From the freezer section (…Plus an onion from produce and butter from where the butter hangs out.)

(I had to fork-and-knife it.)

baked macaroni and cheese

December 8, 2011

Whoa.  You guys, Thanksgiving left a LOT behind!  Now I am tired of turkey and sick of sweet potatoes, but still crave a warm, home-cooked meal.  Especially one that doesn’t come with half a dozen sides or take six hours to cook.

This is my favorite anything ever.  In university, I would request this as my first meal back home on every visit.  I can’t even recall how many times I’ve asked my mom to remind me of the recipe, because it’s so simple it almost seems like its too good to be true.  But its not!  It’s the truthiest in its gooditude!! (sorry, I’m getting excited here)

This recipe is so simple and concise, you could practically send it in a text message!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Cook 1 cup of pasta.  Drain pasta and mix with 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained) with half a diced green pepper and 6 oz cubed cheddar cheese.  Put in a casserole dish and cook in a 350° oven for 40 minutes.*

*Now, there are a couple things to note.  As with most family recipes, there is plenty of room for specialization and modification.  Like the cheese.  No one in history has ever complained about too much cheese in their mac and cheese.  Cube that whole 8 oz block of cheese if you’re looking for a good time.  Want to feed a few family members and still have lunch tomorrow?  Throw in an additional half or full cup of pasta. Don’t like green pepper?  Try bacon! But the green sure does look nice.  And a couple grinds of black pepper on top really takes it home.

Halloween candy used to confuse me as a kid.  “How can it be called ‘Fun Size’ when its smaller? With a name like that, shouldn’t it be HUGE?”  As an adult, I’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better, and some times a small taste can be a big treat.

I had originally made a full-size pumpkin pie cheesecake from a Cheesecake Factory cookbook for Thanksgiving a few years ago, but after a massive feast, no one wanted a full slice of anything, let alone cheesecake.  This is an awesome recipe and a fun twist on the traditional pumpkin pie, so I want to make sure everyone gets a taste!  After trying out some Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book this summer, I think I have successfully reimagined the delectable Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake in a very Fun Size.

Yum yum yum! Let’s get sharing!

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3-8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat oven to 275°.

Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir well enough to coast all crumbs with butter, but not so much as to turn it into a paste.  Keep it crumbly, yo, it is a crust after all.  A fork works well.

Press the crumbs into the bottom of the lined muffin cups so the bottoms are covered, this is generally a couple fork-fulls, but less than a tablespoon.

Bake for 10 minutes, until the crumbs become crusty (in a good way.)

While the crust is baking, mix the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.  Continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Fill ‘er up!

Bake for 22 minutes, rotating the tins at halftime.

Counter cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate for several hours.  Like at least four.  But it make more sense to just come back to this tomorrow and allow everything to set overnight.

Remove the liner, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg for a teeny creamy sweet and spicy delight!  You’ll probably need a fork, and a trip back for seconds.

This recipe made 24 perfect little cupcakes, so one cupcake is less than half the size of an average cheesecake slice. This Fun Size version of the cheesecake allows more plate space to ensure that everyone has room for dessert!

cool as a cucumber

July 3, 2011

Boyfriend made dinner.

chicken nugget salad

June 1, 2011

Chicken nuggets + baby spinach, green peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes + fat-free ranch dressing = dinner for hot weather.

Only meat in the house + all of the vegetables in the house + salad glue = chicken nugget salad.

So, you’ve got a craving for a chocolate cupcake, but can’t afford the calories or fancy ingredients?  I hear that.  Well lookee here!  A magnificently moist brownie muffin recipe that consists of only two ingredients and 180 calories each?!  Would I lie to you?

(I will follow the logic that the addition of frosting makes a muffin into a cupcake – ex. morning glory to carrot cake – and therefore also makes these a-okay to eat for breakfast 100% guilt-free.  Feel free to call these tasty morsels anything you damn well please.)

Stupid-Simple Guilt-Free Brownie Muffins

  • 1-15 oz can of pumpkin (be sure  you grab a can of “pumpkin” and not “pumpkin-pie filling”)
  • 1 box of devil’s food cake mix

That’s it!  Really!  Now here’s the hard part, you’ve gotta combine the two.  Yeah.  But think of the fat you’ll be burning off with all that mixing, and before you know it you’ll have super hot First Lady arms too.  Scoop into a lined muffin tin and cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  (Or – since there isn’t any raw egg like with a normal cake mix – you can safely just eat the batter with a spoon, I won’t judge.)  Yields 12 muffins (if they make it to the oven).

A couple more things:

  • You might be thinking, “Pumpkin and Chocolate?!?” but it’s totally not going to be weird, promise.  And since you aren’t using any eggs, butter, or dairy it seems like its a solid “Maybe Vegan” contender (although, I really should have checked out the box mix for any funny business before taking out the recycling…)  Regardless, it’s still a pretty fantastic way to get your vegetables.
  • The batter is super thick.  It will come out of the oven exactly the way you put it in, so sculpture is highly recommended.  Muffins with mohawks, hells yes!
  • Since the pumpkin saves you all kinds of calories, feel free to spend them on mix-ins!  Cinnamon, chocolate chips, orange zest, a super decadent frosting, etc!  But whatever you do, don’t add anything to make the batter thinner, it’ll just ruin everything.

I like to think of these as extra credit.  You could enjoy one as maintaining a healthy lifestyle like eating just one after a morning jog with your herbal tea, but let’s get real, this is a spectacular way to essentially eat a fist full of brownie for breakfast and feel no shame.

So I urge you, do this totally easy project for extra credit and you can slack off later.

pita pizza

April 27, 2011

You know what’s great?  Late night pub grub.  You know what’s even better?  Not having to go to a bar to eat like it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce, the Pita Pizza.  Next to my best friends – The Sandwich and Bowl of Cereal – Pita Pizza is the most enjoyable single-serving meal you can find (…ingredients for in my fridge at all times).

For double duty purposes, pasta sauce becomes pizza sauce!  Sprinkle all the cheese available in your fridge, and whatever herbs you can get your hands on.  You can even use real things, like meats and veggies for toppings!  (I find this is a fantastic way to make use of starting-to-wilt spinach, just sauté with butter or bacon fat and now you don’t have piss off Popeye by throwing that great spinach in the garbage!)  Cook in a 350 oven for 10 minutes and biggity-bam! you’ve got yourself a meal that you don’t have to share!

For foodie’s sake, here’s the breakdown of the goods I used:

  • whole wheat pita
  • Trader Joe’s Vodka Sauce (that’d be the pasta sauce, and it’s delish fore it comes with big ol’ wads of tomato in it – but really, any sauce you like will do) with several splashings of Frank’s Red Hot sauce (because I really do put that shit on everything)
  • shredded cheddar jack, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses
  • and a couple pinches of basil leaves (for tastiness, but really to get that stop-light look)

NOM!