Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BBQ Bliss

Our friends have a house on the North Shore (of Oahu, that is) and they invited us to a weekend-long celebration for several recent birthdays.  The house is smack-dab on the beach and could not be more perfect.  There's a huge deck with a hot tub, spectacular view, and plenty of tables and chairs for relaxing, eating, and playing drinking games around.  We spent the weekend playing survivor flip cup, beach volleyball, laughing around the campfire, and sleeping in tents on the beach, it's fabulous.

Lindsay and Pat, our hosts made a trip to Costco and bought enough food for the masses.  I didn't cook a damn thing, although I did take this awesome picture of the burgers literally sizzling on the grill behind a huge stack of cheese!  Take that vegetarians.  This perfect photo sums up the equally perfect weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

3 nights, 2 dinners, 1 trip to the grocery store

Night 1 - Dinner 1:

Monday night we had minimal amounts of food in the fridge so I had to get creative. (Do I start entries like this often?  I think so!)    I created what I've named a Sloppy Joe-Zone!  I chopped some onion and garlic and softened them over the stove, then added some leftover ground turkey meat, chopped tomatoes, BBQ sauce, some ketchup (Heinz 57 made in Pittsburgh, of course), and mozzarella cheese.  I popped open the amazing-cardboard-container of Pillsbury Dough, which is always a fun process, and laid it flat on a Sil-Pat/baking sheet.  The yummy mixture went right in the middle of the dough then I wrapped it up like a calzone and added some asiago cheese to the top.  Just like the mailman in Good Fellas, into the oven it went!

The result was good, considering the circumstances!  Since both sides of the dough were piled on top of the meaty mixture there was a lot of bready goodness on top and just a wee bit at the bottom, but that didn't stop us from scarfing!

The Sloppy Joe-Zone
2 pieces - I made 'em extra sloppy for ya'!
Night 2 - Trip to the Grocery Store:

It was so necessary.  Armed with a list, some coupons, and Bryce, too (who was happy once he dumped a 5 lb bag of cereal in the cart!) it was a quick and fairly inexpensive trip.  Have you seen the grocery prices in Hawaii?  If you haven't, don't look - ignorance is bliss.

Night 3 - Dinner 2:

"You live in Hawaii, what do you have to complain about?!"  There I beat you to it... Here's what I have to complain about, other than grocery prices, slow mail.  My Food Network Magazine arrives 3 weeks after my Mom's!  So I'm still working with the October copy.  I love the "Week Night Cooking" section and found a recipe for Sausage-Cauliflower Spaghetti there.  Surprisingly it's made with turkey Italian sausage, which surely is better for you than real sausage, and that made me happy.  The 6 cloves of garlic seemed like overkill, but honestly it could have used more!

The dish was delicious - just the right amount of meat, veggies: cauliflower and scallions, cheese, and pasta!  I ate seconds, even though we were watching the Biggest Loser while eating dinner and Bob's trainer tip was to wait 20 minutes after eating to see if you're still hungry.  Sorry Bob!
Sausage-Cauliflower Spaghetti

We're ready for our close up - Said the Jack-O-Lantern!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Basil, basil, basil!

Our neighbor Sissy has a green thumb and filled the yard with flowers and plants including strawberries, tomatoes, and basil.  She always let us take as much basil as we pleased, which was awesome!  When she moved she left us one of the basil plants to keep.  I do not have a green thumb - I'm not sure what color thumb you have when plants die upon your sight, but that's what I have.  I've been trying my hardest to water that little plant and keep it alive.  I also bought an eggplant plant, which I water daily along with the basil, but have no snacks thus far!

I declared it 'Basil Week' a few weeks ago.  (Our usual, boring, routine goes as such: chose recipes for the week, buy all ingredients at the store, try to use common ingredients so the fridge doesn't end up filled with old, unused, smelly food.)  We chose 3 recipes all using basil.

Of course cave-man carnivore Bryce wanted a burger.  So we made these Turkey Basil Pan Burgers.  They were really flavorful and delicious!  It's almost like a meatball since there are breadcrumbs, garlic, cheese, and of course basil, mixed into the burger.  The basil adds a very fragrant, wonderful smell and taste.  We had salad and oven "fries" with our Basil Burgers.


Basil week recipe #2:  Shrimp Pizzas - shrimp, cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, and onions MMMMM!  They're supposed to be an appetizer, but we ate them with salad and called it dinner.  There's no sauce but it was not missed.

Third and final basil recipe: standard Chicken Parmesan with pasta and... BASIL!  I should have made more sauce, the recipe doesn't make much as you can tell.  The chicken was cooked perfectly and so yummy :)

As long as I can keep the basil plant alive you'll be seeing more recipes with basil!  Anybody have suggestions?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My First Kitchen

Check me out!  This is a picture of one happy kid.  Clearly it's Christmas morning, I have my Cookie Man slippers on, and I got a kitchen and apron from Santa!  So sassy with my hand on my hip :)

I wonder if I thought about blogging about what I was making back then...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy


I like to cook nice dinners on Sunday nights.  Now it's football season and most Steelers games take place at 7 am in Hawaii, so I spend my morning drinking bloody marys, eating fatty and delicious restaurant food, and screaming at the TV.  After mornings like that, a relaxing dinner is usually the perfect way to end the weekend.  (I miss the days of Sunday dinners in Palolo!)

There is a scene in Julie and Julia where Julie makes bruschetta and it looks amazing.  I've eaten bruschetta before but never made it, so I dug out my new BFF, the Better Homes and Gardens cook book and gave their bruschetta recipe a try.  I used some fresh basil from our plant - which our neighbor gave us when she left.  The fresh chives added a little kick and the contrast of cool veggies with the crunchy toast was perfect!  Keeping the stuff on the little slivers of bread was a challenge and a mess, making dinner more fun :)

The main dish was homemade macaroni and cheese, sorry Cheesasaurus Rex!  Last year for "our" Christmas dinner together I made a different homemade mac recipe for Bryce and I and it left something to be desired...  This recipe used cheddar, asiago, and parmesean cheeses, was easier to make, and tasted MUCH better.  The toasted breadcrumbs on top are the best part.  We ate the leftovers all week long!  It ain't easy being cheesy!

Bruschetta with basil from our plant!

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese