Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kid-friendly Pizza Bites

Today I faced the usual conundrum of what to have for lunch. Hungry & grumpy, I went for the ol' standby. Cause who doesn't love pizza?  And mini pizzas are such happy little finger foods. Like happy little trees. Only edible. And not green. Unless you want them to be green.

Don't you want me baby! Don't you want me, oooooh!
This recipe is super easy, and I can't help but think that kids would love to make it.  This is all you need:
And then of course whatever toppings you want to put on 'em. A jar of Prego & some shredded mozzarella...  Frank's Red Hot sauce and shredded chicken... Refried beans, salsa, and cheddar, why not?  Heck, today I even made a few with my bacon horseradish dip.  Because I could.

For one dozen pizza bites, you just need an egg, 1/3c of milk, 1/2c of flour, a big pinch of salt, and a muffin tin.  Mix it up in a bowl and add whatever other spices you want (pictured up there is black pepper, basil, & oregano ).

Spray the muffin tin with non-stick spray and use a regular household tablespoon to load up the cups.

 Bake it for about 20 minutes until the batter has risen and is a little bit brown & crispy around the edges. I like to bake it until it doesn't look wet anymore.

← Good enough.

Then put on your toppings. Today I did some with spaghetti sauce & cheddar, some spaghetti sauce & bleu cheese, some combo, all with onions, and a few bacon horseradish. I mean, why not, y'know?  Have fun with it.

Then bake it for another 20 minutes or so, and voila. Lunch. Dinner. Snacktime. Whatever you want, the sky is the limit. And just so's you knows, if you double the recipe, it makes the perfect amount of batter to fit on a pizza stone. Just keep it at 1 egg. Double everything else.


1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of milk
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon of salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix first four ingredients in a small/medium bowl. Add seasonings like basil, oregano, shredded cheese, or other spices that will compliment your toppings, as desired.
3) Spray the muffin tin with non-stick spray in each cup.
4) Using a regular household tablespoon, fill each muffin cup. One tablespoon-full in each cup should work out just right.
5) Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
6) Remove from oven and add your toppings. Don't overload these with sauce, by the way; just a teaspoon of spaghetti sauce on each pizza bite is fine.
7) Bake another 15-20 minutes.
7.5) You can remove the pizza bites easily using a fork or tablespoon to tip them out of the tin.

And there you have it. Omnomnom!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bacon Horseradish Dip

So maybe you got a work potluck coming up, or maybe you're making sloppy joes for dinner and you need a side dish. Look, sloppy joes are a perfectly adequate dinner. The commercial even says it counts as a vegetable. You can have sloppy joes for dinner if you want. You can even put the sloppy joe mixture on one long french bread loaf and then broil it in the oven with cheddar cheese on top.

(Psst... do it. Do it. Make up your sloppy joe mix and then take a loaf of french or italian bread, slice it lengthwise, spread the entire pot of sloppy joe meat over it, cover with a few slices of cheddar and maybe some bacon if you want, and then broil it until the edges of the bread are toasty and the cheese is melty. It's really good. You're a grownup. You can eat what you want.)

You know what else is good and you can eat it if you want? Bacon horseradish dip. The secret is in the lemon.

(*Note: all good dips require some resting time, and this one is no exception. It's going to have to sit for a few hours in the fridge before you serve it.)


7 or 8 slices of bacon
1/2 package of cream cheese
3/4 of a 16ounce tub of sour cream
2 or 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2.5 to 3 ounces of horseradish (basically, 2/3 to 3/4 of the tiny jar you buy at the grocery store)
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon lemon extract
salt & pepper to taste

1) Fry up your bacon, transfer to a paper towel, roll it up in the paper towel to absorb grease. It's ok to have curly bacon; we're chopping it up anyway. Set the bacon/paper towel burrito to the side to cool off while you do other important things.
2) With a fork, mash the sour cream & cream cheese together in a small mixing bowl, then mash in the mayo.  Mix well.
3) Add in all remaining ingredients (horseradish, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon, salt/pepper) and mix it up. Don't have to be fancy here, we're just making dip.
4) Chop up the bacon nice and small and mix it into the dip.
5) Let it sit covered in the fridge for at least 3 or 4 hours before you dig in.
Serve with pretzels, rippled potato chips, and/or Notre Dame games.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Froot Loops Cookies

I know I promised to you all that I would never use cake mix. I lied. It was just a little lie. It doesn't really count if I'm using the cake mix to make not-cake, right? I mean, these are just the easiest cookies in the whole world and they're delishus and you have to make them someday. So it's ok if there's a teensy little lie thrown in there.

You'll forgive me when you eat these.

The ingredients are very simple and stuff that you should have on hand. Unless you want to get all fancy up in here. That's cool, cause this recipe is just a blank canvas waiting for fancifying. I made orange & strawberry cookies, and the orange ones tasted like froot loops, the strawberry ones tasted like strawberry ice cream, and the snozzberries tasted like snozzberries.

It all begins with cake mix. Pick a box of something that sounds fun. Like strawberry cake mix!

Add an egg, a package of cream cheese, a stick of butter, 1/2tbsp vanilla extract & a 1/2tbsp of some other extract that matches. Mix it up.

(It smells like strawberry ice cream!)

Roll 'em up into balls, cover 'em with powdered sugar, bake em up, and woo! Done!

This recipe has been around the webs on practically every recipe site out there. And there's so many ways you can change this. Yellow cake with vanilla & almond extract,  chocolate cake with coconut extract, spice cake with rum extract & cinnamon sugar...  I think next time, I'm going to try making a batch of strawberry dough and a batch of orange dough and mixing them together to make half & half cookies. That sounds fun!

Ingredients for Froot Loops variety

1 box of orange cake mix
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon of lemon extract
Powdered sugar in a bowl, approximately 1/2-3/4 of a cup

1) Heat oven to 350ยบ
2) Cream butter & cream cheese together.
3) Beat in the egg.
4) Beat in the extracts.
5) Dump in the cake mix & beat it on low until no longer in danger of sending cake powder all over your kitchen, then mix higher & higher until it's all incorporated into a really heavy dough.
6) Roll the dough into balls and roll the balls in the powdered sugar.
7) Drop them on your parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets and don't worry if they're close together, they don't spread out too much.
8) Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. You want the cookies to be firm to the touch if you poke them a bit with your finger.
9) Immediately remove to your cooling racks. These cool off really fast, so don't hesitate to rip them off the cooling racks and straight into your mouth. Your mouth will thank you.

There you have it, the easiest cookies in the whole world. I wish I had a pretty picture to show you, but it's been really grey and somewhat rainy and we've had no good light, so the pics are coming out meh. Instead, I leave you with a picture of my breakfast:

Toasted whole wheat bagel with baked goat cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. SO good, I'm gonna make it again tomorrow. And probably every day until we're out of goat cheese and/or olive oil. Try it with chevre cheese. Delishus!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Comfort Food: Spaghetti Sammich

First, let me apologize. I really would like to post new exciting bakings every week, but as many of you know I've been a bit on the ill side. Nothing says "come eat my food!" like "*hack*hack*sneeze*cough*splork*".   Instead, I'm offering to you a mini-post on my current favorite comfort food. Warning: it contains no bacon.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, and please don't burn me at the stake for heresy, but... I don't really like pasta. I've never had a really crappy day at work and thought to myself, "Ohmagawd, what I really want right now is a big bowl of alfredo." And let's face it--pasta on its own really isn't that good. It's only good because of what we do to it. It's like tofu: bland, soft, colorless, and you gotta gussy it up to make it appealing.

My favorite part about spaghetti dinners has, honestly, been the garlic toast. Husband makes the spaghetti, and I put the bread in the toaster and then schmear it up with butter & garlic, all warm and melty and gooey and oooooooooh yeah, that's the good stuff right there.  Have you ever been at the italian restaurant and used your bread to scrape up the last of the sauce? That's where it began. I loved to eat the sauce with my garlic toast; then I started leaving a little bit of spaghetti in my bowl to eat on the toast; and then I had the epiphany: why not just put the spaghetti on the toast completely? It's my dinner, I can eat garlic toast spaghetti if I want to!
And you know what? This is really good. You want to.

-Step 1-
These days I buy hoagie or bolillo rolls at the grocery store and keep them in the freezer until needed for sammiches.  You can take them out of the freezer and pop them right in the toaster oven, frozen, and they'll still toast perfectly fine. (Note: you can use regular bread, and just make the sammich open-faced. Still delicious!)  So for step 1, get out your bread of choice, and put it in the toaster.

-Step 2-
While toasting, make up a small bowl of spaghetti. Use extra sauce, cause no one likes a dry sammich.  Cut up the spaghetti into small pieces. This is the only time it is acceptable to cut up spaghetti for adult consumption!  That's why good italian restaurants give you a tablespoon with your pasta, you philistines!

-Step 3-
When the toast is ready, pull it out and quickly slather on a good heap of butter & garlic powder while it's still warm. I toasted mine a little bit too dark here, but all toast is good toast deep down inside, and it just wants to be loved. That's ok, dark toast. I'll love you. You see those cheese slices, btw? That's real shaved parmesan. You're making food for your soul here, and your soul don't want that green-can stuff that tastes and looks like sawdust!

-Step 4-
Spaghetti on bread, cheese on spaghetti, top with more bread. You can slide a few slices of pepperoni in there if you like, we won't judge you. Microwave for about 30-45 seconds if need be, to melt the cheese.
This is where we end up. This, my friends, this is lovin for your tummin. Keep the fork; you'll need it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Double Chocolate Reese's Pieces Cookies--now with extra crocodile gods!

Good afternoon everyone!   I've been meaning to do a blog post for a few days now, and just haven't gotten to it. No excuses.

Well, some excuses. There was a 3 and a half hour line to get in to the voting machines yesterday, and most of that time was spent outside in windy 40 degree weather (that's 4 degrees for you Canadians).  And then I when I got home I had to make up that work time missed, which meant being on the claims computer until 7:30pm. I was pooped.

Next time I should bring a chair. And two books, because the line outlasted Wintersmith. Speaking of Sir Terry Pratchett, any Discworld fans up in the hizzouse today?


Why in the name of Offler the Crocodile God not???  Seriously, go pick up Wee Free Men.  And while you're at it, get me a copy too, would you? I seem to have lost mine. It's a tragedy.
Losing the book. That's the tragedy.
The book isn't a tragedy.
The book is awesome, but not a tragedy.

What is also not a tragedy are these cookies. (Like that segue? That was clever, wasn't it? Betcha didn't see that coming.)

They taste like brownies. With Reese's Pieces. Reese's Pieces brownie cookies with chocolate chips. The batter was edible on its own. You know, if you like brownie batter. Some people prefer brownie batter to cookie dough. Ooooooh yeah, that's the good stuff right there.

Best baking assistant ever!
There's nothing too special about the construction of these cookies.  You cream together your 'wets'.
You whisk together your 'dries'.
You mix the two together, trying not to eat the cookie dough before it goes in the oven.
If it's a good day, you've got your good friends there with you to help you---aw, who'm I kidding, she did half the work! And scrubbed down my kitchen afterwards when my back was turned.

The funny part was the fact that I enthusiastically doubled the recipe, completely oblivious to what my poor Kitchenaid could handle. So note to yourselves: if you double the recipe, you're going to end up kneading the dough by hand in a giant punch bowl. It'll get all over your hands & under your nails & you may have to lick your fingers.
← Giant punch bowl.

Ok, enough chatter.  You want the recipe now. Here's Confession's of a Cookbook Queen's Double Chocolate Reese's Pieces cookies.


2 cups all-purpose flour3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter (slightly soft)
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup Reese's Pieces

1) Heat oven to 375
2) In a medium/large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients until they're about as mixed as you can tell considering it's powder.
3) Cream together your butter & sugar until you get mashed potatoes (that's a small inside joke there).
4) Add your eggs & vanilla to the butter & sugar and keep mixing until it's very well blended.
5) Slowly add the flour mixture to the 'wets' mixture until it's completely blended into cookie dough.
6) Dump in the chocolate chips & Reese's Pieces and mix it up.
7) Drop tablespoon-fuls of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Try to space them out a bit; cookies spread while cooking.
8) Bake for approximately 9 to 10 minutes.
9) Let the cookies rest on the sheet for only a few seconds before removing them to a wire rack to cool.

Here's the final result:
Best when warm, straight out of the oven, with a glass of milk, of course!