sitting around shouting at the TV hoping that someone on the other end can hear me?

Do I like getting together with friends on the big day?

Do I like loosing my husbands attention span because all he can think about is whether or not his favorite team is scoring?  And shouting at the TV?

Actually my husband doesn't even watch football (or any sport for that matter) but I know some of ya' all can relate.

Do I like preparing game day food and eating it as if I missed breakfast, lunch and dinner?

For kicks and giggles here's a fun app for the big day.

Barbecue chicken Pizzettas

The process

Pizza dough/focaccia bread recipe was shared with me by my friend Jennifer.
It's delicious

Barbecue Chicken Pizzettas


2 chicken breasts roasted and shredded fine
1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce(I like sweet baby rays)
1/2 cup onion, sliced thin and rings cut in quarters
2 cups mixed, Jack and Cheddar cheese
1 pizza dough

For pizza dough(by Jennifer)

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, basil, and/or oregano (choose your combination)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water

corn meal(optional)

Mix 1 cup of flour with the herbs, sugar, salt and yeast. Add warm water and olive oil and stir until incorporated. Add in the remaining flour until combined. Knead until it resembles what you buy at the store. Rub more olive oil over exterior surface of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and rise for 1/2 to 1 hour. 

Heat oven to 425

Preparing pizza dough: Roll out dough on lightly floured surface until nice and thin(about 1/8 inch) With cookie cutter or anything else you have round and about 2 inches in diameter cut out mini pizzas. Gather up scraps and roll out until your desired amount. Put pizza rounds on 2 large baking sheets that have been sprinkled with corn meal.

For the chicken: Put shredded chicken in medium size bowl and add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce. Mix and set aside.

Building Pizzettas: Spread about 1 teaspoon of BBQ sauce on pizza rounds, add 1 tablespoon of cheese, top with 1 tablespoon chicken, and 2-3 slices of onion. Top with a little more cheese.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden on edges and cheese is bubbly on top.
Makes a ton, about 35-40 pizzas.

Will there be any of these mini pizzas left after the game?

Absolutely not!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Bake Apple Cake

I think we all know I'm best suited with an apron in hand(or rather around my waist) and hovered deep in chopping over my well used cutting board.

I do like to bake, but I find it quite intimidating. I'm not sure if it's releasing all control to my oven to make sure my baking beauties are done properly or if it's the fact that most baking recipes require exact measurements. 

I don't like to measure.

My creations are usually a little of this and a pinch of that and watching it all unfold before my eyes......not my ovens.

I received a recipe from my friend Jennifer(whom I've only known for 2 months but feels like 10 years) through e-mail that won huge praise when presented to her co workers. One coworker being my husband who couldn't stop talking about this dessert. She was so kind to share this recipe with me and I'm delighted to share it with you.  This Cake Rocks!

Brace yourself.......

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

The process

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

Combine and set aside:
3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Beat together in a large mixing bowl:
1 c. oil (I changed this and used 1/2 c. canola oil and 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce)
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. orange juice
2 T. vanilla

Incorporate dry ingredients; beat together until batter is smooth.
Peel, core, and slice:
4 medium or 3 large Granny Smith apples(I only used two Granny smith and cut them in 1 inch pieces)
Toss w/ 1 T. lemon juice + 1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a Bundt cake pan. Dust with cinnamon (you know, instead of flouring it).

Put 1/3 of the prepared batter in the bottom of the pan. Layer 1/2 the apples. Put another 1/3 of the batter, followed by the rest of the apples and the rest of the batter on top. Bake at 350 for 60- 75 minutes. Let cake cool *completely* before attempting to remove it from the pan.

Frost with:
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
(Bring these 3 ingredients to a full rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.)
Remove from heat and add 2 c. powdered sugar + 1 t. vanilla. Beat with electric mixer or hand blender until smooth. Use frosting immediately on the cake, it sets up quickly! 

Note: This is simply, how should I say this, to die for!

Thanks Jennifer!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What I didn't show you

If you stopped in to view yesterdays post then you would have been delighted at the adventure my daughter Ave and I embarked on.

What I didn't show you however, was a moment any mother would detest to experience with their 5 year old.

A moment of frustration.

I can't figure out if it's the sheer annoyance of me with my camera, or the fact that I took over walking the dog after he decided that 45 pounds was no match for him. 

You make the call.

As we lugged our tired behinds back in our home, lunch was just around the corner. 

What I didn't show you was Avery had her usual bean burrito, but I on the other hand had something far more exciting.

Pearl Barley Salad

This salad is similar to other pasta salads without the pasta. I had a half bag of pearl barley in my fridge and with other inspired ingredients I knew I could pull off a really good lunch. 

The process

Notice the olives and cheese all in one. Take advantage of the olive bar at you local grocery store.

Cook and drain barley 

Mix and set aside vinaigrette 

Quarter tomatoes and halve olives

Mix all together

Fold in cheese

Barley Greek Salad with
Red Wine Vinaigrette 


For the salad
1 cup pearl barley(i used Arrowhead mills organic brand)
 32 oz quality vegetable stock(about 4 cups)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup olives, halved(I got mine at the olive bar)
1/4 cup feta cheese(cheese came with olives at olive bar)

For the vinaigrette
2 Tb red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tb olive oil
2 Tb fresh mint, chopped
1 Tb fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper


In a medium size sauce pot put 1 cup barley and the whole box of veg stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour.

Meanwhile put all vinaigrette ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, whisk and set aside.

When barley is tender yet still has a little firmness in center drain and let cool a few minutes. Put tomatoes and olives in medium size bowl. Then add semi cooled barley and vinaigrette. Combine the ingredients and gently fold in cheese. Serves 4 

Note: As with usual pasta salad, it's even better the second day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Conquering the hill

Some of the best moments in my day are spent right outside my front door. 

Moments as simple as a naked oak tree exposing all it's flaws in the raw of winter.

I'm so blessed to have a couple days during the week to venture out for a brisk walk and fresh air. The wind brushing my cheeks; the cool air stinging my nose. It's something to cherish and wishing I could do more often.

Just me, the open sky, and my God. There's nothing like it.

Today however, I was equally blessed(in a different way) to have Avery join me. The outdoors to her means adventure, make believe, and cool rocks.  As we headed down the road though she decided this walk would not be worthy of our time if we didn't make it up the great big hill.

You see, we don't live on a nice paved road with sidewalks and newly planted trees; new mothers pushing their baby strollers, and folks waving hello. It's just us and the gravel road. It's just us and the great big hill.

As we journeyed along, we pretended we were lost and homes were no where to be found. We pretended there were grapes on the vine and fresh water to quench our thirst.

We pretended that the hill we were climbing was actually a mountain, but when we got to the top, we pretended we were Rocky Balboa.

Although we were tired and the journey back was just the same, we made simple memories. Nothing was left out because sometimes all you need (and she needs) is time.

Time to feel loved and time to be who we are. Just a couple of girls with our hair pulled back and our lazy pants to suit. We conquered the hill today............

Which one did you have to climb?

Monday, January 24, 2011

No Win, New Recipe

I'm guessing our chili cook off at church on Sunday had at least 25 entries. Let me just start by saying that I did not win first place.......nor second.......or third. 

Kiss off cook off!

Just kidding.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at all the great combinations of chili. Chicken chili, beef chili, pork chili, and the two vegetarian chili's. The turn out was huge and most important was gathering together for family community. 

No win this year but watch out next year. I'm coming home with more than someone else's crock pot lid and far to much fiber.

After breaking all my nails this morning scraping off the chili crusties from my crock pot, I decided I really needed to change things up a bit so tonight's meal would not resemble last weeks class of food.

Why do I always say tonight's meal.

Don't answer that!

This week will be a bit of a hodge-podge of recipes and I just might say.......this mornings meal.......or, for lunch today.

Back to.......tonights meal.

What could it be.........

Chicken stuffed shells with
Alfredo thyme sauce


3 chicken breasts roasted and shredded
3 cups fresh spinach(if using frozen, use one box and squeeze all the water out)
1 pint of heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp fresh thyme
handful of fresh parsley
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper(or to taste)
15 Jumbo shells
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350

Start by cooking pasta shells in boiling water for 12 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse and lay out on baking sheet to keep separated.

Meanwhile, melt and saute garlic in large heavy bottom pan set on medium heat. When butter is melted add cream. When cream begins to boil add a cup of Parmesan cheese; reduce heat to simmer and add thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 15 minutes. 

When sauce is slightly thickened add parsley and remove from heat. (taste at this point to make sure you don't need more salt)

In a large bowl put spinach, chicken and the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Stir together and add 1/4 cup sauce.

Fill 15 shells with mixture to the brim. You want them to be nice and tight and full.
Set filled shells in whatever dish you have to fit 15 shells sprayed with cooking spray.
Pour the rest of the Alfredo thyme sauce over the top and sprinkle with panko crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is a little golden brown. Serves 3-4

Note: I double the recipe when I have friends over, but you could do it anyway and freeze the rest.

Maybe I should have taken this to the kiss cook off.