that's forking good

adventures in a culinary neophyte's kitchen

Posts Tagged ‘green onions’

pizza pi

Posted by culinaryneophyte on March 14, 2012

I’m a writer. Numbers are hard. Still, I wanted to give a shout to all the math nerds celebrating Pi Day (3.14) today. I still have not made a pie for dessert (on my cooking “bucket list”), but you can have your [pizza] pie and eat it, too, with this shrimp and black olive white pizza.

♦1 ball frozen pizza dough (cheater’s way out)
1-1/2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbs. green onions, chopped
1/4 c. black olives, sliced
1/2 c. salad shrimp
sea salt

With a floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll out defrosted dough ball. Drizzle olive oil around pie and sprinkle with minced garlic. Cover with cheese and sprinkle with green onions, olives and shrimp. Give one more spritz of  olive oil, and add parsley and pinch of sea salt. Bake on a pizza stone or parchment paper at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Total time? 10 minutes prep, 15 minutes bake.
Cost? $1 pizza dough, $1 salad shrimp, 79¢ can of black olives, $1 green onions, $1.99 shredded cheese.
Overall success relative to expectations? 6 out of 10. I had all sorts of defrosting issues with this meal that involved picking paper towel shards out of my uncooked dough and ultimately using a new dough ball completely. In any event, this pizza makes a nice weeknight meal and leftover lunch the next day. The only hitch for me was I flooded the work lunchroom with a seafood smell upon reheat, and booked it outside to eat before anyone knew who to blame. Sorry, co-workers!


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not falling flat

Posted by culinaryneophyte on August 23, 2011

Up until this summer, I had never worked at a full-time job closer than 45 miles away. I was either planning ‘leftoverable’ meals for dinner so I’d have lunch for the following day, or I’d drop at least $5 a day to get a somewhat satisfying midday meal. Having a job is awesome, but having a job where you can come home on your lunch break is even better. Now that I’m home during lunch, though, I’m faced with a new challenge: What can I make, eat and enjoy in 40 minutes?

My favorite answer so far: mini pizzas, more specifically buffalo chicken flatbread and “loxish” flatbread. These personal-sized pizzas are filling enough for lunch or dinner, but you can get a week’s worth of them for what you’d spend on one meal out.

Buffalo chicken flatbread
♦1 slice flatbread or pocketless pita
1 chicken tenderloin, cooked and shredded
4 tbs. hot sauce
Squirt of lemon juice (official measurement)
1 tsp. oregano (or more, if you’d like)
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese (fresh is best, but shredded works, too)
Olive oil

Combine shredded chicken, hot sauce 1/2 tsp. oregano and lemon juice in bowl. Let sit while oven preheats to 350. Drizzle flatbread with olive oil. Add 1/4 c. mozzarella, then entire contents of bowl (chicken + sauce), additional oregano and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until crust is golden.

“Loxish” flatbread
♦1 slice of flatbread (or pocketless pita)
4 oz. neufchatel (fewer calories than cream cheese)
2 oz. smoked salmon/lox 1 tbs. green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 c. cheddar cheese
Sprinkle of garlic powder 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Warm neufchatel in microwave for 5-10 seconds. Mash green onions into neufchatel, and spead mixture on flatbread. Top with smoked salmon, cheddar and garlic powder. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Total time? 15 for each.
Cost? (To make a work week’s worth) For buffalo chicken: $2.50 package of six flatbreads, $3.50 fresh mozzarella, $3 chicken tenderloins, $1.25 hot sauce. For “loxish”: $2.50 package of six flatbreads, $3 smoked salmon, $1.88 cheddar cheese, $1 green onions, $1 cream cheese.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out 10. If you’re a thin crust hater, these aren’t for you; otherwise, give them a try. I could eat these every day. So easy. So fast. So good.

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2010 bites

Posted by culinaryneophyte on December 31, 2010

I’m not going to waste your time Auld Lang Syne and all that jazz. If you’re going to a New Year’s party tonight, and need a little snack for the guests, you’ve come to the right place: buffalo chicken bites.

There’s ne’er a party in my circle of friends that doesn’t offer buffalo chicken dip as part of the spread, and while I’m grateful we’ve embraced such a delicious dip, I’m always looking to switch it up. These bite-sized beauties are crispy and spicy, take no more than 40 minutes total and should cost you only about $10 to accommodate a decent amount of people. (And, as part of that unspoken who-brought-the-best-dish-to-the-party competition, you’ll definitely take first place.)

♦3 c. shredded cooked chicken
1/2 c. hot sauce
3-1/2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1 c. flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 – 4 c. corn flakes cereal, crushed

Combine chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce, then mix in green onions and cheese. Make 1-inch balls out of mixture, and set aside. In three separate bowls, place flour, egg and corn flakes. Dip each ball into each bowl (in that order), and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Check on them periodically to make sure they don’t semi-explode.

Total time? 20 minutes prep, 20 minutes bake. (Note: I foolishly didn’t realize until halfway through that I could and should roll these more than one a time, so my prep time could have been a little shorter. Doh!)
Cost? $2.50 corn flakes (you won’t use even close to the entire box), $4 chicken, $1.99 shredded cheese, $1 green onions, 79¢ Texas Pete Hot Sauce, $1 cream cheese.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out of 10. I initially made these to use up some leftover chicken I had, and didn’t really expect much, but I’ve dubbed them the ultimate party snack. You’ll see in the photos that my balls were pretty big (let’s hear it, comedians), so if you’re cooking for a crowd, tone ’em down a bit and you’ll get more for your money. This dish lost points only because I ran out of hot sauce, and had to improvise with the Tiger Sauce (see maki mockery for more on Tiger Sauce), which didn’t have nearly the kick I needed, but that’s easily remedied. Yields about 45 bites.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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from my head to my taquitos

Posted by culinaryneophyte on November 18, 2010

When I look back on what I ate in college, I can’t help but cringe. It’s not like I’m eating caviar and escargot these days, but my diet back then — whether by lack of funding or ambition — was appalling. I remember the day I made a container of Ramen noodles, placed it on the ground next to my chair and then put my foot directly in it when I got up to answer the door. I salvaged what noodles and broth remained in the cup and continued eating. What? I paid a full 79¢ for that stuff and I didn’t feel like waiting another three minutes to eat.

Nowadays, thoughts of Ramen or Easy Mac or Domino’s 5-5-5 ne’er cross my mind, but there is one of my college guilty pleasures about which I sometimes get nostalgic: the 7-Eleven taquito. That hot, Monterey Jack chicken filling? That crisp, greasy encasement you could feel sticking to your insides moments after consumption? Ahh, yes, I sure miss you, old friend.

Fortunately, I’ve found a way to fill that void without giving myself a coronary: creamy chicken taquitos (a la Let’s Dish). This is by far one of the best savory things I’ve created on my quest for kitchen glory. It is easy to make and share, has great flavor and doesn’t leave you wondering how long it’s been spinning on that metal hot dog-turny thing.

creamy chicken taquitos

♦4 oz. low-fat cream cheese
1/4 c. green salsa
1 tbl. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbl. chopped fresh cilantro (I omitted)
1-2 green onions, chopped
2 c. shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
6-inch flour tortillas

Heat cream cheese in microwave for 30 seconds, until it’s easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic. Stir to combine, then add cilantro (if desired) and green onions. Add chicken and cheese, and combine. Place two to three tablespoons of mixture on lower third of tortilla (1/2 inch from edges) and roll tightly. Place seam-side down on a sprayed baking sheet. Spray tops of taquitos with cooking spray before baking to help them brown. Bake 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees, turning halfway through.

Total time? 20 minutes prep, 12 minutes bake.
Cost? $1.79 tortillas, $2 chicken, $1 cream cheese, $1.69 shredded cheese.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out of 10. These would have been perfect if they had a tad more spice, but overall, they were awesome. I ate them for dinner, lunch the next day, dinner that night and lunch the day after that without getting sick of them. I got eight out of this recipe, and you can freeze the leftovers (if you have any).

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Posted by culinaryneophyte on October 2, 2010

Lessons learned from this adventure:

  1. Cooking bacon is terrifying.
  2. Crescent roll containers are not foolproof.
  3. Dollar store clear wrap costs a dollar for a reason.

My friends, Scott and Christina, recently hosted a potluck dinner in Scott’s newly refurbished backyard. Feeling ambitious, I volunteered to make two dishes — one savory and one sweet. This post focuses on the former: mini BLT crescent sandwiches.

(Note: I’m not even sure which acronym to go with here — hence this entry’s title — as the finished product was devoid of lettuce, but replete with cheese and onion. Also, some of the sandwiches were sans tomato, at certain party-goers’ requests. Quite the conundrum.)

As with most of my adventures, this undertaking was motivated entirely by the weekly supermarket circulars. (My friends harass me for the joy flipping through the sales brings me.) A few weeks ago, I capitalized on a Pillsbury deal (3/$5), and hit the Pillsbury website, which has thousands of creative recipes centered around their products. I settled on this one because it looked fairly easy, but utilized the crescent dough in a different way.

First of all: Why did no one tell me that frying bacon is the single most dangerous thing you can do in your kitchen? Up until this point, I had cooked only the minimally unctuous and completely harmless turkey bacon. But this ‘normal’ bacon? Not so much. Sizzling, crackling, burning grease flying everywhere. I was utterly terrified with each strip I flipped.

pre-puncture wounds

In another shining moment of culinary acumen, I failed to follow the easy-to-open crescent roll directions, i.e. “expose line to open can.” Somehow, I pulled off the entire wrapper — exposing the line — and nothing happened. Ignoring the “contents under pressure” warning, I began stabbing the container with a fork, which brought the dough oozing out of the puncture wounds. Thankfully, my roommate came to the rescue.

Also important to note: There are certain things you can get away with buying from a dollar store, but plastic wrap is not one of them. Serving trays? Sure, but clear wrap? Steer clear. I literally needed Scotch tape to make this stuff work.

♦1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls
♦1/2 c. Monterrey-Jack shredded cheese
♦8 slices of crispy bacon
♦2 tbl. chopped green onions
♦1/3 c. mayonnaise
♦1/2 c. shredded lettuce
♦8 cherry tomatoes, sliced thin

Unroll crescent dough, and press into 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Cut into 24 squares. Bake according to package (8-10 minutes at 375 degrees).

In the meantime, mix together cheese, onions, mayo and crumbled bacon in a bowl. When dough is baked and cooled, place a little bit of lettuce (or if you’re doing what I did, don’t) on 12 “slices,” followed by a small helping of the bacon-etc. mix. Top with two thin slices of tomato (or don’t), then add a second bread rectangle (or, if you burned two like I did and/or prefer these open-face style, don’t).

sandwiches and pinwheels

These are great little hors d’œuvrs, and the mix has unexpectedly great flavor for something so simple. Because this recipe yields 12 sandwiches, I doubled it to have enough for the potluck, but I switched it up a bit to offer the guests a few iterations of my dish — hence the pinwheel BOCs, at left. (Break the dough into the traditional crescent strips, add a dollop of the bacon-etc. mix at the end and roll. They came out much better than I expected, and flew off the tray faster than the standard sandwiches.)

Total time? 55-ish minutes (includes dangerous bacon frying)
Cost? Wait for the Pillsbury sale so you don’t pay more than $2/tube. Green onions for $1, bacon for $2.50, cheese for $2, cherry tomato sack for $2.50, mayo from the fridge.
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out of 10. I started feeling leery about this in the 11th hour of preparation, but these exceeded my expectations based on flavor and versatility. I would definitely make them again.

And the potluck? Great success. My friend Jay (at My Nose Knows) had his own wok station, we toasted s’mores over Scott’s fire pit and everyone left full and happy.

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