Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fruit Pizza: Foodie Snack HightLight Of 2011

2011 was the year to eat wonderful things whether it was something ordinary or maybe a little more extraordinary. I'm sure it has a fancier name but I'm just going to call this a fruit pizza and it gets my vote for the foodie highlight of 2011. Correct name or not, this was the first time I've had a fruit pizza so I didn't know what it was when it was unveiled at a family get together during Easter Sunday this year.

What's hard to see underneath all that beautiful fresh fruit is a thin cracker like bottom that makes up the crust. That crunchy graham cracker crust, I got to tell you, went perfectly with the softness of the fruit. It's too bad I only had a little bit of this because I would of eaten the whole thing. Better believe that! What was your food highlight of the year? Speaking of year, I wish you a very Happy New Year and may all your foodie wishes come true. Signing off for 2011, see you in 2012! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Of The Best Ways To Eat A Waffle

For some reason, putting a yoke filled egg on top of a waffle with a piece of sausage and drizzling syrup on top makes for a good morning. This syrup happened to be Maple Syrup that was Praline Flavored. Find some if you can, it's some of the best syrup we've had. Also, get yourself a Waring WMK300A Pro Professional Stainless-Steel Belgian Waffle Maker You'll find yourself going back to it more than a regular waffle maker.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick, Healthy, & Budget Friendly: Chicken Bean Tortilla Soup with Ro*Tel

Looking for a budget friendly meal during the week that warms you up? Chicken Bean Tortilla Soup made with Ro*Tel will be happy to do that job. It's hard not to like a cheap meal that works it's magic by satisfying your stomach and your budget.


  • 1     can of Ro*Tel
  • 1     can of refried beans
  • 2     chicken breasts 
  • 1     tsp of jarred garlic
  • 1/2  tsp of onion powder
  • 2     cups chicken broth
Simmer the chicken breasts on low heat in enough water to cover them for 30 minutes. After they are cooked, let the chicken cool. Then shred the chicken after it's cooled by pulling it apart.

With a large pot, add the chicken broth, refried beans, shredded chicken, Ro*Tel, and add your garlic and finally, the onion powder. Cook on low heat for at least 30 minutes. 

What makes it tortilla soup? That's easy. Break out the tortilla chips and crunch and sop up the juices, along with chunks of savory chicken with a little shredded cheddar cheese thrown into the mix. What a satisfying week day meal! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekend Foodie Snacks: Of Beignets & Cappuccino

Who says you need to go to New Orleans to enjoy the always satisfying French Donut, also known as the beignet. I might add, who needs to go to a coffee shop (although that's fun too if you can afford it these days) to enjoy a cappuccino. Speaking of cappuccino, I raved about how you can do them at home for a fraction of the price in my post entitled The Secret To Making Coffee House Quality Cappuccino At Home

If you're wondering how I did the beignets, (not exactly from scratch which is why I'm not posting a recipe) but probably almost just as good, look no further than the Beignet Mix by Cafe du Monde (1.75 pound (above).  Speaking of Cafe Du Monde, yes another shameless plug mind you (makes me think of the Garth Brooks song Shameless). I disgress, if you've never been there check out my post about Cafe Du Monde

To summarize, it wasn't a good food weekend. It was just terrible. Who wants to sip cappuccino and eat French Doughnuts covered in sugary sweet powdered sugar. Not me! Has my attempt at sarcasms gone hay wire or is it the wonder drug called caffeine in my cappuccino.  OK, here we go again, that reminds.. I had the privilege and the honor of eating this amazing sky high nacho plate today. Just look at it and if you live nearby I know you're going to go there, yes over here Yucatan Taco Stand  Here's another sip of cappuccino in honor of a post that has more plugs in it than a Elvis hairpiece... long live the King. Thank you, thank you very much.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Foodie Snacks: German Chocolate Cake

How appropriate! It's October 1st! The day that marks the start of Oktoberfest, which of course is a German celebration.  Unfortunately, I did not attend any Oktoberfest celebrations and if you don't believe me you can of course check my blood alcohol level for any traces of German beer.
Although, I did not celebrate with any German beer, I did celebrate with a piece of German Chocolate Cake (from a bakery) which by the way, needs to be served cold and with vanilla ice cream.  That's a different topic though because I'm wondering, how difficult it would be to do a German Chocolate Cake from scratch. It seems like it would take a little bit more effort than a regular cake with all that fancy German icing. Have any of you attempted to make one of these beautiful German cake creations and could give me input into the process? Is it difficult? Speaking of German Chocolate, if you haven't already, by all means check out my blog of chocolate addiction "The Choco-Aholic" and follow it so we can enable each other to eat more chocolate and dream of German Chocolate Cake.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Make Cinnamon Roll Biscuits Out Of Bisquick

Cinnamon roll biscuits are always a morning treat at my house and a nice change from having just regular biscuits. It took a little experimenting but I finally figured out the way to make them quick and easy. Try these out for yourself and you'll be surprised just how delicious they are.

Ingredients for Biscuits: 

  • 2 1/4 cups of Bisquick 
  • 2/3    cup of milk

Ingredients for Cinnamon & Sugar Mix:

  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 2 TBSP of Cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP of Brown Sugar
  • Sprinkle of Nut Meg

You're also going to need a 2/3 cup of butter

Step 1: Mix the 2 1/4 cups of Bisquick in and 2/3 cup of milk in a large bowl just like your making regular Bisquick biscuits. Important: you don't want to add cinnamon or sugar to the mix because that a separate step.

Step 2: Simply mix the ingredients I have listed for the cinnamon and sugar mix in a jar or container. Shake to make sure mixture is well blended together.

Step 3:  Melt 2/3 a cup of butter in the microwave. This is also probably a good time to go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 F.

Step 4 (above): Take a large cutting board and roll out your Bisquick dough mix very carefully onto it where's about less than 1/2 a inch thick. Then very slowly drizzle your now melted butter over the rolled out dough and brush to make sure it's covering the whole surface area of the dough on the topside. Finally take your cinnamon and sugar mix and sprinkle evenly over the entire surface area of the dough just like you did the butter and as you see in the picture. You should have a little cinnamon sugar mix left for Step 6.

Step 5 (above): Proceed to roll your dough from one end to the other very carefully until you have it completely rolled up as you see in the picture. Take a sharp knife and very delicately cut the dough every 1/2 inch which should come out to about 9 cinnamon roll shaped biscuits.

Step 6 (above): Very carefully (starting sound like a broken record) pick up your cinnamon roll shaped biscuit dough and place evenly on a large cookie sheet or pan. Whatever you have left of your cinnamon and sugar mix from Step 4 sprinkle a tiny bit over on top of the cinnamon biscuits to give it more a topping since all the good stuff is in the spiral. Throw in the now preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until they look golden brown.

Finally and very quickly I might add because this doesn't take long at all, you can enjoy your cinnamon roll biscuits. I love my eggs in the morning and these compliment eggs cooked any style, sausage, bacon, and hash browns very nicely.

Mini Foodie Snacks: Making Homemade Bean Dip That Tastes As Good As Canned

This might not seem like it's a huge foodie secret but I've been around awhile now and didn't discover this until this weekend. That makes it a big deal to me and maybe it will be for you. Ok, do you know those cans of bean dip in the store that cost around 2.50 for a tiny portion of bean dip? There's probably what, half a cup of dip in those tiny cans good enough for about 10 dips of the chips? Don't get me wrong, I love that bean dip, it tastes so darn good and it's kind of addicting. That's why I'm writing this post in the first place.

I've always wondered if I could imitate that same addicting taste at home doing my own dip that would be very similar. I'd save a lot of money and have more than enough bean dip to last the whole football game day without going broke buying several cans of dip. That's probably a little exaggeration but hey I like to save money. Here it is,  I cracked the foodie bean dip code and it was way more simple than I ever thought it would be and now I pass it along to you.

1 can of refried beans
1 can of Ro*tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies 
1/4 cup of water

Simply, put 1 can of re fried beans of your choice into a pot and pour in 1 can of Ro*tel with 1/2 cup of water. Heat on the stove until warm and there you have it. That's a whole lot bigger portion of bean dip for almost the same price and way better if you buy refried beans and Ro*tel in bulk at Costco or Sams.

I know this is super obvious and yes, you can do different variations by adding cheese, sour cream, or ranch but if sometimes you don't want all the extras this a great way to imitate those tiny tiny cans of bean dip and save you $$$.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Secret To Making Coffee House Quality Cappuccino At Home

Don't know about you but I'm sick of paying for too much for "commodities" such as that cup of java. Yeah, I'm calling it a commodity because who doesn't need that coffee fix on a regular basis. I'm here to help you solve that dilemma, if you too are feeling the same way, by showing you how to make coffee house quality cappuccino at home. Ok, so there's a little investment in getting an espresso maker which is what you need to make cappuccino but in the long run it will save you buckets of hard earned cash. Before we start, to give a slight recommendation on the espresso machine let me state that you don't need to go out and purchase the most expensive espresso machine. You can find a good quality one like I did for under 100 bucks. For the purpose of this article, the espresso machine I use is the DeLonghi BAR42 Pump-Driven Espresso Maker. If you don't want to spend that much, I recommend that you don't go lower than the next down which is the De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. Let's get started shall we.

Ingredients for one restaurant sized portion of cappuccino:

  • 1 TBSP of coffee grinds that you should grind yourself (see Step 1 for recommended coffee)
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 3/4 cups of whole or skim milk

Step 1: For making good quality cappuccino at home, please grind your own beans. This is very important if you want it to come out tasting delicious and fresh. I highly recommended for you caffeine junkies out there, Ruta Maya Organic Whole Bean Coffee (Medium Roast). This will give you a caffeine jolt so big you will feel like you've taken 5 hour energy... no seriously.

Ruta Maya: Grown on the slopes of Mt. Nicaragua (not really just joking) but it tastes like it!

Found Ruta Maya at Costco for a super good deal! Wink wink.
Tip #1: It's important before we get to step 2, not to use refrigerated coffee grinds even if you ground them yourself the week before. I made this mistake and the coffee had lost a lot of its taste. Always grind fresh beans right then and there before you make the espresso. Also, don't refrigerate or freeze your coffee beans because you'll zap the taste right out doing this as well. Just store them in a cool, dry place.  

Step 2 (above): After you grind 1 TBSP worth of coffee beans (1 TBSP is for approximately 1 1/2 cups of coffee which is a restaurant sized portion) place your grinds into the filter that fits on top of the filter holder as you see in the above image.

Step 3 (above): Use the pressing pad that's protruding from the underside of either one of the espresso machines I recommended to mash the coffee down. You want to do this very carefully, don't press down too hard or too light but compact your grinds just enough so when the water trickles through, it will be the right consistency.  It's not really something that can be explained, you just have to see for yourself through experience, what the right touch is

Tip #2: Before we get to Step 4, it's important to use filtered water and not tap water for the best tasting espresso.

Step 4: Follow the directions that should of come with your espresso maker on how to proceed with turning the knobs to get your coffee flowing as you see in the picture. I won't go into this step because every espresso machine is going to be different for this operation. I'm just giving you important tips in making the cappuccino the best you can for pump driven espresso machines like the Delonghi's I recommended. However, it's important to remind you of Step 2, that you use 1 1/2 cups of the filtered water for approximately 1 TBSP of coffee grinds that you placed in the filter for Step 2.

Step 5 (above): Now comes the fun part which is frothing the milk. I froth approximately 3/4 cups of whole milk for the amount coffee grinds and water I use. I find that this makes for a nice creamy tasting cappuccino. Follow the directions that came with the espresso machine for frothing the milk. However, there's a secret to frothing the milk (as you see me doing in the above image) and it's to take your time with it. The milk is not going to froth instantly when you use the milk frother on the espresso machine. It takes me almost 2 minutes of constantly frothing the milk to get it how I like it. You're going to want to froth the milk until it gets super heated and bubbly as you see in the picture. The milk in your cup should increase in size from all the bubbles so use an over sized coffee mug to hold the milk that you're frothing so it doesn't overflow. Use the milk frother nozzle way down in the milk and also near the surface while your frothing and adjust the steam coming from the nozzle accordingly, using the knob, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the need. Again, just takes the right touch and maybe a little practice and you'll be frothing perfectly in no time.

Step 6: After frothing the milk, you're just about there. Pour the espresso that you made before you frothed the milk into a over sized coffee mug (above). It's important that you don't pour the espresso into the milk you just frothed because that's a different cup of gourmet coffee. Instead you want to pour the milk into the espresso that you placed in your over sized coffee mug. Wha

I hope you find that this cup of gourmet coffee meets your expectations. Whether or not it does, is going to of course depend on what espresso machine you're using but I hope I was able to point out important tips to making it the best you possibly can using the espresso machines I recommended. Even if you don't have the recommended espresso machines and are using something different, my aim was to be general enough where you can apply my recommendations to that as well. Cheers to having a happy java celebration and to saving big money!

Unusual Foods: Alligator Tails!

Today, I've decided to try something different. It will be a new category of posts to keep a look out for on this blog. It will be called unusual foods and it will feature grub that you may or may not be enticed to try. My mood has been kind of agitated today (general job issues...nothing serious) but it makes me think of when my dad teased the alligators at Brazos Bend State Park when I was a kid. Brave...maybe... smart.. maybe not so much but it was interesting to watch him throw this fishing line in the direction of these gators in the swamp. To say, they got agitated would be an understatement! Now, you know why I'm posting alligator as the unusual food for this post because they get very agitated when you mess with them and that's exactly how I feel today!

Not to be overly negative, I'll start off by saying eating alligator tails reminded me of watching a movie that was average but leaning towards bad... you can say you saw it but you wouldn't think of ever watching it again... which is why I wouldn't eat gator tails ever again....obivously this was my first time! To give you an idea of how they tasted... kind of like chicken but no where as tasty. What's worse, is the fact that they were kind of rubbery in spots and hard to chew. Ok, maybe some of you have tried these critters and have your own opinion about them but if I ever see a fried gator on my plate again...oh wait I won't ever see it on my plate again and that's a good thing! Finally, can someone please tell me if there is another part of the gator that actually tastes good because my guess is there isn't! Not only that, can you please tell me if there's any good way to serve a gator?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Foodie Snacks: Homemade Taco Salad

It might not look like much but that's only because I didn't mix the taco salad before I took a shot of it. It did not take away from how delicious this was though. Also, I don't know about you but I'm a huge fan of taco salads and usually I only eat them at restaurants because I can't make them at home nearly as good. The reason for that is mostly in the shell because that's really hard to replicate at home. That is until I found a solution.... Kroger grocery store has these tasty and very crispy taco shells that they make in store. Needless to say, it helped me make the best taco salad I've had at home and for the fraction of the cost of eating out. Thanks Kroger!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Foodie Snacks Recommends: Central Market's Apple Pie

This shot doesn't even come close to doing this justice.

A cut above your average grocery store made apple pie would be a good way to describe Central Market's (an upper end H.E.B grocery store chain based in Texas) apple pie. Just a short recommendation that if you live near a Central Market in Texas and are an apple pie person like me then you now know where to get your fix. Trust me, it's not easy to come by a good store made apple pie and stay away from the frozen section, those are especially no good. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

New York Pizza Tonight

Can't think of a time when this wasn't satisfying.
Really, you can't go wrong with a New York style pizza. Yes, it can be a little greasy and by a little greasy I mean a lot but in the pizza world that's life. Speaking of grease, (no not the movie, that's a different topic all together) don't you love it when a New York pizza is so floppy that you have to fold it and then the grease escapes through the fold and then it drips on your chin. It's so worth it isn't it?

There's just something about a New York pizza though. Maybe it's because I'm betting 95% of the population wouldn't be able to make it home. Ok, if I'm wrong, correct me and then promptly post your recipe in the comment section.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Foodie Snacks: Of Sausage & Foodie Photography

This pretty much sums up what this foodie ate this weekend. Talk about a beautiful food shot. That's why I had to share it. I'm very into food photography and I think I'm getting better at it. It's a lot harder than it looks to get that great food shot but beautiful links such as these make that task easier. They made a pretty awesome Saturday evening meal too, so I have no complaints. It was a very happy food weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Secret To Making Movie Theater Quality Popcorn At Home

This doesn't even do it justice because you can't taste how good this popcorn was.
Have you ever been to the movie theater, bought some popcorn before the big show, and said to yourself, "I wish I didn't have to pay these rip off prices to enjoy movie theater quality popcorn"? Stupid question, of course you have. The good news is that you don't have to be a price gouging victim to enjoy your favorite snack and have it be as good as the movie theater, if not better.

I know popcorn is one my favorite snacks and even though I do get it at the cinema now and then, sometimes I find that the quality is not even what it should be for upwards to 7 bucks for a large tub. We're talking burned popcorn, too much salt or tons of old maids (in case you don't know, old maids are unpopped kernels)... now who wants those. That's a crying shame for the cost. Seriously, I just want to cry in my popcorn when I pay that much and it's that bad. No more tears though because I found a better way to satisfy my popcorn craving for pennies on the dollar and then bring it to the movies or better yet, enjoy it for even less money by watching a movie at home. Interested? Here's what you'll need to do it at home:

1. They're really hard to find in stores so check out Amazon for a stove top popcorn popper: 

2. Buy some popcorn seeds, you can find them for 1.50 to 2.00 at your local grocer and that will make you about 15 to 20 large bowls of popcorn. For that same amount at the theater, it would cost you a whopping $140.00 That's a savings of 99%.

3. You're going to need some oil to make it pop, I prefer Canola Oil.

4. Last but not least, as an expert home made popcorn maker, I can't stress enough that you cannot leave out the popcorn seasonings. The only seasonings I would ever use and that is ever is Kernel Seasons. They come in about 15 different flavors. I pefer the Nacho Cheese but everything from Butter, White Cheddar, Ranch, or Kettle Korn are awesome too. You can find these in the popcorn/snack aisle at your grocer too but if you can't here is a link to them on Amazon (pretty good deal for a variety pack of 6 flavors):

Now that we have those ingredients out of the way, here's how to make popcorn the best you can possibly make it using the stove top popper:

  • Step 1: Pour about half a cup of oil into your popper and let the oil heat on about medium for a minute or two.
  • Step 2: Pour about an equal amount of seeds as you used for the oil, in this case 1/2 cup for a large bowl of popcorn and add a pinch of salt to the oil while your at it. 
  • Step 3: Start spinning the popcorn maker as soon you pour in the popcorn because your oil should almost be hot enough to pop, if not just be patient and keep spinning anyway, to insure your popcorn won't burn.
  • Step 4: IMPORTANT! Even if your arm feels like it's about to fall off from all the spinning action, don't stop spinning until you take your popcorn off the stove or it will burn and that will ruin all your work and you'll have to start over. Trust me, it's worth it. Plus burning some calories before eating all that popcorn can't hurt either. 
  • Step 5: Use kitchen gloves so you don't burn yourself on the popper and pour the popcorn into a large bowl. It will be very hot. After of which, you can sprinkle with a generous amount of Kernel Seasons.
  • Step 6: If this doesn't make popcorn that satisfies as much as movie theater popcorn and you did everything right, you can leave me a comment and tell me what a bad person I am. 
Essential supplies.  Check out the Panhandle Popcorn. If you can find some, that's some good quality seeds.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    The Best Apple Cobbler I've Ever Had

    I daydream about this... a lot. 
    I was staying at the Marriott not too long ago and decided to order room service. With my meal, I ordered dessert. Little did I know that I'd be eating the best apple cobbler I've had. The word "good" doesn't even do it justice. It's hard to describe how perfect the crust of this dessert was, it was just the right texture combined with very fresh apples and cobbler juice as I call it all topped with quality vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, it was a very warm, delectable treat which satisfied my sweet tooth to no end. 

    I didn't take this apple cobbler experience for granted because, I'm a big apple pie/cobbler fan and I think good ones are hard to find. Yes, stay away from the frozen food aisle because you won't find it there. It's just too bad, I can't afford to stay at the Marriott more often because I'd stay there just to order room service. There is just something fun about doing that, it feels like you're having a party or something even though you're just ordering food. Throw in a good apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top and that's a really good day.