Garlic Knots

Just a quick stop by to say you should make this dough.

As long as you get the water warm enough to activate the yeast, it’s basically impossible to mess this up. I made the garlic knots tonight (just as described at the Never Homemaker link above) and ate three of them before I forced myself to put the rest away. Don’t be alarmed – the pumpkin is not even noticeable. Especially if you get the garlic amount right. ­čÖé


I saved half of the dough for pizza on Friday. I expect that will be just as airy and delightful as it was tonight. Maybe chicken pesto for the toppings? As if weekends weren’t enough to look forward to on their own …


Plan B

Hi. I know we said in the beginning that for the sake of simplicity, Abby was writing these. But this is AJ and I have things to say. Let me weave you a heartwarming tale of improv and personal favorites.

This meal started out as a slow roasted brisket. Sounds good already right? The sauce used was pushed upon us by my mom. She had the best of interests but when we pulled it out of the crock pot and tasted it, we realized why my mom gave us the sauce so openly. It was salty. When I say salty, I mean there are mines jealous of the salt content of this meat. Neither one of us liked it, but we hate wasting food. This is where Abby shows her culinary genius. She asks me to strain, pull, and rinse the meat.

Rinsing. Meat. Let that soak in (no pun intended). After I rinsed off the pulled meat, the salt content was far lower. That meat will be used in a later dish and possibly if you’re all good, a later blog.

This left us with slightly dampened meat and no dinner. Abby comes through again. She went to her ace in the hole, Tater Tot Casserole.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Mix half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and a can of condensed cream of chicken soup together in a glass baking dish.
  • Top with chicken (preferably the roasted chicken from our Sunday Dinner post), the tater tots (preferably Ore-Ida’s Crispy Crowns), and then cheese. (Abby’s note – tater tots go on top. That’s how they get crispy!)
  • Bake for 20 minutes

It’s ridiculously simple. Takes no time at all and it’s delicious. That’s MY personal favorite.

But what about Abby? What’s her favorite? Glad you asked. She was hungry for something crunchy. This is where I reach into my bag of tricks and pulled out garlic bread. She loves my garlic bread. It’s even simpler than the tater tot casserole.

Here’s my recipe:

  • Take two slices of bread
  • Butter them
  • Season with garlic salt
  • Bake in the toaster oven or oven (350F) until crispy

Normally I use regular bread, but we picked up some sourdough rolls for sandwiches so I used those instead. Sourdough garlic bread. You heard me. I also made celery with peanut butter. But not with just any peanut butter. I used the ground honey roasted peanut butter from the Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson. Do yourself a favor and go there and get some. They have a machine that grinds the peanuts there, so it’s super fresh and makes the perfect mix of creamy and crunchy peanut butter. It’s magical stuff.

Also, hooray for my first blog post ever.

Size Matters

AJ’s mom bought us three Alton Brown cookbooks for Christmas. She knows us well – we have a mild obsession. Not in a creepy way, although I just found out he lives in the same city as my brother and sister-in-law, so … draw your own conclusions. (LET’S HANG OUT!!) Basically, he shares damn good recipes and his show is damn interesting. The books are big, and I remarked we probably would read them like novels.

I was right.

These babies are always off the shelf, because we thumb through at least one of them every day. I found a Morning After Bread recipe that a) made me giggle and b) included coffee and beer. I hadn’t finished my coffee yet for the morning, our fridge was stocked and I had all day to wait for the dough to rise, so it seemed perfect.

And ooh man did it look good!

Nice color, firm crust, beautiful vent marks. I was feeling proud. Bread! From scratch!

That is, until you looked at it from another angle.

Yeah, I don’t think that’s right. I ended up pulling those big lumpy bits in half and sticking the whole shebang back in the oven a while longer. Despite its visual challenges, the taste was amazing and the crusty crust was just right.

I’d definitely make this again, and if I had to guess, my mistake was not letting the dough rise in a warm enough spot. When it hit the oven, it was all POOF LET’S DO THIS, when it should have been like MAN I’M A WELL-FORMED LOAF OF BREAD.

Anyway, you should definitely go find this recipe (I don’t want to steal it and post it here), and if you buy the book, you seriously won’t be disappointed.

Especially because I stuffed the emptied heel of the bread with BBQ pulled pork, but that’s a story for another day.