Tag Archives: Dinner

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

This recipe was made last night.  And was supposed to be posted last night.  But this happened:

Just kidding.  I actually had a huge migraine when I got home from my clinical, but managed to throw the pizza together since most of it was already made.  I had promised this pizza to Fritz for two days, so I didn’t want to go yet another day without delivering (get it?  delivering? pizza? yeah…).  But by the time it came to posting, I just couldn’t do it.

So here it is, a day later and, happily, headache free.

Philly Cheesesteak Pizza

  • 1 recipe for pizza crust (this is my favorite recipe and makes enough for three pizzas)
  • 1-2 T steak sauce of choice (A1 would be good, I used Worcestershire)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 oz steak, sliced thinly (I used leftover flank steak)
  • 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with the pizza stone inside for at least 20 minutes (no pizza stone?  Use the back of a baking sheet!).  Meanwhile, slowly caramelize the onion over medium heat–you can add a teaspoon full of sugar if you want.  I used red onions and I would have liked them to be a bit sweeter! 

On a piece of parchment paper, stretch out the dough to about a 10′ circle.  Spread with the steak sauce, and top with the caramelized onion and steak.  Finish off with a sprinkle of cheese, and a little salt and pepper.  Bake on the pizza stone for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is browned and the crust is golden.

You should probably brush the edges with olive oil, but I forgot and the world didn’t end.

Fritz was a huge fan of this pizza–which is not at all surprising.  Total man pizza.

I sprinkled mine with a bit more Worcestershire sauce.  As a side note, I would like to know how something spelled “Worcestershire” is pronounced with only three syllables. 

Something is totally wrong there.

I am in the process of slow cooking some apple butter right now, and it should be all done and ready for eatin’ by tomorrow morning.  Have a nice night (wine or not!).

Oh, and check out some of these beauties from our garden:

7 Comments

Filed under Entrees

Sage & Butternut Squash Pizza

Fall came crashing into my life today in the most delicious way ever.  Let me teach you the way:

Butternut squash + goat cheese + sage + homemade roasted garlic pizza sauce = the best fall inspired pizza known to mankind.

Seriously.  And don’t just take my word for it.  Make it yourself.

I was inspired by a recipe in a vegetarian cookbook I read through at the thrift store–they are the ones who gave me the idea for butternut squash and sage together on pizza.  The execution is so basic that you don’t need a real recipe, anyway.  But here’s some anyway, “just in cases” (10 points if you can name that quote).

Here’s the basic pizza dough recipe, and here’s the roasted garlic and pepper tomato sauce I used.  The pizza dough recipe makes enough for three pies, but this recipe made two pies.  Freeze the last third of the dough to use some other time!  My measurements are all very approximate–because I didn’t measure and because pizza is so specific to individual tastes!  Just try it and see.

Sage & Butternut Squash Pizza

  • pizza dough for two pies
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • dash of salt
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • handful of fresh sage leaves (about 20 per pie)
  • 1/2 C-1 C sauce for each pie
  • 3 oz crumbled goat cheese (to split between the two pies)
  • 1-2 C shredded mozzarella cheese (depends on your personal taste)

Spread the butternut squash and half the sage leaves on a baking sheet (I used a deep glass one).  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.  I did this while the pizza dough was rising.

This is quick and easy.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (the hotter the better!) and set your pizza stone inside to heat up.  If you don’t have a stone, you can use the back of a baking sheet to bake the pizza on, but don’t worry about preheating it beforehand.

Spread the dough out to a circle with a roughly 10″ diameter on top of a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal.  Spoon the sauce on top, and sprinkle with the two types of cheese.  Layer half the butternut squash and sage leaves over the top, and add a few more fresh sage leaves.

Don’t forget to brush the edges with olive oil!

Slide the pizza and parchment paper from the table top on to a large plate or baking sheet back, then transfer it on the stone in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the bottom and edges are browned and the cheese is bubblin’.

Best served sliced and eaten immediately so the cheese burns your mouth.

Then again, that might just be my way.

I absolutely love the taste and texture of goat cheese on pizza–it’s so good!  It makes the slightly boring taste of butternut squash become exciting.

Lastly, this pizza is ridiculously filling with all the squash on top–Fritz and I didn’t even finish a pizza between the two of us (but we really, really wanted to).

Have a good night!

10 Comments

Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Very Veggie Burgers

Vacation feels so weird–it’s really hard to allow myself to sleep in (until 8:30!) and read whole books and go to the gym whenever I want.  I feel like I’m letting a whole weekend go to waste without getting tons of stuff accomplished–I guess I’ve gotten used to cramming a lot of work into short weekends.

But I’m getting there.  Tomorrow I might even wake up late, make Fritz a glorious Sunday breakfast, and then sneak in a midday nap, just ’cause I can.

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making veggie burgers (since they are so gosh-darn expensive to buy! Why is that?!), and with all my time off and beautiful weather outside, I knew today would be a good day for it.  Using inspiration from my mom, I remembered reading a blog post from Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows about the perfect veggie burger, and I decided to stick with the recipe from a self-proclaimed veggie burger perfectionist.

I just don’t have enough vegetarian experience to experiment on my own at this yet.

Very Veggie Burgers Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 C oats, ground to flour
  • 1 1/2 C bread crumbs (mine were Italian flavor)
  • 1 C grated carrot (I used the small hole on the grater)
  • 1 C cooked black beans, roughly mashed
  • 1/2 C sunflower seeds (roasted, unsalted)
  • 1/3 C chopped almonds (raw)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T olive oil
  • flax eggs: 2 1/2 T ground flaxseed in 1/2 C warm water
  • 1 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1/2 t salt

This recipe does take a lot of prep work to get all the ingredients ready, but once you’re there, it goes fast.

Combine all the ingredients and mix well–I started using a spoon but rapidly gave up and dove right in with my hands.  I was shocked and impressed by how delicious the dough was–yum.

Shape into eight large patties, packed really tightly.  To cook on the grill, pre-cook them a little bit in the oven first, so they maintain their shape.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake them on a greased baking sheet for fifteen minutes, flipping them once halfway through. 

Moving to the grill–cook them over medium heat, for just a few minutes on each side.  They’ll get gorgeous grill marks, and you can melt cheese over them once you flip ’em.  These patties are pretty stable, so you don’t have to worry about being too careful with them.

I was surprised by how much I loved these burgers.  As a meat-eater, I can attest that they don’t replace a juicy, freshly grilled beef burger, but they can hold their own in a separate category.  I can actually see myself eating these instead of burgers, since I really liked the taste, but I would never expect Fritz to do the same.

With ketchup, mustard, and cheese, these really hit the spot.  They are also really dense, and since I was starving I managed to eat two, but kinda regretted the second one later.  I was preeeetty full.

As for the texture, I give it a hearty thumbs up!  I wasn’t sure why the sunflower seeds and almonds were necessary, since meat burgers definitely aren’t crunchy, but as I started eating this one it made sense.  Without the nice textural crunch and chew, I think the burgers could rapidly head in the “too mushy” direction.  Ugh.  Reminds me of the first veggie burger I ever had–not the best.

In summary–worth the work and quite delicious! I can’t wait to have round two tomorrow.

12 Comments

Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Rainy Day Split Pea Soup (and a Swanson Review)

Today was a gloomy, chilly (for summer, at least), rainy, tea-drinking, book reading, soup making kind of day.  It started off with a run (I’m up to 1.7 miles now!) and a workout, and leveled off with a nap, the reading of an entire book (A Handful of Dust) and a little craftiness you’ll see either tomorrow or the next day.  Meanwhile, split pea soup happened.

Have you met my mom?

Isn’t she pretty?  She’s also the master, the reigning queen, the commander-in-chief, and emperor over all things soup.  She has that mystical mom-ability to create something out of nothing–from “there’s no food in the entire house!” to all the children squabbling over the leftover bowls.  Especially when it comes to pea soup.

This recipe was made in the spirit of my mom’s soup making–I just used whatever I had that I thought would work.  The CSA box from this week went along perfectly with the soup theme, supplying leeks, onions, and potatoes.  Combined with thyme from the garden, dried peas in the cupboard, and a ham bone from the freezer–magic happened.  Mom magic.

Rainy Day Split Pea Soup Printable Recipe Card

  • 2 small onions (or 1 medium)
  • 2 baby leeks (or 1 regular-sized leek)
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 ham bone (from a previously made ham)
  • 1 C yellow dried split peas
  • 1 C green dried split peas
  • 3 C chicken broth
  • 4 C water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I made this in the Crock Pot, because I didn’t want to have to babysit dried split peas all day.  This was an excellent plan, an excellent plan indeed.

Start by dicing all the veggies and adding them to a lightly oiled Crock Pot, set on high (for 4 or 6 hours).  When you use leeks, make sure to clean them extra well–they are known to be gritty in between the leaves.  If they’re extra bad, you can submerge them in a bowl of water and let the dirt fall to the bottom.

Add the spices, then the ham bone.  Sorry about the grisly image–kind of difficult to make it look attractive.  Top off with split peas, broth, and lastly with water.  I used four cups to make sure everything was covered with water, and it ended up making the soup the perfect consistency.  You can start with less and add more if you need it later, of course.

Allow the soup to cook until the peas fall apart.  Remove the ham bone and bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

I’ve made pea soup several times before, but this is by far the best one.  You just can’t replace that deep and amazing flavor from the ham bone by using bacon–you just can’t.  Often I will add chunks of ham to the soup as well, but I didn’t have any and I must say I didn’t really miss them at all.

Fritz, who is often not a fan of split pea soup, approved heartily. 

On another exciting note, I received a box full of goodies from Swanson Health Products today!  They sent me a $25 coupon to use on anything from their website to review–and hey, I’m a poor college student and I love treating myself to some free food–especially if it’s not my standard fare.

So here’s what I picked:

  1. Pure Raw Buckwheat Honey from Y. S. Organic Bee Farm,
  2. Mayan Cocoa Spice Tea from Yogi Tea,
  3. Almond Flour from NOW Foods,
  4. Organic Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour from Bob’s Red Mill,
  5. Organic Popcorn from Arrowhead Mill, and
  6. Organic Kamut Spirals from Eden Foods

Quite a bit of stuff, which including shipping totaled $25.48.  Not bad, if I do say so myself (especially since you can search for coupon codes to help get the shipping costs down).

Now, I have to say that Swanson sells a lot of vitamins and supplements, and I don’t personally believe in taking those unless it’s medically necessary.  I have iron pills that I take when I know I’m probably anemic, and Fritz takes a multi-vitamin most days, but I generally think you should strive to get all of your nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from your diet as much as possible.  Most of those “miracle pills” and “superfood supplements” just aren’t my thing.

But back to the box.  First we tried the raw buckwheat honey, which was amazing. I’ve never had raw honey before (which, by the way, is antibacterial on superficial burns and such), but this jar tastes so smooth and rich.  Fritz wanted some on toast right away, and I obviously had to do a little quality control test first.

Then I headed straight for the cocoa spice tea.  What with all the rain and blankets and book reading, it was a perfect day to try a new tea–and it was really good.  I didn’t taste that much cocoa, but the cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves was perfect–and made me crave fall sooo badly.  I brewed it a little on the weak side, so I’ll try it a bit stronger tomorrow and see if I get a little more cocoa this time.

And the smell?

Heavenly.

The tea gave me a nice little message to leave you with:

15 Comments

Filed under Review, Soups/Stews

Zucchini and Tomato Tart

Only one more test to go (my last practical for my entire educational career!), then I’m a free woman!  My test isn’t until 8:30 tomorrow night, which gives me quite a bit of time to study (and agonize) until it’s all over.

I was searching for recipes using zucchini (since it appears I will be receiving yet more of it in my CSA box tomorrow), and I found this very yummy-looking tart from The Flour SackSince I haven’t made real food in a while, I thought it’d be a nice change from having Fritz grill everything while I cram for exams.

Zucchini and Tomato Tart Printable Recipe Cards

for the crust:

  • 2 C whole-wheat flour (you should probably use pastry flour, but I used straight whole-wheat)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • scant 1/2 C ice water

for the filling:

  • 1 C fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 C feta cheese
  • 1/4 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

top:

  • 1 medium to large zucchini, sliced thinly
  • handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • drizzle of olive oil (about a T)

This is a bit of a complex recipe, just in terms of how many bits and pieces there are to prepare, so make sure you have a little counter space and time available to you before starting.

Start with the crust.  Oil a 10-inch tart pan.  Combine the flour and salt in the mixer bowl, then drizzle the olive oil over the top while the mixer is running.  It should form small little balls throughout the flour (some flour will remain dry).  Slowly add the ice water until all the flour is moistened, and stop the mixer.  Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice to form a ball before rolling out to a large circle.  Lightly place onto the tart pan, press into place, and cut off the excess edges.

I didn’t have a tart pan, so I used a slightly smaller pie pan.  It worked fine, but I think the larger size would work better in making a thinner tart that cooks more quickly and evenly.  I used the extra edges to make four small mini-tarts–so cute!

Refrigerate the crusts for at least half an hour, then place them in the oven (preheated at 375 degrees) for 15 minutes, weighted down with pie weights or dried beans over a piece of parchment paper.  After 15 minutes, remove the weights and paper and let it toast for another 5 minutes.

While the crust is chilling and cooking, set up the zucchini.  Because they have such a high water content, toss the thin slices with a pinch of salt and lay them out on paper towels.  This will let them release some water before they drown your tart while cooking.

Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.  When the crusts are ready, spoon the filling into an even layer.  Dab the zucchini slices with a paper towel to dry them, then layer in a circular pattern over the top.  Drop the grape tomatoes, halved, on top, and drizzle with olive oil.

Don’t expect yours to look exactly like mine, since I doubled the zucchini–I’ve got a lot to use up!  I absolutely love zucchini, so I was happy with more, but the proportions would probably be better with the original amount.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour, when the tart is cooked through–the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are bursting with flavor.

A work of art to look at!

My only complaint with this tart was that the crust was a bit dense–that may be my fault, since I didn’t use pastry flour.  I also would have preferred to put it in a larger pan than what I had lying around, but I didn’t have anything that would be a better fit.

I must say, however, that the bite-sized tarts were absolutely amazing.  Two-bite-sized, really, but super cute and the perfect ratio of crust, cheese, and vegetable.

We ate half of the tart, and were completely stuffed.  Very filling.

Anyhoo, I have to go write a take-home final for my ethics class (best kind of test there is), so have a lovely evening!  To keep up with the late nights, I’ve been drinking vast quantities of English breakfast tea to keep me feeling sane–what’s your comforting drink of choice?  I’ve never really been a coffee kind of person.

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Ants Climbing on Branches (Chinese Green Beans over Noodles)

I actually made this recipe a few months ago, kind of assuming it’d be a nondescript and certainly not blog-worthy dinner.  I was quite definitely wrong, so I bookmarked it and set it aside for that future moment when all the pieces fell into place for it to happen again.

Well, my friends, fate has arrived. 

Ants Climbing on Branches (adapted from First Look, Then CookPrintable Recipe Card

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed and washed
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 C chicken broth
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t cornstarch

Start by making brown rice or whole-wheat noodles (I used whole-wheat lo mein noodles) to serve alongside the beans.

Heat up the canola oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat.  Toss in the onions and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add the ground ginger and red pepper and stir for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Next, add the ground turkey and cook thoroughly, about five minutes.  Add the soy sauce, vinegar, broth, and cornstarch, and mix to combine.

Toss the green beans on top and cover, simmer for 5-6 minutes until the green beans are cooked (I prefer mine al dente, but it’s up to you).  Remove the lid and allow the liquid to cook down until it’s the desired thickness for another minute or two.

Serve immediately over rice or noodles (serves four).

I absolutely love the combination of ginger (you can and should use fresh if you have it–about an inch long piece), green beans, salty soy sauce, and of course the savory turkey.  Add that to the smooth texture of the lo mein noodles and it is a serious winner.

Fritz also approves.  Whole-heartedly.

He also managed to eat an entire plateful (well, he did move it to a bowl) using plastic children’s chopsticks with a rooster on top.

He has mad skills.

And in other very exciting news, it’s the weekend!  Though it is sadly going to involve massive amounts of studying for my finals next week, it’s important to note that I am soon going to be on vacation! Woo!

The only sad news is that I found out that there’s no internet where we are going (the gorgeous Kootenay Lake in BC, Canada), so I’m not sure what to do about blogging.  I know I’ll miss it a lot, but I’m thinking about just straight up going without for the two weeks we will be gone.

What I don’t want to do is be trying to blog from internet cafes and restaurants on slow speed connections and gettin’ all frustrated while everyone else is frolicking away in the lakes and mountains.

What do you think I should do?

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Filed under Entrees

Cocoa Cumin Steak

That’s right.  I made a steak for dinner tonight.

Fritz was in carnivore heaven.

This is an awesome dry rub recipe that I found in America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook over a year ago, and I could have sworn I already blogged about it because it is just so darn good.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had not.  And because of that, I owe you an apology.

It was downright mean to withhold this recipe from you.  Cruel and unusual punishment.  I’m sorry I did that to you.

So next time you are making a steak, and you aren’t sure what to put on it, try this dry rub.  And even though it may sound weird, trust me on this.

Cocoa Cumin Dry Rub Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 T cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 T freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground allspice

Combine all the spices in a plastic or glass container–it’ll make enough for two or three steaks, so if you plan on using it twice, make sure that you don’t touch the raw meat and then touch the spice.  No diseases or bacteria, please.

Pat the steak dry with a paper towel and rub in the spices.

Grill over high heat for a few minutes until both sides are browned and grill-marked, then move over to medium heat for the remainder of the time.  I wanted it done medium-well, so I grilled it for another 12-15 minutes.

This steak is perfect as is.  No sauces, salt, or other fancy-smancy doohickeys needed.

I served it with a plain and simple green salad with blueberries and chocolate balsamic vinegar.

You might have noticed a little chocolate theme goin’ on here.  I did that on purpose.

Fritz’s sister is here visiting for the weekend, so tomorrow will probably involve lots of girly chat and possibly a haircut, which I desperately, desperately need.  Hopefully I’ll also have more time to play with the new lens.  Sayonara!

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Filed under Spice Mixes

Summertime Farrotto (Farro Risotto)

Ugh, this week kinda stinks.  Even though I only have three days of classes, I have two tests and I definitely didn’t study at all over the long weekend.  So, it’s a little bit stressful but it’s also my fault and I know it, and that’s the worst combination.

So in times of stress, what do I do?  Yep.  Try new recipes.

I’ve had some farro in the cupboards for a while now, and with the fresh carrots from the CSA box, and frozen peas from my parent’s garden, I knew there was something magical to be made.  As I was sitting in class, thinking about how much studying needed to happen tonight, a wisp of an idea took flight.  Farrotto.  Farro.  In risotto form.

Summertime Farrotto (serves 4-6)  Summertime Farrotto Recipe Card

  • 1 C dry farro
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, or 4 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 C frozen peas (I actually had 1 1/4 C of peas, so I just used ’em all)
  • 4-5 C broth (I’d suggest using half water and half broth so it’s not too salty) 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme (1 t fresh leaves)
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, heat the broth and water combo in a small saucepan over medium heat–you can bring to a boil and then turn down to just below a simmer.  The key for cooking a risotto (or a farrotto, in fact) is to keep the broth hot at all times, but to not boil it off, either).

Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pan, and add the onion, carrots, and peas.  Saute until softened.  Add the bay leaf and thyme, and cook another minute.  Meanwhile, I’d suggest giving the farro a quick whirl in a food processor just to break up the big grains a bit–not too much, just to crack most of ’em.  Once the veggies are softened, add the farro and stir around for a minute or two just to toast ’em.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the broth half a cup at a time, allowing all the liquid to be absorbed before adding more.  Also make sure you keep that farrotto stirred up–you don’t want a crust on the bottom, like a paella.  Once the broth is absorbed, add another half a cup.  Keep adding it until the farro reaches the creamy and soft consistency you want.  I used all five cups, but you could stop at four if you wanted.

Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

We served this with a gorgeous steak (thanks, Dad!) that had a dill and chili powder dry rub on it, grilled to perfection by the grill master himself (hi Fritz!).  On the side we each had half of a small zucchini that was spritzed with olive oil and dusted with smoked paprika before being grilled facedown.

Heaven.

I couldn’t decide which part of the meal I liked best–the farrotto, the zucchini, or the steak.  So yummy.  It’s also nice to have the rest of the meal be so easy because risotto-style cooking requires you to stand by the oven for a while.  With the dry rub already made in the cupboard, all I had to do was hand the meat and veggie part of dinner over to Fritz.

And for dessert we watched an episode of Real Housewives of Orange County because, let’s be honest, we all crave junk sometimes!

I’m off to make vast quantities of tea and stay up late studying.  Wish me luck–lots of it.

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Filed under Side Dishes

Classic Lime Margarita

Somehow it seems that every time I visit my parent’s house, I end up blogging about a really delicious alcoholic drink that we decided to make.  Remember the white summery sangria of a few weeks ago?

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We spent all day traveling yesterday (after a morning of class, of course), which is why there was no blog entry.  But because I like to share so many parts of my life, you can see how the little guy gets to ride in style.  Henry basically gets the entire back seat set up (food, water, litter box, crate) for his every need, and he rotates between sitting on my lap in the front, to his little driving oasis in the back.

It’s really the life.

Then today, we went white water rafting!  Mom, Dad, Fritz and I all braved the open seas and had a complete blast!  I was a little (read: a lot) frightened, but it wasn’t as terrifying as I anticipated and ended up actually being really fun and relaxing (but not at the same time).  Fritz and Mom got tossed out of the boat during the rapids aptly named “The Cruncher”, but other than that, no scary incidents.

I also thought I’d post this picture so you all can enjoy my arm muscles.

So it’s a little vain.  Get over it–I’m proud of those new guys!

And we ended the day with a quick wine tasting and a fun Mexican-themed night complete with margaritas and soft tacos.

Classic Lime Margarita (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Classic Lime Margarita Printable Recipe Card

I doubled this recipe to make a giant pitcher, which could easily serve 6-10 people more than enough margaritas–depending on how many is more than enough.  You could easily cut this recipe in half, or double it like I did.

  • 2 C water 
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 C lime juice (that’s a heck of a lot of limes!)
  • 1 C triple sec
  • 1 C tequila
  • ice
  • lime wedges for garnish

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour over the lime juice, and add the triple sec and tequila.  Serve chilled, over ice, garnished with lime wedges.

This was the perfect amount of sweet and lime–we were so happy to not have bought a margarita mix!  Sometimes doing it the right way is just as quick but tastes twice as good.

They also went perfectly with our salad and soft tacos.  On the side,  I made salsa from an old recipe of mine that I started using in high school–you’ll see that soon.

What’s your favorite summer drink recipe?

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Filed under Beverages

Cheesy Peasy Couscous

Today was just one of those days.  One of those days when you feel a headache starting off as soon as you wake up, when class seems to take twice as long as normal, when the erratic driver in front of you on the drive home makes you want to cry rather than laugh, when you come home needing a simple and quick comfort food.

Just one of those days.

I needed the ultimate comfort food–one that contains the dairy trifecta: milk, cheese, and butter.  And because dairy does not equal “unhealthy”, you can use all three of those in some delicious moderation and eat comfort food that can still make you feel good.  ‘Cause on days like these, guilt is the last thing you need on your plate.

Cheesy Peasy Couscous (Printable Recipe Card)

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 1/2 C broth (I used one chicken bouillon cube and 1 1/2 C water)
  • 1 C frozen peas, defrosted and drained
  • 1 1/2 C dry couscous
  • 2 T whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 C skim milk
  • 1/2 C Gruyère cheese (or other cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 t smoked paprika

Preheat the broiler.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the peas and the broth (or bouillon and water). 

Bring the whole mixture to a boil and take off the heat.  Pour in the dried couscous and cover with a lid or plate, and let it sit for fifteen minutes until it absorbs all the broth and gets nice and fluffy.  Place the couscous into a casserole dish and get ready for the cheesy magic.

While you are waiting, make the cheese sauce.  In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the flour, milk, and cheese until a nice, smooth, thick sauce forms–it should only take a few minutes.  Pour the sauce over the couscous mixture and mix it in.

Lookin’ good!  Add a bit of salt and shake the smoked paprika over the top.  Smooth the mixture out, and place under the broiler until a nice golden brown crust forms, about 5-10 minutes.

That’s it!  Salt and pepper your serving to taste and eat right away.  It’s kind of like a cross between mac and cheese and a casserole.  I bet this would be even better with pearled couscous, ’cause it’d be even closer in texture to standard macaroni. 

Fritz walked in as I was taking pictures of the finished product, and he was super excited to see this–he grew up with a lot more casserole-type dishes than I did, and he loves seein’ them come out of the oven.  Spoon it all into a big dish, and let that comfort just roll over ya.

It’s okay if you want to add a little extra smoked paprika.  I’m going to need to join Smoked Paprika Anonymous if things keep heading in this direction.

I also did a little work in the garden a few days ago and harvested a bunch of lavender.  Since it seemed like a waste to hang them up to dry in the closet (far away from my eyes and nose), I put a few stems each into a bunch of glass jars and let them dry as a centerpiece for the table.  They looked beautiful, smelled great, and only took a few days to dry.  Now I just have to figure out what I want to make with them–lavender eye pillows? Lavender salt?  Lavender ice cream? 

So many ideas, so little time!

Have you ever made anything with dried lavender?  Any ideas for me?

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