- Select your Pineapple.
- Cut off the top (or remember, twist out the top, but you’ll still have to slice off the top….) and bottom.
- Use a knife to trim off the rind.
- Slice the Pineapple in half.
- Then in quarters.
- Trim out the core.
- Divide each quarter in to 2-3 strips, then dice into smaller bite sized pieces.
I have to credit my love for cooking to my grandma’s yes, but later in life to Rachael Ray. Now I know a lot of people don’t like her and I have my moments where I just want her to come to reality because she always says, Your local store has blank blank blank. Well I live in Middle American and Rural America at that and our local store doesn’t always have things she refers to, example shallots.
But the thing about her is she came up with the idea of 30 minute meals. I was home from college one Christmas and got in to watching her show. I guess there was nothing else on so I got hooked on Food Network but I believe one of the first recipes she ever made was Mexican Lasagna. Truth be told I love Mexican food and I love Lasagna so you combine the two in 30 minutes or less and I’m sold. I remember calling my mom at work and asking her to pick up ingredients (texting wasn’t really an option at the time). When mom got home I made it and fell in love.
From then on I was hooked on watching her show. I then branched out to others but like I said, I want to credit her. I think it was that 30 minute meals thing and the fact that even if we couldn’t find what she was talking about in Rural Middle America I learned how to substitute. As you can see from the above picture I also learned what a Rue is. It’s a combination of butter and flour cooked down and then added to liquid as a thickening agent. Oooo look at me go. Are you impressed?
Eventually Rachael Ray came into daytime TV. When Mark and I started dating I told him I really liked her and her show. I meant the one on Food Network but he thought it was the one on daytime tv. Because of that miscommunication I started watching her daytime TV show.
Since 2010 I have quit watching her as much. In fact in the last year I can’t remember a time I’ve taken a minute to watch her daytime tv show or really any show of hers on Food Network. Is she even on Food Network anymore? I don’t know. One of the shows I did watch though, she made New York Deli Nachos.
I tried them once before, in fact it was early on in Mark and my marriage. It’s a combination of kettle chips and all the things that go into a Reuben Sandwich. Holy YUM! Mark loves Reuben Sandwiches so I knew this would be an easy sell for him. But here recently I was sitting here thinking, what are we going to have for dinner. Like I said the initial time we had these was early on in our marriage (we’ll have been married 7 years this year) and it hit me like a freight train I wanted these reuben nachos.
When he got home from work, I left our little girl with him and ran to the store after the ingredients. The only thing I couldn’t find was the shredded lettuce, but we luckily had a brand new package in the refrigerator. It’s a layer of kettle chips and meat and cheese sauce and sauerkraut and lettuce and just yummy stuff.
Let’s just say this hit the spot. Between the 4 of us who were eating on this for dinner, there wasn’t a bite leftover. Yes, they were that good. I’m just saying, go to the store, get the ingredients, and try them now. You won’t be disappointed!
- Ridged, thick-cut or kettle potato chips or frozen waffle fries
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 3/4 pound thick-cut deli pastrami, about 3 slices, diced
- 3/4 pound sliced 1/4-inch thick corned beef, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 pound sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 rounded tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 1 cup chopped or grated Muenster cheese
- 2 rounded tablespoons spicy deli mustard
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup relish
- Salt and pepper
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced or chopped deli pickles
Preheat oven to 250F.
Place potato chips on a large rimmed baking sheet and warm in oven or bake waffle fries to package directions.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with the oil. Add beef and onions, and cook until crispy at edges and hot through. Add sauerkraut and saut until warmed through, about 1-2 minutes.
Heat a saucepot over medium to medium-high heat. Melt butter and whisk in flour. Whisk in milk, season with salt and pepper, and thicken. Melt in cheeses and stir in mustard.
In a bowl, stir together sour cream, ketchup and relish; season with salt and pepper.
Arrange warm chips or waffle fries on a platter. Top with meat and cheese sauce. Drizzle with Russian dressing and top with lettuce, onions and chopped deli pickles.
Corn is one thing my family can agree on liking. I know I know it doesn’t provide much nutritional value, yada yada, but it’s A-maize-ing. haha. You know, corn is Maize. Please tell me I’m semi funny? *crickets* Ok fine….
I stumbled across this recipe so many years ago that I’m not even sure when, where, or how. Like I mentioned above, my husband really likes corn and one night I came across this recipe and we decided to give it a whirl. OMG, I think we wound up having it 4 or 5 times in the next 2 weeks or something like that. Yeah, it’s crazy they were that good. Then we didn’t have any for I don’t know… years.
One night a couple weeks ago, however that changed. We were trying to come up with a side dish for dinner that was different that what we’ve been eating a lot of lately and that’s when I remembered about these Corn Cakes.
That night we invited our friend Jared over and asked if he’d ever had corn cakes. He kind of thought I was crazy I think until he actually tried them. Then he seemed to be sold. Now one thing I learned that night is these are a lot better when they are warm and fresh than when they cool off and sit there. So keep that in mind and maybe come up with a way to help keep them warn; then share your advice with me! Enjoy!
(adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp dried mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 cups corn, cooked and drained
- What we like to do is place the corn in a skillet with a few tbsp of butter and some season salt. Just as the butter melts and gets a “sizzle” sound to it add the corn and sauté it up a bit. Adds another level of flavor!!
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Don’t have? Don’t worry! Just add a splash of vinegar to milk (preferably low fat or skim but doesn’t have to be…)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- In a medium size bowl combine dry ingredients with grated cheese and set aside.
- In another bowl whisk together corn, buttermilk, egg, and melted butter.
- Pour corn mixture over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened, like you would for a muffin batter.
- Scoop batter for each cake on a hot grill (350º) which has been lightly greased.
- They will spread a bit so no need to flatten them.
- Cook for 4 or 5 minutes on one side, until brown at the edges, flip and cook another 4 minutes.
- Yield: 7 cakes
Here while back I told you about my debacle with the pizza dough when I made the crockpot pizza… Well I had extra pizza dough, so what do you do? You make Cheesy Bread Sticks of course! And wow, just sitting here talking about them makes me want some cheesy bread sticks!
Okay so these are super simple….. Start with your pizza dough….
Make a mixture of butter and garlic
I really planned on posting these earlier in the week… I mean how can you keep something oh so good a secret? Except this thing called the Plague, or technically a flu or cold bug took my house over and bam, we were all sick. I didn’t even get out of bed on Tuesday. It was that bad.
Years ago my grandma gave me a recipe out of a magazine for Red Lobster Garlic Biscuits. She said that the magazine claimed they were the real thing and by golly, they’re pretty darn good whether they are the real thing or not. And that in my book is a good thing!
So here a couple weeks ago I was perusing the interwebs and found a recipe for Weight Watchers Approved Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Wait, what? Weight Watchers approved? That means they are better for you, right? That’s absolutely what that has to mean 😚.
You bet your bottom dollar I made sure I had everything to make them… and then I made them. Oh wow! I think my life is complete… like seriously! Complete! That’s all. Now that I’ve shared this bit of information with you, run to the store, get the ingredients, make them, claim they are bad, and eat them all for yourself. I didn’t run the points checker, but I found where one website with the exact same recipe claimed 1 point a piece. If that’s the case, just make room for 12 points in your daily point count and you’re set. You can thank me later. (although I’d definitely run the point checker first! Just saying).
2 cups reduced fat Bisquick
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1 cup low fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons diet margarine
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1. Combine the baking mix, milk, and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl.
2. Mix with your hands until completely combined.
3. Form into balls about three tablespoons in size. There is enough for 12 biscuits.
4. Place them a few inches apart on parchment paper or a lightly sprayed baking sheet.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
6. While they are in the oven, melt the margarine and mix with garlic powder.
7. Right when the biscuits come out of the oven brush them with melted margarine mixture and then sprinkle the crushed parsley on top. Serve hot.
The other day I got it in my head I wanted pizza. I’ve seen multiple times where you could make pizza in a Crockpot and the skeptical part of me wasn’t sure I believed it, so I obviously had to try for myself. I read through a couple different recipes to see if I had all the ingredients. Once I found out I did, away I went….
Except… I realized I didn’t have everything I needed for the particular pizza dough I chose. I had already got my yeast to rising, so I ran to my trusty Pioneer Woman cookbook and decided to make her pizza dough… except it didn’t totally work that way either. Remember, I already had my yeast rising so I just adapted from PW’s recipe.
Then I started digging through the cabinets again and realized I didn’t have any pizza sauce. At this point I should have just given up, but I wasn’t ready to call it quits yet. I found spaghetti sauce. Looking back, it might have been a little thin, but at the last minute, does that even matter?
I did have pepperoni, I knew that and I also had hamburger. So a Hamburger Pepperoni pizza it was. Turns out if I’d have paid a little more attention I could have had black olives and or mushrooms to add to that mix… but I didn’t.
For Christmas I got Mark this really cool crockpot. It had never been used and I really wanted to use it. I decided a rectangle Crockpot would be better for pizza than an oval one anyway.
Trying this… I wound up baking it a little long. I set the timer for 6 hours. I wound up pulling it around 5 and a half hours. I really should have pulled it closer to 4 and a half or 5. It was fabulous, just the crust was a smidge dry.
Lastly I would have/should have put parchment paper down before placing my pizza crust in. It would have made it much easier to get out of the Crockpot. And that my friends is the story/tale of my crockpot pizza.
If using raw pizza toppings such as hamburger or sausage, brown the meat first.
Place parchment paper in the crockpot followed by a thin layer of Extra Virgin Olive Oil or cooking spray.
Stretch the pizza dough out to cover the bottom of the crockpot.
Place pizza sauce followed by toppings and lastly cheese. (you can reverse this order to anything that pleases your tastes)
Cover crockpot and place on low for 4-6 hours.
Once pizza is cooked, cut, serve, and Enjoy!
This would be the perfect dinner for summer when you want pizza but don’t want to heat up your house! Plus put it in in the morning and it’ll be ready by the time you get home from work.
I’m not sure how my dad came up with this recipe… maybe surfing the web, maybe through an email, I really don’t know… but one day this week he started reading off a list of ingredients to me asking if we had them. We had everything but pork chops and green onions.
He thought about it and walked off. Later he came back to the recipe and verified the ingredients we didn’t have. I asked if I needed to run to town to grab those ingredients. He said, I can, and then went back outside.
A little while later, he came in and verified the ingredients to me again. When Mark got home from work that night, he started to make ribs that were in the refrigerator and I verified if my dad’s truck was outside or not. He said no, I told him to hold off. He looked at me quizzically and I explained that dad found a recipe that he wanted to try and I had a feeling he went to town to get the ingredients we didn’t have. Mark was fine with that.
Sure enough, that’s what he did. He printed off the recipe and one of the first couple lines is, “You need this recipe in your life. You may not realize it, but you do.” I giggled at that thought thinking, really?
I’m here to tell you, You need this recipe in your life, you just may not realize it. I’m telling you now… go to town, get the ingredients. You won’t be sorry.
The only thing we didn’t have and subbed in was the Mad Dog Liquid Fire Hot Sauce. Dad said he bought some for my uncle one year for Christmas and you had to sign a wavier that said you wouldn’t eat it without being on something… so basically plain. Scary thought, right?
We subbed in Habanero sauce that we had in the fridge. We also used Mexican stewed tomatoes that we diced up versus a can of already diced tomatoes. I’m telling you… Totally yum! The last thing the recipe said was “Then get ready for compliments”… let me tell you, they came!
4 Pork Chops
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp hot sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 medium sweet bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
3 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp oregano
Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line a baking dish with foil or baking paper (makes for easier clean-up… optional) and set aside.
Season the pork chops with s&p. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the pork chops. Brown on each side (about 2 minutes before turning), then transfer to the baking dish.
In a bowl, combine the hot sauce with the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heap the mixture onto the chops and place the baking dish in the oven for roughly 35 minutes or until pork is cooked and tender. (Then get ready for compliments.)
I’m really not sure I should comment that when it comes to the easy stuff, I don’t always know how to make it. I know I’ve confessed this before… but that’s just how it is. If someone was making when I was younger, they didn’t teach me how. It happens sometimes. So what is my newest easy food to make addition? Mashed Potatoes. Sad but true.
Up until last year, I never really made mashed potatoes. I’ve been married 6 1/2 years roughly. Really prior to last year we never really made mashed potatoes and when we did… I didn’t make them. I might cut them up and put them in the water to boil, but that was the extent of my helping with mashed potatoes. Sad but true.
Then one day last year I was with friends and took it upon myself to learn how to make mashed potatoes. Are they hard? Heck no. But I still didn’t know how to make them. I think my friend Jared about chocked when I mentioned this in passing. That’s okay, I have it figured out now!
First things first, cut up the potatoes to roughly the same size, that way they cook roughly the same amount of time. My favorite potatoes for mashed potatoes are Yukon Gold (the little yellow ones) although any potato really works. One night we had purple potatoes, therefore purple mashed potatoes. It was Jared’s fault. It was at his house and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I never figured out why, but you’re supposed to start potatoes off in cold water to cook them. Bring them to a boil and when you stick a fork (or a p-hork as I call it sometimes. Hey if you call a phone like fone, why not a fork a p-hork? I should also mention I pronounce phone p-hon-ay…. don’t ask, it’s best not to) in them and they fall off, they’re done.
With the Yukon Gold potatoes I leave the skins on. With Russet potatoes I might peel most of the potatoes that we boil, but I still leave the skin on a couple depending on how many potatoes I use. I just like the taste/flavor/texture it adds.
I have a hand potato masher, but Mark prefers to use the mixer. We learned in the artisian Kitchen Aid I used to have that you use the paddle attachment, but in our professional mixer, use the dough hook. Although he got a glass bowl for Christmas and it looks like he’s using the paddle attachment in the glass bowl, so I’d say, use what works best! Although I’d steer clear of the whisk.
Now this is where you add in your butter, garlic, salt, pepper, really any seasoning you choose, including cheese. Have fun with it!
This was his attempt at “roasted” garlic even though it was done on aluminum foil on the grill top. I don’t know but I can tell you it was good so that’s all that matters!
So, you can stop there… or do what he did last night…. Place half the potatoes in a pan, top with cheese, another layer of potatoes and a few pats of butter. He placed it in the oven at 350˚F for roughly 35 minutes because that’s how long our pork chops were in the oven. 5 minutes until it was “finished’ he pulled them out, topped with more cheese and put them back in to allow the cheese to get melty (technical term).
Dish them up and eat!
Backtrack with me a few years, 2011 to be exact. For YEARS and I’m talking YEARS I’ve wanted to make Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve heard making a turkey is difficult to keep moist yet get thoroughly cooked, etc. 2011 I was given the opportunity to try. The year before if you’ll remember Pioneer Woman challenged Bobby Flay to a Thanksgiving Off (or whatever they called it).
I made her turkey, stuffing, etc. I almost made her exact meal, but not quite. Anyway, then I went on the hunt one day in 2012 for the perfect Turkey recipe. Does one even exist? Well, I think the answer is yes. I found a recipe for a Bacon Wrapped Turkey. I had the opportunity to make the 2012 Thanksgiving dinner as well, so I knew we were going to try this turkey.
I have to say, we’ve tried to change it up a bit, one year we smoked it, one year we forgot the bacon blanket, etc etc… but if you find something that works, why mess with it? Seriously!
So why am I telling you all of this? Well next week is Thanksgiving and I want you to have ample time to get the ingredients for this bird. Trust me, it’s so worth it!
*Note this recipe is for 18-20lb bird. Just adjust your ingredients for a bigger or smaller bird!
**Note 2: Also if you’re going with a frozen bird (aka turkey), give it ample time to defrost. You’ll need approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs of the bird.
What you’ll need:
A large plastic bag, optional. (this is for the brining process. I’ve used a stock pot as well)
A platter or pan that fits the turkey in the fridge (again, that stock pot works great)
Kitchen Twine (sadly I don’t always have this on hand)
A roasting pan that fits the turkey (and in your oven! Keep that in mind!!)
A probe-style meat thermometer (is extra handy)
A turkey, thawed
Lots of Kosher Salt
1 1/2 lb bacon
1/2 lb butter
Fresh herbs: sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, marjoram, rosemary
Roasting vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, apples
Brining the turkey:
A simple dry brine works exceptionally well on this turkey. Take a tip, don’t brine more than 24 hours in advance or the turkey gets WAY to salty. Remove all the interior parts of the bird and throw away or place in your freezer to make stock with later or go ahead and save for Thanksgiving day and use to make giblet gravy.
Wash the bird well, both inside and out. Get in there and really scrub the bird. Place the bird in your brining bag or pot and rub down with kosher salt. Don’t be stingy. Coat that bird both inside and out. Wash your hands, then place the bird in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Thoroughly wash your sink and all around your sink and your hands again too. Never to sorry to be safe!
For the Herb Butter Mixture:
This can be made up to a week in advance. This is handy to note, especially if you’re planning on lunch so you have to get up at the butt crack of dawn (that’s earlier than the crack of dawn) to start your bird to cooking. It also allows your herbs to meld into that butter.
Use a food processor. It is your friend! Add 1/2lb raw bacon slices, 1/2 lb butter, and generous handfuls of the herbs. I don’t have exact measurements of the herbs, just use your best guess. Ours is never quite the same there. Once you have everything added, place the lid on the food processor and blend together until it makes a smooth paste.
*Note: if made in advance, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pull it out about 30 minutes before using it so it can come to room temperature the day of Thanksgiving.
The bacon blanket can be done the night before if you’re doing lunch so you’re not having to get up so early. This isn’t a quick process but so totally worth it. Just make sure the bird on the platter fits in your fridge.
Cooking the bird:
Place the turkey in the 450 degree oven for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 375˚F for the rest of the cooking process. This is where if you have a digital probe, use it! stick the probe in the deepest part of the breast and you can place the reader up on the counter. It will chime when the bird is fully cooked. Make sure you don’t go so deep you hit the bone. You will want the turkey cooked to an internal 165˚F.
You spent all morning cooking, let someone else cut up the masterpiece. haha.
Back in 2009 I had a big group of friends that got together once a month and tried new restaurants. The girls liked to dress up so it was usually business casual or higher in dress, we tried to pick restaurants that were local to the area versus being a chain restaurant, and we went back and forth between the Joplin area and the Springfield Area. 12 Restaurants and I made 11 of them. D’Arpino’s Italian Cafe on National in Springfield was one of the places that we went to.
Jump forward to 2016, about a week ago or so, and a sort of date night, but the baby was with us, and Mark and I were trying to decide where to eat. Our normal go to in Springfield is Zio’s but we wanted something a little different. We threw out this suggestion and that and eventually landed on D’Arpino’s and asked why we’d only been there the one time.
It was settled, we were going to D’Arpino’s. Oh and the answer to why we’d only been there once… well because we usually go to Zio’s because we like it that much. But after this night, D’Arpino’s is back on the radar.
Each of our meals started out with a salad. We were asked what kind of dressing we’d like… Ranch because is there any other :). haha. The salad was good. I didn’t really miss the cheese (although there was sprinkled Parmesan Cheese) and croutons. The Kalamata olives were a great addition although I gave most of mine to Mark because he likes them a bit better than I do. I’m newer to the liking Olives bandwagon.
We also started with bread sticks. These bread sticks are good. We got more to go with our meal. I like carbs and these were definitely worth it.
We actually started with an appetizer. We got the Stuffed Pepperoni Bread. This stuff could have been a meal it was so good. It was bread stuffed with pepperoni and Mozzarella cheese… can you get any better? Definitely a good choice.
I went with the Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken. It was a chicken breast stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, breaded and pan fried, served over a bed of Fettuccine topped with Alfredo Sauce. This was excellent, don’t get me wrong, but I think they could have cut back on the Afredo sauce and it would have been just as good. I love Alfredo but I felt like it over powered the excellent chicken. And i’m telling you, it was good as is.
Hubby went with a special. It was Seafood Ravioli in a red sauce and cheese. He was exceptionally pleased. I tried a bite, but not being crazy about seafood, it was a little fishy tasting to me. He liked it so much though, he ate every last bite.