WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Stuffed November 30, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Pizza,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:51 am

I found this first “stuffed” recipe on Pinterest, of course.  Basically, it’s a pizza-stuffed mushroom.  Yes, please!

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms
“Pinspired” by this recipe


  • Large button mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned with damp cloth
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • A few green olives, chopped
  • Turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • Pizza sauce, a couple spoonfulls


  1. Place mushroom caps, stem side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees until mushrooms start sweating and getting soft.
  2. Meanwhile, mix cheese and egg together in a bowl.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven and stuff with cheese mixture, a little pizza sauce, and toppings.
  4. Turn oven to broil and broil mushrooms until bubbly and browned.


This next “stuffed” recipe is another stuffed pepper.  I never follow a recipe for these, so this one sort of morphed into a taco-stuffed version.  These might be my favorite stuffed peppers to date.

Taco Stuffed Peppers


  • 3 bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • seasonings such as garlic powder and cajun seasoning
  • 1 package Taco flavored rice
  • Salsa, about 1/2 cup
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup


  1. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 until peppers start to soften and release some moisture, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the Taco rice according to package directions, and saute the hamburger with desired seasonings.
  3. Once the rice is done, stir the hamburger and salsa in with the rice.
  4. Fill peppers with rice mixture and top with cheese.  Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Belated Thanksgiving November 29, 2011

Filed under: Holiday — WannaBe Chef @ 9:43 am

Hello, out there!  We spent our first Thanksgiving here in MN, and I spent my first Thanksgiving ever not at my mom’s house.  Thankfully, my mom was able to come out here for a visit, and we had a nice meal for three (and a quarter!).  I didn’t take many pictures because, well, cooking a whole Thanksgiving meal is a little hectic!  Here’s our appetizer.  I got the idea from Pinterest.  It’s supposed to be antipasto skewers, but I didn’t have long enough skewers, so I just put it all on a platter.  It includes beef summer sausage, turkey pepperoni, mozzarella balls, green olives, tortellini marinated in balsamic dressing, and grape tomatoes.

For the main event, we had our traditional Thanksgiving meal…. turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, gravy, green beans with buttered almonds, cranberry jelly (yes, the kind from the can!), and rolls.  It was amazingly delicious, of course.  (Please excuse the iPhone pictures too, not the greatest!)

And here’s a pic of little M on her first Thanksgiving…

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!


Carrot soup November 16, 2011

Filed under: Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 10:34 am

When Wayne asked what we were having for dinner the other night, I told him he probably didn’t want to know.  When I finally mumbled “……carrot soup,” I think he agreed that he probably shouldn’t have asked.  Then when I was making it, and he saw a big pot of baby carrots floating in broth, he said “Maybe you should put some potatoes in there…”  LOL.  I told him not to worry, we won’t be eating whole carrots in broth… that I would be pureeing it.  Hahaha, I don’t think that helped.  Anyway, the main reason I wanted to make this was because it looked like a quick, simple recipe  Also, it had fresh thyme in it, and I still had fresh thyme in the fridge to use.  Man, a package of that stuff lasts forever.  I also figured this soup would be good because it was a Pioneer Woman recipe, and I wanted to use my immersion blender 🙂

I followed the recipe exactly, except I used chicken broth and added more than two sprigs of thyme.  This recipe makes a TON, I mean A LOT, of soup.  If you’re just cooking for two or four, definitely halve it.  We are still swimming in carrot soup over here…..

I thought this soup just OK.  It was light and mild with a hint of sweetness from the honey.  It went well with a warm, chewy hunk of baquette.  Despite using extra thyme, I couldn’t taste it.  Maybe my thyme was just past it’s prime (ha).  Despite his reservations, Wayne actually really liked this soup.

Carrot-Thyme Soup with Cream


  • 3 pounds Baby Carrots
  • 2 quarts Vegetable Stock Or Chicken Stock
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Dash Of Salt


Combine carrots, stock, and thyme in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from heat and transfer soup in two batches to a blender (or you may use an immersion blender.) Puree soup completely, then stir in honey and cream. Taste, then add salt as needed.

Use a little warm broth if the soup needs thinning.

Serve while warm with a sprig of thyme on top.


Snacky November 14, 2011

Filed under: Bread/Muffins — WannaBe Chef @ 11:56 am

Happy Monday!  Today is my only sister’s only 27th birthday, and it’s my only daughter’s only 6 month birthday!  Ok, the word ‘only’ no longer has any meaning.  I have a couple snacky things to share.  First, the best snack I’ve created in a long time:  toasted cinnamon raisin english muffin with sharp white cheddar and sliced fuji apples…. SO GOOD.

This next thing, we totally had for dinner this weekend, but I consider it to be somewhat of a “snacky” thing.  I loooove corn dogs and was surprised I never saw this idea anywhere or thought of it myself…. corndog muffins!  Found it on Pinterest.

Corndog Muffins

  1. Mix up one box Jiffy cornbread mix according to instructions on box
  2. Slice 3 (or more) bun-size, beef hot dogs and heat in microwave to take the chill off
  3. Pour batter into muffin cups (I recommend making 7-8 muffins instead of the usual 6 because the hot dogs will make the batter overflow otherwise)
  4. Evenly distribute hot dog pieces into muffin batter
  5. Bake until just barely set on top, serve with ketchup and mustard

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans November 11, 2011

Filed under: Meatless,One dish meal,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 9:55 am

Happy 11-11-11!  I bet lots of weddings are happening today.  Anywho, I just have a quick soup to share.  I was kind of surprised to see that this was a Martha Stewart recipe, seeing as it’s made of like 99% canned / pre-made items.  It was ok for a quick week night meal.  It definitely needs some heat and cheese on top, though!

Tortilla Soup with Black Beans
Slightly modified from Martha Stewart


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips, plus more for topping
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and hot sauce for topping


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add garlic and chili powder, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, broth, and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
  3. Stir in tortilla chips and cook until softened.  Stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with cheese, hot sauce, more chips and lime wedges if desired.

2 for 1 November 9, 2011

Filed under: Mexican-inspired,Salad — WannaBe Chef @ 10:14 am

Somehow I got one dinner behind in my posts, so today I’m just going to post two in one.  First up is another tasty salad.  It’s pretty much like the “Best Salad Ever,” with a few changes.  This one had shrimp, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, buttered almonds (lots of them!), and a bottled balsamic vinaigrette which was not as good as homemade… it was too vinegary.

That brings us to last night’s dinner.  I’m going to apologize up front about the terrible pictures.  Macy was super fussy, so getting a photo at all was a small miracle.  I had leftover puff pastry from when I made chicken and apple pot pie, so I went to the puff pastry website and found a recipe for taco pockets.

After working with puff pastry twice now, I’ve decided I could take it or leave it.  The first time, it never baked all the way through.  This time, the rolling out process and the flour everywhere was just too close to being a baking experience; a little too fussy for a week night dinner.  Maybe not having a rolling pin played a part in that, too, haha.  To make it a little easier, I ended up cutting the whole sheet of pastry into four squares first, then rolling each square out individually.  Despite the fuss-factor of making these, they turned out really well.  The pastry baked all the way through this time, and the taco filling was a great pairing with the crispy, light pastry.

My attempt at trying to get a view of the filling = FAIL.

Taco Pockets

I followed the recipe exactly, except that I only made half of it… so I used just one sheet of pastry dough, and that made four large pockets.


Time for some thyme November 8, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Potato,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 9:28 am

Sunday was the end of Daylight Savings time, so I thought it would be appropriate to make Lemon Thyme Chicken…. hardy har har.  Or maybe I just had some leftover thyme I wanted to use, and I found a recipe.  I’m really liking fresh thyme.  It’s so flavorful, and the smell of it reminds me of Thanksgiving and cozy comfort food.  I also made two yummy side dishes: hashbrown casserole and roasted asparagus.  It was a pretty darn good Sunday dinner, if I do say so myself!

Lemon Thyme Chicken

I only made two chicken breasts, not four, but I did make the entire amount of sauce.  I just like having lots of sauce 🙂  There was a lot leftover, so cut the whole recipe in half if you desire.  However, I think if you served this with mashed potatoes or noodles, you’d want the extra sauce.  A couple adjustments I made: used ~2 tsp fresh thyme instead of dried, used about 1/2 an onion instead of a whole one.  

Hashbrown Casserole

I’ve made this before, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever blogged it.  Everyone seems to have their own version of this cheesy hashbrown dish, and you can’t really mess it up.  I used this recipe as a guideline.  I only made half of the recipe, and it’s enough for a 9×9″ pan.  I omit the corn flakes, use finely chopped fresh onion instead of dried, add some garlic powder, and probably use more cheese than the recipe calls for (I don’t measure it). 

Roasted Asparagus

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray
  • Trim bottom portion off a bunch of asparagus, rinse under cold water, shake excess water off
  • Line up asparagus on baking sheet
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • Bake at 375-400 until tender and slightly browned/crispy