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.

Baked veggie mac and cheese

I made this a while ago, but I’m apparently having a Day and eating fast food or someone else’s cooking, so this is from my backlog.

Y’know when you’re grocery shopping and in the pasta aisle and feeling vaguely guilty about not eating enough vegetables, so you pick up the Kraft Veggie Mac And Cheese? I can’t find a link on their site for the product, so they might have stopped making it, but that could only ever be a good thing. The noodles were made of cauliflower flour, and tasted like lies and weren’t very filling.

So of course we ended up with a box in our cupboard for ages.

This would also work with regular boxed mac and cheese! It would just probably taste better.

Ingredients:

  • box of mac and cheese
  • like a quarter of a stick of butter
  • shredded Colby Jack or American or your fave cheese
  • milk
  • Ritz crackers

This was a particularly failtastic day, so I just stick the noodles and a cup and a half of warm water in a Pyrex dish and microwaved it for 7 minutes while I preheated the oven to 350°F. The noodles were then mostly cooked – if you’re using whole wheat, it takes longer. Add the butter and cheese sauce packet and a dollop of milk and stir until combined and melty, then add a handful or two of cheese and mix that together. Then crumbled crackers (or breadcrumbs, if you have them on hand) and shredded cheese on top. Bake it for 35 minutes and it’s great comfort food.

Pizza Rolls

Sometimes I like to be able to make things in batches so I can just grab them to go later. Sometimes I like to make things in huge batches because to be honest I don’t really know how to cook for more than either just myself or myself and T, and you can’t go wrong with ‘lots.’ One of my favorite things to make in batches is pizza rolls.

Ingredients:

  • frozen pizza dough
  • pizza pepperoni
  • marble cheese
  • sea salt
  • Italian seasoning

This is the pepperoni I use: usually one of these packages goes with three pizzas worth of dough and a medium block of cheese.

It’s not complicated! It takes a little more time than some of my other recipes, but I can stand at the kitchen island and talk to people or watch TV while I’m working on it.

Cut the cheese into little cubes. Sandwich it between two pieces of pepperoni. Wrap that in a chunk of pizza dough – enough that it’s wrapped completely, but not a huge ball of it. Roll it out flat if you want, but I’ve had pretty good luck just sort of smashing it with my hand and then stretching it into place. Place the roll on a non-stick baking tray with like an inch of clearance on each side. Repeat until the tray is full, then sprinkle some sea salt and Italian seasoning on top.

And then you have two options: for crispier rolls that are a delicious golden brown on top bake them 15-16 minutes at 425°F, or for slightly doughier rolls that freeze spectacularly well for eating as leftovers bake them 20-ish minutes at 350°F.

From Tumblr: Creamy Potato and Chicken Soup

Recipe from my tumblr, because I’m drowning in homework.

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • low sodium chicken broth
  • shredded cheese
  • milk
  • garlic, paprika, and pepper to taste – sub various Italian spices (Italian spice blend, or basil and oregano) if you want, it’ll still taste good, though different.

So we had the remains of a thing of chicken broth – maybe 2/3 of a cup? Dump that in the pot, turn it on high. Chop the chicken into bite sized chunks – or, if you’re me and really hate touching raw meat, hold the chicken just poking out of the plastic bag you stored it in and use kitchen shears awww yeah. Add the chicken to the stock – you want it at least partly cooked by the time you add the potatoes or the potatoes pick up a weird raw chicken taste. I’ve done it before and I don’t like it.

Wash and cut the potatoes into small bits! Like, bite-sized. I usually quarter the potato and then cut slices off.

Add potatoes, can of soup, and spices. I used two heaping teaspoons of diced garlic, because we like garlic and because potatoes tend to just suck up spices never to be seen again. Mix, then add enough milk so that potatoes aren’t poking up out of it. A generous splash? A quarter cup? Something like that.

Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to get stuff off the bottom, dish up, top with shredded cheese (pre-shredded pizza blend is what I used).

It is cheesy and creamy and delicious. T will eat it.

From tumblr: Cheesy Baked Ravioletti

Today was a leftovers day, so here’s a recipe from my tumblr:

  • 1 box ravioletti
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • Some chicken broth
  • Shredded cheese
  • Garlic
  • Pepper

We had a box of dried ravioletti. I cooked it on the stove barely – I started the oven preheating to 350°F when I added the pasta to the water, and then drained it when the oven hit temperature. At that point it was still severely al dente.

In a casserole dish I dumped the can of soup and probably like a cup of broth and a handful of shredded cheese and some garlic powder and black pepper. You can skip the broth if you’re fully cooking the pasta, but I super hate the texture of overcooked pasta and so wanted it to finish in the oven.

I’d cooked the pasta like half of the recommended time, drained it super half-heartedly so there was a little extra water going in, stirred it, and and topped it with more cheese.

I cooked it for 30 minutes at 350°F, then upped it to 450°F for ten minutes so the top started to brown a bit. Probably should play around with time and temperature to make it higher.

It tastes like comfort and indulgence.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

So I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and then adjusted it for lazy jerks. And, even better, the version we had today was made entirely in the crock pot. Well, except for one of the garnishes, but we’ll get to that.

Ingredients:

  • 5 chicken thighs
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 can black beans
  • garlic
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can Original(!!!) Rotel tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 packet fajita seasoning
  • 1 packet chipotle seasoning
  • 1 of those boxes of low sodium chicken broth
  • tortillas
  • mexican cheese

So I like to use chicken thighs, because they’re cheaper and pack more iron and aren’t a whole lot more fat. I’m prone to anemia and try to manage it through diet, so we’d probably go with chicken thighs even if they weren’t cheaper. The golden part of this recipe, though, is that they end up shredded and covered in seasoning, so you cannot tell the difference.

Whether I’m making this entirely in the crock pot or not, I start the chicken in the crock pot. Dump in the chicken, the fajita seasoning and the chipotle seasoning, add a generous splash of chicken broth, cover it, put it on high, and walk away for a couple hours. Hell, don’t even set a timer if you’re in scent range. Wander vaguely back in a couple hours and grab a couple forks to shred some chicken. It’ll be on the moist side, and might be tricky to get it all equally shredded, but you don’t have to care, it’s rustic or whatever. Shred enthusiastically, trying not to scratch the hell out of the sides of your crock pot, make sure the seasoning’s all mixed in, put the lid back on, and leave it for however long. I want to say I usually leave it for another two hours, but I really don’t know. I think the batch I made with tequila instead of chicken broth for this stage (excellent, definitely recommend, we just don’t keep tequila in the house) I left for six hours total. It’s pretty forgiving!

If you’re making it stovetop, you can turn off the crock pot now, and either transfer the chicken to a pot or to a container if you don’t feel like doing more cooking for that day. It all works! And if you’re going to move forward with the soup another day, no one will notice if you stick a little bit of your delicious shredded chicken in a quesadilla and have one of the most quality quesadilla experiences of your life.

But to do this crock pot style, now’s when you add the black beans, corn, chilies and tomatoes, garlic, and chicken broth. If you drain the beans and then rinse them (I have started using a colander for this since we have a dishwasher, but rinsing them in the can using the mostly-detached can lid to keep the beans in is also a legitimate life choice), everything tastes a little better. I added a heaping tablespoon of diced garlic, because garlic is good in everything and makes life better. For the chilies and tomatoes, make sure you have the Original – Rotel also makes Chunky, and that was a horrible and tragic surprise. Who likes big chunks of tomato?

Just, like, dump everything in there. Go for it. Stir it, add some extra taco seasoning if you’re feeling it. Cover and ignore until you’re hungry (the stove top version only needs like half an hour). If it starts getting really enthusiastically hot and boiling over or anything, turn it down to low, but that should take ages. This soup is really forgiving.

When you want to eat it, fire up your skillet or non-stick frying pan and grab a tortilla. Cut it in half, then cut that half into strips, then cut the strips so they’re just a couple inches long. And here’s a tip: you can use stale tortillas for this. As long as they are still otherwise good, go for it, because now you’re gonna dump them in the skillet and fry ’em until they’re starting to turn golden brown. Flip them so both sides get crispy, using either a flat spatula or (if you’re an idiot like me) your fingers.

Dish up the soup and add some shredded cheese – Monterey Jack, or one of those pre-shredded Mexican blends you can probably get at the supermarket – and your delicious crispy tortilla strips, and you have utterly delicious soup.

I usually just cut up one tortilla for the two of us and that makes plenty of tortilla strips for a bowl each, but the soup serves like four to six depending on bowl size, so adjust for that. Like all soups, though, it’s even better the next day, which makes being able to whip up fresh tortilla strips in about five minutes fantastic: everything’s still fresh and delicious.

Eggs in a basket

I am not generally a morning person, but our friends J and M are moving today, which means their puppy Aveline and their cat Fidget needed a place to spend the day so they didn’t end up bolting out the door to flee the movers. So I was woken up by the arrival of adorable animals and their accoutrements, and thus by the time I remembered I should feed myself was actually alert enough to safely operate a stove.

Because we got back a couple days ago, we don’t have a lot of fresh stuff on hand. But we had eggs, shredded cheese, and bread. Realistically, we will never be out of shredded cheese: we live in Wisconsin. I think you can be deported for lack of cheese.

So, eggs in a basket.

IMG_0211Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pieces bread
  • shredded cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • butter or substitute

Directions:

Use a glass or cookie cutter to cut out the center of the bread. Either set aside the centers to fry later or shove them in your face, depending how hungry you are.

You can butter the bottom of the bread if you want a more indulgent breakfast – I didn’t, but kind of wish I had. Stick the bread in your non-stick frying pan. If you want a particularly toasty basket, you can cook it a couple minutes on that side, then flip it, or just go right ahead and crack an egg in the middle.

Wait until the white is no longer runny-looking, then add a generous pinch of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. It’s important to wait on adding the salt and pepper until the eggs are mostly cooked because eggs get weirdly rubbery if you salt them right off the bat. Then cook until the eggs are as done as you like them or the cheese starts to be pleasantly melty, whichever comes first.

Serve. Serves 1, though you can plausibly multiply it for whatever number of people you’re feeding. Or they can get their own damn breakfasts.

Okay, now for the bread rounds from earlier. Before you turn off the stove, butter those on each side, then drop them in the frying pan. Fry them for a minute or two on each side. They’ll end up deliciously golden brown with the butter fried right in, like a way-healthier alternative to British fried bread.