Twerking. I mean, tweaking… recipes that is.

Not much has happened this week that is blog-post worthy … I mean, I made a phenomenal pizza which I’ll absolutely share with you – all credit goes to Ree Drummond.  Since I’m cooking a lot of repeats of our favorite recipes I do try to make at least 1 thing new each week or tweak an oldie to make it a “newbie”.

Oldie made “newbie” – salsa chicken (chicken breasts, salsa, cheese)
The recipe calls for taco seasoning to be sprinkled on the chicken … well I used fajita seasoning – WAY BETTER! Not just any fajita seasoning, you know it had to be Bolner’s. Pour on the salsa as usual, but get a fun one … something with chunks of veggies in it, not just runny/cheap/generic salsa. Considering chicken and cheese is el-cheapo, splurge a few extra bucks on decent salsa … it adds to the texture as well.

What else did I make … (I need to consult my menu board, it’s been a LONG and CRAZY week).
Oh yeah – store prepared kabobs (beef wrapped in bacon and scallops wrapped in bacon … double turf & 1 surf, HA!)  As a side I made a Martha dish, cherry tomato and basil crisp (which turned out more like a crumble, but it was still good 😉 ) It might because I used whole wheat bread – maybe it doesn’t firm up as nicely as white. I was trying to make a healthy swap.

So I ‘cheated’ with something prepared but wanted the meal to feel homemade. Easy.
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Another simple creation, inspired by Martha but I put my own twist on it.  Originally it was supposed to be spinach penne and ricotta… well that’s not substantial for this house so I bought regular penne, added fresh spinach which I had leftover, and sliced Italian sausage. Oh man, now that’s a filling dish. I didn’t have any pine nuts but I sure did have almonds! Chop those babies up and sprinkle on top – great textures between the pasta, spinach, sausage, shredded parm, and soft ricotta.
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Okay, okay … the pizza!
My cheat: Bisquick mix for the dough! Sprinkle onion and garlic power in along the way, BOOM. So good.
Follow Ree’s recipe for the pizza toppings … it’s easy; really, really, really easy. Don’t cheat on the cheese, get what the recipe calls for – all of the different flavors are like an explosion and when you add the tomato/basil/balsamic vinegar mixture to the top – holy cow. It’s amazing!
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I added the cheese to a RAW Bisquick dough (shoot, don’t forget the pesto!!!) – let the dough turn golden brown and the cheese becomes ooey-gooey – 15-20 minutes (25-30 if you like crispy) … let it sit for the cheese to firm up just a bit (it’s easier to cut), add the tomatoes and life will be good in 3, 2, 1… YUM!

This was our first pizza on a pizza stone – BUY ONE. Just do it. Those pizza pans with holes are garbage. Lesson learned.

We’ve got pork chops and a grilled zucchini salad for tonight. Not just any pork chops, hitting up the old blue cheese and cranberries (I’m going to freeze it like a ‘steak butter’ and let it melt over the pork chop as I’m plating).

ENJOY!

 

 

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watch your wallet & waistline

Another day of rain … figures, it’s my day off for errands and it’s completely gross outside.  I can handle hurrying into stores and dashing back to my car but it’s the drivers that make me nuts! A little rain and BOOM, people forget how to drive.

This of course adds to those who insist on going 15 below on a highway, chatting away on their phones or texting. Every person that I’m stuck behind and end up passing, ON THEIR PHONE. The people driving between 2 lanes, ON THEIR PHONE.  If I can’t see your eyeballs in the side view mirror, I’m going out on a limb here by guessing that you’re TEXTING IN YOUR LAP. Yesterday’s “cell phone driver” happened to be an older woman, handicap plates … she was going maybe 50 in a 65 on a 4 lane highway, hitting her breaks every few seconds … she was using her forearms to drive while texting with TWO hands. Seriously? Are your plates “handicap” because you’re stupid?!  It’s bad out here in San Antonio; I’m scared to go grocery shopping … praying no one side swipes me because the car in front of me is going too slow to get on a highway ramp … or praying that no one slams on their breaks when they see a yield sign (with no other cars in sight!).

Oh why should I think my life is more valuable than that phone call, which I’m sure just can’t wait. Or that text message, it just needs a reply RIGHT NOW.

At least when I’m home I can feel safe, I try to forget all of that craziness with cooking … I get in the zone and I don’t think about anything but the food in front of me. The last 2 nights were no exception with two new recipes. They checked off a nice list too: budget friendly, healthy, flavorful, and easy to make.

Monday: vegetarian quesadillas
The goal to use a nice variety of peppers and multiple cheeses.
Here’s my breakdown:
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 poblano pepper – adds a nice kick (control spice level with ribs and seeds)
1 sweet tomato
Diced green onions
“Fiesta” blend shredded cheese (colby, monteray, pepper jack)

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Yes, I have a GF grill that came with quesadilla plates but you can makes these on the stove in a large pan (make sure you flip them!). Use a pizza slicer and there ya go, easy dinner!  Pull out whatever toppings float your boat, we had sour cream and “guac” (I didn’t have time to make a true guac so I bought the imitation dip, which is actually really tasty) … and refried beans as a side. Everyone can create their own quesadilla, get the family involved in the kitchen.  This is a great ‘football Sunday’ or party dish, a perfect finger food that isn’t messy.

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Tuesday: Chinese Five Spice beef kabobs (with dipping sauce) + orzo with broccoli
It was a little time consuming only because I hadn’t made it before, but now that I’ve done it … it should only take 20 minutes as the recipe says. The steaks were perfect bite size pieces and the marinade was incredibly delish.  You could make the marinade as strong or weak as you’d like (increase/decrease the five spice, keep the amount of soy sauce so the meat doesn’t dry out). I did my own take on the dipping sauce, cut the mint and added it directly to the Greek yogurt, squirted in lime juice … done.
Orzo with broccoli was just a random thought I had on Sunday while doing my weekly planning … you can buy a bag of frozen broccoli florets (no stem pieces added), let it thaw and cut the stems off with kitchen scissors. Add that to the already al dente orzo (don’t drain yet!), let the broccoli cook through at a medium boil.  Make sure you HEAVILY salt the orzo water and once I drained the pasta/broccoli, I added more salt & pepper plus a big dose of grated parm cheese.

IMG_3878 … I accidentally deleted the finished product. WHOOPSIES!
It was just the meat and orzo on the same plate. No biggie, close your eyes and imagine it 🙂

 

There you go, 2 easy meals – cook and enjoy!