WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Happy ’11! January 3, 2011

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

Hi, all!  I’m officially back in MN after a lovely 10 days back home in MI for the holidays.  I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any food pictures, but believe me when I say that plenty of good food was had.  I did take some pics from our fun New Year’s Eve with our friends Ryan, Amanda, and Bree.  We have spent the past 5 NYE’s with them, so we were determined to continue the tradition with our 6th year together.  Here’s what I made:

Caprese Skewers

Easy Peasy – simply skewer grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella (the little mozz balls are best, but the store didn’t have them, so I used some little “discs”) onto some fun toothpicks and drizzle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  Fresh, light, and soo, so good!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Recipe from Annie’s Eats.  Seriously, you have to make this.  My picture does nothing to explain how good this was.  It’s the perfect thing to take to a party or get together, or else you might be tempted to eat the whole pan yourself.  I served it with baguette slices, celery, and Fritoes Scoops for dipping.  I liked them all, but of course the baguette slices were the best.  Click the link above for the recipe over on Annie’s Eats, you won’t be disappointed!   

Happy 2011, everyone!


Goodbye Natural Light October 18, 2010

Filed under: Appetizer,Pizza — WannaBe Chef @ 7:00 am

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. It’s time we say goodbye to dinners photographed in natural light 😦 I will apologize in advance for my future yellow-light bathed dinners. Onto the first one…  These little puffs were pretty tasty.  You could probably add any kind of pizza topping you wanted, and they would be a great football-watching snack.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
Clipped from a magazine… possibly Rachael Ray?


  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup chopped pepperoni (I used turkey)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then whisk in the egg and milk.  Stir in the cheese and pepperoni, let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir the batter again and divide among the mini-muffin cups (fill about 3/4 of the way).  If using dry basil, sprinkle a pinch over each puff.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
  4. If using fresh basil, sprinkle over hot puffs.  Serve puffs with hot pizza sauce for dipping and red pepper strips on the side. 

Mini weekend update May 30, 2010

Filed under: Appetizer,Chicken,Holiday — WannaBe Chef @ 8:20 pm

Bloglettes!  It’s been so long.  Not really, but I’ve missed you.  How is everyone’s Memorial Day weekend going so far?  Friday night, Wayne and I went to an “after golf get-together” at one of his new coworker’s house (Wayne golfed, I didn’t).  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a wee bit antisocial shy, so I was a little anxious about it.  It was fine though… met lots of people, heard a lot of “shop talk,” and had some good food.  I brought Summer Corn Dip with Fritos Scoops and celery sticks for dippers.  It was a big hit and everyone liked it a lot.  I didn’t take a pic, but you can go this post to see one, since I’ve made it before.  Saturday night, we went to another new coworker’s house for a much smaller get together.  It was just us, them, and their 2 kids.  We had drinks, played washers, Euchre (WOOT WOOT for fellow Michiganders!), ate an amaaaazing meal (T-bone steaks on the grill!!), and chatted on their deck until after midnight.  We brought some BBQ cocktail weenies and this platter of nibbles.

Sharp cheddar, grapes, swiss/pepperjack, strawberries, green/black olives and crackers that I added to the platter when we got there.

Today has been pretty low-key.  We got some groceries, did some laundry, and I’ve been catching up on blog-reading.  Tonight’s dinner was simple and very tasty.

  • Corn on the cob
  • Zucchini:  Sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • Inside Out Buffalo Hot Wings:  Recipe from Sweet & Savory.  I used feta instead of blue cheese.  Yuh-um, definitely will be making these again!

That’s all for now, friends!  Wayne is going out of town for work on Tues-Sun (almost 6 days!! uuggh), so I need some dinner ideas for myself.  I like to experiment while Wayne is gone, so hook a girl up with some yummy ideas?


Fight the beat. January 24, 2010

Filed under: Appetizer,Beverage,Breakfast,Life,Meatless,Ziggy — WannaBe Chef @ 8:56 pm

It’s Sunday, after 6 PM, and I have finally showered for the day.  I consider that an accomplishment, considering that I may have consumed half a fifth of vodka last night.  No, I’m not lying.  I told you there would be shenanigans.  🙂  Let’s start with the snacks… We had veggies with hummus and pumpkin bread that both escaped from the camera.  Then there was the star of the show…

Summer Corn Dip
from Bakin’ and Eggs blog

1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup light mayo (I used real mayo)
2 cans Mexi-corn, drained
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used a little less than this)
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red and green peppers, finely diced (I used all red peppers)
I also added some green chiles and Frank’s hot sauce

Mix together and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with corn chips – recommended Fritos Scoops. 

Omgggg this stuff was like crack.  It was really good with the Fritos, but we discovered it was delicious on celery too.  There wasn’t a drop of this left after the night was over.   

We ventured out to dinner and had amazing martinis and giant salads.  Family video was the next stop for a movie we never ended up watching, followed by liquor shopping.  We came back to mi casa and got our drink and ridiculousness on.
My favorite roommates from freshman year.  We take this same picture every “reunion.”  Looove these biotches!! 
Kelsey and I drank a lotttttt of these, while Lori and Erin enjoyed some wine.
We fought the beat….

fist-pumped like WHOA…

and taught ourselves the Soulja Boy dance.

Now watch me you...

crank dat soulja boooy.

As the night progressed, the drinks started looking more like this…

Vodka with a splash of cranberry

and Lori and Erin started to look more like this…

Wine buzz

Kelsey and I continued to be completely ridiculous.  The night (or should I say morning) ended with us on the floor with my SONNN…

Love him

The morning began with a massive headache and the feeling you get after getting off a really long boat ride.  After some H2O and Advil, I was able to pull breakfast together.  Not gonna lie, I was excited for this one (although my stomach… not so much).

Overnight French Toast
from Beantown Baker blog who got it from somewhere else!

2 T butter, softened
12 – 3/4″ thick slices of bread
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 – 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
Berries, Nuts, Whipped Cream, etc for topping as desired

Spread softened butter in a thick coating over a large rimmed (about 1″ sides) heavy baking sheet. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar, add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt and whisk together. Add milk and continue whisking until well combined. Lay out bread slices on baking sheet. Pour milk mixture over the bread. Turn each slice, coating both sides. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake French toast for approximately 10 minutes and then flip each slice of bread. Bake another 5-10 minutes, flipping again if necessary until both sides are golden brown and crisped.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with warmed maple syrup and other toppings as desired.

Some changes I made:  I used skim milk, sourdough bread, and omitted the butter (I just sprayed the pan w/cooking spray instead).  I also added some cinnamon and cooked it longer than 20 minutes (not sure how long, I just cooked it till it was brown!) 

This was the perfect breakfast for having company (not to mention the perfect hangover food).  All I had to do was throw it in the oven and whip up some turkey bacon to have along side.  Hoooly crap this was soooo easy and tasted freaking amazing. 

Buttery, sugary, bacony, berrylicious plate of heaven.

I had an awesome time with my girls this weekend.  I really needed a night like this.  I’m so thankful we have all kept in touch and will continue to have our reunions.  In fact, Minnesota visits have already been discussed.  🙂


Twenty Ten January 2, 2010

Filed under: Appetizer,Beverage,Chicken,Favorites,Holiday,Life,Pasta,Sandwiches,Turkey,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 8:57 pm

Happy New Year, loves.  I had a very nice time… spending our FIFTH New Year’s Eve (holy crap, time flies) with our friends Ryan, Amanda, and little Brianna.  I brought my pickle bellybuttons and Chicken Enchilada dip.  Look, I even took a pic of the recipe for you so I wouldn’t have to type it.  For anyone who cares, it’s from a magazine “Taste of Home: Appetizers for Every Occasion.”


Here’s what you need… can you tell I got most of this stuff at Wally World?  Which is sort of a fluke because I reeeally haaaate that place and rarely get groceries there anymore.

Measuring cups for your pleasure.

I hesitate to show the final product because it’s not very attractive, but of course I will share.  We munched on this dip all night long, straight out of my baby crock pot.  It was deeeelicious. 

Pic taken before heating and eating.

Bellybutton pyramid on pretty pottery plate.

We had lots of drinks and lots of fun playing traditional girls-beat-boys games like Taboo….

Double fisting: Absolut w/cran and 7-Up... Champizzy, post midnight

This was after they wised up and decided to be on teams with their wives instead of each other.

This little girl was quite the source of entertainment…


SO.FREAKIN.CUTE.  Good times. 

New Year’s Day, we headed off to Detroit to visit our friends Pete, Stacey, and their equally adorable kids Luke and Aubrey.  I suck at life and didn’t take any pictures 😦  We had a great time eating some amazing, homemade white chicken chili, beer cheese soup, and bread… then some delicious quiche and fresh fruit this morning… all made by Stacey.  More Taboo was played, along with some Balderdash which might be my new favorite game and Wayne’s intro into the world of comedy.  He was in rare form last night lol. 

After all the fun and ridiculous, ungodly amount of food and drinks I’ve consumed this holiday season (OK, who am I kidding… try the past few months)… I really really need to get back on the healthy train.  I’m starting today, and here are my first meals… comprised of the last scraps of groceries in the house.

Clementine, turkey vegalicious wrap and sides with Annie's Honey Mustard for dippage

Brown rice pasta, ground turkey, asparagus stir-fry veggies, Rotel tomatoes, with shower of parm


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!