Thursday, January 31, 2013

Inside-Out Stuffed Peppers

Soooo, this one is for the folks who, on a regular basis, like to tease me about our "fancy", "gourmet" meals.  Ahem, yeah, you know who you are.

I will agree that, yes, most weeks I cook every night.  The majority of the time, the dinner I put on the table is edible.  And in a lot of cases, pretty darn good.  Gourmet it is not.

I love food.  I love to eat food, look at food, smell food, talk about food, take pictures of food, make food, and feed people food.  Plus, planning meals and eating at home is waaaaay less expensive than eating out or running to the grocery store on a whim.  Trust me, before kids, that's how I did it too.  On my way home from work I'd be like, mmmm, steak.  Or, mmmmm, pasta.  And every once in awhile, I'll still get a hankerin' for something and we'll walk over to the store for the ingredients.  But it's just so much easier, for me, to plan ahead and not have to think about what I'm gonna make for dinner.  I usually have five or six things to choose from, plus back ups like grilled cheese and tomato soup or an easy pasta.

And yes, there are nights when all I want to do is "phone a friend" for our meal, aka, call The Dad and nonchalantly suggest he bring something home, rather than step foot in the kitchen.  But once we're all sitting down to eat, it's soooo much better than some crap from drive-thru that sits in your gut for two days.  Although, I can tear up a Big Mac, (or two), like it's my job.  And two nights ago, all I wanted was a crunch wrap supreme from Taco Bell.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  If I was single and childless, I would have gotten in the car.  I ate a bagel and chocolate chip cookies instead.  Everyone's tummies were still on the mend, and all they wanted was fruit for dinner.

Anyyyyyway, after all that blabbing, I have a recipe for you.  And it is the farthest thing from gourmet.  I used to make this all the time in my early 20's.  Then, I think I was off ground meat for awhile and I just hadn't made it since.  Until now.  Dun dun dun duuuun.

The recipe calls for ground beef, which is how I always made it, but I decided to switch it up and use turkey this time.  My food tastes have changed over the years, but this was still as good as I remembered it. 

Here's the recipe with my notes:

Inside-Out Stuffed Peppers

1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1/2 C chopped onion
1 16-oz can stewed tomatoes, cut up (fresh are good too)
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (I've always used two)
1/2 C uncooked long grain rice
1/2 C water
2 tsp worcestershire
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 C shredded cheddar cheese (I threw on some pepper jack this time as well)

In a skillet, brown meat and drain.  (I cooked the onions with the meat for The Dad's sake and I also threw in a few cloves of minced garlic.)
Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cheese, and stir to combine.
Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until rice is tender.  (I gave mine a stir halfway through to make sure all the rice was gettin' some liquid.)
Uncover and sprinkle cheese on top.  Return to oven until cheese melts, about 5 minutes more.

I'd say you could call it a casserole.  
 Here's dinner:

We had a salad, with ICEBURG lettuce (it doesn't get less fancy than that) and bread.
Here's dinner on my plate:

The Dad's workin' overtime tonight, so I'm thinkin' a gourmet frozen pizza is soundin' pretty good for dinner.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pocket Pizzas

The Girl got a cookbook for Christmas and this was one of the recipes out of it.   She asked to make it, so I got the ingredients during my last grocery trip and we did 'em up for lunch the other day.  This is kinda genius and I'll definitely be doing them again for a fun dinner soon.

The recipe includes crust instructions, but I'm all for shortcuts, so I picked up a bag of fresh dough at the store.  
We also adapted the fillings to use what she likes best.
Hawaiian all the way.  
I split the dough in half and filled one for me as well.  
What?  I'm the one actually making it!

So instead of a recipe, I'll just give ya the 411.  
Feel free to bust out your own dough recipe.  Or buy a bag of fresh.  Or pick it up at your favorite pizza joint.  Or use the stuff in the tube.  Whatever works for your house.

Roll out your dough into one giant circle, or split it up into individual ones.  
Throw your favorite pizza toppings onto half.

I needed tomato sauce for one of our meals this week, so I just opened up a can and spread a couple tablespoons of it onto The Girl's.  
I added some Italian seasoning and garlic powder for flavor and then layered on grated mozzarella, Canadian bacon and pineapple.
Once you've got all your goodies on, fold it in half and pull the bottom lip up over the top and press to seal.
I baked ours on parchment, but a greased cookie sheet would work just as well.
 Cook at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or follow the directions on the dough you're using.

Here's The Girl's Hawaiian Pizza Pocket:

Okay, YES, I ate some of hers too.
And it was really good.
But guess what I put in mine?
I'll wait......

Trader Joe's Blue Cheese Pecan Dip and Sliced Pears.

Here's The Mom's:

 Yeah, that didn't suck at all.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hello Kitty Kid Apron

Oh yes, The Mom took on another sewing project.  But guess what, I didn't screw up at all this time.  It's a Christmas miracle.  Okay, Christmas is over, but it's a winter miracle at least.

Is there anything cuter than Hello Kitty?  Let me answer that for you.  No.  There isn't.

The neighbor girl turned six last week, and since Em has really loved her new cookbook she got for Christmas, I thought I'd get one for the birthday girl.  Then I thought it would be fun to wrap an apron up with it, 'cause, as most of you probably don't know, I have a wee bit of an apron fetish.

I searched around on Etsy a bit and found some really cute one's, but they were out of my price range.  So I hit up Amazon and I suppose they were reasonably priced, but with shipping, it was still more than I had to spend.  Soooooo, off to Pinterest for inspiration I went.

I ended up downloading this pattern, and then adapted it to the size I wanted.  
And then, of course, I had to add stuff that wasn't necessary.  
Like a ruffle.  And trim. And pockets.

I also made double-fold bias tape for the first time in my life.  
I used this super easy to follow tutorial.
And now I really want the tool.

The best part about this whole project, other than the fact that I didn't have to get out my seam ripper even once, was that I used stuff I already had.
No late night trips to the fabric store.
All the fabric was in my stash.  The pompom trim was leftover from Baby's room.  I used heat n' bond (is that what it's called?) that was leftover from the ukulele pillow for Kitty's face. 
And it only took me an entire Saturday to make.  Ha!

Before I even started, I had thought about doing pockets, but then changed my mind 'cause the tutorials I had looked at made it sound like a lot of extra work.
But then The Dad walked by mid-project, saw the arm cut-outs laying on the floor and said, oh, you're makin' pockets?
Why yes, yes I am.  
So I added some of the bias tape to those bad boys and sewed them on.

The ruffle is the same material as Kitty's face.

My model is a little frowny in these next pictures.
I couldn't figure out why she was so grouchy.
Then she proceeded to puke all night, so I guess she deserved to be a little grumpy.
Poor thing didn't feel good.

In addition to the heat n' bond, I machine stitched around Kitty's face and bow.
I hand stitched around her eyes and nose and used embroidery floss for her whiskers.

As I mentioned, the pockets came from the arm holes that I had cut out.
Two sides were already hemmed, so I just sewed some of the bias tape on the raw edge and stitched the whole thing to the front of the apron.

It was hard to get pictures of the whole thing when it was hanging, so here it is spread out on the floor.


I had to take a ton of pictures because, of course, now The Girl wants one.
I need to be able to see how I did it.  :)

Just for fun, here it is hangin' from the coat tree.

Is there anything cuter than Hello Kitty?
Yeah, I know, I asked that already, but she is so dang cute!

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