Quick Hits: Lasagna Cupcakes

remember one of the pictures I uploaded when I first started this blog? It was of my Lasagna Cupcakes. super easy, just a few quality ingredients, and a 12ct muffin tin, you can enjoy a delicious two-bite (or more) snack. these make GREAT appetizers or small plates for a gathering. check it out!

 

Ingredients:

  • 36 wonton wrappers (wonton wrappers can be found near the produce/tofu in your local grocer. i’ve seen them everywhere from Wal-Mart, to Kroger)
  • 1/2 to 3/4c marinara or spaghetti sauce (i make my own, a lot, but if going jarred, go good quality, don’t skimp)
  • 8oz FRESH mozzarella or fontina cheese (i used ciliegine, which are the large pearls or mozzarella. you could also buy the ball/slice and slice or grate it, i just find that’s a little bit more work than i wanna do)
  • 1/2c FRESH grated parmesan
  • 1/2tsp dried italian seasonings (combined. thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano, etc)

optional: cooked bacon, pepperoni, or italian sausage.

first, preheat your oven to 350F, and spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray. carefully press a wonton wrapper into each depression of your muffin tin. Layer in your mozzarella, (since I used the ciliegine, i just pressed the pearl flat), then your tomato sauce. you really only need about a 1/2tsp here. if you want to use any meat (trust me, they’re good without it) add that here. add another wonton, and repeat your layers. Lasanga Layers

after your second layer, top with a wonton wrapper and press it down, so that your corners only slightly touch each other. add very thin layer of sauce, like you spread on pizza.

 

moar sauce

moar sauce

top this with parmesan, your dried herbs. bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.

 

before....

before….

 

take them out of the oven, and allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes. i know, it will be hard.

 

........after

……..after

 

eat at least three of these. you’ve earned it. i LOVE the crunchy corners. nice and rustic looking. how’d you like this quick and easy recipe?

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Boogie’s Grocery Tips – Part One: Circulars and You

most people have to go out and shop for groceries, but most people don’t get the joy out of it i do. the thrill of saving. those markdowns….RAIN CHECKS!? i’m getting goosebumps.

inkondapaper.com

OH JO Y.

  1. circulars are your friend. 1 – SALE PRICES – this is probably the most obvious point, but the weekly circulars are your best asset. they keep you updated with your local stores’ sales.
  2. circulars. are your friend. 2 – SALE CYCLES – most stores cycle their sales. with the exception of overstock (end of season) and seasonal sales, you’ll notice a lot of sales that happen regularly. collect the circulars from your favorite stores and follow the trends. Kroger’s is one of the best (worst?) offenders: their “Buy 5, Save $5” or “Buy 10, Save $5” sales usually repeat AND they typically offer some of the same products. (certain hot dogs, condiments, and cheeses for example). So if you can, hold off on those products until it’s time for the next cycle.
  3. circulars. ARE YOUR FRIEND! 3 – SALE REIMBURSEMENT – circular ads SALE PRICES are honored even when they run out. how? RAIN CHECKS. even if you don’t NEED something immediately, pick up the rain check. they are only valid for so many days from the time of issue, so you have to be aware. but you can still use them in conjuction with your coupons AND other sales. i infamously had a rain check for up 5 large boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for $2 each, and then the store had a sale later to buy 4 boxes, get $6 off. I got 5 FAMILY SIZE boxes of CTC for .80 a piece. so hold them until you need them/have to use them. some stores will issue you a rain check if they lack a certain flavor or iteration of something they have on sale (for instance, kool-aid jammers were on sale at a local grocer, that had every flavor but cherry. i got a rain check).
  4. CIRCULARS ARE YOUR BEST DAMN FRIEND LISTEN TO ME!!!!! 4 – SALES AT WALMART – yeah i said it: WALMART. take your circulars to your local walmart and they will match the sale price…yes, even on fresh cut/butcher style meat.

i hope you find these tips helpful! check back for more tips and tricks about grocery shopping!

Graham Cracker Chicken

a while ago, a popular chicken chain debuted something called “waffle chicken”. i might have been amazed if, and only if, i hadn’t already discovered a delicious way of getting sweet syrupy goodness slathered all over my chicken without emptying my bottle of Mrs.Buttersworth. graham crackers. your favorite snack as a child, mixed with a little panko, makes for a wonderful crust on chicken breasts. and even better? it goes GREAT with your waffles the next morning.

upclose chicken

Graham Cracker Chicken

  • butterflied chicken breasts (don’t know how? I’ve got you covered)
  • graham crackers (1c of crumbs is about 6-8 crackers)
  • panko bread crumbs
  • seasonings of your choice (i usually blend flavors that will compliment sweetness well, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne)
  • eggs (for battering, you’ll need about one for every chicken breast you do)
  • flour (for battering)
  • oil (for… frying)

Things you’ll need:

  • plastic wrap
  • plastic baggies
  • something to beat your chicken with (i use an empty liquor bottle, but if you actually have a kitchen mallet, kudos)
  • sheet pan and cooling rack (like the one you use for cooling fresh cookies) (optional, HIGHLY recommended)

pre-heat your oven to 200F. and begin pre-heating a skillet of oil to 350F. (i like to do this on a stove, because i can cook more than one piece of chicken at a time, but you can deep fry it, if you like, same temp.) fit a cooling rack to a sheet pan and place it in the oven. if you don’t have one, that’s cool too.

line your counter or your cutting board with plastic wrap. take your butterflied chicken breast, and you have one of two choices here, leave it whole (for a larger piece of chicken) or cut it in half (i like this better, smaller piece to manuever in the pan). the larger option is going to give you the size of something like chicken-fried chicken you would get in your local cafeteria (in case you were ever wondering how they got your chicken so wide and thin, now you know).

this is about to get ugly.

before… one half of a butterflied chicken breast

whichever you choose, place this on the plastic wrap, cover with another plastic wrap, and use the object of your choice to beat this chicken into a uniform thickness, probably between 1/4″ and 1/2″. watch it though, too thin, and you’re gonna get holes. while this isn’t bad, it could cause your piece of chicken to rip when handling it. not to mention, you would run the risk of over cooking. this is gonna serve two purposes, hand in hand. one, it will shorten our cooking time SIGNIFICANTLY. by doing that, we’re keeping our chicken juicy and preserving its sexy. two, it will give us more surface area for more delicious batter. do this for each chicken breast you have, and set aside.

obviously, i took out my aggression here.

nice, thin pounded out chicken breasts.

prep your assembly line: add flour, and a proportionate amount of seasonings to a shallow pan. mix together well. crack and whisk eggs into a second pan. season (again) and whisk to combine. add graham crackers to a plastic baggie and beat into submission. in a third pan, add one part crushed graham crackers to one part panko. for ONE breast (which will be two portions) you’ll need 1/2c of each. mix together. graham cracker, while delicious, doesn’t really make a very good fried crust on its own, so we’re using panko to give us the crunch we want. don’t season this though. panko is one dirty, dirty woman who doesn’t play fair. you ever try to season panko? falls right to the bottom of whatever you seasoned it in. what’s gonna happen, even though you mix those graham crackers and panko together, you’ll eventually wind up with more graham crackers left than panko, and more seasoning. it’s just so anti-social. smh.

season your beaten breasts thinned chicken breasts. dredge them in your flour, then your egg, then your graham cracker/panko mix. go ahead and prep all your pieces of chicken this way. this is gonna go by faster than you think.

fry each piece until golden brown. about 2-3mins per side. just pay close attention, watch for coloring, and flip. remember, as one of our favorite TV hosts has warned us, the second side never takes as long as the first. be wary of over cooking. place cooked chicken on rack in oven. this is THE best way i’ve found to drain and keep chicken crispy. if you don’t have the rack, you can use the old school method of draining on paper towels.

serve this alongside some fries with some dijonnaise or skip the savory and waiting for leftovers and have chicken and waffles for dinner.

this plate actually didn't last very long. think i vaccuumed the crumbs off the plate. smh.

look at that color!

what other things can you think of coating in this dream mix?

#QuickHits: Refrigerator Tartar Sauce

tartar sauce

don’t you ever buy that “Brand Name” mayo & relish tartar sauce again. i’ve got a quick and easy tartar sauce that is sure to taste better than anything you can buy out of a store, and you probably already have everything you need in your refrigerator door. It’s adaptable, so use what you got… to you know, get what you want.

 

#QuickHits tartar sauce (featuring your Refrigerator door)

  • 1/2c mayonnaise (the better the quality, the better your base. From Scratch is best, as usual. that hyperlink includes a recipe for aioli, I would skip that though.)
  • 1/4 whole grain mustard (you can make this from scratch too, it’s a little involved and is a make ahead.. like two days ahead)
  • 1 tbsp minced/chopped capers
  • 1 tbsp minced/choppped dill pickles
  • 1 tbsp minced/chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • splash of lemon juice (optional, highly recommended)
  • dab or two of horseradish (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar or pickling liquid from dill pickles (optional)

combine all ingredients, cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours before use for best flavor. you can eat it right away if you like, though, flavors develop more the longer it mingles and gets to know each other. if you like dippable sauces, mince your ingredients and add the vinegar/pickling liquid. the recipe as is, will be thick and spoonable/scoopable. i like mine chunkier, but then again, i’m a weirdo i’ve been eating this on EVERYTHING since i made it. especially french fries. how about you? what’s your favorite twist on tartar?

 

Image

How to Butterfly a Boneless Chicken Breast

How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast

Quick. Easy. Keeps it juicy. Nudge-nudge.

1- Lay your chicken breast rounded side down, length of the chicken vertical. Make sure the thickest part of the chicken is away from your dominant hand. (IE, on it’s back.)

2- Pressing firmly against the back of the chicken, begin to slice along the chicken lengthwise, as if to open a book. Try to keep the halves on each side of your knife about the same thickness.

3- Continue to slice along the back of the chicken until, well, it looks like an open book.

You can use this method for butterflying any meat! Experiment. This method is GREAT for keeping the cooking time of your breast low, and taming dryness. I use this method when making chicken patties/chicken fried steak or my Graham Cracker Chicken, which is to follow soon!

maple snickerdoodle cups

if you’re a fan of cinnamon, you’re gonna love these recipe courtesy of Beyond Frosting. mmm. i added my own twist and (spoiler alert) coated them in chocolate… but they were a HIT. you only need one of these bad boys to satisfy a sweet tooth. Loaded with butter and sugar it’s really a treat, so… don’t expect anything low-cal about this…. although i did use coconut oil in my (spolier alert) dipping chocolate mix, which i’ll share later. Dr.Oz would be marginally proud.

first, the recipe courtesy of the good folks at Beyond Frosting. now, i did tweak their recipe a bit, which i will denote with an asterisk in the ingredients, and i’ll italicize what i do differently in the directions, okay? let’s begin.

Cookie Ingredients:
■1/2c unsalted butter, browned.
■1/4c + 2 tbsp Sugar
■3/4c light brown sugar
■1 large egg
■1/2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
■3 tbsp Maple syrup
■1 1/2c Flour
■*3/4 tsp baking powder
■*1/4 tsp Baking soda
■*1/4 tsp Cream of tartar
■1 tbsp Cinnamon

Filling Ingredients:
■1/2c Butter, softened
■2c Powdered sugar
■1 tbsp Heavy whipping cream *+1 tbsp
■2 tbsp Maple syrup
■2 tsp Cinnamon

Chocolate Ingredients:
■1.5 bags of chocolate chips (doesn’t have to be any particular brand or grade, just know, it effects how much fat you’ll need.
■~1/3lb (around 2.6tbsp) butter
■1 tbsp coconut oil

VERY SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
■A shot glass
■A kitchen scale (this is actually a must, if you’re a serious baker. Invest in a little $20 digital kitchen scale and flourish)

preheat your oven to 375F. the good folks over there at BF had a really great idea: Brown the butter you’re gonna use for your cookies. now if you don’t know about browning butter, add your butter to a pan over medium heat. use a wooden spoon to stir that constantly until the smell is nutty and you can see solids forming on the bottom of your skillet. add your butter to a mixing bowl, and to that, add your brown and white (less 2tbsp) sugars and “cream” until fluffy. add your egg, maple syrup, and vanilla. in a separate bowl, mix your flour and baking powder. (in the original recipe, this is soda and cream of tartar). slowly add this mix, until just combined to your wet ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together reserved sugar and cinnamon. BF recommends that you fill a muffin tin, with 2tbsp of cookie dough after you roll them around in sugar. however, i made 24 smaller cups. i placed my bowl of sugar coating on my kitchen scale and tared it. i simply measured out 24 portions into the sugar and tared it each time i rolled a cookie in sugar. Don’t have a scale? Mine were about half the recommended size, 1 tbsp

packaging that work.

packaging that work.

i also didn’t bake mine the recommended time, i only baked for about 4 or so minutes until the cookie puffed and i got a liiiiiitle golden. not much. you have to really watch these, the cinnamon sugar obstructs the browning. let them cool in pan for about 5 minutes and then take that bottom of your shot glass, and spray it with a little cooking spray. press down into the center of each cookie and create a well. once they have cooled to touch remove to the baking pan and let them sit until cooled completely before filling.

push it, push it good.

push it, push it good.

to create the filling beat room temperature butter until nice and fluffy. add in your powdered sugar, and its gonna get tough. Add in your two tbsp of cream. i wanted a loose, lighter, nougat-y filling. if you prefer straight frosting, omit a tbsp. beat until incorporated. add your cinnamon and maple syrup until just combined. fill each cookie with frosting. i used a knife, because i would be (spoiler alert) coating it in chocolate. but you may want to stop here and just pipe the frosting in, for aesthetic purposes.

line em up.

line em up.

cover with wax paper, and put these puppies in the fridge to chill for a while, buttercream frosting is, well, butter, and if we put room temperature frosting into hot dipping chocolate… well… you get the picture.

to make dipping chocolate out of chocolate chips: melt chocolate according to package directions adding, along with that, your butter and coconut oil. the amount of FAT you have to add is completely dependent upon the quality of your chocolate. you’ll know you’ve got it right because your chocolate will be shiny, and fluid not dull. line a baking sheet with wax paper, and dip each cookie into the chocolate. cover with wax paper, again, allow to chill and set completely before digging in.

mmm.

mmm.

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

how was this recipe? Give me your feedback guys.

Intro-“cook”-tion

Italian: quick and portable

Italian: quick and portable

for a good portion of my life, i’ve been cooking, shopping, and developing flavors and techniques for food. think of me as a mash-up between Alton Brown and B.Smith, and i just wanted to share.

buttery, melty, burgers.

buttery, melty, burgers.

I would love to have a obscene amount of followers who like to look at my blog and “ooh” and “ahh” and fawn over the things i do, but i’m just here to share. no capital letters until i’m ready to emphasize important points on my recipes.

best way to have risotto: fried and smothered in shrimp.

best way to have risotto: fried and smothered in shrimp.

hopefully, i share a recipe that tastes pretty good to you, or a technique that makes your life easier, or a shopping tip that saves you a little bit of change.

-boogie.