Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spinach and Chicken Pizza Blanco + Book #6

I horde recipes. I have binders full of recipes, some of which I've made and some of which are just waiting to be made. 

I've been holding on to this one for a while. It sounded delicious. It looked delicious. It was. :)

Look how pretty those ribbons of spinach are. Matt helped out and cut them up very nicely. He also cooked the chicken. That's definitely one of his jobs in the kitchen. I hate cooking meat, so he does it.

And in the end, it got a thumbs up. There are very few pizzas that would get the thumbs down from him, but it still feels good to hear how tasty it was.

After dinner was date-night. We went and saw Garfunkel and Oates as part of LaughFest. I highly recommend going to YouTube and checking them out. Just beware that they use very strong language and sing about some pretty racy things.

 Spinach and Chicken Pizza Blanco
1 prepared pizza crust
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 cup fresh spinach, cut into ribbons
1/2 cup mozzarella
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp basil

Start the pizza crust according to the directions on the package. 

Melt butter in a small saucepan and add minced garlic. Allow garlic to saute for about a minute, then add flour. Stir until thoroughly mixed.

Slowly whisk in milk, adding gradually. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Will thicken upon standing.

Top the crust with a few tablespoons of white sauce. Top with the chicken and spinach. Top with cheese. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake until cheese is melted. 

Book #6
The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

I picked this up at the Hamburg Library booksale a few years ago. I snagged it in their $2 bag deal. Fill a bag up for only $2. I got 18 books out of that deal.

This one looked light-hearted and an easy read for my 50 book goal for the year. I got behind while I was studying and now I'm hitting it hard. I've missed reading.

It's a book about coming into your own. When everyone has always defined you by your family and how you acted as a child, it's hard to break out of that idea. But that's what the main character Josey is doing, even if she doesn't know it. It's a coming-of-age story and a love story and a little bit of a mystery. I found it funny and sweet (ha) and rather fluffy. I think I'm working my way up to some of the more hefty books on my shelf. This one took less than a week to finish.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Philly-Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers + Book #5

Sometimes I make manly things for dinner. I find them on Pinterest and say "hmmm, Matt would love this." 

Also, I hate mushrooms, but I will cook them for Matt. This sounded like a perfect recipe for him. I tried the mushrooms, but I still hate them.

I bring my leftovers to work for lunch most days. I brought one of these in and my friend Katie insisted on the recipe. She's always looking for new recipes to try and I'm sure her new husband loved these. The cheese was a little squeeky. That's really the only way I can think of to describe it. I wish it would have stayed gooey longer. I bet they would have been more delicious if there weren't any mushrooms.

Philly-Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

8 oz. Thinly Sliced Roast Beef
8 Slices Provolone Cheese
2 Large Green Bell Peppers
1 Medium Sweet Onion
6 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Garlic – Minced
Salt and Pepper – to taste

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds.

Slice onions and mushrooms.  Saute over medium heat with butter, olive oil, minced garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Saute until onions and mushroom are nice and caramelized.  About 25-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400*

Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture.  Allow to cook 5-10 minutes

Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese. 

Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing.

Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown. 

Book #5
The Bear Went Over the Mountain - William Kotzwinkle

A simple children's song turned into a much bigger book. 

A writer takes a sabbatical into the wilderness of Maine and writes his masterpiece.  He hides it under a tree where it gets stolen by a bear. The bear takes it to New York where it becomes a hit. This is the story of a bear who gets in touch with his human side and a writer who gets in touch with his bear side. 

I quite enjoyed it. The chapters were relatively short and easy to read. I got through it pretty quickly. 

Matt gave me this for Christmas. He gave me a book for my birthday and bought the same one for himself so we could read it together. At Christmas, he did the same thing, and so did I. Little did we know that when Christmas came around, we'd actually be living 17 miles from each other. I quite like reading the same book together. It's just an extra something to talk about.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Twice Baked Potato Casserole + Book #4

This Easter was probably the first one that I intentionally missed, not because I was too busy, but because I didn't feel like driving two hours across the state for ham.

I had a ham. Each year, AMDG gives each employee a gift card for HoneyBaked Ham. My card bought me a 4.18 pound ham. Do you know how much that is? Enough for Matt and I to eat dinner, leftovers for lunch, and lots to cut up for other recipes. 

Easter dinner was ham, green beans, rolls and potato casserole. I thought it was good, but it could have been creamier. It's a nice combination of potato, cheese, milk, bacon...mmm. I added the bacon. Twice baked potatoes should always have bacon. I might have gone a little overboard on the piggy in this meal.

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

4 Medium Size Potatoes – Quartered
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 scallion
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking dish.

Cook potatoes in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain. 

Add milk and mash potatoes. Add 1/2 cup of cheese, seasoning, green onions, sour cream, and egg. Mix well and transfer to baking dish.

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes uncovered ( top should be lightly golden brown). 

Book #4
Crumbling Walls - Laura Strandt

I worked at a library once (probably my favorite job ever) and met a great person named Laura. She's the children's librarian and does some really great summer reading programs for the kids. I've seen her little girl grow up and I'm rather fond of her and her family (which includes the library folk).

For the last six years, Laura has done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Always excited to do some more reading, I volunteered to read the first draft of this book. It was great of course. Now, it's a real book. I have the Kindle version and the paperback is due out June 1. Pre-order it. For real.

I think Laura has a great way of writing dialogue the way people actually talk. Since I know her, I could really hear her voice telling me this story. It's about two teenagers and it's kind of a standard boy meets girl kind of story. It's told with some twists and has a nice depth to it. I can't wait to read the next one since this book leaves the ending open to a few more books. I know there are more. I can't wait. 

For more information or to BUY IT (!) go here: Crumbling Walls on Amazon

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mini Goat Cheese Chili Rellenos + Book #3

I love chili rellenos. Love. 

You might recall I tried to make them once. They were good, but a lot of work. 

When I found these on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them. Less work and the same great taste. They were delicious.

I probably should have roasted the peppers and cut them up smaller, but it was still delicious. I also substituted the goat cheese for feta. I love feta cheese too. Goat cheese tends to be pretty strong so I decided to swap one for the other. I think it was a good choice.

No pictures. I ate it too fast. Mmmmm.

Mini Goat Cheese Chili Rellenos Casserole

3 eggs
1/4 C milk of choice
2.5 oz soft goat cheese
2 green chiles (Poblano. roasted, seeded and chopped)
1 T flour
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t sea salt
splash of hot sauce

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into two greased ramekins.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the eggs are set.

 Book #3
Zombie Road Trip - T. Alex Miller

Unfortunately, this book isn't available on Amazon anymore. I got it for free from ereaderiq.com. 

I love zombie movies, so I figured I'd give this book a try. 

It was pretty entertaining. It's a story about a zombie (obviously) who is a little more coherent than the rest. He's actually a scientist who intentionally infected himself with the virus and is trying to get back to his lab. It's the story of a zombie to falls in love. Rather graphic at times...apparently the best bits to eat are the, ahem, wobbly bits. Still, an entertaining read.