Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pechin's Pizza Pockets

Ian asked me on a previous blog about making Pizza Pockets.  I thought I would give it a try today.  They came out OK!
Ingredients:
1 Can Home Style Biscuits
1-2 Cups Sauce (I used a jar sauce for this one.)
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
1 Package Sliced Pepperoni
Spray Olive Oil
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
*Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended on the can of biscuits. 
 Biscuits
I opened the can of biscuits.  I started by flattening out one biscuit.  
Biscuit with Toppings
I put on about a tsp of tomato sauce.  I put on three pepperoni, and then, about a Tbl. of shredded Mozzarella. Then, I flattened out another biscuit and put it on top.  After that, I pressed the sides with a fork. 
The Edges Pressed with a Fork
After I got them all together, I placed the pizza pockets on the pizza stone that I had spritzed with olive oil. I spritzed the top of the pockets with olive oil, and then, shook on a little bit on garlic powder on their tops.  When that was done, I stuck them in the oven. 

Pockets in the Oven
I cooked them for about ten to eleven minutes.  Then, I took them out and let them set on the stone for a couple more minutes.  Pizza stones are known to stay quite hot even after being taken from the oven.  
The Finished Pizza Pockets

One Pizza Pocket
Pizza Pocket as a Side with Spaghetti
My pizza pockets turned out pretty good!  They are good by themselves, and they also work as a side.  I served them up with Spaghetti.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

BBQ Party Weenies

My favorite food at a party is always the weenies!  They are always so warm and comforting sitting in that crock pot!  I'll make these even if I just want them to eat at home on a cold day.
Ingredients:
2 Packages Weenies (Or More. Depends on how big your crock pot is, and how many people you need to feed.)
3 Tbs Worcester Sauce
1 Tbs Garlic or 2 Minced Garlic Cloves or Garlic Powder
1 16oz Jar Grape Jelly
1 Bottle Chili Sauce
1/3 ish Cup Water (To rinse out the Chili Sauce Bottle)
Sometimes, to get a spicier flavor, my sister adds horse radish to it. I do not.
 Ingredients in the Crock Pot

I put the weenies in my crock pot. Then, I put in about 8 oz of the grape jelly in.  I pour in my bottle of Chili Sauce.  I put about 1/3 cup of water in the bottle, put the lid on the bottle, and shake it.  Then, pour the water into the crock pot.  Put in the Worcester Sauce and Garlic Powder.  Put on the lid and walk away.  I let this cook in the Crock Pot for a little over three hours.  Then, I opened it and stirred.
BBQ Weenies Cooked
When the weenies and the sauce are done, they should look like this after they are stirred.  You can also use this same sauce with the frozen meatballs that a lot of people buy.  Some times, I even use this sauce when I'm making a batch of pulled pork.  I might amp it up a bit with more garlic, chili sauce, and I'll add a little bit of chili powder for seasoning.
If you're in a hurry, or don't have a crock pot, you can cook the sauce in the weenies on the stove in about twenty minutes, and they still taste pretty good.  I would recommend these BBQ Weenies for any party, whether it's a Birthday or Family Reunion!  These will definitely be a hit!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Little Caersars: Pizza Pizza!

For lunch today, Ian brought me a Sausage Pizza and Crazy Bread from Little Caersars Pizza. I'm not a huge fan of this "Ready when You're Ready" pizza.  In fact, Ian went last week and asked for a sausage pizza and was told, they only have pepperoni pizzas ready at lunch. That it would be at least five more minutes before a sausage pizza would be ready. This was a tad annoying, so, he went ahead and got pepperoni.  Today, he went early enough that he could get the sausage pizza for lunch.
Here's Little Caesars home page. No where does it say on the page that pepperoni is the only pizza available at certain times without a wait.

If you don't know what Little Caesars is, it's a pizza restaurant that advertises pizzas ready to go when you walk in the door.  You don't need to call ahead or wait on your order or "Hot-n-Ready' like the box says.  That was what my previous complaint about the sausage pizza was about.  They also carry other things like Wings and Crazy Bread. My personal favorite from Little Caesars is the Crazy Bread. 

I'll be the first to admit, Little Caesars may be quick and easy, but their pizza isn't always quality.  It has improved in flavor over the last two years.  In fact, when the Little Caesars opened across the street from my apartment, I ran over and bought a pizza and Crazy Bread.  That night, the pizza had barely any flavor!  Luckily, today was different!  My favorite thing at Little Caesars is the Crazy Bread!  It's so soft and chewy!  It also comes with cheddar cheese sauce for dipping! The seasoning that's on the bread is Parmesan and garlic, which I really like.
You can tell today's was super greasy though!  The bread was still pretty good!
I give Little Caesars 1 1/2 pizza pies out of 4.  It's pizza is not one of my go to pizzas.  It's improving it's flavor.  I do like the Crazy Bread.  That's what I really go back for, not the pizza. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sausage Fiesta Dip

I love dips! This one is a quick easy dip that can be taken to parties or just eaten at home!
Ingredients:
1 Lb. Roll of Hot Sausage (Mild can be substituted.)
1 Can of Rotel Tomatoes and Chilis
1 Brick of Cream Cheese
1 Bag of Tortilla Chips
Sausage Fiesta Dip
Brown the sausage.  While that's browning, put the brick of cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl.  Open the can of Rotel and drain a little of the water off.  Put the Rotel on top and microwave for a minute.  Take it out and see if you can stir it.  If the cream cheese is still stiff, heat for another 45 seconds.  Take it out and stir again.  When the meat is down browning, drain off the grease.  Then, put it in the microwave safe bowl with the other ingredients, and stir them up.  
Serve this with the tortilla chips.  With the hot sausage, it can get really spicy.  That's why I use mild sometimes, give my stomach a break.  I like the flavor both ways.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chicken, Bacon, Onion, and Tomato Pizza

Tonight, for our Friday night dinner, I made Chicken, Bacon, Onion, and Tomato Pizza.
Ingredients:
1 Can Pillsbury Pizza Dough (We are Using Thin Crust this time)
1-2 Roma Tomatoes Sliced
1-2 Chicken Breasts Cooked
1 Package of Bacon Cooked
1 Onion Sliced
1 6oz. Can Tomato Paste (You can also use pizza sauce or Spaghetti Sauce)
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
1-2 Packages of Pizza Cheese or Mozzarella (I used half a package of Mozzarella and a whole package of Pizza Cheese.  These are usually two cup packages.)  
*Preheat Oven to the Temperature on the Pizza Dough Can (My can says 425 Degrees.)

The first thing I do is a trick I learned from my Pampered Chef friend, Karen.  I crush my garlic into my olive oil.  Then, I brush it onto my stoneware.  This gives the dough an awesome garlic infused flavor! (Thank you, Karen!)  Then, I put my dough onto the stoneware.  I cook the pizza dough for about 6 minutes. 
I take it out, and start spreading the tomato paste all of the the pizza crust. Using tomato paste is something I learned when I worked at Arni's as a teenager. Then, I layered on my Chicken, Tomato Slices, and Onion.
Chicken, Onion, Tomato Layered
After I did the layering, I got out the cheese.  I use cheese liberally!  I starting putting handfuls of it all over the pizza.  Then, I added my bacon.  I cooked the bacon earlier today.  Then, I put it in a plastic baggy and broke it up into bits.  I put the bacon all over the pizza on top of the cheese. After I got the bacon on, I stuck the pizza in the over for 9 more minutes. I checked it at about 7 minutes and it wasn't done yet, so, I put it  in for 2 more.  The other thing to remember is, Stoneware stays hot, so, the pizza will continue cooking when taken out of the oven.  
I took the pizza out and let it sit for about five minutes before cutting it. 
Chicken, Bacon, Onion, and Tomato Pizza
This pizza turned out really good!  One thing that you have to remember is, tomato paste is a lot sweeter than sauce.  It could take some getting used too.  Fresh tomato is my favorite thing to put on pizza, along with bacon.  I can put bacon on just about anything to make it taste good! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pechin's Famous Andes Mint Brownies

In college, the musical organizations I was in did bake sales to make money! I started making my famous Andes Mint Brownies for those bake sales.  Then, they were expected!  Students and professors would walk up to the bake sale table and demand my brownies, even when it was an organization I wasn't in!  The original idea actually came from eating at the Olive Garden. As you leave, they give you Andes Mints to cover up the smelly garlic breath stench.  I had roommates that worked there, so, they would always give me extra ones to take home.  One night, I got home, and I realized, I had about fifteen of them.  I was really craving brownies at the same time.  I decided to bake the brownies, and throw the Andes Mints on top of them.  My recipe has developed and changed over the years.  I started making them from scratch, and I started adding mint extract to the batter.  I took them to work when I worked in Carol Stream, and a coworker kept calling them toothpaste brownies.  (YUCK!)  This is how I really make my famous brownies!
The last time I made them, I used the Hershey's Brownie Recipe for the base.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and divided
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Package Andes
  • 1 Tbs Mint Extract
*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Follow the recipe instructions the link above provides.  Add the mint extract and mix it in. Then, pour the batter into your baking pan.  After that, start placing the Andes mints on top of the batter. 
 Andes Brownies Raw
Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Take it out and check it.  I use raw spaghetti sticks to check to see if it's done baking.  Stick the spaghetti stick in, and if it comes out clean, the brownies are done!  I started doing this when I figured out, I never have tooth picks in my kitchen!
Pechin's Famous Andes Mint Brownies
I love making the brownies from scratch, because they come out more cake like than the box mixes do.  When I would make them for bake sales, I would double the recipe.  If you like chocolate and mint together, you will definitely love these brownies!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

Do you like enchiladas but think making them is way too hard?  I do!  So, my sister taught me this super easy way to cheat and not have them be so much work.  Thanks, Hope!
Ingredients:
1 Large Can/Jar of Red Enchilada Sauce
1 lb. of Chicken Cooked or Ground Beef Cooked
1 Package of Fajita Seasoning for Chicken or Taco Seasoning for Beef
1 Package or Tortillas
1 Can of Green Chiles
1 Package of Shredded Taco or Cheddar Cheese
*Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.
 Chicken Enchilada Top View
Chicken Enchilada Side View
First I add the fajita seasoning to the chicken in a skillet while warming. I've substituted taco meat before for this.  Once the chicken is ready, I start layering.  First Layer: Chicken, Second Layer: a little bit of the Green Chiles, Third Layer: Enchilada Sauce, Fourth Layer: Tortilla, Fifth Layer: Shredded Cheese.  Repeat all of these layers until the ingredients are gone or until you've reached the top of the bowl.  You may leave a little room at the top, because it's possible it can bubble over, or you can bake it on a cookie sheet to make sure it doesn't spill on the bottom of the oven. I usually make cheese the top layer. 
Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until it is thoroughly hot through the dish. 
I really love this dish with chips, sour cream, and fresh Salsa (I cheat and use Trader Joe's Party Salsa) or fresh Pico de Gallo.  I do make the pico fresh! 
This is a really tasty Mexican Dish that's different from tacos!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Meatloaf Leftover Casserole

I make Meatloaf Casserole usually within a couple days after making meatloaf, just to use up some of the leftovers.
Ingredients:
Meatloaf Leftovers
1 Bag of Frozen Tater Tots/Rounds
1 Bottle of Ketchup (You won't use the whole thing!)
1 Bag of Shredded Cheese (Cheddar, Colby Mix, whatever you like)
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees, or to whatever the Tater Tot/Rounds bag says.  
Meatloaf Leftover Casserole
Slice the leftover meatloaf and lay the slices in the bottom of your baking pan.  The size of the pan is up to you, or how much meatloaf you have left.  Put a layer of ketchup on top of the meatloaf. Then, put a layer of tater tots.  Bake for five minutes short of what the tater tot instructions suggest.  Check on the casserole and see if your tater tots are starting to brown.  If they look close to cooked, add a layer of cheese to the top and stick back in the oven five to ten more minutes.
This isn't one of my favorite dishes, but it does get rid of the meatloaf leftovers!   I usually add more ketchup as I'm eating it.  It may depend how dry your meatloaf is after it's cooked.  By the second time in the oven, it can become a little dry.
What do you do with your meatloaf leftovers?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pechin's Taco Meat

I really love tacos!  I really, really love tacos with beef!  This is how I make my taco meat!
Ingredients:
1-2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 Can Rotel Tomatoes and Chilis (I use original or mild. Feel free to get the spicier versions if you like things spicey!)
1 Medium to Large Chopped Onion
Taco Seasoning:
1-2 packages Low Sodium Taco Seasoning (You don't need sodium AT ALL in taco seasoning!  So, it baffles me that they have too make a Low Sodium Version!)
OR
1-2 Tbl. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Fajita Seasoning
1-2 tsp. Cumin
1-2 tsp. Ancho Chili Powder
Notice how's there's NO SALT listed in the ingredients!
A lot of the seasonings I use to taste! I taste a lot as I go to see if I like it!
Taco Meat
Brown the meat and the chopped onion together.  When the meat is completely cooked and the onion is translucent, drain the grease off of the meat.  Then, add in the can of Rotel.  Do not drain it! At this point, add the package(s) of taco seasoning, OR start adding the spices to make the taco seasoning.  I just dump them all on top.  Then, I start stirring it together.  After it's mixed all together, I taste it.  I'll usually add more chili powder and cumin at this point if it isn't the flavor I want. Let this simmer on the stove while stirring occasionally for about ten minutes. 
Then, eat it!  I love taco meat.  I use it for burritos, tacos, taco salads, and nachos! I personally love adding the can of Rotel.  I think Rotel adds a lot to so many dishes!  It's probably my favorite thing that I always have stocked in my pantry!  I also love to have the onion with the other ingredients.  
If you're making your taco meat with store bought seasoning and a pound of hamburger, I definitely recommend trying it my way, or even some other way!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Simple Biscuit Pizza

Do you have a can of biscuits in your fridge?  I usually do!  I made this pizza one night from things that I keep in my pantry and fridge!
Ingredients:
1 Can of Refrigerator Biscuits
1 Can of Tomato Paste (If you don't have that, you can use any jarred Spaghetti Sauce.)
1 Package of Pepperoni
1 Package of Shredded Mozzarella or Pizza Cheese
*Preheat the oven to whatever temperature the biscuit can says. 
Biscuit Pizza Before Baked
I opened the can of biscuits. (OK, honestly, I made Ian open them, because that pop sound they make scares the crap out me!)  I laid the biscuits on the Pizza Stone touching each other.  Than, I flattened them out a little bit.  After that, I spread the tomato paste on top.  I put on a sufficient amount of pepperoni, and on top of that, the Mozzarella Cheese.  I then baked it until the biscuits started to look done and the cheese was melted. 
Baked Biscuit Pizza
For a last minute idea, this biscuit pizza turned into a pretty good treat!  I used the pizza cutter to cut it, but you could almost just tear it apart by biscuit. The cheese might not stay in place if you do that, though.  These were really things I was keeping in my pantry or fridge at the time.  I'm sure, you can make your biscuit pizza with items that you like that you keep around! 


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Simple Tasty Guacamole

I've never been a fan of Guacamole.  Then, I started making it at home.  I've decided, the only way I really like it, is fresh!  If you've ever been to Adobo Grill, they make it for you right at the table!  This is my simple home made guacamole recipe.
Ingredients:
2 Ripe Avocados
1 Packet of Concord Foods Guacamole Seasoning
1 Can Rotel Chilis and Tomatoes Drained (You can go as spicy as you like with these. I used mild.)
My Guacamole
Cut your avocados, pit them, and put the meat in the bowl.  Smash them with a fork. When the avocados are smashed to the texture you like, add in the seasoning packet and the can of Rotel.  Mix everything up.  Then, start eating!  I'd never tried a Guacamole seasoning before last week.  The Concord Foods seasoning really impressed me!
Enjoy the fresh Guacamole within the next day or two to get the best flavor!