Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mushroom pizza with rucola and goat cheese

This recipe ended up being a combination of other things I've seen/had.  It started off as a recipe I saw in a WW cookbook - Wild mushrooms with a fire roasted tomato sauce.  It changed when I got to talking to a friend about what to make for a Christmas party - we wanted her to make her bruschetta again -tomato, rucola and goat cheese with garlic (fantastic by the way).

So this is a combination of those mixed in with a few other things I like.  I would make some changes next time (hubby said I could make it again in 2 weeks so it must have been decent anyway :) )

You may notice that I never make my own dough if I can help it - the dough we have available here is a good sized selection - and with 2 little kids I just don't have time.  When I tweak a recipe from another site though, they have usually made their own dough.  Eventually I'll get around to doing it (and have done it before)

What you need:

Pizza teig (I tried the Coop brand this time and it wasn't bad).
Mushrooms - I used the Coop mixture of wild mushrooms plus another container of button mushrooms.  I think I would buy 2 of the wild ones next time and use 1/2 of the button.
Goat cheese - I used the entire 'roll'
Rucola (happily 25% off this time)
1 jar of dried tomatoes in oil
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1 small red onion, diced
I also had garlic bread on the side

Wash your mushrooms and slice them along with your garlic and onion. Toss the onion and garlic into a pan and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the mushrooms.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

Roll out your dough.  Pour the oil out of the jar but don't worry about getting it all out - you want some of it.  Roughly chop the tomatoes and then spread the excess oil on the pizza dough and randomly place the tomatoes.

Spread your mushroom mixture on top of this and then slice your goat cheese and place it on top.  (I put the rucola on first this time but would wait until after cooking next time).

Bake for the specified time on the dough (teig) wrapper. Usually about 20 minutes.
After cooking, add some roughly chopped rucola.  Enjoy with a side of garlic bread.

Will post a picture of the next time I cook it with the rucola on top. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Grandma's Spaghetti Casserole

This is something my Grandma made when I was little and my Dad wanted my mom to make while growing up.  It's very easy for it to dry out, but I didn't have any problems.  The recipe calls for one can of diced tomatoes but I used two and my mom made sure to tell me to cover the dish with tinfoil while cooking (so I did!).  The only thing missing from this dish was the floral casserole dish that I remember it being cooked in (but I'm sure I can prevail upon my parents to make it while visiting some time in the future).

This is very simple to make. You can make it ahead of time and stick it in the fridge for later (cooks for an hour).  I don't know if it can be frozen or not, but I don't see why not - as long as you leave the potato chips off!

What you need:
500g ground beef
1/2 package of cooked spaghetti
2-3 carrots
1-2 onions, depending on size
1 can of mushrooms (feel free to use fresh)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 handful of broken potato chips (I'm sure you can find a use for the rest of the bag :-)  )
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package (or however you normally make it)

While the spaghetti is cooking, put the beef in a pan to brown.

Dice the carrots and onion and add in to the meat.  Cook until the beef is mostly done and then add the mushrooms and cans of tomato.  (about 20 minutes total)

Drain the pasta and then add in the cooked meat mixture.  Mix well and then put in a casserole dish.  Add the crumbled chips on top and cover with aluminium foil.  Put in the oven for 1 hour at 160 C (325 F)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas dinner?

So what is everyone making for Christmas dinner?

Apparently these are the wish list ones:

1. Goose - anyone made one? Have a good recipe?  I saw them in Kaufland in Konstanz if you're interested...

2.  Turkey - Migros has a whole new shipment of frozen birds in.  Going today to check out the prices

3. Spiral Cut Ham - I made one two years ago (lovingly nicknamed Piglet because of the size).  It wasn't spiral cut but I did glaze it - after having to boil it and bake it.  Turned out well but it was a lot of work.
Is it possible to get them spiral cut? Do I have to talk to a butcher?

4. Lamb.  Considering this, however if we don't I will pacify hubby by making it for Easter.   Will also check out prices at Migros.  I don't know the prices at the Turkish store offhand, however they have a large selection of meat and I've been told for good prices.

Now...on to the baking of desserts some more...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chocolate covered pretzels

'Tis the season...for baking!  There are parties to go to, parties to have, gifts to bake and things to eat.  December can be a very fattening time of year. (Sorry - no super diet goodies are being made by me but if you know of some, please share!  I'm working on the 'it's all good as long as it's in moderation' theme).

We had our first party to go to at the boy's spielgruppe last week and all the parents were making stuff.  I decided to test drive what I'm planning on making later on as a kids sized version.  It went over really well! Even with the adults - they couldn't stop eating them :-)  And really, it was quite simple to make.

What you need:
Pretzel sticks - I used the Jamadu ones from Coop as I was making them for the kids

1 block of cooking chocolate - the white is pictured but I had issues with it so switched to chocolate

Sprinkles - any sort - the smaller the better since the pretzels are so small

Wax (baking) paper to put the pretzels on to dry

Melt your chocolate. Make sure not to get any water in with it.  You can try the microwave (I never have good results so don't do it that way).  Simply put a pot of water on to boil and then put a pan over the top.  Break up your chocolate and set it in the pan.  When it starts melting, stir until smooth.  You can turn down the heat and it will stay liquid long enough for you to do your pretzels.  If it starts to harden just turn up the heat again.

The easiest thing to do is scatter some sprinkles on a piece of wax paper and then lay the chocolate coated pretzels on top of them.  While the chocolate is still hot, sprinkle more on top.  (you can see why I wanted to use the white chocolate - green sprinkles would have been easier to see).  It's not hard and if you have kids they would love to do the sprinkles.  Just keep away from the steaming chocolate :)

I layered them in a plastic container to fit them in the fridge so they would harden overnight.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Grab and Go Breakfast

I used to have a breakfast routine for weekdays.  I'm all for changing it up on the weekends but used to be very happy to eat my corn flakes and milk for breakfast.  That all changed when our second son decided that he would get very cranky if I drank milk so it's been a constant struggle to figure out what to make. That and the lack of time in the morning. Everyone wants something different now.  Luckily the breakfast muffins are a big hit and quite easy to make on the weekend for the week ahead.  I've also started experimenting with adding veggies to muffins so that my oldest will get more out of them.  Hubby will eat anything. Usually he's a cereal type of guy as well, but I wanted to make something new for him, and hopefully filling.

I found this recipe on and after reading a bunch of negative reviews, still decided to try it as I thought that it sounded like something hubby would like. I did do a bit of changing up, but here is the link.

The dried fruit with the original recipe is cranberries.  I chose to use bananas. As I didn't know if the soft bananas or the crunchy chips would be better, I used both.  Feel free to use whichever fruit (or nut) you like the best.

What you need:
A lot of this was from my Konstanz stash, but there is quite a large range of dried fruits in the shops here.  Haven't checked on the cereal yet.

1/3 cup brown sugar (when using brown sugar, always make sure it is firmly packed)
1/3 cup honey
1 3/4 - 2 cups of peanut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cups of bran flakes
1 package of dried fruit (I used about 1/2 of the soft dried bananas and then 1/4 of the banana chips on top).
Not pictured: chocolate morsels: because everything is better with chocolate :)

Line a baking dish with foil or wax paper to ensure ease of removal.  Clear out some space for the baking dish in your fridge.

Measure out your peanut butter.

Mix the sugar and honey into a pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat. Add the PB and cinnamon.  Mix until smooth (PB melted in).

Add the cereal.  Here is where you mix in 1/2 of your fruit (or like me, the soft dried fruit).

Put the mixture into your baking dish and if using a large dried fruit, give them a rough chop and then sprinkle over the top.  Add some chocolate morsels (or cubes if buying them here).

Place in the fridge over night.

I sliced them into 12 pieces and then layered them into a sealing bag with wax paper.  Has been a week and they are still fresh.


Friday, December 9, 2011

A Twist on Tandoori

So in an attempt to not have to cook a 'full' meal as often, I try to get hubby to grill part of it on weekends.  Now that it's getting colder out he still doesn't seem to mind which is awesome since grilling on the bbq is so much better than the indoor grill!

So last week I wanted to attempt a grilled tandoori burger recipe.  I ended up not being able to find all the ingredients (went to 3 stores for green onions and just couldn't find them! - apparently you can substitute onion/leek or shallot for them though so that's what I tried).  I also had forgotten to get some naan bread.  Again - no biggie as I had some tortillas.  Well, it didn't turn out like the picture at all (obviously!) but it didn't really remind me of tandoori chicken either - more like the shawarma I made before.  It was good but I don't think hubby was impressed.  Turned it from a dinner into a lunch dish in my opinion.  I would like to try the unaltered recipe at some point though. For now, here's my take on the tandoori chicken recipe I found here.

What you need: (ignore the coke in the background - though I did actually have one with dinner) :-)
I used 2 packages of ground chicken (this let me have leftovers for 2 days of lunch)
1 medium/large onion (4 green onions if you have them)
3 Tbsp ginger - I used the sushi ginger and diced it as I didn't have fresh
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cucumber
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
1 thinly sliced red onion
feta cheese
tortillas  (naan if you have it instead)

I made Ttzatziki dip for the sauce: (you can also buy it premade at Coop/Migros if you prefer)
Combine all in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use:
1 -2 containers of natural Greek yogurt - depending on the amount you want
Shred 1/2 a cucumber with a cheese grater
1 tbsp minced garlic
dill or mint - about 1 tbsp

Heat 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan.

Slice the remaining cucumber into strips.  Slice the red onion thinly and crumble the feta.  Set aside.

In a bowl large enough for your chicken, put the ground chicken along with the spices and diced onion.  Mix well.  Put in your pan with the heated oil and cook until done, mixing frequently.

In your tortilla, layer the dip, chicken mixture, cucumbers, onions and feta.  Place in a heated grill (or in a pan with something heavy on top - like another pan with canned foods in it - making sure to put baking (wax) paper between the wrap and top pan).  Cook until heated through.

I also added a bit of basmati rice to the wrap

I sliced the wrap in half and served with a side of tzatziki dip.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Creamy tomato cheese ravioli

mmm....This one was good!  I found a recipe for Tuscan Ravioli online but pretty much didn't have any ingredients that it asked for and ended up having to definitely improvise to get what I needed.  Although the basics are there, so here is the original 

What you need:
1-2 packs of cheese Ravioli (depending on the amount per bag and the number of people). This ravioli is from Kaufland in Konstanz.
1 box of Thomy Cream Sauce
1 small jar of Tapenade (a bag of sun dried tomatoes)
2 diced tomatoes
Parmigiano cheese for grating over the top
2 Tbsp of white wine (I just used some of the wine we drank with it - it was fantastic! (Alsace Grand Cru Hengst Pinot Gris from Carrefour in Mullhouse)
1/2 a bunch of basil (chopped)

Boil some water and cook the ravioli as directed.

Pour the sauces in a saucepan and mix to combine.  Add the diced tomatoes and wine. Let cook until heated through and then add the chopped basil.

Drain the ravioli and put on a plate (or bowl).  Add some of the sauce and top with grated cheese (and a basil sprig if you'd like).

Serve with garlic bread (currently -.39 euros in Kaufland).  Enjoy with a nice glass of chilled white wine.