Week 8:From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Not Paying Attention May Work in your Favor

A little (no so secret) about grad school; there is always work. Therefore if you want to go on vacation you have to spend the week before doing work, and possibly forgoing any fun things for those precious days. What I am trying to do is give my reason why I didn’t cook last week.

So onto this week….shocking yet true. I am not Italian. Although I have been to Italy, been mistaken for it, and have a thing for the Jersey Shore (especially Pauly D), I don’t believe I have any Italian in me. However I am a big, big fan of  Italian food manly because of the bread. I know they say carbs are the enemy, but I think I am in love. This is why this week I cooked Lasagna . Let me start by saying this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t follow the exact layer order, didn’t use enough sauce, and spilled a little on my clothes. I was almost down for the count, but I covered mistakes and doubts with cheese, wine , and prayer, and it came out better than I thought. Winning… I got this week’s recipe from allrecipes.com. Although it doesn’t say, probably should boil the noodles a couple of minutes before cooking. I didn’t know, and it was a little crunchy at the ends.

Lasagna Top View

Lasagna Top View

Inside view of Lasagna

Inside view of Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar sausage flavored spaghetti sauce(you are probably going to need 2)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce(read above)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced(I used 6 because I thought it would add more flavor)
  • 1 small onion, diced(or a medium if the grocery doesn’t have a small one)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 9 lasagna noodles(make sure they fit the container you are using or just double it up)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a skillet over medium heat season ground beef with garlic powder and oregano. Brown the meat and drain.
  3. In a large sauce pan add spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and oregano; set aside. In a skillet heat olive oil. Saute garlic and onions for about 5 minutes. Mix sauteed onions and garlic with meat into the sauce and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While doing all this, boil the noodles. May cut cooking time
  5. Combine mozzarella and provolone cheeses in a medium bowl. In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, eggs, milk, and oregano.
  6. Layer a 9×13 inch baking pan with just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. (read all this before you continue)Lay three lasagna noodles in the pan. Cover with sauce, then with ricotta mixture then sprinkle with mozzarella/provolone mixture; repeat layering. Finish with a layer of noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake covered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes

Overall I think the taste was pretty good. Could have it been better? Sure as can anything. With time, I this will become better, and maybe add some more sauce and cheese. And dry clean my clothes. The video below is a review by Steve and I covering topics like food, my mother, and all shot by my bfffla Cristalle.

Week 7:From Broke College Student to Chef

There is always time and room for chocolate

A funny yet true story. When I was16, Cristalle and I made a cake for a friends birthday (I am not going to say who because we are both still friends with this person) It was one of those betty crocker cakes where you follow step by step, and unless you don’t pay atleast like 75 percent of your attention to you, you can’t screw up. Cristalle and I were focus probably on the latest high school drama, and before we knew it we had to leave for our friends party, with an under cook cake. We covered and smoothered that cake in frosting, and we were on our way. We waited while people tried the cake  before we had a piece. Everyone loved our under cooked cake, and no one found out until well now. I don’t even think we ate that cake.

I tell you this story to set up where I started to where I am now 8 years later. This week I made Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake. The reciepe started with just yellow cake I found online, but it seemed too simple. Plus I really wanted some chocolate chips. So I came up with Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake from scatch with a little help with some betty crocker frosting. I made sure to cook this one all the way. The yellow cake portion come from about.com

Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake

Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake

 

Side view

Side View

 

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour pan (cooking spray also does the job)
In bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk. (a wood spoon works the same. My mother also suggested I buy a beater. She was shocked that I didn’t have one. I was shocked she think I would)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth.

Bake Yellow Cake Recipe for 20 to 25 minutes. (I did about 30 minutes without buring it) Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.(this still melted the frosting still, but if you put it in the freezer then you might be alright)

You may not like cake, chocolate, or whatever, but with desert you can’t go wrong. Well actually can, but when done right, desert can always put a smile on your face and belly. I think my cake could have been more fluffy had I had the right equipment, maybe more milk, or make more chocolate. Thank you for those sending in recipes, and keep sending them. Below is my dad’s review of the cake.

Week 5: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Letting a Peacock Fly

Sounds strange that I have been doing this for over a month now. I don’t feel like an expert by any means, however I am having fun cooking. I never thought I would say that like ever. Ask anyone who knows/ dated me. I am not the cooking type, but more of the ordering kind or even observing one. But people can change; I guess I am changing *cue hallmark music* I like receiving recipes, mixing things, and how food brings everyone together. Plus being a picky eater like I am, I actually know what is going in my food. Crazy Thought huh? I would have never thought cooking would be fun.

Well onto this week’s recipe: Lentil Quiche. Another great recipe from my best friend. As I have mention before, Cristalle is a cook who kind of goes by her own rules. But as I go through these recipes and my cooking experiences is showing me that everyone in their own way is a bit like that. Some just show their peacock feathers better than others. And sometimes you got to let that peacock fly. So here is my peacock feathers showing and flying. PS-May not look like it, but mucho healthy for you.

Lentil Quiche

Lentil Quiche

Recipe can be found at allrecipes.com

Prep Time: 15 Min  Cook Time:1 Hr 15 Min Ready In: 1 Hr 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils(make sure you know what these look like, and that your local grocery store has them. May or may not have thought they were different beans. Just saying)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (call me crazy,but I have no idea what this is, and figured out too late that we didn’t have any. Just add extra cheese)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (My mom also said that if you put cheese on it, everyone will still eat it. Why do you think they make lactose pills? My point exactly. Note adding cheese may decrease health value)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F  Place the onion and olive oil into a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until onion is tender.(A cake pan will work too)
  2. Place the lentils and water into a saucepan, and bring to a boil.(you are going to need more water than recommended) Cook for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain most of the water off, then place the broccoli florets on top of the lentils. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. This will dry the lentils, and cook the broccoli.
  3. Transfer the lentils, broccoli and tomatoes to the pie plate with the onions, and stir to evenly distribute each item. Stir in cheese at this time if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.(more milk is not good. Make sure to stick to amount given because it may make it watery) Pour over the ingredients in the pie plate.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is firm when the quiche is jiggled. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving

I have had lentil quiche before when Cristalle made it, and with different chefs come different results. I remember hers being less watery than mine, and maybe more lentil. Also I hate tomatoes so I don’t think she put them in. I personally think this wasn’t my best outing for cooking. Maybe because I remember I different tasting different. Or maybe used too much milk. Or not enough cheese. BTW I love cheese. I am Juila Child with Butter, but mine is cheese.

I am going to try to cook this again sometime soon to find out. Below is Kevin review on the dish, although it is more about how to shoot the video more than anything, but still funny. Thank you for all those sending recipes, and keep them coming!

Week 4: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Can’t Go Wrong

Going to the Arizona State University for the last six years, I have had my fair share of pizza. While most of it has been after a few dozen adult beverages, pizza, because of it cheapness and greasiness( who knows if that’s a word), just screams college. Don’t forget the part of 4 am delivery. So why not learn to make it well the more adult way. This week I turn to my Aunt Norma’s baked from fresh pizza with pepperoni and olives. For those who have not met my aunt is not only missing out, but have missed some of the best meals of their life. Throughout college, Norma has feed me and some of my friends with her amazing cooking on days we probably would have starve. So who better to not only learn how to cook from, but have her recipe feed my friends than my Aunt Norma.

Pepperoni and Olive Pizza

Pepperoni and Olive Pizza

Before you start this…it will take you awhile. My aunt’s recipe is more of a estimation from her. If you feel the need to add more of whatever you chose, do it.

Ingredients

3 Cups of Flour
2 Packages of Yeast
1 tbsp of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of olive oil
Bottle of Rago (Classic)
1 lb Mozzarella
A lot of pepperoni
Canish of Olives

How to make the Dough:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Take the two packages of yeast and put them in a luke warm cup of water for 10 minutes until it appears milky.
  • You then take all the ingredients except  your toppings and mix it into a large bowl.
  • When the mixture is mixed into a smooth  dough you will then knead the dough. If the dough is sticky, pat more flour onto it and mix it up. Your dough should not look like this:

    How your dough shouldn't look

    How your dough shouldn't look

it should look more like this:

how dough should look

how dough should look

  • As you knead the dough, start spreading it out into the shape of pizza you would like. A rolling pin will do wonders for you. Do not be discourage if/when the dough doesn’t stick in the position. Rome was not built in a day, your dough will not take a minute. Be patient.
  • After you get the dough in the shape you want, cake it with sauce cheese, pepperoni, and olives. Make sure to spread evenly.
  • Put in oven for about 35 minutes. Look back every 5 minutes because sometimes it takes shorter longer and what have you.

And there you have it. Somewhat grown up pizza. Serve with salad and fruit, and it may keep you away from the doctor

Pizza, fruit, and salad

Pizza, fruit, and salad

Watch Jessi’s review of the meal below, and for the record I was not sucking up to her lol. Thank you for all those sending in recipes, and keep them coming

Week 3: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

A Convo with My Mom

I turn to the woman who gave birth to me, my mother, for this week’s cooking recipe. For those who have never had the pleasure of meeting my mother, she is one one of the most beautiful, caring and amazing women I have ever known. Now that we have that out of the way, she also says some off the wall things because well she can. So who better than to have as this weeks tester of one of her favorite baked goods then my mom from her recipe.

This week I cooked Mini Vanillia Scones. They are sort of like Starbuck’s scones without the lines and extra charges. We are using a recipe she found on a site because as she puts it, its sort of like hers just not as good. Tanslation: Not everything should be exactly as measured. Word to the wise: Make sure you understand a little bit of geometry before attempting. I barely passed that class, and explains the odd shapes.

Mini Vanillia Scones

Mini Vanillia Scones

Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces (like extra tiny tiny pieces because if you don’t have an eletric bowl and/or mixer, it becomes a bitch to mix)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup regular full-fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract(my mom says to use fresh vanilla. Of course after the fact)

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • water, as needed

Directions:

Prep Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 25 mins

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Using any method you prefer, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until flour resembles coarse meal,(pretty much ignore this part, but for those fancy people out there you can try this) The “grate” method: I grate a block of cold butter against the large holes of a box grater and weigh the butter ribbons to get the amount I need  Toss the butter ribbons with the flour mixture, and then use two knives to cut the flour-coated ribbons into 1/4-inch pieces.(for the record a knife works just as fine.)
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolk and vanilla extract until blended. Add this to the flour-butter mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms a cohesive ball. Use a spatula to get the dry bits fully incorporated.
  5. Place the sticky dough onto a parchment-lined (or ungreased) baking sheet and pat into a disk about 1-inch in height. Cut the dough into wedges but do not separate. Or scoop dough into a mini scone pan if available.

A break from the recipe….this is where geometry became a problem for me. I understood disks like this:

disks

Squared

When infact a disk is well a circle which you then cut like a pizza as shown here:

Me with a pizza cutter

Me with a pizza cutter

Or in my case the squares. However you choose to do it, it doesn’t affect the taste.  I say this because maybe there are others out there who didn’t do too well in geometry like me, and on top of it being it late, gets shapes confused. Moving on…

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.(for me it took like 13 minutes)

While it is baking

GLAZE

  1. Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl, and add water one teaspoon at a time, mixing vigorously until smooth and runny.(don’t skip out on the sugar. Use extra. And don’t forget to add vanillia to the mix. It doesn’t say, but trust me. With all the extra sugar it took me about 1/4 of water)
  2. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of glaze over the hot scones. Brushing rather than drizzling gives a smoother appearance and requires less glaze.(The only brush I have is a make up and hair brushes, and no one wants the scones a shade of purple eye shadow. A knife or spoon still does the the job fine)
  3. Serve immediately. Store cooled scones in an airtight contanier (they honestly taste better cold. eat a couple fresh then store them)

Another week where my kitchen sort of survived.Thank you to those who have sent reciepes. Keep them coming. Below is my mom’s video response. Did she say when I am old and grey?

Week 2: From Broke College Student To Chef

Background

Make Sure You Come Prepare

I am not sure what is more shocking: That I am actually following through with this whole cooking , or my kitchen has not burned down. For those who know me know this not out of them realm of possibility.

This week I had my roomie, bfffla, and partner in crime Cristalle help me cook, provide today’s recipes, and be the tester. For those who don’t know, Cristalle loves cooking, especially baking (I blame her for the extra poundage…okay not really, but she is a hell of a baker). She also has a style of her own when it comes to well everything which includes cooking. One time she made strawberry flavor shrimp for dinner, and let’s just say she never made it again, but at least she brought her own flavor.

This time is no different when it comes to this week’s dish of Butternut Squash Enchiladas and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese. Before starting this, make sure you read ALL of the recipe to make sure you have all the ingredients in your cabinets. Don’t assume because it makes an ass out of you and me or something of that sort. You will see why in a second.

 

Butternut Squash Enchiladas and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

Butternut Squash Enchiladas and Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

For obvious reasons,but needs to be said, cook separately and mix at the end.

Butternut Squash Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 8 (5 inch) corn tortillas (Did not read that it was corn instead of flour until oh when we started cooking. If you are serving more than two people, use corn, but big flour tortillas is alright as well. Use 4)
  • 1/2 unpeeled butternut squash, seeded
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (We did not use tomatoes for two main reasons. One, we did not have any. Two, I hate them. However, it might have added to the flavor)
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce (While cooking with Cristalle, we don’t really measure all the time. Therefore if you just so happen to use the whole can, which is like 2 cups, what the hell?)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese(Safeway does not carry this, or at least the one I went to. However Queso Fesco works just the same, and is hell of addicting. We may or may not have used it as our other side dish)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, for topping (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Lay the tortillas flat onto a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Meanwhile, place the butternut squash half into a microwave-safe dish cut-side-down, and pour in the water. Cook in the microwave until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and dice; place into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Continue cooking until the spinach wilts. Gently fold the spinach mixture into the diced butternut squash.
  4. Arrange four crispy tortillas on the baking sheet. Divide the squash mixture among the tortillas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of goat cheese over each tortilla, then top with the remaining tortillas. Pour the enchilada sauce over top, and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of cotija cheese.(we did two large flour tortillas)
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until hot, about 10 minutes. Garnish each enchilada with chopped cilantro leaves and a dollop of sour cream to serve.( not a fan of the sour cream, but hey go with it)

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced (we used white because we did not have red, but still good)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (red works pretty good especially if you drink it while you cook)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste (could have added flavor, however not a huge deal if you forget to buy it)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed.

Even though it was just the two of us, we thought it turned out well especially if you add a glass (bottle) of red wine mixed with some Queso Fesco and Greys Anatomy. Cristalle did not want to appear on video to give her review, and because she helped me cook and my bfffla, we can give her this pass this one time. No one else. She did offer this review, which has been translated in some way or another:Meal was good. 8 out of ten.

I guess very simple. Keep sending recipes.  Until next week.


25 things to do before I turn 25

 

Yep, that is me 20 years ago

That time of year again. In the next couple days this 23 year old will be turning 24. And although 23 has been a great year, I believe it will only get better from here. So here is my list of this time of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25.

Let’s start with the things from last year’s list that I didn’t get to:

1) Donate my hair to locks of love

I promise I will do this before next year. I am trying to grow my hair out really, really long so when they cut it, I will still have some hair.

2) Go Zip Lining

In the state of Arizona, we were only able to find places where you had to do zip lining as a group, therefore I need to travel somewhere else to find zip lining. If you know of anything, please let me know.

3) Write a funny story about my Grandpa

I think this one has been the hardest because of how personal it is. However if there is a will, there is a way

4 ) See the Suns win a championship…*cross fingers*( might change this before I die)

Considering how there have been tons of trade rumors for Steve Nash, I am not sure if this will happen. I have faith in my time, but this will be on the list until there is no need for it.

5) Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is 100 million

I have never been a gambler when it comes to money. The rush I get when I gamble is not a fun one,therefore I rather avoid it. However maybe one dollar could change the world.

6) Take an unplanned trip

After not writing the story for my grandpa, this is the one I had wish I had done.

7) Learn how to ride a bike

I will admit it, I am clumsy as hell. I fall just simply walking. However, when someone goes “well it’s as easy as riding a bike,” I can never nod in agreement, just more in awkwardness.

8 ) Go to a Cardinals game in their new stadium

I have not done this, but if anyone has extra tickets, I am more than willing to fill that seat.

And now the new things:

9)Learn to cook

Listen, I am the greatest at calling in food orders, reservations, etc. However, sometimes even that can get boring. And while it can be fun, I want to enjoy cooking.  I can make the basics, but with grad school, it is often hard to find time to eat, little lone cook it. I am hoping as it winds down it will be easier.

10) Visit a new country

Last year I got to see some great new states, but it is time to broaden my horizons. Time to see more of this crazy planet.Maybe somewhere in Asia. Maybe Costa Rica. I got a travel bug.

11) Finish my applied project

So far, my project has been a pain in the butt. From getting it started to what I want to accomplish. Hopefully it will get off the ground because I need it to:

12) Graduate from Grad School

To be honest, grad school has been the hardest, most rewarding thing I have done. I have written about three novels worth of papers and essays, read millions of pages, and slept very little. Lost a couple things from its effects, but in the end the gain will be worth it….I think.

13) Find a job that fits my career, and that I love

At the end of May, I will have two shinny pieces of papers that will tell the world two things. One: I spent a lot of money. Two: I am qualified. So please hire me. *fingers crossed*

14) Sing in front of a crowd

I am not talking like Karaoke because that is more fun and off key. But maybe with a band or seriously even just one time. I by no means want to make a career out of it, just something that would be fun.

15) Donate Blood

I hate needles. In fact, I hate blood. However, with recent family and medical events, you start to realize life is short. You have to live it and give back. Here is one way i can do it.

16) Learn to change a tire

I will admit, I am kind of dumb when it comes to my car. It is almost like I completely zone out anytime someone talks about cars, therefore I want to learn some basics.

17) Improve and strengthen relationships.

A lot will be changing during my 24th year. People will leave, some will stay, and some will enter my world I never thought would. I want to keep those relationships close to my heart, no matter where the world will take me or them.

18) Take a dance class

I know some of you maybe shocked to know I haven’t taken classes as an adult. Shocking I know. Therefore I would like to take a class, and see how it goes. Maybe my new thing.

19) Learn Spanish

I joke a lot about this, but I am really upset at myself for not being fluent in Spanish. I kind of took it for granted, but I don’t always want to be like this. I want to be able to speak, write, and communicate Spanish.

20) Run a 5k without stopping

Not sure how I am going to do this because I hate running, but hey let’s try this

21) Move

This maybe one of those things that can wait until the next year, but here is a brief summary of my moving experience. I lived in the house I grew up in for 18 years, then my current local for almost 6 years with a brief break down under. I love having one steady locale, but I do feel it is time to move. Just not sure when

22)Try a new restaurant  where I have never eaten that type of food

I am not sure where to go with this, but maybe like Ethiopian or something like that.

23) Take an Improv Class

I may really suck at it, but hey at least I tried.

24) Streaking?

Maybe not that per se, but do something out of character that is fun and excited/ Life is about enjoying it, not going through the motions. Sometimes I have gone through the motions, but lately, I am trying to to take chances.

25) Make 24 the best yet. 25 will then be better