Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wilted Greens and Pasta.

This is the kind of dinner that happens when you realize that you bought both a gigantic package of baby spinach and a gigantic package of baby spring mix because they were on manager's special at Kroger. And that this might have been kind of a dumb idea because manager's special means it will go bad in two days. And you most certainly cannot eat that much salad. And green smoothies will only go so far to alleviate the problem.

If you make wilted greens you can use up an almost unlimited amount of salad instantly because they reduce to practically nothing. And then you get to be excited because you're eating concentrated vitamins and iron and whatever else is good about lettuce.

So. Boil some water and cook about a fourth of a package of pasta. Pretend it's not bad for you because you aren't using an entire package.

Then chop up some cloves of garlic and saute them in olive oil or butter.

Then add whatever greens you are using. I used baby spring mix but I imagine spinach or kale would work. (You might need to add a little more olive oil or butter. This is ok because we're pretending this meal is basically salad. So it cancels out.)

You should do this in a deeper pan, not a skillet, so that you can add a lot of lettuce at once. If you have to add it a little bit at a time, some of it will get too done and be gross.

Stir the greens around while they cook and add some salt and pepper. I also added a little lemon juice.

I mixed it with my pasta and put some parmesan cheese on top and even Kurt said it was good. Which made me happy because last time I tried wilted greens he thought they were gross. So my skills are improving, yay!

Here are some other ideas for using up extra greens. 
I will probably try making them all because they sound like nice easy dinners.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In which I take hanging items and hang them on something else.

A demonstration of my incredible organizing prowess:

I am pretty sure a whiteboard for the kitchen was the first thing Kurt bought for the apartment. Here it is.

The whiteboard is actually irrelevant though so don't look at it. Look at these little hooks I put on the wall to hold oven mitts and such. Ignore my list of goals on the whiteboard because even though they might sound achievable I basically never do those things. My grocery shopping consists more of "Ooh, cheese, that looks delicious. What could I make this week with cheese? I think I'll get the ingredients for that."

 My point is that the hooks were uncute and not even on the wall in a straight line so I took them down. If you ever want to use these, btw, either be super super patient taking them off or ignore their claims that they don't damage the walls. Here is what happened to my wall. Boo.

So I hung up this little guy that I bought at a thrift store. You know, just in case the fact that I have copper-colored jello molds hanging on the wall above my stove didn't make me feel enough like I'm in somebody's grandmother's kitchen. Now I have this. Pretty exciting, yes?

You can totally see the nails which I hadn't planned on. Gross. But still cuter than the alternative.

 At this point Kurt decided that the structural integrity of this whole apparatus was severely lacking, so he decided to fix it. Hammering things is a man's job, in his highly unprogressive mind.

 Kurt also made some little fabric loops to help hang some of my things on it. Here it is all accessorized.

 I love that we actually use this wall. P.S. The fact that the clock is off-center is the result of Kurt's aforementioned Hammering Is For Men attitude. I did not hang that clock.

Second masterful work of kitchen organizing genius:

Here is a box I stole from Kurt. It used to hold CDs. But now it is a kitchen box. There was nothing he could do.

So I took the mortar and pestle and mini teapot out and now I have a box for all the things I like to have next to the stove when I'm cooking. (Olive oil also goes in here but I am lame and did not get a picture. Which is terrible because I am sure my readers will fail to grasp the concept if I don't include the olive oil.)

So yeah, now my entire kitchen is completely organized except for a lot of the cabinets and the entire pantry and refrigerator. But y'all know that having a salt-pepper-olive-oil-and-vinegar box clearly takes priority over a refrigerator where I can find food before it gets moldy. Right?

Monday, January 23, 2012

baby biscuit pizzas.

One day I noticed that my tube of biscuits in the fridge would expire soon. Which is weird because it had never really occurred to me that tubes of biscuits, which are after all gross processed food, could expire. Oh well. Anyway I also had some cheese that needed used so I decided biscuits might make cute baby pizzas. 

 Step 1: Olive oil in a pan, then chopped garlic, a can of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste, and a nice dollop of red wine. (Does red wine dollop? I think so.)

 Step 2: Grind up some fennel, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. We have a fancy mortar and pestle but really you can just toss it in. Rub it between your hands or crush the leaves a little to get it to release more flavor. This mortar and pestle set was like $6 at World Market though so get one if you want to feel gourmet without actually knowing anything.

 Step 3: Stir spices in. Become really really excited about future pizza.

 Step 4: Throw in a little bit of sugar. It will bring out the flavor of the tomato sauce. Really it will. This is important. I like using brown sugar but I suppose white would be ok. Also I don't know why the sauce decided to photograph a gross shade of brown right here. It was red, I swear!

Step 5: CHEESE. I had some fresh mozzarella which is amazingly delicious and also you can get it at Costco which means it's really good cheese for the price of normal cheese. Normal cheese would be fine too.

 Step 6: You should have put the biscuits in the oven a few minutes ago, I hope you didn't forget. Take them out now.

 Step 7: Split them in half and spread sauce on each half. Ignore how gross the cookie sheet looks after just having contained biscuits. I could take fancy staged pictures or make dinner in a reasonable amount of time, and I choose the latter.

 Step 8: Add as much pepperoni as will fit, which unfortunately is really only 3 per biscuit.

 Step 9: Try not to put too much cheese on because it will melt everywhere. Fail spectacularly in your cheese reasonability efforts.

 Step 10: Put it under the broiler and try not to freak out at how much your cookie sheet warps. It will go back to normal, it always does.

 Step 11: Remove from oven and yes the cheese *has* melted everywhere. (That's why I couldn't wait for it to get any browner.)

Step 12: Place on a plate so it will look slightly more appetizing. Really, these were quite yummy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sour Cream Pepper Meatballs.

It's January guys! 

And if you were to think that January is the time for resolving to lose weight and make healthy choices, you would be,


very very WRONG.

Because today we're going to make one of the least healthy party appetizers I've ever encountered.

This recipe is from my mom, who used to make it to take to parties where you would bring an appetizer or a dessert and a wine that paired well with it and then everyone would sample all the wines and all the appetizers.

Mom never invited me to those parties. 

Probably something to do with me being underage.

But really if I had gone I would have sat in a corner eating all of these meatballs instead of drinking wine.

 Anyway here is how they work:

Step 1: mix together about half a cup of sour cream and some parmesan or romano cheese. Of course normal cheese that you have to actually grate would taste better but I'm lazy and I thought the powdery stuff would mix into meatballs nicely.

 Step 2: Accidentally take a picture of your countertop. This probably has more photographic merit than all the other pictures in this post because it was an accident. Let's pretend it was intended to showcase my vintage pyrex bowl.

Step 3: Add some salt, pepper, garlic powder and breadcrumbs. I used wheat germ instead of breadcrumbs because I'm lazy I am all about making healthy nutritious choices and wheat germ is good for you. I also added some powdered mustard.

 Step 4: Mix up. Glory in how unhealthy this already looks.

 Step 5: Put half your three-pound package of ground beef in the bowl and put the rest of it in little baggies to freeze. Marvel at your supreme homemaking skills of dividing into baggies and freezing which is exactly what bloggers who do freezer cooking do. Ignore the fact that they cook/season it first.

 Step 6: Ineffectively try to mix it with a spoon before deciding to use your hands. Then spend five minutes trying to get a nondisgusting picture of this part before giving up. (Don't worry, my hands were clean to mix it up, I'd been washing them like every three seconds this whole time because they had to be clean to use my camera.)
 Step 7: Spend approximately three months making the mixture into tiny meatballs. The recipe said 1-inch balls but I decided little ones would be cuter, plus if they're smaller you can eat more of them. (This is also my philosophy when I make cookies, routinely leading to getting six dozen cookies out of a recipe that is supposed to make four dozen. It's awesome.) Put the meatballs in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

 Step 8: Time to make the sauce! I'm mixing mine up in my crock pot because it's going in there later anyway. Put the other half of your tiny carton of sour cream in there....

 And then another tiny carton of sour cream. (Technically the recipe only calls for a cup of sour cream here but I decided since I made more, smaller meatballs they would have more surface area and need more sauce. This was a totally logical and sensible choice on my part. Spock would have done the same.)

 Step 7: Add a can of cream of mushroom soup. Become annoyed that although the recipe calls for a 10.75-ounce can of soup, your can of soup is only 10.5 ounces. Feel even more justified in adding excessive sour cream, as clearly it is now only making up for the lack of sufficient soup.

 Step 8: Throw in some more pepper and garlic powder, a little bit of sugar (I used brown, but whatever) and quite a bit of dill.

 Step 9: mix it up and turn the slow cooker on so it can start heating through while the meatballs finish baking.

 Step 10: Get the meatballs out of the oven and - this is important! - sample one to make sure they're done all the way through. They are? Excellent. Good thing you made sure. Also yes that is a puddle of grease in the upper right-hand corner which is why you are going to use a slotted spoon or spatula for the next step.

 Step 11: Transfer the meatballs with as little of the accompanying grease as possible (remember, this is a health blog) into the crock pot.

Step 12: Place the pan lid you have to use on your crock pot (because you broke the actual crock pot lid several months ago) on top and turn on high for a couple of hours or until you have to leave for your party. Everything's fully cooked at this point, it just needs to get nice and hot.

My mother tells me this pairs well with a Merlot but I've decided to give up on actually trying to pair it with a wine like an adult. Because when Kurt and I were out to breakfast this morning we found this:

Isn't it so adorable? We're going to put it in sprite or ginger ale to drink. I'm excited.

 This is why we bought it. Because there are cherries in the bottle.

Anyway, if anyone wants it, here is the actual original recipe from my mother who apparently bothers to measure her spices. Be like her. Not like me.

½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry bread crumbs
1 ½ lb. ground beef

In a bowl, combine sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Add pepper, salt, garlic powder and bread crumbs. Crumble meat over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in greased 10 x 15 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until no longer pink. Transfer to a slow cooker.

1 cup sour cream
1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 tsp. dill weed
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder

Combine sauce ingredients and pour over meatballs in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until heated through. Serve as an appetizer, or over noodles for a main course.