Monday, October 29, 2012

corn, potato, and ham chowder

Could "corn, potato, and ham chowder" be more fall? I think not. 

I wanted to make a chowder (aka a thicker soup) and really wanted to use the corn stock I made over the summer. I also wanted to make this a crockpot meal for ease and wanted this recipe to be freezer-friendly. I accomplished all of that with this recipe, and it tasted great too. Here it is:

Corn, Potato, and Ham Chowder

What You Need:
3 large russet potatoes, cleaned and cubed (with skin left on)
1/2 large onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced 
4 oz. of cubed ham (1/2 of a bag)
4 cups of corn stock (or chicken broth)
2 ears of corn, cooked and cut off the cob
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup half & half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pull out your trusted old friend, the crockpot. The beauty of this recipe is you chop and drop, which means less mess!

Clean and cube your potatoes, dice your onion, mince your garlic, grab your cubed ham, cook and cut off your corn kernels off the cob, grab your corn stock/chicken broth, and pull out your butter and salt and pepper. 

Add all of these ingredients directly in your crockpot. Let it cook on high for three hours. 

After three hours, take the lid off your crockpot. Use a potato masher and mash some of your potatoes to create a thicker consistency, a.k.a. form your chowder. Add in the half & half and shredded cheddar cheese. Mix the best you can and let cook on high for another hour. 

Love on the smells emerging. Seriously, it smelled so good

Turn off the crockpot and enjoy a bowl! This batch made about 14 or so bowls (if I remember correctly and have calculated correctly). We enjoyed it for a week, and some is going into the freezer to enjoy later. 

Such an easy and simple recipe, but such comfort and fullness that you want in a fall meal. This recipe totally fits the bill.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

pizza roll-ups

This past weekend I spent a few hours in the kitchen over a couple days and boy was I productive! I've been wanting to do a lot of cooking to stock up our freezer as it's super nice to have some things to pull out during a busy week or just when I don't feel like cooking. 

This recipe for pizza roll-ups fits the bill.

These were super quick to make, baked up in a super short amount of time, and froze perfectly.

Pizza Roll-Ups

What You Need:
Pizza dough
Toppings, pepperoni, ham, onion
Mozzarella cheese 
Italian seasoning blend
Pizza sauce, for dipping

That's it! Super simple.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out pizza dough (I make my own for pizzas, but using the Pillsbury already made dough made the process so much easier) and place on a cookie sheet. 

Add your toppings. I did pepperoni/onion on a third, ham/onion on a third, and pepperoni/ham/onion on a third. Makes for a bit of variety!

I started rolling my dough back up, but I forgot the important ingredient of shredded mozzarella cheese! I ended up pushing cheese into the crevices of the rolled up dough, but this is where you'd sprinkle the cheese over all of your ingredients. 

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning mix and roll the dough back up.

Once the dough is all rolled up, pinch and "seal" the dough.

Cut the log into 1.5 inch pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until dough is cooked and golden brown.

It's as easy as that. I divided these up into freezer bags, labeled them, and they should be the perfect snack to pull out of the freezer whenever I want the taste of pizza without the hassle. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"doing dishes" themed wedding gift

I'm a sucker for a theme. I think this applies to every area of my life. It's better when things in life "go together". That's what I always say. Or think at least. 

If I can focus on something in particular for structure, I will. This especially applies to presents. 

When I knew my friend Kristen (KB!) was getting married in October, I browsed her gift registry. With a quick view I came up with a "doing dishes" theme. See, I told you their had to be a theme!

She had registered for sink mats, a dish scrubber, and a dish rack, all of which I purchased. This was the basis of the whole idea. 

Then came a fun part two: a gift card for a restaurant. I made a simple pouch out of scrapbook paper in lovely muted colors, utilized a brad to make a type of closure, and attached ribbon to the flap of the pouch to keep it shut. On the front I wrote "and for when you don't feel like doing dishes...". Since this is "doing dishes" themed, I thought it was the perfect little something extra that tied it all together. And who doesn't love dinner out? 

Add in a personalized card, full of advice and well wishes on love and marriage. 

I could have placed it all in the plain white bag I had lying around, but that's not my style. 

I lightly drew with pencil a floral design, complete with names and wedding date. A bit of time, creativity, and fun led to a wonderful fall-inspired look done with acrylic paints. 

With bits of white and red tissue peaking out from the top, this present makes me smile. I hope the bride and groom feel the same way! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

roasted cauliflower

A simple side, but too delicious not to note! 

I've been trying to have a vegetable every dinner, and I spotted a head of cauliflower at the grocery store. I must admit, I've only ever ate it raw and didn't know how I should prepare it. So, I roasted it. I love pretty much every vegetable roasted, and cauliflower was no different. The added parmesan cheese? Icing on the cake. 

Roasted Cauliflower

What You Need:
-One head of cauliflower, cut/broken down into individual florets
-2 cloves of garlic, minced
-Lemon juice
-Olive oil 
-Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a oven-safe dish, place the individual florets from the head of cauliflower. Add the minced garlic. Sprinkle a little lemon juice over everything. Drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to combine and coat all the cauliflower in the oil. Add salt, pepper, and parsley. 

Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Take the dish out and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Return dish to the oven for 10 more minutes. Test the doneness with a fork--when the fork can easily pierce the cauliflower, it is fully cooked. Enjoy immediately.