Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oven Fried Squash

My grandfather is retired and is constantly starting new projects or picking up new hobbies to keep himself busy.  This summer, the activity of choice was a garden.  Thank goodness!  I think this is much more realistic than his last hobby which I can only describe as preparing for the apocalypse.  For Christmas his gifts to my mother and I were car survival kits, complete with candles, freeze dried food, matches, small pots, flashlights, and power bars.  When I went away to Costa Rica, he gave me all sorts of hidden weapons to defend myself like a mini nunchuk and a flashlight with a blinder. Needless to say, this gardening hobby is much more up my alley!

Right now the garden is mostly producing zucchini and squash, which is perfect because those happen to be my favorite vegetables.  The zucchinis and squash that he's been giving me are absolutely GIGANTIC and I was worried that they would be too seedy in the middle to use.  But they aren't so I started to put them to good use.

One of my favorite recipes that my mom used to make was fried zucchini and squash.  She would dip squash and zucchini in an egg wash, bread crumbs, and then fry them in her electric frying pan.  I ate them like chips, to the point where I think I could eat a pound in the blink of an eye.  Now that I think about it, that's kind of gross because my mom used to put them on a paper towel for the oil to drain a little bit and the paper towels would be totally soaked through and puddles would form on the plate. 

Well now that I'm older and actually like the taste of vegetables more than grease (most of the time), I wanted to think of a healthier and lighter way to make it.  Not to mention, frying is kind of pain in the butt because it makes a big mess and sprays oil all over the place.  I decided to try to make them in the oven, which would completely eliminate the oil component. It worked and they were delicious! I only used squash this time around because the zucchini was so gigantic that the slices would have lost the fun chip-like quality.  The only thing I would change is to raise the oven temperature at the end of the cooking time so that the bread crumbs crisp up a little more.  Also, although I think they are perfect plain, I'd like to try to find some sort of dipping sauce (maybe something with lemon and basil?).  These are so easy, delicious, healthy, and addictive so try it out!  The recipe is after the pictures :)

Oven Fried Squash

  • 2 medium squash, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. 
  2.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. In one small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini slices into the egg whites, then coat the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn over and bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, until browned and crispy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Yay, it's my first post with food!  It's going to be kind of long because it's sort of three dinners in one.  I didn't want to bore anyone with 3 pizza posts in a row so I combined them into one.

Today I chose pizza because, well, I love it. Why do I love it so much?  Because I love carbs and I love cheese. And considering those are the main components of any pizza, it's the perfect meal for me.  But I'm too broke to order pizza every day so I realized that I needed to learn how to make it cheaply so I could indulge and save at the same time.  In addition to homemade pizza being cheaper, it's way less greasy.  This saves on calories and time because patting the pizza with a napkin to soak up the puddles of grease is no longer a necessity!

Also, I think pizza is one of the many great bases for any other type of food you might be in the mood for.  Other wonderful bases include eggs, sandwich bread, pasta, chicken, and salad greens.  What I mean by "base" is that you can put pretty much anything you want on it and it's bound to taste pretty good as long as you like the way the ingredients you chose combine on your taste buds.

I'll give you an example with something I crave often.  Artichoke hearts.  Love 'em but they're kind of expensive so I want them often but buy them rarely so when I do save up enough pretty pennies to buy them, I try to use them in as many ways as I can.  Enter the wonderful world of bases.  I could chop them up and combine them with some onions, cheese, and eggs to make an omelet.  Or I could put them on a sandwich with some salami, provolone, onions, tomato, and oil and vinegar dressing. If I'm in a pasta mood I could toss them in with some linguine, spinach, and olive oil.  If I'm feeling like more of a carnivore, I could make chicken breasts stuffed with artichokes and ricotta.  And if I'm trying to watch my figure, I can put them on a salad with roasted red peppers, feta, and kalamata olives.  See what I mean?  The bases are delicious on their own but can also be used as a kind of... an edible platter for what you REALLY want.

Alright, enough rambling. On to the pizzas!  I'm not going to write a formal recipe for this one because there are so many variations.  However, I am going to explain the process, which is super easy.  But if you're anything like me (lacking common sense), sometimes it's tricky to figure out dirsimple things the first time without being explicitly told what to do.

I made three very different pizzas but the first couple steps are always the same. 

To get ready, you need to spray a bowl with cooking spray and put your dough (I just use the grocery store brand refrigerated dough in a bag.  Budget, remember?) in it to rise according to the directions on the package.  Spray a piece of wax paper with cooking spray and cover the dough.

When the dough has risen and you're ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 if you're using a pizza stone or 350 if using a cookie sheet.

If you're really fancy and have a pizza stone, stretch out the dough to fit the pizza stone. You don't need to spray the stone.  If your kitchen isn't quite as fully developed, just grab a cookie sheet.  When using a cookie sheet, you DO need to spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray and then stretch the pizza dough to fit the cookie sheet.  You can form a crust if you'd like or just leave it flat if you're not a crust person.

Now put the sauce on.  This could be pesto, pizza sauce, olive oil, salsa, eggs (TWO BASES?!?! We're gettin' crazy here), or any other spread/sauce that you want. For my pizzas I used sauce on one, egg on another, and olive oil on the last.

Now the toppings!  This where you can get creative and let your taste buds and stomach do the decision making. For one of my pizzas, I was feeling very indecisive so I made half with red peppers, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, and onions and the other half with red peppers, artichoke hearts, and olives.  For the other pizza, I wanted to make a breakfast pizza so I topped it with eggs (two of them; beat as if you were going to make scrambled eggs and then poured onto the dough), broccoli, and red peppers.  For the third pizza, I used spinach (a whole frozen package), mushrooms (one package, sliced), garlic, and artichoke hearts.  I sauteed all of the ingredients until the mushrooms were lightly cooked and put them on the dough.

Then cover the toppings with lots of cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese.  I add so much cheese that you can barely see the toppings.  That might be a little excessive for some people and to those people I say... "You're crazy!".  I have a cheese problem. For the first pizza, I used a pizza blend.  For the breakfast pizza, I used a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar.  For the third pizza, I used a container of feta and half of a bag of mozzarella.

Lastly, put the pizza in the oven to bake.  I haven't found an exact science as to how long to cook the pizza because it depends on what you use for the sauce and toppings and how packed the pizza is with goodies.When using a pizza stone, it takes about 15-20 minutes.  If using a cookie sheet, it takes about 25-30 minutes.  I generally just keep an eye on it and take it out when the crust is slightly browned and cheese is totally melted.  Make sure to check the bottom as well. Just lift the edge of the pizza with a spatula to make sure that it's not sticking to the pizza stone or cookie sheet.  It should be slightly brown and firm when the pizza done.

Now pictures :)  Here's pizza #1 The pictures contain legitimate kitchenware because I made these at my mother's house.

 And here's pizza #2, the breakfast pizza.
 So the yellow stuff all around the pizza is the egg.  I poured it on too quickly and didn't have a large enough crust so it spilled out onto the pan.  Whoops. It didn't affect the pizza at all, it just looks kind of gross.  Next time I would probably either make a larger crust or cook the egg a little bit before putting it on the dough.

Pizza #3.  I consider this my masterpiece.  My mother said it was better than a pizza shop's pizza. Maybe she was just being nice or maybe I'm a culinary genius.

That's all for now!  I hope this inspires you to make your own pizza for less money, with less fat, and with whatever ingredients your heart desires :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Oh hello there!

Hi!  As it says in the info, my name is Kelsy and I'm a graduate student who loves food.  Therefore, I'm on a mission to teach myself to cook, stay on a budget, and build my recipe repertoire.  We'll see how it goes.

As for the name of the blog... I'm not very creative so my sister came up with it.  She's not very creative either.  But it works because all three adjectives are very true.

Broke - I am a fulltime student. I have no money.  And at this point I have no form of income.  That's right.  None.  So when I post pictures, please excuse how terrible they will look.  First of all, my camera barely works because I dropped it in the sand on my vacation to the Dominican Republic. Secondly, I have a severe lack of kitchen utensils.  By that I mean I don't have real plates so right now I have some left over plastic plates that I found in my mom's garage. Also, I only have a frying pan right now.  Yep, that's it.  So hopefully my housemates and I will acquire more equipment soon and I'll buy things when I happen upon some spare cash.

Bored - I have no real hobbies.  I study because I want to get a job some day.  I work out to counteract how much I love food.  I do like reading but after reading textbooks all day, more reading just doesn't sound like that much fun.  Now that I'm transitioning into the real world, I figured I'd need to pick up some hobbies to keep myself busy considering I used to live in a sorority house with 22 other girls and now I live in an apartment by myself in a town where I don't know anyone (I know, I know, cry me a river).  So I decided that I would teach myself to cook because I am not the type of person that could be okay with eating Ramen noodles 5 days a week and (as previously explained) I'm WAY too poor to buy takeout.

Hungry -  I have a problem.  I have the appetite of a linebacker. I can eat more in one sitting than most people I know. And even after binge eating, I will inevitably be hungry again within an hour or two.  So if I'm going to be feeding my face all the time, I might as well make it a little interesting and a lot tasty :)

Well, that's all for now.  Tomorrow will be my first post with food in it.  Right now I need to go back to watching the Packers beat the Colts in preseason football!