Sunday, April 29, 2012

A&J Tackle PW: Week Five

Well this is a first.  You know I start typing this up way in advance, right when Angela and I first decide what to make, then I just add to it and work on the links and stuff throughout the week.  Well today (Saturday) I sat down with a few minutes to tweak our opinions...and week five was GONE!!! I don't get it!! It's just vanished!! So now I have to redo the entire thing.  I'm not gonna lie, if the recipe isn't already on the web, I'm not going to type it out.  If you're dying to have a copy, leave a comment and I'll email it to you.

Anyway.  If I remember correctly, this week we've made The Pioneer Woman's beef noodle salad, chicken tortilla soup, rigatoni and meatballs, breakfast pizza, and orange sweet rolls.  Am I forgetting something? That doesn't seem like very much!! Stupid blogger.

It's not going to be as well edited as I'd like because my kids are demanding food and clean clothes as we speak, but it should get the point across.  I'm still so baffled as to what happened to my original draft!!

Oh, and for anyone who stumbled across this post from google and has no idea what's going on, here's the skinny.  My bestie Angela and I are cooking our way through the Pioneer Woman: Food From My Frontier cookbook.  We're trying EVERY recipe and writing up a quick review of how we liked it.

~ Sesame Beef Noodle Salad~
So, on the web, alls I can find is the recipe for just the noodles.  In the book, it's the noodles on one page, and then the facing page has the beef added.  It says something along the lines of "grill a sirloin steak until medium rare, place steak inside a baggie with a few tablespoons of the dressing.  Stick it in the fridge and allow to marinate for at least a couple of hours.  Slice steak against the grain, toss the cooked noodles with the rest of the dressing and cilantro, lay the strips of beef on top."

I didn't think that this was anything to write home about.  After living in Guam for two years and eating at Papa G's Noodle Station twice a week through my entire pregnancy, it takes a lot to get me excited.  This was nothing close to as good as Papa G's and I have no idea how to make it better.  It was too oily, and too sweet, for starters.  And it was just missing that special something.

I miss Papa G's like you wouldn't believe.

Ugh.  Here's what Angela has to say: I love love love this. No one else in the family does, but I do. 
Only difference is I used actual lo mein noodles and they are divine.
I never thought geniune chinese food could be so easy.

I hope we don't have to break up because of this.  She's never been to Papa G's, so she doesn't know what she's missing.  And as Laura keeps trying to remind me We don't all have to love (and hate) everything that you love (or hate.) Ugh.

Simple Sesame Noodles


  • 12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Preparation Instructions

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.Sprinkle with green onions and toss.Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!

~Chicken Tortilla Soup~

I thought this was pretty ho-hum.  I have a chicken tortilla soup recipe that I'm not sure where I got it, but it's basically chicken breasts, broth, cream of chicken soup, and salsa.  And it's better than this.  A lot better.  But I liked the rotel, and I liked the black beans, so maybe I'll add that to mine.  Who knows.  It's not that this was BAD, by any means, I just happen to like the one I normally make better.  A lot better.

Dang.  We're not agreeing about anything this week!! Here's what Angela sent me: This is good soup. I use my crock pot every single time I can fanagle a recipe to accomodate it. I put frozen chicken breasts in the pot with water/chicken broth. I let it cook on high and thaw. I diced the veggies (incl a jalapeno b/c they have the perfect flavor for this kind of soup) {I told ya'll, she really has a thing for jalapenos!!} and sauted them in a seperate pot with the seasonings and olive oil. Then I put that in the crock pot with the drained/rinsed black beans and rotel. Let that cook, pulled the breasts out and shredded them, put it all back together. Bingo bango. Good soup with enough to freeze for later. Just gotta figure out how to use my foodsaver on it...

Angela, if you haven't figured it out yet, build a bag, pour the soup in, fold the top over and maybe tape it, then lay it on a cookie sheet and freeze it so it's all flat.  Then foodsave it after it's solid and you can store it standing up on the side of the freezer so it doesn't take up any space at all.

What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!!!

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-½ teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • ¼ cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inche

  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

-Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

-Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

-Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

-Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. 

-Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

~Rigatoni and Meatballs~ 
This was really really good.  I've never made my own sauce before, and I've never made this kind of meatballs.  I make her comfort meatballs a lot, but those are more like mini meat loaves than regular Italian style meatballs.  

I didn't make my own breadcrumbs because I thought that was just stupid.  And I liked the sauce, but I felt like there was something missing.  I'm hoping when Angela makes it, she tweaks something and it's phenomenal and then we'll have like the PERFECT go-to sauce, you know?

Ahh, at last.  Here's Angela finally agreeing with me: Mmm mmm mmm. This is so flavorful and good. It takes a little bit of time, but well worth it. I didn't change anything in it, except I didn't use rigatoni b/c we don't like big noodles. And I used my mixer to mix the meat so I wouldn't have to get all dirty. 
This is a must do. 



  • 6 thick slices crusty bread
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving

  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (optional)
  • 2 pounds rigatoni, cooked al dente


Place the bread on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in a 200 degrees F oven, or until totally dry.
Break the bread into chunks . . .
And pulse [in food processor] until the bread turns into crumbs.
Throw the meat into a large mixing bowl.
Add the garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, grated Parmesan, milk, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands to mix together until well combined.
Use a scoop to retrieve a small amount of the meat mixture . . . And roll it in your hands to make meatballs (about 25). Place the pan in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, just to firm them up.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working with 8 to 10 meatballs at a time, cook them until brown but not cooked all the way through, 2 to 3 minutes per batch.
Remove from the pan to a plate while you make the rigatoni and sauce.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for a minute or two, until the onion begins to soften.
Add the wine and cook for another minute. (Just omit this step if you're not using wine.)
Add the crushed tomatoes...whole tomatoes... salt, pepper, and sugar . . . And parsley and basil.
Stir the sauce to combine all the ingredients . . . Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then throw in the meat-a-balls!
Stir gently, then cover and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring once or twice, until the meatballs are cooked through.
Heap the rigatoni on a large platter and pile the meatballs and sauce on the top. Sprinkle on some extra minced parsley and serve with extra grated Parmesan.

~Breakfast Pizza~

Dammit.  I can't find this on the internet.  But it was SO GOOD, I have to type it up for you.  Even though I said I wouldn't.  Ugh.

We cooked mine too long, so the eggs were hard.  Just like hard boiled eggs.  It was amazing, but I thought it would have been even more amazing with a little bit of dippy dripping all over the place.  Mmm.  We will DEFINITELY be making this again, soon! Oh, and I didn't make her pizza crust.  

Here's Angela: this was good. I did a couple of things different. {Where was this innovation on the meatball sauce Angela?!?!}I baked the crust for a couple of min before I assembled it, in hopes of avoiding it getting soggy. {I'm assuming that Angela made the Pioneer Woman pizza crust, because she likes to do things like that} I used the salsa very sparingly as well, to avoid sogginess. I cut the bacon up before I cooked it b/c that's way easier than doing it after. I also crumbled some sausage and put it on there. I used provolone cheese (left over from the ranch chicken) and instead of just cracking eggs on it, I scrambled them and cooked them on the stove, then added them. I do not like fried eggs. {dummy} I thought it was really good, and so did the kids. 

I don't care what Laura says.  I want everyone to like the things I like!! FRIED EGGS RULE. My mama will be here in less than forty days and she's going to make me a dippy egg every SINGLE day for the month she's here!!!

 Breakfast Pizza
1 pound thick cut peppered bacon
3 cups frozen hash browns
2 TBSP canola oil
3 diced bell peppers (I used the mini peppers, red, orange and yellow.)
Pizza Dough 
1/2 cup salsa 
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 
8 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 475F. Place oven rack on the lowest position. Fry bacon until chewy, then chop into bite sized pieces.  

Fry hash browns in large skillet over medium high heat with 1tbsp vegetable oil until  they're just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, fry the bell peppers in the rest of the oil for about five minutes.  

Roll out pizza dough.  Spread salsa all over the surface (like pizza sauce).

Evenly distribute the sliced mozzarella over the top.  Sprinkle on the hash browns, peppers, and the bacon.

Crack the eggs here and there all over the surface of the pizza.  Try not to break the yolks.

Bake 13-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the eggs are set but still slightly soft.  Cut into large pieces and serve immediately with extra salsa. 

~Orange Sweet Rolls~

We just ate these.  I have the shakes and I'm sweating from too much sugar.  They were good, but sweets just aren't my thing.  I'd rather waste my points on a bag of tostitoes.  You know? When she says to roll it out super thin, don't.  It made it too hard to roll it up.  I had a lot of leftover dough, so I made her old cinnamon rolls from the first book and I didn't roll those out as thin and it was a LOT easier.  And less messy.

Angela: I have been waiting to make these since we got the cookbook. And somehow I goofed up my dough. {She made it in her new mixer.  Sorry Angela!!} It was just too sticky and not firm enough. {Although mine was really sticky too come to think of it...} Anyway, I made them and followed the recipe/directions anyway. Only thing is, when I cut them, they weren't exactly formed so they just kinda blobbed all together. It turned out kind of like a coffee cake, so it wasn't ruined and was super delicious and great. 

In the interest of making Angela feel less alone with the ugly blobby mess, here's my pic from as soon as I cut them.

I got this recipe from another blogger who is doing her recipes.  And she's not having as much fun as we are.  Anyway.  It's probably double illegal for me to steal from her while she's stealing from PW, but this is a long recipe, so I'll risk it.

Ingredients -
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1/2 rounded teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
8 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 cup powdered sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 cup whole milk, more if needed for pourable consistency
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Directions - 
1. In a large saucepan over low heat, heat the milk, granulated sugar, and oil until warm but not hot.  Add the yeast and 4 cups of flour, then mix and transfer to a bowl.  Cover and let it rise for at least an hour.
2. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 30 inches wide by 10 inches deep.  You’ll want it to be as thin as you can get so that you can add plenty of goo.
4. Drizzle the melted butter all over the surface of the dough.  Use your fingers to smear it all around so that it coats evenly.
5. Spread the orange marmalade all over the buttered dough, distributing it as evenly as you can.
6. Sprinkle plenty of brown sugar all over the marmalade…
7. And finish with a light sprinkling of salt to offset the sweetness.
8. Using both hands ina  back-and-forth motion, gradually roll the dough toward you into one long log.
9. Pinch the seam to seal it.
10. Slice the log-o’-dough into 1/2 inch pieces.
11. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the rolls in a buttered baking dish and allow them to rise for 20 minutes.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.
12. While the rolls are baking, make the icing.  Add the zest and juice of 2 oranges to a bowl.
13. Add the powdered sugar and salt…
14. Some whole milk.
15. And some more melted butter because the recipe doesn’t already have enough.  Just kidding on that last part.
16. Whisk it together until it’s nice and smooth and lovely.  Your kitchen smells like oranges!  Unless you’re making this in the garage.  In that case, your garage smells like oranges.
17. Pull the rolls out of the oven when they’re golden brown and drizzle on the icing right off the bat.
18. The piping hot rolls will suck that gorgeous icing right down into their crevices and the whole thing pretty much becomes a miracle.
Serve them warm.

So that was week five!! Anyone else out there doing any of these recipes?  Let me know what you think!!