Friday, February 18, 2011

This Lasagna was FAB

So, I totally didn't take pictures because it was only my 2nd time making lasagna ever, people know what lasagna looks like, and because the camera has new batteries in it and is packed in my hospital bag, ready for whenever this kid decides he wants to arrive.
Bare with me as I kinda sorta made this up as I went along...I didn't measure, but these are more estimates (I know y'all hate when I do this to you, but I'm pretty accurate, I think). Let me know if any of my measurements should be changed when you make it...I'll be sure to give you credit too!

2 lbs ground beef (I used chuck, from a roll. Really, it's quite good)
1/2 tsp dried onion
1/2 tsp dried garlic
2 tsp basil, fresh, diced, divided (you could use about 1 tbsp dried basil)
1 jar Barilla Marinara sauce (you can use other things, this is just what I had on hand)
1 tub (16 oz) Daisy low fat cottage cheese (again, this is what I had on hand)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp pepper, ground
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 lb mozzarella cheese, divided
12-15 lasagna noodles (the no-boil ones are legit as well, but I didn't have them)

Brown ground beef in a medium sauce pan, with onion and garlic, drain any excess fat.
Add marinara sauce and half of the basil. Let simmer about an hour. Add in 2nd half of basil.
Cook lasagna noodles as directed, drain and set aside.
Combine cottage cheese, eggs, pepper, oregano, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of mozzarella.
In a lasagna pan, layer noodles, cheese mixture, and meat sauce, repeating until it's even with the top of the pan. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until cheese mixture is thoroughly melted. I also turned on the broiler for a few seconds to make the top that golden bubbly deliciousness.

I served with a salad and The Pioneer Woman's "The Bread" which, is SERIOUSLY the most easy awesomeness you'll ever come across.

Eventually, ok, SOON I'll make this again and post pictures. I promise. <3

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders

Coconut shrimp is my weakness. If you've ever been to the Sagebrush Cantina, theirs is FANTASTIC. I can't help but to order it. It's sweet. Like, donut sweet. Sooooo good. So, back in December, we went to a surprise birthday party for one of Mike's cousins at Downtown Main Martini Bar & Grille in Brighton, MI. We had Coconut Chicken as an appetiser and it was absolutely amazing. I decided to give it a try myself and though I'll be altering the recipe a bit the next time I make it, it still turned out really well for "oven fried."

1 c coconut
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 400*F.
In a flat surfaced container, combine coconut, flour, salt, and pepper.

Dip the chicken tenders into the egg, then coat with the coconut mixture.

Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 25 minutes, turning once.

For additional browning/crispiness, I left them under the broiler for another minute or so more.

Pre-heat oven to 400*F. In a flat surfaced container, combine coconut, flour, salt, and pepper. Dip the chicken tenders into the egg, then coat with the coconut mixture. Place tenders in a shallow, un-greased baking pan, 1 inch apart. Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 25 minutes, turning once. For additional browning/crispiness, I left them under the broiler for another minute or so more.

Next time, I may try more of a batter instead of a dry flour mixture. I'll keep you posted. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 4, 2011

MmmHmm Margarita Pizza

I love pizza. I'm not alone really. According to Your Guide to Pizza, "Americans eat an average of 46 slices of pizza a year." AND, because it's officially the Super Bowl weekend, another fact, according to YGtP, "More pizza is consumed during Super Bowl week than any other week of the year." Seriously folks, this is big time food love.

Currently, my Margarita Pizza is in the oven, smelling delicious, enticing my senses. I can hardly stand it. The smell of basil, cheese, bread and tomatoes in the oven is truly making me drool. Even though the timer is set, I keep running over to open the oven for whiffs. I'm an addict.

Ingredients for 1 large-ish pizza
1 pizza dough (click the link for the recipe)- if you want flat crust, omit the yeast.
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, fresh, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
1 lg. tomato, chopped
3 tsp. basil, fresh, chapped
garlic salt, to taste

Toss your dough and spread it on your pan or stone. Sprinkle with a little garlic salt. Or, a lot. Whatever you want, it's your pizza.

Chop your tomato, basil and slice the cheese. Yes, I used roma tomatoes, that's what I had on hand.

Layer cheese, tomato and basil onto the dough.

Place into a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until crust is evenly browned.

Remove, let set about 5 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Guinness Beef Stew

I love beer. I really love Guinness. If you ever want to make me happy, bring me Guinness. Or better yet, chocolate Guinness cake which, I've had once and obtained and lost the recipe. My new mission is to find it again and share the deliciousness with you.

I've been home for the last 2 weeks, off on maternity leave. Apparently, my job is too far away from the hospital and because of my complications, they're keeping me on a tight leash. Swell. I really don't mind too much, except I'm a bit bored. What better to do than bake and cook my days away? (I don't think The Husband minds much either...he's actually getting home cooked meals again.)

So, I'm stuck at home, knocked up, bored and avoiding (read: not really able to) leaving the house due to the "Snowmageddon" snow storm that covered like 30 states or something like that. Yeah, we got a bunch of snow, it was cold and windy as what. Sorry- anyway- I decided to make some beef stew. Yummyness.

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 lb. Stew Meat (yes, the label really says "Stew Meat")
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (I didn't have fresh, so I used the minced crap in a jar, this is an estimate of how much I used)
1 12 oz. bottle of Guinness
4 c beef stock (I use low or no sodium)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
.5 tsp cayenne pepper
.5 tsp Kosher salt
1.5 tsp sugar
4-6 whole carrots, unpeeled, washed, very roughly sliced
4-6 new potatoes, very roughly sliced
black pepper, freshly ground - to taste
Water, if needed

In a large skillet, melt butter and add olive oil. Add the meat to brown. I cooked to about medium temperature. While that's cooking, chop your onion. Don't cry, it's just the onion. You should also dice your garlic at this time too...unless you're lazy like me and use the jarred crap. When the meat is browned, remove to a separate cutting board.

Add the diced onions and saute until soft. While that's cooking, cut your meat into smaller, more bite-sized bits. Next, add your garlic and cook for a bout a minute more.

Once the onion and garlic are soft, I transferred them and the remaining liquid from the pan into a large stock pot, as you can see below.

Mmmmm, Guinness.

Measure your Guinness (if you're like me, you get a bigger bottle and drink half...just make sure you save 12 oz. for the stew) and add to the stock pot.

Add in the beef stock. (or in my case, veggie stock, because I had none. Nor did I have any beef bouillon, but truly, no one knew the difference)

Add your tomato paste. You could use more than the recommended amount, if you'd like. Hell, I probably did. I don't measure anything.

Next the Worcestershire Sauce. Notice I didn't clean the measuring spoon from when I added the tomato paste. Again, I don't care that much.

Then, add your sugar, salt, Cayenne pepper and fresh ground pepper. You don't have to separate it here, but I didn't want to have 17 photos of adding various spoons of crap into the stew. That's right, I care about you, the reader, and your time, and your eye balls.

Mmm, meat, in bite-sized pieces.

Toss your meat (gently because the liquid is hot) back into the pot.

After all of the meat is back into the pot, cover and simmer over low heat. Take about a 2 hour time out. Put your feet up, drink a little of the Guinness if you want. Relax. Your meat needs time to tenderize.

Mmmm, carrots. And potatoes.

Coarsely or roughly chop your carrots and potatoes. I cut them into bite sized pieces. The Husband said he like them like that, a bit on the bigger side. I think he feels this stew is "manly-er" because everything was a bit bigger than in the canned soup crap that he eats. ::shudder::

Add your potatoes and carrots to the pot. At this time, you could TOTALLY add other veggies. I contemplated doing so as well but got lazy. I wanted to watch the blizzard rather than chop more stuff.

Cover again, and let simmer at least 45 minutes. Sample the veggies to make sure they're cooked. You should probably sample some more Guinness too. If the soup needs anything more; seasoning, WATER if it's too thick, etc., add it here and simmer a few minutes more.

(Directions without pictures)
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet or pan (you could make this into a 1 Pot Dish or Crock Pot Recipe, but I chose not to.) over medium-high heat. Brown meat. While that's cooking, chop and mince your onions and garlic, keeping them separate. Once meat is cooked, set aside, onto a cutting board. Cut pieces in half and save for later.

Add diced onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently for a few minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about another minute. Transfer to large sauce pan or crock pot.

Pour in beer and beef stock. Add Worcestershire, tomato paste, Cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Coarsely chop carrots and potatoes (and other veggies if desired) and add into the pot. Cover and cook for an additional 45-ish minutes. If your stew is too dry, add hot water as needed. Sample and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with buttered bread, salad, etc. Whatever. Just ENJOY!

I served this with some buttered Everything Bagel Bread. Soooooo good. The Husband agrees.

Makes about 4 larger servings.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oops! Now it's Bagel Bread!


Yesterday, I tried (keyword being "tried") making bagels. I think my flour was old (I know, many of you will say it was the yeast or the water temp, but I just bought it and the water was about 135f). Anyway, I followed the recipe for Nigella's Bagels as I have so many times before, adding garlic powder, dried diced onion, sesame and poppy seeds, and the stuff never really did raise the way it was supposed to. (I'm seriously contemplating changing my blog name to The Accidental Baker or some shit like that. Because really, things I make rarely ever turn out the way they're supposed to. ha.)

So, I decided that instead of throwing the delicious smelling-dough away, I'd bake it bread! YEAH! That's it, I'll make bread out. I avoided the boiling process that's used in the bagel recipe, formed the dough into loaves and let them proof (raise), covered by oiled plastic wrap in a 100 degree f oven. (We're cheap and keep our house at 65...not so good for making things that need to raise).

After the 2nd "raising" which never really worked too well, I took the plastic wrap off, turned the oven to 375f and baked the hell out of it for about 20 minutes, buttering the top at about 18 minutes. The top didn't brown too well (of course), so I turned the broiler on it for a few seconds and "wallah" Bagel Bread! WOOT!