classic soft dinner rolls

I can say with extreme confidence that any kid in any school cafeteria in America ate these rolls growing up. At my school, they were ubiquitous with a tray full of mushy spaghetti that, no matter how gross, everyone still seemed to love.

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Here’s something strange that maybe you witnessed during lunch — kids would hollow out the dinner roll and shove the spaghetti inside it, then devour the whole thing. Somehow, this was a thing. Even kids who went to school in other states knew of this! How did this strange method of spaghetti-eating become widespread knowledge? The world may never know.

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chicken fried steak fingers with country gravy

Did you ever eat something so bad that it was actually good? That would be the perfect way to describe the oddly named “steak fingers” we were served in my elementary school cafeteria. They were really nothing to write home about, and were surely mass-produced and most definitely frozen at some point in their lives. These steak fingers bore little resemblance to their homemade counterpart, real country-style chicken fried steak.

No matter how awful the cafeteria’s steak fingers were, I couldn’t help but adore them. Something about that tasty combination of steak, formerly-crunchy breading with lots of black pepper, served with a big pile of mashed potatoes and gravy was just magic to me.

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For this recipe, I decided to stay true to the cafeteria’s version in shape only, and go the traditional route for everything else. Real, down-home, crispy chicken fried steak with boatloads of creamy, peppery gravy and a heap of mashed potatoes. Can I get a hell yeah?

Hell yeah.

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mexican pizza = 90s flashback!


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As a kid growing up in the 90s, there was no better night for TV-watching than Friday night. How could you beat ABC’s TGIF lineup of Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step By Step and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper?! Perfect Strangers was included in there somewhere. I always had a soft spot for poor clueless Balki.

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¡cinco de mayo!

If you’re not from Mexico or the US southwest, chances are you don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. If you do, it’s a great reason to celebrate and have a party! Now’s the time to roll out your best margarita recipe, and definitely your favorite salsa. Looking for a few more ideas? I’ve got you covered. You gotta have drinks at your Cinco de Mayo parties. … Continue reading ¡cinco de mayo!

perfect pumpkin lasagna

Let’s talk a little bit about pumpkin, shall we?

Pumpkin is good. It’s good in pie, it’s good in savory dishes, it’s good in soups, it’s even good in coffee as Starbucks would have you believe. Carving pumpkins is awesome, too.

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How about pumpkin in lasagna? No, that’s not a typo. “But wait,” you say, “lasagna is supposed to have meat and tomatoes and lots of cheese! How can you fit pumpkin into all that?” Well, dear reader, I encourage you to branch out from your usual ideas of lasagna, cause this stuff is damn good.

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creamy mushroom soup

For a few years now, I’ve been a big fan of the blog Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s photos and food are absolutely stunning, and her posts are really engaging. What’s not to love?

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She originally posted this recipe for cream of mushroom soup way back in 2007. I’ve had it bookmarked for what seems like ages, and I finally got a chance to make it! I know right now in AZ it’s not exactly soup weather, but depending on where you are in the US, it still feels very much like winter. So, if you’re looking for something to take the chill away, or if you’re just looking for a simple and tasty lunch or dinner idea, you’ve come to the right place!

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savory and sweet empanadas

Growing up in the southwest, I feel obligated to like empanadas. There’s just so many damn good variations of fillings one can cram into their flaky dough, that it’s almost impossible to not find something you’ll like.

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I know a lot of people who have really only eaten sweet dessert-type empanadas, pumpkin or pineapple being very common, but I’m partial to the savory fillings. I don’t know if I’d enjoy the common Spanish filling that includes green olives and hard-boiled eggs, but luckily making them in my own kitchen means I can fill them with whatever I’d like!

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