Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicago Style - Tribute to John Hughes

Bake at 350

This month's Flavor of the Month theme is...A Tribute to John Hughes. If you don't know who he was, he was the writer/director of films like Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day off, Breakfast Club, National Lampoon's Vacation , and a lot more. He passed a way recently so what better way to make a tribute to someone, but with food. So the search began for ideas. I knew I didn't want to make something pink or something for breakfast, so I started to look through some of the movie trivia to see if I could find some fun fact to play with. What I discovered was that some of the films had a common location. Chicago!! Did you know that Chevy Chase wore the same Chicago Cubs hat in all the vacation movies?!? So I started to looking for things from Chicago.

The one thing I knew for sure that Chicago was known for was their Deep dish Pizza, but than I also came across Chicago style hot dogs and Italian Style Beef sandwiches. I make pizza all the time so I that was out, but the more I read about the Chicago style hot dog, the more it sounded good. So I decided to invite some family over for the first football game for some ball and dogs. But once the word got out more people said they would come over so I also made the Italian Beef as well.

Chicago Style Hot Dog

Ingredients (in order of assembly)

Poppy Seed Bun (see below)
All Beef Hot Dog
Yellow Mustard
Bright Green Relish
Fresh Chopped Onions
Two Tomato Wedges
Pickle Spear or Slice
Two Sport Peppers
Celery Salt

It's funny how certain items are regional. I had trouble finding two of the items needed to make a Chicago Style Hot Dog. One was the bright green relish and the other was sport peppers. I found a website I could have ordered them from, but I decided to just find similar products and no one knew the difference. Everyone thought the Chicago Style Hot Dogs were tasty, but not something they would eat all the time.

Since assembling a hot dog wasn't really a challenge I decided to try to make the Poppy Seed Buns. I was in luck when I found a recipe on King Arthur's website. I don't think they came out exactly the way they were suppose to, but the guys thought that the crunch of the buns really added an extra special touch to the whole experience.

Poppy Seed Buns

The recipe is kind of long so I linked the recipe above to bring you to King Arthur's site.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

So, the hot dogs were for the earlier games and for the later games I made the Italian Beef. It couldn't have worked out better. Since the beef was done in the slower cooker I was able to enjoy the day without having to stay in the kitchen. With this recipe you have the option to cook it on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 10-12. I started on high for a few hours and than turned it to low. Things always taste better when it's low and slow.


3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried parsely
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 (5lb) rump roast


- Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.

- Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.

-Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.

Everyone really enjoyed the beef. It was tasty and something difference. I usually make pulled pork for large crowds, but the beef was a nice change.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sour Cream Apple Pie

Last year I signed up for a calendar from Pillsbury and it has been really great using it. Each month they had a new featured recipe. I finally got around to making one this month and the results were surprisingly good.

Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust or 1 frozen deep dish pie shell

1 1/4 cups sour cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
6 cups 1/4-inch slices peeled baking apples

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
3 tablespoons cold butter or margarine

Heat oven to 400°F. Unroll pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie. In large bowl, beat sour cream, granulated sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and egg with wire whisk until well blended; stir in apples. Pour into crust-lined pie plate.

Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 30 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix all topping ingredients except butter. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs; refrigerate until ready to use.

Sprinkle topping over pie. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until topping is golden brown. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Review: The only thing I changed in this recipe was that I used a frozen deep dish pie crust instead of rolling out my own. I figured it was just easier and sort of saved me a step. Everything else in the recipe I kept the same and I thought it was a very easy pie to make. It turned out great and I think I would make it again. It didn't come out like the picture totally but it tasted great and looked to me like own you can get in a store.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eggplant "pizza"

I made Eggplant focaccia bread a few weeks ago and forgot to post it. I got the recipe from EveryDay Food magazine which had a whole section for eggplant recipes. I thought it was a tasty dish but I am not going to post to recipe because I want to try it a different way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jell-O Please!

Tonight for dinner I made pizza for the family. I totally forgot to close the door to the pantry which is always a bad thing when Jacob is around. He likes to move things around which is the #1 reason it is a complete mess right now.

He found a few boxes of jello and asked me to make it. I wasn't thinking and I told him that I could not make it right now because it need to be in the refrigerator for a few hours before we can eat it.

I continued to make dinner and went into the refrigerator for some ingredients and look what I found...a box of jello chilling. Of course after that I had to make it for me and did the quick set method.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Football Food Season

Last night was the first game of this years NFL season. I am not really a huge football fan and used to hate Sundays during this season because it was impossible to get Mike's butt off the couch. When we were first married I used to go food shopping during this time. We lived in an apartment building where our parking wasn't right next to the building. So I used to unload my car and the move it to the parking lot. He wouldn't even come down to help me for like 10 minutes when the games were on....he wouldn't even help me with the laundry for 5 minutes when the games were on. This was the reason I hated Sundays because he wouldn't get off the couch.

Then I started to like Sundays because of the idea of trying to make good football watching food. I usually try to make something special for the first game of the season. Since this years teams were the Pittsburg Steelers and the Tennessee Titans I decided to try and make a food you find in those areas of the country. Then I remembered that I had a package of ribs in my freezer for a long time...I was going to try to make Memphis BBQ or something like it.

I decided to make the ribs in the crockpot because I thought it would be the easiest thing to do. Also since I thought of it in the morning I was hoping that I would have enough time to complete it. You can find a lot of recipes online and they were all really is the one I made.

Crockpot BBQ ribs

3 lbs country style ribs (that is what I had in the freezer)
16 oz bottle bbq sauce
1 onion, chopped

Broil ribs for 10 minutes, flip over to other size and broil for another 10 minutes.

Put all ingredients in crockpot and turn on high for 2 hours and then switch to low for another 4 hours .

Review: These were very tasty ribs and Mike really enjoyed them. I think it was super easy and you can probably skip the broiling step it make it even easier. I will definaltye make this one again.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Olive Cheese Bread from Pioneer Woman

I have recently found a new website/blog that I am in love with it. It is called Pioneer Woman and I just can't get enough of her. One day when I was reading a new post she mentioned that her cookbook will be coming out soon. I have already saved a bunch of links in my "recipes I want to try" folder. I figured before I asked for the cookbook for my birthday...that I should try out a few of her recipes.

I posted already about one recipe that I tried: zucchini cakes in my post zucchini and a lot of it. Loved this recipe and I want to try it out with a different veggie next time...maybe broccoli.

Yesterday I made the next one on my list to try: Olive Cheese Bread. I made this at my in-laws house and forgot to bring my camera but please go to the link above and she has awesome pictures of the whole process.

Review: WOW this is a great recipe...I really loved it. Super easy to make because it is just mixing the ingredients together. Great to make for a crowd because it makes a lot. I actually made it the day before but ran out of time before we had to leave for the Oktoberfest (so much fun). I put it in the frig and brought it with us to my in-laws the next day. It was perfect because we where having cheese and crackers for lunch. This fit right in to that meal. I think the next time I make it I have to put less on the bread. Also I didn't let it heat up the whole way because I was just too hungry and it smelled so good.

I have a bunch of recipes so far that I want to try next and I am sure I will find more:
French Breakfast Puffs
Breakfast Potatoes
Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Spice Latte (but I want to make it for tea)

My boys: Jacob & William

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh for the love of Corn...

I have to say one of my favorite things about the summer is fresh corn. Eating it right off the cob it really can't get any better then that...or could it. How about fresh from the garden corn. Last year we tried growing some in our veggie garden. Unfortunately we did not get to eat any because of a squirrel or deer (we aren't really sure which one) eating the whole crop.

It was fun last year watching the corn at least grow that we decided to try it again this year. So far so good but the other day when I went out to check on stuff...someone is starting to eat the corn again. I think because of the extremely wet summer we have had things have not been growing that well. The corn isn't completely grown yet but I decided to pick I can at least try it this time.

I have to say it was OK nothing that wasn't as sweet as I was hoping it to be. I am hoping that is because it wasn't completely grown and needs that extra time to get the sweetness going. Maybe if we try it again next year and start a little bit earlier we might have some luck finally. If anything it is at least fun to see corn growing in our garden.


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