Friday, December 31, 2010

Spaghetti Tacos

This recipe was the request of my nine year old iCarly fan. If you don't know who iCarly is, you clearly don't have a daughter between the ages of six and ten. It's a program on Nickelodeon about a girl named Carly who creates an internet show called (you guessed it) iCarly with her friends. At some point on this show, spaghetti tacos are introduced. Don't ask me how or why, I have no idea, nor do I care to find out.

So, my daughter asks me if we can have spaghetti tacos for dinner one night and my response was, "Well, which do you want? Spaghetti or tacos?" Of course, she then thought I was the most uncool mom on earth for not knowing what spaghetti tacos were. I consider myself fairly adventurous with my families meals, so I decided, what the hell. I know you're thinking this combination sounds beyond strange, and I completely agree. If you can get past the carb overload, you will be shocked to learn that these are actually not as horrible as they sound!
 
 
The best part about this meal is that you can likely squeeze two dinners out of it! I made regular old spaghetti one night and then a couple nights later we reheated it and turned it into spaghetti tacos. I love two meals for the price of one!


Spaghetti Tacos

  • leftover spaghetti
  • taco shells
  • shredded mozzarella

Directions:
There are no exact directions to follow here. All you need to do is fill the taco shells with some spaghetti and top with cheese! Pop them in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spaghetti with Meatsauce

I don't think its possible to mess up spaghetti. I've tried, believe me. Any combination of meat, marinara sauce and pasta is pretty much infallible in my book. This is a really, really basic spaghetti that I've been making since the beginning of time. The only "secret" (if there is one) would be the meat I use. Its an italian turkey sausage made by Shadybrook Farms, but I'm sure there are other brands out there that are just as tasty. This has replaced beef in every italian dish I make now. It's delicious! Even skeptical people I've fed it too have conceded to its awesomeness.


If spaghetti sauce is not something you thought you'd ever make from scratch, allow me to convert you. Its so incredibly easy. All you have to do is dump everything in the pot and stir! If I can do this, YOU can do it! Would the recipe even be here if it wasn't practically doable in your sleep?

Spaghetti with Meatsauce

  •  1lb spaghetti noodles
  • 1lb italian turkey sausage
  • 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (15oz) diced italian style tomatoes
  • red wine (if you have any on hand, throw a splash in for extra flavor, if you don't just leave it out!)
  • 1T tomato paste
  • 2T garlic
  • 1t sugar
  • 1t italian herbs
  • 1.5t crushed red pepper
Directions:
Cook noodles according to package directions.
Brown turkey sausage and garlic (or you can use ground beef) in a large skillet.
Once browned, add all other ingredients and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Serve sauce over noodles.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Our family is so spread out all over the place that Christmas usually lasts at least a week for us. I'm not exaggerating, we still have to exchange gifts with one set of grandparents and that won't take place until this Friday! So at our house, its technically "Christmas" until New Years. We still watch Christmas movies, we leave our tree up, and we enjoy holiday beverages! I love taking a childhood favorite and turning it into an "adult" drink by adding the Peppermint Schnapps.


This is something I had never heard of doing until this Christmas, even though its so obvious, and its been my favorite warm drink all season! Its so simple and I'm sure many of you have had it before, but just in case there's anyone out there like me who was oblivious, I want to be sure to spread the word. Just make sure the kids don't sneak a sip!



Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Your favorite hot chocolate
Peppermint schnapps

Directions:
You really don't need directions do you?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Artichoke Dip

If there is one appetizer to please any and everyone, it would have to be artichoke dip. Even people who hate artichokes will fight you for the last bite of this dip. I mean think about it, have you ever heard someone say, "Oh, artichoke dip? Never touch the stuff, its just gross." NO! I've tried so many versions of artichoke dip, and this one is definitely the keeper. Every time I make it, I have to remind myself to make a double batch because it has a way of disappearing very quickly. This can be made in a casserole dish or in a crock pot, making it ideal for parties, or for your Christmas crowd!


Artichoke Dip
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1C light mayo
  • 1C parmesan cheese
  • 1/3C monterey jack cheese
  • optional: black olives or jalapenos
 Directions:
Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or place mixture in crock pot and cook on until cheese is melted.

Post linked at:
Food on the Table
Real Food

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Chip Waffles

We've decided to start a new tradition of making waffles on Christmas morning at our house. We always have a special breakfast, but its changed from year to year. This is not to say that we won't be trying new things in years to come, but waffles will be center stage from now on! I think each year we will experiment with different fillings, toppings and additions to our waffles.

This year I decided to test out some chocolate chip waffles before the big day. Can you imagine a Christmas morning breakfast flop? "Honey, you think McDonald's is open?" These waffles were perfect the first time, so I didn't even need to test them out, but since we had a couple convenient snow days around here I thought waffles were the perfect way to start out a snowy day!

The kids loved these, and I didn't mind them all that much either. ;-) I adapted the recipe slightly from one of my favorite blogs, Annie's Eats. I added half white and half semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of mini chips, just for variety. Also, I know this ingredient list is a little longer than you're used to here on the Pie Hole. You can totally just make Bisquick waffles and throw in some chips, and you'll have chocolate chip waffles all the same. I just wanted to go a little extra step for the holiday, but I probably wouldn't do that any other time of the year!

  Chocolate Chip Waffles
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cooking spray to grease the iron

Directions:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
Separate the 2 eggs and put all of the egg whites (3 total) in a large bowl.
In a large liquid measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, vanilla and 1/4 cup melted butter.  Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture until a batter is formed.  Take care not to over-mix the batter.
Whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until they just begin to hold a loose peak.  Scatter the sugar over the whites and continue beating until they hold a soft peak.  Fold a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the base, then fold in the remaining whites.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Preheat a waffle iron to medium high.  Spray with cooking spray.  Pour in enough batter to barely fill each hole of the waffle iron (keeping in mind that the batter will spread once the lid is closed).  Close the iron and cook until crisp and the waffle iron stops steaming, about 5 minutes.  Serve as the waffles come off the iron or transfer to a dish in the oven heated to 200 degrees F.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

http://annies-eats.com/2009/01/05/chocolate-chip-waffles/

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Bake

I'm not sure why I call this a "bake" instead of a "casserole." For some reason, a casserole just sounds like something your mother makes, and we're not mothers right? We're cool, trendy cooks! Okay, so some of us are mothers who just pretend to be cool, trendy cooks...but whatever.


You may recall my Tortellini Alfredo recipe from a while back. This meal uses nearly the same alfredo sauce recipe, which is to die for. If you don't want to bake this, you really don't have to it would be wonderful just tossed together. However, I like the crunchy, cheesy topping that results from a quick trip to the oven. Its your choice. This is a dish fancy enough to serve to guests, or it could be a paper-plate-kind-of-dinner...but I don't know who would serve a meal this nice on paper plates...


Chicken and Spinach Alfredo Bake
  • 1 - 1.5lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (or you could strip a rotisserie chicken!)
  • 1 box (roughly a pound) of short pasta (I used Ronzini Smart Taste Rotini)
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 1C mozzarella cheese
  • 1t garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
Sauce:
  • 1 pint fat free half and half
  • 3T low fat cream cheese
  • 2/3C grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 stick of light butter
  • 1t garlic powder
Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and saute on medium heat in a large pan with cooking spray. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat.
Add in cream cheese until melted.
Whisk in half and half and garlic powder.
Allow sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding the parmesan cheese in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Steam spinach in the microwave.
Toss pasta, chicken, spinach and sauce together until well mixed.
Pour into a greased baking dish and top with 1C of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Most of us probably have fond childhood memories of making and decorating rolled sugar cookies. Its certainly one of my favorite memories with my mom. I replicate this tradition with my kids each Christmas, but most years its a rather half-assed attempt. I do make the cookies from scratch, but I usually use a store bought frosting and go really simple on the decorations.

Well, not this year. Not when I have a blog to impress. I went all out. We're talking Wilton tips and cake decorating bags and food coloring. Serious decorating equipment, which I have absolutely no idea how to use. I've said it before (but don't worry, I'll say it again) that I'm just not a baker. So, I tend to forget that sugar cookies (even my half-hearted attempts in the past) are messy, tedious, time consuming and freaking exhausting! And its twice as bad when you're doing it 100% from scratch and attempting intricate decorations! I have to laugh though, even my most intense effort didn't result in a product half as cute as some of the blogs I follow. How do you people get your cookies so perfect!?

This is why I should just stick to my comfort zone, the true Pie Hole nature: EASY PEASY. Its worth it in the end to create lasting memories for my children, but I just want to go on record and say that sugar cookies are a PITA! (Love you, kids!)

Since it may never happen again, I made sure to document the whole day (which consisted of about 5 hours on my feet...yep, still whining.).

A-cookie-cutting we go!



And we're off with decorating...


Someone just couldn't wait to do a taste test.


You have your garden variety stars....


 And Christmas trees....


Then we get a little more sophisticated (shut-up) with the snowflakes.


Finally, my true pride and joy (FOUR different frosting colors on ONE cookie, I'll have you know), say hello to Frosty.

So a long hard day of work was all in all a success, anything for the kids, right? I have to admit, they make for pretty pictures (and so do the cookies).


I even made little cookie packages for the kids to take to their teachers. How cute are these? Go ahead and say it, I'm pretty much the most creative person you know.


Rolled Sugar Cookies
Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/The-Best-Rolled-Sugar-Cookies/Detail.aspx?prop31=4

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened


  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Directions:
    1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
    2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
    3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
    Frosting

    Ingredients:
    • 4C powdered sugar
    • 2/3C butter
    • 1t vanilla
    • 2T milk

    Directions:
    Beat all ingredients together and pipe or spread onto cookies. It will harden as it sets.



      

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Glühwein

    On my quest for the perfect holiday drink, my friend, Lia, turned me on to Glühwein. I'd never heard of this beverage before, but was determined to try it after a quick glance of the ingredients. This is the perfect way to warm up on cold winter day, especially after coming in from playing in the snow (for mom and dad of course, don't serve this to the kids!). Not only does it taste heavenly, it fills your house with delicious aromas of cloves and cinnamon. This is definitely going to become a Christmas tradition in our house, and hopefully in yours, too!



    Glühwein
    source: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/gluehwein/Detail.aspx
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 orange
    • 10 whole cloves
    • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle red wine
    Directions:
    1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.
    2. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
    3. Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.)

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Christmas Brownies

    Brownies may possibly be my favorite sweet treat. Oh, who am I kidding, I could also say that about red velvet cake or chocolate chip cookies, or peanut butter bars... The truth is, I have an insatiable sweet tooth! I experimented with these brownies in an attempt to Christmas them up. Cookies usually get the Christmas glory, but what about brownies? This is a super easy treat to whip up in no time. Impress your co-workers or your kids' teachers (or yourself, I won't tell)!

    No one has to know they came from a box, especially when you'll be adding a couple semi-homemade twists. As far as I'm concerned, if you add one thing to a boxed brownie/cake/cookie mix, it becomes your own creation, and you may therefore claim credit for making it from scratch. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Peppermint extract transforms these brownies into a lovely winter treat, and the addition of cream cheese frosting and Christmas sprinkles almost make them so cute you won't want to eat them! Almost. They are delicious without the frosting, but go ahead and indulge...its Christmas!



    Christmas Brownies
    • 1 box brownie mix (Trader Joe's Truffle Brownie mix is to die for!)
    • 1t peppermint extract
    • cream cheese frosting
    • Christmas sprinkles
    • optional: chocolate chips

    Directions:
    Prepare brownies according to package directions, stirring in 1t of peppermint extract.
    Allow brownies to cool (tip: You can cut them when they're hot if you use a plastic knife, I swear its a great trick!).
    Frost with cream cheese frosting and add sprinkles!


    Post linked at:
    Real Food
    Healthy Home Economist
    Food On The Table

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Wild Rice

    This is more of a meal suggestion than an actual recipe. There is something about the marriage of each element and flavor in this dinner that just works. You know how some things just jive? Peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Wine and cheese. You get the idea.


    If you decide to try this meal out, you must promise me that you'll do it exactly as I've posted. Raise your right hand now, and promise.


    No, you can't use white rice. Or brown. Or any kind other than long grain and wild rice. You are also forbidden to use any seasoning that's not lemon-pepper. I will allow the substitution of a green vegetable item of your choice. See, I'm not too bossy. You can see I served broccoli (that I toss with garlic salt and butter spray), but this meal is also very good with asparagus or green beans. Enjoy!

    Lemon Pepper Tilapia
    •  wild rice (the box kind works just fine at my house!)
    • tilapia fillets
    • lemon pepper seasoning

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 450.
    Spray a baking sheet with non stick spray (I also line with foil) and lay tilapia on sheet.
    Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning, turn and season the other side.
    Bake for 10-15 minutes and serve with wild rice.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Garlic-Butter Asparagus

    Asparagus have become the new broccoli at my house. I personally love most vegetables, even the ones many people don't like...spinach, brussel sprouts, etc. However, the family is pretty picky about their veggies which basically limits me to serving broccoli with dinner every night because its the one thing we all like. Well, move over broccoli, there's a new veggie in town!


    I'm thrilled to report that all three of my children love these garlic-butter asparagus. They are easy enough to be a perfect everyday side dish, yet classy enough to grace your Christmas table. I'm so happy to have another green vegetable to serve my family that won't end up in the trash!



    Garlic-Butter Asparagus
    • 1 bunch asparagus (try to avoid the thick ones, they are tough - the skinny ones are more tender)
    • 1t garlic salt
    • butter flavored cooking spray
    • 1/4C water
    Directions:
    Trim asparagus. You can take one and bend it until it snaps, and use that as a guide to cut all the others at the same length.
    Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium high and spray with butter spray.
    Place asparagus in skillet in a single layer.
    Spray top again with butter spray.
    Saute asparagus for 5 minutes and add garlic salt.
    Add 1/4C water and cover asparagus, allowing them to steam for 5-10 minutes.
    Asparagus will turn bright green when finished. Don't overcook or they'll be mushy!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Chicken Tortellini Soup

    I'm not usually a soup person. I can't say exactly why, its just not usually my favorite food. There are two exceptions though, the first being tomato soup with a grilled cheese. The second being when its colder than an eskimo outside and it becomes necessary to consume something warm and filling to keep yourself from turning into a popsicle.

    I threw this soup together with ingredients I mostly had on hand. You can change things up according to what you have on hand too! Any short pasta would work in this soup, or you could use navy or northern beans in place of pasta. Peas or carrots might be nice additions as well. This is a good "clean out the pantry" type soup. Its also hearty enough to be a complete meal, as long as you serve it with crusty bread for dipping. In my mind, you have to have something to dip or dunk in your soup (crackers, bread, croutons, sandwich). I hope you enjoy this one, stay warm!



    Chicken Tortellini Soup
    • 4 cups of low sodium chicken stock
    • 1-2 cups water (start with one and add more if needed to gain the desired consistency)
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
    • 1 can of corn
    • 1 can of creamed corn
    • 1/4C grated parmesan cheese
    • 2T cornstarch
    • 1 package of cheese tortellini
    • 1/2t garlic powder
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:
    Bring stock and 1 cup of water to a simmer.
    Add in garlic powder, salt, pepper, creamed corn, corn, and shredded chicken.
    Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
    Put 2T of cornstarch in a small bowl, ladle in some of the hot broth and stir until smooth.
    Pour mixture into soup, and add tortellini and 1/4C parmesan cheese.
    Allow to simmer another 10 minutes before serving. Add in more water if needed.
    Note: You could throw this in the crock pot and let it simmer all day, just don't add the tortellini and parmesan cheese until the very end.

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Sweet and Sour Meatballs

    As I go along my little blogging journey, I am amazed at all the simple things that I've never attempted cooking before. In all the years I've been experimenting, some of the most basic things have eluded me. One such item being, the meatball. My friend Judy recently asked about making breadcrumbs from real bread (a task I've only attempted a couple of times due to my lazy nature) and told me she planned to use them for homemade meatballs.


    Since starting the blog, I find myself on high alert for possible new items I can experiment with. When Judy said meatballs, my blogging light bulb went off. She shared her basic recipe for making meatballs (thanks, Judy!), which I've only tweaked a little. This is more of  recipe suggestion for the meatballs, but the possibilities with these are endless...you could use them for spaghetti, on salad, as appetizers, meatball subs... I personally enjoyed several of them right out of the oven, when no one was looking. I'm really excited about the success of my first homemade meatball attempt, so you'll be seeing lots of fun twists on meatballs in the very near future!

     This sweet and sour sauce is not my original creation. You've probably made or at least heard of this combination, I think its as old as time. Its most commonly made in the crock pot with the meatballs tossed in and served as an appetizer or a snack. I'm basically doing the same thing here, but serving the meatballs and sauce over rice to turn it into a meal! This was so tasty and everyone cleaned their plates!


    Sweet and Sour Meatballs
    • 1.5-2lbs lean ground beef
    • 2t montreal steak seasoning
    • 2T Worcestershire sauce
    • 2T ketchup
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2-3/4C breadcrumbs (you may have to add more or less)
    • 1 bottle chili sauce
    • 1 jar grape jelly
    • optional: rice to serve with meatballs and sauce (I used brown rice.)

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Mix all ingredients until well incorporated.
    Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet.
    Bake for 20-30 minutes until done.
    Heat chili sauce and grape jelly in a large pot until warm, toss in meatballs and simmer until coated.
    Serve over rice or with toothpicks for an appetizer.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls on Once A Month Mom!

    I am absolutely thrilled to be the guest poster over on Once A Month Mom today! I have been a fan of Tricia's site for years now, she has awesome recipes and resources. Go check out her site and my recipe of the day!

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Garlic Cheese Crisps

    Every time I think I've created the easiest appetizer on the planet, I go and top myself! Now, that might sound a bit braggy, but its really quite a win-win for both of us...I stay motivated and you get to have a whole repertoire of super easy appetizers! I don't think appetizers get any easier than this unless you open a bag of chips and pour them in a bowl.


     
    I have no idea if someone has already done this or not, but I can't bring myself to google it. I'll be heartbroken if I'm not the original mastermind behind this creation. I'll continue living in my bubble, thankyouverymuch. (And don't you dare come back and tell me its been done a bazillion times already.)


     
    I opted for a simple sprinkling of garlic salt over the tops of the cheese crisps, but you could experiment with all sorts of different herbs. Italian herbs come to mind first, but perhaps Old Bay, red pepper flakes, or even a mexican blend seasoning. Even if you don't sprinkle anything on top, these are going to be your new favorite snack!


    Garlic Cheese Crisps
    • string cheese
    • garlic salt (or other seasoning of choice)
     Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400.
    Slice the string cheese into 1/4 inch rounds and lay flat on a baking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray).
    Bake until cheese is melted and brown around the edges.
    Allow to cool on a paper towel.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Nutella S'mores Pizza

    Let me put it to you this was, if knew I was going to be stranded on an island and I could only take one dessert with me (the horror!), I would take this...provided the island had ovens because I have no clue how to start a fire. I would also prefer that it have a private cabin as well, I'm really not the sleep outside kind of girl. So, maybe I'm defeating the point of my deserted island metaphor, but you get my drift: this dessert is really, really good. Like, choosing between my children and a slice of this pizza would be difficult, kind of good.

    I am always shocked at the number of people I run across who have never tried Nutella. A life without Nutella is a sad, sad existence. If you're one of those people who have never had it, Nutella is a chocolate-hazelnut spread, much like the consistency of peanut butter. Its absolute perfection. This would be the perfect recipe to get you hooked on try Nutella for the first time. You'll thank me later!



    Nutella S'mores Pizza
    • 1 mini pizza crust
    • 1/2C mini marshmallows
    • 2 graham crackers
    • Nutella
    • chocolate chips
    • chocolate syrup
    Directions:
    There is no exact science here, you just throw it together!
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Spread Nutella on pizza as base, top with marshmallows.
    Bake for 10-15 mins until marshmallows are golden brown.
    Top with crumbled graham crackers and chocolate chips, drizzle with chocolate syrup.

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Turkey Monte Cristo

    This year we didn't have any plans for Thanksgiving but we still made the whole meal at our house for our family. Since its just a few of us, we really didn't need a very large turkey. However, I bought a 20 pound monster solely because of how excited I was about all my leftover turkey recipe ideas. And so far, I think I've enjoyed them more than I did the turkey itself on Thanksgiving Day!


    The Monte Cristo Sandwich is a variation of a Croque Monsier (usually made with ham) which is a french sandwich, dipped in an egg and milk mixture and cooked as you would cook french toast. Its sort of a combination of french toast and a grilled cheese. Often the Monte Cristo is dipped in a berry jam (I know, it sounds strange, but trust me, its delicious!). I thought, what better way to use up some of that cranberry sauce you have leftover than to use it as the dip. If you don't have cranberry sauce, you can use strawberry or raspberry jam instead. This sandwich sounds fancy, but its super easy and it would be an impressive lunch for the guests you still have hanging around after Thanksgiving!



    Monte Cristo Sandwich
    • 2 slices of crusty bread
    • 1 slice swiss or provolone cheese
    • 2t honey mustard
    • sliced turkey
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2C milk
    • 1/4C cranberry sauce (or other berry jam)
    • cooking spray
     Directions:
    Whisk egg and milk together.
    Spread honey mustard on bread and assemble turkey and cheese sandwich.
    Holding the sandwich together dip one side in the egg mixture, and then the other. (Yes, your hands will get a little messy here.)
    Place the sandwich in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat.
    Cook about 5 minutes on each side until browned.
    Serve with cranberry sauce for dipping.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Turkey Tacos

    Exciting news on the Pie Hole home front!!! I finally bit the bullet and bought my dream camera on Black Friday. The best part (besides the price) was that I got to do it from the comfort of my own home, online, and skipped all that crazy 5:00am madness in the stores.

    Let me just say, I'm in love with this camera. Its pretty fond of me too. We're seriously considering running away together. I don't have a clue how I survived this long without an SLR camera, but its a difference of night and day! You guys will be happy to know that from now on, only the best food porn for you! The disclaimer there is that I already have tons of recipes written and photos taken with my old camera, so you'll still have to endure those until I post them all. But in the very near future you'll be seeing only fancy camera photos!

    I really do have a recipe to share today. I actually bumped this recipe to today because its the first one taken with my new toy! You're probably out of turkey by now, but I promised to post turkey leftover recipes this week so I'm still going to share a turkey recipe today and tomorrow. If you are all out of leftovers you can always save these for next year, or for the next time you make a turkey! I think people should really make turkey more often than Thanksgiving/Christmas. And these tacos are the perfect excuse. They were so delicious, I didn't even realize I was eating turkey! These taste more like a pulled pork taco. Line up your favorite toppings, whip up some margaritas, and treat your family to taco night!

    Would you look at that beauty? Go ahead, click on it and enlarge it, you know you want to. I'll wait....please just don't take a bite out of your screen!

    Turkey Tacos
    • 3-4C turkey, shredded (I used a combination of light and dark meat and just pulled it apart with my hands)
    • 1 packet taco seasoning
    • 1.5C salsa
    • soft and/or hard taco shells
    • shredded cheese (I used monterey jack)
    • toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.
    Directions:
    Heat skillet on medium high heat.
    Add turkey, taco seasoning and salsa.
    Stir until well incorporated and heated through.
    Assemble tacos and serve!

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Open-Faced Turkey Melt

    This turkey leftover recipe wins the honor of my second favorite turkey user-upper, right behind yesterday's pizza. Its comfort food at its finest. This is a good one to have a few days after Thanksgiving because it brings back all the happy feelings of Thanksgiving Day! I like to try to use up my turkey in unconventional ways after the big day so that it doesn't seem like I'm eating the same old turkey and gravy every time. This is basically just turkey and gravy, but reinvented in a different way to trick you into thinking you're eating something new and exciting.


    When I asked for a review of this meal after I served it, the answer was "Can we have them again another night this week?" Ding ding ding! You have to love a sandwich that you eat with a knife and fork. That totally puts this sandwich in the "dinner" category if you ask me. I usually have a hard time justifying sandwiches as dinner, but not this one! If you don't have leftover turkey, store-bought sliced turkey would work just fine, as would store-bought gravy. I do prefer homemade gravy, but I swear the store-bought stuff is good too. I hope your family enjoys this meal as much as mine did!


    Open-Faced Turkey Melt
    • 4 slices bread (a crusty bread works best)
    • 4 slices provolone cheese
    • leftover turkey (or a few store bought slices)
    • leftover gravy (or a canned gravy)
    • salt and pepper
    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350.
    Place four slices of bread on a baking sheet.
    Top with turkey and then add a slice of cheese.
    Place in oven for 10-15 minutes, just until cheese melts.
    Pour warmed gravy on top of each slice of bread and serve.


    

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Turkey, Bacon, Ranch Pizza

    I'm not sure whether to be ashamed or proud of the fact that my turkey leftover recipes are better than the actual turkey was on Thanksgiving. Seriously, if you are all out of leftover turkey, you should go buy another one and roast it so that you can try out some of the turkey recipes I'll be posting over the next few weeks. I have had so much fun creating them and they are all delicious!


    I'm kicking off my turkey leftover recipes with my favorite one of the bunch. If there is a way to turn something into pizza, I'll figure it out (look for Nutella S'more's Pizza coming soon!). We are serious pizza lovers here and its so simple and fast. I made this as a mini pizza but if you are inclined to make a whole pizza, be my guest. It would be just as easy. The measurements I give are mostly estimates, there are no exacts with pizza. You just throw on your toppings and lots of cheese and you're done! So if you're making a whole pizza, just make sure you have extra of all the ingredients listed below. I promise you can't mess this up, the combination of the turkey, bacon, ranch and provolone is a winner!


    Turkey, Bacon, Ranch Pizza
    • 1/2C cooked turkey, shredded or cut into bite size pieces
    • 2 slices cooked bacon, broken into small pieces
    • 1/4C ranch dressing
    • 1/2C shredded provolone cheese
    • 1 mini pizza crust

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425.
    Spread ranch dressing on pizza crust.
    Top with turkey and bacon.
    Sprinkle with cheese.
    Bake for 10 - 15 mins until cheese is melted.

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Pumpkin 'Ice Cream' Sandwich

    Remember Mini Pumpkin Fluff Pies that I posted a few weeks ago? Well here is another way to use up that pumpkin fluff, if you haven't already devoured it with your finger...I mean, spoon. When I was following the Weight Watchers program, one of my favorite low point desserts was an ice cream sandwich made with graham crackers and fat free cool whip. You just spoon some in between the two grahams, freeze and enjoy.


    This is the exact same concept, using pumpkin fluff instead of plain cool whip. An ice cream sandwich for Fall! I often see pumpkin ice cream out this time of year, and I'd be willing to bet you could substitute that for the pumpkin fluff if you were feeling indulgent. I like to use the pumpkin fluff because its more figure friendly, but either way, you'll have a winning dessert!




    Pumpkin 'Ice Cream' Sandwich
    • Pumpkin Fluff  (Recipe HERE)
    • Graham crackers
    Directions:
    These are tough, so make sure you're paying attention.
    Spread pumpkin fluff in between two graham crackers.
    Freeze for at least 30 minutes and enjoy! (I wrap them individually in cellophane and pop them in the freezer)

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Crispy Onion Chicken

    Around this time of year, you start to see displays of seasonal items in the grocery stores. Items you don't give a second glance any other time of year. Those crunchy little french fried onions, for example. The only time I ever use those is once a year, on Thanksgiving, in green bean casserole. It doesn't make any sense! They are so yummy and available all year round!

    So, this year when I saw them start to be displayed I grabbed a can, and then sent them to the back of my pantry to await their green bean casserole destiny. Then a few days later, I picked up a sushi roll for lunch called a "crunch roll" that had crab salad, shrimp, avocado and a spicy sauce rolled in crispy onions. I found it weird and fascinating all at the same time. It also happened to be the best sushi roll I've ever had (and that's a bold statement). I thought if crispy onions tasted good on something as bizarre as sushi, surely they are capable of more than a green bean casserole topper...and what do you know!?
    A three ingredient dinner on the table in thirty minutes, now that is my kind of meal! (Garlic-butter asparagus coming soon!)

    Crispy Onion Chicken
    • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (I cut them in half for shorter cooking time)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1C french fried onions, crushed (I just do this with my hands)

    Directions: 
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl.
    Dip on side of the chicken in the egg, and then the onions.
    Place chicken, onion side up, in a baking dish. If there are any onion crumbs left, smash them down over the top of the chicken.
    Bake at 375 for 30 mins or until juices run clear.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Blogger Spotlight!

    Check out the Coupon Mommy of Three blog today! She was kind enough to allow me to be her blogger spotlight of the week. Her blog is a great resource for anyone looking for ways to save money, and she does lots of giveaways too...go visit her site!

    Thanks, Shannon!

    Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls

    Yep, that's right. I said Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls. One of the reasons Fall is my favorite season is because of the many of ways I get incorporate pumpkin into my cooking. Every year when Fall comes to an end, I pledge to continue making pumpkin-y things all year round because its just silly that something so delicious only gets utilized four months out of the year. Then I, along with the rest of the world put the pumpkin away and forget all about it until Fall comes around again. These little gems have single-handedly convinced me to make sure I have pumpkin in my cabinets all year long!


    If you like pumpkin pie, you have to try these. They are like little mini, inside out pumpkin pies! Dunk them in some spiced cool whip and you have a complete pumpkin pie experience without having to make (or eat) a whole pie! I have so much fun reinventing old favorites. How neat would it be to serve these for Thanksgiving dessert instead of pumpkin pie? I'd love to see the looks on everyone's faces!



    Pumpkin Pie Egg Rolls

    • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
    • 4T brown sugar
    • 2T maple syrup
    • 1T pumpkin pie spice, plus 1t
    • 15 packaged egg roll wrappers
    • 1T sugar
    • 1T cinnamon
    • 1C cool whip

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400.
    Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, maple syrup and 1T pumpkin pie spice together.
    Divide the mixture among the egg roll wrappers and roll up (the package will show instructions).
    Place egg rolls on a sprayed baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray.
    Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the egg rolls.
    Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once. Sprinkle the opposite side with the remaining cinnamon/sugar.
    For dip: Mix cool whip and 1t pumpkin pie spice.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Breakfast Pizza

    I hate to toot my own horn, but holy crap this pizza is completely amazing! That was considered "tooting" wasn't it? Well, this creation deserves it! All three of my kids scarfed this down, and anyone who has three kids knows that getting them all to enjoy the same meal happens about as often as Halley's Comet.


    When I was creating this recipe my hang up was on the "sauce." Traditional pizza uses a marinara sauce, or sometimes alfredo, or even olive oil. But none of those seemed to jive with eggs and bacon. Then a light bulb went off...Velveeta! I actually found a cheese similar to Velveeta in my grocery store (Kroger) called "queso blanco," its a white cheese like Velveeta that's infused with jalapenos. If you can't find something similar to that, regular Velveeta will work just fine, but the queso blanco was out of this world. It added a nice kick, but wasn't too spicy because even my toddler loved it.


    You can customize this to your preferences. If you prefer sausage to bacon, use that. If you want to add some sauteed peppers and onions, have at it. The possibilities are endless!

    Breakfast Pizza
    • 1 mini pizza crust
    • 2 eggs, scrambled
    • 1 slice turkey bacon
    • 1/4C mexican blend shredded cheese
    • 1 inch thick slice of Velveeta type cheese (I used a Queso Blanco with Jalapenos)
    Directions:
    Cut the queso or velveeta into small chunks and microwave until smooth.
    Spread on the pizza crust.
    Arrange eggs and bacon on top of the pizza.
    Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
    Bake pizza according to directions on the crust package.