Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Get Your Hot Dogs Here!!

Nothing says summer like a Nathan's hot dog! Last weekend I took a trip to Coney Island and could not get enough! I order one hot dog from the authentic Nathan's hot dog stand...home of the National hot dog eating contest. And BOY! It was delicious!

The next day while vegging out, I spent countless hours watching Food Network. And of course the one episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay that I watched was the best hot dog competition. After my little Nathan's tease the day before, I couldn't help but salivate over the concoctions being created on TV. I was completely inspired and had to make my own version of Bobby's competitors dog: Mac & Cheese dog.

I couldn't just stop at throwing on plain old mac and cheese so I loosely followed the recipe from the show and added my own special twist.

4 hot dogs (Nathan's or any with casing are the best!)
4 hot dog buns
8 oz gemelli noodles
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup gruyere cheese
1 cup frozen corn
cayenne pepper, as desired
Parmesan cheese, as desired.

1) Cook noodles as directed on the package. Drain and set aside.
2) In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Once melted, add flour and stir continuously for one minute, fully combining flour. Add cheese and heavy cream and stir until well blended. Add noodles and stir until combined. (If desired, sprinkle a little cayenne and parmesan. It was a great touch!)
3) Meanwhile, heat frying pan over medium heat. Cook hot dogs until heated through and slightly crispy on the outside. In the same pan, remove hot dogs and heat buns until toasted.
4) Heat corn, then add butter, a dash of cayenne and parmesan.
5) Plate meal by placing hot dog on bun then gently lay mac and cheese on top, then corn on top of that.

This sounds like a lot of work, but it was super easy and seemed effortless. I was even able to easily bring this to work the next day, packaging all ingredients separately of course...and let me tell you...people were very jealous of my lunch!

The flavors came together wonderfully! I'm not sure that I'll ever eat a hot dog plain again. I am definitely going to have to try new toppings sometimes soon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Caramel Overload! (S'more Brownies - Part II)

I've been in a baking mood lately and wanted to bake for my house guests over the weekend. Of course, things came up at work during the week so I never got around to it. I was happily surprised when my boyfriend's sister, Natalie, said she'd love to bake while they were visiting.

I was given a Ghiradelli caramel triple chocolate brownie mix as a gift and have yet to use is so I thought this would be perfect. Yum! Triple chocolate caramel brownies. Best thing ever, right? NOPE! Natalie wanted S'more brownies again. Which led me to the of the absolute best thing! TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CARAMEL S'MORE BROWNIES!!! MMM mmm mm!

The caramel just oozed out of the brownie with every bite. Look how amazing it looks. (And I just had to serve it with ice cream!)

Follow same recipes as my original S'more Brownie post. When it is time to lay Hershey bars, replace with caramel filled chocolate!

Aside from tasting beyond amazing and looking great too, even prior to being done these brownies looked delish. Check out my in-oven shot! The marshmallows puff up like little chocolatey clouds of heaven! ;)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fresh Pizza Pie

I usually don't like to get super creative on Sunday nights because in my opinion, Sunday's are lazy days so when it's time to cook dinner...I apply the same rules. The first thing that came to my mind for dinner was PIZZA! PIZZA!

All I had to do was pick up pre-made pizza dough and some spicy peperoni. The rest of my ingredients were in my fridge.

1/2 a ball of fresh mozzarella
3 tbsp basil pesto
1/2 cup pasta sauce (I used Classico's Caramelized Onion and Garlic sauce...so yummy!)
1 Roma tomato
5 to 6 pieces of spicy peperoni
salt and pepper to taste.

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Spread pasta sauce all over crust. Slice fresh mozz and lay to cover most of the crust. Place into oven for 8 minutes.
3) While pizza begins to cook, cut peperoni slices in half, then slice tomato into thin slices.
4) After time elapses, remove pizza from oven and drop dollups of basil pesto in various places on the pizza. Then scatter tomato slices then peperoni to cover. Lastly, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
5) Place back in oven for 5 minutes. Let cool then enjoy!

The perfect meal for any lazy day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grilled (To Perfection) Steak

London broil shoulder steaks were on sale this week so I had to pick one up. I am getting my wisdom teeth taken out tomorrow so I want to take advantage of having full chewing capabilities for one last time so tonight was the perfect night to grill these babies up! Besides, what's better than a grilled steak in the summer?

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and make a citrus marinade for the meat. I searched Food Network and found the perfect recipe for influence. (I say influence because the recipe I found contains Tequlia, and I am NOT a Tequila kind of person.) I was successfully able to tweak this recipe to add the perfect fresh and tangy kick to my steak.

When I was set and ready to pass the meat off to my boyfriend to grill, I found myself in quite a pickle. He had just gotten home from the gym and desperately needed to shower. It was going on 9 o'clock and time and sunlight were not on my side, so I was on my own. I marched up to my rooftop on my own and set out to grill the most perfect steak. After cooking about 15 minutes on 400 to 500 degrees, I pulled the meat off the grill. The roof was pitch dark so I had only the light of my cell phone to see whether or not my steak was fully cooked. It looked done, so I took it to my apartment for the final look. And to my shock... IT WAS PERFECT!! I was so proud of myself... it was a light shade of pink and was incredibly moist and tender. Now on to the recipe!

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp dry cumin (FN recipe called for 2 tsp toasted cumin seeds)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (FN called for lime juice)
1 tbsp vinegar (I added this in last minute to add some tang to the marinade since I was not adding the required 1/4 cup of Tequila needed in this recipe.)

Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag. Add meat, shake to coat and let sit in fridge for 1 hour. Before grilling, remove meat from grill, shake access marinade and let rest until room temperature before cooking.

Click here for actual marinade recipe from FN. It is quite intense! Sounds delicious!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mushroom and Pea Rigatoni

After the long holiday weekend, I was wiped out. Being in the sun all weekend can really do a number on energy. When I got home late Sunday night, all I wanted to do was crash but my stomach was begging for dinner. So I reached for the easiest thing in my pantry: Pasta!

I ran out of tomato sauce and forgot to pick up diced tomatoes when I was at the store last, so I whipped up a garlic and oil sauce, threw in some veggies and viola! I had a full meal in minutes.

8 oz rigatoni
8 oz frozen peas
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
6 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Cook noodles as directed on package. Drop frozen peas in with the noodles during the last two minutes of cooking.
2) In a medium skillet, melt 4 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
3) In the same skillet, add 2 more tbsp of butter and saute garlic. Stir in at least 1/2 cup of oil, or more depending on how saucey you like your pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) Combine veggies, sauce and noodles and serve.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Brownies That Will Make You Want Some More ;)

While reading one of my favorite food blogs Picky Palate, I came across what just might be the best chocolaty concoction know to man! S'more filled brownies!!!! Yup - I said it... s'mores baked inside brownies!! Insane, right? Well, they are!

I found this recipe on Monday and was baking by Wednesday...which is rare for me... I tend to bake on weekends so I can sit and eat the final product all day. As excited as I was to try this recipe out, I had a few things to overcome.

First, the recipe calls for brownie mix made for 8 x 8 pans. I never knew that existed, and apparently, neither did my local grocery store. The only 8 x 8 mix I could find was chocolate chip brownies. After spending 10 minutes staring at brownie mixes, I gave up and got the chocolate chip mix... besides, it just means more chocolate, right? Second, 8 x 8 brownie mix needs to bake in an 8 x pan, right? Yes... and guess who didn't realize she doesn't own one? ME! I was completely exhausted so I went to my local five and dime store. Unfortunately, they only sold tin baking pans which isn't so bad since I'd probably end up bringing the brownies to work so I searched through my options. Again - no 8 x 8 pan! I settled for a pan that looked to be 8.5 x 11 (who cooks in that?) And when I got home I got a little ghetto with it. I folded up one side to make it as square as possible then snipped off the tall piece so it would fit in my oven. It worked perfectly!

1 box of your favorite 8 x 8 brownie mix (in my case, chocolate chip)
4 to 5 full Graham Crackers
3 to 4 full Hershey's bars
16 large marshmallows

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8 x 8 (or makeshift pan) with foil and spray with cooking spray.
2) Prepare brownie mix according to package directions.3) Pour half the brownie batter in the lined pan. Layer Graham crackers side-by-side over the brownie mix, gently. Break pieces off to fit entire pan. Next, layer Hershey bars in the same manner, then top with marshmallows. Pour remaining batter over marshmallows. (I chose to then roll my marshmallows over to coat them in the batter, but this is not necessary...I just wanted them to be extra chocolaty.) 4) Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out mostly clean from center. Remove from oven and cool completely. Carefully remove foil and brownies from pan. Peel any access foil from brownies and cut into squares.

How easy is that? And how ridiculous do these look!!!????

I absolutely love how you can bite into a chewy s'more on chocolaty steroids! I could eat these everyday! But to keep my girlish figure, I brought them to work and to friends over the holiday weekend. They were a hit by all!

For even better pictures, and a different way to bake them, check out Picky Palate's Post. She takes the greatest pictures for her posts and shows every step along the way. So cute!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chicken Slop

The title says it all. Last night I baked the most tastiest concoction ever known to man, which I will post shortly, so dinner had to be a quick one. I thought of the quickest thing possible. My mom always made this dish after long days and called it Crap on a Shingle (but substituted crap for the more offensive word.) ;)

If you are looking to prepare a well balanced meal in less than 15 minutes... you have got to try this!

4 to 6 chicken breasts
1 cup frozen peas
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bag a large egg noodles

1) Cook noodles as directed on the package.
2) Cube chicken and fry over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes over medium high heat. Once thoroughly cooked, add cream of chicken soup and milk. Stir briskly to combine. Toss in frozen peas and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until peas are soft and soup is fully heated.
3) Serve chicken mixture over top of noodles (or toast if you prefer...hence the "shingle" part of my mothers gourmet title.)

That's it! You've got your poultry, veggies and starch all in one dish.