Having it your way?

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I wrote this for a Facebook status, but I didn’t include the strangest part. After the man finished getting dressed in the parking lot, he went inside TO WORK.

Yes indeed, he’d been getting his Burger King uniform on in full view of the lunch-rush drive-thru line at said restaurant.

By the way, witnessing that display did not in any way make me lose my appetite for a Whopper. With cheese.

image from 9logodesign.com

Spaghetti Squash in the Crockpot

I’ve been seeing this on pinterest and wondered if it would really work:

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash in a Slow Cooker
image from healingandeating.com

To be honest, it looks bogus. Just put the whole thing in the crockpot with some water for a couple of hours? That’s it?

But I hate slicing a giant raw squash (It hurts my weak American arms) so I tried it.

Surprise! It worked!

After 2 1/2 hours on high it sliced open quite easily and was all cooked inside. Amazing!

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All I had to do was take out the seeds and then use a fork to get the spaghetti squash scraped out for eating.

Then I went back to pinterest to get a recipe I pinned earlier for “Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin.”

I ran into one of the problems I’ve found more than once on pinterest. I call it Pretty Picture That Leads Nowhere.

If you love Potatoes au Gratin but hate what it does to your waistline, then I have the recipe for you! The Spaghetti Squash au Gratin is simply delectable and healthy! | dandy dishes
If you love Potatoes au Gratin but hate what it does to your waistline, then I have the recipe for you! The Spaghetti Squash au Gratin is simply delectable and healthy! | dandy dishes

You get this lovely image of food marked with glowing recommendations by “other pinners,” and when you try to go to the source and get the recipe…

IT’S NOT THERE!!

There’s no recipe. This food does not really exist.

But I was determined. I searched diligently for the real recipe. I would not rest until I’d found it!

(By which I mean, I Googled “Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin” and clicked on the results.)

It was tough… but I found the recipe!!

(Click here to view it if you’re interested.)

Of course, that doesn’t mean I actually followed said recipe. Here’s what I made:

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  • Half a cooked spaghetti squash
  • half a stick of butter
  • some dried onions
  • a little red pepper
  • a cup of sour cream
  • a cup of shredded cheese

Toss the spaghetti squash strings into a baking dish.

Cut up the butter and put it in while the squash is still hot so it will melt. Then mix in the sour cream and sprinkle the onion and pepper on it, mixing that in as well. Throw the cheese on top.

Cook it at 350 until it’s done. (Maybe 15-20 minutes)

Then feed it to your family with pride.

Because there’s nothing like a healthy vegetable… smothered in butter and cheese.

Cookie dough to eat? YES thank you!

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I found a recipe on pinterest for cookie dough that is solely to EAT and not to bake.

It has no eggs, so there is no fear of salmonella.

Not that I’ve ever been particularly afraid of salmonella.

See my traditional stance on the eating of raw dough here.

But here’s the recipe:

Cookie Dough Fer Eatin’

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup choc chips

Mix it all up and eat it. The end.

Delicious!

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Why I Cook

I saw this advertisement that suggested all kinds of pretty-pretty reasons why a person would cook.

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  • To feed my creativity
  • To show love
  • Because my kitchen is my sanctuary
  • To feel like an artist
  • In order to promote world peace

Okay, I’m joking about the last one.

None of these are true for me.

Why do I cook?

So my kids won’t starve.

The end.

Gumbo!

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I made some awesome gumbo last week.

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And shh.. don’t tell anyone… I used a mix.

This came out really well and didn’t cost much because I used a leftover bratwurst from the night before and the tail meat from shrimp I cooked for another dish.

It was about 1 1/2 pounds of large frozen shrimp, and I just cut off the tails and saved them in a baggie in the freezer. Then to make the gumbo I peeled the tail shells off and used the little bits of meat inside.

This worked great because my kids hate taking the tails off their shrimp anyways. They always complain.

Wow, are we spoiled Americans or what?

So here’s the gumbo recipe:

  • Cooked bratwurst sausage, chopped up small
  • bits of shrimp meat
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups water
  • gumbo mix

In a big pot, melt the butter on medium and cook the shrimp pieces. Add the sausage bits until it’s all cooked together. Scoop out the meat and leave the butter and grease in the pot. Put the meat aside for later.

Put the water and gumbo mix in with the butter. Whisk it until the lumps are gone and increase the heat to high. Keep stirring until it boils. Turn the heat down to low.

Dump in the tomatoes and put the meat back into the gumbo. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with cooked rice.

Oh yeah, and hide the Zatarain’s box and tell people, “It’s my grandmother’s recipe. Takes ALL DAY!”

Sausage Florentine Potpie

This recipe (modified from tasteofhome/simple) was delicious.

The best thing about it was that the big kids ate the leftovers the next day too. (Seriously!! Like they heated it up in the microwave and ate it after school!!)

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  • 1 lb sausage 
  • 1-2 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 3 tsp minced garlic from the jar
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 Parmesan cheese
  • 5 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • 4 tsp butter, melted

Cook the sausage with onion and garlic until browned over medium heat. Mix in soup, spinach, milk and cheeses, stir until cheeses is melted.

Transfer to a greased baking dish. Place a sheet of phyllo on top; brush with some melted butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo and butter.

Bake at 350 (uncovered) 25-30 minutes. Let it stand 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe came out well, especially considering I’ve never worked with phyllo before. The only thing is, the package of phyllo contained way more than 5 sheets, and once you’ve thawed the things you can’t refreeze them or even leave them out in the air too long.

Phyllo is a delicate dough, apparently.

Still though, the phyllo crust on top was super good and I wished it had more on it. Maybe in the future I can try layering it or something.

In this case, I made dessert cups with the remaining phyllo.

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The recipe I used involved spraying each sheet of phyllo with cooking spray and then sprinkling with sugar. Then you cut each stack of sheets into rectangles and press them into muffin cups. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.

I put cream filling in them after they were cooled.

These were okay, but I think butter would have been better.

Click on the better picture below for a butter recipe:

Phyllo Cups

(recipe at yumly.com)

This ain’t no “Thinwich”

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I bought some sandwich pita bread at the store. “Only 100 calories!” the package exclaimed happily.

So I made a delicious sandwich with it at home.

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Using diet bread and lean turkey ought to make up for slathering on the cheese, butter and bacon, right?

Right?

By the way, it was delicious! I recommend the pita bread.

And the butter and bacon….

The best chocolate cake ever

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I made chocolate cake for my book club meeting.

My friend Renita gave me the recipe. She said it was called “Better-Than-Sex Chocolate Cake.”

I’ll call it Renita’s Cake. We have to keep our “G” ratings around here.

When I first tried the cake, I was suspicious, because it doesn’t have any icing. I don’t really hold with no-icing-cakes.

But this one is AWESOME.

RENITA”S CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • Devil’s Food cake mix
  • instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients, saving the chocolate chips for last. Pour it in a greased Bundt pan and bake 35-40 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar for looks if you want. It doesn’t matter; it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?

And what’s on the inside is DELICIOUS. Trust me.

As if I weren’t already crazy

image from tacobell.com

Little Girl, my five-year-old, was eating a soft taco from Taco Bell in front of the TV.

(No one can say I don’t feed my kids the best around here!)

While I wasn’t looking, she started picking off the shredded lettuce and tossing it, piece by piece, on the living room floor.

It’s like she read a book called “How To Drive Your Mommy Insane in One Easy Step.”

I took one look at the pile of lettuce detritus and my head exploded.

Well, not literally.

But the reaction was severe enough that Little Girl actually cleaned up the mess without complaint.

Now I’ve got to find and confiscate that book….

Homemade Pizza

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It’s a zillion times cheaper than ordering out!

(Okay, maybe not literally a ZILLION. Math has never been my strong suit.)

But seriously, I buy the crust mix (Just add water!) and a can of pizza sauce for less than a dollar each at the grocery store.

You must buy the canned pizza sauce, not the jar, in order to maximize savings.

(It is interesting that the same product is cheaper packaged in a can than in a jar. This is true in pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, fruit, etc. But I digress.)

On the pizza you can add whatever toppings you want. Just follow the directions on the package of pizza crust mix.

My kids love pizza but ordering delivery can get expensive. Homemade is a good alternative.

Extra-Easy Pizza
Betty’s Extra Easy Pizza

Betty Crocker also has a great recipe for easy pizza. Click on the picture to the right and view that one if you want to print it out.

And kudos to Betty for such a lovely pizza photo! My food pics are sadly lacking, I know.

Still, Betty didn’t tell you the cans-are-cheaper-than-jars trick. You heard it here first, folks!!