Sunday, November 2, 2014

Veggies Galore in my Alfredo!!!

Alfredo Sauce with
Veggies & Chicken!

Nothing offsets healthy vegetables like coating them in rich, creamy, delicious Alfredo sauce! But it's the thought that counts.

So I'm sitting at home one night trying to figure out what I want to do for dinner. I'm opening and closing the fridge, scouring the pantry, even contemplating just ordering some pizza. Then I take a little closer of a look at the ingredients I have. I had gone to the store a few days prior and bought a ton of veggies. Now I'm notorious for buying veggies with the intention of being good and using them to make something healthy and delicious. Yeah...a lot of the times they sit there and go moldy while I stuff my face with cheeseburgers. So I thought this time I would actually use them and why not try to use them all at once?

Of course they're all green veggies, because I like green. No, I think those were just the ones on sale and I typically always have a couple green peppers and some green onion in my fridge anyways. Now that I had my veggies and was determined to use them, I had to figure out what the hell I was going to make. Then I saw the butter, Parmesan cheese, and heavy cream. There wasn't any other choice, I had to make Alfredo sauce. I had some chicken too do that I wouldn't be without my meat of some sort. Now that's when I got to work.

Check out one of my earlier posts to see how to make the Alfredo Sauce. Now you can do the chicken the way I did in that recipe or you can do what I simply did this time, dice it up and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little Cayenne for some kick. Cook it in a little bit of oil and once it's no longer pink remove it and set aside.

Now for the veggies this is what I used...

A decent sized head of Broccoli
2 Medium Green Peppers
4-5 Green Onions
2 large Garlic cloves (crushed/minced)

Saute the veggies in a little bit of Olive Oil. Now I have several kinds of infused Olive Oils now, so making this again I'd probably use the basil or fennel ones. If I'm feeling spicy I'll use my spicy pepper oil. Best part of the Oktoberfest I went to in Phoenix this year was ironically finding a place that has authentic Italian Olive Oils in fused with amazing flavors. Oh my god they are so good. I highly recommend them.

Start off with sauteing the garlic and green onion in about a tablespoon of oil. Then add in the Broccoli and Peppers, if you want to use other veggies (mushrooms, red peppers, carrots) go for it. This is just what I had in my fridge that day. After the veggies are tender, but not mushy remove them from the pan and set aside with the chicken.

Now while you're doing all this you can get the Alfredo Sauce going, if you're good enough to multi-task, it's not easy sometimes. Alfredo's pretty simple though. After you have the Alfredo simmering at the right temperature and consistency add in the veggies and the chicken! Make sure everything gets a gorgeous coating of that delicious sauce.

Now you can mix the noodles right into the sauce if you'd like or you can just pour the sauce over the noodles. I'd recommend starting the noodles...well starting to get the water going when you add in the cheeses to the Alfredo sauce, so you can put the noodles in the boiling water when you add the veggies and chicken to the sauce and once the noodles are done the sauce with the veggies/chicken is all nice and evenly warm, flavors are coming together and the timing is perfect.

Just like my Alfredo Sauce, I will recommend making enough of this to share and please don't try to eat it all, it is after all pretty unhealthy. We tried our best with the amount of veggies, but let's face it something covered in gooey, cheesy, delicious Alfredo Sauce just isn't going to be at the top of the healthy food chain. Either way, please enjoy it as much as you like!

I really like the way the broccoli absorbs the sauce. And I will say that when I make my regular Alfredo Sauce when you go to re-heat it, the sauce separates a bit since there's a lot of fat and stuff. It didn't do that so much with this one. The veggies really kept everything together. So it was great for lunches the next few days!!

Couple more pictures and we're good to go! Hope you enjoy this one like the others! As always, questions and comments are welcomed! I'm trying my best to get back into the swing of things and get more of my posts going more frequently. It has been a rough couple of months though.

Thanks again for stopping by!
'Til Next Time!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Skillet Beef Tamales

Skillet Beef Tamales Tacos!

Skillet Beef Tamales, super easy to make and super quick. Toss in some crushed Tortilla chips or hard taco shells, add some sour cream maybe some chives and you're golden. Don't want to eat it out of a bowl? Wrap this up in a tortilla! Pick your level of salsa spiciness too to suit your tastes, you'll be glad you have this one on hand!

OK. Honestly, not sure why this one is called Tamales...doesn't seem like the traditional Tamale to me. I would say Skillet Beef Tacos if that's What I'm calling it now! This one is very straight forward, if you want something delicious, but don't want a thousand dished to do at the end, this is your recipe. It also works if you're somewhat "bored" of the regular tacos. Let's get started here's what you'll need!

1 pound ground beef
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
2 cups of Salsa (spicy level of your choice)
3/4 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons of water
Cheddar Cheese
Tortilla Chips or hard shells...of soft tortillas
Sour Cream

Grab a decent sized skillet and that's pretty much all you'll need for this one.

First thing you're going to do is chop up your bell peppers. This time I chose Green and Yellow. Red or Orange also work so really just depends on your grocery store and which peppers look the best. Do that, set it aside for a few minutes while you get the ground beef going.

Of course, brown the ground beef. Cook it on a medium heat until there isn't any pink left. I added a bit of Onion Powder and Garlic powder to season the ground beef a bit. Adding extra seasonings can't hurt, right?

I mean hell, throw a bit of wine or beer in there too! I wouldn't say no to a little black pepper...salt...chili powder...

Once the beef is looking a bit more like the picture up there. Toss in the peppers and cook for a few more minutes until the beef is completely cooked. Drain some of the excess juices if there's a lot.

Next, grab that corn and salsa!

Corn...nothing much to say here just toss that in and then grab your salsa.

This was the Salsa of choice that night. Actually is was pretty damn delicious, I strongly recommend this salsa.

As I've said before, use the salsa with the spice-level of your choice. I love spicy food so I went for the hot salsa. If you're not big on spice go for mild, if you're not sure....medium. Just remember you can always make something more spicy; you can't...un-spice something.

Bring the beef, salsa, deliciousness to a boil, which will take only a few minutes. Now comes the hard part...once it's boiled for a couple of minutes, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover it. Now walk away for about 15 minutes.

15 minutes later....

Looks pretty good doesn't it? Alright now you can sprinkle that with the Cheddar Cheese, or you can do what I do and create a wonderful cheese layer. Why? Because I freaken love cheese, that's why. Cover it back up and cook for a couple minutes longer so the cheese can melt. Now dish it out into bowls, crush up some hard shell tortillas, chips...or roll these bad boys up in flour tortillas. Serve with some Sour Cream, Guacamole, more salsa if you want. Anything really it's up to you.

All in all, this probably took you about 30 minutes to prep and make. It's perfect for a weeknight when you don't want to be spending an hour or more in the kitchen.

As always, thanks for stopping by my blog. Really appreciate the views and any comments, questions, or suggestions you might have!

Til Next Time!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip!!!

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip
(somewhat of a clone of Red Robin's dip)

Sunday's need to return to the day that I actually write in my blog. It's been almost a year and so much has changed. I moved into a new place, got promoted at my job, my boyfriend and I adopted/rescued a 2 year old Doberman named Luke to add to our crazy household (yes, we decided dogs are better than kids). And in general I have taken major strides in my adulthood. I bought a new truck the other week so now I REALLY feel like I'm an official adult. That being said I figured it was my responsibility to continue my blog. I've missed it, I feel like writing every week and pushing myself to create new things in the kitchen. I feel like I haven't been quite as creative as I could be.

Now who doesn't love a good spin-dip? If you don't well, I guess this entry might not be for you, luckily there's a few other entries on this blog you might be interested in! Shall we get started with this yummy dip? Here's what you'll need!

10-oz box of Frozen Chopped Spinach
1 cup artichoke hearts (canned works just fine)
1/4 cup diced white onion
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bacon Bits or Crumbled Bacon strips, really as much as you want!!

It's fairly straight forward. Drain the spinach and get a lot of the excess water. You can chop up the Artichoke hearts into some friendly bite-sized pieces. Throw those along with the white onion in a microwave safe bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Cut a slit so some steam can escape and pop that in the microwave for about 4 minutes.

While you have that in the microwave for those 4 minutes go a head and grab some of the other ingredients to get the cheese sauce part of the recipe going!

Take the Parmesan cheese, half-and-half cream, and the softened cream cheese put them in a medium sized sauce pan. Heat that on a medium/medium-low heat and stir pretty consistently to get the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese to melt and combine with the cream.

Once those ingredients start to melt and combine add in the garlic powder and salt.

Reduce the heat to a low setting once the sauce is smooth and add in the steamed veggies (spinach, artichokes, and white onion). Cook that for about 10 minutes, again stirring occasionally.

The smell might make you want to just start eating it right out of the pan. Trust me I know I did! But hold off for a few minutes and add in those bacon bits and possibly a little extra Parmesan cheese!!

Stir it up again and get your serving bowl ready along with either Tortilla chips or Pita chips, Pita bread, fresh veggies anything you would like!!

Yup, it's pretty delicious looking!

Ta-da!!! The finished product.

Eat it up, share it with your friends, roommates, what ever you decide!

Thanks for stopping by and I'll be working on concocting some new recipes in the coming weeks! I gotta get my creative juices flowing again in this ridiculous Arizona summer heat!!

Most of my cooking will most likely be accompanied by a cocktail or two to help keep me cool!

Til Next Time!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dill Veggie Dip

Dilly of a Veggie Dip

I have this obsession with Dill Weed and veggie dips...actually I think most of my obsession is carrots. I love carrots. I have seriously been eating them non-stop for the past month or so. I can easily sit there and eat a whole bag of carrots, especially if I have dip.

So this dip is insanely easy and freaken fantastically good. You just need about 5 ingredients and a bowl.

1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup Mayo
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dill weed
1-1/2 teaspoons parsley

Now take the cup of cottage cheese and mash it so there aren't any huge lumps in it. I just press the back side of a spoon all around the cheese for a few minutes. If you like lumps of cottage cheese then really you can skip this step I guess...

Add in the mayo and stir it up. Personally I do not like Mayo at all. Except when it's mixed in with stuff. Like this, but even still I try not to think about the amount of Mayo used.

Next up! Grab your spices. I usually add in a bit more dill than 1-1/2 teaspoons. Why? Because I love dill weed.

Ahh I just discovered the most amazing spice store out here in Phoenix. Literally my new spice heaven. It took all the self-control I had last week to not buy one of 95% of the spices in the store. It's called Penzy's I suggest you look it up or go there or something. So many spices and they all smell SO good!!


Spices, in the bowl with the cottage cheese and mayo. Now just stir it all up and taste test. Need more dill? Parsley? Seasoned salted? Add it in!!

Alrighty, does it taste good? Excellent! Now cover it up and chill it for at least 1 hour to let the flavors sink in.

So that was simple...last week I made, well my boyfriend and I made, homemade burgers with homemade onion rings. The onion rings were buttermilk and sour cream batter with green onion and other spices. Topped with a Spicy Ranch Aoli. Oh my god. Best onion rings I've ever had. I love onion rings... I think I really just love food.

Well there you go! Pretty sure this veggie dip came from someone in my family...
Hmmm I wonder what it would be like with a bit of diced onion in there?
Ideas, ideas...
Well thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy this super simple dip!!

'Til Next Time!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins!

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins!

It's like individual servings of a cake...that are muffins so you can eat them for breakfast and not feel guilty.

Don't worry I'm in the process of making individual sized Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes some point

Now, I've made these little gems a few times. Each time I think they get better and better. My secret? Add way more pineapple than what the original recipe calls for. I love pineapple, love, love, love, love it!! I could put pineapple on almost anything. Yeah...almost anything, there are some things where pineapple doesn't belong. OK so within reason I'll put pineapple on anything. 

As I've said before, muffins are almost always really easy to make. Remember my muffin kick in October? I know I do! Muffin recipes are always straight forward, the main thing to concern yourself with muffins is not over mixing the batter. Over mixing the batter just leads to dense, hard muffins. Not as tasty as light and fluffy ones. Right? OK so why don't we get started here.

Here's what you'll need:

1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2  8 oz cans of crushed pineapple, WELL drained!
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Seems like a lot for muffins, but trust me it's totally worth it! First thing you're gonna do is very lightly great a muffin tray. Then preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grab your 1/4 cup melted butter and spoon evenly into the muffin cups.

Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of brown sugar over top of the melted butter.

Spoon the insanely well drained pineapple over the brown sugar and melted butter. Ahh the yummy-nes is starting already.

Set that aside for a few minutes and grab a large mixing bowl.

In that large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix is all up so it's well blended. Then set it aside.

In another bowl whisk together the 2 eggs, buttermilk, and 2 Tablespoon melted butter. Whisk them until they are well combine and the mixture is smooth.

Create a well in the dry mix and add in the liquid.

Remember, do not over mix. Just stir it until the dry mix is moistened and evenly blended with the liquid.

I really can't stress the importance of not over mixing batters enough. Trust me, it took me a good long while to get the hang of it and now I can easily tell when something has been mixed enough, not enough, or overdone. I've been through enough hard muffins, cupcakes, brownies, etc. to know.

Your oven should be either pre-heated by now or pretty close to it. So go ahead and spoon the batter into the muffin cups, over the pineapple.

Alright, so here's the fun part. The first time I made these the batter wasn't completely even and level in the cups. So when I baked them, some of them came out lop-sided and crooked. They tasted all the same, but for presentation purposes try to get the batter as level as possible in the muffin cups before popping them in the oven. They won't be perfect, or maybe they will, I personally have not yet mastered the perfectly level upside-down muffin yet. It might depend on your oven too, mine has a couple hot-spots and such.

Anyways, once you've got your glorious muffin batter perfectly (or as close to it) even and level in the tins. Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes. I usually put mine in for 15 minutes, then switch the pan around for the last 5-6. 

See they're rising nicely and they are for the most part, even! Woohoo! Success!! Alright, now close the damn oven you're letting all the heat out!

When the muffins are done, let them cool for about 10-12 minutes. You can't let them cool too long in the pan they might get stuck. On the other hand if you take them out too early they could fall apart. So here's what I usually do and it works about 75% of the time...

I take a couple of paper towels and put them over the muffins. The pan should be cool enough to touch, or just wear oven mitts, hold the paper towels in place and flip the pan over. The muffins should easily come out of the tins and just end up on the paper towels. Once I did this, the paper towels slipped and I had muffins all over the floor. Needless to say, my dog was happy. I was not.

Now just transfer them to a cooling rack. Store them in an air tight container on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.

I like to eat mine slightly warm so I'll pop them in the microwave for maybe 10 seconds. These would be awesome served with ice cream and a little caramel sauce, I think. If you do it, let me know how it is...

Well there you go! Pretty easy right? Clean up shouldn't be too bad with these either!

Questions? Comment? Concerns? Anything at all?
Leave me a comment and I'll respond!
Hope you enjoy these!!
'Til Next Time!!