Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pizza Rolls: Redux. trust me.

So even though I really enjoyed my pizza rolls, I found myself longing for more flavor. The other night I was craving pizza, which meant, of course, that I would be making pizza rolls. But how could I make them Better?

First, this time I added two pepperonis, both topped with cheese. Then I experimented a little...
I put pepper, oregano, parsley, paprika, garlic and pepperocino mix, and sea salt into a cup and tried to mix them with water. First off, that didn't work so well. all the red went to the bottom and all the green went to the top. Then I tried to brush some of the mix onto one of my rolls. Now please note, I am not a pizza dough extradonaire. This is only my second time using it. It turns out, pizza dough doesn't like water too much. It gets really wet and hard to work with. This became my monster, my Frankenstein. Since it was going to hell, I cooked it anyway. And then I ate it! Unlike the real Dr. Frankenstein, I triumphed. I ate it. It's dead. It was delicious, even if it wasn't pretty.
I digress.
So with the others, I nixed the water. I just poured little bits of the spices onto each one. then I rolled them much more firmly (I also used less pizza dough per roll) and baked them at 375 for about 10 minutes. Mmmm, delicious.

Can you guess which one was the mess up?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dinner of Champions

I don't know about your childhood, but Kim and I were always pleased to eat breakfast for dinner. So now it's become a nice tradition for Kim and Stace. They went out of town to Orlando this weekend, and I decided to be ready to make them a Dinner of Champions when they got home.

Sausage, Biscuits and Gravy, and Scrambled Eggs
Oh, and Homemade Chocolate Milk

What You'll Need:

For Sausage and Biscuits and Gravy:

1 lb. Whatever sort of sausage you prefer - our's is a pan venison sausage, because our dad is THE MAN and keeps us well stocked
Breakfast Biscuits -I used Pillsbury... I don't know how to make my own yet :(
4-5 tbsp. flour
4 cups water with beef buillion (I prefer Knorr brand.)

Now biscuits and gravy is, to my mind, a Southern Staple. Imagine my shock when I learned Kim had never had it! And she married into one of the most Southernest families around!


Place your formed sausage in a warm pan and cook thoroughly! (No pink inside pork, that's what Momma always said.) Remove to a plate covered in paper towels.

Cook your biscuits according to the instruzioni of the packaging or, if you're making them homemade, according to your own instruzione.

Now, what seems to be the trend here in making gravy is that you'll have a lot of grease left over from making meat and you'll only need to keep 2-3 tbsp. for gravy-making. If you are so fortunate, do so. If, however, you seem to be incapable of getting even one tbsp. of cooking grease (i.e. ... you're me) that's fine! It seems healthier and it still tastes awesome! So just leave what you have in the pan. Add a tbsp. of flour and mix what you've got. Then slowly begin to add your water and bouillion. Stir with a whisk as you go. Bring to a simmer and allow gravy to thicken. Add salt and pepper! Mmmm.

Scrambled Eggs:

Kim just quickly made up some scrambled eggs and added in Monterey Jack with peppers cheese, because we were out of cheddar. She said she it was weird, but Stace loved it. I don't eat eggs outside of cookies or sauces, so... I have no opinion.

Homemade Chocolate Milk:

I got this from Ree Dumond, the Pioneer Woman. Man I love her.

Heat one cup of heavy whipping cream on med-high heat until bubbly (just a bit.) Then stir in your chocolate! 4 ounces of whatever you like - I used milk chocolate chips, cause they were what we had. Mix together so it is nice and smooth. Store it in a free container (I used a root beer mug cause the Mason jar was unavailable) and store in fridge til you're ready. When ready, pour in maybe a tbsp. of the mix into a glass, then pour in milk and stir. Mmmm, delicious!

Dinner of Champions... and Kim

Green Bean Casserole

So Kimberly really loves green bean casserole. Like a lot. This is our first collaboratively WRITTEN recipe - we had to fill in the blanks for each other, cause while one of us was cooking the other was entertaining Julian.
We adapated Paula Deen's recipe and I don't like green beans, but this casserole was really pretty good.

Green Bean Casserole

they were so excited to eat it that we forgot to take a picture first... whoops.
also... sorry all these pictures are the wrong way. Kim just got a Mac and we have no idea how to work with this.

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
French's fried onions
Salt and Pepper
3 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 cup diced onions
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/3 stick of butter
2 cans of green beans
House seasoning *see directions below*
House Seasoning:
Paula Dean's recipe calls for ONE ENTIRE CUP OF SALT. No. Just no. We used probably 2 Tablespoons and even that seemed like we were overdoing it. So:
2 Tbsp salt
1.5 tblspn pepper
1.4 tablspn garlic powder
(really, the amount of salt, pepper and garlic powder is up to can do more or less than we did of each).
Mix ingredients together.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions in the butter. Boil green beans in the chicken broth and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, House Seasoning, and French friend onions to the onion & butter mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 and 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Top with cheddar cheese and as many French friend onions as your heart desires, and bake for 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and onions are browned.

Stace's First Father's Day Dinner

Kim and Stace's baby is 6.5 months old and Kim and Stace have both had their first holidays as parents. Mothers Day was a little unfortunate - we had plague in the house and were all too sick to really celebrate. Stace's first Fathers Day has been broken up into pieces because he has his super important exams on Tuesday and Wednesday. But this time we at least go in a dinner. Stace's Absolute Most Favorite Meal Ever Is...

Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

I adapted this recipe from the fabulous Annie, of

What You Need:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterfly in half
1 tbsp. olive oil (I'm really bad about measuring things like that - I generally go by the, does that look right?, method. But that's what the recipe called for, in case you like things to be more structured.)
For Chicken Seasoning: S&P to taste, and a tad of garlic-pepperocino mixed spice.

Alfredo Sauce:
4 tbsp. butter
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella
S&P to taste


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet on med-high. Put the seasoned chicken breasts in to cook. Cook until (a nice glowing healthy) brown on one side, then flip. Cook through. Remove onto a plate. After a cool down period, cut them into nice bite sized chunks. Cover with foil or pot top to keep warm.

Cook fettucine til al dente (in Italian, this means "to the teeth." In Italy, you know your pasta is al dente when you can throw it against your tiled kitchen wall and it sticks. If you don't have a tiled kitchen wall, biting it will do just fine :) )

For the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it's almost entirely melted, add the garlic and the cream - bring to a simmer. Try not to get distracted like I did! Mine saucepan of creamsauce overfloweth. Oops. After it's begun to simmer, reduce heat and let it sit for about 5ish minutes, or until it's thickened. Mix in the mozzarella and wait for it to completely melt. The nature of the mozzarella means it's going to be a little bit lumpy looking, but don't worry - you don't notice it when you're eating! (I don't know if there is a rule that says alfredo can only be alfredo with Parmesan... but I used all mine up the other day making risotto, so I worked with what I had.)
Now season it with Salt and Pepper!

Throw it all in a big bowl, mix it up, and enjoy!

Kim made chocolate chip M&M cookies for dessert! Mmmmm

Friday, June 18, 2010

I've been very bad

About updating this. I meant to, a couple times, but something got in the way. I'll be better! I'm trying to be more productive with my days. Like running every day, to work off all the food I eat haha.

Sooooo in my past I have not exactly been known for my excellent eating. Time changed that. Italy too. So when I was younger (insert, when I was younger by 5 months) I LOVED Totino's Pizza Rolls. Small, greasy, little nice bits of spice! mmmm...
oh right, never mind.

You know what is delicious?

Homemade Pizza Rolls

First, start out by making your own dough.

Pizza Dough

1 packet of active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 cup room temperature water
2 tbsp. olive oil (I used extra virgin light, because it was what was on hand - but it made these even healthier)
4.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tsp salt
olive oil for greasing the bowl

Take the 1/2 cup of warm water and add the instant yeast. The recipe I used said to let stand and dissolve for about 5 minutes, but I eventually had to stir, because the yeast would not dissolve. When the yeast is dissolved, add in the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Now, I used my hand, but you can use a hand mixer or mixing stand. This is preetty sticky.
Add the liquid yeast mixture slowly, stopping to mix entirely before adding more. Knead the dough until it is an elastic mass - if you use you're hands, it's going to be lumpy. Shape it into a lump that resembles a ball and place the dough in a deep well oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it hang out for about an hour, hour and a half. When it's risen to be twice what it once was, it's done!


Pizza Rolls

I made 12 medium sized pizza rolls with my dough. So you'll have plenty leftover, if you want to make a pizza, or just bake it and eat the yummy dough another day.

You'll Need
Mozzarella (for my 12 slices, I needed about 20 cubes)
Pepperoni slices

Preheat your oven to 450F.
Take your fresh made dough and make roughly circle shapes on a well oiled baking pan. Place a slice of pepperoni on the dough and top with a cube of mozzarella. Pull the dough up over them and pinch them together at the top. Then turn them upside down so that the seam of the roll is flat on the baking sheet. Cook for about 20 minutes, when the tops are lightly golden.
When you take them out of the oven, drizzle a little oil on top. Then put salt and whatever seasonings you want on top of that (I just used oregano.)
They're delicious on their own! But if you want to use a marinara, go for it. I think next time I'm going to try and see how putting tomato sauce inside the rolls works out.

Over and Out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The First Post

Not too very long ago, I was living in Italy as a student studying abroad. I have always loved cooking, but being a college student in a dorm where the kitchen is always broken sort of dampers the cooking spirit. But in Italy, where we had our own kitchen and a grocery right down the road, where cooking is a way of life I went crazy! Fortunately, groceries there are pretty dang cheap... purtroppo, now I am back here, in the United States, where groceries are a little bit (a lot bit) more expensive, but... what can you do. I've been wanting to start writing this blog for a while. This summer I'm living with my sister and her family, and I'm helping out. One way is by cooking. I teach Kim new recipes and she teaches me too. So let me share with you an Italian-American dish called...

The Bruschetta Burger

Bruschetta (bru-skke-tta) is a delicious and simple Italian appetizer that pretty much everyone has probably had. I first had one at the infamous Applebees. Let's be clear: I do not like Applebees. It is pretty dang gross, in my opinion. But when they introduced this delicious dish I was sold (they have since then taken this away, and I no longer eat there.) I've tried making it a couple different ways - I once mixed pesto straight into the meat, which wasn't bad. These pictures are of the last time I made it, when I made it for Kim and Stace. It was a big success. There was something perhaps a little off for me, some kink I need to work out, but the general populace (of 2) loved them.

This particular recipe was adapted from someone else's, who was trying to do the exact same thing I was (recreate Applebees best dish.) The pictures could be better... I'm trying to get there! The Pioneer Woman ( is a cooking goddess and she gives tips on how to take good photos of food, so I'm trying to learn them, but... I suspect I might have a few material and environmental problems in my way.

On to the recipe!

This recipe calls for treating the meat like you're about to make meat balls.
1 egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (these might be what bothered my taste buds - I don't think I'll use them again.)
2 cloves garlic, minced - or more! I generally use about 3 plus one small clove.
Oregano, Thyme, Parsley to your preference
Sea Salt to Taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp veggie oil
2 tomatoes, chopped (note: the ideal tomato for bruschetta is the one that isn't entirely red ripe - with little hints of green and orange. It makes it easier for chopping and it's the Italian way.)
1/2 of an onion - this is optional. Onions don't belong in bruschetta, strictly speaking, but it's still a delicious additive.
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup Provolone

For the Burgers
Whisk together the egg, bread crumbs (if you're using them,) garlic, herbs, and sea salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that you will using more. Add the beef and really mix in it there!

In skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Fry burgers until they look like nice and brown on the bottom - time varies depending on how hot your oven is. The woman whose recipe I am adapting suggests 6 minutes, but mine took longer.

My pan is so dirty because this was the second set of burgers I was making.

Now while you're doing this (or, if you're like me and like everything to be prepared before you start cooking, you can do it before) put your tomato, onion, parsley, sea salt, and pepper into a bowl. Put these onto the burgers when they're almost done, say less than 10 minutes more of cooking, but between 4-6, then top with cheese. Cover skillet with lid for a few minutes so the cheese melts.

Sorry my picture of the tomato+mixture is so blurry :(

Should have taken pictures of Kim and Stace proving how delicious they are, but I was a little preoccupied. So.. first post! This is very exciting for me. More to come!