Friday, February 22, 2013

Spinach & Artichoke Tarts

 Have you ever gone to a party hoping there would be spinach and artichoke dip? I always do because its one of my favorite appetizers. So I made my favorite dip into a simple tart.

        Spinach & Artichoke Ingredients
   - 1 cup of spinach (drained & chopped)
   - 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts
   - 1 tsp. garlic powder
   - 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
   - 1 cup of mozzarella
   -  3/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
   - 1 box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts
          Servings: Makes about 24 tarts

 First, start out the recipe by preheating your oven to 375 degrees, and then spray your 24-mini muffin cup pan with cooking spray.

 Then, measure and mix all of your ingredients in a bowl, except the pie crust. Once that's finished, remove only 1 pouch of dough from your Pillsbury box.

  Take a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter and cut 24 rounds out of the crust. You will have to re roll the dough out with a rolling pin after quite a few. If you don't have a cookie cutter, just find a lid in your home that measures the same, like I recommended in an earlier post.

    After that, take each round and press it into the muffin cups, pinching a few sides on the top so it looks like the picture on the left. Then, take a spoonful of your mixture and fill up your cups to the top. Last but not least put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. When the top of the filling and the crust is a little brown, the tarts are done. Let them cool for about 5 minutes and then your ready to serve.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cooking 101: A Lid = Perfect Cookie Cutter?

    Why is it always so difficult to find the 
 perfect cookie cutter for a random recipe? Well, it happened to me this past Christmas, which became even more difficult because every cookie cutter around was either a Christmas tree or gingerbread man.

So after I got home, I was cookie cutter less and still needed to make tarts for a party. I've heard of using cups as cookies cutters, but I needed something a lot smaller. 
    I decided to look around my apartment until I finally opened my fridge. There was my answer just smiling up at me. I then grabbed every lid I had and measured their dimensions, because I needed a specific size cookie cutter.

 I felt like I was in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, because I found one that was too big and too small, and then one that was just right. That was my relish lid. All I had to do was clean it and I was in business.

The best way to use your lid is similar to an actual cookie cutter. You find a spot on your dough and press your lid into the dough. You just have to make sure to press down hard enough and rotate the lid side to side to make sure there is a clean cut.

 Then, you take away what you don't need and you have the perfect circle that you didn't have to search countless stores for, but rather its something you can find in the least likely of places.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Breakfast Sliders

While you've probably heard of a hamburger slider, but have you ever eaten a breakfast slider? I hadn't either until I decided to mix one of my favorite breakfast foods into a slider, topped off with a special sausage and gravy sauce.

This delicious dish is great when you have people over and need something filling for brunch. They will be asking for seconds after the very first bite.

Breakfast Slider Ingredients                                       Sausage & Gravy Ingredients
- 1 container of Pillsbury Simply Biscuits                    - 1 tbs. of butter
- 4 eggs                                                                      - 2 1/2 cups of milk
- 1tbs. of milk                                                             - 1 1/2 tbs. of flour
- 3 slices of cheddar                                                  - 6 links of breakfast sausages
- salt and pepper to taste                                           - dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. of butter                                                         - salt and pepper to taste

Servings: 10 sliders                                                              Servings: 10 sliders

     First start off by following the directions of your Pillsbury Simply Biscuits and put them in the oven. While those cook, crack four eggs in a bowl and add 1 tbs. of milk. Whisk the eggs with a fork, which I find easier than a whisk when it comes to eggs. Turn on your stove and start heating up our pan on medium. Place a teaspoon of butter in the pan and pour your eggs mixture into the pan. Use a wooden spoon to keep eggs from sticking and scramble them up. This will take about 5 minutes to cook. Add a little salt and pepper and then, remove from burner.

   Then, its time to make your gravy mixture.
In a different pan, take 1 tbs. of butter and melt it. Then, take 1 tbs. of flour and then add 1 cup of milk. Slowly stir until it becomes smooth.
 Chop up your 6 links of breakfast sausages and place it in your mixture. Then,
add the other 1/2 tbs. of flour and 1 1/2 cups of milk stir until smooth. Then, add a dash of cayenne pepper, pepper and salt to taste.

By this time, your biscuits will be ready to take out of the oven. After they've cooled, take each one and cut them in half horizontally. Place a small spoonful of your eggs on the bottom biscuit, then a small square of cheddar on top of it. Then, drizzle a spoonful of your sausage and gravy mixture on top of that. The heat will then melt your cheese. Place the other half of your biscuit on top and add a toothpick to keep everything together and to add to the presentation. Then enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cooking 101: Tired of brown avocado's?

   One of my biggest pet peeves is when I want to use an avocado for a recipe, but I don't need all of it. 

What do I do with it? Throw it away and waste it? The answer is no, because I finally came up with a solution that helps to keep more money in my pocket, more avocado's in my apartment and a smile on my face.

It's honestly really simple, and it just involved a little bit of science and a bit of police work. So put on your lab coat, police badge and let's begin.

My hypothesis: why does an avocado turn brown?
Answer: It turns brown when exposed to oxygen.
So in order to avoid it going bad, I decided to be a detective and stop this criminal called air' from stealing my fresh avocado's. 

- 1 avocado with pit inside
- Saran wrap

All you have to do is pull off about a couple inches of saran wrap. Put it over the open part of the avocado and make sure it hugs around the pit. The point is to have it touch each part of the avocado and act like a vacuum seal. It's easiest if you have one hand holding the saran wrap on the pit, while the other presses it down against the avocado.  

By doing this, it will keep your avocado green for about 2 days. Don't worry if you have a tiny brown spot or two the next day. Just take a spoon and scrape that thin layer off, and enjoy your leftover avocado.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Turkey Panini w/ Pesto Mayonnaise

Have you ever tasted something where the ingredients fit perfectly like a puzzle?
After receiving my Cuisinart Panini/Griddler for Christmas, I began to experiment on what delicious panini's I could make. So I ventured out to the grocery store to see what I could find. After shopping around I came up with the perfect Turkey Panini w/ Pesto Mayonnaise.
     Once I took my first bite, I've been making this practically everyday.

 Ingredients for Turkey Panini                       Ingredients for Pesto Mayonnaise
- 6 slices of Turkey                                      - 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 2 slices of Ciabatta bread                          - 1/2 tbs. of garlic
- Lettuce/Cabbage/Carrot pkg mixture        - 2 tbs. of pesto (I used Classico Basil Pesto)
- 1 slice of mozzarella cheese                     - 1 small tupperware container             
- 1/2 avocado                                                           Makes 6 servings
Makes 1 serving

First, you want to start out by making your pesto mayonnaise. Take 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 tbs. of garlic, and then 2 tbs. of pesto and mix it in the tupperware container. After you stir it up, the mayonnaise is done. Then, whatever you don't use just place it in the fridge for next time.

For your panini, its very simple. Take your pesto mayonnaise and spread it on each slice of bread. Then, lay down your 6 slices of turkey, along with 1 slice of mozzarella cheese.

 Turn your panini/grill/griddle on, and select panini and set it to medium. Cook the sandwich for about 6 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Then, if your anything like me you probably don't like soggy produce, which is why I wait until after the panini is cooked to put the other ingredients on. So before the eating can commence, top it off with some of that lettuce/carrot cabbage mix, a few slices of avocado, tomato and your done! Once you take a bite you'll feel like you're in heaven.