Monday, September 30, 2013

ham and cheese roll ups

I set a budget every month for Ed and I's food- and it's never more than $250 dollars. Believe it or not, when I was in Graduate School, before I met Ed, I was on a strict budget of $75 dollars. I actually spent the same on dog food and treats for Radar as I did on myself for food. And I was very strict about it, making sure than any protein I purchased could be used in several meals; no booze, no extraneous snacks, and if I ran out of milk in the middle of the month, well then... no more until next month. I came up with these roll ups while in Graduate School because I could buy the cheese and the ham and the tortilla and the lettuce and use it in so many other dishes during the month. Oh, and because they were yummy!
So here's the deal with tortillas. I always buy the taco sized ones. Always. They're cheaper, they're the perfect size for most of the meals I want, and if I need to make something larger, I just make 2. To keep the fresh I have them in the bread drawer of the fridge. However, working with a cold tortilla means that it may break when rolling. The solution? I pop these bad boys in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften them up.
You can do whatever you want when it comes to the filling. I used Dijon mustard to make these ones for Ed, but I've used mayonnaise, cream cheese (One time I didn't have any of those things and I used Port Wine cheese. Bad choice.) But smear that spread allll over the tortilla.
Alrighty, now on to the cheese. I love the combination of ham and American cheese because it's salty and creamy together, but use whatever you have on hand. If you use cream cheese as a spread, you don't even need any extra cheese!
A key to the tortillas is to not fill them up too much. These are small little tortillas and it won't take much to over fill them. Two slices of ham are all you need. Or, whatever meat you choose to use.
Another tip on the filling- break up the lettuce. You know when you look at a leaf of romaine, there's a big stem right in the middle? Tear around that, it'll be easier to roll up later.
Make sure you have a sheet of plastic wrap waiting on deck...
Now it's time to roll!The first step to to take the edge closest to you, fold it all the way over and pull back. That'll tuck in all the fillings.
Finally, just roll! Keep rolling until it's completely closed.
Now roll that little baby up! Nice and tight, with the corners folded in.
These are going to go into the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour. That will let the tortilla firm up enough that they won't unroll themselves when you slice them.
After the time in the fridge, bring the roll ups of of the fridge and unroll the plastic wrap from around them.
You could always just chow down on the roll as is, but I always feel like I eat less when I cut my food into smaller pieces. You know, get fuller faster? It's silly, I know. Slicing is super easy. Line the rolls up... once slice in the middle, and one slice on either side. That'll give you four sections for each roll. These are
Link is totally and completely bored with lunch today. I mean, he only got like 10 hours of sleep last night. It's a rough life for a puppy dog.
Ham and Cheese Roll Ups
2 taco sized flour tortillas
4 slices of deli ham
1 slice American cheese, sliced in half
2 leaves romaine lettuce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Warm both tortillas in the microwave for 15 seconds. Spread 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard over the entire surface of each tortilla. On one half of the tortilla, place one half a slice of American cheese, 2 folded slices of ham and ripped pieces of romaine lettuce. Roll up each tortilla and place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the entire tortilla roll in the plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to set up. Unroll from plastic wrap and serve whole or slice for serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

15,000 hits!

Look what I found while previewing a new post I was writing tonight...

15,000 Hits!!!

martini marinated beef tips

Okay, so I could eat this everyday for the rest of eternity. The sauce is to die for. I mean, to DIE for. Not that I would like to die, but if I died eating this it wouldn't be so bad. Because it's like a one way ticket to heaven. Okay, so that may be a super exaggeration, but this dish is deserving of that.
This recipe starts with beef tips- you can use stew beef if you want but it may be slightly tough.
So it's the martini part time. Vodka. This is just plain old, cheap, charcoal filtered vodka. Nothing fancy is needed. The vodka will add flavor and tenderize the meat while it marinates.
Add about 4 cups of beef broth, or enough to cover... and then this gets marinated for 30 minutes. The vodka will break down the connective tissues and some of the proteins, the beef broth will infuse flavor and so on and so forth.
30 minutes later, the beef goes into a baking dish.
Okay, so now it's time for the olives. Regular old salad olives is what I used because I love the pimentos and the small slices.
A considerable amount of the marinating liquid is next- just enough to almost cover the beef and olives.
One wedge of blue cheese comes last. Crumbled up and topped on the beef at the beginning of cooking. This will melt and become browned and incorporate into the sauce like a dream.
30 minutes in the oven and this is what you'll have. Just one more step to go. Remove about a 1/2 cup of the liquid and then...
...whisk in about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Pour this back into the pan and continue cooking for 20 more minutes. This will thicken and make an amazing sauce for the beef.
It will come out of the oven all hot, bubbly, delicious and amazing smelling. I serve it over mashed potatoes, and you can use bread to dip in the sauce as well. That's not too many carbs, right?
Martini Marinated Beef Tips
1 lb beef tips
4 cups beef stock
1/2 cup vodka
1 jar salad olives, with juice
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine beef tips, beef stock and vodka. Marinate for 30 minutes. Place beef tips in a baking dish along with salad olives and juice, enough of the marinating liquid to almost cover the tips and the blue cheese. Place uncovered in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove about 1/2 a cup of the liquid and combine with cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour back into the baking dish and continue baking for 20 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes and serve with mashed potatoes or crusty bread. Enjoy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

coconut dream frosty paws

Yet another Frosty Paws recipe. I mean, seriously. They are so easy and the puppy dogs love them so much. Plus, I've been having fun coming up with more ideas! These are Coconut Dream Frosty Paws, and they smelled amazing.
First the disclaimer- this is UNSWEETENED coconut flakes. Don't use sweetened coconut, because that much sugar isn't great for the pups. I do add honey as a binder for the yogurt and coconut, but it's a natural sugar and I only use a tablespoon. Not that big of a deal.
Now for the benefits. Coconut is great for dogs. Coconut oil is a great way of keeping their skin (and in turn, their fur) healthy, supple and not dried out. Some veterinarians and canine nutritionists even claim that coconut oil helps to remove the intestines of worm eggs! The coconut pulp is full of albumin, that stuff in egg whites, that's good for red blood formation. Coconut has lots of fiber in it too, and we all know what that's good for. When fed on a regular basis, coconut has been known to reduce bad breath and doggy odor, deodorize stool and reduce eczema caused by flea and seasonal allergies. It's just all around good stuff.
These Coconut Dream Frosty Paws are made just like all the other varieties I've posted on The Dog Mom, into their silicone trays and then into the freezer.
As soon as they see those bright blue trays come out of the freezer, they get so excited. They can never understand why I'm taking them out of the tray to photograph. I mean, they really just think they should be going into their mouths.
Coconut Dream Frosty Paws
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
24 ounces fat free vanilla yogurt

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the above ingredients. Spoon the puree into ice cube trays until just full. Tap trays on the counter to remove any air bubbles and to smooth out the surface. Put trays into the ice box and freeze for several hours or until completely set. Keep frozen until time to enjoy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

chicken tenders

Okay so, chicken tenders and delish, right? And Ed loves chicken tenders. So, usually I just buy a big bag of frozen chicken tenders and let it go at that. Well. Those days may be far behind me. I made the mistake of making homemade chicken tenders and this may be all he accepts from now on.
So, you could always purchase chicken tenders but I had chicken breast in the freezer already. So, slicing it up is all you need to do to make chicken tenders anyway.
See how easy that is? Just a couple of slices.
Now those little tenders are going for a swim... in some buttermilk! Well, of course, I have no buttermilk on hand, but in the milk and vinegar fake buttermilk I usually use.
Now for the flour dredge. This is a combo of all purpose flour, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, all seasons salt and black pepper.
Now this is a little unorthodox, but this is what makes the whole difference. Using a fork, stir in about a quarter cup of milk and make little crumbles of flour that latch onto the chicken and become those crispy bits like on the frozen kind.
Press the soaked chicken tenders into the flour and crumbles- and I do mean press so that it all sticks on there nice and good. Flip and then repeat.
Repeat that with all the chicken tenders. And now I think is an important step. Place those chicken tenders on a tray and pop them into the fridge for about 15 minutes. This ensures that the chicken tenders and the flour will stick together when they are fried- no lost crispiness.
This is how I test my oil- drop a small bit of flour into the oil and if it sizzles but doesn't burn, then the oil is good to go.
The chicken doesn't take very long at all- in fact less time than in the oven for sure! 2 to 3 minutes on one side and about 1 to 2 minutes on the other side.
Almost there.....! Just need to drain on a paper towel and season with a tiny bit of salt.
Chicken Tenders
2 large chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon all seasons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
Vegetable oil

Preheat about an inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, slice chicken into tenders and place into a large bowl. Cover with buttermilk and soak for 15 minutes. In a shallow bowl, combine together flour, all seasons salt, black pepper, smoked paprika and lemon pepper. Drizzle in milk and stir with a fork to create small clumps. Press soaked chicken tenders into flour mixture and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with all tenders. Place in fridge and chill for 15 minutes. Place tenders in hot oil in batches and fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Drain on a paper towel and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

copy cat white castle burgers

Yum, yum yum, yum yum, yum yum. Did you catch any of that? These little things are sooo good! And quite possibly better for you than actual take out White Castle burgers- at least in the extent that there is no oil, no butter and you can even make them with ground turkey or super lean ground beef. They microwave nicely, they smell divine and you can eat several without feeling guilty! Or, at least not tooo guilty.
Okay, so the essential makeup of these little beauties is ground beef, a package of onion soup mix, milk and peanut butter. Secret Ingredient Alert!! Yes, yes, peanut butter. A little sweetness, a little salty, but most importantly, it's a good binder. You won't even notice that it's peanut butter.
Once it's all been mixed together pretty well, transfer the beef into a shallow baking tray. Press it into one very flat layer over the entire tray- you can use your fingers, a rolling pin, a drinking glass, whatever works.
Just like this. Perfect. Into the oven it goes, and 10 minutes later...
Look how much it shrinks up! This is perfect. Now for the next step.
This picture is terrible, but you get the gist. Sprinkle finely diced onions around the meat, and back into the oven.
10 more minutes, and the onions will be lovely. Ignore the color of the beef, it's still nice and juicy, I promise.
Flick the onions onto the top of the beef and then layer with American cheese. You can use other cheeses if you would like, but that's not as much fun. Back into the oven for 5 minutes to let the cheese melt a bit.
Just a few more steps to go... place the tops of the buns on the beef and cheese and then back into the oven for 3-5 more minutes. You don't want the buns to get crispy at all, but you do want them to get very soft and infused with a bit of the beefy goodness.
Alright, home stretch! Using a pizza slicer or very sharp knife, you can slice right through the beef right around each bun to make perfect little burgers. Transfer the beef, cheese and bun top right onto the bun bottom with a spatula and that's it! You'll make these all the time, I'm sure of it!
Copy Cat White Castle Burgers
Adapted from Family Favs!
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 package onion soup mix
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 onion, finely chopped
6 slices American cheese
Soft slider rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion soup mix, peanut butter and milk until completely incorporated. Transfer ground beef mixture onto a baking tray and press into corner so that beef is in one very thin layer on the tray. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. The beef should shrink up considerable. After 10 minutes, sprinkle the chopped onion around the edges of the beef and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Spoon cooked onions onto the top of the beef and top with slices of cheese. Cook for an additional 5 minutes then top with the top portion of the buns. Finish cooking for 3-5 minutes, but not long enough for the buns to get crispy. Remove from oven and slice with a pizza cutter. Transfer each beef and bun onto the bottom bun portion with a spatula and enjoy!