Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cheeseburger Pies

Last week I was on the search to find a recipe for dinner that used ground beef. I was in the mood for a cheeseburger but wanted to do something different. I found this recipe from Food Network on a Paula Deen show. Paula's son Jamie made these for a get together. The cheeseburger pies are great for a meal but would also be fun if they were made smaller for appetizer bites!

Jamie's Cheeseburger Pies

1lb ground beef

1 Tablespoons steak seasoning (McCormick's Montreal is our favorite)

1 Tablespoon steak sauce (A-1)

1/2 onion, chopped finely (optional, we did not use)

4 slices cheese (any cheese will do. we used provolone)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (let thaw at room temp for at least 30 mins - needs to be relatively thawed or else it will crack when you work with it)

1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat (or heat your grill if you are making these in warmer weather)

In a bowl, mix together the beef, steak seasoning, steak sauce and onion if using. Form into 4 round patties. Cook in fry pan - or grill - until the burgers reaches medium doneness (the burgers will continue to cook when you put it in the oven).

Roll out the puff pastry to slightly flatten. Cut into 4 squares and place on the prepared baking sheet. Place a burger on each pastry square and top with a piece of cheese. Fold pastry up over the top the burger and pinch dough closed. Make sure dough is sealed and that there aren't any tears in the dough on the sides of the pouches.

In a small dish lightly beat the egg yolk and a teaspoon of water. With a pastry brush, brush the wrapped pastry on the tops and sides.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the pastry is nicely browned.

We ate our cheeseburger pies with sugar snap peas and white cheddar mac and cheese.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I have found a new winter drink that I LOVE!!

It is called boilo and I discovered it while attending a party in Girardville, PA in celebration of the St. Patrick's Day.

Boilo is popular in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, originally from Lithuania. It's a warm drink made by heating lemon juice, orange juice, sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks (sometimes other spices - allspice, cloves, anise seeds) and then adding whiskey!!

This is so so yummy! I am going to experiment and create my own recipe and when I do, I will share it! Boilo kept me warm on that cold winter day!

And since the weather is still quite cold in PA, I still have time to try to make this before spring arrives for good!

Adam & me at the Girardville St. Patrick's Day parade.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Penne a la Betsy

Bec gave me the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook a few years ago for my birthday and it has been used very frequently. It is actually my goal to make everything in the book. So far I haven't made anything that I don't like!
I have been wanting to make Penne a la Betsy for so long now and last night I finally made it happen. Adam isn't a huge pasta guy but if you add cream and shrimp, he's on board!
This recipe is incredibly easy and incredibly delicious! What more could you ask for!?? I highly recommend giving this a try!

Thank you, Pioneer Woman!

3/4 pound penne pasta (or any other pasta - I used rigatoni)
1 pound shrimp
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Fresh parsley
Fresh basil
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Cook the pasta until al dente.
Peel, devein and rinse (under cold water) the shrimp. Heat about 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large fry pan over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook until just opaque. Do not overcook. Remove from pan onto cutting board and let cool a few minutes. Pull off tails and chop into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Finely dice onion; mince garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Saute and stir occasionally for a few minutes. Then add wine. Stir occasionally while wine evaporates for 5 minutes.

Add tomato sauce and stir to combine. While stirring, add cream. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 8 minutes.
Now chop some basil and parsley. (I used about 6 large basil leave and omitted the parsley).

Add shrimp to the cream sauce and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the herbs and finally stir in pasta. Mix until combined and serve immediately.


Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm in love....

... with a new instant oatmeal!

Growing up I never liked instant oatmeal, especially the traditional Quaker's variety. Then one day a free sample of Quaker's Simple Harvest oatmeal came with the Sunday paper and I really enjoyed it! After buying it a few times, it disappeared from the grocers' shelves.

So a few months ago I came across another oatmeal called Oat Revolution. The tall slender shape of the box really grabbed my eye. But what really sucked me in was the $1.19 price tag for 5 servings. I thought, what the heck?!, I should just give it a try. And what do you know, I love it!
I eat it for breakfast at work or for a mid afternoon snack. The pouch the oats comes in is also a measuring cup so you know how much water to add. Then in 90 seconds in the microwave it's ready!

I have only found Oat Revolution at some, not all, stores that carry the Sur Fine brand, which around where I live is Karns. I have not found it at Giant yet.

I like to stock up on the Maple & Brown Sugar and the Cinnamon Roll.

What a satisfying snack for when I don't have the time and ingredients to make my favorite hot breakfast cereal, Bulgar Porridge. I recommend grabbing a box if you can find it!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A 70's Party & Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Saturday was Jesse's 26th birthday! In celebration, Bec planned a surprise 70's party for him. With our costumes on and the fondue warm, the birthday boy walked into a groovy evening!

The Birthday Boy and his pup, Rocko

Me & Adam

Me & Bec

Bec & Jesse

The Girls


On a quest to find a unique and delcious cupcake recipe for Jesse, I came across this blog and found the following recipe. These were sooooo good!!!! I highly recommend you try them! They were a hit at the party. You'd never know boxed cake mix is involved...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes

Pretzel Crust:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 2/3 cups crushed pretzels

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 small box Jell-O instant devil's food pudding mix
8 oz sour cream
1 cup applesauce
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag peanut butter chips
36 mini Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:

2 sticks butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare muffin tin/tins with cupcake liners and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Crush pretzels in a food processor (or put in a heavy duty plastic bag and crush with a mallot). You want them fine so they go in the cupcake liners in an even layer. In a medium bowl, mix together the crust ingredients.
Drop a small scoop of the crust mix into the bottom of each cup. Use a small shot glass to pack them down to a firm crust.
Bake for 5-8 minutes until very slightly brown. Let cool for a couple of minutes before you add the batter.
In a large bowl combine all the batter ingredients except the PB chips and PB cups. Mix until well combined and all the lumps are gone. Stir in the PB chips.
Drop a small spoonful of batter onto each pretzel crust. Then press a PB cup into the batter. The batter will be a barrier so when the PB cup melts it won't leak through the crust.
Cover the PB cups with batter. Bake at 350 degress for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (make sure you don't hit a PB cup or chip while performing this test).
To make the frosting, cream the softened butter with a mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add milk until frosting reaches spreading consistency. (You can play around with the amounts of ingredients. I started off with less sugar and cocoa than what it calls for and just kept adding until it got to the taste I like.)
When the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost liberally and sprinkle with some sea salt.

Thanks to Bec for the photos and I got the cupcake toppers at TJ Maxx!