Kitchen Adventures

I love a good football game, but I’ve got to be honest: when it comes to the NFL, I really couldn’t care less. I grew up in a house where TV, amongst other things, was strictly verboten on Sundays, which made for an NFL-less childhood and a consequential disinterest in the league and all its teams.

Regardless, I’ve always wanted to “celebrate” the Super Bowl. I remember looking through ads in the newspaper when I was younger, seeing all the food advertised for The Big Game and wishing I could participate in all the fun (read: eat the food). I also always felt a little excluded on the Monday after the Super Bowl when it seemed like all anyone could talk about were the commercials, none of which I had seen.

Perhaps this, then, can explain my brief moment of insanity last week. A good friend of mine asked if she could come over to my place to watch the Super Bowl, and I hesitantly agreed. Hesitantly, because despite the fact that I dearly treasure my friendship with her, girl knows nothing about football. I made the mistake of watching the 2012 Super Bowl with her and found myself swearing to never watch football with girls again after she watched a team score a PAT and triumphantly declared, “That’s a field goal! See? I know things!”

*headdesk*

Anyway, I had an almost-full jar of salsa in my fridge, so I originally planned to have a Super Bowl party for one with a bag of chips, said salsa jar, and my traditional Sunday night supper tuna melt (also a relic from my childhood). Once my friend asked to come over, though, I immediately scrapped those plans and decided instead it would be in my best interest to throw caution to the wind and make this Super Bowl one to remember. On my menu:

Granola Bark
– Barbecue Meatball Pizza (an at-the-time uncreated Bethany original)
Whole Wheat Brownies
– That jar of salsa and chips, obviously.

Like I said: insanity.

Having a limited supply of baking utensils meant I had to strategize how I’d go about making everything I had in mind. After taking a bit of my Friday evening to plan my Saturday and Sunday to the minute (oh, I wish I were kidding…), I decided it’d be best to make the granola bark early Saturday afternoon. The recipe was easy to throw together, though my results turned out slightly different than I originally expected. I melted the peanut butter/coconut oil/honey combo to the point where it melted the chocolate chips in the dry mix. This was disappointing from a what’s-a-granola-bar-without-chocolate-chips standpoint, but also gave the entire batch a chocolate taste, so I suppose I can’t complain.

granolabark

Later, I got to work on the Whole Wheat Brownies for Sunday.

brownies

Hello indulgence. These brownies are incredible. Also, they use whole wheat flour and applesauce. Thus, they are a health food. A super food, really. I’m pretty sure they’re better for you than blueberries. So there’s that.

Sunday brought my real challenge, though. While I had never made brownies from scratch before, I’ve been around the baking block enough times that I wasn’t too concerned about that task. Meatballs and pizza dough, however, were another story. I rarely cook with ground meat because I find it pretty gross, so I had certainly never made meatballs before. I’ve also never baked with yeast before because it has always struck me as something way, way too easy to mess up–you know, chemical reactions and science and all of that. I had my boots on ready to run to Jewel at a moment’s notice in case things went south.

The meatballs ended up being a pretty low-key affair. I found a really simple recipe for Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs, so my BFF the crock pot took care of most of that.

meatballs2

The pizza dough was relatively simple as well but definitely involved a lot of planning and a decent amount of labor on my end. I’m not married nor am I independently wealthy, so I definitely do not have a KitchenAid or other stand mixer. I had to knead the dough by hand for ten minutes, which kinda made me feel so hardcore and 19th century. Haha. This may be one of the weirder things I’ve ever written on the blog, but honestly, hand kneading the dough was really a cool way to get to know the dough. When you use a mixer or even a spoon to combine things, you can observe things changing, but when you’re actually in there using your hands, you not only see things changing but can feel them changing. My hands were a doughy mess when I started kneading, but by the end the dough had gotten the point where it bound to itself much easier than my hands, and it was kind of cool to see that whole process happen.

dough1

I left the dough to rise while I knocked out some Best Body Bootcamp and came back an hour later to punch it down and divide it. Since I only needed half the dough, the other half went into the freezer (all fingers crossed this was the right time to do that). The instructions said to then let the dough rise for another 45 minutes in a warm place, so that’s what I did.

dough2

Wait, what is that up there on top of my clothes?

dough3

Oh, right. That’d be my pizza dough. Is that not a normal place to let dough rise?

Haha. My building heats the apartments through the floors, so the warmest spots are on the floor and right under the ceiling. I tried the floor for the first rise, but I wasn’t convinced it was warm enough. The second rising, however, went quite well.

dough4

Too well. It exploded! Attack of the pizza dough!

It was all good, though. I tamed the beast on a cookie sheet and got ready to go to town on my pizza.

dough5

After removing the meatballs from the crockpot with a slotted spoon, I poured the barbecue sauce over the pizza.

pizza1

I then chopped up the meatballs and sprinkled cheese over the whole shebang…

pizza2

…and fifteen minutes later…

pizza3

Voila! Homemade barbecue meatball pizza! I feel a little weird taking any sort of credit for this, because all I really did was follow other people’s recipes and assemble things. Regardless, I was THRILLED with the results and ate myself into a food coma while watching the game with my friend.

Oh, and that salsa was pretty good, too.

Do you enjoy cooking for company?
Have you ever tackled an intimidating recipe? 

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30 thoughts on “Kitchen Adventures

  1. Oh no, I’m sorry the chocolate chips melted! Or maybe not, haha? But yes, I’d say microwaving the peanut butter *just* enough is the key to not melting the chocolate chips. Or you can add the chocolate chips after you mix in the PB. Looks tasty though!

  2. Next year can I come to your place for the Super Bowl? I want to eat whole wheat healthified brownies, eat pizza, and granola bark. Oh, and an entire bag of chis, obvi. I didn’t get to enjoy superbowl foods and I’m thoroughly disappointed by that fact.

  3. That all looks amazing girl! I love it when i try a new recipe in the kitchen and it works haha. Joe is more into making crazy stuff than i am, but I always get excited when something turns out well. I like to bake for other people but cooking for more than me? Joe can do that 😉

  4. I always have to knead things, cut in butter, etc. by hand because I don’t have fancy kitchen equipment either so I totally get what you’re saying about “getting to know the dough”. I always feel super accomplished when I’m done too.

    Granola bark looks amazing!

    • Haha I’m glad you get it! Makes me feel a little less crazy 😛 I appreciate the convenience that a lot of kitchen tools provide, but I do think there’s something to be said for doing it the “old-fashioned” way. I think it makes you appreciate your food even more!

  5. Sounds like everything turned out great! I usually don’t make new recipes for the first time for other people to eat because I am afraid of them flopping. I love having people over for dinner but it’s best I stick with what I know. T

    That pizza idea is great! I must try it sometime!

  6. OH MY GOD that pizza looks so amazing. i will let you use my kitchen aid if you let me borrow your crock pot to make meatballs. sounds like a fair deal to me, right? also…”I’m pretty sure they’re better for you than blueberries. So there’s that.” – dying of lols.

  7. Ok I must say that your Super Bowl party was a success! You really took the time and effort to prepare incredible homemade snacks, and I’m sure your friend appreciated it! I have the WORST luck with yeast. It seriously never foams up for me and my bread recipes fail probably about 50% of the time. It’s awful! Now I can’t get pizza out of my mind…I might just have to eat it for lunch now 🙂

  8. Pingback: Thursday Things | accidental intentions

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