Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cavatelli Pasta - Guest Post by Cooking on a Budget

Tell me about it...

I asked my very good friend Patty from "Cooking on a Budget" if she could guest blog for me, as I;
1.  Love her recipes
2. They are budget friendly, (duh the name Didi)
3. Are super easy to make

Imagine my surprise when she said "yes"!  I was over the moon I say, over the moon!
I have to say, Patty's recipes are always delicious, but what I love most about Patty and her amazing blog is the ease of her recipes with no "out of this world, I have to buy this $$$ zillion dollar bottle of spices to use but for one time" kind of blog.  Well as you know my friends, I am all about the money!  So this spoke well and true to my heart...
Let's just say, we connected.  I am honored to showcase one of Patty's amazing recipes on my blog.  I am more honored to call her my friend!! ♥

You can find Cooking on a Budget at:  Patty 
Awwww, come on, follow her on FB   Patty's Facebook Page 
Love Pinterest? Follow Patty on Pinterest:  Patty on Pinterest  

 This is another one of Patty's recipes that literally made me drool and is on "make now" list!!  One Pot Farfalle Pasta Sausage Dinner

On to Patty's recipe... 

Hello everyone. My name is Patty Anderson and I am owner of a food blog titled, "Cooking on a Budget". Didi and I met on social media (Facebook) this past winter season. We instantly connected and formed a wonderful friendship on line.
Most recently Didi has recommitted herself to spending more time cooking and blogging her own recipes and decided it was time to have a little make over on her blog. With that in mind she also thought that it would be great to have an occasional guest blogger come over with a recipe. How delighted am I that she chose me? I was thrilled, excited and it felt really, really good to be asked.
The recipe I chose to make and showcase here on Didi's blog represents the whole idea behind my blog which is to feed your family well and still maintain a decent food budget. This is a simple and inexpensive recipe that you could actually eat as a meal for lunch or dinner. It's delicious and filling. It would also make a lovely side dish to any poultry recipe. It would go absolutely wonderful alongside my Panko Crusted Chicken Cutlets for instance. I have fresh sage growing in the garden so that basically was my inspiration for this delicious and tasty pasta recipe.
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage - chopped
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  1. Over medium heat add the half and half to a sauce pot and let it get nice and warm, but not bubbling around the edges.
  2. Then add in the Parmesan cheese and mix really well. Cook for a couple of minutes or so on medium low heat.
  3. Add in the sage and stir and cook for a few minutes to allow the sage flavor to develop.
  4. On the side mix the cornstarch with the chicken broth until the cornstarch is fully incorporated.
  5. Add that mixture to the pan and turn the heat to medium low and keep stirring until incorporated and allow the sauce to thicken just slightly. You want to sauce to coat the back of a spoon nicely. It only takes a few minutes.
This dish comes together so quickly and is not expensive at all. If you had to purchase a small amount of fresh sage the total cost for the dish is about $4.72, feeding four people. My cost was around $3.43. If you want to substitute dried sage for fresh sage, use 1 teaspoon of the dried sage.

Didi has been so kind in that she wants me to put my social media links here on the page, so you can follow me on:

I hope you have enjoyed today's post, and are already following Patty as I am.  I plan on asking my amazing foodie friend bloggers for more of their recipes, because, "diversity is the spice of life", and "talent is to share not hoard".  That's my philosophy, and I'm sticking to it...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Greek Gyro Pizzas

 Trust me, I know....
You can definitely recreate this at your dinner table/gathering and be the star of the show too...

My daughter's grad party is next week, so I am cleaning out the fridges and freezer to make room, you so know how that is, right?
I know!  Low and behold, I thought I had used up the last of the vacuum sealed homemade gyro slices, but I found one more package.  Yay!!  Oh no!  I have no pita bread in the house, and I'm plumb out of tzatziki sauce!  What is a Greek girl to do I ask??  "Ahhhaaaaa" {insert Mr. Portakalos from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding}. The ideas were 'a rollin'.

So, me being me, I decided to make "Gyro Pizzas".  Yes, yes I did.  And I have to tell you my friends, they were 'rockin out of this world good'!! ♥  My family loved them, and actually the two girls and MY HUSBAND <sigh> were actually fighting for the last piece.  "What am I going to do with that man"?

The pizzas contain a nice garlic olive oil base, fresh herbs, those succulent gyro slices, feta cheese, green onion, and fresh summer tomatoes...
Need I say more?  These individual pizzas are light, bursting with flavor, and easy, peasy to make.  Did I mention delicious?  The combination of the crispy Naan bread, along with the flavorful gyro slices, and then the fresh veggies?  "Oh yes"!  But better yet, there super easy!!

The recipe for the Homemade Gyro along with step by step video instructions can be found HERE.  

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time:  15 minutes
Bake time: 20 - 25 minutes
Yield: 4 individual pizzas

8 Gyro slices, diced
2 medium vine ripened, or summer tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, diced (including white part)
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled, divided
4 Naan Flat breads
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed (mashed, I used a mortar and pestal)
3 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, or 1-1/2 tbsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

-Preheat your oven to 375F

-Mash your garlic gloves using your preferred method and then add to a small bowl, which you will add the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Using 2 cookie sheets, add 2 of the Naan flat breads to the cooking sheet.  Baste with the garlic infused oil, and then sprinkle 1/2 of your fresh herbs or dried herbs.  Reserving the other half for the other 2 flat breads. 

-Now take your knife, and slice just a smidgen slice of that decadent Gyro loaf for yourself.  You know, "cooks rules and all"...

-Taste and savor... I know! Okay, okay, more more wee slice...

-Sprinkle on your diced green onions. 
Now slice off 8 more slices of that amazingly delicious Gyro, and dice.  Using just half of the diced slices, add to the  two flat breads.

-Let's add on those amazing tasting diced tomatoes shall we?

-I know, right?  Somehow, I don't know how and why, a few of those tomatoes pieces ended up in my mouth.  It's the strangest thing I say...

-Let's finish these babies off with 1/2 of the crumbled feta cheese.

 -Bake these individual pizzas for approximately 20-25 minutes till nicely golden and crisp and everything has been warmed thru.


-As pizzas are baking, prepare the other two flat breads.

These can be served as is, or better yet, I love to serve a nice summer salad with them!  Easy, delicious and made in no time.  My kind of dinner!!
The Gyro meat/loaf will actually hold in the refrigator for at least 2 weeks cooked.  Frozen, up to 6 months.  I love to have this meat vacuum sealed and on hand for fast week night dinners!!  Heck, life is busy as can be, my philosophy is that dinner doesn't have to...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Visiting the laundry mat...

Our washing machine officially took it's last breath, mid cycle on Saturday.  Yes, yes, yes it did.  RIP sweet friend, you worked so hard for us! You were super dependable, super reliable, always willing to do our bidding...
Yet, I know, you felt like sometimes all you did was to spin around in circles. Please know, that we miss you terribly! ♥ ♥ ♥

So after attempting SEVERE CPR on our baby, we just couldn't revive him!  We grieved terribly!
However, we needed a new friend that we could introduce to our family.  So, after visiting several stores, we purchased a new one.  It will be delivered 1-1/2 weeks from now, WHAT?  That means only one thing...

A trip to the laundry mat.

Upon arriving the first thing I noticed was that even though there were about 6 patrons there, no one was looking at each other.  They all had the; "I'm in the same elevator as you, but I will pretend you are not here", look.  It was kind of creepy. 
The second thing I noticed was that they were projecting this; "I hate you clothes" look as they were either vigorously folding their clothes and shoving them into laundry bags/baskets, or just shoving the clothes into the laundry bags without folding them at all.

The only patron that was different was this elderly gentleman way on the other side of the laundry mat.  He lovingly was folding his clothes, making sure all the edges were aligned, and every so often he would use his hand to straighten out a small wrinkle.  He seemed to be enjoying this task so much, he was actually humming to himself.  

The other patrons had left one by one, and it was just the elderly gentleman and I left.  The curiosity was killing me, I had to ask!

So I approached him and asked; "You seem to be in fine spirits today sir, can you share your secret with me, because my washing mashing just bit the dust in mid cycle and I'm not a happy camper at the moment". 
He just looked at me for a moment and then he what he shared with me my friends, truly was a life touching moment!

The gentleman said; "Well young lady, it's a long story, but we both have about 21 minutes left".  At that point we both chuckled.  
He put the perfectly aligned sheets in the laundry basket as he continued...
"My wife died 3 years ago.  Our washer went over 7 yrs ago.  Our three kids live out of state, and we lost everything when the stock market crashed.  So we decided instead of charging like you kids do today, to just go to the laundry mat and wash our clothes till we could afford to buy another one.  We realized the first time out, that we never went out anymore, so we made it a ritual.  Every Sunday we would gather our clothes, and while the clothes were washing we got our quarters together for the dryer along with the dryer sheets.  Then once we placed the clothes in the dryer, we went over to the fast food place next door and shared a hamburger, fries and milkshake".  "We enjoyed watching toddlers as their mother's went to their cars to get their supplies or bottles.  We were privileged to meet so many people from so many walks of life, that even though we were able to buy another washing machine the following year, we chose not to, but to continue our Sunday ritual".
"So, even though my honey has passed, I continue the ritual without her, sometimes I can almost feel like she's here, so I hum our favorite song".  

At this point,  you so know I had tears in my eyes!  I was speechless.  "What can I say to this amazing man who so desperately missed his wife", I thought?  Nothing!  I decided on nothing...
Just a smile and the wiping the tears from my eyes. 

My laundry was done and my husband and daughter had come to pick me up.  I turned to the elderly gentleman as he was still folding his clothes and said; "Have a fantastic afternoon sir"!  He never responded.  He just continued to take his clothes out of the dryer.  

My daughter said to me; "that was rude mom".  To which I responded; "no, baby, not really"...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi

Monday, July 14, 2014

Potato Crusted Pork Chop Tenders - Gluten Free

This was absolutely amazing...

 Hello, thank you and welcome to my new and revamped blog.  I cannot begin to express my gratitude for your support and encouragement as I transition away from Facebook.  It literally blows my mind that you have followed me over to my "small corner of the world"!  THANK YOU ♥

So how is the blog revamped you ask?  Well for starters, my header.  I was so proud of myself for watching those magical step by step videos and then, actually change it.  When I finished, I actually stood up, did a fist pump and said; "YES"!  You have to understand, I am NOT pc savvy.  So this was a major accomplishment for me!  It actually looks good, who knew?  My other change will be my "dishin" with my readers.  I plan on having guest posts by amazingly talented food bloggers/pages.  Share with  you new videos I plan on making, new recipes, reviews of recipes that I have been dying to try and never had enough time, and a few posts of my life.  I strongly believe in humor...
Life is too short to be miserable and sourly all the time, yes?

Okay, so on to the recipe.  I had two thick cut boneless pork chops I wanted to use for dinner.  With the economy being the way it is, I really wanted to utilize only two, and then a couple of sides would fill out the meal.  I had been thinking about this recipe for a while.  You know, when you see something and it triggers and idea?  Yes, exactly.  So I said to myself; "Didi, how about making tenders out of these babies"?  And so, this is exactly how this recipe came about.

I have to be honest with you, it was delicious.  The pork was perfectly cooked, bursting with seasoning and moist as moist can be.  While the outside was deliciously crunchy!  Ready for this very simple recipe that the entire family will love?
 Here we go;

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 12 tenders

2 thick cut boneless pork chops
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp sweet smokey paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
*optional* 1/2 tsp crushed pepper flakes
3/4 cup instant potato flakes
Oil for frying

-Cut your pork chops vertically in half.  Cut each half into thirds.  You should have 12 tenders.  Set aside.

-Mix all your dry ingredients together and sprinkle all over the tenders.  Make sure all sides are nicely seasoned.

-Add the potato flakes to a dish and taking one tender, roll and press the potato flakes onto the tender.  I do this just with one hand.  I don't want to dirty my other one, I know... compulsions at their best!

 -Place the now potato crusted tenders on a plate, and continue with the remaining tenders till they are all coated.

 -At this point, using your favorite deep frying equipment, add your oil, bring the temperature to 375F. If you don't have a thermometer or a deep fryer with temperature control, you will know the oil is ready when you drop a potato flake into the oil and it immediately starts to sizzle.    Add 3-4 tenders to the oil, and fry till they are nicely golden on the outside. About 4-5 minutes.

 That's it, how simple right?  I know!  I served a very basic sweet mustard mayo sauce to go with it.  I could not believe, how moist and so flavorful these were!  That magical smokey paprika brought the pork to a new level let me tell you!

I rounded out the dinner with steamed greens drizzled with garlic olive oil and french fries.  Well, heck, the fryer was already working...
We all loved them, and the kids have already said they would like me to make them for their friends.  If that isn't a recipe endorser, right?  *grin* 

***Excuse the yellow glow in the pictures, it was thunder storming out, so I had to have my kitchen lights on, you know my gorgeous Tiffany, but makes everything yellow/orange lights?  Yes, those.***

Till next time!
Dishin with Didi

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mixed Berry Neapolitan

I know right?  So very, very easy my friends, and the presentation? Next to none!  That is why I so love puff pastry! This dessert is not only easy to whip up, it's absolutely refreshingly delicious!  It's not overly sweet, so you can taste the fresh berries, but then you have that decadent whipped topping, French vanilla pudding all sandwiched in between that amazing puff pastry that is just "wee glistening" with sugar sprinkles.  (Presentation I say)

From what I understand, quite a few people are afraid to work with puff pastry.  I don't know why, it is one of the easiest pastries to work with, seriously! Plus, you will always be left with a spectacular platter of... 
So, because I love you, I have provided an awesome hyperlink for you to click on so you can see how easy and versatile working with puff pastry truly is!

Puff Pastry - Tips

I'm all about presentation don't you know...

Ready for this very simple and delicious recipe?  Here we go;

Thaw Time: 40-45 minutes - room temp
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time:  22-25 minutes
Yield: 3 Neapolitan's (6-8 servings)

1 package puff pastry, thawed (cut into thirds, I used the seam it was folded in as a guide)
1 tub (8Oz) (3 cups) non-dairy topping, thawed
1 quart strawberries, diced
1 pint blueberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 package (3.4 Oz) instant French Vanilla pudding mix
2 cups milk

*optional* 2 tbsp sugar crystals

-Preheat oven to 400F.

-Unroll one puff pastry sheet and cut into thirds.  I use the line that they are folded in for guidance.  Place on pre-sprayed baking sheet, and if using, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 22-25 minutes till nicely golden. Remove from the oven, and let cool till ready to use. 

-As puff pastry is baking, wash and dry your berries, and prepare accordingly. Pop a strawberry in your mouth, what?

-Using a small bowl, add the diced strawberries and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar, stir to incorporate the sugar.  *I do this, because not all strawberries are sweet, as we well know*.

-In another small bowl, add the blueberries - pop one in your mouth, then, sprinkle the remainder of the tbsp of granulated sugar over them.  *For the same reason as above*. 

-Prepare your instant pudding using the manufacturer's instructions, place in refrigerator till ready to use. 

-Add the non-dairy whip topping to the strawberries, mix well, grab a spoon and taste the strawberry topping.  Take another spoon, and taste just one more time, I mean we have to be sure it tastes perfect and all...
Set aside. 

-We are ready to assemble!

-Place 1 strip of puff pastry on a plate, add 1/3 of the pudding mix1/3 of the blueberries, and top with that luscious strawberry topping.  Place  a puff pastry strip over the strawberry topping, set aside, and continue with the other 4 strips of pastry.

-Place in refrigerator till ready to use.

Get ready for the compliments...

Till next time!

Dishin with Didi