Saturday, March 30, 2013

Best Tuna Melt EVER!

Best Tuna Melt EVER.  And delicious homemade tomato soup.
Yup.  Had to start that one right off with a picture so you all could get to drooling.  By the by, this awesome pic is courtesy of Dante.  Mine were all blurry... :-(

So yeah, we're kind of on a greens kick lately.  Dante's been making up lots of greens.  He uses a mix of collard greens, turnip greens, kale, and rainbow chard and cooks them down with some sauteed onions, garlic, bacon (if we have it), and other spices and they're AMAZING.  Very tasty.  The only other collard greens I'd had before he cooked these were from a can and were basically just salt.  lots of salt. 

As a result of all the greens-cooking going on, we have leftover greens in the fridge quite often, and have been playing with different things to do with them.  This is probably the biggest success yet.  After we made some DELICIOUS greens/cheddar/bacon/cheese sauce potato skins for brunch, Dante suggested that it could be good to make a tuna melt with greens in it.  I definitely agreed.  We both thought it could use something to dress it up a bit, so after watching a couple hours of The Chew (we have been recording it on the DVR and are currently playing catch-up), were inspired and decided on caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar.  That was a good choice........ a very good choice. I was afraid they might overpower the other flavors of the sandwich, but no such problem.  They were flavorful but not overly potent.  We made the sandwiches on wheat bread and I put provolone cheese on mine.  Dante put Smoked Cheddar on his, and we cooked em up on the electric griddle.  They were FAN-TAS-TIC!  For reals, if you're looking for a good sandwich, this is definitely the way to go. 

To go with our awesome sandwiches, we made Clinton's Creamy Tomato Soup from the Chew. We did use red onion in place of the white, and fat free half and half in place of the heavy cream.  It turned out super fresh and tasty, and I'm not even usually a tomato soup fan!  I like to dip my grilled cheese in it, but I rarely eat more than a couple spoonfuls of Campbell's plain (seriously, I'll put mine in an espresso cup when we have sandwiches because that's enough to dip, but I don't have to feel wasteful when I don't want to eat it).  This, I cleaned my bowl.  My big, real people sized bowl.

So next cool day, or just if you're feeling like some pure awesomeness for dinner, I highly recommend you try both of these.

Tuna Melt with Mixed Greens

Cooked Mixed Greens (recipe will be in next post)
Tuna Salad, seasoned to taste (I used miracle whip, garlic, onion, thyme, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning)
1 Red Onion
1 T Olive Oil
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
Provolone or Smoked Cheddar Cheese
Wheat Bread
Butter or Margarine

Caramelized Onions:
1. Slice red onion into thin half-moons.
2. Sautee onion in a medium pan with olive oil until onions soften and start to brown. 
3. Once onions start to brown, add Balsamic vinegar and stir. 
4. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring often. 

Sandwiches: (Note: all quantities are approximate.  I didn't measure.  Just eyeball it and adjust based on your tastes!  After all, it's your sandwich...)
1. For each sandwich, butter two slices of bread.  Tip: Put the two pieces of bread butter sides together and put your sandwich fillings on top, then when you're ready to cook them, lift the top piece of bread (with fillings) onto the griddle, butter side down, and top with the remaining piece of bread (butter side up).  This keeps you from somehow getting butter all over the kitchen during the sandwich prep.  I learned this from my mom, who's a genius. :-D
2. Drain/press as much liquid from the greens as possible.  Put 1/4-1/2 cup greens on one slice of bread, on the non-buttered side.
3. Add 1/2 c tuna salad on top of the greens and spread to cover evenly.
4. Add 2-4 T caramelized onions on top of the tuna and again, spread to cover evenly.
5. Top with cheese and transfer to hot griddle (I had ours at 350 and it worked beautifully).  Add second slice of bread, butter side up.
6. Cook until golden brown and delicious.  Flip and repeat.
7. Cut in half and serve with Clinton's Creamy Tomato Soup.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The SUPER-Spread!

Yeah, so Superbowl was over a month ago... your point?

That's just how awesome the food was.  We just woke up from the food coma today.  for reals.

.......... or we've just been SUPER busy.  Either way, hakuna matata.  BLOG POST TIME! YAY!

Clockwise from the red bowl with the handles we have tortilla chips and sloppy joe dip, buffalo chicken bites with blue cheese dressing, pepperoni and hawaiian deep dish chicago-style pizza, chicken quesadillas, (center) potato chips and Helluva Good Dip: Buffalo Chicken, and surf and turf bites.  Yeah.  We're that awesome.  Guess how many people were at this party.  Did you guess? 

....... Four. 

We were all very full. and very happy. :-D  See?

And to stick with the  "useful" theme of this blog, I'm gonna tell you how to make one of these delicious treats! YAY!
Sloppy Joe Dip

1 lb hamburger, browned and drained (reserve 1/4 cup of drippings)
1/4 c catsup
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c vinegar
2 T lemon juice
2 t soy sauce
1/2 c pineapple juice
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 T cornstarch
2 T cold water

Let burger cool and pulse in food processor for finer texture. Set aside.

Combine all remaining ingredients except cornstarch and water in a medium saucepan.  Heat (with stirring) until sugar is dissolved.  Mix cornstarch and water into a slurry and slowly add to hot sauce while whisking to avoid lumps.  Continue stirring and heating while sauce thickens.  Combine with hamburger in a small crockpot and set on low until ready to serve.

And that's it!  Sorry I don't have any process shots of this one.  As you might be able to guess, the kitchen was a wee bit busy that day!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A pizza so good I don't need brownies...

And that's saying something.

Seriously, the plan has been, for the past 3 days, pizza and brownies.  Brownies and pizza.  Two kinds of awesome.  But it turns out, the pizza was so awesome, I don't even need the brownies.

And this is why.


We have a tradition of picking up cookbooks as souvenirs when we travel.  They're great, useful, and specific to the place we're visiting!  They're kinda the perfect souvenir.  Anyway, I digress.  We picked up the Great Chicago-Style Pizza Cookbook by Pasquale Bruno, Jr when we visited.. you guessed it... Chicago!  And it's been sitting on our shelf for almost 3 years and we've NEVER USED IT!  This is a crime of the worst sort, because this pizza.... amazing.  And to think, we could have been eating it for the last three years if we'd only known....

This recipe is (I assume, though it's carefully not stated outright in the book) that this pizza is based on the recipe used at Giordano's Restaurant and Pizzeria. It's a spinach stuffed deep dish pizza.  If you'd asked me yesterday, I'd have said there's no way to replicate that much awesome at home.  I would have been wrong.

Stuffed Spinach Deliciousness

What makes this even better is that it's SUPER EASY to make! (Without posting the actual recipe here...) Basically, take a standard pizza crust recipe and make a double batch (or enough for two pizzas).  Roll slightly more than half the dough out so that it's about 3 inches larger than the base of a springform pan.  Put the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Fill with a mix of about equal parts chopped spinach and shredded mozzarella cheese. 

Mmmm.  Look at all that cheesy green goodness.

Put the second crust on top of the filling, roll the edges down to seal it, and cut a hole in the middle of the crust to vent steam.  Cover in drained crushed canned tomatoes seasoned with Italian Seasoning and shredded parmesan cheese. 

Ready to go in the oven.

Put in a 475 oven for 7-8 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, then move up two positions for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove, cut, and ENJOY! Seriously.  Enjoy a lot!

Happy Baking!