January 31, 2012


By: Real Simple
  • 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
  • 1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed and roughly chopped (5 cups)
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced salami
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup jarred marinara sauce, warmed

  • Heat oven to 400° F. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll and stretch them into 8-inch rounds.

  • In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

  • Layer the salami on one side of each round of dough and top with the cheese mixture. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal.

  • Brush the tops of the calzones with the oil. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with the sauce.


January 30, 2012

Cheesy Potato Soup (Cooking for Two)

Cheesy Potato Soup (Cooking for Two):

2 slices bacon (I used polish sausage) 
3/4 cup chopped onion 
2 1/2 cups diced peeled russet potatoes (about 3 small) 
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cups chicken broth (from a 32-oz carton)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup half-and-half (I used whole milk) 
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (from an 8 oz bag)
In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, turning occasionally, until browned and crispy. Remove from skillet, reserving fat in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towel, then refrigerate. In same skillet, cook onion in bacon fat over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.
Spray 3- to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix onion, potatoes, celery, broth, salt and pepper.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 6 to 7 hours.
In small bowl, beat flour and half-and-half with wire whisk until well blended; stir into soup. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook about 20 minutes longer or until thickened. Stir in cheese until well melted. Crumble bacon; sprinkle over soup.


January 29, 2012

A Very Long Week

This week was my first full week at work since December. I had Thursday's off with Jon so it was nice to spend some extra time with him. Last weekend Jon and I made this great table top for my food photography. I wanted it to have a stained/old look to it so we used some extra stain that we had in the garage. I also bought some crackle paint so that the other side could be an old worn old that has been in the elements for years. But it did not work like I wanted it to so I am still thinking of how I want the other side of the wood to look like. 

I also have been submitting my photos to foodgawker.  foodgawker is a photo gallery that allows you to visually search and discover new recipes, techniques and ingredients to inspire your culinary adventures. We publish food photography submitted by food bloggers from around the world. I submitted some photos from last week but got them declined. I have been working harder this week to improve my photo skills. Jon even jumped in to help me out. I have learned not to rush photographs. I tend to eat meals cold but that is ok. I am trying to get better and have at least have my food somewhat warm. I have also been using Lightroom 3 to adjust my photos. I really am in love with it. Photoshop Elements has taken a backseat but I will have to learn to use both. 

We also took apart our microwave hoping that it was just a fuse that was burnt out. But it wasn't. We have not had a microwave in maybe a year-year and a half. We have been use to it. We hardly have leftover and when we do Jon and I take them to work to heat up. We are looking into just putting in a range hood since we still need the fan for when I cook. There have been numerous times and I mean numerous times that all the fire detectors have been going off while cooking. It is very annoying and even embarrassing when you have guest over and they are going off. I am not burning the food but it must just have a smell or something that is making them go off. There have also been times that Jon and taken the whole detector outside and it is still beeping. Maybe it is time for some new ones. 

Hope everyone had a great week as Jon, I and the boys have. Remember during the week I will be posting recipes of the above food photos. Till next week!

January 28, 2012

Cheese Tortellini in Light Broth

Cheese Tortellini in Light Broth:

8 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (9-ounce) packages refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Season the broth with pepper, to taste. Add the tortellini. Simmer over medium heat until al dente, about 7 minutes.
Ladle the broth and tortellini into soup bowls. Top with parsley and serve.


BBQ Chicken Roll-Ups

BBQ Chicken Roll-Ups:
By: Kraft

6 cups coleslaw blend (cabbage slaw mix)
1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
1 small green pepper and red pepper, cut into strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
1-1/2lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup of BBQ sauce
6 flour tortillas (12inch), Warmed

Toss coleslaw blend with dressing and set aside.

Cook and stir vegetable in large nonstick skillet spray with cooking spray on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in BBQ sauce and simmer for 3 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

Spoon chicken mixture down the center of tortillas. Top with coleslaw mixture; roll up. cut diagonally in half to serve.


January 27, 2012

Friday Fill Ins

And...here we go!

1. It's time to get back on the ball of cleaning the house.
2. Pack my lunch ... and don't forget to turn the radio on for the boys!
3. I'm trying to improve my food styling for my photographs.
4. "
I seriously want to live with you", that was the last funny comment I received.
5. Please send me comments on if I should have separate posts for recipes or not.
6. Taking food photography cause I'm in it for the long haul.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to starting my grocery list, tomorrow my plans include cooking and Sunday, I want to work in my studio!

Want to play along? Join in here.

January 26, 2012

Meatballs with Garlic & Butter Spaghetti

Meatballs with Garlic & Butter Spaghetti
By: Erinnish
For the Meatballs (adapted from Ina Garten's Real Meatballs & Spaghetti Recipe): 
1/4 pound ground veal

1/4 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs (2 slices, crusts removed)
1/8 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

(I did not use this meatball recipe I cheated and bought frozen meatballs but you can choose which ever you would like to try.)      

For the Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup cream

1 to 1-1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbsp plain flour
salt, pepper

For the Garlic Butter Pasta:
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 servings of pasta
1/4 cup of butter
salt & pepper to taste
grated parmesan to serve

- Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. (I made them smaller which explains why I had a lot of leftover meat)
- Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan
- For the sauce, swirl out the pan with the beef stock.  Stir in the cream.  Thicken with flour and season with salt & pepper.
- Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Meanwhile for the pasta, cook pasta as directed on package. Melt butter in skillet on medium high. Add garlic and saute. Drain pasta; stir pasta into the butter and garlic, season well with salt and pepper.
- Serve the meatballs hot on cooked spaghetti, drizzle the remaining sauce on the meatballs and pasta, and pass the grated Parmesan. (I sprinkled a little dried parsley on the top too)


Cinnamon Rolls

Who does not love the smell of cinnamon and bread baking in the oven? I cannot resist. I have been trying to find the perfect recipe for cinnamon rolls and so far I think this one is the best of what I could find. It did take a little longer than they had stated for the rising parts but I tried to speed it up for the second rise by heating the oven to 200 degrees and then shutting it off. Then I put the pan in the oven and it did speed up the rising. I think I will be using that trick more since I was running my dryer in order to keep the dough in a warm on top of it. Try these and let me know what you think.

Cinnamon Rolls:

By: Bon Appétit

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For dough:
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 21/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

For glaze:
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature. 


January 25, 2012

Do-Ahead Egg Bake

Do-Ahead Egg Bake:
By: Kraft

-8 eggs
-3 cups milk
-8 cups French bread cubes (3/4 inch)
-1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry 
(I also added some other veggies to the dish as well. Onion, Green Peppers, and Tomatoes.
-12 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled 
(I used 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage instead)
-1 pkg. (8 oz.) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided

WHISK eggs and milk in large bowl until well blended. Stir in bread. Add spinach, bacon and 1-1/2 cups cheese; mix lightly.

POUR into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining cheese. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

HEAT oven to 350ºF. Bake, uncovered, 48 to 50 min. or until top is puffed and golden brown.


January 24, 2012

Vanilla Yogurt Berry Parfaits

This week I have been making a ton of Parfaits. I love the texture of them. They are so filling and great for breakfast, snack or even a dessert. They are so simple to make. It only takes five minutes to put together. Here's what I did:

Vanilla Yogurt Berry Parfaits:

-Mixed berries
-Vanilla yogurt

Layer yogurt, berries and granola into a cup (your choice of order) and serve.


January 23, 2012

A Birthday Weekend

On Saturday was Jon's Birthday! He turned 28 this year. Last year we did not do much since my Dad had just passed away a few days before Jon's birthday. I felt bad this year and to keep my mind off of my Dad's passing I thought I would make it up to him. Since Jon's brother and him are making their own business in building motorcycles I took them to see the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I thought that it would spark new ideas for them and their creations that they are building. I could not believe how many motorcycles were there. It was a lot of fun to see it. Checked that off our list of things to see. I told Jon that we needed to get out more and do similar kind of activities with each other. Cannot wait to see where we end up going next... Maybe a beer tour? Who knows. Do you have an fun activities that are cheap and exciting to do? Please let me know.

I could not believe how much snow we had on Friday. I had been off since Thursday and was getting up early to go shopping to get all the things we might need before the big storm. By the time that I had pulled into the driveway the snow had started to fall and it kept falling till about midnight. We had a couple of friends over to help celebrate Jon's birthday early. We were watching the news and it said that we ended up getting 9.1 inches of snow. I believe it. I was out there right before Jon got home from work shoveling the driveway and when I had finished and turned around everything that I had shoveled was already covered again by snow. I could not believe it. Jon ended up taking 2 hours to get home that night. He even had got off early but by the time he got home it was dinner time. I am exhausted from this weekend so time to relax. Till next week...

Recipes this week will be posted daily. I am trying a new format of my cooking. Posting separate posts with the photo and recipe. Let's see how it works out. Let me know next week what you think of the new format. If it works or not.

P.S. While I was posting this Shooter and Hank are running around the house. Shooter is barking at Hank running around. Jon ended up having to come in from the garage to see what was going on. My silly puppies!

January 22, 2012

Homemade Croutons

Last weekend I ended up making homemade croutons. Jon and I have been eating salads more so I needed to make more croutons. There is nothing better than having a simple salad topped with homemade croutons. Here's what I did:

Homemade Croutons:

-Left over french bread/italian or any stale bread will work; cut into bite sized pieces
-Olive Oil
-Salt & Pepper
-Any dried herbs of your choice (parsley, season salt, onion, garlic, basil are just s few examples you can use)

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
Place cut bread into a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs
Toss bread to evenly distribute oil and seasoning
Place bread on a cookie sheet
Pour more olive oil over bread (if needed)
Place in oven for 20-30 minutes until done (flipping once or twice during cooking)


January 17, 2012

A Successful Week

Another week has come and gone. Last Sunday we headed to Menard's to look at some heaters for the garage. We ended up getting a pretty nice one which luckily we had a gift card to use there since we are trying to save money this year. (Number 13 on my list.) It's been a busy week at our house. I have still been de-cluttering the house. I ended up dropping a ton of items off at Goodwill. It felt good to give back to people that could use those items more than me. I used to just throw everything away but now that I have been going to Goodwill and see all the neat things that I have found there that there is always someone who could use those things. I dropped off a ton of books that have been siting on my bookshelf for three years. I think it was time to get rid of them.

I did clean out my second bedroom again. I was able to re-organize everything and re-arrange the furniture as well to give me some extra room for my photo studio. I still dread working in the bathroom and the office. I did clean somethings but this week is the week to go through those areas... Glad I have a four day weekend ahead to get through all of those things...

We finally got our first snow fall of the year. I believe we got maybe four inches of snow. It has mostly melted again but there are still signs of snow since certain areas. Jon and I have been doing pretty well with having a schedule at home. We have stopped watching TV while we eat and started to eat at the dining room table again. It is nice just to get away from the TV and interact with each other. We also, started to go to bed earlier. well not really that earlier but an hour earlier and we end up watching TV in bed for a hour and then lights out.

Jon has been busy in the garage this week getting their latest bike ready for his brother to work on. It is neat to see the beginning of what the bike looks like to the finish. They do a great job. They are all very talented. I have been working on their website again but it still needs more. I have been making a to do list of all the things that need to be done. Just waiting to have this company a company. Just do not know where to start. So much paperwork etc.

I finally broke down and ordered my FIRST reflector kit for my photography. I was using a pad of watercolor paper to bounce the light off. I was also using some extra fabric that I have that was hanging from my binds to have it diffuse the natural light. Very ghetto but it worked. I wanted to make sure that I got everything down before actually spending the money. My next buy is going to be a fixed lens to help out with my food shots. I also want to make some different backgrounds, props, table textures etc. But that will come with time. Maybe the props will be the next thing. I will have go and check out Goodwill and see what they have that I could use for my food photography.

What props, extras do you use in your photos? Anything else that I should look into? Would love to hear your thoughts. But till next week. Hope everyone had a great week!

*Recipes This Week*
(I could ended up not using enough flour, so they did not turn out.)
Gwumpkies With Pierogies
Baked Chicken with Steamed Broccoli and Ravioli
Egg and Cheese Sandwich