Thursday, October 11, 2012

West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls

I've mentioned in the past that when it comes to food in West Virginia, about 80% falls into one of four categories:
  1. Buscuits
  2. Hot Dogs (dressed with chili and slaw)
  3. fried
  4. pulled pork BBQ
The other 20% consists mostly of football game type foods (College football is a way of life here) and pepperoni rolls. You can literally find pepperoni rolls in every gas station checkout, they are that popular. In this house they are literally consumed by the fistful, I make them 24-36 at a time and they rarely last more than two days.

West Virginia Pepperoni Rolls

You Need:
-Bag of frozen yeast dinner rolls (I use just regular Kroger brand)
-bag of pepperoni (I prefer hormel)
-block of mozerella

Step One:
Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and place frozen rolls as you would cookies leaving space for growth (I fit 12 per sheet) spray plastic wrap with cooking spray, cover rolls, and allow them to thaw/rise for 2 hours.

Step Two:
cut the block of cheese into 24 equal pieces and sandwich between pepperoni (I use 3 pepperoni on each side with a total of 6 pepperoni in each roll)

Step Three:
press the pepperoni/cheese sandwiches into the center of the thawed roll and fold the dough up and around until it is completely encased. 

Step Four:
place rolls back on the cookie sheet and recover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again 

once they have puffed up nicely (usually a couple hours) pop them into the oven according to instructions on the roll package.

once the rolls are cooled store them in a gallon size ziplock bag.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What's For Dinner- Tuesday- Potato Soup

CAUTION: The recipe you are about to read is so good you may find yourself making highly inappropriate 'MMMMMMMMM's' at the dinner've been warned.

What's For Dinner- Tuesday

Potato Soup

You Need:
-1 bag southern style diced hash browns
-1 8oz block of cream cheese (softened)
-1 can cream of chicken soup
-32 oz chicken broth
-onion powder
-original Mrs. Dash

You can make this on the stovetop or in the crockpot, just depends on what time frame you are looking at, on the stovetop this can be made in less than an hour, or if you are looking for something to throw in the crock to cook all day that works as well, its very versatile.

Step One:
Put softened cream cheese and 1 cup of broth in a microwave safe bowl, microwave in one minute increments wisking together until cream cheese is nicely melting and integrating with broth. (Doesnt have to be lump free, just wanted to get it started)

Step Two:
Break up the hash browns so you don't have a huge potato block and pour them directly into the crock pot. Add cream cheese mixture,cream of chicken soup,chicken broth, one teaspoon onion powder and two teaspoons Mrs. Dash and salt to taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon). Stir ingredients together, cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6, if you are making on the stovetop bring to boil stirring occasionally until thickening occurs and potatoes are soft.  You can add an array of items to this soup, dress it any way you like or eat it will not be disappointed.



Monday, October 8, 2012

What's For Dinner-Monday- Baked Cheddar Ranch Chicken & SIMPLE Southern Style Green Beans

I am a neglector of blogs....a blog neglector...that is what I am...but NO MORE! I am going to attempt to post a blog everyday. Right here, right now, I pledge to be that annoying person at dinner who cannot touch her food until she has taken a picture.

What's For Dinner -Monday

Baked Cheddar Ranch Chicken Tenders & Simple Southern Style Green Beans

This dinner was 50% intentional, 50% serendipity and 100% yummy! I got the idea for the chicken from one of my FAVORITE blogs, Plain Chicken. My recipe is a slightly altered version of her Crispy Cheddar Chicken Tenders. If you have not yet checked out the Plain Chicken blog, do yourself a favor and do so, you will not be disappointed. Her recipe yields more of a fully breaded chicken tender, I was going for more of a southern pan fried look.

Baked Cheddar Ranch Chicken Tenders

You Need
2 lbs chicken tenders
1/2 sleeve Ritz Crackers
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 envelope Ranch dressing mix

2 cups milk

Pour 2 cups milk into a large ziplock and marinade the tenders the morning you plan to cook, let them marinade all day, this little milk bath will make your chicken super moist!

 Step One:
Preheat oven to 400.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine crackers, cheese, and Ranch mix.  Pulse until you have fine crumbs.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

 Step Two:
Remove chicken from milk marinade and place on a foil lined baking pan.

 Step Three:
Liberally sprinkle cheesy coating over tenders and bake for 12-15 minutes.

 I attribute this next recipe to pure unadulterated serendipity. After I made the chicken I was left with half a packet of ranch dressing mix, not wanting to waste it I decided to throw it into the side dish and that is when magic happened. I ended up with southern style green beans (you know, the kind that you cook with a ham hock all day and add a billion things to including vinegar) in less than 2 minutes.

Simple Southern Style Green Beans

You Need
2 cans cut green beans
1/2 envelope ranch dressing mix
1/2 bag bacon crumbles (NOT the crunchy bacos, the real bacon crumbles, I use Oscar Mayer)

Step One:
Drain green beans leaving approx. 1 tbsp liquid and pour into microwavable bowl.

Step Two: 
Add bacon and ranch mix, stir and microwave for two minutes.

THAT'S IT ! These beans were a hit! Not to mention these taste like authentic Southern Style green beans that have been slaved over!

Finished off our "waste not, want not" meal by using up some leftover hotdog buns, popped those in an 8X8 baking dish, spritzed the tops with some I cant believe its not butter spray and popped them into the oven (still at 400 from chicken) for about two minutes..TA-DA..."fresh" rolls!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Flipped Curtains

I realize that this is a cooking blog so in theory I should only be posting cooking stuff but I am a rebel and its my blog so I can do what I want  :) This is first and foremost a mommy blog. I have other super powers besides cooking so I may post my little tips or tricks here from time to time.  Today's blog delves into one of my favorite things...decorating. We are in the process of trying to sell our house so this week and next week I am doing little repairs to prepare for an open house (fresh coats of paint, changing the switch plates, spray painting the vent covers etc.) Since painting Miss Lily's room last year I had not purchased curtains for her window, she had blinds and it was not a necessary expense but it did leave it looking a bit blah.I found a pair of pink tab top valances that used to hang in Emme's room that matched Lily's room perfectly, there was only one problem...Lily's curtain rod was just one of those cheapie ones, not exactly attractive with tab top curtains. the saying goes...when life gives you lemons...add sparkle!

Here is what I started with:

Regular pink tab top valance
Cheapo curtain rod

Note the thick hem at the bottom of the valance, this made covering up that cheapo curtain rod simple but then I was left with the tab tops hanging down. Mind you, this didn't  look awful but I had horrible visions of people walking through my house and thinking 'what kind of doofus doesn't know how to hang a tab top valance? I'm certainly not buying this place, who knows what else she has screwed up' and then we would never sell our house...all because of a curtain. SO I just decided I needed to make those tabs look intentional. I made the short trip to Lowes and picked up a couple packs of replacement chandelier crystal prisms (these were less than $5 a pack)
Now here is what you do:

STEP ONE open up the hanging wire at the top of the prism, pinch the bottom closed to secure the prism and bend the top up and to the side so it looks like a coat hanger.
You want to bend the hook to the side so when you lace it through the tab your crystal hangs facing forward
STEP TWO thread the hook through the tab pinching and gathering the fabric until you are through then bend the wire closed around the tab.

And here is what you end up with:
perfect...well except for my crappy lighting

Now if the house doesn't sell I know it isn't because of the curtains! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Breakfast Burritos (freezer meal)

If my girls had their druthers they would have a full spread for breakfast every morning. Cereal is really more of a last resort in this house, Lily tends to be a muffin, cinnamon roll and pancake girl whereas Emme gravitates towards protein (she's like her Momma) so its usually eggs,bacon/sausage on her lists of wants. When we started doing the Once a Month Cooking I wanted to come up with freezer breakfasts that would have that Saturday morning feel that could be prepared on a Monday morning time frame. These breakfast burritos are not only yummy, they are quick and loaded with protein to keep little bellies sustained until lunch.

You will need:
1 package of (10) flour tortillas
1 large carton of liquid eggs
1 log (16 oz) of sausage
1 bag (2 cups) shredded cheese of choice (I recommend cheddar)

Step One:
Brown your sausage and drain any grease

Step Two:
After you have drained any grease  move the browned sausage to one side of the pan and start pouring the egg substitute into the cleared side about a cup at a time mixing it into the sausage as it cooks until the entire carton has been added.

Step Three:
Scoop about 2 tbsp. of your sausage/egg mixture into the center of a burrito shell and top with cheese before rolling and placing seam side down on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Note there are only 8 burritos in this picture, I am sad to report that two of them lost their lives to the chef...they were delicious.

 Step Four:
Place the cookie sheet in the freezer and flash freeze the burritos until they are frozen enough where you can pick them up without the shell unwrapping. Wrap each burrito individually in foil and place them in a labeled freezer bag for storage.

To prepare simply unwrap from foil and wrap in a paper towel (this is key, if you don't wrap it in a paper towel it takes longer to heat and you end up making the wrap crispy), microwave for 1 minute- 1 minute 30 seconds depending on microwave until heated through and cheese is melted. ENJOY!
*CAUTION* just like hot pockets (or as we call them...lava pockets) any liquid released from defrosting can be HOT, I suggest eating it over a plate not your lap or tipping it up and letting any liquid drain before wrapping it in a paper towel for on the go.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grandma's Bundles...with a twist

We all have that one meal we remember from our childhood, the quintessential "Moms cookin" meal that we equate with comfort and family,  for me that meal was "Bundles Casserole". Bundles Casserole was a recipe  from my grandmother on my Dad's side, there was a story behind how it got its name, one I cannot remember at the moment, but it had something to do with a family friend with the last name  Bundles...apparently this was his it is mine. The original recipe is very much like Shepherds Pie, being topped with mashed potatoes and then a layer of shredded cheese (feel free to make it this way as well) but for the blog post I am making "Bundles Bundles" YUM YUM!

In hindsight the presentation of this would have been much better on an actual plate...but I was hungry and it was either this or eat it directly off the cookie sheet.

You will need:
1 pound ground round
1/2 can cut green beans (drained)
1/2 can whole kernel corn (drained)
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 small 8oz can of tomato sauce
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I suggest colby jack)
2 cans of crescent rolls

*Note since I made freezer meals I doubled the meat and used the full can of each* 

Step One:
 Brown your hamburger and drain the grease
 Step Two:
After you have drained the grease from your pan add the beans,corn,cream of chicken soup, tomato sauce, and cheese to the meat and stir until all is mingling.

Looks like slop but it is the perfect combination of yummy
 Step Three: 
  Unroll a tube of crescent rolls and separate into four rectangles pinching the diagonal seams closed.

 Step Four:
 Just like the Chicken crescent bundles spoon mixture into center of rectangles, i use a cookie scoop and add two scoops each (about two tablespoons)
 Grab opposite corners and give them a swirl at the center of the bundle. Repeat with the other corners, tucking in any openings on the sides to seal it up. Repeat steps 3-4 for second can of crescent rolls and place all 8 bundles on a cookie sheet.

bottom left shows amount of filling,top left shows bundle

To Freeze:
If you intend to make this a freezer meal, put the baking sheet in the freezer and flash freeze. Once frozen, place in labeled Ziploc bag.

To Bake:
If you are preparing these right away simply pop into the oven, 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until crescent roll is cooked completely and is golden brown.
If you are preparing them from the freezer, thaw completely overnight or during the day before baking 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 

TA-DA! Bundles with a twist

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Simple Southern Pulled Pork BBQ

I am a central Illinois girl born and raised who married a good old West Virginia boy.  Moving to this Wild and Wonderful state was quite an adjustment for me and not just because they seem to speak a different language.
*sidenote, did you know when you go to the grocery store in the south you put groceries in a buggy not a you do, you are welcome*
About 80% of food here in the south seems to fall into one of four categories:

1) Biscuits
2) Hot Dogs (dressed with chili and slaw)
3) fried
4) pulled pork BBQ

Here in West-By-God they take these four categories very seriously, almost as seriously as they do their college football. Of course everyone here has a family recipe for pulled pork BBQ that has been passed down for generations that usually requires 48 hours of prep/cooking in fact my husbands family has an amazing one that I might be persuaded to share at a later time but for now I am going to share my simple Southern Boy approved Pulled Pork BBQ recipe that requires only two ingredients that are more than likely already in your pantry.

it's ok to drool....I won't tell

You will need:
-2 lb Pork Butt Roast (this is the best to use, but any pork roast i am sure will work)
- bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce (if you have a favorite BBQ in your house, use that, but being an Illinois girl, there is no other BBQ sauce than SBR)
-can of pineapple slices

*This recipe is for a two pound roast,with larger roasts you may need to double up on ingredients.*

 Step One:
Grab your crock pot and add roast, bottle of BBQ sauce and one BBQ bottle full of water (empty bottle then fill with water and pour in)

 Step Two:
Set crock pot on high and let cook for around 4-6 hours until roast falls apart with fork.

 Step Three:
shred roast with fork and add can of pineapple (undrained), let mingle for at least an hour then ladle out into a serving dish leaving excess liquid and pineapple in crock pot , I then pour this sauce into a freezer bag with a bag of Armour meat balls and freeze for a future meal :)

That's it! I have not made this as a freezer meal yet but I will soon and I will be sure to post an update and let you know how it goes.

 ENJOY Y'ALL!!  (that means everyone)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicken Crescent Bundles (kid friendly freezer meal)

I had to start this blog out with a bang so I decided the first recipe that I had to post was the Chicken Crescent Bundles. I originally found this recipe on one of my absolute favorite blogs, The Virtuous Wife , if you have not checked out her blog you should, she is amazing. All props go to her for this recipe it is one of the only recipes I have found online that didn't need much tweaking to meet my family's needs.

You will need:

1 package (8 ounces) Cream Cheese (softened) OR 8 oz flavored Philadelphia cream cheese (garden vegetable,chive & onion, sun-dried tomato & basil...if your family likes one of these go for it!)
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1 tablespoon favorite seasoning blend (most families have a go to seasoning,omit if using flavored cream cheese)
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1-2 cups stuffing mix or croutons

 Step One:

Beat: Cream cheese, 2 Tbsp melted butter, seasoning, and milk. Do this with a mixer or your arm will fall off...I've seen it happen, its not pretty.

 Step Two:

Mix In: Shredded chicken and cream of chicken soup until everything is mingling nicely.

Step Three:
Unroll a tube of crescent rolls and separate into four rectangles pinching the diagonal seams closed.

Step Four:
 Glob (technical terms here) mixture into center of rectangles, i use a cookie scoop and add two scoops each (about two tablespoons).

 Step Five:
Grab opposite corners and give them a swirl at the center of the bundle. Repeat with the other corners, tucking in any openings on the sides to seal it up. Repeat steps 3-5 for second can of crescent rolls and place all 8 bundles on a cookie sheet.

It's sort of like swirled icecream...only with chicken, NUMMY

Step Six:
Don't worry if all your bundles aren't the exact same, they will still taste amazing besides this blog is for tackling sensory issues, address OCD problems while doing something less important like laundry.

Drizzle: each bundle with the remaining melted butter, top with a handful of dry stuffing mix or croutons and press down gently to make sure they are secured to the bundle.

To Freeze:
If you intend to make this a freezer meal, put the baking sheet in the freezer and flash freeze. Once frozen, place in labeled Ziploc bag.

To Bake:
If you are preparing these right away simply pop into the oven, 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until crescent roll is cooked completely and is golden brown.
If you are preparing them from the freezer, thaw completely overnight or during the day before baking 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.