WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Chill Overnight December 29, 2009

Filed under: Appetizer,Favorites,Holiday,One dish meal,Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 9:13 pm

I come to you tonight with some lovely make-ahead snacks for the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration.  I’lll post the first part tonight, then the final product later… since they must be, as you may have guessed, chilled overnight.  

First up is cheeseball.  This ball ‘o cheese has been served in my family ever since I can remember.  There’s no recipe.. just a short list of ingredients and your own taste preference.  It’s delicious and must be served with your favorite crackers (ours are TownHouse, Toasteds, or Chick’n in a Biskit!)

Here’s what you need:


For a smaller cheeseball:

Combine the following in a large bowl:
2 packages cream cheese, softened a lot – I usually use the Light variety, it’s softer and just a tad better for you
Deli beef, sliced into strips – must be the dry-ish kind, found with all the other lunch meat and usually less than a dollar a package.  I used 1.5 packages this time, but put in as much as you want.
Frank’s hot sauce, to taste – I like it spicy
French onion soup mix – I used maybe 2/3 of a package
Sour cream, optional – sometimes I add a little bit to make the stirring easier

Then line a small bowl with plastic wrap…

and plop the cheese mixture into it… pat it down and cover with the tails of the plastic wrap.

Chill overnight then roll in chopped pecans or walnuts.  That’s it!

Next up, another childhood favorite.  These little buggers take me straight back to New Year’s Eves of the past with a certain special family.  Ashley has also recently discussed her love for these tasty nibbles, and oddly enough, she is now dating the son of said family.  Weeeird!  Oh, and by the way…. these things go by many names… Pickle rolls, Pinwheels, Belly Buttons… you choose!   

They are even easier to make than the cheeseball.  You only need 3 ingredients:

Cream cheese – traditionally plain, light variety but I enjoy the light Chive and Onion
Deli turkey – traditionally ham, but I don’t eat ham and think turkey is better 🙂 

You’ll want to use a meat that’s uniformly shaped and easy to roll and cream cheese that’s soft and easily spreadable.

All you do is carefully spread some cheese on a piece of turkey… 

Ugh, excuse the horrible appearance of this, thanks to the green cutting board and terrible lighting.

Dry off a pickle with some paper towel and roll up in the cheese/meat.  Repeat until you run out of something.  Stack in a container and chill overnight.

Slice into “bellybuttons” and serve on a peeertty platter.  Pics of final product coming later!


Christmas tiiiime December 27, 2009

Filed under: Beef,Bread/Muffins,Holiday,Life,Potato,Shrimp,Side dish,Sweets,Vegetable,Ziggy — WannaBe Chef @ 8:27 pm

Bonjour mes amies.  I’m back home after a lovely and relaxing Christmas at my mommmmy’s house.  Lots (and lots and lots) of food was had.  I’m still suffering from food hangover which unfortunately will probably continue till the new year. 

So Wednesday night, we arrived at the homestead.  I was greeted by a whole tub of naked sugar cookies and my mom’s request that I decorate them.  Uuuugh… I am not so much a fan of frosting cookies (it’s that whole anti-baking thing I guess), but I managed (to eat like 10 of them, that is). 


The house was full of kitty cats (FOUR to be exact) and drama.  Here are the players…

Missie: dainty but fiesty old lady with an attitude

Millie: Pleasantly plump, mysterious shy girl

Colby Jackson: Mega hyper, playful instigator of much of said drama

Ziggy: aka MY SONNNN, sweet little boy and scaredy cat of the weekend

The kitties kept it lively for Chrismas Eve dinner…

The spread: zucchini and cranberry breads, green bean casserole, ham with quartet of mustards, amazing brisket covered up, mashed taters, veg platter, broccoli salad

My first plate: taters, brisket, ham trimmings, squash, green bean casserole

The night continued with dessert – of which there was a whole table that I neglected to photograph, OOPS.  There was also pecan pie – of which Jeff has never heard of, nor had, ever… the horror. 

He enjoyed

Games were played, mainly Jenga, which has become tradition.  It took us a good 4 or 5 rounds to get to our latest record of 32 layers.

So intense

Christmas day was chill as usual… presents were opened and more food was had…

Chicken waaangs, roasted brussels sprouts, beer boiled shrimpys

More games were played… namely the slightly violent Spoons…

and more show-downs were witnessed…

Overall, a great holiday was had.  I can’t believe it’s already over, and even worse, that work is quickly approaching tomorrow.  Toodles for now my loves.


WannaBe “Baker,” take 2 December 20, 2009

Filed under: Holiday,Sweets — WannaBe Chef @ 8:16 pm

Every Christmas, I have grand plans to bake plates and plates of goodies.  Unfortunately, it just never happens because… well, you can read why I don’t bake here.  Oh, and you can also read about another time I tried to bake and how it turned out here.  This year, I wanted to make just a little something to bring to our neighbors and to work.  I saw these incredibly easy cookies over on this blog and figured there’s no way I could mess these up!

Whipper Snappers
From Trying to Heal blog (scroll down a little bit to see her pretty cookies)

1 box cake mix, any flavor (I made a batch of red velvet and a batch of funfetti)
1 egg
1 regular-sized tub Cool Whip, thawed (I used lite)
powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350.  Mix the first three ingredients together, use some elbow grease!  The dough will be thick and sticky.  Spoon a blob of dough into a shallow dish you’ve filled with powdered sugar.  Coat the blob in the sugar, then pick it up and gently form into a ball.  Place onto cookie sheets (I sprayed the pans lightly with cooking spray).  Bake for 10-15 minutes. 

It took me a few batches to get the timing right.  (I did manage to slightly burn the first batch!)  I found that you have to take them out when the tops still seem wet/doughy, then let them sit on the pan a couple minutes before putting them on the cooling rack.  Most of my batches stayed closer to 10 minutes than 15…. and I used the 2nd from the bottom rack in the oven.  In case you wanted to know, I got 41 red velvet cookies and 47 funfetti (I obv made these a wee bit smaller).


Yellow dinner… December 18, 2009

Filed under: Meatless,One dish meal,Products,Sandwiches,Soup,Sweets — WannaBe Chef @ 8:12 pm

… distant cousin of the orange dinner.  So sorry I have abandoned my teeny group of followers for the past couple days.  A lot of crap has been going down (including horrible grammar and sentence structure, apparently).  That will be for another post, however.  Let’s begin with tonight’s yellow-hued dinner.  I may or may not have previously mentioned how the past week of meals have been mostly Wayne’s requests.  I made fun of him because his menu was totally something a 10 year old would request (spaghetti, tacos, egg salad, other stuff I can’t remember)… but since my mind was completely not into menu planning, I just went with it. 

Egg salad with sprouts on a sandwich thin; Corn and Chipotle Bisque with extra corn on top

This is my second try with the Imagine line of soups.  I tried the sweet potato soup first, and I wasn’t a big fan.  It was really thin and watery, and the “light in sodium” thing made it quite tasteless.  The only way I could get it down was by sloshing it with Frank’s and parm.  Anyway, I digress.  So, I picked up this Corn and Chipotle Bisque (on sale of course) and decided to give it a try.  Unlike it’s orange counterpart, I looooved this!  I think the extra corn really took this to the next level since I must have texture.  It was thick and hearty and had a nice sweet heat thing going on.  Yummmy. 

Dinner a couple nights ago was this lovely chicken stir fry and brown rice.

And just to let you know, that peppermint ice cream was deee-licious.


What I really need is a stiff drink. December 15, 2009

Filed under: Products,Salad,Soup,Sweets,Turkey,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 7:48 pm

Ever have a day where it seems like everyone is out to get you, piss you off, or make you cry?  A day where you just want to give up, go home, go to bed and never come out?  A day where you feel like you are hanging on by a thread and will fall apart and/or snap if the next person says so much as boo?  Wellll, today has been that kind of day.  I will spare you the details and continue on with tonight’s dinner.  I give you:  a delicious Hugh Jass Salad and a baby bowl of Progresso’s Cream of Mushroom soup for warmth.


In the mix (not that anyone cares or reads this… I just like making lists):  Romaine, green cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, red peppers, zucchini, dill pickles, green olives, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, turkey, 2 slices of turkey bacon, and Annie’s Light Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.


Instead of having more adult bevs, I’m planning on having the next best thing while watching SYTYCD tonight… ICE CREAM.  I very, very rarely buy ice cream… but this was calling my name at the store tonight, and in my pissy, weakened state, I gave in… and I’m not ashamed. 


Toodles for now, my peeps.


BBBs December 14, 2009

Filed under: Meatless,Sandwiches — WannaBe Chef @ 9:09 pm

Another one for the books…. easy, cheap, and quick.  These were really good and flavorful.  I added quite a bit of Frank’s, but I think I’d add even more next time…. and don’t be shy with the salt, pepper, or toppings! 

Homemade Black Bean Burgers
From Whole Foods website
I made a couple tiny changes:  I made 4 patties out of this instead of 6, used red onion in the mix instead of yellow, and used sandwich thins instead of buns.  I also added lots of ketchup and mustard on top.

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 egg
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
6 green leaf lettuce leaves
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Put beans in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add egg, yellow onion, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well to combine then shape into 6 patties.

 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange patties in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to buns, top with lettuce, tomatoes and red onions and serve. 


Tasty burger with a side of Annie's Organic White Cheddar Mac 'n Cheese


Fat Friday December 11, 2009

Filed under: Beef,Beverage,Breakfast,Fruit,One dish meal,Potato — WannaBe Chef @ 8:56 pm

I’m falling off the healthy train just a little bit.  I have a lotttt on my mind, and I tend to eat away my feelings… so healthy, right??  At least I’m honest with myself, though… ha… ANYWAY…. my days always start with a healthy breakfast…

Wheat toast w/crunchy almond butter, banana, honey, and cinnamon.... x 2

I’m not quite to the point where I take pics of everything I eat (not sure I ever will be)… so we’ll skip promptly to dinner.  Once again, I sort of followed a recipe, but not really… I use the recipe more as a guide to the method… and I always try to health-ify it a little.  Here’s what I did…  Oh wait a minute, I enjoyed this glowing adult beverage while cooking…

Vodka, OJ and grenadine

Ok, back to business…

Bacon Cheeseburger Pie
Mix in a bowl:
1 lb lean ground beef
chopped onion (I used 1/4 of a large onion)
bread crumbs (about 1/3-1/2 cup)
ketchup, mustard, seasonings of choice (you’re basically making a meatloaf here)

– Press meat into ungreased, 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish/pan (or pie dish if you have one… hence the title haha) and bake at 375 for 12 minutes. 
– While that’s cooking, whip up some instant potatoes according to the package directions (make about 3 or 4 servings).  I omit the butter (no need for it) and use 1/2% milk.  Season the spuds liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, whatever you want.  After they cook, stir in some shredded cheese (1/2 cup or so).
– Spread potatoes over top of partially cooked meat “crust.”  Bake for like… 10 or 15 more minutes more.  Top with another sprinkle of cheese and some crumbled, cooked turkey bacon (4 slices or so).  Bake for another 2 minutes or so till cheese is melted. 
– Top individual serving with diced tomato and green onions if desired.  I also sloshed some worchestershire on top cuz I looove it! 

This was an essentially veggie-less dinner (unless you count the little bit of unpictured toms) but nonetheless very comforting and tasty.  I am now enjoying a second (or maybe third) drinky draaank 🙂 

Toodles for now!