Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1 Year Blogiversary & Giveaway!



Do you believe it?  One whole year!  Where has the time gone?  What have we been doing?  Obviously cooking and baking!!  

So my friends I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyalty, readership, encouragement... heck I just want to thank you for being you!!
I have an amazing giveaway for you.  It's the easiest one yet, and it's awesome!  I want to present a $100 Restaurant.com certificate to one of my readers!!  




Dinner is ON ME!!  That is how much I love you!!         I would like nothing more for you to go out and enjoy a nice dinner!  I can't come to you and cook, so I can do the next best thing right?


Okay, the only mandatory requirement:  Share this post on Facebook.  Come back and email me the link through my "Kontact".  That is it. Seriously, how easy right?

Want more entry chances?  They can be found in Rafflecopter.

Must be 18 years or older to enter.
Must be a legal resident of the US.

You can enter 1x a day with a new URL share email. 
That is it, easy peasy yes?  Good luck everyone!!
Thank you so much again for your readership, loyalty and above all your friendship!!






Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Toffee Chip Rice Crispy Treats

Doesn't it look fun?

I had such fun making these!  Everything went smoothly, they came out exactly how I wanted them to come out!  
If you believe that, man do I have a nice piece of property to offer you!!
Let me backtrack.  I am not a professional pastry chef.  I am a hopeful, wistful home cook who has great visions of culinary art.  That being said, it doesn't mean I can actually re-create what I have imagined, but hey one can try right?


With this little visionary reenactment, I was having the dreaded wafer issues.  Have you had wafer issues?  You know, when the melted wafer hardens faster than you can smooth it down, so you get little rivers and valley's and all sorts of streams running through your supposed to be a flat surface?  
Yes my friends, that is what "wafer issues" are.  
Never-the-less, I think they came out pretty well considering my skills are definitely not trophy winning to say the least! I am going to call them "rustic", that fits right?



However, I did really enjoy making these, and they taste AMAZING!!  You have toffee bits, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, marshmallows and rice crispy cereal.  What's not to love?  I also adore that they are no bake and you can either use the wafer's melts like me, or your own personal frosting to decorate.  I used heart cookie cutters for the upcoming holiday, you know the day of "Amore", aka also known as Valentine's Day.  You can certainly use whatever cookie cutter and frosting you want.


These will be really fun for a children's party!!  I cannot wait for grandchildren!!  I guess I shouldn't write this because my older married children do read my blog...
MOMMY LOVES YOU GUYS, no pressure, no pressure I say!!!
<sigh>



Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5-6 minutes
Yield: 12 medium-large cutter shapes (more if using smaller cutters)

Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
1 pkg miniature marshmallows
4 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal
3 tbsp toffee bits
3 tbsp semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups white vanilla wafer melts
1 1/2 cups red vanilla wafer melts

Additional tools:
Aluminum foil 
Large baking sheet
Preferred cookie cutters
1 tbsp butter for buttering hands

Directions:
-In a medium non-stick pot add your butter and let melt. Sneak just a few toffee bits.

-Once butter has melted, add your marshmallows. Sneak a couple more toffee bits.

-Stirring constantly melt your marshmallows.  Go ahead and sneak a just a few more toffee bits.  What??

-Once marshmallows have melted, add your rice crispy cereal all at once, stirring vigorously, incorporate the cereal.  Now let's add our toffee bits (sneaking a few more...) and the semi sweet chocolate chips.  

-On a non stick sprayed aluminum sheet, spread your crispy mixture.  

-Using buttered hand, press down and smooth down till even height.  Let cool for a few minutes.

-With a cookie cutter, press into mixture and cut your pieces.


-Place on a wired rack so crispy treats can harden just a bit.


-How cute are these, right?


-Melt your wafers according to manufacturer's instructions.  I used a small squirt bottle to frost.  You can certainly use your preferred method.


-Once the base has been applied, decorate using your favorite wafer or frosting.




I just think these are so downright pretty!!  Even though they are not perfect, they are rustic and original enough that your recipients will surely appreciate them!

Don't forget to grab a couple more toffee chips!!
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Shared with Mix it Up Monday


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Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What is π and why do you want me to find your X


Yes my friends, I have asked this question.  Heck who am I kidding, I'm still asking this question!! Why is it that everyone around me including kindergartener's knew that "π" was 3.14444...   
Except for me?  What are they adding to Enfamil (baby formula) these days, Algerbraic enzymes? Seriously right now?  Really?  Are you kidding me?
This is my life these day's,  I am now a full time student!

I did not share earlier, but I must share now.  I lost my job the day before Thanksgiving of last year.  Happy Holiday's right?
NOT!!  I was devastated to be quite honest with you!!  It was totally unexpected!
I think, no I know, that what hurt me the most is that not a single co-worker has called me, texted me or emailed me to see how I am doing...
Wow, talk about compassion right?  
That just re-instates to me the financial crisis America is facing as we speak.  Everyone is scared to lose their jobs!!  No I'm not joking, I am being serious for once! Either that or everyone hated me, which I know is not true!!  I had some friends there, at least I thought I did, heck I was there for 8 years!!  Obviously not!!  
My husband just kindly reminded me that I have always kept my personal and business life separate.  So I guess that would account for some of that then huh?  Oh well...

I walked out feeling shocked and bewildered!!  I didn't think I would have a hard time finding a job because of my education and experience.  
Well I am  here to tell you, if you are a "middle age something, something", you are now CONSIDERED OVER QUALIFIED!  After several sessions with my career counselor, she suggested I go back to school.  I agreed with her, even though I was highly hesitant.  I mean back to school?  With like college kids and all? Young men and women, my kids age? Meaning, I am the oldest one in the class including the professors for the most part... "Hello McCfly"??
So this is where I am, back to school as a full-time student.  I am attending school with kids my own kids ages, however, there are quite a few students my age and older to be honest.  
I am actually enjoying it for the most part except for math!!  Freakin hate math!!  

So with that being said, I want to tell you I won't be posting 3x a week as before.  Studying is hard, and because I'm old and slow, it's even harder "don't ya know"!!  Hey, that rhymes!!
I hope you are patient regarding my posting.  I will be posting but not as often during the week as I normally do!!  
I want to thank you in advance for your readership, loyalty and support!!  That means the world to me!!  ♥♥♥

For now my friends, I am off to figure out  what the heck "X" is...

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ultimate Nacho Mac & Cheese Dinner




Seriously delicious

Have you ever looked a recipe and said, "yum"?  You have?  I know me too! This is how this recipe came about.  
My friend Dana created this amazing Nacho Mac & Cheese - original recipe found HERE.
Then my friend Linda "tweaked" Dana's recipe for lack of a better word, creating the Ultimate Nacho Mac & Cheese - original recipe found HERE.

Loving both these recipes, I added my own "little spin" on it as well.  Voila, the "Ultimate Nacho Mac & Cheese Dinner".
The base is pretty much the same with little additions added in here and there.  Isn't that how most recipes are created anyway? Do you agree?  


I'm still trying to figure out why this picture is so dull, I think it was tired, it needed olives I say!!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1(1lb) uncooked elbow macaroni
1lb ground beef
1 can Rotel original diced tomatoes and chilis
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 can refried beans (I used fat free)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
11/2 cups shredded Pepperjack cheese
1/2 block (4 OZ) cream cheese cubed
1 small can (4.5OZ) crushed green chilis, undrained
3 cups crushed tortilla chips
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder

Toppings:
Sour cream
Sliced olives
Diced tomatoes


Directions:
-Place stockpot with water and salt on the stove to boil for pasta. 

-Meanwhile, in a small bowl, empty contents of refried beans along with cumin, salt and chili powder.  Stir till thoroughly incorporated, set aside.

Using a large skillet, brown ground beef  till no longer pink.  Add taco seasoning mix.  Mix thoroughly.  Add your refried beans and continue mixing, cooking till all are combined.  At this point I highly suggest taking a wee taste of the filling.  Look around the kitchen, since you're alone, grab another clean spoon and go ahead and take another small taste.  What??  OCD you say?  <sigh>
I can't double dip, I just can't do it, even with my own family.
I know, another group therapy session...





-Preheat oven to 350F.  Using a 13 X 9 pan, pre-spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.

-Cook your pasta till al dente.  Strain and return back to stockpot.
Let's add in that scrumptious cream cheese - you know the one where you have to reprimand yourself for taking off small hunks? Oh wait, that's me!  Let us continue.

-Start incorporating the cheese into the hot pasta, add in the shredded Cheddar cheese till the cheese is about melted. Now we add in the diced tomatoes & chilis, undrained. 

-Next comes the crushed chilis, and then finally that amazing seasoned ground beef, mix well.

-Pour pasta into baking pan.  Sprinkle the crushed tortilla chips.  Top with the Pepperjack cheese.

-Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes till everything has warmed through and you can barely stand it!

-Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  Top with your favorite sides.  I love tomatoes, olives and sour cream, you know the "other food group"...

However, you can use whatever toppings you like, just make sure you don't leave out the sour cream! *grin*




Are we heading to the pantry for a box of pasta?  Can you taste it? 

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BBQ Chipotle Sausage Pockets

Delicious

I wanted to make something different for dinner, out of my normal box different.  I thought about it (scary I know) for a few minutes... For the life of me I could not figure out what I wanted.  So I did my "idea inspiring" ritual, I made myself a frappe coffee.
I still cannot understand how the frappe does that to me, but my friends I am here to tell you, it does. The ideas, are almost like picture flashes. They go by so quickly, I can barely grasp them.  Do you think it's because I make the coffee extra strong?  

One of the flashes was a hot pocket of some kind. The other flash was of sauteed onions and peppers.  A micro flash was of Chipotle.
Aha!  


I quickly went to the pantry and grabbed the flour and yeast.  Almost skipping with delight, I headed straight for the mixer and gleefully added the flour, yeast and water.  Artisan dough would be perfect for this!  



Once the dough was mixed and covered with a clean towel, I made myself another frappe!  
The ideas were flowing.  I literally had to stifle a giggle as I pulled the sausage out of the refrigerator!  My next step is to set the stage.  Stifling yet another giggle, I went to my laptop and with a click, click, click of the keys I had my favorite playlist pulled up and set on "play all".  Yes, now we're in business!
The dogs, hearing the music understood exactly what was happening.  They took their places underneath the dining room table, strategically facing the kitchen for hopes of "anything" dropping to the floor.

Checklist.

Dough =
Frappe Coffee =
Music =
Dogs =

Okay, we are ready to roll...
Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 30 minutes (does not include making dough)
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 18 small-medium pockets

Ingredients:
Filling:
1lb Chipotle Chorizo flavored sausage (I used Al Fresco found here)
1 large bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 large onion, sliced in strips
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 1/2 tsp Adobo sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups shredded Pepperjack cheese

Artisan Dough:
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Topping:
4 tbsp butter melted
1/4 tsp Adobo sauce
1 tsp BBQ sauce

Directions:
*You can either make the Artisan dough provided in this recipe.  Use your favorite bread recipe, or purchase store bought pizza dough*

-Add all the ingredients for the Artisan dough in your mixer bowl.  Using the dough hook attachment, mix at medium speed till a ball is formed.  Remove dough from mixer bowl and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp of Canola oil to the dough and flip over so both sides are covered.  Cover with a towel and let rise for 2 hours.  At the end of 2 hours you can now use this dough for crusts etc.

If you want to make bread; then you simply shape the dough into whatever shape you want with floured hands and using a floured work area.  Cover one more time, and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 400F 27-30 minutes.  The bread rises higher if you place an oven proof container with water onto the bottom floor of your oven.  The steam from the water gives it a nice crusty outside texture and super moist and airy inside!


Is that beautiful or what?  I'm telling you, total no fail bread!

-Using a medium size skillet, melt your butter.  Add your onions, saute for a few minutes and add your peppers.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes and add your BBQ sauce along with your Adobo sauce.  Saute for another couple of minutes to ensure all the flavors have blended.  Take off heat, and set aside to cool.



-Gather the rest of your ingredients.  Slice your sausages, have the cheese at the ready.  

-The dough should be ready now, I'm ready to play, are you?

-On a floured work area, place your dough and roll out to 1/4" thickness.  Using your favorite round mold cutter, cut all your circles out at once.  This makes for quicker processing. *grin*




-Add 1 tablespoon or so of the onion & pepper mixture to the center of your dough circle.



-Top with 1 tsp or so of the shredded Pepperjack cheese.



-Add a couple of your sausage slices.



-Fold over and press down lightly to seal.




-Using the tines of a fork, seal all the way around the opening.


-Using a spatula, lift pocket and place on aluminum lined cookie sheet.  I always add about 1 tablespoon of corn flour to the bottom.  I can be really devious this way, it's the rebel in me!
Not to mention I absolutely love the rustic crunch, it's just delectable... try it!


-Continue filling pockets till all the dough has been used.  

-Cover the pans with a towel and let rise for 35-40 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400F.  

-Melt your butter, once butter has melted add your BBQ sauce along with your Adobo sauce.  Stir thoroughly.  Baste the tops of your pockets.

-Bake for 30-35 minutes till nicely golden brown.

If you really want to "kick it up a notch", then you can add pepperoni to this along with the sausage.  I have to be honest with you, they totally rocked!!


If you really want to make these but cannot be bothered to make the individual smaller pockets, how about a larger loaf one?  With the above dough recipe you can make 4 larger loaves.  Process the dough as before, just roll out differently obviously, and then just add your meats.  



I prefer the smaller ones as do my daughter's.  However, my husband really liked the bigger logs.  He called it "a man's portion"!  Next time I'll add extra hot peppers to his, because it is after all... you know, the "manly thing to do"!




So in closing, I've always wanted to say that.  I don't know, makes me sound all educated and stuff... I just sat up straighter, wow that phrase really works!

So in closing, *hehehe*, these are one of the tastiest pockets I've had in a very long time.  I don't know if it's the BBQ sauce, the Adobo sauce, the amazing sausage, or the combination of all, but they are absolutely awesome!  
I'm thinking game time too, how 'bout you?





Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, January 21, 2013

Slow Cooker Smoky Parsley Potato Soup

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So warm and comforting

The weather has just been weird.  I mean beyond weird!  One day we are in the high 60's (F) and the next day we are in the low 20's (F).  What is going on?

I don't know about you, but when it is snowing and bitter cold out, comfort hot foods are in order. What is more comforting than a nice bowl of hot potato soup?  
I absolutely love this potato soup because first and foremost you prepare it in your slow cooker, SCORE!  Secondly, it's family and budget friendly, and thirdly, as easy to put together as gathering up a few potatoes.




You can serve this smoky soup with either the shredded smoked turkey pictured below, or the absolutely decadent and it's very own food group BACON pictured above.  I cannot decide which one I like better to be honest with you.  I found myself surrounded by bowls of soup, going back and forth between the shredded smoked turkey and the bacon topped soup.  For research purposes you understand.


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Let us not forget the hot sauce.  I am currently having a love affair with the Jalapeno Tabasco version.  My husband however, is secure enough in our marriage that he does not feel threatened in any way...
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Okay, okay just a little more hot sauce - I know, I'm incorrigible! 


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Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 7-8 hours on low
Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
4-5 medium potatoes (quartered)
3 stalks celery, roughly diced
1 large onion, roughly diced
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (I used Kosher)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/3 cup instant potato flakes
32 OZ chicken broth
Smoked turkey or ham
2 cups water
*optional* crumbled bacon

Directions:
-Place potatoes at the bottom of slow cooker. 

-Add the dried seasonings directly over the potatoes.

-Top with the parsley, onion and celery.  



-Add your bouillon cubes, your chicken broth and water.

-Place your turkey legs directly on top of vegetables.  Cover and cook on low.



-When the potatoes have cooked, removed turkey or ham, set aside to cool and shred.

-Using an immersion blender or a blender (be careful when handling hot liquids), puree the potatoes and vegetables till your favorite consistency.  I like a thick smooth potato soup, so I blend it pretty smooth.  The soup will still be very hot.  Using a whisk, sprinkle in the instant potato flakes and whisk till fully incorporated and the soup is so thick you just can't help but grab a small spoon and taste.
Oh wait, that was me...

-Adjust for seasonings, and top with either the smoked meat or BACON.  Heck, live a little add both!


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Blog Hop shared recipe:   Susie QT Pies - National Soup Month Recipes




Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi