The calendar says it’s fall, which makes my stomach prep for hibernation food. Chicken Pot Pie is a comfort staple that has several variation possibilities. A few ideas: broccoli and cheese, mushrooms, swap turkey for chicken. It’s also a dish that was available in the microwave variety. Bachelor Basics ideas usually come from the frozen food aisle of the grocery. Here’s my Chicken Pot Pie recipe. It’ll take more than 10 minutes until you hear the ding for supper time, but it’s worth the time investment. Plus, it’s a great dish to cook for friends (or a date).
National Cereal Day has arrived. Growing up (and probably still) I had a favorite bowl. It is green, shaped like a turtle and it’s amazing. Remarkably, the paint hasn’t faded away in 15 plus years of use. That was my go-to cereal bowl.
In anticipation of National Cereal Day, I started thinking of different ways to eat cereal. I have always been a traditional cereal consumer, filling a bowl first thing in the morning for immediate consumption. I’m pretty sure the only reason I wake is hunger.
The folks at General Mills sent me a few boxes to get my creative juices flowing. Fortunately for me, they included one of my all-time favorites: CTC. (They have more ideas on their site from Food Network chef Justin Warner.) Continue reading National Cereal Day Recipe Ideas
It’s a dip. It’s a spread. It’s a way of life. Quick homemade hummus takes just 30 seconds to make and the ingredients cost less than a dollar.
I have a habit of a mid-morning snack. I wouldn’t call it a second breakfast just more of a need to chomp on something to tide me over until lunch. Pretzels are my go-to because they are inexpensive, crunchy, salty and carby. One day I’ll try going carb-free again. I made it almost a full day last time. Continue reading Quick Homemade Hummus Recipe [Video]
Bechamel sauce is one of the mother sauces. It’s pretty easy to make, but requires nearly constant whisking. It adds a richness that cheese simply can’t match.
Name one of your friends that doesn’t love pizza.
If there is pizza, it will be eaten. Full disclosure: years ago I was told I’m sensitive to lactose. Not full-on intolerant, but I should proceed with caution before taking down the entire cheese wheel. That hasn’t stopped me from ingesting the Italian precursor to tostadas.
There was a dearth of holiday plans for NYE this year. So, my girlfriend and I invited friends to her casa for some drinks and dinner before going out. Grappling over what to make to feed our friends, we landed on homemade pizzas since we thought it would be the easiest and least time consuming.
The below pizzas–I don’t like calling them pies–were made off the dough recipe in Bon Appetit’s October issue. Their homemade pizza recipe and sauce is also a winner with anchovies as the secret flavor punch.
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
- 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface
I have long avoided making legit, homemade dough mostly because when I want pizza I can’t wait 4 hours or definitely not 24 hours for dough to rise. Having made this dough twice in the past 5 days, I can vouch that it is doable to make your own pizza and stop relying on delivery or a frozen pizza.
This dough does take a full day to develop its flavors, BUT it only takes about 15 minutes to make. The rest of the time it sits in the fridge. In that time, you could clear your freezer of frozen pizzas bought in moments of weakness. You can also make a double batch of dough and freeze one for a later date.
- Use a Kitchen Aid if you have one. It makes this insanely easy.
- Make a double batch.
- Be sure to oil the bowl and coat the entire ball of dough before refrigeration (flip it over once the bottom is coated).
- Get creative.
- My pizzas only took about 15 minutes instead of the recommended 20-30. So, watch them closely.
Once the dough is done with its day spa in the cooler, you need to get it back to room temperature before trying to stretch it onto a pan. This took at least 30-45 minutes for my double batch of dough. From then on it’s up to you to twirl your mustache and top it with your favorite veggies and meats. I learned one thing when asking for input before topping: a lot of people hate mushrooms.
We made three homemade pizzas on NYE with variations on the below toppings:
- Red bell pepper
- Italian Sausage
- Hot Capicola
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh basil
Endless possibilities await.
What are your favorite toppings?
We’ve all done it. No shame. We’ve eaten leftover pizza for breakfast. While this dish takes a bit more work than foraging in your fridge, you’ll be rewarded with a sensational and fresh breakfast.
Turn on your oven to 350 degrees.
To start, I made my own hash browns after frying up some bacon. You could also use frozen hash browns to cut down the prep time. To make your own, shred 3 potatoes. I recently purchased a KitchenAid Mandoline. That helps speed up the job. I found it tough to use the mandoline with the potatoes. It worked great on softer veggies, but struggled against firm potatoes.
Once the hash browns were cooked–about 15 minutes–I removed them from the pan and added onions and green pepper. Saute those for a few minutes and remove to a bowl. Then I whipped 4 eggs with a touch of water.
Return the taters to the skillet and add the eggs.
Return the veggies and bacon. Add tomatoes. Sprinkle in your favorite cheese. I had sliced american that I put on top.
Put the skillet in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Slice it up and enjoy.
So you want to throw a dinner party…
I had been wanting to gather friends for dinner parties for a few years. You can only post recipes and pictures of your creations for so long before a hangry mob requests samples. Tackling the Mealsharing dinner party with Leann taught several lessons. It also prepped me for the eventual showdown on Food Network. You may think it’s easy to just scale your recipes for more people. That works for some dishes. Others require increased planning and maybe even writing things down–something I have an extreme aversion to. For larger dinners it’s imperative to make checklists and think out the approach.
Make anything that can be made in advance. This time around we had an electric knife to slice the bread evenly. We also had time to prep the bread and rub each slice with a clove of garlic before guests arrived. While I sliced the bread, my sous chef to the stars prepped the four different toppings. (I found the grilled eggplant superior to its oven-roasted counterpart). All the recipes for the toppings came from my grandma’s cousin in Sicily.
Having appetizers ready to go when people arrive buys you time to chat with your friends.
The Main Event
In the span of a few months I have gone from never making carbonara to making it on a weekly basis. It’s a simple and crowd-pleasing dish, especially for carb lovers. To offset the decadence of the dish, we had a salad to put something that won’t add 50 points to your LDL. In a rare moment I failed to photograph the salad.
While it is very fast to make carbonara, the downside is you can’t make it ahead. You can prep the cheese and eggs (best ratio for one pound of pasta is 3 egg yolks & 1 whole egg to 1/2 pound shredded parm), but that’s about all you can make ahead of time. You’ll need 10 minutes to devote to properly marry the piping hot pasta with the creamy egg/cheese/pepper combo.
During those 10 minutes you have to focus. It’s a simple process–drain the noodles, add to egg/cheese/pepper, toss–but you need to do it immediately after draining the pasta to use the heat to cook the raw eggs. After that it’s go time.
After buttons were undone and sighs of surrender, we had some limoncello and moved to more accommodating seating to stretch out. If anyone is still awake, feed them this closer to make sure they get home safely. Leann took charge of dessert and crushed it again with her homemade tiramisu.
- Make a list and attack it.
- Make anything ahead that can be.
- Share the responsibilities. Ask friends to bring wine, salad or a dessert.
- Wine and limoncello make everything better.
- Find a helper. I lucked out with my sous chef.
- Don’t forget to play some music.
- Keep it simple and have fun. The dinner party is more about spending time with friends than perfectly executed dishes.