Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1 comments
One of the things I am most excited about doing ALL the time when I get married is cooking! I love it and it relaxes me (not much can do that). The family I babysit got me a bunch of "stuff" from Omaha Steaks for Christmas (thanks again, Becky & Ryan). So, I tried out two new recipes:

Garlic Parmesan Pork Chops :
Shawn and I aren't huge dessert fans, but there are a few things we like. One of those desserts, is Apple Crisp. We made this last week for Zach & Amanda using a recipe similar to this one:

While I think of myself as a good cook, I've still decided to cook one new meal a week. That way, I will have a few recipes that I know I am really good at and can make a little more quickly. So, this week I made dinner for my family:
Bacon Cheeseburger Calzones
1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 pound ground beef
4 slices bacon
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Divide the pizza dough and form into 2 balls. Place in a large bowl greased with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef over medium heat, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

3. In the same skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve the drippings in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes; add to the beef. Crumble the bacon into the beef mixture and stir in the cheese; season with salt.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 ball of dough into a 12-inch round and transfer to a large oiled baking sheet. Place half the beef mixture on one side of the round. Top with half the tomatoes. Fold over the dough to form a half moon; crimp the edge to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the calzones with olive oil. Pierce a vent in the top of each calzone. Transfer the baking sheet to the grill, cover and bake until golden-brown, about 20 minutes.

I have made these before, but only for myself, Shawn, and Matt (and, with those two, you can pretty much feed them almost anything). They were delicious! I am trying to make my recipes healthier, therefore if I had had the time, I would have made my own whole wheat dough. But, I did use ground turkey, turkey bacon, and added green peppers. Instead of making 2 large calzones as the recipe suggests, I made 6 small ones - much easier, in my opinion. Be aware - this recipe makes a lot of meat filling (I don't know what Rachael Ray does to make all the meat fit in hers), but the last time I made them - I made burritos with the leftovers by adding rice and beans. The recipe takes a good bit longer to make than she claims, but I prepared them the night before and that really helped (otherwise, it would have taken forever for dinner to be ready). Also, instead of using the grill (as it was dark, windy, and cold) - I cooked them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Now, I know I said I was going to be trying a new recipe and that was an old one. But, the side dish I made was new:
Parsley-Garlic Cottage Fries
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (¼ cup)
Salt and pepper
4 pounds baking potatoes (about 8), peeled and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges each
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, 1/2 tablespoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Pour a little water into each pan and bake for 30 minutes. Toss and bake for 15 minutes more.

2. Lower the heat to 350°. Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain. Wipe the baking sheets dry, line with parchment paper and return the potatoes to the baking sheets in a single layer. Bake until golden-brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss with the parsley.

These were great, as well. If you make them, just watch them. Mine didn't take quite as long as the recipe called. In fact, they took a lot less time - and, if I hadn't been paying attention, they probably would have been ruined. I cut waaay back on the oil, but I did add more garlic - as my family loves it. Trust me, you want to use fresh parsley (unless you're not a fan of parsley and are cutting it out altogether)! It really makes the recipe that much better.
So, there you have it... What are some other recipes I should try? We're not picky (I'm even getting better with onions and tomatoes). I'm sorry if I bored you with this post, but I really want to try. And, we all know that Shawn loves to eat ;)
P.S. I can't figure out how to put words up to click on - instead of the full link. Can anyone help me?


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