If at first you don't succeed... order pizza.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Page!

Hello Readers!! I have added a new page! :)

Check it out--it is called Dishes Galore.

I will try my very hardest to post some new recipes and photos tomorrow, hope you all are having a great week!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recipe Request!: Dowel Picnic

I am pretty sure this is a Dishes and Disasters first! A recipe request!! :)

I had a good friend from Rochester write me today and ask if I could post on... let's see how she put it, "those tasty things we used to make around the campfire at your parents. It was like dough on a stick and then you cooked it over the fire and pulled it off and filled it with cheese and some kind of sauce..."

I just had to use her words because they perfectly describe this fantastic dish from my childhood.

They are called Dowel Picnic and my family has been making them for probably more than 15 years. Where they came from? I am not completely sure. What are they? Besides amazing, you mean?

Dowel picnic is a meal in a biscuit, and yet you don't even have to turn on the oven. (And according to my sister, making them in the oven doesn't even compare!) All you need for this summer favorite is a campfire, some thicker dowels (about 1.5 inches across), peanut butter, large raw buttermilk biscuits, shredded cheddar cheese, and leftover spaghetti meat sauce.

Sound confusing? Let me explain.

Once the fire has burnt down to mainly coals. Take the wooden dowel and a small amount of peanut butter and spread it thinly on one tip and down that side about 6 inches (this allows the biscuit to slide off easily).

Next, take one buttermilk biscuit, place the center directly on the tip of the dowel and slowly stretch it thinly down the peanut butter covered end. You will want to make sure you do this gently to avoid tears. Be careful to maintain the same thickness so the entire biscuit cooks evenly.

Then, cook it over the coals. You will want to use the rotisserie method and turn the biscuit quite frequently to prevent burning. Remember, you are cooking a biscuit here and not a hot dog. Simply charring the outside will not cut it. Another tip? The tip burns easily so make sure it isn't always pointing down into the fire.

Once the biscuit is completely cooked (takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on the heat of the coals) simply slide it directly off the dowel. Be careful, its hot!

Finally! Fill with cheese and warm spaghetti sauce and enjoy!!

The actual filling strategy has seemed to evolve over the years. At the beginning, we would alternate small amounts of cheese with small amounts of sauce in order to ensure getting some of each in every bite. Now we have figure out that if you cut it in half length-wise and just fill each half with cheese and then cover it with sauce, you a) get to enjoy it twice for the same amount of work and b) it takes a lot of the work out of the stuffing part of dowel picnic.

You can take your pick, if you want this to be a completely knife and fork free meal then just alternate fillings and there ya go! :)

Trust me, give this dish a try. You will most likely be making it 15 years from now.

If you don't have leftover spaghetti sauce, here is my mom's recipe:
Saute 1/2 cup diced onions and 1/2 cup diced celery in a small amount of butter until soft and translucent.
Add 1 lb. ground beef and cook until completely browned.
Add one jar of Prego (whichever flavor you prefer) and simmer for about 30 minutes.

(Correct me if any parts of this are wrong mom!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Recipes... finally! :)

Ok... so last time I promised I would post the recipes that matched the pictures the day after I posted them, right? Yes. I know that was a few weeks ago... what can I say? Sorry :(

So here we go... this is the start to a marathon of recipes!!

Jalapeno Poppers on the Grill
10 jalapenos
1/2 brick cream cheese (4 oz.), softened
1.5 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup real bacon bits

1. Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise, keeping stem end on.
2. Remove seeds. (These two steps are best done with gloves on. Be very careful not to touch your eyes or anywhere else with anything that has touched the jalapenos!)
2. Mix the remaining ingredients well.
3. Stuff into peppers.
4. Heat grill to med-high heat.
5. Place peppers directly on grill. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until peppers begin to soften.
6. Place tin foil on grill and move peppers to tin foil. Cook another 5-7 minutes with cover closed until filling is bubbly and completely melted.
Cook time depends on how spicy you want the peppers to remain. If you cook them shorter and they maintain a bit of crunch then they will be more spicy than if you cook them until they are completely cooked. This will allow them to be hardly spicy at all.
For easy removal from grill, slide entire piece of foil onto sheet pan.
These peppers are so delicious, serve them alongside any grilled meat or even on a hamburger for extra flare!

Turkey, Broccoli slaw, Poppyseed wraps

These lovely wraps I cannot take credit for. They are a recipe I learned from my mother in law and they are so delicious and so easy! All you need are your choice of wrap, deli turkey, broccoli slaw (can be bought at any grocery store in the produce section), provolone cheese if you wish, and poppyseed dressing.
Layer a few pieces of turkey and cheese down the center of the wrap. Top it with as much broccoli slaw as you like (Maybe about 3/4 cup per wrap, depending on how big the wrap is) and then drizzle about 1-2 Tbl. of dressing over the top. Wrap and enjoy!
These wraps are sweet, salty, crunchy and absolutely healthy! Can't go wrong :)

Clone of a Hardee's Cinnamon Raisin Biscuit

These little biscuits are like heaven and bring me right back to my childhood. One bite and I am back playing in the ball pit at the Hardee's in Rochester... sooo good :)

And simple! All you need is Bisquick mix, cinnamon, raisins, a little softened butter, milk and powdered sugar.
Follow the directions on the side of the box for their sweet biscuits (that would be used for strawberry shortcake), add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins for a whole recipe.
While they bake, mix about 1 Tbl. softened butter, 1 cup powdered sugar and enough milk to reach your desired thickness. Add the milk slowly, you will be surprised how little is needed!
When the biscuits are done in the oven, spoon the glaze right over and enjoy! They are perfect for breakfast, an addition to any brunch or even for a casual, comforting dessert.
These are sounding so yummy I am going to have to make them for breakfast tomorrow! :)

The Israeli Couscous photo I posted came from Giada on the Food Network. You can find the recipe here! It is so light and refreshing and perfect for either summer or fall! The apples and cranberries counteract the slightly sweet maple dressing by adding just the right amount of tartness. Add chicken or salmon directly to the salad and call it a meal! Or just serve it as a side :)

The infamous mango pork chops

If everything tasted as good as the amount of time and energy that went into them, these would take hours! And yet-- they take just minutes.

Ingredients needed:
4 Pork chops... you choose the thickness, I like either thick or thin... depends on how much time you have to cook them.
2-3 mangos, peeled and diced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
6 whole black peppercorns
Season salt

1. Heat mango, vinegar, sugar and peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until mango is softened and sauce has reduced slightly.
2. Meanwhile, season pork chops and cook over medium high heat in a large non-stick pan. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness of the chop. Be careful not to overcook as pork dries out easily. You can also cook pork chops in a George Foreman grill- even easier!!
Enjoy the pork chops with as much or little of the mango sauce as you like! I like having a little bit in each bite :)
We are having these for dinner this week! I think they appear on my menu about once a month!

And finally...
Muffuletta Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches.

These creative sandwiches came from one of my Cuisine at Home Magazines. I have added my own adjustments so the recipe isn't exactly how it is printed in the magazine. They are so flavorful! I have never eaten a real muffuletta sandwich so I guess I can't say how close to the real thing they taste but, either way, they taste gooood.

Makes 4 sandwiches.
For the vinaigrette-
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
black pepper and salt to taste (be careful with the salt, the rest of the ingredients are plenty salty!)

For the sandwiches-
4 Ciabatta buns, halved (you could also do a half loaf and then after the sandwiches are complete, cut the loaf into smaller portions)
4 large portobello caps
5 0z. hard salami, chopped
4 oz. provolone cheese, chopped
The original recipe called for 4 oz of pimento stuffed Spanish olives, chopped as well. If you like olives, add them! :)

1. Preheat boriler on low with oven rack 6-8 inches from the heating element.
2. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing.
3. Brush cut sides of buns with dressing and toast lightly under the broiler, about 4 minutes. Set tops aside.
4. Remove gills from mushroom caps with a spoon. Brush both sides of mushrooms with dressing. Place caps topside up on bottom buns. Broil on baking sheet, 4 minutes. Flip mushrooms over, broil two more minutes.
5. Combine salami, cheese and olives if you are using them. Divide into the mushroom caps. Return to oven and broil until cheese starts to melt and brown on top, about 5 minutes.
6. Cover mushrooms with top buns and cut in half.

These sandwiches are nice especially if you have people in your family who need to eat at different times. They are so quick to put together, you can make individual sandwiches at different times without too much work.

Well I think that is all of them!

Check back later this week for...
- BLTTA's (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey, Avocado)
- Onions au gratin with parmesan and sherry
- Twice baked potatoes
- Grilled shrimp and sausage skewers
- Turkey Pitas
- Italian subs with sausage, peppers and onions
- Baked chicken and cheese taquitos

Happy Cooking!! :)