Delicious Things

Whenever I need to bring food to something, I go for chocolate pudding pie. People tell me it’s yummy, so it’s all good. It offsets the lazy I put into it. I take Jello Chocolate Pudding with no sugar added mix, I use about 80% of the milk it calls for, follow the directions and dump it into a pan of homemade graham cracker crust. My graham cracker crust is just a package of graham crackers put into a plastic bag, and then I beat the stuffing out of it. I mix in softened butter until it looks kind of spreadable and then smoosh it all over the pie tin. Stick it in the fridge, watch a movie, and then make the pudding part for it. Ta-da!

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My dark love is for Cheez-Its. They are super unhealthy. So I will try this:

Homemade Cheez-Its

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small squares
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag grated extra-sharp 2% Cheddar cheese (preferably orange)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in food processor, and pulse until crumbly. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Form into ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Place dough between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper, and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, and, using pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1 inch squares. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 25 minutes. Test for crispiness; crackers may take a few minutes more to finish crisping. Remove from oven when crisp and just starting to brown. Let cool and serve.

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Guacamole

(How I do it… scoop out a sufficiently delicious amount of avocado. Mix with salsa.)

How you’re probably supposed to do it:

Ingredients

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

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Basil Pesto

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

METHOD

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

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Spanakopita (Spinach Triangles/Pie)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound filo pastry sheets

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then choproughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil. Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

Variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with butter, on the bottom. Spoon the spinach filling over the filo, then cover with 6 more sheets of filo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.

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