It's a Dog Tag Wife Life

The musings of a non-conventional, soon-to-be Army Wife

Tasty Tuesday: Who Doesn’t Love French’s Onions? November 16, 2010

Filed under: Life,Recipe,Tasty Tuesday — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 12:32 pm
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I swear, I could eat a whole can of French’s Onions.  And not the small can either.

Probably not a great idea, but they are just so good.  I use them on salads instead of croutons and they’re great.  They’re even better for me because raw onions give me fierce heartburn but I can have the fried variety, go figure.  And yes, that also means I’m a sucker for the Bloomin’ Onion (mmm, nom nom, bloomin onion, nom nom).

I also love green bean casserole.  For as long as I can remember, that has always been my contribution to Thanksgiving.  Even as a kid, my mom and I would make it together.  Next week, I am spending my first Thanksgiving without my family and am a little sad about it.  However, I will still be making the green bean casserole.

I did learn, recently, that French’s Onions are good for recipes other than Green Bean Casserole.  The hunny’s mom made us the other recipe that is on the back of the French’s Onions can.  It’s sort of like an oven fried chicken.  I made a couple of tweaks though (because that’s what I like to do with recipes).  I’ve made it a couple of times, and it’s awesome each time.  But then again, I said I could eat an entire can of these things, if they are involved, I’ll most likely eat it.  I might even eat mushrooms (eeeep) if they were coated in these things. Anyways, here’s the recipe for the oven fried goodness.

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups French’s Onions
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 Egg

Yup, that’s it.  Well, for the original recipe.  Here’s what I like to add.

  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Mush up (not the words on the can, but it sounds fun) the pepper, garlic, flour, and onions.  Coat the chicken in the egg and then dip in the onion mixture, pressing the onion bits so that they stick.  Place in ungreased pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Ok, I’ll be honest, I bake it for 30 minutes because I have an unnatural fear of undercooked chicken.  Because that’s gross.

But that’s it, super easy, super quick, and super delicious.  This would probably make even the pickiest eater happy.  Add some mashed potatoes, peas, and you’ve got an awesome meal.  Hmm, guess what I’ll be having for dinner tonight 🙂

Enjoy!

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Tasty Tuesday – Fall and the joy of Pumpkin October 26, 2010

Filed under: Recipe,Tasty Tuesday — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 9:01 am
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I love the fall!  It has been and always will be my favorite season.  I love the colors, the cooler weather, the smell, jumping in leaves, cold mornings with warm afternoons.  I just love the whole season.  I especially love the flavors of fall.  Apples, cider, cinnamon donuts, and of course, pumpkin!!!

A few weeks ago, I had a bridal shower with my family.  My wonderful aunt made apple crisp and pumpkin bars.  Both are delicious but I couldn’t get enough of the pumpkin bars.  They’re moist and light with just the right amount of sweetness.  I like sweet things, but prefer if they aren’t sugar loaded.  For example, I love whipped cream frosting but buttercream from the grocery store is just a tick too sweet for me.

Anyway, I was asking my mom for my aunt’s recipe when she informed me that it was actually a recipe that she had cut out from a newspaper 40 years ago!!!  This recipe is older than me!  Anyway, I decided to make it myself the other weekend.  I apologize for not having pics again, but it was a crazy afternoon and my camera was buried in a bag from a race we had gone to the previous weekend.  I actually edited the recipe a little from the original.  I love adding spices to my cakes so a little ginger and a little nutmeg were my contributions to this cake.  It does make a rather large pan so there’s plenty to share, even if you don’t want to!

Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 eggs
  • 1-2/3 C Granulated Sugar (although I only used 1-1/3)
  • 1 C Cooking Oil
  • 1  16 oz Can of Pumpkin
  • 2 C All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I also added nutmeg & ginger, not sure how much nutmeg, it was about half of a whole nutmeg, and about ½ tsp ginger)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

In mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon (and other spices), salt, and soda.  Add to the pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly.  Spread batter in ungreased 15”x10”x1” pan.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool.  Frost with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 3 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I don’t really measure vanilla because I love it, so I add a little extra)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Stir in vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating until smooth.

Enjoy!

 

Tasty Tuesday – Quick Dinner for Monday Night October 19, 2010

Filed under: Recipe,Tasty Tuesday — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 10:15 am
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Yesterday was pretty crazy.  Besides it being Monday, I decided I wanted to go to the mall to get some new makeup (and a new look) because we are getting our engagement pictures done this weekend.  VERY EXCITED!

Anyway, not a big deal except that the mall is 30 minutes away and my appointment at the Clinique counter took over an hour.  Totally worth it though because the second the hunny saw me, he said “Wow, you look awesome.”  Normally I don’t spend a ton of time on my makeup.  After his reaction, I may have to invest some more time in my morning.

Anywho, it’s 7:45 when I get home and no one has had dinner.  I could do pasta, but I don’t feel like that’ll be enough.  I could do sausage, onions, and peppers, but I don’t have any good bread to make sandwiches with it.  What do I do, combine them!  And I had all the necessary ingredients in the house.

It was delicious.  And technically, since I used turkey sausage, not to terribly bad for us either.  It had a good smokey flavor from the sausage, a little extra texture from the peppers and onions, and just enough sauce to make it feel like a real pasta dish.  The only thing I think I forgot was a little cheese.  Either way, the meal was delicious.  So were the pumpkin bars that I made this weekend.  I’ll save that for next week though (plus, I didn’t take any pictures and may have to make more this weekend).

Enjoy!

Quick Monday Night Dinner

  • 2 Servings of Pasta (I used about 1-1/2 cups penne)
  • 1 large link turkey sausage, sliced, about 5-7 oz (I like the Oscar Meyer brand, it has two links so I just threw the other one in the freezer)
  • Peppers & Onions to taste (I use the fire roasted frozen ones from Trader Joe’s, super convenient & tasty)
  • Pasta Sauce

Cook pasta as directed on box.  While water is heating for pasta, heat medium-sized skillet to medium.  Once the pan is hot, add oil and peppers & onions and sliced turkey sausage.  Saute until hot.  I like to get the sausage to fry a little.  Drain pasta, add peppers, onions, and sausage.  Add as much sauce as you want.  We don’t use a ton so I added about 1/3-1/2 a small jar.  Mix thoroughly and enjoy!  You could also add some Parmesan or mozzarella if you want that little bit of cheese.  I wouldn’t use too much though, it might mess with the consistency.

By the way, this was fantastic with a glass of red wine, but not a super powerful one.  I had a Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon mix but I think a true Shiraz would’ve been perfect.  The hunny enjoyed an ice-cold hard cider and he thought the flavors complimented one another.

 

Tasty Tuesday – Grilled Cheese a la Me! October 5, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 2:58 pm

Ok, grilled cheese doesn’t sound exciting.  Two pieces of white bread with a couple of slices of American Cheese.  Not in this household. (forgive me, no pictures this week).

The hunny loves cheese.  And I’m not talking about kinda likes cheese.  I’m talking about LOVES cheese.  He could eat cheese with every meal.  And lots of it.  On the weekends when we make a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and eggs, or pancakes and bacon, there is always cheese on our table.  Snacks, cheese.  I make veggies, shredded cheese goes on it.  Thank goodness for PT.

So I have altered the traditional grilled cheese recipe.  I always use real cheese, cheddar, colby, monteray jack, etc.  Two of my favorites to use are havarti and gouda.  And I mix them.  If we don’t have anything fancy, we almost always have at least cheddar and colby jack.  Those two great together.  I also love using pepper jack, the spiciness is offset nicely by the cheese.

And cheese isn’t the only thing I use.  I like to add other things to the sandwich.  I’m not a huge tomato fan, but the hunny likes them.  Sometimes, I put tomato on them.  Other times it’s bacon or ham.  My favorite is avocado.  Actually, my favorite is bacon and avocado.

And of course the bread is important.  I love a nice french bread.  It should be about the thickness of a regular slice of bread, maybe 1/2″.  I even like to use my panini press, it heats the sandwich on both sides so no flipping is necessary.

Here is my favorite type of grilled cheese.  Enjoy with a bowl of cream of tomato soup.

  • Two Slices French Bread
  • Depending on the size of the cheese 6-8 3/8″ slices of cheese (pick a couple, for this I’ll say half havarti and half cheddar)
  • 3 slices of avocado
  • 2 slices cooked bacon

Heat the pan (or panini press) to just below medium.  Butter one side of each slice of the bread.  Place the first slice in the pan, butter side on the pan.  Arrange the cheese, bacon, and avocado.  When the cheese starts to melt, place the other slice of bread, butter side up, on the sandwich.  Flip the sandwich.  Wait until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melty.  Enjoy!!!

 

Tasty Tuesday – Risotto Style September 28, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 6:45 pm
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I know it’s late in the day, I apologize.  Things have just been really crazy this week.  My parents are coming to visit this weekend, we registered this past weekend, just busy in general.  But I have a delicious concoction for you today.  It’s my risotto recipe.  Yum!!!!  All the recipes that I come across call for huge amounts,  mine is great for two people.  Also, this is just the basic recipe.  I added peas, but that’s because I love them.  I understand that many people don’t, so feel free to add what you love.  This dish can either be totally vegetarian or with meat.  Sometimes I put asparagus, a little squash or pumpkin, chicken, bacon, or anything else that I can find in the house.  Seafood like scallops and shrimp are also good.  Get creative, it’s a fun recipe.  I also hear mushrooms are popular, but like I said, the texture creeps me out.  Although, I did have an amazing version one time with ground up truffles and it may have been the single most inspiring risotto meal I have ever had.  Anyway, on with the recipe.

Some things to note, this will take some time.  It is not hard, just time consuming and a bit high maintenance.  You just need to keep stirring it.  Probably not the best for a night with a soccer practice, flute lessons, and homework.  Maybe better for a quiet night for two.

The ingredients:

  • Olive Oil to Coat Pan
  • 1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic (more if you like, I always put in at least two)
  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice (trust me, you need this, it’s not the same with regular old white rice)
  • 3-3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2-1 cup white wine
  • Parmesan Cheese (I use the shredded 3 cheese blend, not the mushed up stuff)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Vegetables/meat of your choice (I used 1 cup cooked peas)

Mix the stock and wine.  Most recipes call for adding the wine first, but I think it’s easier to mix the two together initially.  Place over low heat (not lowest setting, but not quite medium low), just enough to warm it up.   Add oil to a large saute pan.  A few tablespoons should do.  Heat up the pan, I use medium heat, and saute the onion or shallots.  Add garlic at the end to keep it from burning.

Add the rice, stirring constantly until translucent.  Don’t let it brown.  This should take about 3 minutes.  At this point, I would reduce the heat to medium low, it makes it easier when adding the broth.

Add about 1/2 cup of the wine/stock mixture.  Stir until it is absorbed.  The first spoonful will absorb quickly.  It will take a little more time later on.  I learned quickly not to keep the temperature too high.  It makes the liquid evaporate too fast and the rice doesn’t get the nice creamy texture that you’re going for.

Adding half a cup at a time, stir the broth and rice until the liquid is absorbed.  Here is what it looks like when you’ve first added the broth.

It only took a couple minutes to go from the previous picture to this.  I didn’t add any more liquid.  If the liquid is only taking a few seconds to evaporate, your temp is too high.  This is one of those “low and slow” type of recipes.  Not too low, otherwise you’ll end up with rice soup.

Some wine for me, some for the risotto.  And use a wine you would drink. Trust me, it makes a major difference.

Once you’ve added all of the liquid and the rice is nice and creamy, add the butter and a sprinkling of cheese (I like a little less, I feel like it doesn’t overpower it then.) but feel free to add as much as you like.  Also, add salt and pepper to taste.  If you’re using broth rather than stock, it may be salty enough.

Add the extras like peas or squash or whatever you wish.

Enjoy with a delicious glass of wine.

And this is this weeks edition of Tasty Tuesday!

 

Tasty Tuesday, Round 1! September 14, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 9:40 am
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So, I find that a lot of other people have something they do weekly so I’ve decided to do that as well.  And I know that thousands of people post recipes, but cooking and baking is one thing that I am good at.  So I’ve decided to start up Tasty Tuesday.  But it won’t just be recipes.  I thought that I’d highlight some other foods that I like that may be store-bought, or hard to find, or just kinda odd.  So some of my favorite foods will featured as well as some of my experiments in the kitchen.

Last night I made a very classic steak dinner.  I love steak.  I am a midwestern girl and love Love LOVE steak.  I think I could eat it every day.  And I would if I could.  But I know it’s not the greatest for me so I don’t.  And it didn’t take me forever.  About half an hour from start to finish.  Anyway, here’s my dinner.

I love Trader Joe’s.  It’s one of my favorite places.  The majority of the food in this meal is from there.  I especially love their filet mignon.  And not just because it’s delicious, but they give you a huge piece.  What I do is take a rolling-pin to it because usually, it’s very thick and the outside will be crisp while the inside is practically cold.  I usually pound on it until it’s about 3/4″ thick (plus, it’s really stress relieving).

I can usually get three decent sized steaks out of it.  Then I just salt and pepper it and pop it in the broiler.  I usually use our lower broiler setting and cook the steaks for 8-9 minutes, flip, and cook for another 8-9 minutes.  I love how steak tastes, so just a little salt and pepper are fantastic.  I prefer sea salt, but that’s just what I like.

This would have been my drink with dinner, however, I have a doctor’s appointment this morning and didn’t want to have any alcohol last night.  You never know what the doctor will want from you.  Usually I’m not a beer person, but in the fall, I absolutely love hard cider.  I got this one at Trader Joe’s also.

And here’s the potatoes for my mashed potatoes.  I usually cut them up, place them in cool water, then turn the heat to high.  I keep it on high, uncovered, until the water boils.  I then turn the heat to medium, and put a lid on it.  Not totally covering it, but at an angle so the steam can escape.  Then, I let the potatoes cook between 15-20 minutes or until they are fork tender.

Once the potatoes are done and drained, I add a couple of tablespoons of butter and a little milk to make it creamy.  Then, I add a little salt at a time until they are to the point that I like and just a dash of white pepper.  I know some people who dislike white pepper, but this is how my mom made potatoes, and I continue to use it.  But it really should be used sparingly because it is some potent stuff.  Too much and you’ll definitely know it.

Add some green beans (from Trader Joe’s also) and here’s our delicious dinner.

And what’s dinner without a little dessert.  I have some fresh strawberries and couldn’t help but indulge in them.  Plus, they’re beautiful and bright red (one of my favorite colors)!

Bon Appetite!

 

Labor Day = Blueberry Muffins! September 8, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — It's a Dog Tag Wife Life @ 8:59 am
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I will be honest, I am not entirely sure why, but for all long weekends I want to make muffins or some other baked good (occasionally Texas Sheet Cake, I’ve been known to go crazy with banana bread and cupcakes also).  This past weekend was even more special because I was at the beach with the hunny & part of his family.  I know that his family likes blueberries, which lead me to believe it was imperative for me to make blueberry  muffins and haul them down to the beach.  Boy, am I glad that I did.  We ended up having a great time.  I think we both needed some down time after the travels and the craziness that is wedding planning.  Although, I am happy to say the only two things I feel like I haven’t gotten a start on are flowers and a cake.  I’m making appointments for next weekend for flowers, and the cake, well, that will come in time.  But I have to say, when people say they will respond, and don’t, it makes me less inclined to use them.  I know the day might not be important to you, but it is to me so if you don’t treat me well before my big day, how are you going to treat me on what I feel is the most important day in my life ::diatribe over::

Back to the blueberry muffins.  They were a huge success.  This is a fantastic recipe that I’ve used for years and wanted to share it with you all.  I thought that I would add in some pictures to make it a little more interesting and to show consistency of the batter at different parts.

To Die for Blueberry Muffins

(Courtesy of Colleen from Allrecipes)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (I like to add a few extra)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. (The tube on the right are all my muffin liners, I used to bake cupcakes, A LOT)

The ingredients (pretty simple, huh)Combine 1-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.

Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.  (This may be slightly more than 1/3 cup milk, but that’s ok)

Mix this with flour mixture.  This is what the batter should look like.Fold in blueberries.  And yes, I mean fold, not stir violently. Trust me, it ends up leading to a very interesting violet colored muffin without delicious juicy blueberries in the middle.

Fill muffin cups right to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping mix.  The original recipe calls for making 8 muffins but I make 12, this way, they don’t over flow, and you have a nice even dozen.  I use a mini ice cream scoop which I use for making cookies.

To make crumb topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.  Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.  I use a french pastry blender to mix.  I find a fork isn’t as productive, but works if you don’t have the french pastry blender.  This is what it looks like when you first start blending.

This is what it should look like when it’s ready to be spooned onto the muffins.

You can use all the mixture quite easily.  Feel free to put a generous amount on to use it all up.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

The tops are just a little crunchy once cooled and are best not covered up.  While still delicious, the crispy part will no longer be crispy if they are covered too long.

I hope you enjoy these, I had fun making (and eating!) them!

 

 
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