Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easy Calzones

I am a sucker for anything pizza-like. Jeff, however, isn't a big fan of homemade pizza. He doesn't like it when it is too doughy. So I got to thinking...what if I tried calzones???

Of course I went to one of the best cooks out there (in my opinion)....The Pioneer Woman!!!


 Her recipe calls for you to use Rhodes Frozen Rolls. I set them out all day on a cookie sheet in the fridge. Then I pulled them out after work to rise a bit more. 

I didn't have a rolling pin so I used a PAM can to make them nice and flat. (Nice huh?) :) 



The filling for the calzone starts with onion cooked in butter. You can use Italian sausage for the filling.  I used breakfast sausage (as the Pioneer woman suggests) and added Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Next I let the sausage cool before mixing it with Ricotta, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Eggs, Salt, and Pepper. 



I rolled out each dinner roll and added a spoonful of the sausage/cheese mixture. 



Then I folded the top over and pinched the edge. It looked smaller than I thought. These are definitely more the size of a pizza pocket. I think they would be awesome for kiddos!!



I brushed them with egg and baked them at 400 degrees for 13 minutes. I served them with marinara sauce from the store!! 



Here is my "not so perfect" version of a Pioneer Woman recipe!! Even though they don't look like hers they tasted great! Jeff even liked them!! Not too doughy!!!


Click below for her recipe to get exact measurements!  Thank you Pioneer Woman!!!

Easy Calzones Recipe

Recipe #4 - Taco Salad

For my bridal shower last fall I was given recipes from each guest. I have been working my way through my recipe box and this is recipe #4. It is Jeff's cousin Debbie's recipe for Taco Salad. 

First you brown ground beef, add a can of drained kidney beans, and 2 tsp. taco sauce. Let it simmer five minutes and then cool.

Combine 1 diced onion and 2 cups of Colby Cheese. Before serving combine that with a head of chopped lettuce, 1 bag of Taco chips, ground beef/bean mixture, and a large bottle of Catalina Dressing.

It turned out great! Although this could be a great side for summer parties, we actually ate it as our main dish with croissants as a side. It was very filling!! So yummy!!!

Gyros at Home

Pita giros.JPG

Here is a picture from Wikipedia that shows a tradition gyro from Greece. It says they are sandwiches with meat, onions, tomato, french fries, and Tzatziki sauce rolled into a pita.

Jeff loves going to the Flame and Skewer in Ames for a good gyro. He encouraged me to try it out at home...SO we found gyro meat at Fareway. I bought one pound of Gyro meat and dry-fried it (no oil). It smelled awesome!! When I cooked it created lots of grease and was a bit messy.

 Here is what the Gyro meat looked like after cooking it.

Once the gyro meat was cooked I cleaned out the pan. I rubbed olive oil on the pita flat bread and then warmed both sides on medium heat.  I tried whole pitas and pita pockets. We definitely preferred the whole pita flat breads.

At Fareway you can also get Tzatziki Sauce. It is a refreshing cucumber sauce with hints of dill and lemon. I spread sauce on the bottom, added the gyro meat, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. The recipe also called for a little sea salt on top.

We loved the Gyros!! We had french fries as a side and it was delightful!!! It was a quick and tasty dinner!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jeff's 34th!!

It is hard to believe but Jeff turned 34 on Monday!! For his birthday I gave him a weekend trip to the Quad Cities. I chose the Quad Cities because we could visit the Pickers store and the John Deere Pavillion. Two of Jeff's favorite things!! We were just gone a day but it was SO fun!!

First we visited the John Deere Pavilion! It was SO fun to let Jeff show me all the different machinery! He shared lots of memories and I could see he is definitely in the perfect career!!

We both tried doing the excavator and backhoe simulator. I was AWFUL but it was fun!!

 On our way to Le Claire we drove by the "Rusty Palace" which is the nickname for the John Deere World Headquarters! It was quite impressive!!

We made it to Le Claire and headed straight for "Antique Archeology" store. It is quite small really but we were both giddy. I give Jeff some grief sometimes for all the "guy" shows we watch. I have to admit...I really enjoy the pickers show!! 

We didn't get to see any of the stars of the show but just seeing their van was exciting!! After we finished shopping at the shop we headed through downtown to try a local favorite! Jeff's friend, Spors, recommended we try Big Dave and Holly's. WOW!! It was amazing! It is the smallest little restaurant with HUGE tenderloins!!

After we enjoyed a delicious lunch we stopped at a few shops and headed back to Des Moines. It was a fun weekend away!! Here are my top five moments of the trip:

5. Seeing Jeff's face light up when he was in the John Deere pavilion. Man he loves farming!! It is in his blood!!

4. Hanging out with Jeff's friend Spors on Friday night. It is always a treat to get to know the guys from John Deere. Spors is one of the most kind, fun guys I have ever met! He has a zest for life and it is contagious.

3. On the way to Moline I drove so Jeff could take a snooze (it was his birthday trip)!! I listened to some talks from a few years ago about Godly marriage. Wow...it meant so much to hear those messages again as a new wife!!

2. Making Waffles at the Radisson. I love staying at hotels! It is SO fun for me!! We slept in and got up for the hotel breakfast! I love the slow pace of vacation.  We sat and talked over breakfast, went swimming, and I took my time getting ready for the day.

1. Birthday week! My friend Hillary introduced me to the tradition of doing birthday week. Every day leading up to Jeff's birthday I had a little surprise for him.  Milk duds, twizzlers, a new Hawkeye water bottle, a MOPAR magazine etc. It was so fun to surprise him each morning with a little treat. I remember talking with friends when I was single...dreaming about when I would be married someday and how I would never take my husband for granted. I am trying to stay true to that. I have to admit there are days I forget to appreciate Jeff but I try to make that few and far between. He is a great man and I am very thankful that he is in my life!!