Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

I recently used Cat’s pizza dough recipe to make fresh pizza for the first time and discovered just how amazingly simple it was.

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It was easily as quick as any other usual dinner I make, and, IT’S PIZZA!

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So naturally I now I have to make a million pizzas of various kinds, first being a super delicious Taco Pizza!

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Taco Pizza
 
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Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Large Pizza Crust (pre-made, this recipe, or another one of your favorites)
  • ⅓ cup enchilada sauce
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • ⅓ cup Mexican mixed cheese
  • ½ pound ground beef, browned with your favorite seasonings
  • ½ cup canned corn
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup sliced olives
  • 2 tablespoons green chilies
  • After Baking:
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Paint your dough with the enchilada sauce and cover with half of each cheese.
  3. Evenly sprinkle each of your toppings over your pizza and then top with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.
  5. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  6. Top slices with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, or guacamole.
  7. Enjoy!

 

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

For this past Qwerty dinner the one thing I knew I wanted was Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and what goes better with biscuits than fried chicken?

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I had never *really* attempted fried chicken before; I think I half-assed it once and it turned out so poorly that I didn’t want to try again.

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This felt like the right time to give it a shot though, so brushed off my Google-fu, got some temperature/time approximations and just went for it.

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Besides for briefly setting the kitchen on fire with a silly oil spill over, this recipe really worked out well. The chicken was cooked perfectly and turned out so crispy and delicious, I don’t know what had me nervous in the first place!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
 
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Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 pounds chicken drumsticks (or other favorite chicken parts)
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons Franks Red Hot, or any other hot sauce
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Place the drumsticks in a large plastic bag (or divide between two) and pour in the buttermilk and hot sauce.
  2. Seal the bag and massage so that the hot sauce and buttermilk mixes and coats the chicken.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Heat about 1½ to 2 inches of oil in a large deep pan to 330 degrees.
  5. Mix the flour with all the spices together in a shallow baking dish and using tongs and a fork, take the drumsticks out of the bag, place in the flour and completely coat.
  6. Place off to the side until all the chicken is prepped.
  7. Once the oil is heated, carefully place the drumsticks in a single layer in the pan (you may need to do two batches) and cook for about 25 minutes, turning them over once about 10 minutes in.
  8. Maintain the heat at 320 degrees, and remove once an instant read thermometer in the meat reads at least 165 degrees.

 

Tater Tot Nachos – or – Totchos

Tater Tot Nachos – or – Totchos

I don’t know about you, but Tater Tots are probably my favorite form of potato. Those little nuggets that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside just speak to my soul.

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Brandie requested cheesy tots for this last Friday night Qwerty meal, and then Cat made the best suggestion of her entire life; tater tot nacho bar.

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It was divine. The tots were the perfect cheese, quac, onion, meat, sour cream, etc receptacle.

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And then the leftovers for breakfast the next day was more than a girl could dream of.

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Tater Tot Nachos - or - Totchos
 
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Ingredients
  • Tater Tots - 1 cup "scoop" for each person served
  • Suggested toppings:
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Nacho Cheese
  • Seasoned Ground Beef
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Jalapenos
  • Olives
  • Purple Onion
  • Green Onion
  • Diced Tomatos
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • Bacon Pieces
Instructions
  1. Bake tater tots per packaging directions
  2. Prepare toppings while tots are baking, including shredding and chopping.
  3. Place tots in a bowl and cover with your favorite toppings!
  4. Enjoy

 

Bonus kitty close up:

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Slow-Cooker BBQ Pork Ribs

Slow-Cooker BBQ Pork Ribs

To pair with our Loaded Baked Potato Bar the other night, I knew I wanted some kind of meat.

So, I went to our local grocer and took at look at what was on sale, annnnnnd…. it was pork ribs!

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I got two racks and because wanted to get as much lazing around time on my weekend as possible, decided to throw em in the slow-cooker.

slow cooker bbq pork ribs

They were perfect! Fall of the bone tender, and moist and delicious! Also, so easy.

Slow-Cooker BBQ Pork Ribs
 
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Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 10 ounces BBQ Sauce
Instructions
  1. Cut each rack into thirds, or whatever size will comfortably fit to layer in your slow-cooker.
  2. Combine your spices and pat into each section of rib.
  3. Place a section of rib in the bottom of the slow-cooker and splash with a teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce and cover with a a bit of the BBQ sauce.
  4. Repeat with each section of ribs. I had to pile mine up high and then place one section on either side to get them all to fit.
  5. Pour the rest of the BBQ sauce in the slow cooker, retaining two ounces for later.
  6. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
  7. - You can be done here, and just enjoy your delicious meat, OR continue with the next steps.
  8. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Section each rib individually and place on a foil lined baking tray.
  10. Brush each rib with the remaining BBQ sauce and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Serve warm and enjoy!

Finishing them in the oven is not required, but it gives the ribs that traditional wonderful sticky finish.

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These are sure to please.

Loaded Baked Potato Bar

Loaded Baked Potato Bar

This last Friday Brandie had the genius craving for potatoes and I thought a loaded potato bar with some kind of meat would be perfect.

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Bake a large russet potato for each person, and put out plenty of your favorite toppings, and you’re done!

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This meal was so satisfying and so delicious and so easy!

Oven Baked Potatos
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 Large Russet Potato for each person
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Scrub the potatoes clean and pat dry.
  3. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle the skin with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Pierce each potato with a fork a couple of times.
  5. Cover large baking tray with tin foil and place the potatoes on that.
  6. Bake in oven for 50 minutes or until inserting a fork, the insides are tender.
Notes
For Loaded Baked Potatoes:
Prepare your favorite potato toppings; we included butter, seasonings (garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper and Spike), sour cream, green onions, and fresh bacon pieces.

 

This is a great meal for a weeknight as well because the most effort you have to put forward, is scrubbing the potatoes!

 

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

Crock Pot French Onion Soup

A couple of years ago Cat mad this amazing french onion soup that was so incredibly delicious.

We’ve been craving it and wanting to make it again for a while now, but it’s a bit of an energy and time commitment and there’s usually something new and interesting that takes priority.

This last weekend though, enough was enough! We decided to try a slow-cooker recipe and see how it compares.

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I thought it was quite tasty and worth it, Cat was a little more discerning and much preferred the stove top version.

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I would recommend trying this recipe though, especially if time and patience are an issue.

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This took physical time, but very little effort.

Crock Pot French Onion Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds yellow onions, peeled, sliced, and cut into quarter-moons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 10 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons brandy, optional
  • To Serve
  • 4 to 6 baguette slices, toasted, for each bowl
  • 1⅓ to 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (1/3 cup per bowl)
  • Chopped shallot or fresh onion
  • Equipment
  • Cutting board and chef's knife
  • Slow cooker
  • Wooden spoon
  • Oven-safe soup bowls
  • Baking pan
Instructions
  1. Season the onions: Place the onion slices in a 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir in the butter and olive oil, salt, and a generous quantity of black pepper.
  2. Cook on LOW for 12 hours: Cover and cook on LOW overnight or for 12 hours. The onions should be dark golden brown and soft.
  3. Add broth: Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the broth.
  4. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on LOW: Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. This is flexible; as long as your slow cooker holds moisture well (wrap a towel over the lid if quite a lot of steam escapes), you can cook the soup for hours. Longer cooking will only intensify the flavors. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired, and stir in the brandy if using.
  5. Portion the soup into oven-safe bowls: Heat the oven to 350°F. Ladle the soup and onions into oven-safe bowls and place the bowls in a baking pan.
  6. Top with toast and shredded cheese: Top each bowl with a slice of toast and a generous quantity of shredded Gruyere cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes: Bake on a rack in the upper third of the oven until the cheese is completely melted.
  8. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes: Turn the oven to broil and broil the soup for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then serve with chopped fresh onion on the side.

 

Cold Thai Peanut Noodles

Cold Thai Peanut Noodles

It’s been a little warm here in the East Bay these last couple of weeks.

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That kind of warm where you just don’t want to move, don’t want to do anything that may cause more heat, and that includes eating something warm.

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Cat had the genius idea for some cold Thai inspired noodles, and boy did it deliver.

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These noodles not only filled our belly in a cool and refreshing way, they were also really delicious!

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(and as you’ll see, really easy to make)

Cold Thai Peanut Noodles
 
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Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box Angel Hair Pasta
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced onion, or chopped scallions
  • ⅔ cup chopped green cabbage
  • Sauce:
  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons ginger
  • ¼ teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Chopped peanuts to garnish
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta per packaging directions.
  2. Strain and run cold water over to cool the pasta.
  3. While the pasta is boiling, whisk together all the sauce ingredients.
  4. Once the pasta is cooled, toss together with the sauce, onion, and cabbage in a large bowl until the mixed and the pasta is covered in sauce.
  5. Serve with some additional chopped peanuts on top.