Posts Tagged ‘mozzarella’
When I first started this food blogging thing, I submitted several pictures to websites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker only to be consistently rejected. Honestly I cannot blame them as my pictures during those times weren’t that wonderful (as many food bloggers can relate to with their first photos). Now that I have a nice camera and a little more experience, I decided it was time to try them out again. And guess what? I got my first submissions onto both sites yesterday! The Smoked Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies made it onto both Foodgawker and Tastespotting, and the Cookie Dough Oreo Cake made it onto Tastespotting. Of course several others were rejected but that seems to be pretty typical and I still have plenty of learning to do when it comes to food photography.
Most of the time when my pictures don’t come out perfectly it is because I am in a hurry or don’t have the best lighting. It is especially difficult when you have hungry eaters anxiously waiting to eat the item you are photographing. Take these spaghetti squash lasagna boats for example: the lighting was not ideal but three other people were ready to dig in. I love cooking for more than just myself, but always feel bad making people wait until the photoshoot is done. It is a tricky thing to balance! Lighting aside, these lasagna boats were a delicious, low carb alternative to traditional lasagna with a fun presentation.
One year ago: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two years ago: Gluten-Free Bananas Foster Muffins
My cat Brady lost his mind upon seeing me yesterday. My parents said they had only caught sparse glimpses of him since they released him into the basement a week ago, but the second I opened the door he came flying. This cat knows the sound of my footsteps, it’s crazy. Now that he knows I’m here he meows at the basement door until I come to hang out, which means many posts will be written down here (this one included) with him purring loudly at my side. Such an attention whore. I just hope he doesn’t meow too long at bedtime or else I’ll end up sleeping down here on an air mattress.
I love having homemade pesto in the freezer. The freshness of homemade basil year round! I actually made and photographed this almost a year ago, which is very evident to me now that I’ve been enjoying a fancy camera and paying more attention to lighting (I’m digging into the bottom of the barrel because I haven’t been in the kitchen with the move). But I digress. These little lasagna stacks are made easy by using wonton wrappers instead of traditional lasagna noodles and you can layer whatever you want between them. I used alternating layers of pesto and sausage marinara.
After sharing my dad’s cookie recipe yesterday, I figured I should go ahead and share another one of his recipes. Over the years, this skillet lasagna was a popular request for when I came home for the holidays (followed by a request for his apple harvest oatmeal or applesauce pancakes in the morning). The entire recipe is cooked in one large skillet and takes under 30 minutes making it an easy decision for a weeknight meal.
In packing news, I’ve already gone through two rolls of packing tape! I knew I should’ve purchased the bulk package. I ran out of the second roll while packing up my root beer collection. Which by the way, taking that down and the shelving, aside from being a pain in the butt, left that wall feeling very barren and sad. Packing is super lame.
After fleeing the snow and below freezing temperatures in Rochester, NY, returning to 40-50 degrees in Memphis, TN seems like a heat wave and I thoroughly enjoy not requiring my huge winter coat to step outside (although tomorrow there’s a drastic drop into the teens). On the flip side, I am not enjoying sizing up all the things in my apartment in preparation for packing it all up by the end of this month. I have accumulated so much stuff since I last moved 4.5 years ago! Purging must be done, some of which involves food.
I have a habit of stocking up on essentials whenever I see them on sale. As a result, I have a lot of canned and boxed food items stacked up in my pantry, awaiting the apocalypse. This stock-pile has come in handy throughout the years at times of minimal funds, but I have no intention in moving it all. It will be fiscally beneficial to my ever-dwindling checking account to consume what I have instead of going out to buy more food anyway (I’ll still be buying some fresh food, for my sanity). So let the battle of pantry cooking begin! To start off this adventure, how about a pizza quesadilla?
Two years ago: Gluten-Free Brownie Cookies
Before I talk about food, I forgot to tell you how badly they butchered my last name at graduation. Over the years my family and I have heard all kinds of mispronunciations but one version tends to prevail and I am always prepared to hear it. However, sometimes people like to get creative by adding extra letters and graduation day was no exception. It was so bad even my own family and friends weren’t sure if it was actually me, despite prefacing it with my first and middle names. “Va-see-lick” – where the heck did you see an L in my last name, sir? Were you thinking of a basilisk? But I couldn’t be upset for long because he knew he screwed it up and mouthed a very apologetic “I’m sorry!” as I walked up the stairs. He even pulled me aside afterwards to apologize again and ask me how to pronounce my last name. Oh the joys of having an unusual last name (although I still like it despite all that).
These chicken rolls look more difficult to execute than they truly are (just like my last name). A ricotta-spinach mixture is rolled up in a thin chicken breast, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, and then baked until crispy before topping with marinara, fresh mozzarella and basil. The end result is an entree that looks fancy without all the fuss. I made these on Thursday last week for dinner, ready upon the arrival of my parents (for graduation the next morning) and served with a mixed spinach salad. It was a hit! And then we had pie for dessert O:-).
One year ago: Buttermilk Biscuits
Ohio State lost to Michigan State last night in the Big Ten Conference Championship, and therefore lost the chance to go to the National Championship. To add insult to injury, it’s been miserably cold all over the country, including here, with sleet, freezing rain, and below freezing temperatures. Campus was closed on Friday and the St. Jude Marathon was cancelled Saturday as were the group fitness classes at my gym. I lost power on Friday but thankfully only for an hour. All day Saturday I kept expecting it to go out because my lights flickered constantly. As a result I didn’t dare prepare anything that took more than a couple minutes to cook. Which meant it was time for some microwave cooking!
Baking cakes in a mug with the microwave has been a huge trend and has expanded beyond baked goods to meals. Microwave mac and cheese isn’t a new concept, as it can be purchased at your local grocery store, but this is a homemade version using white cheddar for this much needed comfort food. With a cook time of 6 minutes and 30 seconds it was perfect to sneak in before the power finally decided to fail.
Two years ago: Toffee Apple Dip
With my dissertation behind me and only 21 days until I graduate and get hooded for my Ph.D. you’d think I would be care-free and excited. Not so much, more like the same old stress and anxious. I am still working on a couple last experiments per reviewers comments on my paper, job hunting, and worrying about what I am going to do if I don’t have a job lined up by the end of January when my lease runs out. With any luck that last item won’t become a reality, but in the meantime it’s a good time for some comfort food.
Stuffed shells are great comfort food. Those big shells hug in their cheesy goodness of a filling while being wrapped up in a warm blanket of sauce. Sounds like the life, doesn’t it? This sauce happens to be extra special because it is a pumpkin alfredo sauce with sage. Now wait, don’t get discouraged thinking you have to make your own alfredo sauce (but you can if you want). This recipe uses a premade jar of alfredo mixed up with pumpkin puree and a couple other flavor additions to create a great fall pasta dish.
One year ago: Individual Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
Two years ago: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup
I don’t know what it is about pizza but I have a very hard time capturing appetizing photos of pizza slices. No matter what angle or lighting I use, I rarely enjoy looking at the photos I take of pizza slices. As a result I tossed every single one for this pizza and was left with just unsliced photos. Maybe that’s why I don’t make pizza as much as I used to these days, because of its unphotogenic nature? Thankfully, I always take pictures before I slice into anything just in case so I at least have a shot of the whole pizza itself.
Pictures aside, the toppings on this pizza are perfect for fall and butternut squash happens to be one of my favorite fall/winter squashes to cook with. In fact, at the end of the season last year, it went on sale so I stocked up and froze it after being peeled and cubed. But that’s long gone and this pizza was made with fresh butternut squash from this season.
Did you remember to turn back your clocks yesterday? I changed mine right before I went to bed Saturday night which made me feel like I was going to bed crazy early. Although it will now get darker earlier, at least waking up early is a cinch. I find it difficult to wake up before the sun rises (and sleep when it up) so this will be good for me. But on to the food!
When it comes to comforting soup and sandwich pairings, tomato soup and grilled cheese is my go-to. So that slow cooker tomato-basil soup I shared last week? You better believe there was some grilled cheese action going on there too. But not just any ol’ grilled cheese, grilled cheese stuffed with macaroni and cheese! You can use any leftover (or fresh) macaroni and cheese you have on hand, but I used a spicy version and it was excellent.
Pizza for One – most commonly found in the frozen food section at your grocery store but now you can make it at home almost as fast! This pizza dough doesn’t require any rise time or yeast which means you can whip up this little guy in the same amount of time that it takes your oven to preheat. Single-Serving-Sunday-win!
I rolled my dough out thinner than 1/4-inch because I tend to like thin-crust pizzas, so mine ended up being about 6-inches in diameter and therefore used a bit more toppings. In you don’t roll yours out as thin you may not need as much toppings but have fun with it! Maybe even make yourself a single serving calzone?
One year ago: Buckeye Rice Krispies Treats