Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Magic Pot Monday~20 Min Microwave Ribs

                              20 Minute Microwave Ribs

Pampered Chef's Magic Pot Ribs~ Made in the MICROWAVE!!!

Dinner doesn't get any easier than this! THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME EVER MAKING RIBS!!! EVERRRRR! So, I popped my cherry in the microwave! Scandalous, I know! I was once intimidated by rib recipes. They called for boiling and then baking and something about removing a membrane! My rib making phobia is all in the past! BECAUSE, I have in my possession, something that made this FOOL PROOF! I present to you....The Magic Pot, it can turn your microwave into a treasure! I KNOW, right now your microwave is feeling neglected. Maybe you use it to heat up that cup of coffee that went cold, heat up some sad microwaveable meal, leftover pizza, a sad bowl of canned soup, or maybe for microwave popcorn. Yeah...your microwave is lonely. It is wishing some college kid in a dorm room would come and rescue it and put it to good use! I got this "Magic Pot" after hosting a Pampered Chef party a few years ago. The consultant left us all in awe, as she proceeded to make the juiciest chicken breast in the microwave...in about 14 minutes! It also came with a list of recipes to make IN THE MICROWAVE, using this "Magic Pot". So, I thought "Magic Pot Monday's", would be a great way to dust this puppy off and give it some continuous use. Plus it would give me a platform show off its culinary prowess. RAWR! Hmmm, now that I am thinking, maybe I should send one of these to college with my boy next year. This way he can make himself some healthy food in his dorm. But, that would only draw more cute chicas to his room...uh, yeah, NO! Scratch that!

Magic Pot Ribs Recipe~ This is kind of a recipe by photo dealio, but you can find the entire recipe at the bottom of the page.

Above is the Magic Pot (aka as The Deep Dish Baker) in all it's cranberry colored gloriousness!

Above are 2 lbs of Pork Ribs
The recipe said to sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper before putting them into the pot. I used the steak and meat seasoning pictured above. It also says to add a barbecue rub (I assume Pampered Chef has their own brand, but I don't have it) when making the bbq sauce, so I used this Rendezvous Famous Seasoning.
Above are the pork ribs that have been cut in between each bone and into individual ribs. Here they are in the belly of the Magic Pot and soon thereafter, they shall reside in...MY BELLY! Place them in two layers in the pot and DON'T forget to add 1/4 cup of water.

See! Seasoned and cut in between each bone and lay cut side down in the "Magic Pot".
Then as the recipe states, microwave on high for 7 minutes. Remove pot from microwave with oven mitts, then flip each rib and place pot in microwave for another 7-10 minutes. I did 10 minutes. Below, they are shown after the first micro round and then I flipped each one over. Also, after the second round in the microwave, insert a thermometer into meatiest part of the rib and make sure that it registers to 160 degrees.
Above is the sauce that consists of 1 cup of ketchup, 2 tbsp Rendezvous Famous Seasoning, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar.
Above: Get approximately one cup of sauce (I used less) and toss them in the sauce.

Above: Ribs coated in the sauce and grilling on my pan...oh yum!
Baste with sauce as they grill up.
Gorgeous grill marks! Look, look what I made. Not bad for my "first" time!

Success! I made my first batch of ribs! Yay! Woohoo! Aren't they beautiful? And they didn't take too long either! Okay well, the one rib above looks especially beautiful....but don't tell the others. ;)

Here is the recipe from the Pampered Chef cookbook that came with the pot:


20-Minute Barbecue Ribs

1 rack (2 1/2-3 lb) pork loin back ribs (baby back ribs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup water

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp Chipotle Rub or Smoky Barbecue Rub
2 tsp cinder vinegar or white vinegar

For ribs, remove membrane from rack of ribs using Boning Knife (see Cook's Tip). Season both sides of ribs with salt and black pepper. Cut between each bone to separate rack into individual ribs. Arrange ribs, cut side down, in two layers in Deep Covered Baker. Add water. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 8 minutes. Turn ribs over. Microwave on HIGH 7-10 minutes or until Pocket Thermometer registers 160°F when inserted into meatiest part of ribs alongside bones and ribs are no longer pink.

Meanwhile, for sauce, combine ketchup, brown sugar, rub and vinegar in (1.5-qt.) Saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; remove from heat.

Transfer ribs to Stainless (4-qt.) Mixing Bowl. Add 1 cup of the sauce and toss to coat.

Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. Place ribs onto pan; cook 4-6 minutes or until grill marks appear, brushing with remaining sauce and turning once. Transfer ribs to a serving platter. Serve immediately.

Yield 4 servings: Calories 620. Total Fat 41 g. Saturated Fat 15 g. Cholesterol 160 mg. Carbohydrate 30 g. Protein 34 g. Sodium 1390 mg. Fiber 1 g.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

No Bake Kool~Aid Pie

                        No Bake, 4 Ingredient Kool~Aid Pie

Today is pretty hot! Summer is fast approaching and the mere thought of turning your oven on is going to make you sweat. So, for you my dear friends, I am sharing a no bake pie recipe. Turns out this recipe has been around for years! Like 40-50 years! It is called a Kool~Aid pie, so this makes the flavor possibilities endless!!! You can make lime, strawberry lemonade, lemon, grape...whatever package of Kool~Aid you can find is a new variation!!! How KOOL is that??? Hahaha...didja see what I did there just now? Oh, I am a clever one! The toughest part about making this pie is opening the can of sweetened condensed milk. The longer the pie sits, the stronger the flavors get. I chose strawberry.

Here are the ingredients~ 1 graham cracker pie crust, ~14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk, ~8 oz tub of whipped topping, ~ 1 Kool~Aid flavor pack (your choice), ~fruit for garnish. The fruit also helps cut the sweetness of the pie.

I just put it all in a bowl and got to mixin'! Now, here is a recommendation, mix the Kool~Aid pack and the sweetened condensed milk until the Kool~Aid pack is well dissolved. Once this is done, add the whipped cream. The reason for this is, as soon as the whipped cream is added, the mixture starts to thicken REAL quick.

Pic above is trying to get everything well incorporated.

Everything poured into the graham cracker crust and it had been refrigerated over night.
So pretty!
And EVEN prettier!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Redlands~ Gourmet Pizza Shoppe

Who loves cuteness? Oh, that would be moi! Jess, I likah cutahness so mucha! (Said I, while gesturing vigorously in an Italiano manner) Omg...just look at this place oozing it's total adorableness and penetrating your retinas!(Not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate...lol.~Fat Amy) It screams Lady and the Tramp? No? I must disagree! It is begging for you and your lovie to have a bowl of spaghetti, and then oops, you both have the same noodle and oops, your lipsuh, they accidentuhlly meet anduh muah! Whatuh beeuteefuluh momentuh. Okay, dropping the Italian accent.

                            ******************So dreamy!************************

This place is quaint and unique and I am not just talking about the d├ęcor. The menu is pretty interesting! They have a section of the menu that is titled "....On a Pizza?" The pizzas on this page are named things like "Wild Willy's West Coast Express"~ BBQ Sauce, Meat Balls, Potato Wedges, Red Onions, Cashews, Jack, Gouda and Cheddar Cheese. (pictured below) There is also the "Annie Oakley"~Ranch Dressing, Chicken, Bacon, Angel Hair Pasta, (what!!?) Mozarella Cheese and Seasoning. The Local Favorites section of the menu, boasts a unique creation named the "Smiley Bros'"~Honey Mustard, Pastrami, Pickle Chips, Banana Peppers, Swiss and Provolone Cheese. I am thinking they need to rename this the "Preggo Special"....que no? Basically this is theeee place to come to for the oddest combo of toppings you have ever had put on a pizza crust...yet find yourself thinking, wow, somehow this works!

Pictured below is the "Gay 90's Special"~ Pizza Sauce, Pepperoni, Sausage, Cashews, Red Onions, Mozzarella Cheese and Seasoning.
They also have *Gluten Free dough*, *Whole Wheat dough* and *Vegan Mozzarella cheese*. So they pretty much have all the bases covered. THEY DO have spaghetti, should you choose to reenact the scene from Lady and the Tramp! Their dessert menu is something to ponder as well! How does "Einsteins Glue" sound to your ears? Sound like an appetizing dessert? Hmmm, what is on it you may ask......well here are the toppings: Creamy Peanut Butter, Marshmallow Cream, Chocolate Chips, Graham Cracker Pieces and Jack Cheese! Yes, CHHEEEESE! Wudncha like to pick the noggin of the person that came up with the topping selections for THAT PIZZA!!! I am wondering if they weren't under the influence of....uh, well, I suppose we should just leave that to the imagination, something the creator of these pizza's DOES NOT LACK!!! This place makes for quite a unique dining experience! PLUS, they have Hangar 24 Craft Brewery Beers (they have a location in Redlands. Not that I am into beer. Wish, I was, so I would know what all the fuss was about.) Anyways, I hear good things about that place. My brother says it is a good beer and (call me crazy) I kinda trust the guy. Many others rave about that beer also. I love that these two companies are helping each other out! Anyways, just thought I would share these funky pizzas with you! Hasta luego! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Homemade brown sugar

I do a lot of baking. I have a sweet tooth and I can't deny it! Try as I might to stifle it, crush it, ignore it....it rejects my attempts to eradicate it! So, just like in Little Shop of Horrors, I must feed my Seymour. MY Seymour calls for sugars...so much so, that sometimes, I find myself without the necessary ingredients to satiate the beast with a new confection. In the event that you find yourself in this predicament, ready to add the "brown sugar" while baking with your hair in a bun and your cozy kitten pj's on, finding your "brown sugar" is in fact MIA!!! Yikes!!! Here is what you do...ready? Because this is rather difficult and you MUST PAY ATTENTION! Wink, wink!!! Get 1 cup of granulated white sugar and add 3 tablespoons of molasses. Bayum! Ya just made homemade brown sugar! Oh yeah! You rock! Now commence your raucous victory dance for overcoming one of life's adversities! Now, hush up and get that caboose back in the kitchen!
                                              ***3 tablespoons of Molasses***

                                        ***Mixed into one cup of sugar***
***Mix until it is incorporated evenly into all sugar and resembles brown sugar. may look "wet", but it will work just as well as brown sugar. Now use as you normally would in any recipe!***

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Do you plan your meals?

Hello, hello, hello! How's it going out there for all of you? So, I know how busy everyone is and I was wondering how many people plan their meals, be it monthly or weekly? I don't know boutchu, but I am TOTALLY A fly by the seat of my pants, kinda gal....yup, that's me! Moment to moment. (Okay, I stole that line from Pretty Woman. I think after you have seen a movie like 50 times or more and the lines are seared into your brain and take over the places that once housed stuff like mathemagic....or wait, I member, mathematics, well I think maybe one should be compensated in someway. I don't know.....just thinking out loud, in written format. I mean, I have invested lots of time....right???) Oh, right.....there was a point here.....to plan or not to plan, that is the question. I notice there are a lot of planners out there! Can you teach me how to be like you? Lol! I tried making freezer meals and noticed that my family wasn't as interested in what was on the table as much as they were when I made an impromptu meal that day. I have no idea what the issue was. Maybe, I need to get their input? I was a fan of the freezer meals! It made it easy to just take something out of the freezer and know that dinner would be ready without any thought. I did however miss the wonderful aromas of cooking something on the stove. Plus, I swear, it wasn't easy. I keep seeing these gals on Pinterest saying they made a months worth of dinners for like $200 and all it took was one measly Sunday afternoon. Is this really happening out there???

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ultimate French Toast Bake

              ***The Official French Toast of Heaven***

I made this French toast casserole for my sons birthday breakfast. I have been wanting to make this since...at least November. Maybe before then! I was supposed to make it for New Years Day breakfast, but that fell through....uh, this is a dish you are supposed to let sit over night! Just like most of you, I wasn't in cooking condition on New Years Eve. I was in, as my newly purchased t-shirt states, "Puro pinche pari" mode, which translates loosely to "Pure freakin party" mode. Besides that, I was gonna have to use a French bread loaf instead of Texas Toast, due to the fact that Texas Toast isn't found all that easy. FYI if you can't find Texas Toast, the French bread loaf will suffice and your dish will turn out equally as scrumptious. Well, that's what my brother told me. He beat me to the recipe! (Uh, yeah, weird to find out that he trolls around Pinterest and didn't let me know. He didn't add me....how rude! Lol, just kidding! It's okay because, well, boys cook too!) He did however verify my preconceived idea about this recipe being heavenly! I came to the conclusion, that this MUST be the Official French Toast of HEAVEN! Yes, God Himself must be eagerly lining up at the buffet line and waiting for a serving of this. He probably gets His calendar out and His red Sharpie marker and circles the days when this is on the menu. It's so good, I am sure He totally throws lightning bolts when it runs out! Oh, what? You think I am being blasphemous? Well, you have never been to heaven......so, I could totally be telling the truth! So before I over hype this dish, I shall move on to the recipe. (lol, it's a little late to concern myself with over hyping...lol) I got it on Pinterest from this girl Rach's blog. I think this is one of, if not thee most popular of her posts. Also, I don't see any new posts from her, which is a shame. :( When I started poking around her blog, I found out that she suffers from GI problems, as do I. Boo! On the plus side, she has a new prayer being said for her health coming from me.

Here go the ingredients:

1 loaf of Texas Toast
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 stick melted butter (you will also need a little to spread over last layer of Texas Toast.
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp powdered sugar plus extra for sprinkling
Oh and you are gonna need a 9x13 baking dish.

Place butter in microwave until it is melted, then add brown sugar and mix until well incorporated. pour this on the bottom of your 9x13 inch baking dish. Now grab your Texas Toast and place a single layer of bread over the brown sugar and butter mix. Rach's Blog cut hers into strips at some point, which is a great idea if you are serving it for a brunch or to children. Now, mix eggs, milk, vanilla and a tablespoon of powdered sugar till well incorporated. Now spoon half of this mixture on to the first layer of Texas Toast. Sprinkle this layer with enough cinnamon to make you happy and brown sugar. Just a dusting of brown sugar will do. Place another layer of Texas Toast and ladle the rest of the egg mix over the bread. Now spread a thin layer of butter over the Texas Toast and sprinkle with more brown sugar and cinnamon.
Here are the main players. I didn't take a picture of the extra brown sugar, butter or cinnamon.
Texas Toast.

                                                   Brown sugar and butter mix

                                                    Eggs, milk and vanilla...not yet incorporated.
                                      Brown sugar and butter mixture poured in casserole dish.

      Half of egg mixture poured over the first layer of Texas Toast. Then a sprinkling of cinnamon.

     Second layer of Texas Toast, rest of egg mixture, a sprinkling of white sugar (supposed to be brown, I ran out and didn't remember that I could make my own by just adding molasses to the white sugar) cinnamon and a some butter spread on top. NOW, cover and refrigerate over night. When you are ready to bake, place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake covered for 30 min. Then remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes.

This is what the finished product looked like. I served it as Rach recommended upside down, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I didn't take a picture of it before I served it, which is why hers looks so different from mine.For aesthetic purposes I regret not cutting off the crust and cutting them down the middle. I am sure however, this had no effect on flavor! I am going to make this for my hubby on his b~day........shhh.....don't tell him. I will take another pic then, as this pic doesn't do the dish justice. I think I will add some homemade whipped cream and some fresh strawberries....yum!

Take #2~ Cut the edges off of bread and cut pieces in half

Photo of it straight outta the oven. I also used my Pampered Chef pan for this go around. I have to say that the bottom came out way darker and more flavorful. Oh and I made my own brown sugar by combining 1 cup of sugar and adding 3 tbsps of molasses.
Here it is served. I served one piece regular and the other I flipped over so you could see the rich color. I guess that had to do with using the molasses. Think upside down pineapple cake, without the pineapple and cherry.

See how delicious the dark sugar looks? Kinda caramelized and oh so yummy.

Just a lil dusting of powdered sugar for decoration and voila French Toast Casserole.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nickelodeon Pizza~ Hubbies favorite pizza

                                                   ***Nickelodeon Pizza***

                                              Thin crust Chorizo and Avacado Pizza.

                                          Thick crust Canadian Bacon and Pineapple.

                                                              Garlic Cheesy Bread.

Okay, now I didn't grow up in this city....but I gotta tell ya, everyone that did, LOVES this place. They rave about the pizza. This pizza restaurant refuses to go down! It has been a staple of this city forever. It has occupied several locations. Once it shut down and it didn't seem they were coming back, even I was sad for Nickelodean fans. When I moved to a neighboring city at the end of my eighth grade year, wayyyyy back then, it was in this cool spot that was, (if I recall correctly) Old Frontier Town. Complete with a  little faux jail where you could pay the "sheriff" to arrest any person of your choosing. After I met my hubby, when we would go there his Uncle would pay to have him arrested, like ALL THE TIME! I have to say back in its heyday, it was quite the spot. The Frontier Town location eventually fell into ruin and it was torn down. I hear that a movie was shot there...I don't know what movie. I am a sap for places like these though! Places that are faux little cities, or tree lined streets with hanging lights. They found another location and tried making a go of it there, the people followed! It was so small though, I hated going there! They have been in their current location for quite some time now and my hubby drags me there too......lol. Okay, I might go willingly. I love that he has a place that he speaks about with such nostalgia. He tells me about when he was a kid and his baseball team would have their parties there and the parents would have a few beers, eat pizza and throw quarters at them so they could play video games and keep outta their hair. Kinda like what we do when we take our kids there....hahaha, yeah, I wish! Times have changed! Even when I let them go play games to be supervised by my oldest, I am on edge and find myself nervous.

Maybe I need to have a drink when I am there next time...lol. Here is the thing, I am the ONLY PERSON that is not a fan of their pizza. Yes, go ahead, hate on me.....I care not! See, the pizza dough is super yeasty...which screams BEER to me. Yeah, I am not a fan of that either. BUT, enter the toppings CHORIZO and AVACADO and I find myself inhaling these aromas that make me swoon and sooner than not, this gluten free girl has a tummy with a slice of that yeasty pizza taking up residence. So, I am a hypocrite.....

Anyways, lets not get started on my short comings...the things is that this place is filled with the heart of the community. I don't think I have been there once without seeing someone that I went to high school with, or that my kids have played soccer or baseball with. This place is this communities "Cheers", the place you go, when you wanna be where everybody knows your name.

I found a Movie Land http://www.movielandfrontiertown.com/Frontier Town Page on Facebook!!!!!!! Check it out! It even has pics of the jail I told you about! Check it out!!! Go ahead and take a stroll down memory lane!

One last look at that garlic cheesy bread, just because it came out purrrrrrty.

Redlands~ a la Minute Ice Cream

**a la Minute Ice Cream**

Redlands~ a la Minute Ice Cream Shop. OMG! Talk about fresh, organic and innovative all in one adorable little tiny shop. Don't you just love that! This place screams cute, quaint and unique....

I can't get enough of little shops like this!
                                                                 Love is in the details.

But even MORE love is put in the making of this ice cream. Fresh, organic and locally sourced ingredients and made to order....THE RESULT IS A RICH FLAVOR EXPLOSION! (Photo above is Salted Caramel)
The ice cream is made to order using liquid nitrogen. The fog from the liquid nitrogen fills the air and you know that you are in for a true treat! It is a treat for the eyes at THE LEAST! (Photo above is Strawberry with Balsamic Vinegar)

She is eating Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar! She ate it all up! My hubby ate Orange and Honey something or other which was also delicious! No pic on that one. :(

I can't wait to go back for more! They have new flavors very often. There are a few little tables outside to enjoy this fabulous treat. Plus Downtown Redlands is one of those tree lined streets straight out of the movies, with antique shops and delicious places to eat. On Thursday evenings they shut down State Street and have Market Night. It is a summer time MUST! You can find local vendors and street foods, music and people relaxing and hanging out with their loved ones. It IS held in the winter as well, but I am a warm weather creature.