The Evil Queen's Apple and Beet Salad

The Evil Queen’s Apple & Beet Salad Recipe

Apple & beet salad with a Disney twist! Let me apologize now.  Some of you are surely here for a kid-friendly beet recipe. You can try to get your kids to eat it – I certainly won’t stop you – but it was actually created for an adult dinner party. I’ve been discussing how to host a fancy dinner party over the last couple of weeks (part 1 and part 2 if you’re interested), and I had this lovely plan to culminate it with a discussion of my Disney-themed party. However, my party got rescheduled, because I am nothing if not frenzied, so for now I’ll just drop this little tidbit in here.

I found this really beautiful apple and beet salad on Food and Wine when I was searching for salad ideas for the party. It was an instant obsession. Everyone knows who the evil queen is, right? She wanted poor, beautiful Snow White to eat her poisoned apple. She also had a thing for ripping people’s hearts out, which is a little bit on the evil side, but to each their own I guess. Anyway, I looked at this salad and saw the beets, which look a little like hearts, had dyed all the apples red. They looked a little… poisoned. So that was it. I knew I had to serve apple & beet salad at my party. Unfortunately, my husband hates beets and he’s my tester, so I revised the whole recipe to make it less beet-heavy. Here’s what I came up with.

Recipe for Apple & Beet Salad

Serves 2-4, 15 minutes active, 75 minutes cook time

Ingredients

2 green apples
1 beet
walnuts
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut the greens off the beets, leaving about 2 inches on the bulb. Save the greens for later. Next, put the beets in an aluminum foil-lined pan and roast at 450° for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  2. When the beet is ready, pull it out and let it cool. While it cools, cut the apples into slices and take the ends off the greens.
  3. Peel roasted beet. The skin should come off easily with your hands or a towel.*
  4. Chop beet into small pieces, about 1/2 inch. Try to retain as much of the juice as you can.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the beet pieces with apples. The apples should start turning pinkish-red.
  6. In a separate bowl, toss the beet greens with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Put greens on plate, followed by apples and small beet chunks.
  8. Add walnuts and goat cheese. Then you’re ready to serve!

 

apple & beet salad

Notes

*If you are not a regular beet chef, here’s a great tutorial on roasting beets. It’s how I learned. Also, if you didn’t gather from the pictures that beets turn everything red, beware – they turn everything red. You might want to wear gloves. I don’t personally, but I do wind up washing my hands a LOT, so it’s something to consider. The less you like beets, the smaller the beet pieces should be. I enjoy them, but the hubby doesn’t, so I make them small enough to be mixed in with an apple bite. You can toast the walnuts up if you want to. Just put them in a pan on your stove. Nice and simple. In fact, all of this is simple! But it looks pretty nice, so I think having an apple & beet salad at my dinner party will work out just fine. Enjoy!

in the metro

A Mexican Pasta Dish With Sausage

Mexican or pasta? Why not a Mexican pasta dish instead? I personally always have ingredients for Mexican food on hand, but my Italian supplies are more limited. That’s why, every once in awhile, I have to combine the two just to get rid of certain things in my cabinets. Beth, you say. Why don’t you just go grocery shopping? Are you really that time-strapped? Well, yes and no. I will go grocery shopping at some point this week, probably even today. But we close on our new house tomorrow (so maybe I’ll start actually hosting things soon), and what’s the point of picking up a whole bunch of ingredients when you’re going to have to move them in a week?

Typically my husband and I eat our pasta pretty plain. We like olive oil for a sauce, and I’ll throw in a nice vegetable and meat to keep it interesting, but that’s about it. This is our favorite. Pretty delicious, I must say. But, I’m trying to clean out my kitchen, so here’s what I’ve got: sausage, pasta, cheddar and Pepperjack cheeses, some spices, and….that’s about it. I don’t have any tortillas, and those won’t be purchased again until the move. I don’t have any mozzarella or Parmesan, and again, those will have to wait. So you can see why sometimes I feel like mixing and matching my regional cuisines. Anyway, let’s get started.

Nothing like watching a pot try to boil

 

Add some spices
Red peppers, my favorite
A nice, messy pot all ready to go

Mexican Pasta Dish with Sausage

Serves 4
20-25 minutes cooking time

Ingredients

1 lb penne pasta
1 lb smoked sausage or chorizo
Red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar
1/2 cup Pepperjack
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta until al dente (10-12 minutes)
  2. Meanwhile, cut sausage into 1/4 in thick slices. Saute on medium high until cooked through.
  3. Add cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper to sausage. Stir.
  4. Add red pepper to saute pan and heat until softened.
  5. Drain the pasta. Now mix in a 1/2 cup of  cheddar and the Pepperjack and stir. Cheese should be melted throughout.
  6. Add sausage and red pepper to pasta and cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Notes

So, this is really more of a Mexican-inspired dish than a plain ole’ Mexican pasta dish. If you want something like nachos on macaroni, I would suggest something like this or this. I like the idea, but I’d be more likely to simply make nachos one day and macaroni the next if I had all the ingredients. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to mix and match recipes rather than buy a whole store full of food, so that’s really my goal here. Now, if you want this particular recipe more Mexican-y, you could switch the sausage for ground beef. Also, definitely adjust the cheese to your own liking. I love cheese, but I know not everyone does.

This dish could also easily be switched to Creole. The flavors are actually really similar to this shrimp and grits recipe, which I also love. I may have an addiction to Allrecipes. I think the gist of what I’m saying is, feel free to throw whatever you have left in your cabinet and fridge, mix it together, and call it a dish. When your life is hectic, who cares if you’re entirely cohesive in your menu planning. Now eat up!

Olives as an extra topping, for those of you who like olives!
Pepperoni Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Recipe for Pepperoni Stuffed Turkey Burgers

I created my own pepperoni stuffed turkey burgers when I accidentally bought Italian seasoned ground turkey. I guess I could have just had Italian seasoned burgers, but I wasn’t in the mood. Pepperoni pizza burgers also weren’t for me, as I hate pizza sauce. I hope pizza sauce doesn’t take this personally; it’s actually tomatoes I hate. I don’t even like ketchup. Anyway, I’ve never found that particular ground turkey again, but I figured out how to season it myself, and now my husband and I will occasionally enjoy our own little Italian burger.

As far as using ground turkey over ground beef goes, that’s really up to you. I started using ground turkey in college because one of my roommates was (and still is) super into healthy eating. I’m not particularly careful about that, but unless ground beef seems absolutely necessary, I now prefer turkey. There’s only one reason for that. It’s less greasy. Unfortunately, less grease also means it’s a drier meat. Plus, you can’t cook it medium – it’s got to be done. So, feel free to use ground beef if that’s your thing. The important part of this burger is the pepperoni, so it should taste fine either way.

Pepperoni Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Ingredients (2-4 servings)

1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
pepperoni
mozzarella

 

Instructions

  1. Mix all seasonings with ground turkey. You do not need to spend much time on this; in fact, it is better not to over mix it.
  2. Shape four-eight thin patties. They should be bigger than your bun. Four patties = two burgers.
  3. Place pepperonis to taste on half of the patties. Do not go all the way to the edge of the burger; you are going to need that edge for combining patties.
  4. Add mozzarella to taste on top of the pepperonis (or vice versa).
  5. Put one plain patty on top of each pepperoni/mozzarella patty. Use the outer edges to close up the burger so you can no longer see the mozzarella or pepperonis.
  6. Put the patties into individual plastic wrap. You can reshape here if you want to. Then put them in the fridge for a hour or two, or freezer for at least twenty minutes, and let them set.
  7. Grill your burgers. You should only need to flip once. Inside should be 160°F when they are done.
  8. Eat!

 

Notes

As I mentioned before, turkey meat can be a little drier than ground beef. I rely on Worcestershire and cheese to be my moisteners, but I’ve read that you can put in a little mayo or butter to help with it as well. Of course, that seems to me like it’s missing the point of using healthier meat, but to each her own. This is a pretty good article about making juicy burgers if you’re interested.

I usually only make two burgers out of a pound of turkey. Do they wind up being half a pound each? I don’t know. Maybe, sometimes. Other times I don’t let the patties sit long enough and part of it falls into my grill before I even start cooking. I call that a forced diet, frenzied style. I also like to use shredded mozzarella because I always have some on hand, but it might be less of a mess to simply cut a few slices off a block. Lastly, once my patties are in the wrap, I like to beat them down a little so they get thinner and easier to cook. That’s it! Go enjoy your pepperoni stuffed turkey burgers!

Lazy Cookies 'N Cream Cookies

Lazy Cookies ‘N Cream Cookies

I am not a baker. Cooking is a passion, but I don’t love measuring spoons or cups because it takes more time than just throwing stuff in a pot and tasting it as I go. I also don’t like sweets that much. Not even chocolate – sacrilege, I know. My husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth either, so it’s a rare occasion when we have a dessert. But, it does happen from time to time. For example, when it’s Christmas time I love to bake – and I overdo it. I still like to take shortcuts when I can, so when I decided I wanted to try and make cookies ‘n cream cookies, I knew I wasn’t going to be chopping up candy bars or Oreos.

I am aware that there are 15,100,000 search results on Google for this exact type of cookie, and I’m sure one of them is similar if not exactly the same, but I didn’t have time to read every single one, and perhaps you don’t either.  When I first made these cookies I did read a few of them, but they all involved cookie crushing, and if I don’t get a cheesecake crust at the end, I’m not crushing any cookies. It’s probably not the most amazing, chock full of cookies, cookies ‘n cream cookies recipe you’ll ever come across – but it’s just as easy as making chocolate chip, and sometimes I need variety.

Why Pudding?

This recipe uses pudding mix, and though I’ve used it in chocolate chip cookies, I never bothered to find out why you put it in the mix. When I started mixing my own, I had to look into it because the Oreo pudding boxes only come in one size, and it’s not the same size as in other recipes. I didn’t want to add a bigger box and discover the cookies somehow exploded, tasted only like pudding, or something else overly dramatic that would not actually happen. Anyway, what did I find out? Pudding mix makes cookies soft and adds a bit of flavor. It really does make them soft – and not just when you first cook them. They stay soft for a long time, which is nice if you’re making them for yourself and don’t eat them all at once.

Lazy Cookies ‘N Cream Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
4.2 oz Oreo cookies ‘n creme pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Soften the butter (not too melted), add eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and stir.
  3. Beat in flour and baking soda.
  4. Add pudding mix (don’t make it, just pour it in).
  5. Mix in white chocolate chips.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on a greased baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Notes

You can mix in the pudding if you want to, but I like to hand stir it to keep the cookie chunks as big as possible. It doesn’t seem like there will be a lot, and some cookies will be low on cookie bits and high on white chocolate chips, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take to make it as easy as possible. The other thing I would note is that these are REALLY soft when they come out of the oven. Like, so soft you can’t pull them off the cookie sheet right away or they’ll just crumble. You could probably add more flour if you wanted, but they do firm up and I like the softness. Okay, that’s it. Enjoy your cookies!