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Parmesan Pretzel Bites

13 Aug

Even before I received my samples from Saucy Mama, I knew exactly what I wanted to make– pretzels to dip in some wonderful mustard. I am a big fan of mustard, especially some smokey garlic mustard. After one bite, I couldn’t stop craving a hot dog because after all, hot dogs and mustard are meant to be together. I’m kind of still craving a hot dog…..interesting….

Anyways, previous to this post, I did a pretzel stick recipe to go along with some soup. These are very similar to those except quite possibly the lazier version. I’m always opting for the easy way out. So, I defrosted a few dinner rolls for 2 hours or so, cut them in half, dipped them in a baking soda and water solution and then sprinkled on some salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese. How ridiculously simple is that? I realize that they didn’t get as dark as my last pretzel recipe or even pretzels you’d buy at the ball game, but that’s because most of the dough is covered by cheese so they aren’t going to get as dark. Feel free to make these without anything but salt to get the dark color. Both are delicious with mustard, especially gourmet smokey garlic mustard! Yum.

**Don’t forget to enter the Saucy Mama giveaway! See previous post for details! You have until tonight at midnight (pacific) to enter and tell your friends! Winner will be selected and announced Saturday morning!**


Parmesan Pretzel Bites
yield: 12 bites
Ingredients:
6 frozen dinner rolls
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup hot tap water
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
salt
pepper
parsley flakes 
parmesan cheese
Directions:
Defrost rolls for about 2 hours until dough is completely thawed. Cut dough balls into two even pieces. Form into small pillow shapes, if desired. (I was too lazy to do that!) Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Dip dough pieces into baking soda solution and place on greased baking sheet. Brush dough with melted butter and more baking soda solution. Sprinkle salt, pepper, parsley flakes and parmesan cheese over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve with mustard.
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Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

4 Jun

Talk about a summery and delicious treat! These double chocolate strawberry shortcakes were just the right amount of sweet, creamy and soft heavenly goodness. I love different textures in my food, so the light and fluffy cream with the juicy cold strawberries on top of the soft and chewy chocolate biscuit was perfect for me. Not over the top sweet either-how I like my desserts….except when I’m pregnant.
When it comes to chocolate, my husband wants it to be super sweet no matter what the context. These chocolate beds weren’t very sweet at all, so my husband thought that by themselves they were a little strange but the whipped cream and strawberries on top made a nice treat. It was a definite delicious change from the same old strawberry shortcakes!
If you are looking for a plain strawberry shortcake recipe, make my cinnamon buttermilk biscuits without the cinnamon. Top it just like these ones and thats it! Plain strawberry shortcakes! Equally delicious and just as easy to make.
Also, if you’re making these for a party or summer cook out, you can make everything in advance. You’d have to store the prepared and cooled biscuits in an air tight container and the strawberries in the fridge. Here’s a great tip too: if you pre whip your cream, it can sometimes deflate, leaving you with a big fat mess. You still can whip it in advance, just sprinkle in some corn starch! About 1 tablespoon for every cup of cream. Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve! I’ve done this so many times and it works like a charm. Oh! And a quick side note about the strawberries- I like mine plain, but if you stir in a little sugar then you end up getting a strawberry syrup along with your fruit. So, if you like the syrup with your strawberry shortcakes, then add a little sugar.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cold butter
1 oz. semi sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
2/3 cup cold whole milk

1 cup heavy cream
4-6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)

1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced
a few sprinkles of sugar (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and set aside. In large bowl, stir all dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter or fork, break up butter until coarse texture forms and there are little chunks of butter throughout. Stir in chocolate chunks and milk. Drop by the spoonful onto prepared pan. (I used a cookie scoop and made mini ones, but this should make 8 regular). Bake 8-10 minutes for mini ones and 10-14 minutes for the larger ones. Cool completely before topping with strawberries and cream.
For the cream, whip heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch together until firm peaks form. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cut chocolate biscuits in half horizontally and fill with cream and sliced strawberries. Top with more cream and strawberries and serve! YUM.

Grandma’s Potato Salad

2 Jun

Hope you guys all had a great day off on Monday! My husband’s family got together for Memorial day and had a BBQ! The weather was a little chilly, but it was still a lot of fun! My daughter waited by the sliding glass door into the backyard for someone to take her out to jump on the trampoline. That girl of mine is a daredevil! Eventually I gave in…..and so did my husband……and her grandpa…..and a few of her cousins! She just can’t get enough of the trampoline. I think its turning into a slight addiction.
Anyways, this is truly one of the best recipes I have for potato salad-its a classic in my book. It’s not your typical same ol’ potato salad and because this is my Grandma’s recipe! There are a few things that make this recipe unique: (1) you marinate the potatoes in a vinegar mixture for a good long time, 12-24 hours is best (2) there is no egg or mustard or pickles in this recipe (3) you add in the mayonnaise typically right before serving and (4) you boil the potatoes whole and then peel and cut them afterwards….maybe this one should have been number one…..oh well.
The technique for making this potato salad is really quite simple–it just takes a while to make, but it is well worth the wait! Typically, thats how most homemade ‘from scratch’ recipes work–yes, they take a while, but you can feel good about feeding them to your family because they aren’t processed. And, buying all the separate ingredients as opposed to a mix or a pre made meal is less expensive and will get you a lot more for food your buck. So you spend a little more time making it in exchange for healthier unprocessed meals. I think its worth it most days.

For this potato salad, I used Idaho potatoes, onions, celery, parsley flakes, vinegar, salt, sugar, water and real mayonnaise–inexpensive ingredients that most of us have on hand at all times. My kind of recipe! And as long as you store it properly in the fridge, the potato salad should last at least a week! No wasting food today! Its like a win win win recipe. I love that. Also, I’ve been in contact with Audrey from tightwadinutah.com and her tips for saving money and finding coupons have helped me keep grocery bills lower! So, check her site out sometime! Its great!

So, back to this recipe: I copied this recipe from my Grandma and it consisted of ingredients with no measurements! I said “Grandma! How is it possible that you have no measurements on here?” and she said “I don’t know…..I just make it until it tastes right!” Haha! Thats how most of my Grandma’s recipes are so this is the best I could do getting as close to the original recipe as possible. I think its pretty darn close, too, so hooray! I was pretty happy with the result and everyone at the BBQ loved it too. Next time you have a get together, give this a whirl and see how many compliments you get because there are bound to be a few!

Grandma’s Potato Salad
yield: 12 servings or so

Ingredients:
12 Idaho potatoes
1/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes (if you use fresh, add it in right before serving)
1/2 large onion, diced finely
5 ribs celery, washed and diced
1 1/4 cups real mayonnaise (use a full fat good quality one)

Directions:
Boil (whole) potatoes until soft- a knife should be able to be inserted easily. Drain potatoes and let cool 20 minutes or so. In large bowl, combine water, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, parsley, onion and celery together. Set aside. Peel warm potatoes (skin should come off really easily using a butter knife or spoon), cut into large cubes and place into vinegar mixture in bowl. Stir to coat warm potatoes in marinating liquid. Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours. Before serving, stir in mayonnaise. Keep cool until ready to serve.

Homemade Ranch Dip

31 May

Move over hidden valley ranch packets! I have got an easy and fresh 100% homemade ranch dip recipe for you guys! Perfect accompaniment for your Memorial Day BBQ’s! And, all the ingredients are extremely common, so you are more likely to whip this up without having to go to the store to get that one last ingredient that you inevitably forgot. I love recipes like this!

Took me about 10 minutes to make this dip and prep all the vegetables for this veggie tray I ended up bringing to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon. I placed it down with the rest of the food buffet style and everyone helped themselves. A few hour into the party, the host came up to me and asked me specifics about the dip. I explained everything I put into it and to her surprise she responsed “its not one of those ranch dip packets?” NOPE!! She then said “fresh ranch is always so much better than store bought stuff” to which I totally agreed! There aren’t any random ingredients that you can’t pronounce in this recipe! All fresh and all 100% natural! My favorite quote from the party was “I could drink that stuff” (referring to my dip!) Needless to say, it was a hit.

I was planning on posting a different recipe today, but since this dip got rave reviews, I decided to post this instead! Hope you guys like it! And, you can add in some buttermilk or plain milk to thin it out and have homemade ranch dressing too! Two in one! Have a great day off!

Homemade Ranch Dip
yield: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup real good quality mayonnaise (I use Real Foods brand-yellow and blue label)
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup finely minced onion

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Serve with cold fresh vegetables, or thin out dip with a few splashes of buttermilk to make ranch dressing.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

29 May

GUESS WHAT? I was bored with the old website, so I quickly put together a NEW AND IMPROVED golokitchen.com site during my daughters nap time yesterday! I tried to make it more user friendly and more functional. I have a more obvious search bar and labels column to search through the site for effectively. Also, you still can become a follower and even see what I’m up to day to day on twitter! You can be as involved as you want. I appreciate every comment, every follower and every tweet! If you’re interested, you can check out the golokitchen store and see some kitchen items that I can’t live without! And with that, here’s what I have to say about today’s recipe!

Well, here’s another video for you guys, as per request! Please excuse the ‘um’s’! I was a little nervous (and I clearly hadn’t looked in the mirror before filming, but thats a whole other story…) Oh well! Its all about the food anyways, right? RIGHT?!?!

Anyways, I wanted to do a more summery recipe because its Memorial Day weekend and most of you will probably be outside grilling up your steaks and eating lots of fresh fruit…..
or something like that. As for me and my gang, we are still stuck inside because of this awful weather! Boo to the rain. Well, at least my garden seems to be thriving! I am pretty excited for all my tomatoes and peppers and green beans and everything else to grow and ripen so I can eat it all! But, don’t get me wrong- I’m still unimpressed with this weather. I’m supposed to run 12 miles tomorrow! TWELVE! Most likely in this cold rainy weather. I’ll let you know how that goes…..

So all that weather banter was supposed to lead me to why I made these sweet and sour meatballs tonight- they are stick to your ribs good eats and are ready to eat in 30 minutes or less! So easy a monkey could make ’em! I didn’t have breadcrumbs on hand so I did without, but I did write them into the recipe because I usually do add them in. The first time I made these for Gordon, we had already been married a year and a half. I don’t know why I didn’t ever make them before then….hmm….anyways in a nutshell he basically said ‘why have you neglected to make these for me until NOW?’ meaning: ‘these are so good how could you have forgotten about them?’ My response was: “I don’t know…I just did” (I was pregnant at the time and blame it on that–did you know that a woman’s brain SHRINKS in size 3-5% during pregnancy? I just read that today. Shocker!) I am all over the map tonight. Sorry folks. I digress.

Back to these cute little meatballs–they are so good! Like I said in the video, its the sauce that makes these little babies great. My mom used to make these in a crock pot and take them to parties as an appetizer! All you need are toothpicks! Also, she’s used this sauce to coat chicken wings in which is also equally delicious. Try it sometime! Just FYI, I’ve tweaked my mom’s recipe a touch to make it better according to my palate and I hope you all will do the same! If you don’t like something in a recipe, change it! Don’t be a wimp! Ok, after that pep talk, get ready for a fun few minutes of cooking in your kitchen! Hope you like video #2!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
yield:15 small meatballs; enough for 2 or 3

Ingredients:
for the meatballs-
1/2 lb. ground beef (80/20)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
salt
pepper
1 egg
1/3-1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

for the sauce-
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
pepper

Directions:
In deep skillet, heat oil. In large bowl, mix together ingredients for meatballs. Scoop into small meat balls and roll in between palms to form. Fry little meatballs until browned. In bowl or measuring cup, mix together all ingredients for sweet and sour sauce. Pour sauce into hot pan to cover cooked meatballs. Cover and simmer on low heat for at least 15-20 minutes. Serve over hot with rice or cooked barley if you’re feeling extra healthy and adventurous. Barley has more fiber and protein and rice! Give it a whirl!

My Favorite Shortbread

4 May

This recipe is an old family favorite. I remember making these for my elementary school teachers around Christmas time. There are 6 kids in my family and when we all were in school, my Mom would always opt for this shortbread or her microwave chocolate fudge to make. After I made this a few times, I then understood that she made this shortbread because its quick and easy, takes very few ingredients and looks fancy.
The thing about this shortbread is that you form the dough into long skinny logs, bake them and then fill them with melted chocolate or jam. Then you drizzle some icing over the top and voila! A fancy dessert! Usually we use strawberry or raspberry jam, but I didn’t have any, so I used apricot pineapple! Really, any flavor would work well. Let me know if you venture out and try something new!
Just as a side note, me and the little one are doing a walk through of the apartment we totally have fallen in love with. Gordon is still on his business trip, sadly. He’ll be home by the end of the week! Wahoo! Maybe I’ll make more shortbread to celebrate….
Shortbread Logs
yield: 16-24
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened (DO NOT use margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
melted chocolate, jam, anything you want to fill the shortbread with
1/2 cup powdered sugar
a few splashes milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and flour until combined-it will be crumbly but will stay together when formed into shapes. Divide dough into 4 equal balls. Form each ball into a log the length of the cookie sheet with a depression in the centre. They will be long and skinny, about 1 inch wide. Bake 12-15 minutes. When warm, fill with desired fillings. Mix powdered sugar and milk together to create a runny icing. Using a spoon, drizzle icing over filled shortbread logs. Cut on the diagonal into pieces once cooled.

A Classic: Blue Cheese Bacon Burgers

7 Mar

Man, do I love a good burger and this one will not disappoint! Typically, I’m not a huge meat eater, but today for some reason I was craving a big juicy burger…..with the bacon…..and cheese on top. Sometimes you just gotta give into those cravings (that happened to be encouraged by my husband).
These babies are really easy to whip up its a little ridiculous. It was probably 20 minutes start to finish. You cook your bacon, cook your burgers and then put them all together. And, let me tell you that burgers are so delicious when made with BBQ sauce. Its my new favorite thing to do these days. Love love love the BBQ sauce. If you have a great burger recipe that you’d prefer then by all means, use that one. Pretty sure bacon and cheese would be good on just about anything.
I used a skillet on my stove top because lets face it–its still winter and there’s still snow on the ground. But, if you live in warmer climates or want to brave the weather, go use that outdoor grill! And know that I am jealous.
Here’s the pan I used (click here) and here’s another great indoor grill that would work well too (click here)!
Happy Eating!!
Blue Cheese Bacon Burgers

Yield: 6 Burgers
Ingredients:
1 lb. ground chuck (80/20)
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/2 cup good BBQ sauce
salt
pepper
6 slices bacon
1/4-1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
lettuce
mayonnaise
6 whole wheat rolls
Directions:
In large skillet, cook bacon to personal preference. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off excess bacon grease leaving 1 tablespoon. In large bowl, mix ground chuck, onion, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper until well combined. Divide into 6 equal patties that are 1/2 inch thick. Turn skillet up to medium high heat. Cook burgers 3 minutes then flip and top with blue cheese crumbles. Cover and cook 2 more minutes. To assemble, cut rolls in half, spread mayonnaise on one half of the bun and top with lettuce, cooked burger and bacon. Party in your mouth.