Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hot German Potato Salad

Dave loves potato salad -- especially this
vinegar-y German version.

This is fantastic because it's good hot, warm, cold, -- whatever! And it doesn't have any mayo, so it's great for picnics and outdoor activities.

**I will apologize for my poor potatoes -- I bought organic ones...and they cooked up MUCH faster than I'd anticipated. They're a bit "mashed" looking!**

German Potato Salad
(Original from
Makes 8 servings

8 potatoes, cubed
8 slices bacon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (cider vinegar is also delicious!)
1 cup chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste

- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, cook until tender but still firm (about 10-15 minutes). Drain, and cool.
- Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
- Add the flour, sugar, water, and vinegar to the skillet and cook in the reserved bacon fat over medium heat until dressing is thick.
- Place cooled potatoes, green onions, and crumbled bacon in a large bowl. Gently pour dressing over potatoes (I've found that you may not need ALL of the dressing - -add half, stir it, and taste to see if it's enough). Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently.
- Serve warm or room temperature.

Root Beer Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches

This recipe floats around the internet -- I've seen it dozens of places. The root beer doesn't really flavor the meat -- it just keeps it nice and moist.

Since Dave LOVES BBQ, I figured I'd give this one a's very good! And since it's a crockpot meal, it's essentially done by the time you get home from work.

Root Beer Pulled Pork
(Source Unknown)
Makes 10-12 hamburger roll-sized sandwiches

2 lb. boneless pork (reccommend pork roast or loin, but chops work if you have them!)
1-12 oz. root beer
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

- Place pork in the crockpot, and pour the 12 oz. root beer over it.
- Put the lid in place, and turn the crockpot on low for 7-8 hours.
- Once the meat is cooked, remove the roast from the crockpot, and, using two forks, shred the meat.
- Carefully pour the leftover root beer out of the crockpot, and put the shredded meat back in.
- Pour the BBQ sauce over the meat, stir to combine
- Toast the rolls, then top with heaping mounds of BBQ pork

Homemade Soft Pretzels

I have two soft pretzel recipes I'd like to experiment with. This is the first.

This is Alton Brown's recipe...and while I normally think his recipes are divine (even if he is a bit neurotic) this one is just "okay" in my eyes. DH agrees and says it's amazing.

The key, I think, is I like a sweeter pretzel dough. This one is more yeasty, than sweet -- and I think it's because this recipe calls for white sugar. My other pretzel recipe calls for brown -- hopefully I can post it soon and update you on the sweetness of the dough!

Homemade Soft Pretzels
(Original by Alton Brown)
Makes 8 Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all purpose flour -- about 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
pretzel salt (can use kosher salt!)

- Combine water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to foam.
- Add the flour and butter, and, using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, mix on low speed until well combined.
- Change to medium speed and knead the dough with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl (approximately 4 to 5 minutes).
- Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for approximately 50-55 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.

- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 sheet pants with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.

- Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

- In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 24-inch long rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, and cross them over each other. Press into the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
- Place onto parchment-lined sheet pan.

- Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large, flat spatula. Return to the sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg and water mixture and sprinkle with pretzel salt (I left salt off half my pretzels and made them cinnamon-sugar ones once they had baked)

- Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Baked Ziti with Sausage

I was starving for this -- I haven't had it since a friend made it for me in college!

Chose the recipe at random on -- and it worked out great.

Baked Ziti with Sausage
(Altered from

1 lb. dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. sausage, loose of casings
2 jars spaghetti sauce (or equivalent of homemade)
6 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream (can also use cottage cheese)
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons parmesean cheese

- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook until al dente; about 8 minutes; drain.
- In a large skillet (with sides) brown the sausage and onion over medium heat. Drain off fat, then return to skillet. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- Layer as follows: 1/2 the ziti, all of the provolone cheese, all of the sour cream, 1/2 the sauce and sausage mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese, and remaining sauce and sausage mixture.
-Top with grated parmesean cheese.
-Bake for 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

**This makes A LOT of food, so be prepared for leftovers!**

Red Lobster's Garlic Cheddar Biscuits!!

This is a copycat recipe -- but it tastes EXACTLY like those little morsels of heaven from Red Lobster!

A little more labor intensive -- since you have to make them and pour the butter over them -- but well worth it!

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits Copycat Recipe

(Original from Meals Matter)

2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix Bisquick, milk, and cheese until a soft dough forms.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungrased cookie sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Melt butter or margarine, and add the garlic powder and parsley; stir.
- Brush or spoon the melted butter mixture over the warm biscuits.
-Serve warm

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This is not only a delicious comfort food, but it's so fast to make as well!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
(My original)

1 lb. chicken breast meat, cooked and cubed (or shredded)
1/2 package (6 oz. of a 12 oz. package) egg noodles, cooked and drained
32 oz. chicken broth
2 chicken bullion cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

- In a large pot, melt butter over medium/medium high heat. Add celery, carrots, and onions, and cook until tender.
- Add the chicken broth and bullion cubes, stir to dissolve cubes.
- Add the chicken and egg noodles. Cook over medium heat until heated through.
- Toss in parsley, salt, and pepper, stir to combine.

Simple Turkey Burgers

I had never eaten turkey burgers until I met DH. His family has a simple, effective, and delicious recipe for turkey burgers.

I serve them with many different sides -- but most commonly German Potato Salad, or the Homemade Mac n Cheese recipe in my blog.

Simple Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (use enough to combine)

- Chop the scallions and add them to the turkey
- Add the egg and breadcrumbs
- Dash of salt and pepper
- Mix the ingredients together (your hands work best)
- Score the meat into 4 by making a cross in it (this will give you 4 LARGE burgers)
- Heat a skillet on medium/medium high heat with 1 1/2 tbsp butter and a splash of olive oil
- Form burgers, and place in the heated skillet to cook
- Cook approximately 8 minutes and then flip, cooking until no longer raw in the center.
We serve them simply -- a bun and a dollop of ketchup.


Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Mmmm...homemade mac and cheese. What I discovered while looking for this recipe is that -- dependent upon where you live -- mac and cheese can be VERY different!
I wanted a classic mac and cheese. Something creamy, with easy-to-find cheeses (no fancy, expensive type cheeses!).
This recipe fit the bill. Chelley's was good -- but I added a bit more cheese to make it a creamier mac n cheese. It's fantastic, and just creamy enough. DH and I love it!
Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese
(Altered from Chelley's Blog)

8 oz. macaroni (I like rotini)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2/3 cup shredded swiss cheese, divided
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

- Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain.
- Preheat the oven for 400 degrees.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and salt and stir until mixture is smooth. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly.
- Cook over low/medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in 1/3 cup of the cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup of the swiss cheese, and 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
- Mix the cheese sauce and macaroni in a large bowl.
- Spoon into a baking dish (I used a square pyrex -- Chelley reccommends 9x7). Sprinkle with remaining cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave (30 seconds does it in mine)
- Combine bread crums and melted butter in a small bowl and mix well.
- Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of the cheese.
- Bake until hot and bubbly; approximately 15 minutes.

Goulash -- Or "Dog Food"

When my mom was a little girl, she hated goulash. But my grandmother kept making it. To show her dislike of the meal, she started calling it "dog food" -- and the name stuck. To this day, my family calls it dog food.
Fast forward many years later, and I meet my husband (then boyfriend). I'm making dinner one night, and he asks what we're having. "Dog food," I reply. He just stares at me. And proceeds to politely tell me he's not eating ANYTHING called dog food!
We've since reverted back to calling it goulash...mostly because DH can't stomach calling it the family name!
It's a quick dinner, and hearty. Enjoy!

Goulash -- "Dog Food"

1 lb. ground beef - cooked and drained (you can use turkey, also)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cup water
15 oz. tomato sauce (1 lg 14.5 oz. can will work, or, two 8oz.)

-Cook meat in a large skillet with sides (chicken cooker style pan), drain, and set aside.
-Add onion, green pepper, macaroni, and water. Stir
-Add the meat, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper.
-Cover, and let simmer on low to medium heat for 30 minutes.
-Stir to mix ingredients before serving.
We serve this meal with shredded cheese on top. Any cheese will do, but colbey is DELICIOUS!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Mmm...I made these for St. Patrick's Day, and am just now getting around to posting them!

These cupcakes were QUITE tasty -- but definately a unique flavor! DH told me it tasted like I made them with, "$5,000 Swiss chocolate" -- LOL

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with White Cream Cheese Frosting

(Originally from Dave Lieberman)

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 bottle (12 fl. oz.) Guinness stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for garnish)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 lb. confectioner's sugar

Cupcake Directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
-In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
-Butter (or use cupcake papers) 24 muffin tins and divide batter among the tins.
-Bake 25 minutes until risen and set in the middle, but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

Frosting Directions
-Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. Slowly mix in the confectioner's sugar.

**Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa. Keep refridgerated (due to the cream cheese frosting)**