Pizza Rolls

We had a friend in who liked my pizza rolls before, so I tried making them a little fancier this time: with a breading type thing.

Rolls:

  • frozen bread dough
  • pepperoni
  • block of cheese

Coating:

  • pasteurized egg mixture (substitute real egg if you have it on hand)
  • olive oil

Topping:

  • parmesan
  • bread crumbs
  • pepper
  • salt
  • garlic powder or salt

The topping should be mixed in a bowl in whatever proportions taste delicious to you, but I suggest lighter on the salt than you think you need because the pepperoni is salty.

So basically, you roll out the bread dough super thin and then cut it into squares – it’s easier than ripping and flattening because then the edges stick together better. Cut up little squares of cheese and put one of those and a pepperoni in each bit of bread dough. Wrap them up, trying to make them as seamless and dumpling-like as possible.

Dip them in the egg mixture, then in the topping. Stick them on a non-stick baking sheet. Start preheating your oven to 375°F at some point while you’re filling a tray – these can take a while, especially the first time you make them.

When the sheet is full stick it in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Best served still quite warm.

Macaroni and Cheese

We’ve got a guest, so I wanted something quick but still kind of indulgent, and we had the ingredients for mac and cheese.

Ingredients:

  • flour
  • butter
  • taco seasoning
  • salt, pepper, garlic
  • milk
  • cream cheese
  • shredded taco cheese
  • macaroni

Start the water boiling on high and the butter melting on medium. Add as much flour as you used butter, and let that turn into a roux. Let it cook down for a bit so it doesn’t end up tasting like flour. You should be moving on to the next step around the time your pasta water comes to a boil.

Add your spices and a splash of milk, and stir it all together so it makes a thinner paste. Add a chunk of cream cheese for additional flavor and creaminess, add some more milk, and let all of that melt together while stirring frequently.

When it comes just to a boil, turn the heat down and add all of your shredded cheese. Let it melt, stirring constantly, and by the time it’s done your pasta should be ready. Add the pasta to the sauce and serve!

Crock Pot Beer and Potato Soup

It’s getting cold out there, which means it’s time for crock pots and thick soups and scarves. We had a whole bunch of potatoes that badly needed using up, so I went and hunted up several recipes for beer and potato soup.

Ingredients:

  • a can of beer (whatever: nice beer is nice, but I used Miller Lite that has been in our fridge since we moved in)
  • a cube of bouillon or a can/box of broth
  • some onion
  • pepper
  • garlic

    IMG_1202

    The cheese isn’t really optional: it’s amazing.

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • a fuckton of potatoes
  • milk
  • optional: like a pound of shredded cheddar
  • optional: croutons

Put as much onion and garlic and pepper as you like in the bottom of your crockpot. I used like two spoonfuls of minced garlic and a spoonful of onion. Add your cube of bouillon and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, then your whole can or bottle of beer.

Now it is time to wash your potatoes and start cubing them. How many potatoes? As many as you have, or until you’re about half an inch from the top of the crock pot. Just keep going. It’ll take a while – just think of the payoff, though, in that you will end up with tons and tons of soup.

When your crock pot won’t hold any more potatoes, add water (or broth) until they’re just covered. Now stick your crock pot on low for between six hours and eternity. This is potato soup: it does not give a damn how long you cook it.

Just before you plan to eat it, you can mash the potatoes with a fork for a dense chowder type thing. Add a dollop of milk and your pound or so of shredded cheddar and stir until the cheddar is melted. You can go for just milk if you have something against cheese or no time, but why? Why would you do that when you can have tons of cheese. Serve with croutons on top.

Serves approximately half an army, or you for most of the winter if you have containers and room in your freezer.

Reward Biscuits

I fairly badly needed to clean the kitchen: dirty dishes on the counters and island, stove greasy, dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher – anyway, you get the point, which is that I am a human disaster. We also are once again out of bagels. So I needed both food and motivation to not live in filth.

Motivation mostly tastes like cheese.

Ingredients:IMG_1186

  • bisquick
  • seasoning salt
  • pepper
  • milk
  • shredded cheese

Start your oven preheating to 350°F and get out your ingredients, a large spoon, a bowl, and a baking tray.

Throw a bunch of Bisquick in the bowl, then add a fair sprinkling of pepper and seasoning salt: you don’t want tons, probably, but the bit of extra flavor makes them taste amazing and also like they took more than a half second to plan out.

Add a dollop of milk! Then start mixing stuff up. It should end up just moist enough to hold together. When you’re close to that texture, toss in a bunch of shredded cheese and some more milk and mix that in, a bit more gently. Does it more or less hold together? Good.

Now use the spoon to transfer big lumps of it to your non-stick baking tray. I got six biscuits about the size of my palm, but results will vary depending how big you like them and how much Bisquick you started with. Then add more shredded cheese on top, as much as will stay more or less in place. At some point when you’re finishing up, the oven should be finished pre-heating, so just pop those in. I cooked mine for 13 minutes, and they’re still kind of soft and the cheese on top is gloriously melted but not really bubbly. Mix up your baking time as needed! You probably don’t want anything shorter than 8 minutes or longer than 20, though, no matter your biscuit size.

While those are cooking, you can probably clean most of a kitchen, putting away dishes and loading the dishwasher and wiping down counters. I found it very motivating, because you can get a lot done in a short time and then afterwards sit down with a piping hot, cheesy biscuit as a reward for being an actual adult who does cleaning and stuff.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms In the mushroom corner of your produce department, they probably already have stuffed mushrooms, with pizza toppings or something fancy. But you can make your own! And, particularly, you can make your own when your roommate prefers her portabellas plain with A1 on top.

Ingredients:

  • Portabella mushrooms
  • whatever you want in them
  • some kind of sticky thing like egg or cheese

These particular ones were made with leftover lemon pepper chicken and some shredded cheese. Clean your mushrooms and set them up on a non-stick baking tray with the stems upwards. If you want them plain, preheat your oven to 350°F and then just stick them in.

But if you want stuff on/in them – and they’re way more filling that way – go ahead with that. For the lemon pepper chicken, I just used my fingers to put little mounds of it on that wouldn’t spill off, and then I topped that with cheese.

I’ve made them before, though, with chevre and pepper and sundried tomatoes. For that, you want to mix the melty delicious filling in a bowl with an egg so that it’ll hold together in the oven – it also makes it easier to actually put on the mushrooms without going all over.

45 minutes at 350, and you have deliciousness!

Pasta Alla Puttanesca

This whole thing is really densely flavorful without being heavy, which is awesome.

Ingredients:

  • pasta
  • water
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic *
  • sundried tomatoes (a whole bag of the ones you can find in the produce section as, like, salad toppers)
  • can of black olives – preferably sliced into rings
  • capers

I had E doing all the slicing of the sundried tomatoes while I did other stuff, but if you don’t have an assistant, probably do that first.

Start the pasta water!

Start heating some olive oil in a large skillet on medium – I had some leftover sausage grease, but not quite enough. Add minced garlic and let that go for a minute or two while you do other complicated things like getting the goddamn caper jar open and opening and draining the can of olives. Add the capers! You want them in first because the goal for them is ‘crispy.’ Which, whatever, who cares if they actually get there? It’s delicious anyway.

The pasta water should go off at some point, so add your pasta to that.

After you add the pasta to the water, add the olives and sundried tomatoes to your skillet. Add some more olive oil if you need it: you don’t want it, like, dripping oil, but oil is the transfer medium to make everything taste like everything else and also transfer flavor to the pasta, so definitely make sure it’s some kind of liquid presence.

When the pasta is al dente, add to the sauce and serve.

*I am not even going to pretend that my garlic comes from anywhere but a jar. Yours should, too, if you cook more than once a week, because it reduces a ton of effort and makes it easy to add flavor.

Batch Cooking Round 2

For the second round of batch cooking with E, we made a double batch of Chicken Tortilla Soup, pasta alla puttanesca – very similar to this only made in a real kitchen – and a lazy version of this slow cooker pear and sausage stuffing. I am still taking single-serve containers of the stuffing for lunches over a week later, and it’s so delicious I might just eat it forever.

I’d made the chicken for the soup the night before, because it does a lot better if it can soak in the seasoning and we had plans for the slow cooker, so that was easy to set up and dump all the other ingredients into. Then we started on the stuffing, because that needed four hours – and that meant I could use the pan from the sausage to make the puttanesca for us to have for lunch. Planning!

I think normally we’d want to just make stuff for the week so it feels like a longer-term investment of energy, but pasta doesn’t store that well and T hates most of what’s in puttanesca, so having someone else to feed made a good excuse to make it, and then we got to eat and chill on our computers while we waiting for the stuffing to be done.