Cheesy Crackers

Sometimes you just want to sit down and eat a box of cheese its with a diet coke. But, sometimes its just too cold to go out and get some. So, what do you do? You make your own! My cheese its came out great, but they weren’t as crunchy as the original. Instead, they were more soft. I think if the dough was rolled out thinner and I let them cool off for a bit before I shoveled them in, they would have been crunchy, but alas I didn’t, so I am recommending you do! Demand yourself to wait and you will be rewarded!

Here we go:

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Ingredients

1 cup cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

salt and pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon cold water

1. In a food processor or other mixer blend the cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

2. Once combined at a bit of flour at a time until it becomes crumbly.

3. Add the water and blend. You want the mixture to be moist but not wet.

4. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and chill for 30min to an hour. While you wait pre-heat the oven to 375.

5. Once the mixture is cool, roll it out I think I did about a 1/4 of an inch, but you might want to try thinner to get the crunch.

6. Cut it with any cookie cutters you have. I used a round one, but you could use anything.

7. Place on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt, preferably sea salt.

8. Bake for 15min or until slightly brown. Let cool.

Enjoy!

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Tips:

– If you want you can add some spices like chili powder in the beginning, or try another cheese like pepperjack for a different taste!

– And, again, let them cool before you eat!

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Fried Sweet Potatoes

I haven’t written in awhile not because I haven’t been cooking. Actually, I have been more cooking lately. We decided if we eat at home for all our meals during the week we would treat ourselves to eating out on the weekend. A full meal out where we don’t feel guilty for buying extra treats like a side of fries (my favorite) or an extra beer. The problem is that the things we have been making are all the things I have posted on here already. I have had chickpea burgers so many times, but I would still have them tomorrow they are so good.

Anyway, I finally got around to something new. (and on a funny note, we actually had this as a side to… chickpea burgers.) Did I mention that I love fries? Because I do actually love fries. A lot. Almost as much as I love pizza. So, I made a new version: fried sweet potatoes. So easy and so delicious! Also, this would be a great treat for a Halloween.

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Fried Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato, grated

1/3 cup flour

1 egg, whisked

salt and pepper

Oil, enough to fill a pot two inches high

1. Fill a pot two inches high with oil and begin to heat it on the oven.

2. In a bowl combine the flour, whisked egg, salt and pepper.

3. Wash, peel, and grate the sweet potato. Add it to the mixture above.

4. When the oil is hot add spoonfuls of the mixture to the oil. Make sure you don’t add too many, you don’t want to over crowd the pot.

5. Heat each batch for 3-5min. I cooked them until they were very brown.

6. Remove each batch and place on a napkin to absorb the extra oil. Sprinkle with salt.

7. Plate and Enjoy!photo2

 

 

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you are making a big batch, start the oven at 200d. When you take the fries out of the pot place them on a wire rack on a back sheet and put it in the oven to stay crispy and hot. The wire rack on the sheet will allow air to circulate around the fries to keep them crispy.
  • The original recipe called for 1/2 onion chopped and 1/3 cup of flour and cornmeal each. I didn’t have cornmeal which is why I didn’t use it, and I found just 1/3 cup flour worked great. I saved my onion for chili (look out for that post coming up soon!) 

Eggplant Mozzarella Sandwich

I usually don’t take pictures of the process it takes me to make each recipe, not because I don’t want to I do, but to be honest, I am a little bit of a mess when I cook. I usually spend the entire day thinking about what I am going to make that by the time it gets there I want the end result to come so fast that my kitchen ends up looking like a storm rolled through. Its not pretty, and let’s get real the end result is what we are really waiting for! So, if you ever read this blog and think “hey I don’t know how to do that step” just let me know and I can explain or take a picture/video!

This recipe was such a mess I didn’t even want to touch my camera for fear that slimy, eggy, floury, hands would ruin it! But, of course the end result was delicious!

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Ingredients

Eggplant (1-2 medium sized)

salt and pepper

Flour

3 eggs whisked

Oil (I used olive oil)

breadcrumbs

Mozzarella

Bread

Spaghetti Sauce

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This seems like a lot of steps, but it really isn’t. I just broke them down so they would be easier to digest. (pun intended!)

1. Heat the oven to 200, you will use the oven to keep the eggplant warm while you fry.

2. Slice the eggplant ends off and then make slices of 1/2 inch. I like them a little thinner so use your judgment.

3. Salt the eggplant and leave it in a colander for 30 or longer. This will bring out the bitterness of the eggplant.

4. While that stands, in one bowl put flour (I didn’t say how much, because it really depends on how much eggplant you have, start with one cup). In the next bowl whisk three eggs. In the next bowl put the breadcrumbs (again you can start with one cup).

5. When the eggplant is ready rinse it off and dry it. Then working with one piece at a time, place it in the flour to coat, then shake off the excess. Place in the egg to coat and shake off the excess. Place in the bread crumbs to coat.

6. Place the breaded eggplant on a cookie sheet and once all are done place in the fridge to cool for 10-30min.

7. While that sits you can slice your bread and slice the mozzarella and slowly heat the tomato sauce.

8. Heat in a pan enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and then some. Once the oil is ready (flick some flour in the oil and when it sizzles immediately it is ready). Place eggplant in the pan, but do not crowd it. Heat on each side for 2-3 minutes.

9. Once cooked transfer to a plate with napkins to drain the oil and then transfer to a pan that you will place in the oven to say warm.

10. You will need to play with the heat on the pan so that the oil stays hot but does not burn the eggplant.

11. Once all the eggplant is heated you can assemble your sandwich. Eggplant, cheese, sauce, repeat if necessary.

Enjoy!

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You can also eat the eggplant alone as an appetizer! It is so delicious!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Here I am again! Two nights in a row…what is this a blog? haha

I have been wanting to make biscuits for awhile now and I finally got around to it! This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman’s book. The thing I like about Mark is that he really makes everything basic (I know I Know that’s the point of the book), but really his recipes are so simple. Each time you make something you ask yourself “WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER” and then proceed to stuff your face, because even though it is simple, it is so damn good!

These buttermilk biscuits did not let me down. I made half the batch, but you could make a full batch and have yourself some delicious breakfast sandwiches in the morning…mmm… with some coffee!!

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Ingredients

2 cups all purpose floor

1 tspn salt

1 tblspn baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

5 tblsp cold butter, cut into chunks

3/4 cup plus 2 tblsp buttermilk

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1. Heat oven to 450.

2. In a bowl combine all dry ingredients.

3. Add the butter and press it into the flour with your fingers breaking it into tiny pieces (the book suggests mixing with your fingers like you’re making the hand sign for “cash”)

4. Add the buttermilk and stir until mixture comes together.

5. On a clean surface spread some flour and knead the dough a few times on the flour. (to knead quickly fold dough over, press it away from you and give it a small turn.) Do that a few times until the dough is a little smoother.

6. Press dough out to 3/4inch think. Use a circle cutter or a cup to make the biscuit shapes. Place the biscuits on an ungreased pan. Put the scraps together and continue making shapes until all the dough is used.

7. Bake for 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!

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Stuffed Mushrooms

I promised you mushrooms and I finally made them. This recipe is just in time for a great July 4th appetizer. And, if you are running around July 4th morning wondering what you are going to take to that bar-b-que, THIS is the recipe you should turn to. If you want to learn some more about about mushrooms you can check out this post. Mushrooms have a great texture and earthy flavor, and the filling in this is salty, crunchy and the parsley gives it a bright flavor.

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Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1 pound button mushrooms

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon minced garlic

salt and pepper

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1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and coat the bottom of a sheet pan with some of the olive oil.

2. Wash the mushrooms under cold water. Remove the stems and put the bottoms aside for now. Be gentle while removing the stems as to not rip the mushroom.

3. Chop the mushrooms and add them to a bowl with the egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley and minced garlic. Stir to combine.

4. Add the salt and pepper and then add the rest of the oil and fluff it.

5. Stuff each of the mushroom bottoms with the mixture and place each one on the sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the stuffing is browned.

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Enjoy!

Tips and tricks:

1. I used less parsley and added some spinach. You can add different ingredients too. You can try bacon, kale, another type of cheese, onion, or anything else you want.

2. You can serve this alongside Summer Brats, or with a hamburger and homemade mayo!

I hope you have a great 4th of July!

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I’ve got a Pickle, I’ve got a Pickle

Did I make you think of the little rascals? I hope so!

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Today I have accomplished my first pickling! The verdict: As with all other things on this blog it was so much easier then I thought it would be. I don’t necessarily love pickles, but I have always wondered how to do it, and I know there are more things to pickle then just cucumbers (yes, pickles are simply cucumbers). The hardest part about this recipe is waiting 30 minutes for them to actually settle in the brine and “pickle” themselves.

After a long day of shopping with the boyfriend’s sister it was nice to have a recipe that took five minutes to set up and then I could just sit and let it simmer! So here we go,

Ingredients

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2-3 cucumbers

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1. Place all of the ingredients in a pot except the cucumbers and bring it to a boil.

2. As the ingredients are heating up take the cucumbers, wash them thoroughly, slice the ends off.

3. Then slice the cucumber in half (the short way). Then slice each of those in half the long way. Then cut each into 3-4 spears.

4. Once the mixture is boiling toss in the spears and take the pan off the heat. Leave the cucumbers to set for 30 minutes.

5. Once they are done you can pour them in a jar and cool in the fridge over night. If you want to eat them soon, you can put them in a jar in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy!

I finally bought mushrooms, so expect a mushroom recipe within the next couple of days! I hope you guys did some fun things over the weekend, and don’t forget to check out my Q&A and respond with your own answers! 

Chicken Parm and Bruschetta

The boyfriend really likes loves chicken. If it were up to him he would probably eat chicken every…single…night. Of course for me that gets a little repetitive and I want something else. So, when he suggested chicken again the other night my brain got to ticking thinking about what we could make that had chicken, but was something we hadn’t had in awhile. Thus, chicken parmesan. Instead of the classic chicken parm which comes with a side of spaghetti (I might as well tell you now that I loathe spaghetti… sorry), I made on the side bruschetta

When I first went to college I bought myself a how to cookbook for dorms which had a simple recipe for chicken parmesan, which is where I adapted this recipe from. The recipe is simple, because it only really requires six ingredients, most of which should be around your house already! As for the bruschetta, that is pretty simple too!

Here we go…

Chicken Parmesan

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Ingredients

Chicken (I used thighs deskined/deboned)

1 cup flour, salt and pepper

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 eggs

Pasta sauce

Cheese

1. Set up three bowls. One: 2 eggs scrambled. Two: Flour with salt and pepper. Three: Breadcrumbs. Start the oven at 350.

2. Clean and ready four pieces of chicken. I used chicken thighs so I deboned and deskinned them as well as placed them in a bag and pounded them out to make them skinnier and more tender.

3. One at a time place a piece of chicken into the flour coating both sides, then shaking the excess off. Then place it in the egg wash to coat, shake the excess off. Then, place in the breadcrumbs and coat. Place the chicken on a sheet pan to cook.

4. Repeat 3 until all chicken is breaded.

5. Once all are on the pan place in the oven and cook for 15 min. After 15 min flip the chicken and cook for another 5-10min.

6. At this point check the chicken and make sure that it is mostly cooked inside. Slice the fattest chicken and if it is still very pink, you should let it cook for longer. If the chicken is basically cooked move on.

7. At this point place tomato sauce on each piece of chicken and cover with your cheese.

8. Place back into the oven for 10-15 min or until the cheese becomes brownish on top and is bubbly.

9. Plate and enjoy!

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Bruschetta

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Ingredients

Loaf of bread

Garlic

Oil

1 pat of Butter

Salt and pepper

Topping

Tomato

Scallions

Parsley

2 tblsp lemon juice

Olive Oil

salt and pepper

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1. The bruschetta can be done while the chicken is cooking or after.

2. Begin by slicing the bread on a bias, you want it to have a diagonal slice. I used 6 slices.

2. Heat a pan on medium heat with about 1-2 tablespoons of oil and the pat of butter.

3. One at a time place a piece of bread in the oil and slide it around so that it gets oil on it leave it in the pan and do the same to the next piece. Once all are in, and keeping an eye on the pieces the entire time, cooking until the bottoms are browning and slightly dark brown on the outside.

4. Flip each piece of bread and cook on that side until the same brown.

5. Plate these and while they cook make the topping.

6. Topping: Chop all of the ingredients and place into a bowl. Pour over the lemon juice and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

7. Before placing the topping on, take a piece of opened garlic (see tips and tricks) and scrub it on both sides of each bread. Now, top with your topping and enjoy!

Enjoy!

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Tips and Tricks:

1. Chicken: I used chicken thighs, which I pounded out to be tender, but you can also use chicken breast. I actually think I prefer chicken breast.

2. Tomato sauce: You can use your own homemade tomato sauce. Actually it would probably be better.

3. Breadcrumbs: you can make your own breadcrumbs and add any kinds of seasonings you want. Make the chicken parm spicy with some cayenne or add some extra basil or parmesan cheese.

4. Bruschetta Toppings: you can really put anything on bruschetta. Try it plain, try mozzarella cheese, tomato salsa, apples and feta, olives, mozzarella cheese-basil-tomato. Again, practice practice, practice. 

5. Opening Garlic: take the garlic out of its casing and lay it against the counter, take a knife and place it on top then smash down with a fist, being very carful not to slice your hand. This will allow the garlic flavor to be exposed.

 

I would love to hear from you if you have any questions. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think, or if you want some clarification on any of these steps! I hope I have inspired you to try some new things tonight for dinner!