Friday, March 21, 2014

Pizza Part Elf: Crab Fantasy Pizza

Finally! I have been working on this recipe since last year, but it never seemed to be quite what I wanted it to be. I made it several times, adding this, taking away that. Well, last month Phil and I went to Red Lobster with a gift card Caitlin had given us for Christmas. We always go once a year, during their Lobsterfest for the specials. When we went last month, we ordered the appetizer lobster pizza, and it was just heavenly. I determined that I was going to recreate that pizza at home.

But have you seen the price of lobster?? ;) Um, yuh. That’s out for a while, unless I can get some on sale (maybe during the summer?), and I’ll make sure I get 2 meals out of it somehow. But that got me to thinking of my Crab Fantasy Pizza that I’ve been working on. I decided to take some of what I already tried on it, add fresh tomatoes and fresh basil like Red Lobster uses on their lobster pizza, and add a light savory cream sauce (Red Lobster doesn’t have that on their pizza). It was a winner! I knew with the first bite that finally, my Crab Fantasy Pizza was ready to post.

So, let’s get cooking!

First you’ll want to prepare your veggies and herb. Peel and mince the garlic (I use my garlic press when it’s time to add the garlic), and dice the shallot very finely. You want 2 Tbl of the diced shallot.

Dice the Roma tomatoes fairly small.

Slice the fresh basil leaves into strips. If they’re very long, you can cut the strips in half. If they’re so small like some of mine were, just leave them be.

For the crab, I buy the canned (in the fish/shellfish refrigerated section) lump when it’s on sale. You don’t need to do anything to it; it’s in small enough pieces already. This crab meat is expensive, but I use ½ of it for one meal and half for another, and like I said, I get it when it’s on sale.

Now, for the savory cream sauce: in a medium saucepan, sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the flour and stir with a whisk to make the roux. When bubbly, add the light cream or half & half and whisk thoroughly, scraping down outer edges of the saucepan. Add the salt and black pepper. Continue to cook and whisk until thickened, about 5-8 minutes or so. Remove from heat.

Press the pizza dough onto a greased sheet pan (or pizza pan). Spread the cream sauce evenly onto the dough, and then sprinkle on the mozzarella.

Evenly distribute the diced Roma tomatoes and the fresh basil.

Lastly, add the crab meat to the pizza. When done, make sure to lick your fingers before you wash them. ;)

Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 18 minutes. The bottom of the pizza crust should be a lovely medium brown and crispy. Enjoy! ~TMMF

This is the crab meat I buy, lump, and about $15 or so on sale.
Crab Fantasy Pizza

1 pizza dough
1 ½ Tbl butter
1 sm shallot
1 lg clove garlic
1 Tbl flour
1 c light cream or half & half
½ tsp salt
Few twists fresh ground pepper
1 ½ c mozzarella cheese
2 sm Roma tomatoes
1-2 sprigs fresh basil leaves
8 oz lump crab meat

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fall Vegetable Hash

This recipe is one that I found in a magazine at a doctor’s office and was scrambling to write it all down to try. I think it was an issue of Woman’s Day, but I’m not solid on that. The original recipe didn’t include white potatoes, but I wanted them and added them. At any rate, this recipe looked absolutely delicious, and it certainly turned out to be that! It’s great through the winter too. Hey, it’s a hash, which I love, and it has bacon in it. Need I say more? ;)

So, let’s get cooking!

Sauté the bacon in a skillet. When done (I like mine medium soft, not crispy), set the bacon aside on a plate, but leave 2 Tbl bacon drippings in the pan. When the bacon is cool enough, chop up finely.

While the bacon is cooking, get your vegetables ready. Dice the Vidalia onion, and slice the cloves of garlic thinly.

Peel and dice the rutabaga, sweet potato, and white potatoes, into about 3/4” chunks...

                            ...and quarter the Brussels sprouts.

In the same skillet with the bacon drippings, sauté the onions, garlic, and rutabaga, for about 10 minutes, medium heat. Stir several times during the entire cooking process.

Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 10 more minutes.

Now add the white potatoes, cooking for 10 minutes.

Stir in the quartered Brussels sprouts and sauté about 8 more minutes or so.

If you want to brown it a little more, turn up the heat just a touch while the Brussels sprouts are cooking, but keep stirring the hash. Add the chopped bacon and mix in.

Serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

Fall Vegetable Hash

8 oz bacon
1 sm rutabaga
1 lg sweet potato
2 md white potatoes
12 oz Brussels sprouts
½ Vidalia onion
3 lg cloves garlic

Monday, March 17, 2014

Almond Joy Brownie Bites

Chocolate and coconut…bring it on! This is an easy recipe I found online and of course the kids wanted me to make it. Megan and Timothy helped with it, especially afterwards when tasters were needed! ;) We actually made these twice, Caitlin helping the 2nd time, because I sort of played with the recipe a little, as I am sometimes wont to do, and instead of melting the chocolate chips and drizzling that onto the bites at the end, I thought I’d just sprinkle the chips on top for the baking process. They were yummy, but Caity suggested using mini chocolate chips instead, which did turn out to be better.

First, mix together the brownie mix as directed on the package. Yes, I could have made homemade brownie mix for this, but no, I did not. I have been so busy lately, the ease of the packaged mix was a blessing. ‘Nuff said. ;)

Place cupcake papers into several muffin tins. Scoop brownie batter into the papers, only enough to fill halfway. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 12 minutes.

While they are baking, mix the flaked coconut in a bowl with the sweetened condensed milk.

Chop the almonds. I didn’t want to spend so much money on the almonds, so I managed to find a small bag of Fisher’s slivered almonds for…something like $1.50 or so, and it was plenty enough for this recipe with a little left over. If I had a few other recipes needing almonds, I would have bought the cans with more ounces, and of course more money, but I didn’t, so this would do.

When the brownie bites are done, remove from the oven and spoon about 1 Tbl of the coconut mixture on top of each. I used one of my smaller scoops that equaled about 1 Tbl. Make sure to tamp it down a little, to spread it over the whole of the top of the brownie.

Sprinkle the chopped almonds on top of the coconut mixture, then the chocolate chips.

Put the muffin tins back into the oven and bake for an additional 12 minutes.

When cool enough, remove from the muffin tins. Serve and watch the smiles! Enjoy! ~TMMF

Almond Joy Brownie Bites

1 box fudge brownie mix
   (family size)
3 c flaked coconut
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
¼ c almonds
1 c mini chocolate chips

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

David's Easy Gumbo!

This is a sumptuous recipe for Gumbo thunk up by my beloved cousin David. You know, the David of legend? If anyone knows Gumbo, it’s David! This recipe of his is a condensed version of the average Gumbo! And as tasty as all get out! David says it can be on the table in 45 minutes.

So, let’s get cooking!

First, sauté the chicken breast in a little olive oil until thoroughly cooked. Set aside and cool when done.

Meanwhile, dice the Vidalia onion.

Follow the directions on the box of Zatarain’s Gumbo Mix with Rice. Adjust the water accordingly for using the can of Margaret Holmes tomatoes, okra, and corn.

Add the onions and PepperMary Cajun Blend.

Slice the cooked and cooled chicken breast, the smoked sausage, and the cooked shrimp with the tails removed, if still on.

Add the chicken and smoked sausage, and bring to a boil, stirring so the rice doesn’t stick. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy! ~TMMF

David’s Quick Gumbo

1 box Zatarain’s Gumbo mix with rice
1 can Margaret Holmes Tomatoes, Okra, and Corn
1 pk smoked sausage
1 lg chicken breast
1 14 oz. cooked peeled small shrimp
½ Vidalia onion
2 Tbl PepperMary Cajun Blend

Monday, March 10, 2014

Crash Hot Potatoes

I found the recipe for Crash Hot Potatoes on the internet, but I have no idea who created it. This recipe is so easy to make, and one that the kids might like to help with, especially when it comes to using a potato masher to mash down the spuds on the sheet pan. And they are SO good!! I love potatoes, but there is something about potatoes that are somewhat crispy on the outside and soft inside, and bursting with flavor! Who cares about carbs; these are delicious!

So, the first thing you need to do is boil the little potatoes until they are just tender. Poke them with a fork or sharp knife in the middle to tell. Drain and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, you can grate the Parmesan or Asiago cheese and gather together the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and fresh or dried herbs of your choice. I chose rosemary, which is wonderful on potatoes.

When the potatoes are ready, place on a greased sheet pan and smash down halfway with a potato masher, going one way once and the other way once, much like how you criss-cross peanut butter cookies with a fork.

Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle on the herbs you have chosen.

Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Asiago. I used Asiago on these, but when I make this recipe in the future, I am going to use both, and more. I love cheese! ;)

Bake for 20 minutes at 425°. They should be lightly browned on the edges and top, and the cheese nicely melted. Serve with sour cream if desired. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Crash Hot Potatoes

Baby potatoes
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper
Herbs of your choice
   (rosemary is great with these!)
Fresh Parmesan and/or Asiago cheese

Friday, March 7, 2014

Meatball Sub Soup

Meatball Sub Soup…I done died and gone to heaven! I found this recipe online, on a blog called Mother Thyme by Jennifer Dempsey. I knew immediately I would like this because my favorite sub growing up was always meatball, and was I ever right! Everyone else loved this soup as well, and we decided it’s definitely a keeper. When I made this recipe, I changed some things around, adding a couple things, leaving some things out, or substituting something-or-other. The result is what you have here. I hope you’ll like it as much as my family does.

So, let’s get cooking!

First you’ll want to get started on those lovely meatballs. Get the cutting board out and dice those veggies! Since the  meatballs need to be smaller than average because they’re for soup, you’ll want to dice the ½ onion, ½ pepper, and 1 carrot smaller than normal.

Place the hamburg in a bowl, and add the Vidalia onion, green pepper, carrot, bread crumbs, milk, egg, and Parmesan cheese.

Mix together until thoroughly blended. I use my hands for this, as you know from my post Meatloafasaurus Rex. ;) In this recipe, for the Meatball Sub Soup, my daughter Megan did the honors for me. She has Down syndrome and she *loves* to cook with me, as I love to cook with her.

Now, using a small scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop out the meatball mixture and roll into balls with your hands. Both Megan and my other daughter Caitlin rolled the meatballs for me this time. I love cooking with my kids! Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, until done.

Next, for the soup, dice the other half of Vidalia onion and green pepper. Peel the garlic and mince or use a garlic press at the right time, like I do.

In a large pot, pour the olive oil and sauté the onions and peppers until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté for one more minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients: the crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth or water and bullion, sugar, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, thyme, bay leaf, and black pepper. Add the cooked meatballs and the half & half. Stir well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. When done, remove bay leaf.

Ladle soup into an oven-safe bowl. Add a thick slice of Italian or French bread. I have used slightly stale hamburger  rolls and they were delicious in this soup too. Sprinkle on top a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Turn the oven to the broiler setting. Place the bowls on a baking sheet under the broiler until the cheese melts. Watch carefully, as the cheese can burn very quickly. I had the soup under the broiler for about two minutes total.

Remove from the broiler and serve. Remember to warn the family about how hot the bowls will be. I served them on a salad plate. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Meatball Sub Soup


1 lb hamburg
1 c bread crumbs
½ c milk
1 egg
½ Vidalia onion
½ green bell pepper
1 carrot
2 Tbl Parmesan cheese


1 Tbl olive oil
½ Vidalia onion
½ green bell pepper
2 big cloves garlic
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth, OR
   14.5 oz water and 2 chicken bullion cubes
2 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
½ tsp black pepper
½ c Half & half
1 loaf French or Italian bread
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meatloafasaurus Rex

So, here we are with a recipe from my beloved cousin David Lapointe. He and his wife Mary are the owners of a company called PepperMary Specialty Products, and at our house we use a lot of their seasoning blends, especially the Cajun Blend and the Mesquite Blend. This recipe of David’s, Meatloafasaurus Rex, is the best meatloaf recipe ever, including better than mine! I will never make it any other way now, and the family was totally wowed by it. The only thing I changed with it was, I added an extra Tbl of PepperMary’s Mesquite Blend spice, a cup of milk (I always do because it makes the meatloaf even more tender), and I added diced green pepper and carrots to the mix. I love the flavor it gives meatloaf and meatballs, and it’s a way to boost the nutritional content with more veggies!

So, let’s get cooking!

First, dice your veggies, the onion, pepper, and carrots.

Next, in a large mixing bowl, you can mix the meats together or wait until you add the other ingredients. I used 2.5 lbs of beef and 1 lb pork. On the meats, David says, “Use ground meats of your choice; I like equal amounts of ground sirloin, pork, and veal.”

Add the bread crumbs, diced vegetables, Ranch dressing mix, 1-2 Tbl PepperMary Mesquite Blend, and eggs. If you’d like to add a cup of milk to the mix, do that now also.

Mix well. I use my hands, as it’s a more sure way of thoroughly blending ingredients, and not as hard as using a wooden spoon or whatever to mix. This is actually great for the kids to do; they *love* being able to stick their hands into a mess like this, and they’ll gleefully go wash their hands in order to be allowed! ;)

Now, place the mixture in a large baking dish. I used a 13 X 15”, the largest one. Form into a large loaf. I made mine about 3” high. Cover with the bacon, overlapping as necessary. David likes to tuck the ends under the loaf. Sprinkle 1 Tbl PepperMary Mesquite Blend on top.

Bake uncovered at 375° for an hour and 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours. Oh my goodness, serve and enjoy! ~TMMF

Meatloafasaurus Rex

3-4 lbs ground meat, your choice
1 lg onion
1 lg green pepper (my add-on to the recipe)
2 lg carrots (my add-on)
1 pkt Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
2 Tbl PepperMary Mesquite Blend, divided
Turkey Bacon