Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Taco Pockets

I think I've had a revelation as to why pictures on other people's blogs look so nice, (aside from the fact that they are better photographers,) they actually take time to plate the food in a visually appealing way. Well, I was just too hungry last night to even make a lame attempt. I got this recipe from Taste of Home where they are called Taco Crescents.

When I told Blockette I was going to make Taco Crescents for dinner she wrinkled her nose and said, "I don't like Taco Crescents." As I assembled this dish I scrambled for a way to convince her that she should at least try some of the "new" dinner. I thought to myself, they look sort of like a pocket. Blockette loves pockets. I bet she would eat this if I told her it was a Taco Pocket. Heh...I was right. I even got her to eat black olives, something she usually spits out. As she was eating a Pocket she asked me what the black "stuff" was. I replied as nonchalantly as I could, "Oh, that's just part of the taco." Several bites later she tells me, "Mommy, I like this black taco part."

I would make these again. They were a little tricky to roll up without having the ground beef fall out. If I had been thinking I would have pressed 2 crescent triangles into a rectangle. However, the crescents were perfect size for Blockette to eat without making a mess. Had I made them into rectangles, they would have been stuffed fuller. I would be willing to bet most of the meat would have wound up on the floor instead of in Blockette's belly.

It will be interesting to see how these fare as leftovers. Cold crescent rolls aren't nearly as tasty as the ones fresh from the oven.

Taco Pockets from Taste of Home
3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 package (1-1/4-ounces) taco seasoning
1 can (4-1/4-ounces) chopped ripe olives, drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tubes (8-ounces) tubes refrigerated crescent rolls

In large skillet, cook beef and onion til meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and olives; set aside to cool. Add eggs and cheese. Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Place triangles on an ungreased sheet. Place 2 T meat mix onto each triangle. Roll and shape into crescents. Bake at 375° for 10-15 min til lightly browned. 8 servings.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Go out and buy a dozen eggs

OK. Seriously. You have to make this pizza frittata. It is so delicious and easy. Making a regular frittata is simple. A Frittata is basically an omlette you start on the stove, but finish in the oven. In this version you stick everything in a bundt pan and all the cooking is done in the oven.
It does taste sort of pizza-y. Enough so that the Blockette ate all her dinner with minimal fuss last night. She is even excited about eating the leftovers for dinner tonight. Yeah, excited about leftovers. I don't think you could ask for a better review than that.

Baked Pizza Frittata from Foodie with Family
12 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
15-20 slices of thin pepperoni
2 cups shredded or finely diced mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Marinara sauce, for serving

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Generously grease a bundt pan.  Evenly distribute the pepperoni slices across the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Crack all eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk lightly.  Set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder and 1/8 t salt in a med bowl.  Whisk milk into flour mix til smooth.  Add flour/milk mix to eggs along with Italian seasonings, basil, oregano, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk til smooth.  Stir in cheese. Pour egg mix over pepperoni. It doesn’t if pepperoni comes up from the bottom of the pan.  Try to keep it evenly distributed through the egg mix. Place bundt pan on the center rack and bake 45 min til nicely browned and the frittata springs back when pressed gently.  Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 min before turning out onto a cutting board. Slice into thick wedges and serve with marinara sauce. This is fantastic, hot, cold or anywhere in between.

Blue cheese BBQ chicken pasta

I made Blue cheese bbq chicken pasta for dinner a while ago but have not gotten around to posting about it. I didn't take a picture of this because, imo even if you are a great food photographer (which I am not) one tomato based pasta dish looks like the next.

I had been hesitant to make this because Mrblocko is not a big fan of blue cheese. I, on the other hand, really like blue cheese. I thought, well Mrblocko, tough toenails, and I stuck my tongue out at him/made sure I had a frozen pizza on hand just in case. Keeping that in mind, how is it that Mrblocko liked this dish more than I did? I thought the dish had an extremely strong blue cheese flavor and was overly sweet. I'm chalking these results up to the fact that I took a short cut and used pre-made spaghetti sauce instead of making my own marinara. I also used Bullseye bbq sauce which I used to love, but I guess my taste buds have changed again. If Mrblocko convinces me to make this again, I will use a smokier flavored bbq sauce, make my own marinara, and use pre-crumbled blue cheese. I think the pre-crumbled stuff that comes in the plastic containers has a much milder flavor than the blue cheese I bought in brick form.

Barbecued Chicken Pasta with Blue and Parmesan Cheeses from Dinners for a Year and Beyond
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 shallots, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 large chicken breast, grilled, smothered in bbq sauce, chopped in small pieces
3/4 cup marinara sauce
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
couple dashes hot sauce
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup blue cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked and drained

Heat a large pan to med high. Add butter and oil. When butter is melt and bubbling, add shallots and cook for 4-5 min or til starting to caramelize. Add garlic and cook 1 min. Add chicken and toss to coat with shallot mixt. Add marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, salt, hot sauce, and tomatoes. Toss to coat. Stir in blue and Parmesan cheeses. Add pasta and toss to coat. To serve, top pasta with more blue and Parmesan

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Better late than never

I had this lofty goal of giving Blockette two crochet bunnies for Easter. Well that didn't happen. I did manage to finish the one on the left at dark o'clock the night before Easter, so at least there was that. I've discovered that I am an excessively slow crochet-er. I can't seem to crochet unless the TV is off and no one is talking/singing/making any noise what so ever. How often does that happen?! Last night MrBlocko had a"Team building" dinner so once the Blockette was tucked into bed I had oodles of quiet time to finish bunny #2. Even the cats cooperated and left me alone. (Whoohoo!) Bunny #2 is a bit smaller than Bunny #1. I guess that means I'm improving?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weed or What?

Something is growing in my garden and I have no idea what it is. Last year my mom helped me start up a garden in our boring bare front yard. I planted perennials toward the back, herbs on one side and annuals in the front and side closest to the sidewalk.This little guy is growing near the sidewalk in the area where I planted the annuals. I don't think I got a mutant annual that decided to come back. I'm pretty sure that I had either Zinnias or marigolds in this spot, and this looks nothing like it. I haven't yanked it out yet just on the odd chance it's not a weed. Anyone have any clue what this mystery plant is?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dry Rub for Pork

I'm a sucker for free stuff. A while back I signed up to get a free sample of
Jerry's All Purpose Seasoning Without MSG. I thought it the best way to test it out would be as a dry rub for pork chops. It was OK, but VERY salty. I think I will stick with making my own. So far my favorite dry rub is from the Food Network's Good Eats . I never seem to make it the same way twice. Somehow, I'm always just short or missing one of the ingredients. I just pick a spice I have enough of and increase it by the missing amount. No matter how I try to mess it up with substitutions it has always turned out delicious.

Alton Brown's Dry Rub from Food Network's Good Eats

8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easy Cheesy Rolls

I made these rolls this weekend. I think my expectations were really high. They did not turn out to be as delicious as I'd hoped.
As you can see they are full of cheesy ooey gooey goodness which was awesome. However, the basil, parmesean, and garlic mixture that went on top made them very messy. I am going to try them again with a few changes. Next time I will cook them for at least 15 min, half the parmesean and basil, double the garlic powder, and use mozzerella for the cheese filling.

Easy Cheesy Rolls from Real Mom Kitchen

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese from a can
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pkg. Pillsbury Grands Biscuits 

In a bowl, combine melted butter, Parmesan , dried basil, and garlic powder. Mix cheeses in a separate bowl. Remove biscuits from can and separate into individual biscuits. Flatten each biscuit slightly and put some cheese in the center of each biscuit and fold the dough around the cheese to form a ball. Pinch the dough together to seal the cheese inside. Roll each ball of dough in the melted butter mixture and place on a baking sheet. if there is any left over butter mixture, spoon it on top of the rolls on the baking sheet, Bake at 375 for 10-12 min until rolls are golden brown. Makes 8 rolls.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sam I Am

Mrblocko wanted Ham and Eggs this morning. Blockette had her own agenda and Mrblocko endulged. She was so excited she proclaimed it green day. And yes...the eggs DO match her shirt.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I've got an old pair of jeans that are falling apart, but they are just so comfy that I've just decided to add embroidered patches to cover the holes. Here is the latest patch.

I found the pattern on flickr in the hoop love pool. Everytime I look at it I giggle, because the way the horseshoe is pointing is bad luck. Strangely enough I'm having bad luck actually sewing the patch on the jeans. I've done so twice now and the darn thing just won't lay properly. Hopefully, third time is a charm.

Who says chili has to be Red???

ME!!! That's who!!! Originally this recipe from Rachael Ray called for Tomatillo salsa.
I don't care for tomatillos, but I thought the concept behind this recipe made for a great quick no bean chicken chili. (see the recipe here:,1052,362,449,589,562,862,783,842,429,716)

Pace Picante is our salsa of choice, so this chili leans more toward being soup like. I say that's just an excuse to thicken it up with a big dollop of sour cream and mounds of shredded cheese. Anything that is a vehicle for more cheese in my life is a good thing.

Chicken chili from Rachael Ray
1 rotisserie chicken, stripped and shredded or 1 to 1 1/2 pounds leftover roast turkey meat, shredded
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 rounded tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 jar salsa (16 ounces)
1 beer, any brand you like
1 quart chicken stock
4 handfuls tortilla chips, divided
1 handful cilantro leaves
Juice of 2 limes

Heat pot over med-high with EVOO. Cook onions and garlic til soft, 4 min. Add chili powder and cumin, cook for another minute. Add t salsa, beer and stock. Bring up to a bubble and add in the shredded chicken. Simmer 10-15 min. Grind 2 handfuls of tortilla chips and cilantro in food processor.  Add to the chili and continue cooking til it thickens, 8-10 min. Right before spooning into bowls, add lime juice and serve with chips.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pizza Spaghetti

Wow! The creativity of my post titles are astounding aren't they? This is a bit hit with the Blockette. I like to make a double batch and freeze half. Here is my doubled version.
Pizza spaghetti adapted from
1 lb gr beef
1 lb italian sweet turkey sausage removed from casings
1 cup chopped onion
1 29oz can tomato sauce
1 jar spaghetti sauce (you could use another can of tomato sauce and increase the spices)
6 oz pepperoni, halved, quartered or some of each
1 tsp dried basil (4 tsp fresh)
1 tsp dried oregano (4 tsp fresh)
1 tsp fennel seed
1 box of pasta (or 1/2 box if you are going to freeze half the sauce for later)
Shredded mozzerella and/or parmesean cheese to garnish

In a large non stick skillet, brown ground meat and onions. Drain the fat. Stir in the tomato/pasta sauce, pepperoni and spices. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 20-25 minutes until thickened. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti. Drain pasta, toss with sauce. Top with cheese.

Blockette and I had No Knead Bread with this. You can see a half slice in the wonky photo above. I don't have a better picture because this was the last slice in the loaf. You can find the no knead bread recipe here: I'll take a photo of the whole loaf next time I make it.

The Last Egg

Have you ever boiled up a bunch of eggs for Easter, but by the end of the week you are just sick of eating them? By that time there isn't enough to make something delicious like egg salad, or deviled eggs. Oh sure, you could boil up some more eggs, but the last thing you want to do is have more hard boiled eggs are sick of looking at them. Here is the perfect use for those last 1 or 2 straggler eggs: Chocolate chip cookies.

Yeah you heard me...cookies. I turned my nose up at the idea when I read about it here on Cookie Madness. I tried it and they were delicious!

This recipe calls for a food processor and I highly recommend using one. I happen to have the tiniest food processor in the planet so I had to blend the butter and flour, empty the processor, then combine the egg and sugars. It worked though. I ended up adding 3 handfuls of chips vs. the 1 handful the recipe originally called for. I like my cookies chocolatey. The chips added so much volume that I made 5 huge cookies instead of 4. I tasted the cookies both before and after freezing them. They were definately better after freezing.

This cookie is not for you if you are a member of the crispy cookie club. The texture is chewy, almost like a dense raw cookie dough. Mrblocko wondered if the cookies were cooked properly and my reply was, "Well there is no raw egg so who cares." I liked the fact that they were cookie dough-ish. Were these my favorite chocolate chip cookie? No, but they were tasty just the same. I'd definately make these again when I have an extra hard boiled egg I wanted to get rid of.

Hard Boiled Choc Chip Cookies from Cookie Madness
1 1/3 c plus 2 T flour
4 ounces  cold unsalted butter
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 c plus 2 Tsugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 hard boiled egg, shell removed
1/4 t vanilla extract
handful of chocolate chips

Combine flour and butter in food processor. Pulse til  mealy and coarse. Add salt and baking soda. Pulse to mix. Add both sugars and hard boiled egg. Pulse again til mealy looking. Add vanilla. Pulse til just come together. Dump into bowl, add chips. shape into 4-5 balls. Will see egg whites in dough – will disappear as cookies bake.Bake 350 F. for 20 min til lightly browned around edges. Cool on sheet 5 min then transfer to rack to finish cooling.Important: Let cool completely before serving. Texture gets better as cookies cool. Even better if  cool cookies, freeze, then thaw.
Makes 4 big cookies

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's in a name?

When I was a little girl my mom liked to try out new recipes she found in magazines and newspapers. If we didn't have the ingredients the recipe called for my mom would find a substitute. Some of those substitutions were creative to say the least. The joke in the house growing up was, "This recipe calls for Apples. We don't have any apples, but we do have tomatoes. They're both red!"

Now that I'm grown and cooking for a family of my own I too love to try out new recipes. Although, instead of print media I get all my recipes from blogs. (OK, so I'm addicted to Food blogs.) I thought it would be fun to have a place to comment on all the recipes, disasters and successes, that I've found on the interweb. I'll probably include some crafty type stuff too...should I ever get around to actually finishing something.