Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meatball Subs

I have to admit that when I first heard of Meatball subs (probably at Subway), I was not interested at all! I went there with my mom once and she absolutely loved them, and I started to open to the idea. However the idea of meatballs sitting out all afternoon waiting to be made into a sub - ew. I have still never had a Subway Meatball sandwich. I have made them a few times however and I absolutely love these. I am now an advocate for Meatball Subs. We typically have these the day after we have spaghetti and meatballs now, it is a perfect use for leftover sauce and meatballs.

Meatball Subs
First, you'll need to make some meatballs, My recipe is found here.
 You'll also need some spaghetti sauce. Recipe also above.
Place the meatballs in the sauce and let simmer until it is reduced. The sauce should be thicker than typical spaghetti sauce.
Place the meatballs on a bun (I prefer toasted bread for these) and top with cheese. I suggest provolone, Mozzarella and/or Parmesan.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu: March 21-27

Last week was a crazy busy week! I did not keep track of what I ate for dinner as well as I have been and almost could not remember what we had two nights! Luckily it came back to me... If you want to know part of what kept my busy - it was the link on Saturday's meal.

This is the last full week of March, crazy to think about it! (I'm about to talk about my weight so if you want to avoid that topic you can skip this paragraph.) I am excited because so far I've lost 6 pounds this month! That is the most I've lost in a month so far. (January was 4 and February was 1 - although I actually lost 2 and gained 1 back... that month made me change my diet!) What is more exciting is that it has been 3 years since I was at my current weight! I have 3.5 lbs to go to reach my 2007 low and 6 lbs to go to get to my senior year in high school weight. However, I have 20 lbs to go to reach my lowest weight since high school - that was in 2005. I'll be excited to get to my high school weight though!

Now on to the menu:

Monday: Fettuccine Alfredo

Tuesday: Macho Nachos

Wednesday: Cheese Pizza

Thursday: Pepperoni Pizza

Friday: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Saturday: Board Game Dinner

Sunday: Leftovers

Meatball Sub won last week's vote and will be posted this Thursday. No Poll this week as there is only one new recipe - Macho Nachos. That recipe will be posted next week.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: Boardgame Dinner

“Showcasing posts from 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publisher bloggers, the monthly Foodbuzz 24 highlights unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. “-from Foodbuzz

My husband and I LOVE to play boardgames. In fact my husband and I could play one boardgame every day for two months and never play the same game twice - we have that many games (even without expansions...)

Hubby and I started buying games in college, we decided it was better to buy a game than to go out to eat at a nicer place (our college definition of nice: any place with a waiter/waitress.) Our justification was that A. we would be spending about the same amount of money, B. we wouldn't be overeating and having to pay for it, C. boardgames last a lot longer than one meal, and D. I could make the food for a lot cheaper. That last one said, we would occasionally go to 'not nicer places' to give me a break from cooking.

We've had dinners with friends and then played boardgames afterward. I thought it would be fun to have a dinner where all the food looked like boardgames. We chose a bad weekend because most of the people we invited already had commitments, but luckily a few people showed up! Here's all the adults (but me) who came.

 To start out, we had Carcassonne Crackers and Meeple Cheese. The cheese was cut out using a cookie cutter (I bought a metal gingerbread boy cookie cutter and used needle nose pliers to reshape it.)
 The crackers are Homemade Wheat Thins. I absolutely loved this recipe and am going to share it with you.
Homemade Wheat Thins  Recipe from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
First you'll need 1-1/4 cups flour (it calls for whole wheat, but I used white and it turned out fine. I used white flour to get the right coloring for the crackers.), and 1-1/2 Tablespoons sugar.
add 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon paprika.
 I used regular paprika, but next time I'm going to try smoked!
Add 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
 Mix thoroughly. 
Add 1/4 cup water (you may need to add more water to dough. It should form a smooth dough.)
 and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
 Add the vanilla to the water before adding, it will work out better!
 Mix until a smooth dough forms.
 Above is the reason you should add the vanilla to the water - you can see the bits where it hit the flour! The above is also a variant - I added 1/4 Tbsp Parmesan (the canned stuff) and 1/2 tsp garlic powder, plus a bit more water to the dough. Tastes wonderful!
 Divide dough into 2-4 pieces to roll out. Keep the portions of dough you are not currently using covered by a damp cloth to keep them from drying out. Roll out to 1/16 inch or thinner. However, if you want to make a pattern, when the dough is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick cut out the pieces of the main color (green here) and place dough of another color (brown here) before continuing to roll out. It is also a good idea to brush each opening with water to help the dough stick together.
 I used the Parmesan Garlic dough to make these roads.
 First, I rolled them into a small rope.
 Then brushed the place I was going to place the 'road' with water.
 Then I pressed down the 'road' with one finger along the whole length of the 'road'.
 Here's what my Carcassonne crackers looked like:
 Now it's time to cut them.
 I used the rolling pin to help guide me (not the best tool I found out!)
 Place all the cut out crackers onto a cookie sheet (you can place them as close as you want - the crackers don't expand.) Top with salt and bake in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. However, if you cut the crackers small, or roll them out super thin, you will want to bake for less time.
 Crackers are usually best the next day. So if you are planning to entertain, bake them the day before. Store in airtight containers once they've cooled.
 We also had some fruit slices to go with the cheese and crackers.

For the Main Course we had 
Settlers of Catan Pizza
 I started out making my usual Pizza Crust.
 With a few variations... these are all colored with food and spices. Luckily you cannot really taste the additions, especially not after adding the toppings!
 Red (Brick): I blended the sundried tomatoes in 1 cup water. Strain. Reduce water in recipe to 1/2 cup and add the blended, strained tomato water (should be 1 cup) at the same time as the olive oil. Add Chili Powder with flour or while kneading to get a more marbled look.
Purple (Ore): Blend 1/2 cup blackberries and 1/2 cup blueberries with 3/4 cup water. Strain. Reduce water in recipe to 1/2 cup and add the blended, strained berry water (should be 1 cup) at the same time as the olive oil. Add Cocoa Powder while kneading to get a more marbled look.
Yellow (Wheat): Add 1/2 tsp Tumeric with flour.
Light Green (Sheep): Added 1/2 cup spinach water *
Dark Green (Wood): Added 1 cup spinach water *
*Spinach Variation is at the bottom of the Pizza Crust recipe.
 I then used a hexagonal cookie cutter to cut the pieces. I actually bought a Make Your Own Cookie Cutter set to make this cookie cutter. Actually it was the refill pkt as they didn't have the actual kit. However, if you want to just buy a hexagonal cookie cutter - good luck finding them!
 It's the Island of Catan in Pizza Dough!
I made these crusts and partially baked them and then froze them. I thawed them the day of the event. I loved not having to make these the day of!
 Top all with pizza sauce, except the desert and possibly the wheat (yellow). I topped the yellow above with sauce, but made another with Alfredo sauce and I thought the color turned out better with the Alfredo sauce.
 Top each hexagon with like color toppings. I used broccoli (steamed for 5 minutes) for the Forrest, yellow bell pepper for the Wheat, mini-meatballs for the Brick, olives for the Mountain, mushrooms for the Dessert, and I did a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato for the Sheep (Of course the lettuce is added after it is baked so the light green look a bit more red right now!)
Once it is topped, bake for 15 minutes.
 Once I had the original Island of Catan, I made each terrain into it's own little pizzas and topped them seperately. It makes it a ton easier than topping each hexagon differently than their neighbor.

PS. Notice my chef jacket? My sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas. Notice the detail:
 Yep, that's the name of my blog! I was super excited to get this.
 Look how delicious that pizza looks! The great thing about a pizza like this, almost everyone will find a piece with toppings they like.
 Now for our Tobago Jello:
 I was originally going to make a fruit tart to portray this, but the jello was absolute inspiration (especially since this is the first time I've used jello in YEARS!) Plus it was a great dessert for the children.
 I made the jello into Jigglers and then used a small hexagon to cut them out. I then fitted them into an island.
 I have to admit I cheated as I placed them - I had an outline on paper covered with plastic wrap on the serving tray.
 After dinner it was time go PLAY!
 Funny enough, we did not play any of the games that were featured in the dinner.
 In fact the only game played was Incan Gold.
  While the adults were playing, the children (3 total) ended up playing with balloons and coloring on a table that I had set up previously (as seen in the background below.)
 We like Incan Gold, it isn't really thought intensive - so you can have conversations while playing.
 It also doesn't have individual turns.
There may or may not have also been references made about to two people 'going back to the tents' together. Would be easier if there were more than one guy playing...

Overall we had a fun night. I loved being able to transform food into some of the games we love to play.

Thank you to Foodbuzz, an online community of food bloggers that helped to support this boardgame dinner.