Pinterest Chef-ing; My Favorites & Not So Much

So, it occurred to me today that in my bio I claim to be a Pinterest chef, but have served you with no validation of the fact. I tend to not blog about food – in fact this will be my first food blog ever, so cut me some slack! Very few people have been lucky enough to try my Pinterest creations right out of the oven, but the one person that has, has had raving reviews (insert sheepish emoji here). I don’t credit this to me being a genius in the kitchen, although I do know how to make just about any ingredient go a long way – the perks of being a starving college student on a budget – but Pinterest really has opened my eyes and taste buds to so many new and fun ideas with (mostly) easy-to-follow recipes. I’m super unconventional, not to mention a little picky when it comes to food, so I’ll provide you with the real recipe link, along with my suggestions to make each one just a little better. I promise you, if you can read, you can make these delicious “pins.” That being said, here are some of my favorite Pinterest recipes and ones that didn’t necessarily turn out as planned. The successes outweigh the rest.

Sausage Egg Boats – Success 

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This is probably one of the quickest and most delicious “last minute” meals you can think of making. There are so many variations you can take on these egg boats to fit your families own tastes and preferences, so I’ll tell you what I do and you can feel free to change it up! First things first, from the grocery store of your choosing pick up a dozen eggs, a bag of shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar), one package of golden brown sausage links (maple flavored is the best), and two fresh, mini baguettes from the bakery section. When you get home, preheat that oven of yours to 350 and start hollowing out your baguettes. It’s a good idea to save the bread you take out of the middle for the next recipe I’m going to share, but you could always eat it while you cook too – that’s usually what I wind up doing. After the “boats” are ready to be filled, scramble 8 eggs and combine some of the cheddar cheese into the mix, while you’re scrambling cook the sausage to package directions. Let the sausage cool before cutting into rounds and placing into the baguettes, then pour the egg and cheese mixture on top and sprinkle the extra cheese to give a golden crust. All the recipes say to bake for 25-28 minutes, but from my experience it’s different each time depending on the hollowness of the baguette. Start checking at the 15 minute mark and by 35, you’re usually always good!

Slow Cooker Meatballs – Success

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Ahhhh this recipe is to die for and will have your apartment or house smelling amazing for days after! The prep work takes some time but the pay-off is so worth it! Now, I use a secret family recipe when making my meatballs that I unfortunately can’t share with you because my Grandmom would be very upset and she’d somehow find a way to let me know all the way from Heaven. Because of that, I provided you with a link to a recipe that is very similar and is sure to turn out just as amazing as the Visalli recipe. That being said, here are some tips to make your meatballs ten times better than the average joe’s. Always always use some sort of meat mixture, you can get a pre-mixed meatloaf combination from the grocery store that combines beef, veal and pork (that’s the best), but never just use ground beef. The other meats provide a fattiness that allows for the meatballs to stay juicy after simmering in the crock pot all day. Here’s where the egg boats come in! If you leave the bread that you remove from the baguettes out on a plate over night, it will harden a bit, when you’re ready to make your meatballs – combine the bread crumbs with italian seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes to make your own homemade bread crumbs that will bind your delicious meatballs. I find that two eggs is always one too many, so start with one and see how it goes! Italian cooking is all about feeling and preference, always start light and add more of anything “too taste.” As you’re forming your meatballs, fill the crock pot with your sauce and turn it on low to start simmering. Bake the meatballs on 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until they are slightly brown (you don’t want them fully cooked). When they come out of the oven, place them in the crockpot and let them simmer for 6-8 hours. You won’t be sorry you had to wait all day to eat them – trust me!

*For an amazing twist, cut up pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese and place them in the center of your meatballs when forming them. When you cut into them for dinner, the cheese will be perfectly melted and make a wonderful contrast for any roll or pasta you eat with them!

Pumpkin Pie Slow Cooker Oatmeal – Not so Successful

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WARNING: The picture is far from what this recipe turns out to look like. I thought it would be a delicious alternative to your typical breakfast foods on Christmas morning, so I told my family I had breakfast covered! Late Christmas Eve when my little brother went to bed and my dad started unloading presents from hidden corners of the house (my parents still like to pretend Santa’s real and we go with it because it means we get gifts from Santa and Mom & Dad each year), my mom and I started to make this recipe. It seemed simple enough; water, oats, pumpkin pie puree – typical ingredients for a pumpkin pie! We realized quickly however, that the water ratio in this recipe far exceeds the amount of “other stuff” you put into it. Our oats were floating in the six cups of water we advised to add, but we hoped for the best and let it simmer alllll nighttttt lonnnng. When we woke up, the kitchen smelt amazing (so this could be a great alternative to a candle if you ever feel the need to boycott Yankee), but the soup we were left with was quickly washed down the drain. It was basically spiced flavored water with oat pieces and that doesn’t sound too appetizing does it? Final outcome – don’t try this at home.

BBQ Turkey Calzones – Success (once a month at least)

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I know what you’re thinking – the title says BBQ turkey but the picture looks a lot like corn and broccoli. When I first tried this recipe I was a vegetarian, but that no longer stands after living in Tennessee and loving BBQ food way too much. My current variation on this recipe is as follows, and you don’t even need marinara sauce on the side! Pillsbury regular pizza dough works best and is the easiest to mold around the filling. Cook lean ground turkey meat in a pan until full cooked, then transfer to a tupperware container and shake up with Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Sauce. Roll our your pizza dough on a pre-greased baking sheet and cut in half horizontally. On each half drizzle some more BBQ sauce, sprinkle a meaningful amount of sharp cheddar cheese, and add a heaping spoonful of the ground turkey. It’s all about the folding and tucking at this point, which could take some practice, but if you folder it over once and pinch the sides while doing so, you should be in a good spot. Then poke a few holes in the top with a fork and bake on 425 for about 15 minutes. These are the easiest and most delicious calzones ever with a BBQ twist.

Salted Carmel Mug Cake – I SOOOO WISH IT WAS SUCCESSFUL 

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Oh how I wish this recipe was as delicious as I would’ve expected it to be. Salted Carmel Cake? In 2 minutes? I should’ve known it was too good to be true. I also should’ve known that when spooning the flour and sugar into a mug and putting into a microwave, I probably wouldn’t get the molten cake taste I was hoping for. I made this recipe while living in Nashville and everything was amazing in Nashville, so I had high hopes for how it would turn out. It looked AMAZING when it came out of the microwave so after (not so) patiently waiting for it to cool, we dug our spoons in and were ready for an amazing dessert… what did we get, you ask? A mouth full of brown colored flour and a not so melted caramel center. Sorry folks! But baking a real cake would be so much more satisfying.

Funfetti Cake Dip – SUCH A SUCCESS 

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First of all when something that sounds amazingly delicious starts with the word “skinny,” I’m all in! This was another find while in Nashville that I now make way more often than I should. It is probably the easiest recipe out there an so versatile! We’ve used vanilla wafers, teddy grahams and chocolate or cinnamon graham crackers – you literally can’t go wrong! Remember dunkaroos when you were a kid? Picture that but then times better and in a practically unlimited quantity! Make sure you use a big mixing bowl, because this recipe yields enough to last two people two whole weeks and if you keep it covered – it will do just that (it goes bad when the expiration on the yogurt does). The recipe says 2 cups yogurt to one cup cool whip… two tips: make sure you get vanilla greek yogurt (plain gives it a really bitter taste) and instead of adding one cup of cool whip, add half of a small container, you’ll thank me later!

Chicken Parm Wraps – Success

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You will feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven, but you’re actually just eating the best thing since sliced bread. Who doesn’t love chicken parm? Now it’s wrapped up in a easy-to-handle tortilla and loaded with cheese? My first thought is this has to be illegal, my second? I’m never telling (well except to all of you). The only way I would tweak this recipe is by saying don’t bake the chicken for quite as long as the recipe says, it’s okay to leave it a little uncooked at first because you’re baking it again once it’s in the wraps. Also, it’s a good idea to brush the wraps will olive oil and maybe sprinkle some garlic powder on them before baking to make sure they get that golden color and have a ton of flavor! Homemade french fries are the perfect side to have with these wraps and if you cut up the potatoes beforehand, season them will olive oil, salt, pepper, season salt and bread crumbs, they’ll be ready to bake on the same temperature as the wraps! Just make sure you put them in the oven when you start baking the chicken because they take some time – but they are so worth it!

These are just a few of the many different recipes I’ve tried off of Pinterest, and you know, blogging about food wasn’t as hard as I anticipated so I may have to do some more of these in the future. While I significantly changed a lot of these recipes, everyone has different tastes, so if you don’t want to try it my way I’ll totally understand. If you do wind up trying any of these “successes” however, or even a not-so-successful one to prove a point, I want to know about it! Cooking is one of my favorite things to do and I love food almost as much as I love music. I believe they are two things can be happily shared amongst friends and family – so the only thing you have to promise me is that you’ll share these recipes with people you love. Deal? Good.

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