Cheesy Pepperoni Roll-Ups

I have become addicted to Pinterest in the last six months. It happened somewhere between wanting to make inspiration boards for clothes and needing ideas for the dorm room. Nonetheless, I am addicted. I was sucked in like a bunch of other people, and now I spend as much time (if not more) on Pinterest than Facebook and Twitter… Which is saying something.

This Pinterest addictions isn’t good because I have about 8 different food boards on my personal account, and even more on the account for the blog (while I’m talking about it, go check it out here!); which leads me to constantly thinking about food. But If I want to take this whole blogging thing to the next level, I need to commit more time and effort to thinking about dishes to try. So that’s my excuse for a Pinterest addiction.

I really am finding good recipes from Pinterest, and sometimes there are recipe trends, and sometimes I’ll hop on board with the trends. But sometimes I’ll adapt two or three versions of the trend recipes and make my own.

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Such is the case with the “Garlic Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups with Herbs and Parmesan and Sometimes Other Things too.” If you have browsed Pinterest at all during the last month you probably saw one of these recipes. I did too! And so here I am posting about how I made my version, and why it’s the best of all of the variations on the web.

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What you need:

1 tube of crescent rolls

4 mozzarella cheese sticks halved (we like Italia brand, it’s mozzarella string cheese but tastes like real mozzarella)

1 package of pepperoni

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon minced garlic

parmesan to taste

oregano to taste

To start, open the tube of crescent rolls carefully (but really, don’t hurt yourself). Separate the eight, and lay them them out facing the same direction.

Place the halved cheese sticks at the wide end of each crescent roll.

Lay a layer of pepperoni on each crescent, leaving an inch and a half at the narrow end of each. This will take about five or six pieces of pepperoni for each roll-up, depending on the size of the pepperoni.

Roll the crescents up, starting at the side with the cheese, and making sure at the narrow side to seal the ends.

Put the roll-ups on a baking sheet, don’t worry about greasing it.

Met the butter in the microwave, add the garlic and a sprinkle of oregano. Top each roll-up with this delicious mixture. Sprinkle each with grated parmesan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve with pizza sauce or ranch or whatever your heart desires.

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These are so easy to make, I’m going to have to keep them in mind once I’m back at school. I normally have string cheese in my fridge, and crescent rolls are easy to buy at any grocery store. They aren’t microwavable, but they can be done in the community kitchen in a dorm rather easily.

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Not Pizza, But Still

So a while ago, I found some really nice looking pictures of a couple of calzones I made. I made them months ago, though, and I hardly intended to write about them, but now the pictures look good and I didn’t make anything exciting this week so I feel the urge to talk about them.

The key to making calzones to to be super comfortable with the dough you are working with. That means use a recipe you are used to, not one you are trying for the first time EVER!

Next thing to keep in mind is the level of filling, don’t under fill and don’t over fill. This takes practice and it’s more than okay to mess it up, especially if you like oven-baked cheesy goodness.IMG_6190.2

And finally, do an egg wash or brush with olive oil. It’s also appropriate to poke a couple of holes to allow venting. Then bake them until they are beautiful and golden brown.IMG_6189.2

I’m sorry I don’t really have a lot more to say, but enjoy the pictures anyway.IMG_6191

The thing about calzones though, is that they are a good way of changing up your stuck-in-a-rut pizza habits. Also who doesn’t love gooey pockets of cheese and meat?!?

Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese

Last night my mom and I were on our own again for dinner (yes, it was a supper bummer that she and my dad couldn’t spend Valentine’s Day together, but it happens, his schedule is crazy). We couldn’t go to Newbo or go out because it would have been crazy to try to go where hip young couples go, so we stayed in and made a warm, creamy pasta.

The title is misleading, there was to macaroni in this dish, it was penne. The whole thing was super grown up and would have been perfect for a date night, we definitely  enjoyed ourselves.

A while back I made Ree’s Spinach Artichoke dip, and fell in love with the stuff, so when I found this recipe I knew that I had to try it sometime. Except we messed up the directions, so I will tell you how we made it, and offer some advice on alternative ways of making and or serving it. I hate to say that someone’s directions are terrible, but they are and they will mislead you.

Start by cooking a box of penne pasta, making sure to salt the water enough. Set it aside once it’s done.

Then wilt some spinach or defrost the frozen spinach (either is fine, honestly). And chop up the canned artichoke hearts, make them pretty small. If you don’t want veggie hunks in your sauce, you can throw each into the food processor separately and puree them (just mix them into the sauce really well).

Make the topping thing, mix the cream cheese, half the spinach and artichokes, the parm, the onion, and half of the garlic, and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until it just starts to get brown on top.

Start the sauce with a roux, make sure to not cook it too long or too short, you want it to just start to smell nutty but don’t let it burn. Then mix the milk in slowly, then the mustard and the cheeses.

Then mix the rest of the spinach, artichokes, and garlic into the cheese sauce. Then mix the pasta in, making sure to that the spinach isn’t in clumps or only on one side of the pan.

This is where I didn’t follow the instructions, I just scooped the oven stuff out of it’s pan and mixed it right into the pasta, and it was nice and creamy. If you want to be like the other recipe, you would scoop up the pasta, then top it with the oven dip. We didn’t do that though, and it still really tasted wonderful.

Another way of serving it would be to not ever put the oven stuff (I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO CALL IT!! I’m sorry.) in the oven and just set it aside until the sauce is made and pasta’d. Then you dish each serving into an oven-safe boul or ramakin, and then top each one with a little of the mix. Top with some bread crumbs or panko and pop it under the broiler untill the top gets melty and crispy.

That presentation sounds awesome, I’ll upload pictures if I ever get to that. I told my mom that I would make it again for my brother sometime, so I might do it that way when he is home next.

AHH! I keep forgetting to upload photos for this. I’m sorry, follow the link if you want to see stuff. So I just posted it the way that it is now, I’ll edit the pictures in soon.

Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

Nothing better than a boatload of cheese on a garlicky hunk of bread for watching the big game, right?  RIGHT! It turned out looking like a football, too, so that’s pretty funny (if I may say so myself)._MG_6898 We were looking for things to make, that were pretty unhealthy and good food to eat while watching others burn calories and we found this recipe. I became excited about it quickly and once all the ingredients were assembled I had a hard time waiting to start. You will need several green onions, a couple cloves of garlic, some butter, some cheese (shredded or off the block), and the  loaf, of course._MG_6872

To start, chop op the green onion and mince the garlic. Set aside and take the time now to preheat the oven to 400._MG_6887

Now cut the bread into a grid system, they don’t have to be perfect squares, but they should be pieces that are easy to handle in one or two bites. Probably about half an inch thick should be good._MG_6890

Now melt that butter (about a quarter cup) and mix the onions and garlic into it._MG_6892

And pout this delicious mixture between the slices of the bread, evenly distributing it, making sure that you don’t leave too many hunks in one section, you should push them down into it farther, like a deep pit of flavor._MG_6893

You’ll wrap this baby up in that foil it’s sitting on and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Once that time is passed, pop it out and get ready to stuff it with cheese._MG_6888_MG_6894

Now pop it back into the oven, uncovered, for about twenty minutes, enough to melt the cheese and crisp up whatever bread is still exposed._MG_6899

It should look supper yummy and smell fantastic. It will be gooey and pull apart all stringy-like.

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It will be hard to control yourself, but that’s okay, Lent is around the corner, you have time to heal.

I used a sourdough loaf for it, and those flavors turned out pretty good. You can use Italian or whatever and some other cheeses than cheddar and jack. Also, you can do peppers and spices in place of the onion and garlic, and turn it into some sort of taco pull-apart bread. The idea is actually pretty versatile.

I hope you enjoy it, it’s pretty simple, pretty yummy, and pretty cute. Enjoy (in moderation).

Potato Glory

Since Christmas I feel like I have been in a little less motivated about trying new things. I mean, it’s just not happening.

I ended up with a brand-spanking-new cast iron skillet for my birthday, so I’m trying to use that for stuff, so that’s exciting and I made some yummy corn bread, but it’s not that special or different. I have found a way to incorporate it into these babies, though.

Obviously bacon is a gift from God (well, so is everything else, but this gift is a special one), and goes well with most everything, especially potatoes. So arm yourself with some crumbled bacon, no bacon bits, but the real stuff._MG_6842

Along with the classic, we’ll get a little grown-up, progressive, adventurous or whatever you want to call it. We’re making some potato skins with sweet potatoes!!

Arm yourself with as many potatoes as you would like, each potato will make two skins (come on kids, you can do simple math). Wash and trim them (take out the eyes and other weird stuff that’s kind of creepy looking) and dry them. Next, you’ll want to rub the outside of each one with some canola or olive oil (either works) and salt the white potatoes with sea salt. Place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 375 and let them bake for an hour, the skins should get crispy and the insides should get tender.IMG_6833

Once they are done, you can let them cool and slice them in half._MG_6848_MG_6849Scoop out the innards and let them cool the rest of the way.Then you can brush the inside with oil and pop them back in the oven for a little bit longer, they will get even more crispy, about 20 minutes. (Your sweet potatoes will bee a little weak, and may collapse.)_MG_6851

Pull them out and let them cool just a little bit, then you can top them. For the sweet potatoes you can do some brown sugar, cinnamon  chopped pecans, _MG_6854and marshmallows!!_MG_6847

For the white potatoes  top them with some cheddar cheese,_MG_6850 and some bacon. Then throw all of the potato skins under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the marshmallows get some nice color.

_MG_6855_MG_6863_MG_6864_MG_6859Serve the white potatoes with some sour cream and enjoy yourself.

This is a good party food, for maybe football or basketball watching. IF you have the time before hand to prep everything, people will love them.

Breakfast Bites

These are possibly the greatest thing ever. Even better than cats, cheese, and French horns. Actually, maybe they aren’t that spectacular, but they are better than other things that people tell you to eat for breakfast if you need a quick bte before you leave the house. I’m not saying a banana and yogurt is bad, but honestly, they don’t keep you as full throughout the morning and yogurt requires a spoon.

I decided to mess around with these a the Thursday we had a snow day (all the way back before break) because I was hungry and it was the morning. I tried a couple of different things and I did them a little different this time, too. They are pretty adaptable, if you don’t like sausage or bacon you can leave it out. If you like them spicy you can toss some hot sauce and peppers in there. But the best thing about these is that you can probably make them with what you have in your refrigerator right now.

You need to gather some sort of bread, (use whatever you have on hand-even torn up biscuts would work), several eggs, some milk or cream (whatever you normally mix into your eggs when you scramble them),

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sausage and bacon (pancetta and ham also work well), and a shredded cheese (again, whatever you have works- cheddar with ham, co-jack with the sausage  you get the picture). You also probably want a can of good cooking spray (Pam works wonders), and you have to have your muffin tin.

Before you start layering things, get a good coating of the spray down, even in the tins that you know you won’t fill, and on the top, in case of spillage. You don’t want to use cupcake liners, so this step is super important. Butter, olive oil, or another fatty substance also works to prevent sticking and leaving half your beautiful thing behind. Look at that good layer, there!

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Now, get your bread and cut it or tear it into small pieces and line the bottoms of each of the tins with the bread, making sure to not leave any of the metal at the bottom visible. Then, sprinkle the chopped bacon into each cup.

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Now, carefully, pour the egg into each cup, making sure to get the bread nice and saturated with it. Don’t go overboard quite yet, we still have some the sausage to add.

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Add the sausage and then pour the rest of the egg over that.

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Now, you get to top each one with a layer of the shredded cheese. Use as much as you would like, and remember to not get too much on the part of the pan that is flat, it can will cause some stressful scrubbing later. (I forgot to take a picture of this step, please forgive me.)

Pop the pan into the oven at 325 ( a little lower than 350 is a little kinder to the eggs) for about 15 minutes.

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They are done once the egg sets up, but don’t let them go longer than that, no one wants overcooked eggs.

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Before you try to take them out of their tins, let them cool (and actually the eggs will continue to set once they exit the oven). one they are as cool as me, you can take them out and package them up in single serve containers. Throw them in  the fridge and microwave them for up to a minute to warm them up. Take them on the go, if you would like.

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I have had one the past two mornings and they are great. I do get hungry before lunch time, though, so might up the protein or have two next week. One egg fills up about two tins, because the bread and meat take up some space too, so it’s okay to want to have two for breakfast.

Cheese on Bread won’t Kill You

I had free Friday night, which is absolutely crazy, but I really did enjoy the free time to relax and try something new.

I have an interest in grilled sandwiches, so much so that if there were a Facebook for food bloggers it would be listed under my interests. I don’t just mean grilled cheeses or paninis, but sandwiches that people eat cold that have been put on sliced bread and cooked. When I eat a homemade sandwich  I normally throw it in a pan and grill that baby, it’s  just what I do!

I have found some nice grilled sandwich ideas out there, and so I decided to go ahead and try one for dinner Friday (you can expect to see some more coming in the near future, especially with the cooler weather). I chose one that seemed to push me outside of my normal comfort zone.

The only reason it was out of the comfort zone was because it had avocado on it. I’m honestly not that big on avocado or guacamole or the like, it’s not that appealing to me. I truly wish it was, I know it tastes good to some people and I do like the texture, but that’s not really enough to get me to want to sit and eat it.

The sandwich was pretty well withing my comfort zone here on out, though. It had cheese, turkey, more cheese, and bread (well, duh!).

The bread was dipped on one side in an egg wash then into parmesan cheese before it went cheese side down into the spicy garlic butter that was sitting in the hot pan.

The cheese crust on the bread 

before it was cooked.

The crust that gave it was awesome. It was cheesy, but crispy, and it gave the simple bread something special.

The actual contents of the sandwich were turkey, muenster cheese, avocado, and no cilantro like the recipe called for (I was a little worried about how good it was actually going to taste once it was in the sandwich, you have to be careful with cilantro).

The finished sandwich.

I was not as happy-with the sandwich as a whole-as I was expecting. I don’t really know what was missing, but I was left craving something. I really did like the way that the crust on the outside turned out, it made me want to love the whole thing, rather than be slightly disappointed.

I wouldn’t do this one again, but I would try some others that were similar. It wasn’t terrible, but if avocado is up your alley, you might want to give this one a try.