Tales from a 20-Something's Kitchen.

One girl's mission to take on Pinterest. And win. And eat some great food in the process.

Spanakopita Bites


So, I keep pinning these bite size appetizer recipes, and I also keep forgetting I don’t own a mini muffin pan.

One day I’ll learn. This recipe is supposed to make 60-72 mini muffins, I got 12 normal size muffins. (Definitely could have made more, but more on that later.)

So, everything was going great and according to plan, until the phyllo dough. I’ve used phyllo dough before, so I thought this was all going to be a no brainer. Well, turns out you’re supposed to let it thaw for five hours. It had already been thawing for about one hour, and I literally did not have time to wait for the other four (I had a show that I had to leave for) so I said screw it. Most of it was fine, but the middle was a little crinkly and hard to cut. The two inch squares obviously weren’t going to cut it for my muffin tin, so I measured the size of the wells and cut the dough according to that. I got about 36 squares.

Here’s where things got confusing. At least to me. Here is what the original recipe says:

“Remove the phyllo dough as packaged (with the dough in layers) and cut into 2 inch by 2 inch squares; set aside.

Prepare your mini muffin pan by brushing butter in each well. Place 1-2 squares of phyllo dough into each well, pushing down to create a cup or crust. Brush the top phyllo filled wells with more melted butter and repeat by placing 1-2 squares of phyllo dough into each well and pushing down to create a cup or crust again. Repeat with another layer of 1-2 squares of phyllo dough and brush with more melted butter.”

The phyllo dough was 18 sheets. When she says “1-2 squares” I thought the squares still had to be in layers, like the previous paragraph said. So, I shoved two squares of all 18 layers into the wells. Upon watching the video she also has on the page, she separated the layers. So, one square is literally on thin layer square of phyllo. So, where there are supposed to be 6 piece of phyllo per muffin, mine had 36. (I didn’t do the multiple layers because I would have run out of dough. The whole time I was thinking it was just because the sizes were different because of the bigger muffin tin.)

So, at the end of the day, I had a phyllo massacre on my counter, a decent amount of extra filling in the fridge, and some decent tasting spanakopita muffins. Definitely too much phyllo. I wouldn’t mind making these again, but doing it right next time…

As a side note: The filling makes an excellent spinach dip on its own. So, no complaints there.

Recipe: https://www.whatscookinchicago.com/2010/09/spanakopita-bites.html


Peanut Butter M&M Bars


So, my family had their annual holiday cookie bake-off, and this is what I made!

The recipe is veeerrryyy easy. A plus when there are five other recipes going on. Mix all the ingredients, put in pan, bake.

Admittedly, I did hit a few snags. Firstly, my dad was in charge of buying all the ingredients, and he didn’t get the Bisquik. So, I had to find a substitute for Bisquik, make that first, and then make the recipe.

Then, my mom got me out two pans, in case there was extra, I put that to the side, and greased the other. In the chaos, I put the dough into the extra-non greased pan. Luckily, I caught it after only like 5 minutes, and was able to take it out and transfer. It wasn’t, but it could have been disastrous.

Overall, if you need something quick and easy, go for this. They are pretty rich, so one bar is definitely filling.

Recipe: https://www.rachelcooks.com/2011/09/27/5-ingredient-mm-peanut-butter-bars/

Creamy Grilled Chicken Picatta


So, I had a night off from rehearsal on Tuesday night, and decided to make this for dinner. So, I made the marinade, put it on the chicken, and put it in the fridge. The recipe says marinate overnight, but I wanted to eat it for dinner, so my plan was about two hours. However, it turned in to overnight because I got distracted watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and then when it was over it was past 11.

Oh well.

But then, I also forgot about it the next day. I got home from rehearsal at 10:30 and remembered the chicken was in the fridge. I googled how long chicken can marinate, and it said 1, 2 days max. So I figured this was a use it or lose it situation.

And that’s how I ended up making this recipe at 11 at night.

Basically, I pan seared the chicken (because I don’t have a grill) and made the pasta. It was all easy enough. When I made the sauce, first, I had to use mozzarella instead of parmesan because when I grabbed the cheese I had in the fridge, it had gone moldy. So I had to use my roommates cheese instead. When I tested the sauce for taste/consistency, I didn’t know if I liked it. It was very lemon-y, and I think I was expecting something cheesier/creamier. But, when I put it with the pasta, I really liked it. I cut the pasta into strips and put it on top.

Overall, not a typical late night snack, but a good one nevertheless!

I will say-it is best fresh. It re-heats alright, but it’s not quite as good as when you first make it.

Recipe: http://www.plainchicken.com/2010/08/creamy-grilled-chicken-piccata.html

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Cookies

I’ve done the lemon/blueberry combo, so I was pretty excited to make these. Because that cheesecake part? Just a straight up block of cream cheese. Yum.

It’s a pretty straight forward cookie recipe, a little shortbread-y. Original poster recommends putting the dough into the fridge before rolling and putting the cream cheese in. I can not back that up enough. I should have put it in 5 more minutes.

These are supposed to bake 10-14 minutes. It ended up being more like 20-24 for me. The edges never really browned, I stopped because some of the bottoms were getting dark.

But overall, a solid recipe that everyone who has tried them has liked. They’re not overly sweet, so you can have 17 in one sitting (according to my roommate anyway).

Recipe: http://hotpolkadot.com/2011/08/18/its-12am-do-you-know-where-your-cookies-are/

Meatloaf Muffins with Barbecue Sauce


I wish I had a food processor.

One of the first instructions of this is to put some vegetables in a food processor to finely chop them.

I thought, I’ll use my big knife and my pastry cutter. It’ll go great.

It did not.

Firstly, the onion I got somehow managed to be the most potent thing on the planet. My eyes were not tearing up, they were literally streaming. It was insane.

Then, putting the onion, bell pepper, and celery together was a hot holy mess. The pastry cutter did nothing, especially to the bell pepper. So I dumped it all out and tried to dice it all on a cutting board. Also a mess. So I gave up and dumped it in.

The rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward, and the end result is quite good, mine just had very chunky vegetables in it, which I could have done without.

As for the sauce, the combo of barbecue sauce, salsa, and worcestershire was good, but not mind blowing or revolutionary, I would save the money and time and just use the barbecue sauce by itself next time.

The recipe link suggest serving with mashed potatoes and green beans, and has additional recipes for both. I made my *classic* microwave mashed potatoes and called it a day.


Crock Pot Cheesecake


I won’t lie, I made this mostly for the “the fuck? You can do that?” factor.

And yes, indeed you can. If you have patience. And maybe a smaller pan.

The trick to the whole thing is a pan that fits INSIDE of your crock pot, and then creating a double boiler from that. The smallest I had was an almost fit, so I decided to just go for it.

This made the actual cooking process longer, like a solid hour longer. The instructions are to cook “until the center of the cheesecake is no longer watery when you stick a thin knife into the center of it.”.

It all seemed watery, but my roommate said it was fine, so I moved onto the part where you leave it in a turned off crock pot for an hour. This was where I forgot it was in there because my roommates and I were too busy trying to film an episode of our webseries (That’s a whole other thing entirely).

Then when I remembered it was in there, I took it out, and put it in the fridge where it’s supposed to set for an hour.

I fell asleep.

The next day I had work and rehearsal so I didn’t even get the chance to try it until almost a full 24 hours later.

And the verdict?

It’s not bad! Not the best cheesecake I’ve ever had, but it was definitely cheesecake. And it was definitely made in a crock pot.

Recipe: https://crockpotladies.com/recipe/crockpot-cheesecake/

Olive Oil, Garlic, Chives, and Romano Cheese Mashed Potatoes


I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I am quite a big fan of mashed potatoes. Like, I have a process to make a quick bowl out of 2-3 potatoes in the microwave. But these sounded fancy so I figured why not?

Two things about the ingredients. It says 2 lbs of potatoes/3 large potatoes. I had a 5lb bag in my pantry, and I ended up using 4 medium potatoes and 1 small one, I think my estimation skills ended up being right. Also, I didn’t know that romano cheese smelled? The taste was basically a very sharp parmesan, but my roommate was like “that cheese smells like vomit.” So, off to a good start. I also spent 10 minutes grating a block of romano because the block was cheaper than the pre-shredded.

The recipe itself is a standard mashed potato recipe, I had them done in about 20-25 minutes. I had freeze dried chives, so I did 1 tbsp instead of 2.

And they were really quite good! But I’m not going to lie, about 2.5 seconds after taking this picture, I added butter and sour cream to them. Because why the hell not.

Lastly, it says this serves 3-4 people. Lol I ate the whole thing by myself.

Recipe: https://goddessofscrumptiousness.tumblr.com/post/13544053231/olive-oil-garlic-chives-and-romano-cheese-mashed#disqus_thread

Pizza Muffins


Guys, this is seriously one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever done.

Firstly, I already had pizza sauce and pepperonis, so that made that easy.

The original poster had a giant 6 cup muffin tray. I have a 12 cup normal size one. So I bought two of the pizza crusts had divided both of those into 6 pieces, and that was honestly almost too much dough.

After that, it’s a simple dump the ingredients in and bake.

Maybe to fancy these up a bit, throw some Italian seasoning on them?

Recipe: http://reallyfrompinterest.blogspot.com/2012/04/cupcake-mold-pizzas.html

Crab Hushpuppies


Guys, not going to lie. I’m pretty damn proud of these.

It was definitely an adventure, but they turned out pretty good! My roommate loved them.

The crabmeat at the store only came in 6 oz cans, and there are 8oz in a cup (the recipe requirement) So I just got two cans and said screw it, there will just be a lot of crab.

And honestly? I wouldn’t have hated more. I’m also a pretty big fan of shellfish.

Also, had an accomplishment with frying. It didn’t go terribly and I didn’t burn myself!

Overall, these are probably fattening as hell, but at least they’re tasty!

Recipe: http://www.pauladeen.com/crab-hushpuppies

Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas


I’ll be honest, this is the laziest I’ve probably ever been with a recipe. I read it once, said “cool” and just went from there.

Firstly, I had 6 tortillas, so I grabbed some more at the store, got back, realized I bought burrito size instead of regular fajita size. So, I decided I was only making 6 quesadillas.

Then, I didn’t fry the pepperoni. I didn’t understand the point of that, so I just skipped that step.

Everything else, I did as the recipe suggested.

Until the cooking time.

I put the first one in on medium heat for 3 minutes. (The recipe says 3-5). When I went to flip it, it was burnt to a fucking crisp. Completely unsalvageable. So I unfortunately had to toss that one out.

I cooked the remaining quesadillas on low heat for about 2-3 minutes, which seemed to do the trick. So, that’s my recommendation for that.

Once they were done, they weren’t too bad. A good idea for a quick dinner.

Recipe: https://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/04/20/pepperoni-pizza-quesadillas/

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