O.M.G. I have never read such a long title to a blog!! Well the title is fitting as I have been cooking and baking up a storm! I swear I cannot stop! This entry has 7 recipes, and I intentionally omitted a few recipes to make the blog shorter! I think I may need “bakers anonymous” if this keeps up. I guess if there is an upside to my compulsion, it’s that my family gets to enjoy all the yummy treats, and I get to share the recipes with you. ☺ Here we go.
For starters, I made ratatouille panini for dinner. I actually found the recipe in a cookbook that I mentioned in my last blog. It is titled “Favorite Brand Name Vegetarian Appetizers, Main Dishes, Quick & Easy.” I found a recipe titled grilled ratatouille sandwiches. I changed the recipe in that instead of simply grilling the sandwiches, I used my panini press. Also, I omitted the olives as my family doesn’t care for them. Lastly, I added a slice of cheese to the panini. The sandwiches came out really yummy, and I would definitely make them again. Dan loved the dressing and continued to use it on sandwiches for the rest of the week. The addition of the cheese to the panini’s made them especially delicious. Here is a link to the recipe that I used: http://www.favoritebrandrecipes.com/recipes/225/2142001225.htm
I also made homemade spaghettio’s. These I made by accident as I was making lunch for Victoria. She requested a grilled cheese and tomato soup. She has been on a grilled cheese and tomato soup kick for about 2 weeks now. She has eaten so much tomato soup that I have depleted my pantry’s stock twice. Well I was out of our favorite brand of tomato soup (Pacific organic low sodium creamy tomato) so I had to use a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. I “doctored it up” with a little garlic powder, onion powder, and basil, and when I taste tested it, it totally reminded me of “SpaghettiO’s.” So I decided to make some from scratch. I never had SpaghettiO’s growing up. It wasn’t until I went camping with Dan for the first time that I actually ate them. Victoria ate them once during the crazy black out of 2003, but SpaghettiO’s aren’t something we eat in our house. That said, I did happen to have “anelletti noodles” in the pantry that I bought at Trader Joe’s. They are small circular shaped noodles…just like the ones used in SpaghettiO’s, and I thought they looked like fun so I bought them. Originally I intended to use them in soup, but they were PERFECT for the homemade spaghettio’s. Here’s what I did:
First, I boiled 1/2 pound of the anelletti noodles until they were al dente. Next, I mixed the noodles with a 10.5 oz. can of Campbell’s tomato soup. ( I use the Healthy Request soup as it is lower in sodium.) Then, I added garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, and black pepper to taste. Lastly, I added a splash of lemon juice, and a few tablespoons of tomato paste to intensify the flavors. That’s it! You may have to add a little bit of water if the consistency is too thick, especially if you have any left over’s as the noodles soak up the sauce while in the fridge.
I am happy to report that my homemade spaghettio’s came out great! They didn’t taste exactly like regular SpaghettiO’s, in fact I think they tasted better. Victoria said she liked my homemade spaghettio’s better than their store-bought counterparts, and I think that says it all. ☺
Now on to the desserts! First I made pineapple upside down cake. YUM. Dan loves pineapple upside down cake, and the last time I made it was at his request. As I was making this one it occurred to me that the last time I made this cake we still lived in our old house. THAT WAS 7 YEARS AGO!!! It’s so weird. I can remember making it, and I remember that we all loved it, but I swear it was just a few months ago. In my mind’s eye I can see it. There we are around the table, in my old kitchen, in our old house… where we lived until 7 years ago. Anyway, despite that time warp, I am happy to report that the cake was DELICIOUS!!! Pineapple upside down cake is such a fancy looking cake, but despite its fancy appearance, it really is a breeze to make. Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-pineapple-upside-down-cake-14357 I did make a few substitutions to the recipe. First, I never use oil when baking, I always substitute apple sauce. Also, instead of using water, I used pineapple juice and cherry juice to equal the amount of water required. I cut the amount of brown sugar to 1/4 cup, and I omitted the nuts all together.
The second dessert I made was edible chocolate chip cookie dough. OMG it is heavenly!! We love love love cookie dough in our house, but due to the raw eggs in most cookie batters, we have to refrain from eating the dough. That said, Whole Foods sells frozen egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough. We have never, and I mean we’ve NEVER EVER baked that dough into cookies. We keep the dough in the freezer, and just snack on the frozen cookie dough balls…YUM! Well, I got to thinking about cookie dough, and it prompted me to “Google” edible cookie dough. Happily, I found what I was looking for. This recipe is sinful! My family loved it so much that I’ve already made 2 batches of cookie dough. I am intentionally holding off making more, as I know as quickly as I can make it, they will eat it. I am looking forward to using the cookie dough recipe to make cookie dough for home-made chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Hmmm maybe homemade ice cream should be a blog entry. Stay tuned! ☺ Here is the link to the recipe that I used: http://www.food.com/recipe/egg-free-no-bake-cookie-dough-for-eating-391880?oc=linkback
The next dessert I made was brownie batter dip. Holy cow it is amazing! It doesn’t completely taste like brownie batter, but that said, the dip is delectable. It is especially good after it has been chilled in the fridge for a while. You can scoop it with animal crackers, vanilla wafers, or graham crackers. If you enjoy a salty sweet flavor profile, you can scoop it with pretzels or potato chips. Truthfully, I didn’t use any other foods to scoop it…I simply ate it with a spoon. ☺ This was a really fun treat, and I would definitely make it again. Here is the link to the recipe that I used:
The last two desserts I made for a party. Christopher (one of my brothers from another mother) came home last weekend, and stayed with Jim and Kim (my other brother from another mother and his wife ☺). On Saturday the whole fam got together for dinner so everyone could see Chris. When I asked what I could bring to the party I was asked to bring dessert. Well I couldn’t settle on just one dessert, so I took 2. The first was a fun summer dessert called candy bar apple salad. I have made it in the past, but I wanted to make it again, so I decided to make it for the party. It actually looks like potato salad. In fact, everyone who saw it thought it was potato salad. It is a “salad” made from vanilla pudding, whipped cream, granny smith apples, and Snickers bars. YUM-A-LICIUOS! Here is a link to that recipe: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/candy-bar-apple-salad
The second dessert that I took to the party is called ultimate pretzel crusted peanut butter cookie candy brownie bars. WHEW…that’s a mouth full! In a word this dessert is terrible…terribly amazingly delicious that is! It is a 4 layered dessert. The bottom layer is a pretzel crust. The next layer is peanut butter cookies. The next layer is made up of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the last layer is brownies. I found this recipe on”Pinterest” and knew immediately that I had to make it someday. The recipe makes a whole 9×13 pan of delicious goodness. Add to that the fact that this heavenly concoction is 4 layers deep, and what you get is a dessert that is WAY TOO BIG for my family of four. So even though I immediately knew I had to make this recipe, I also knew it would have to be for a get together or a party due to its humongous size. So when I was asked to bring a dessert to Jim and Kim’s party, I knew it would be a great opportunity to try this out. Both recipes got rave reviews from everyone, and I would definitely make them both again. Here is a link to the recipe for the ultimate pretzel crusted peanut butter cookie candy brownie bars: http://blog.babygizmo.com/2012/02/ultimate-pretzel-crusted-peanut-butter-cookie-candy-brownie-bars/
In addition to taking the desserts, I also brought a few bottles of wine. What I did not bring, however, was a wine opener. Jim and Kim had a wine opener that we unfortunately broke attempting to open the second bottle of wine. So there we were with 3 bottles of wine left to drink, and no way to open the bottles. Well desperate times call for desperate measures, so we attempted to open the remaining bottles in a really unconventional way…with a shoe. Yep, a shoe. I had never heard of it either, but Christopher swore he saw it done on “YouTube” so we gave it a try. It didn’t work. All Christopher managed to open was his knuckle…OUCH! I am sure it would have gone better if we didn’t use shock absorbing athletic shoes! In the end, we relied on Jim and Dan’s mechanical skills to open the bottles of wine with first a punch and hammer, and then a drill. What can I say?? Necessity is the mother of invention. In the end, we all had a great time just hanging out, munching on really yummy food, watching the Olympics, laughing hysterically, and just being together. ♥
I hope you attempt all of these recipes…they really are worth the effort. Enjoy!