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Thursday, January 28, 2010

An Anniversary and Two Recipes; Maple Chocolate Chip Bars and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto-Goat Cheese Crescents

Today is the 15th anniversary of when my husband and I first met. We met through some mutual friends. I'm so terrible with names and when I met him, I really made a conscious effort to remember his. Later, I said something like, "Your name is D, right?". And he replied with a smirk, "no, it's John". I should've known then.... Anyway, the next day was the Superbowl and we talked on the phone for most of the day. We went on our first date the next weekend. He cooked for me. He bought the stuff in a jar they used to sell called "Chicken Tonight". The best part is that he scribbled some notes down on a piece of paper, threw away the jar of sauce and pretended it was an "old family recipe". Then, he told me the truth. He couldn't even go through with the charade. I didn't care. I thought it was so sweet that he went through all that trouble to try to impress me. Happy 15 Love! Anyway, I have two recipes for you today! the chocolate chip cookie bars I made a few days ago, but the crescents I made tonight. They were both really good. I mean, really, really good.

Maple Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • sea salt for the top (optional)

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. cream together butter, shortening and sugars
  3. add eggs vanilla and maple extract
  4. in another bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda
  5. add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  6. fold in chocolate chips
  7. spread dough into a buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish
  8. bake for 20 minutes or until golden
  9. cut into bars when cooled
  10. sprinkle with a tiny bit of fine sea salt

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto-Goat Cheese Crescents

  • 1 package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto (or home made)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil

  1. in a food processor, chop sun dried tomatoes
  2. add pesto and pulse a few times until combined
  3. open and separate all of the crescents into triangles
  4. spread triangles with pesto-sun dried tomato mixture
  5. sprinkle triangles with goat cheese
  6. roll triangles starting from widest side, moving towards the narrowest, to form crescents
  7. place crescents on a baking sheet
  8. bake in a 375 degree oven for 13 minutes

These pics are pretty bad. I know the lighting really sucks, but these are so good! You must try them. I used the reduced fat crescents. I am going to make baby ones for appetizers.

xoxo

Melissa

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Johnny Marzetti ~ Mamaw Style

Johnny Marzetti ~ Mamaw Style
This was a very popular recipe in my house when I was growing up. I really thought it was something that my grandmother made up, until I did a search and found lots of different recipes. Most of the recipes I found use ground beef, and we always used pork loin or chops. Another difference is that a lot of the recipes I found use macaroni noodles and we always used egg noodles. So, I guess she did make up the recipe, in a way. My parents are both from Columbus, Ohio, so I guess it makes sense that, that is where the recipe originated. Here are a couple of interesting tidbits I found about Johnny Marzetti with links from where I found them.

~Johnny Marzetti~
  • 1 package egg noodles
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.5 lbs pork cubed (I used tenderloin)
  • 1 large jar of tomato sauce that you like-no basil (or make your own)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 10 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • butter and olive oil for sauteing
  1. saute 1 chopped onion in butter and olive oil
  2. add chopped pork and garlic and brown meat
  3. add salt and pepper
  4. meanwhile, boil egg noodles in salted water as directed
  5. when pork is browned, add tomato sauce and oregano
  6. cube 8 ounces of cheddar cheese, shred 2 ounces
  7. mix cooked egg noodles with pork/tomato sauce mixture
  8. add cubes of cheddar
  9. pour everything into a buttered 9x13 casserole dish
  10. top with shredded cheddar
  11. bake at 350 degrees until top is golden and bubbly
xoxo Melissa

p.s. I realize this is not the most figure friendly meal and I know I said I was going to be posting lighter recipes, but I had to make this. My brother, sister and I (with kids) are planning a visit to see my grampa soon and he LOVES Marzetti! I planned on making a double batch and freezing half to take to him, but I decided to make him some fresh before we go. My husband will be out of town, so he won't be able to join us. We are also going to go to one of those indoor water parks. The kids are very excited. It should be a fun mini vacation!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black Bottom Brownies

SMS Black Bottom Brownies
This week's recipe was chosen by Cynthia of Bakingtherapist's Blog. You can find the recipe here. I did not love this recipe. There are a whole dozen eggs in there! I've had better brownie recipes and I think I could create a better cheesecake top, too. Anyway, I will not be making this one again, it was ok, but like I said, I've had better brownies. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. I know they won't go to waste. There are 4 people in this house who like them just fine!
Check out the other SMS bakers here.
xoxo
Melissa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

So, I'm totally not the kind of person who makes a birthday cake for her dog. I love her and everything, but she is a dog, not my child. We bought Lola from a breeder, so we know her exact birthday. She happens to share her big day with my step-mother. (Happy birthday Connie!)Kids love to celebrate birthdays, so when it was Lola's big day, my youngest suggested we go out and buy her a new toy. I really didn't want to leave the house (lazy pj day) and the last thing we need around here is another dog toy. I suggested we make her some dog treats instead. I hoped could find a recipe. Wow-once I started looking, I found tons of recipes, for not only treats, but dog food and kibble. I am thinking of making my own dog food all the time. Lola LOVES my cooking. No complaining from her!! Anyway, I learned a lot, and I think it can be inexpensive and it's definitely healthier. For now, here are some peanut butter biscuits~
Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c quick cooking oats
  • 2 tbsp flax seed
  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 c water

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. mix flour, oats and flax seed
  3. add peanut butter and water
  4. knead dough on lightly floured surface, adding more flour as necessary
  5. roll out dough and cut into shapes using cookie cutters or a pizza cutter
  6. bake for 20 minutes and turn oven off
  7. leave biscuits in the oven until they are cool

*Jasmine-Thanks for the tip to use a pasta machine to make the cracker dough thin enough! I'm excited to try that next time I make cheese crackers. :o)

xoxo

Melissa

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cheese Crackers

I have wanted to make my own cheese crackers for a while now. I just wanted to see how they would turn out. I like the idea of being able to control what goes into them. You can change up the cheese, or the spice. Try to get past the fact that they are brown and look like dog food. They're actually really good. :o) Whole wheat flour = brown One thing I did wrong, was not rolling the dough thin enough. I was afraid they would fall apart. This was a mistake, though because the crackers didn't get crispy enough. The edges were crispy, so I got a glimpse of how they should have turned out. I will make them again, next time much thinner. Maybe with some garlic, too. Yum!
Cheese Crackers

  • one stick of butter
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used asiago and parmesan)
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. mix all ingredients together in a food processor
  3. dump out dough onto a floured surface and form into a ball-I had to add a splash of water to make it come together
  4. roll the dough out to 1/8 of an inch thick
  5. cut crackers using a pizza cutter or cookie cutters
  6. place on a baking sheet covered with foil or a silpat-sprinkle with more parmesan
  7. bake for 11 minutes or until crackers just start to get golden
  8. cool on a cooling rack until completely cool

Melissa

xoxo

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Lemon Almond-Yogurt Cake

Lemon Almond-Yogurt Cake

It was so nice to be baking again. I think with all of the Christmas cookies I made, I just got burnt out. I didn't even want to eat the cookies. Does that ever happen to you? You are in the kitchen so long, that by the time you are done, you don't even want to look at whatever you were making. Well, the recipe is actually Lemon Walnut-Sour Cream Pound Cake. I felt like making it a bundt cake, instead. Then, I decided to use almonds, because I had a whole bag of them and no walnuts. Finally, I realized I was out of sour cream, so I used yogurt. So, mine is a bit different from the actual recipe, but it was soooo good! The lemon flavor was the perfect amount, not too much, not too little. The texture of the cake was really moist and light. The whole cake is almost gone a few short hours after I made it! When the cake was in the oven, I realized that I had actually used a cup of yogurt, as opposed to the half a cup of sour cream that the recipe calls for. Oops! Maybe that's why my cake was so moist. I didn't have plain yogurt, either. I used key lime flavored yogurt.

Thanks to Raeann of Basically, Baby Boots, for choosing this yummy cake. You can find the recipe on her blog. You can find all of the other SMS bakers' blogs here. Check out their blogs to see what variations they came up with and how they turned out!

Melissa
xoxo

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm alive...

Ugh. Thanks for still coming by, that is if anyone is still coming by... I have been feeling so uninspired lately. I've had some personal things going on, that I can't address on here, but I'm ok. I haven't even uploaded my Christmas pictures until now. That is so unlike me. I had a pretty good Christmas though, how about you?
I want to start getting some recipes up here, but the things I have been making lately, I'm not very proud of. I did make a nice soup tonight with veggies, chicken broth, smoked sausage and pasta. It's nothing that requires a recipe, just carrots, onion, garlic and celery sauteed in olive oil, add sausage, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper and a splash of wine. Mexican oregano is my favorite spice to use lately. Anyway, you let that cook for a few, then add the chicken stock, a small can of tomato sauce and some fresh spinach and parsley. I cooked the pasta separately, so it didn't get soggy. Add the pasta to the soup and some grated parmesan and you're good to go. I didn't have very good luck trying to take a picture of it. I gave up because I was hungry. There is no cheese in this picture. You could leave it out, but you know I love my cheese.

Anyway, as most of us do, I overindulged during the holidays. Now, I have joined a gym again and am trying to start 2010 in a healthy way. (the smoked sausage was turkey sausage 5g of fat per serving) So, the recipes I will be featuring on here will be mostly healthy-ish things. I am going to resume Sweet Melissa Sundays as well. That will be my weekly indulgence. I can't cut out ALL sweets!!

And this is Pipsqueak. Thanks to a call from my friend, Christine, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Zhu Zhu pet for my son for Christmas. At first, it was one of those toys that was fun for a few minutes and then pushed aside. Then we made a house for them (we have 4 now), and furniture. All those years of making Barbie furniture finally paid off! We have a lego couch and a bed made out of a small pillow, a tv and even a garage! The kids and I have had fun playing with the Zhu Zhu pets and making new things for them.
So, I hope you continue to stop by here. I will not have new posts up every day or every other day, but I will be posting regularly again. I have missed my blog! Happy New Year!!!!!
Melissa
xoxo p.s. My marshmallow wreath fell off the door and broke in to three pieces. I almost cried I was so sad! I'm thinking of making one for spring with the colored marshmallows.