Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken and Bacon Alfredo Pizza

Sorry for the absence, friends.  Between amazing weather, Father's Day, and a sick baby, I haven't had much time to make this blog happen. But today, I started off the day right with an early nap time for the littlest nugget and some mozzarella sticks for breakfast. Yup. That's right. At 9:30 this morning, I found myself alone and hungry. What's a girl to do? Fire up the deep-fryer and make some mozzarella sticks, that's what. Now I find myself with a full tummy and some time to kill. I could be doing laundry, but where is the fun in that?

Alright, well let's get to it.

There's really no reason why this picture is here. She's not really doing anything all that amazing, except for being cute.

Discovering new ways to utilize the hammock.

Alright. To the food. We had a rainy, rainy week last week. It was the perfect time to cook up some yummy grub. I could eat pizza every day of the week. I love me some pizza. But, that is not the consensus in my house. The girls and I happen to live with a man who despises red sauce of any kind. He just is not a fan. This includes but is not limited to pizza, spaghetti, and lasagna. Pretty much my three food groups are not eaten by the biggest eater in the house. So, I compromise and adapt recipes to be made with Alfredo sauce instead.

I made this pizza before but this time, I thought I would show you how to make it.

First, you need a base for your pizza. I use this. There are many reasons why I use a boxed crust, and I will share a few with you:

1. I usually decide what we are having for dinner just about the time I need to start making dinner. I'm not much of a planner. I fly by the seat of my pants. I'm a rebel like that.

2. I have yet to find a pizza crust that is just right.

3. It takes 5 minutes to get this crust ready to go and it has never failed me yet.

4. It's cheap.

Back to the 'za. Cut up four slices of bacon.

Cut up two chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper.

Cut up half of a large onion.

Mince two cloves of garlic.

In a skillet, crisp up the bacon. Drain the bacon and set aside. Pour out all but a tablespoon or so of the bacon drippings.

Cook the chicken in the bacon drippings for approximately 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Say "hi" to the cute little girl watching. You don't have a cute little girl watching you? Well, I am sorry to hear that.

Toss the onions in the pan and let them soften up and get to a delicious golden caramel color. Add the garlic and stir for a minute. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and set aside with all the other toppings.

See my crust in the bottom right corner? Get your crust all ready too. Then you need an Alfredo sauce. I use this one. It's in the refrigerated section of my grocery store by the packets of pasta and other sauces. It's creamy and all sorts of yummy.

Spread some sauce on the crust and top with the bacon, chicken, onions, garlic, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake the pizza at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbly.

Like that, right there.

You could go even a step further and toss a little grated Parmesan cheese on top. That's pretty hardcore, for sure. Hardcore, and delicious.

Alrighty then. Here's how to do it:

Chicken and Bacon Alfredo Pizza


1 pizza crust
Alfredo sauce
4 slices bacon, cut into pieces
2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Make It

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a skillet heated to medium-high, crisp the bacon. Remove from the pan. Discard all bacon drippings except one tablespoon. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Cook the onions until softened and caramelized, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.

Assemble the pizza: start with Alfredo sauce and top with bacon, chicken, onions and garlic, and mozzarella cheese. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Slice it up and chow down!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sorry...Just More Randomness.

That's Kendall's mouth. We were sitting outside, chillin like villains, when she takes my hand and tries to spit something into it. What could it be, you ask? Well, look very closely. See it? It's right there on her left back molar, or to you, the back tooth on the right hand side. It's a chunk of something reddish-orange. Figure it out yet? Girlfriend took a bite out of a crayon. How'd that taste? And by the way, we colored BEFORE her nap that starts at 10 a.m. and this was now 3 p.m. So that little chunk of waxy deliciousness was there for a long time. She just thought this was hilarious. When we came in the house for dinner, she went and found the crayon, ran into the kitchen with it, and laughed her little butt off showing it to me. Just another day! She is such a funny kid. And she's all mine! And I'm not going to share! Muah ha ha!!

Here's Koda. I didn't want anyone to forget about him. In the summer, his devilish antics decrease due to increased attention and outdoor activities. In a nut shell, he doesn't have cabin fever anymore so he is not destroying my house. Now, don't go getting the wrong idea. He is still annoying. He still barks at everything and knocks little people over if anyone comes in the door.

He is so cool that he doesn't find sticks for people to throw. He takes logs off of the wood pile. Logs. Who in their right mind is going to throw a log? What a dillrod. And he is all mine.

This is the only rose I have successfully grown. If my dog was a true guard dog, that would not be the case. Instead of gnawing on logs, he should be catching Squirrel Hussein. Squirrel Hussein is a sneaky little guy. No fence can stop him. He has been eating the buds off of the rose and our sunflowers. Not cool. Not cool at all. He is a weapon of mass destruction. I have heard squirrels like to eat strawberries right when they turn red. Well, that is not going to happen here, my friend. You have been warned, Squirrel Hussein. And I will win.

After months and months and months...and months of trying, homeskillet can now reach her arms across the doorway. It has been a goal she has been striving for and working hard to reach. It was an exciting moment for all who got to witness it.

What is more fun than watching the ice cream making in action? This was strawberry sorbet. It was just strawberries, a splash-o-la of berry juice, and a smidge bit of sugar.

There it is. Oh la la.

As we speak, mint chocolate chip and vanilla bean are hardening in the freezer. Not together, separately. Those two flavors together would be flavor overload. I can not wait to taste them. This morning, I found a recipe for Blue Moon ice cream. It is next on the agenda.

Also, I will put up the ingredients for all of these ice creams and show how you can make them without having to have an ice cream maker if you just can't live without them. Which, I really don't know how anyone can live without homemade ice cream. It is so fantabulous and scrumdidelyumptious.

And I promise, promise, promise to show you what we've been eating around here really soon.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream Rocks

It rained yesterday. It was cold. And wet, obviously. So we puttered around. I decided to take another gander at the plans for the girl's birthday party and examine what materials I still need. I have been planning their party since, well, probably March. It's not until August. I like to plan. I like to write lists. I like to buy supplies as we find them on sale. I like organization. I sat down with my trusty mechanical pencil and scoped out the situation. Next thing you know, my two little shadows both had notebooks in hand and a writing utensil. Avery went for a pen but Kendall opted for a colored pencil. She knows her limits. Avery started writing the names of all of us. Her writing and spelling skills are at a rock star level of awesomeness. Kendall did some quantum physics and wrote a few haiku's:

I like my Mommy
She gives me milk in a cup
And hugs when I cry

Koda is my dog
His big paws smell like Cheetos
He barks when I sleep

I like to eat nuts
Pistachios are so good
I can't crack them though!

Swinging is the best
I like to go way high up
I pretend to sleep

Alright. I will stop now. I could go on for days and days with the haiku's she wrote. Man, I have one talented kid. At just one and a half she can write some mean poetry.

Back to the day. Avery was suppose to have her very first game of T-Ball yesterday but good 'ole Mother Nature decided that wasn't going to happen. The rain moved in and the game was canceled. What better thing to do on a rainy day than to test out the new ice cream maker?!?!

Chocolate was our mission. Hey, go big or go home, that's what Shrek always says. Or is it, better out than in? Either way, both are sound pieces of advice. Live them, people.

I threw some cocoa powder, sugar, half-and-half, and a touch of vanilla in a bowl and called for some back-up. I mean, I'm not going to do EVERYTHING around here. This was Kendall's first culinary adventure. She is usually just a passive observer but today she took the whisk by the horns and went to town. If you haven't noticed it already, I would like you to direct your attention to her mouth and spot her tongue hanging out. That is some fierce concentration there, folks.

Avery's turn. She has wielded more whisking hours than her sister. She's has good wrist action. Chef Avery at your service.

I know this is blurry but it is the only shot I got of the epic meltdown that happened when the whisk was handed over to the other co-chef. Girlfriend was NOT happy. It's her whisk and she will cry if she wants to.

So the whisking led to a creamy chocolate mixture which led to a soft, icy treat in a mere five minutes. That's right. It only took five minutes to get enough ice cream for two little girls and a sampling for me.

So good! I asked her to smile big. Instead she actually did "So Big." Silly girl.

Mmmmm. Get in my belly!

So far I would say that the ice cream maker is a hit. We are going to try some vanilla today, I think. Next is a strawberry sorbet and mint chocolate chip. Watch out Ben and Jerry's. Avery and Kendall's is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

No T-Ball and full bellies from a yummy supper and delicious treat led to a viewing of The Wizard of Oz. We sang, we danced, we laid on the floor, and we stopped watching after the Scarecrow sang. That's how we roll here: we fast forward to Somewhere Over the Rainbow, then through to the colored part, we watch the Munchkins sing, and then the Scarecrow and we pretty much stop paying attention until they get to the Emerald City. I told you all that because I really know you all wanted to know.

This is just because it was darn funny. Before bed and before she would let me change her and get her jammies on, she decided to dress herself back up. And that's her shirt. Upside down. Leg through an armhole and neck hole. She was as proud as a peacock.

I will leave you with this:

Rain ruined T-Ball
We really like the Scarecrow
Chocolate ice cream rocks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Total Random Nothingness, Really.

Hamilton Beach Half Pint Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker

I bought this little gem yesterday. What is it, you ask? Well, my friend, it is an ice cream maker. We are spending a fortune on ice cream in this joint. So I figured that it might be cost beneficial to the micro- and macro-economic fiscal world for us to invest in an ice cream maker. I was also sold on making my own ice cream when I discovered the limitlessness of ice cream recipes and the ability to monitor what ingredients are included. Chocolate ice cream at home: cream, cocoa, and sugar. Chocolate ice cream from the store: stuff, stuff, stuff, chocolate, stuff, stuff, and more stuff I can't pronounce.

We have been the proud owners of said ice cream maker since yesterday afternoon, so I obviously already found a recipe for mint chocolate chip since it is only the best ice cream, hands down.

We put both bowls in the freezer and intend on making chocolate today, along with strawberry sorbet. It only makes a half of a pint at a time, so I have a feeling we will be going through a lot of milk/cream/yogurt and other dairy products to fulfill our ice cream/sorbet/frozen goodness needs!

I will keep you posted on the awesomeness.

Apparently Avery was having an abstract moment when she was putting the toothbrushes away this morning. It's like the panda and penguin are waiting in line to jump off the diving board. Or they are walking the plank. Someone has a new obsession with pirates. Ahoy matey. Tally ho. Swashbucklers. That's the language I am hearing. I suppose an almost-five-year-old could have worse language than that.

We need a new faucet.

Kindergarten summer school work of art. It is so much fun watching the evolution of drawing of a small child. They go from scribbles, to a blob with blobs on it that they say are you, to an actual drawing of a very excited person with two different sized ears. I love it. It is so much fun. I think the hair on the right side is suppose to be a ponytail. Maybe she is trying to tell me she wants to rock a side-tail, totally 80's style. That would be totally tubular.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Camping, Chef's Coats, and Creamed Corn

Man, it seems like this summer is just jammed packed with awesomeness. For three girls who really have nothing we have to do, we sure are busy beavers. This past weekend, we loaded up and went camping. It was a fantastic trip. It was Avery's first camping adventure and she is a born camper. She used pit toilets, slept in a tent during a thunderstorm, and never complained it was only in the mid-60's the entire weekend. There were two reasons for such amazing behavior, and they are both in the picture below:

My brother's friend's daughter was there who is the same age as Avery and they had this giant bouncy mat. Trust me when I say, that thing was fun. There is no documentation of my bouncy mat skillz but they were there. I was launching those girls so high in the air. Mother. Of. The. Year. And holy Hannah, is that thing a workout. The man in charge of supervising all jumpers overheard me joke with Avery about how we should get one in our backyard. That joke was snuffed out when he said it cost $20,000 to buy one. Thanks for ruining my dreams bounce mat supervisor.

There was a reason for our camping adventure. We went with a friend of ours to help with a BBQ cooking competition. I will totally tent it if that means I get to eat baby back ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and brisket. Sign me up.

My better half was the box runner. He felt the need to jazz it up a little bit. He didn't want to just blend in with all the other box runners. Good thing there just happened to be a chef's coat laying around. I totally put in a request for one. If I by chance get it, I will wear it all the time. I will wear it to make pancakes. I will wear it if it is 90 degrees out. I will wear it with a fox. I will wear it in a box.

I will wear it when I make homemade creamed corn.

Looks good, tastes better. I did not do a step-by-step instructions for this one because it is super easy and goes really fast. It was delish as is, but next time, I am going to use corn off of the cob, not frozen. I think that might step up the sweetness factor just a bit.

So, here's the link to the recipe:

Enjoy it, yo.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Simple Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Want to know what we have been doing? This:

We've been sliding backwards down the slide into the baby pool. And by "we," I mean Kendall has been doing that.

Over and over and over again. The rest of us have been going in that big pool in the background. It's the best. But it's tricky. I mean, I feel like I should go back and get a science degree. It's some technical stuff. I am figuring it out though. I am guessing by the time it's time to put it away, I will have it mastered.

But anywho. It's been roasty toasty. So that means there is an increase in ice cold beverage consumption. I recently went to a local cheese house/ice cream joint/restaurant in our area that is amazeballs. Back in the day, I used to work there, making shakes, slinging hash, and cutting cheese. Not that way, you sickos. Literally cutting cheese. The stinkiest of cheeses you could imagine were cut. Sorry. I just can't stop.

Back to the beverages. I bought a quart of their ice milk for making shakes at home. It's the best stuff ever. It's just basically frozen milk. It's the perfect base for taking the flavor of the shake instead of starting with vanilla.

We made strawberry shakes with fresh frozen strawberries but I dug that a little more than the girls did. They are suckers for chocolate shakes. Now I ran into a dilemma. All the chocolate syrups and flavorings I could find in my hood were full of some pretty crappy ingredients. So, to solve that problem, I figured it couldn't be too hard to make it at home, myself. I perused the Internets and found a recipe that seemed to fit the bill.

This recipe is courtesy of and here is the link:

But because it's how I roll, here's how to make it.

All you need is some unsweetened cocoa powder. I used Hershey's because, well, it's what I had. To that you add sugar and a tid bit of salt. Then you take a picture of it and notice that you have some mad water-overflow stains on your stove top. I don't have the elbow grease to get those off. It's frustrating. But you are going to have to deal with it just like I do. It's OK. We can hold each other's hands and move on.

Back to the syrup. You add some water. And continue to notice the grodyness on your stove.

Whisk it together. Be patient. It doesn't come to easy. You have to earn it and work for it. But trust me, it is way worth it.

Hey. Where'd my audience go? She makes me bring this dollhouse in so she can play while I quick whip this up and she not only abandons me but also her little plastic family. The nerve.

Just a little side note, Kendall washed her dollhouse with wipes every single day. She cleans the bathroom, wipes down the kitchen, and bathes the people. It cracks. Me. Up.

There she is! There must be something exciting happening in the art desk room. Or a truck is driving by and she has to see it. Or a bird landed in the grass. It's cool. She's busy.

So, the syrup. Over medium heat, stir the concoction constantly until it starts to boil. Once it is boiling, continue stirring for 4-5 minutes. You will notice it thickening up and becoming more syrup-y. Remove it from the heat and let it chillax until it cools completely. Stir it every once in a while so it doesn't get a film. When it's cool, add some vanilla. I did not add 3 teaspoons, as the recipe says. I only added 1. I am not a real big fan of too much vanilla so I laid back a bit.

Pour your syrup into a container and store it in the fridge. The original recipe says that it is good for two weeks, refrigerated. Also, one tablespoon will flavor a glass of milk or a shake.

MMMMM. Here's the deliciousness in action. We had to taste test it juuuust to make sure.

A little people sized chocolate shake ready to be devoured. Avery told me this was the best chocolate shake she ever had. And Avery knows her stuff.

For the little time it takes to make, it is way worth it. So chocolaty and creamy. And best of all, no high fructose corn syrup or anything you can't pronounce. Score!

So, make some for your chocolate milk, shakes, or to put over your ice cream sundae.

Simple Homemade Chocolate Syrup


1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup water
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and water to a pot and whisk until combined. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ham and Cheese Calzone

I'm one of those people that haphazardly buys supplies at the grocery store with no set weekly menu in mind. I know what we need, what we might want, and what would go well with what we already have. Then, we just fly by the seat of our pants. I usually decide mid-day what we are having for dinner. It works well for us. We are flexible. This works very well for a few reasons. We never know if there are going to be any stragglers. We also might decide late in the day to go on an adventure which changes dinner plans. We might have a craving. Or we just might have spent way to much time outside playing in our oasis of a backyard that we need to make something healthy and yummy and super fast.

But every once in a while, I get a request. We usually get stragglers on Wednesdays. And one of those stragglers requested a calzone. He threw out some suggestions on preferred fillings and I went with one of those.

It was a big hit. For me, it was easy peasy lemon squeezie. For everyone, it was scrumdiddlyumptious.

And because I was taught to share, I will let you in on how to make one.

First you need fillings. A meat, a veggie (if you roll that way), and a cheese.

I chose ham, broccoli, and sharp cheddar.

I opted on getting a chunk of sharp cheddar from the deli counter and shredding it myself. I wanted the most flavorful cheese experience.

I used this ham. I wanted to keep this recipe easy so I was not about to make a small ham. I also didn't want deli ham slices. This seemed to be the perfect medium. It was very flavorful and came in large, thick slices.

You also need something to house all those toppings. I went with a pizza crust. You can use any pizza crust your little heart desires. You can make one from scratch. Or you can do what I did. In keeping with the easy part, I used a Jiffy box of pizza crust. I like it, but to be honest with you, I love the Great Value brand pizza crust that comes in a bag the best. But I got my goods from the grocery store in town and they had Jiffy so I went with that.

So anyway. Roll whatever dough you choose out into a giant circle.

Fill half of the crust with the goods, leaving a rim around the edge so you can pinch the whole thing shut.

I over compensated with the broccoli. Sorry. I only needed a little bit. But don't fret. I used all the ham and cheese! Priorities, baby.

Fold the other half of the dough over the innards. Fold the crust over and then pinch it shut with a fork.  Transfer your calzone onto a baking sheet.

Make an egg wash. For this, just whisk an egg with a splash of milk.

Brush the egg wash over the entire calzone.

Bake the calzone for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees or until the crust is a nice golden brown.

Kinda like that. Hello there, stud.

Ooooey gooooey melted cheese surrounding ham and broccoli? Yes please!

Alright. So here's the deal. You can fill this with anything you want.

Turkey, mushrooms, and mozzarella
Pepperoni, pizza sauce, and mozzarella
Chicken, Alfredo sauce, and mozzarella
Turkey, cooked bacon chunks, Alfredo sauce, and broccoli
Thinly sliced steak, pepper jack, and onions

Basically, pick a meat, a veggie if you want, a cheese, and maybe a sauce if you want to get all crazy.

Ham and Cheese Calzone


2 cups ham, cubed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cups broccoli, trimmed
1 pizza crust
1 egg
splash milk

Do it

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the ingredients on one side of the pizza crust. Fold over and seal.

Beat egg and milk. Brush on the outside.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.