Recipes · Uncategorized

Pursuit of the Perfect Taco Pizza

Early last week, Tarzan grilled some sirloin steaks.  A few days later, noticing the leftovers had not been eaten, I consumed the rest of it for lunch one day.  Apparently all day long that day, he had been dreaming of coming home to his leftover sirloin.  I really thought he had forgotten about it.  To make up for it, he wanted to go to Pantera’s Pizza, which is over an hour away (on a work night!) to try their taco pizza.

My husband is something of a taco pizza connoisseur.  He claims that Pizza Hut used to have the best taco pizza, but they discontinued it.  I think that must have been a long time ago.  Probably before I was born.

He doesn’t like Casey’s taco pizza.

There used to be a place a couple of towns over that had it, although he said it wasn’t as good as Pizza Hut, it was passable by his standards.

He had recently been perusing Pantera’s website (that iPhone’s good for something!) and saw that they had taco pizza and wanted to try it.

So, heavy with guilt from eating his sirloin, I had to give in (did I mention it was a work night?!).

He was sadly disappointed, as Pantera’s taco pizza did not meet up to his expectations.  The main thing they all do wrong, he says, is they fail to use refried beans.  Pantera’s version appeared to use some sort of thickened-up taco sauce in place of pizza sauce, which in Tarzan’s estimation, made the meat too greasy.

Last weekend, we took a boat ride.  We sputtered down the river to the next river town over, docked our boat (probably on someone’s private dock, but there wasn’t a NO TRESPASSING sign), and walked to a local pizzeria.  We were the only customers there, and Tarzan and the owner of the pizza parlor debated the makings of a great taco pizza.

They agreed to disagree.

At any rate, over the weekend I picked up the makings for a taco pizza from the grocery store, and we tried it last night.  My version was roughly based on this recipe.  The biggest thing I did different was instead of making two 12 inch prebaked pizza crusts like the recipe calls for, I used a refrigerated Pillsbury crust (13.8 oz, classic crust) and made one larger pizza, with the same amount of toppings (Tarzan doesn’t like his taco pizza with the tortilla chips on top, so I left that out).  The crust filled up essentially all of a large cookie sheet… I prepared the it as directed on the packaging of the pizza crust (including greasing the pan, and prebaking for 8 minutes on 400) and then, once the toppings were on it, baked it another 6 minutes at 350… because I thought that’s what the directions on the crust package said, but now that I’m looking at it, it actually said to keep it at 400.  So that might explain why the crust wasn’t as crispy as we would have liked it… something to note for next time.

Tarzan had two or three pieces, liked it okay – thought it would have been better if the crust was crispier.  Thinks next time we should make it with thin crust.

This made a LOT of food for two people, and it’s a heavy meal (you have to eat it with a knife and fork).  Tarzan won’t eat leftover pizza, so I had it for lunch and dinner today… and I think we still have 6 or 7 pieces left.  It was definitely worth making, and next time he has a hankering for taco pizza I think we’ll just make it at home.  He says he liked it just as much as he liked anything we’ve gotten in a restaurant recently.  So until Pizza Hut brings back taco pizza, I guess this is our game plan!

 

Recipes

Why You Haven’t Heard From Me and What I Made For Dinner Last Night

I haven’t been the most faithful blogger, have I?

The last couple few months have been sort of…hard.  A lot of little things that aren’t such big deals on their own kind of adding up and making it difficult to find nice things to say.  Such as:

  • My husband made a large, unauthorized purchase.  I am still trying to devise the appropriate punishment.
  • My mother married my uncle and moved an hour and a half away.  This was also unauthorized.
  • I injured myself and could not exercise for nearly 3 weeks.  Which in itself is enough to make me cranky (exercise is my stress reliever) but also I was taking a pain medicine that I believe was making me anxious and unreasonable.
  • Our dog died the Tuesday before Christmas.  I was out of town for work at the time.
  • Someone very close to me has been going through some really hard family stuff and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to help.
  • I got a ticket for rolling through a stop sign on New Year’s Eve.
  • We began having these weird power surges in our home and couldn’t figure out what the issue was.  It all came to a climax on our anniversary when we blew a breaker on the pole outside of the house… at 8:30 pm while I was in the basement on the treadmill.  (Imagine being thrown off a treadmill in pitch darkness.). And then my husband almost died because I almost killed him over a half-baked DiGiornio pizza.
  • Work has been either feast of famine… and each is stressful in its own way.
  • I found out I have emphysema.  Which explains a lot about my recurring bronchitis and why cough medicine never seems to help as much as it should.

BUT IN OTHER NEWS.

I made dinner last night.

My brother and I got my dad and stepmom iPhones for Christmas.  I put them on my data plan.  Since they do not have wi-fi at home, they needed to come over to my house and install the latest software updates.  I also needed to change some settings on their phones to see if I could stop them from blowing through our data so quickly.  (What did they do with themselves before they had iPhones?  I don’t know.)

So I invited them over for dinner.

I made Beef Tortellini, an old recipe I’ve had for a while but I think this is the first time I tried it.  My edits to the recipe:

  • I started 2 cups of water boiling on the oven while I put everything else together.  By the time I had everything else in the crockpot, the water was boiling, and I added two teaspoons of beef bouillon granules to the water for the beef broth called for in the recipe.  Granules dissolved really quickly.  Easy peasy.  Don’t buy beef broth pre-made if you can help it.  This is so much cheaper and less waste.
  • I didn’t brown the meat.  I never do when I’m making things in the crockpot.  I believe it’s a wasted step.
  • I used one teaspoon of minced garlic, because we are not huge garlic people.
  • I used about 30 oz of marina sauce.
  • Didn’t have fresh green beans.  Had a 12 oz bag of frozen cut green beans, which I let thaw overnight.  Probably wasn’t necessary to thaw them though.
  • I used 2 teaspoons of dried parsley.  (The rule for converting fresh spices to dried, is use about a third of what you would use if you were using fresh.  The recipe called for 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley.  A teaspoon is about a third of tablespoon.)
  • I used 1/4 teaspoon of dried rosemary, approximately the same logic as for the parsley.  Roughly.  It’s ok.
  • I couldn’t find 9 oz packages of refrigerated cheese tortellini, Walmart only had 20 oz.  I used the entire 20 oz package.  I think it would have been too soupy otherwise.  And adding the tortellini in 30 minutes before and turning the crockpot on high worked perfectly.  (That always makes me nervous, adding things in the crockpot at the end, not sure why.)
  • I put the stuff on about 10 am, added the tortellini at 4:30 p.m. and we ate at 5 p.m.  So, total, 7 hours cooking time.

It was a good meal.  I served it with just salad.  My husband did go back for a seconds, although I could tell it wasn’t his favorite.  But at least he didn’t complain.  I think next time I would serve it with shredded parmesan cheese.

I also made banana cake, because I had some over-ripe bananas to get rid of.  I have two banana cake recipes, one calls for sour cream and the other calls for buttermilk.  I was actually going to make the buttermilk version, but when I got to the store all they had was half gallons of buttermilk, and I did not need that much, so I switched to the sour cream version.  Made the cake exactly per the recipe, but I used whipped cream cheese frosting…although the frosting in the recipe looks interesting and gets great reviews.  Just wasn’t feeling that adventurous… and couldn’t see buying instant coffee just to make cake icing.

Anyway, the cake was definitely the star of the show.  Dad went back for seconds (so did I), Tarzan had a huge piece, and my stepmom requested to take some home with them.

Here’s to a better 2018!

 

 

 

 

Recipes

What Happens When You Marry A Man Who Won’t Eat Vegetables

Last night I made one of my all-time favorite meals.  The problem, of course, is that Tarzan won’t eat it.  Because of this, I’ve only made it maybe 3 times since we’ve been married.

*sigh*

This is one of those things, that I can’t fathom why he doesn’t like it.  It’s sooooo good.  He tried it once and he won’t even bother with it anymore.  He had peanut butter and jelly and bacon for dinner instead.

Here’s the recipe:  Vegetable Beef Skillet.

I make it pretty well exactly as written.  This time, I used a 12 oz bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower (I let it thaw in the fridge for a couple days ahead of time, but if you aren’t an obsessive planner like me, I might suggest you zap the veggies in the microwave a few minutes before you add them, otherwise they might not be tender enough for some people) and since I had a can of diced tomatoes that included onion, I didn’t add the onion the recipe calls for.  Also, I’ve never seen plain “nacho cheese” soup, but you can find “Fiesta Nacho Cheese” soup usually.  I’ve never seen it at Aldi, but you can get it at Wal-Mart.

So… this is what I’ll be eating on the rest of the week.  No complaints, it’s really good!

Recipes

Make Your Wagers Now

Tarzan announced the other day that he’d like some ham and beans soup.

Anytime he says something like this, what he means is:  I want [fill in the blank].  But I don’t want to make it.  I want YOU to make it, but I want you to make it the way I would make it, if I were going to make it.

This is exhausting to me, since he and I do not have the same taste in food (have I mentioned that?).  He doesn’t want to eat it my way, I don’t want to eat it his way.  I feel like whoever’s making it should get to pick.  Unless it’s your birthday or you’ve been sick for days and this certain thing, made this certain way, is the only thing that sounds good enough to eat.

*sigh*

The problem with ham and beans is, he likes it soupy.  I don’t really like it at all, but if I do have to eat it, I like it a little thicker.

I only tried one other time to do this, but I cheated and used canned beans.

I have carrots and celery left over from making buffalo-chicken chili two weeks ago (which was good, not great – I only used about half the chili sauce and hot sauce it called for, I think I may have undershot it a bit – but I will say it was pretty good over the leftover spaghetti noodles from the week before)… and I have a thing about REALLY wanting to “Use Things Up”, so I decided to try my hand at ham and beans, for real.

I started with this recipe for inspiration.

  • 1 lb dry great Northern* beans
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 ham hock
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • a bit less than 1/4 cup of dried chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

I soaked the beans in the crockpot overnight (no, I didn’t turn the crockpot on… duh, I was just saving some bowls to have to wash).  In the morning, drained off the water, then threw all of the ingredients in the crockpot and turned that sucker on LOW.  It was done in about 6 hours.

Again, in the spirit of wanting to Use Things Up, I have some chicken bullion cubes that just won’t seem to go away, so I’ve been boycotting buying chicken broth until they’re gone.  So I just heated 6 cups of water to dissolve 6 cubes, in lieu of using canned chicken broth.

I tried it out a little while ago, I was pleased.  I’m trying to stay optimistic… this morning when he saw me assembling the ingredients, Tarzan whined, “I thought you were going to make real ham and bean soup?”  (He was alarmed by the presence of bay leaves.)

We shall see.  Make your wagers now.

*Why is Northern capitalized?  I don’t know.

Recipes

What Happens When You Marry a Man Who Won’t Eat Leftovers

Last Friday night I had big plans to make dinner for Tarzan.  It’s always a struggle to find something we both like, we have exactly opposite tastes in food.  He doesn’t really like to go out for Mexican food, but now and then I can get him to eat it with minimal complaints if I make it at home.  So I put some chicken taco meat in the crockpot that morning.  (I used 2.25 pounds of chicken, an entire envelope of taco seasoning, and I didn’t have enough chicken broth so I dissolved some bullion cubes in hot water to make up the difference.  Also, when it was done cooking,  I shredded the chicken in my KithenAid® mixer, using the dough hook) I planned to make Mexican rice, and had soft tortilla shells and lettuce and tomato on hand, so it would seem more like a “meal” to Tarzan.

But… he had other plans for the evening and didn’t end up being home for dinner.  I didn’t make the rice, since that was mostly for him.  He won’t eat leftovers so I had an abundance of chicken taco meat on my hands.

I ate chicken soft tacos for dinner Friday, and for lunch and dinner Saturday.  When I got back from my trip I had chicken soft tacos for lunch and dinner Wednesday.  I had had about enough chicken soft tacos by then, so Wednesday after work I went and got the fixings for Skinny Tortilla Soup, which I made for lunch Thursday.  I used bullion cubes for the broth again and I used full-fat cheese (nope, I don’t believe low or reduced fat ingredients are all that much healthier, but that’s just my humble opinion) and I just replaced the 3/4 cup of cubed chicken with the chicken I already had.

I still had about a cup and a half of chicken left, even after making the soup, so I froze the rest of the chicken and put a reminder in my Awesome Note app to remind me in about a month to make a double batch of the soup and use the rest of the chicken up.  I do love the soup, it’s one of my favorites, so eating up a double batch won’t take me long at all (I had finished off Thursday’s batch by last night).  But… even so, I’m about taco-chickened out!  This is what happens when you marry a man who won’t eat leftovers.  *sigh*

Recipes

Mini Italian-Style Meatloaves

Yesterday as I was archiving old diary entries, I saw that on Friday, April 6, 2007, I made “Italian-style mini-meatloaves” for Rubies and her boys (there were only two of them then!) and Natalie.  Here’s the recipe, pulled from kraftrecipes.com:

174747-9e5351d6efce08c26bbe78d700d574598b0c9352_642x428There’s only one thing as exciting as our Italian-style meatloaf: two of these adorable mini muffin-tin versions. (So, OK, make that two things.)

Source: Mini Italian-Style Meatloaves