Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Round-Up

It is almost Halloween and I decided to round up a few recipes from my blog to get into the spirit!  I hope everyone has a fun and spooky day tomorrow! I am off work to and going to enjoy the day with my sweet Kellen.  We are planning a little baking, a lunch with friends, napping/dinking around with my new lighting stuff, trick or treat, pizza and a kids Halloween party with friends. After Kellen goes to bed I will be watching Halloween movies and Ron will hide upstairs till it is over.  

Spaghetti with Oozy Eyeballs (Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs)






Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spaghetti with Oozy Eyeballs (Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs)

I have another spooky themed recipe coming your way today! I am having fun with these Halloween themed dishes, and this one is delicious! I have made stuffed meatballs many times, and thought they would be perfect to make a creepy Halloween meal.  This meal is very easy, and baking the meatballs over pan frying creates less time of standing over a hot stove. One note, make sure to get a good seal on the meatballs. If they are not properly sealed they cheese will come out and, while they will still be delicious, you will not have the melty center. 

Tonight American Horror Story is on. Yes.  I know I talk about this every week, but I love that creepy show....however, I do not love Twisty. He is scary.  

In other news, I recently purchased a cowboy lighting system due to natural light becoming pretty non-existent when I am home. I am getting the hang of things and lighting it looking pretty good in a few more recent photos. My only issue is storage,but Ron and I are trouble shooting it to find the best way to store the lights while having quick access. I am new to the artificial light game and prefer natural light, but Wisconsin can be unforgiving as winter approaches. 


Ingredients

For Meatballs: 
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
2/3 cup soft breadcrumbs
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Tbl Italian seasoning 
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp  black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
3 Mozzarella sticks, cut into 5 pieces

For Tomato Sauce:
1 Tbl olive oil
One small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes petite
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup tomato puree
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 Tbl chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Black olives, slices
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb spaghetti


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, gently mix beef, sausage, breadcrumbs, eggs and seasoning by hand.  Portion to make 15 meatballs. Slightly flatten the meatball and place a piece of cheese in the middle. Seal the meat around the cheese and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Place making sheet in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

While meatballs are baking prepare the tomato sauce. Saute onion in the olive oil till tender. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add remaining sauce and cook on medium low heat until the meatballs have finished cooking.

During the last 10 minutes of cook time, cook and drain the spaghetti.  

To plate, serve spaghetti and tomato sauce topped with meatballs. Place olives on meatballs to create eyes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mummy Calzone with Bloody Dipping Sauce

Happy Halloween week! 

I have a few goodies prepared to share with you that are perfect for little ghosts and goblins on Halloween night (or adult ghost and goblins too).  Pizza anything is always a favorite in our household, and after last year's pumpkin pizza I decided that a mummy would be a perfect project for a Halloween meal.  This mummy is very easy and can be done with homemade  dough or store bought dough yielding great results.  We like to stuff ours with traditional supreme toppings, but you could add whatever you like to your creation (cheese, pepperoni and a little green dye??)  This calzone bakes up quick and is absolutely delicious. I like to serve ours with a bit of bloody dipping sauce for a perfect spooky treat. 

I have already started my spooky movie marathon with Nightmare on Elm Street last night (still so creepy) and am looking forward to watching more spooky entertainment this week.  Ron is a big Simpsons fan, and we have a few of the Tree House of Horror episodes to watch during Halloween week as well (that is about as much scary as he will do).  

Do you have favorite scary movies? I am always on the hunt for something new I haven't seen, and love hearing suggestions! 



Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough
1/2 cup pepperoni (reserve 1 for mouth)
1/3 lb crumbled Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1/4 cup sliced black olives (reserve 2 for eyes)
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1/2 tsp water

For Bloody Dipping Sauce:
15 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water


Instructions

In a sauce pan, whisk sauce ingredients together until smooth.  Allow sauce cook for about 30 minutes on the stove top before assembling the mummy. 

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (lightly sprayed with cooking spray).

Lightly flour your work space and roll pizza dough to a 12-14 inch long rectangle with a width approximately 9-10 inches. Place dough on the baking sheet and make 10-12 angled cuts on each side of the rectangle. Make sure to match up the cuts because they will be folded over to seal.

Down the center of the dough, spread 1/4 cup of marinara sauce (bloody dipping sauce) and keep the rest warm for serving. Layer 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 sausage. 1/2 olives, 1/2 green pepper and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layer with pepperoni, sausage, olives and pepper. 

Seal the mummy by, starting at the top, weaving the strips of dough over each other and tucking into place. To finish, tuck the end of the dough under to seal the mummy calzone. Add olive eyes and pepperoni grin to mummy. Brush the entire calzone with the egg wash. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or till golden brown.  Cut into slices and serve with warm dipping sauce.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vanilla Brown Sugar Applesauce

Does anyone have a child that goes nuts for applesauce? I can raise my hand with no hesitation on that question. It is funny to me because when Kellen was younger he hated applesauce, yogurt and cottage cheese and now they are some of his favorite foods.  I normally make an unsweetened applesauce for us to enjoy and for fall baking. However, I wanted to add a few new flavors to one of our favorite snacks. Thankfully, we have a plentiful apple tree in our back yard and experimenting with different apple recipes is always encouraged. I love vanilla and apple together and with the slight sweetness from the brown sugar  the applesauce was amazing! I like a few chunks in my applesauce, but (as stated in the directions) blend it for a smoother consistency. Apple season is almost past us, but it is a good think I have lots of goodies in the freezer!

Tonight we are relaxing at home with a movie and Monday Night Football, and my nephew is coming to see our pumpkins glowing at night! I love how they turned out and make the house feel (and look) so festive! 


Ingredients

15 apples, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbl pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water


Instructions

Place all ingredients into a large pot. Cook on medium low heat and stir frequently until apples mash easily.  Remove from heat and mash with a fork. If you desire a smooth apple sauce allow the apple sauce to cool and place in a blender (we prefer a few chunks in our sauce).  Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 10/27 - 11/2

Happy Monday and Halloween week! 

I love Halloween and always look forward to this time of year. I am a lover of folklore, spooky things, legends and scary movies. I normally go on a few scary movie binges this week (much to the annoyance of my non-scary movie loving husband). This year I took the day off work and am taking Kellen to see a few friends and family members and show off his costume (and snag a few pieces of candy for his mother).  

This weekend was full of fun activities and lots of family time. On Friday, we stayed in and made a tasty soup. We also watched the second Purge movie and were not big fans. On Saturday, Kellen and I headed to do some grocery shopping and attend our store's BooFest. It is really cute and perfect to keep kids happy while shopping. The store has 8 stations that hand out small snacks for the kids like apples, string cheese, yogurt and chocolate milk (and a few cookies too).  Kellen loved it and asked me to go shopping more.....little does he know that this is not an everyday occurrence!  On Saturday night we headed to the zoo for the annual Zoo Boo. The place was packed, but it was packed, but my triceratops had a lot of fun with his cousins.



Afterwards we went to Zesty's for burgers, chili and shakes. Yum!

On Sunday, Kellen and I headed to to park for a little fun with our friends. Kellen is starting to love climbing and loves scaring his mother even more! After the park, we met my mom, aunt, friend and cousin for a small lunch to celebrate the upcoming birth of her daughter at A'Bravo.  A'Bravo is a favorite of mine. I had a delicious feta and spinach scramble with bacon and Kellen devoured french toast and fruit. We headed home and carved (and used a few power tools) a few pumpkins before nap time.


I waited to light them little Kellen was up so he could see his pumpkins glowing in the darkness.



After pumpkins my Dad came over to watch the Packer game and there is no commentary needed on that front.....

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Loaded Potato Gnocchi Soup and Garlic Bread
Tuesday:  Oven Fried Chicken Thighs with Pan Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Corn
Wednesday:  Rosemary Ranch Grilled Chicken, Parmesan Couscous and Green Beans
Thursday: Creamy Balsamic Herb Chicken, Wild Rice and Broccoli
Friday: Happy Halloween! Mummy Dogs and Pizza
Saturday: Pappardelle Bolognese, Salad and Quick Garlic Knots
Sunday: Out with my friend Amanda

Treats: Apple Cinnamon Struedel Dessert Pizza

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sweet 'n' Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

TGIF, right?  I know I am feeling good that the weekend is almost here. I love staying busy, but I am always happy when Saturday come and I get to wake up with my little guy with no care to rush out the door to work.  This weekend I am especially looking forward to the Zoo Boo at our local zoo.  We have gone the past few years with our family, and it keep getting more and more fun. The kids are all at a really fun age right now, and love the different activities. 

Remember pumpkin hating husband (Ron)?? Well, he actually likes roasted pumpkin seeds! When I was getting ready to roast the seeds he leaned in and said "oooo I like pumpkin seeds". My jaw promptly hit the floor and I went about my business.  I like plain roasted seeds, but decided to give them a little face lift with sugar, cinnamon and a little sea salt. These are a perfect for a quick snack or, in our case, a little extra treat for a  Packer tailgate. These pumpkin seeds are worth a try, and are a delicious alternative to the standard salt roasted. I love that the possibilities are endless with roasting seeds....and that my husband actually likes something with the word pumpkin in it!

Have a great weekend and Go Pack!


Ingredients

2 cups pumpkin seeds, cleaned, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tsp sea salt


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 125 degrees (this is for drying. If seeds are dry pre-heat to 275 degrees).  Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

If pumpkin seeds are not dry arrange them on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. If the seeds are dried skip this step. After 15 minutes the seeds should be dried and ready to be removed from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 275 degrees. Remove seeds from baking sheet and toss in a medium bowl with butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Return seeds to baking sheet and spread evenly.  Roast for about 30 minutes-40 minutes and stir every 10 minutes to prevent sticking and scorching.  Remove seeds from baking sheet and store in an airtight container. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkin Molasses Bread

Welcome to October's What's Baking?


We were challenged to bake with pumpkin or squash in the month of October, and what else could be a more perfectly timed ingredient? I immediately decided on pumpkin because I was planning on making a few batches of fresh puree and wanted to work it into this challenge. As you know I love pumpkin and look forward to fall anticipating all of the yummy treats that will come our of our kitchen.  However, I was curious on the some of the history of pumpkins and how it relates to our food culture. I was going a bit of reading on Colonial America and found a few interesting tidbits of information on pumpkins. Pumpkins are one of the oldest native crops to America and have been cultivated by indigenous populations in North and South America for what is estimated to be about 6,000 years. Initially, seeds were eaten, but that lead to cultivation and eventually consumption of the entire pumpkin.  I won't go into too much detail, but have linked the page from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation above if you are interested in reading more. Another this that I found really interesting is that many preparation methods have stayed very similar to their original preparation. 

Back to the bread, I used a traditional quick bread method, but subbed out the oil for homemade unsweetened  applesauce. I also added molasses because I love the flavor and thought it would work perfectly with pumpkin. The flavors of this bread are wonderful and perfect for fall, and the texture is dense and moist.  I am so happy to participate in such a fun group and can't wait to see what everyone else made (and to get a few more pumpkin recipes to try!).

This week I have been working on a few Halloween recipes, and can't wait to share them with you next week!



Ingredients

1/2 unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
Two eggs, beaten
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, applesauce, eggs, molasses and vanilla using  a stand mixer or handheld beater till smooth. Beat in the sugars till evenly mixed. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Gently stir in the flour mixture by hand or on low speed. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth so that it is even. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until middle is set (this is a very dense bread and you will likely always have a  few crumbles with the tooth pick test)