Easy peasy recipesie

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DeeJay

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2-Ingredient Nutella Souffle

1 cup Nutella
4 eggs, separated
A little bit of butter (for non-stick purposes, doesn't count as an ingredient)

(Yes, that's it. That's the ingredient list.)

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Butter the inside of 4 6-inch ramekins
    (Please do use butter and not shortening or margarine. I'm asking you nicely.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the Nutella and egg yolks until fully blended.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they reach stiff peak stage.
  • Stir in 1/3 of the whites into the Nutella mixture until completely blended.
  • Gently fold the rest of the whites into the Nutella mixture - do not beat or whisk, gently fold.
  • Divide the Nutella evenly between the ramekins.
  • Bake for 17 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, topped with whipped cream, a dusting of powdered sugar, or straight up.
One of the many reasons you should keep a jar of Nutella in your pantry.
 

DeeJay

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The easiest eggnog ice cream? If you have an ice cream maker, throw a quart of store bought eggnog into the canister and churn/freeze according to your machine's directions. Toss in mini chocolate chips to make it fancy!
 

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Candy Cane Fudge

In your microwave! If you thought making fancy fudge involved double boilers and equipment you don't have and don't know how to use, think again.

1 10 oz package white chocolate chips
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

  • Combine the white chocolate chips and milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Continue microwaving and stirring at 20 second intervals - as in microwave 20 secs, stir, repeat until mixture is melted and smooth.
  • Crush the candy canes by putting them in a large freezer bag, seal the bag, and roll over them with a rolling pin until crushed to your satisfaction. You want it fine, but not too fine. You can also use a food processor if you have one.
  • Stir the peppermint extract into the chocolate mixture, then immediately add 1 cup of the crushed candy cane, and combine well. (The reason you want to add the candy canes immediately after the extract and stir is because the extract can make the chocolate separate and be weird.)
  • Line an 8x8 pan with foil or wax paper, then pour the fudge mixture into the pan. Smooth it out on top so it's even.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of candy cane on top.
  • Cover the pan and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Lift the fudge out of the pan, remove the foil, and cut it into 1" squares.
 

DeeJay

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Gran's Sausage Gravy

Sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast was a treat when I was a kid. As a young bride, I wanted to surprise my husband with a special breakfast, so I called my grandmother and asked her how to make her sausage gravy. She thought I was crazy because it's so easy to make it never occurred to her that anyone wouldn't know how. BUT there is a trick....

1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 to 4 cups of whole milk
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (my preference is Misty seasoning, from the famed steak house in Lincoln, NE, but Lowry's or Season-All will do.)
whomp biscuits
scrambled eggs

  • Brown the sausage in a large skillet or pot over medium heat, breaking into smallish bits and making sure it's cooked through.
  • Do not drain the fat!
  • Do not turn the heat off!
  • *Sprinkle the flour over the sausage and stir to coat well, making sure to get the bottom so it doesn't stick.
  • Add the seasoned salt, sprinkling over the sausage/flour mixture, and stir well.
  • Add a cup of milk, and stir to combine.
  • Add another cup of milk, and stir again.
  • Add the third cup of milk, and by now you should have a gravy.
  • Give it a few minutes to thicken, stirring frequently, and add more milk a little at a time until it's the consistency you want.
Turn the heat off and cover, but don't forget about it because you still want to stir and check so it doesn't stick or get too thick. Make your whomp biscuits (you know, the canned biscuits that you have to WHOMP! to open?) and your scrambled eggs (allow 3 eggs per person....trust me on this). Serve by opening a biscuit, topping it with eggs, and smothering it with gravy.

*This is the trick. By sprinkling the flour and stirring it in with the meat and fat before you add the milk, it coats everything up nicely and no lumps when you add the milk. Because lumpy gravy is just sad.
 

DeeJay

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Step up your grilled cheese game with these Easy Grilled Cheese Rollups. Serve them with cream of tomato soup, of course.

Slices of white bread, crusts removed
Slices of American cheese
Butter

Flatten a bread slice and top with a slice of American cheese. Roll up tightly and fry in butter over med heat, turning to make sure all sides are golden brown. Make as many as you want, but be aware that you'll eat more of them than you think.
 

DeeJay

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Feel like you're being hip and healthy with this simple Hummus Crusted Chicken!

4 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 container of hummus, any flavor, even plain
Butter

  • Heat a large skillet to medium and melt a couple tablespoons of butter until it starts turning a bit brown.
  • Coat the chicken pieces with hummus - be generous - and lay them in the sizzling pan.
  • Cook for 10 minutes, turn, and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Check for doneness, and give it another few minutes on each side if needed.
 

DeeJay

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Baby, it's cold outside! Warm up with this super easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole! (See that "olé" at the end?)

3 cups cooked chicken (this is a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken from the grocery)
1 14 oz. bottle of enchilada sauce
6 large corn tortillas
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese (a Monterey Jack blend)

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Chop/shred the chicken and combine it with the enchilada sauce.
  • In an oven proof medium rectangular casserole dish, sprayed with Pam or some other non-stick, spread about a half cup of the chicken mixture.
  • On top of that, layer in this order: Two tortillas; 1/3 of chicken sauce mix; 1/3 cheese; repeat; and repeat again for three layers.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese is melted.
 

DeeJay

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Need an easy and festive appetizer? Try Mini Caprese Kabobs!

2 pints of baby tomatoes
8 oz package of fresh mozzarella pearls (you can usually find these at Giant - otherwise get the larger mozz balls and cut them into 1/2" cubes)
2 bunches fresh basil - the largest leaves you can find.
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Salt
1 pack of frilly toothpicks

Thread one end of a basil leaf onto a pick.
Slide on a mozz ball/cube.
Slide on a tomato.
Thread the other end of the basil onto the pick to secure.
Do this until you run out of something.
Arrange kabobs on a serving platter and drizzle with oil and vinegar, then give them a light sprinkle of salt.

Looks so fancy and takes very little effort.
 

DeeJay

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I always thought everyone knew how to do make Easy Homemade Donuts, but I recently learned that that's not the case. So here's how:

1 can whomp biscuits (remember, the kind you have to whomp on the counter to open)
Vegetable oil
Powdered sugar, frosting, jelly, or other toppings

  • Fill a large frying pan about half way up the side with oil and heat over medium until it starts to shimmer.
  • Take a biscuit and poke a hole in the middle with your finger, then stretch them out just a bit but not so much that they tear.
  • Fry the donuts in oil until brown on one side, then turn and fry on the other side.
  • Drain on paper towels, then dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with frosting.

ALTERNATE:
You can fry the donuts fresh out of the can, no hole poking, then when cooled use a pastry bag to force some jelly in the middle.

This was a favorite treat when I was a kid, which I passed on to my kids. Not a whole lot that's better than fried dough.
 

DeeJay

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Sounds fancy, so don't tell anyone that this Cacio é Pepe (cheese and pepper) is so easy to make. This is one of my go-tos when I'm starving and need food NOW!

8 oz spaghetti (or bucatini if you can find it)
1 cup grated parmesan or any other hard Italian cheese
2 Tbsp butter
salt
lots of cracked pepper to taste

  • The key is to keep the pasta starchy, so bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil but only use enough water to cover the pasta. You can add more if it starts boiling dry.
  • Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
  • Drain the spaghetti (do not rinse!!) but reserve the pasta water.
  • Spaghetti goes back in the pot over low heat with about a half cup of the reserved pasta water.
  • Add the butter and toss until melted.
  • Sprinkle the cheese over it, tossing to combine and melt.
  • Hit it with a little salt, then add your pepper - as much or as little as you want (I like a lot).

You'll end up with a creamy savory simple meal or side dish.
 
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DeeJay

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Skip the Boboli and try this simple 2-ingredient Pizza Dough, made possible through the magic of Greek yogurt. The crust comes out chewy, like focaccia, and stands up to generous toppings and melted mozzarella.

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 - 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

  • Mix together the yogurt and 1 cup of the flour until well combined.
  • Stir in more flour until you get a dough that is pliant but not sticking to everything.
  • Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.
  • Cut the dough in half and roll out two pizza crusts.
  • Top as desired and bake at 450* 10-12 minutes.
Tips for good pizza crust

  1. Don't work with more than you can handle. The larger the pizza, the harder it is to roll out an even crust without tearing it. Start with smaller pizzas.
  2. Heat your baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven while you're making your dough. Placing the crust on a hot surface will crisp it up better and give you a solid foundation for your toppings.
  3. Don't top your pizza until right before it goes in the oven. This is the biggest mistake people make with homemade pizza.
  4. The second biggest mistake is that they cook it at too low a temp. Blast that baby at 450*.
  5. Get a job at a pizza restaurant - they will learn you right quick and then you'll be throwing and stretching your crust instead of rolling it out.
 

DeeJay

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Today is an excellent day for brownies and these 3-Ingredient Nutella Brownies couldn't be easier!


1 1/4 cup Nutella
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix all ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour into a greased metal 9x9 pan.
  • Bake 15 mins.

Did you heed my advice to always keep Nutella in your pantry??
 

DeeJay

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Warm yourself with decadent Creamy Garlic Broccoli and let your side dish be the star. (Pssst...it's healthy and low-cal, too).

1 bunch broccoli florets
1/2 cup garlic hummus (or use more to your taste)

  • Steam, roast, or boil your broccoli until crisp-tender.
  • While still hot, toss it with the hummus.
  • Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Hummus is another one of those things you should always keep around because you can make an awful lot of things with it.
 

DeeJay

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Craving lasagna but dreading the prep time? Try this Lazy Lasagna. Makes a lot because your people will scarf it, plus you can freeze individual portions for next time you want a quick and easy lasagna fix.

2 large (28 oz) jars of pasta sauce (any kind)
2 large packages of frozen ravioli (any kind)
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 15 oz tub of ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 egg

  • Grease a 9x13 pan and heat oven to 400*.
  • Divide ravioli into three piles to make layering easier.
  • Combine the ricotta, parmesan, parsley, and egg.
  • Make three layers as follows: 1/3 sauce, 1/3 ravioli, 1/3 ricotta, 1/3 mozzarella; repeat; repeat.
  • Leave about a half cup of sauce to drizzle over the top, then sprinkle grated parmesan over it.
  • Cover with greased foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Let it stand for 15 minutes so the cheese settles down before serving.
If you want, you can doctor your pasta sauce with cooked ground beef or Italian sausage but this dish doesn't really need it.
 

DeeJay

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Trying to eat healthier in the New Year? Well put away the salad because cold weather means comfort chow, and I guarantee these Gooey Chicken Burritos will comfort you!

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (did I ever mention how I think whoever invented the supermarket rotisserie chicken should get a Nobel Prize?)
1 avocado, diced
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup salsa
4 large flour tortillas (TIP: the low-carb Mission tortillas are REALLY good)
Oil for the pan

Combine the chicken, avocado, cheese, and salsa.
Divide equally between the tortillas and roll them up, tucking in the ends so they don't goober all over the pan.
Fry over medium heat in a *lightly* oiled pan; brown on one side, then flip and brown the other side.
If you want, top with more salsa before serving.
 

DeeJay

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My new cooking gadget is a Salbree Microwave Popcorn Popper. It's collapsible for easy storage, makes wonderful light crispy popcorn, and because it pops with no oil it's healthier for you than the pre-packaged microwave popcorn (drizzle that butter on with no guilt).

Honestly it sounded too good to be true because I haven't had a lot of luck with microwave poppers in the past, but the Salbree popper delivers. For best results, I recommend Pop Secret Jumbo popping corn. Just place 1/4 - 1/2 cup of corn in the popper, put the lid in place, and microwave for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. You can use a little oil if you want to, about a tsp per 1/2 cup of corn, but it's not necessary.

I'm a popcorn person and my favorite topping is good old fashioned butter and salt, but you can get one of the commercial flavored toppings, or make your own. Pretty much any herb or spice will do; one of my favorites is to spike the melted butter with Cholula or Sriracha before drizzling it on. You can also make your own kettle corn by sprinkling a teaspoon or so of sugar over the corn before you pop it, then drizzle with butter and salt after. Another treat is to add 1 tsp of hot chili oil to the kernels, pop, then hit it with butter and fine sugar.

Did you know that popped popcorn keeps for a few days, AND dries out a bit to be even crispier? Let it cool completely, then store in an airtight container (freezer bags are my storage of choice).

Popcorn also makes a good party snack because everyone likes it and you rarely see it offered at gatherings, so skip the chips and offer your guests something different next time. Just make a lot because it gets gone fast.

The Salbree Microwave Popper is available at Amazon for around $15. I get no incentives from either Salbree or Amazon for this review, it is completely honest and my own personal recommendation.
 

DeeJay

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If you think packaged ramen is just for poor college kids, think again. In the past few years ramen noodle houses have sprung up all over the US as trendy comfort food that can be super cheap eats or fancy top dollar establishments. I'm thinking all those poor college kids have grown up but not lost their taste for spicy brothy noodle soup...and why would they?

Jack up your ramen game and turn a $1 package of noodle into a hearty, healthy, solid meal with a few add-ins:

  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Stir-fry veggies
  • Leftover pork, beef, or shrimp
  • Bacon strips
  • Eggs, any style - hard boiled, fried, scrambled, poached. Eggs were born for ramen.
  • Add a splash of coconut milk or heavy cream to the broth for a decadent twist
  • Garnish with chopped green onion, toasted sesame seeds, or crushed peanuts to make it all fancy

Most anything you have leftover in the fridge will work to enhance your ramen - yes, even meatloaf. Mix and match, just like they do at the noodle houses.

Because I am a ramen enthusiast and serious about it, I get packages of Shin Ramyun at the Asian grocer (Shoppers carries it, too). It's about a buck more expensive than Nissin or Maruchan, but worth it because the noodles are better quality and the seasonings are tastier. I was introduced to this brand by a Korean friend, who used to have her parents send her cases of it before it became readily available in the US.

I understand you're a grown up now and may think cheap drunk food is beneath you, but let me assure you that ramen has made a spectacular comeback. So dig out your chopsticks and revisit this retro comfort food!
 

DeeJay

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You've seen them dozens of times in the grocery produce section - spiralized veggie "noodles". They're made from sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and the original zucchini zoodle. They look tasty, fun, and healthy....but what do you really do with them?

First, let me tell you what you *don't* do, and that's pretend that they are pasta. They are not pasta. At all. They are vegetables, and therefore contain a large amount of water. This means that your zoodle lasagna will be watery and unpleasant, and your family or dinner guests will have to lie when they compliment you on your cooking. Please don't make your family and friends lie. I'm not a fan of pretending a legit food is something else anyway. Tofu, for example: tofu stands on its own and can be used in many delicious dishes; you set yourself up for failure and disappointment when you try to turn it into chicken or beef.

So let's embrace the veggie "noodle" on its own merits and work with it accordingly.

Because zoodles are a vegetable (not a pasta, now) they are a natural for salads and make a fun, colorful addition. Toss a handful into your regular salad mix or scatter them on top for pretty presentation. Mix and match, because vegetables all love each other and want to be together.

Zoodle beds are another favorite with steaks or other grilled/pan-fried meats. Zoodles are so thin that they don't really need cooking, so all you do is make a zoodle bed on each plate, then top with a portion of the meat. The heat from the meat will wilt the zoodles a bit, but keep them firm. Then if you have a pan sauce, just pour it over the top. Zucchini works, of course, but beets are my bed of choice.

But if you must cook your zoodles:

Roasting zoodles works because it takes some of the moisture out of them. The key is to hit them with high heat for a short amount of time. Turn your oven to 450*, toss your veggie noodles with olive oil, then spread them out in a baking sheet. Roast for about 5 minutes, toss them, and give them another 5 minutes. Adjust time depending on how soft you want your zoodles. Serve as is, or hit them with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. Sweet potatoes in particular work with this method.

Zoodles also stir-fry nicely - vegetables, remember? Heat your pan on medium-high with a little oil - let it get nice and hot - and throw in your zoodles, tossing/stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Then you can toss them with your favorite sauce/marinade. Make sure you keep it light, though; bottled Caesar dressing is one of my favorites. OR toss the hot zoodles with shredded cheese, which will melt and get comforty, because....cheesy veggies, ya'll.

Zoodles do well with pesto, Asian sauces, and most other light sauces/condiments. If you're going to leave your zoodles raw, toss them with your preferred condiment/sauce and let them marinate for a few minutes. If you're going to cook them, do so in their naked state and add your sauce afterward to reduce the watery. Another tip for keeping the water at bay is don't salt the raw veggies - ever! Salt causes vegetables to release moisture and you'll end up with a soggy blob of mess.

Certainly you can spiralize your own veggies, but let me tell you it is a raving pain in the you-know. Now that so many supermarkets are carrying pre-spiralized veggies, there's no real need to delve into the frustration and mess of doing it yourself. I mean, how much time do you really want to spend preparing vegetables?
 

DeeJay

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Mug foods are becoming so popular. What's easier than throwing some ingredients in a mug and microwaving it, ending up with a perfect single serving for that quick lunch or snack? This Mug Mac and Cheese comes out creamy and comforting - no lie - and it's ready in under 10 minutes with no pots to clean.

1/3 cup elbow macaroni
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Jack works too, and so does Colby)
Splash of milk or cream

  • Combine your macaroni and water in a large microwave safe mug or bowl.
  • Microwave on high for 4 minutes; stir; give it another 2 minutes' stir; then one more minute, checking the consistency and adding more water if needed.
  • Do not drain!
  • Add your cheese and mix well; microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt the cheese.
  • Add a splash of milk or cream and blend well.
  • BOOM! Mac and cheese!
Some science stuff:
Starch and fat bind with each other to create a smooth emulsion. Without some starch (your pasta water, for example) the fat (cheese) will be stringy and end up as a blob of sorrow. Adding the milk breaks down the starch and creates a creamy consistency. So if you haven't had a lot of luck with cheesy pasta in the past - it was gritty or globby - this is why. This is also the concept behind the Cacio é Pepe recipe from last week. Starch + fat = success.
 

DeeJay

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I love it when something I've always been obsessed with becomes trendy. The newest "before it was cool" is Tater Tots. Who doesn't love tater tots? And yet they've played second fiddle to the French fry their whole life until recently. Why??

Everybody's mother kept a bag of frozen tots for a quick kid-friendly side dish (to go with your fish sticks and pigs in a blanket), yet restaurants are only now beginning to recognize the tot as a legit comfort side and it's dawning on them what Sonic knew all along: we want tots. Here are two easy ways to step up your tot game and turn them into something even better (if that's even possible).

Waffle Tots
  • Thaw a bag of tots.
  • Heat your waffle iron and spray both sides with Pam.
  • Place thawed tots on the iron to cover the surface. A Belgian waffler will take about 20 tots.
  • Close and cook like you would waffles.
Out comes a crispy wonderful tot hash brown that can accompany pretty much anything. Breakfast, of course, but waffle tots can be used as a base for a number of meals where you would normally use toast, such as chicken a la king or open faced sandwiches. Avocado toast? Please. Try it on a waffle tot. You're welcome.

Tot Pizza
  • 1 large package of tots
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded Italian blend cheese
  • Toppings of your choice
Heat oven to 450*.
Place tots in a lightly oiled 15x10 baking pan and cook for 10 minutes.
Smash tots so that they cover the bottom of the pan.
Bake for another 15 minutes, until crispy.
Top with sauce, cheese, and whatever else, then bake another 10 minutes, until the cheese melts.

There's a lot you can do with tots that our mothers never thought of. How do you get kids to eat tuna casserole? Top it with tots instead of crackers or bread crumbs. Mac and cheese topped with tots? Yes please! (Don't even act like you wouldn't devour that.) Tots have traditionally been a bit player - who knew they could star in their own show?

PS: tots are way more delicious when pan fried in a bit of oil rather than oven baked.
 
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