You can’t go wrong with either of the following two things: cheese stuffed bread, or fandom-inspired recipes.  This recipe is both, so I don’t know what the hell you’re waiting for.  😛

These cheese buns are supposedly Katniss’ favorite food that Peeta makes in the Hunger Games, and if they’re anything like I do them, I can see why.  Warm, melty mozzarella inside garlicy, butter and herb topped dough with more cheese on the outside = all sorts of nommery.  And a great snack, too.  They absolutely HAVE to be warm, though, otherwise they’re not as good.

Peeta’s Stuffed Cheese Buns
Makes 18

  • 1 c warm water (I used warmish water from the tap)
  • 2 T yeast (2 packages, use whatever you have handy)
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • ¼ c melted butter (plus a few t extra for topping)
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 3 c flour
  • 2 t salt
  • appx 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • parmesan cheese (how much you’ll use depends on you)
  • fresh herbs to mix with the melted butter (I used oregano and marjoram)

Combine your water and yeast in your mixing bowl, and let sit for about five mintues.  It should be frothy by the time you get back.  Then, add everything except the salt (sugar, garlic powder, melted butter, olive oil, flour), and mix until combined.  If you’re one of the lucky fuckers out there who owns a stand mixer, you can use one of those.  Don’t have one? Get a wooden spoon and your hands.  Then, add your salt.

Proceed to knead for ten minutes (I used my bowl, as it was large enough, and the kneading felt satisfyingly like punching faces), and then cover and let sit for a half hour.  Pictures one and two are what your dough should look like before and after.

Take your fresh mozzarella, and tear chunks off (however much you want, but careful that you don’t do too much, or it’ll explode out the bun, as you’ll see later).  Place the chunk at the center of a piece of torn dough, and pinch together your dough, so that you have a nice ball.  Place on a lined baking sheet, sprinkle some parm on top, and repeat until your sheet is filled.  While this is happening, preheat your oven to 375 (350 if it’s a hot little bitch like mine). 

Bake your buns for about 13 minutes (this seems to be the sweet point for getting perfect golden buns, and not too much cheesesplosion), and then remove from heat.  If you have too much cheese, or didn’t pinch your dough well enough, you may have a cheesesplosion along the lines of picture 4 above.  This is okay.  Just means more cheese for you later.  😉

Let your buns rest for five minutes.  While this is happening, melt a few T of butter, and then combine with a sprinkle of fresh oregano and marjoram, and garlic powder.  As soon as the buns are cooled a bit, brush the buttered herb topping on top!

What happens when you take a bite into them are the last two pictures.  Glorious, cheesy goodness.  8D

Using the broiler on a hot day like today may seem a bit counterintuitive, but these bell pepper bites are absolutely worth it.  A lot of stuff for this can be substituted if you don’t have it on hand, especially the type of cheese you use.

Bell Pepper Bites
Unable to tell how long exactly this lasted; at least three sides, but the leftovers were destroyed when the old fridge shat out

  • 4 assorted bell peppers, deseeded and cut into bite size pieces
  • cheese enough to cover each bell pepper piece (I got an 8 oz block of smoked cheddar goat cheese, there’s probably 2 to 3 oz left)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t rice vinegar

Take your bell pepper pieces, and slice up your cheese (or sprinkle if shredded) and assemble on a foil lined baking sheet, so that the bell peppers are topped with cheese.  Turn on your broiler, and cook for appx five minutes, until the cheese is melty and almost golden brown (see pic 2). While they’re cooking, combine your olive oil and rice vinegar. Once done, remove, put in your container, and sprinkle with the olive oil/rice vinegar mixture.

Summer means that it’s a great time for dishes that feature fresh tomatoes, and seafood.  So, why not combine all of these with some awesome cheese?  Why not, indeed.

Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp and Feta
Lasts appx 4 meals

Ingredients

  • 5 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T olive oil
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, deveined and peeled (the package I got came that way, except for the tails)
  • 4 oz crumbled feta
  • 2 T lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 450 (mine was at 425 due to its tendency to run hot), and put your tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper in your baking dish.  Toss, put the cover on, and put in the oven for 20 mins.  Then, remove from the oven, and add the shrimp, feta, and lemon juice, and toss.  Put back in the oven for another 12 mins or so, until the shrimp is fully cooked).

Eat with some crusty bread to soak up the extra juices.  😉

Hey folks!  The long weekend rearranged my priorities cooking wise slightly, so I haven’t really cooked prior to now.  (Yay for cookouts/viewing parties where you don’t have to contribute food!)

So, sometimes you have cravings.  Mozzarella has been high on my list, and I seriously need to try and make it myself with the amount that I’m going through it as of late.  This is another way to try and satisfy these cravings.  😛

Personal note re: pastry shell: be sure you thaw it for at least 24 hours in the fridge before you use it.  I accidentally opened the shell and thawed it after, so it was likely a little dry.

Tomato and Mozzarella Tart
Lasts appx 5 meals

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz puff pastry (I used frozen)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 1 pound (appx 4) plum or roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • a dash salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 8 oz mozzarella (I used presliced log mozzarella, the original recipe recommends grated)
  • 2 T fresh basil

Heat your oven to 425, and arrange your puff pastry so that it fits on a baking sheet.  I cobbled together two separate puff pastry sheets to get what you see above.  Fold over the edges of the pastry over by a half inch, and brush with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the shell, and poke the shell with a fork so that there are holes all over (and I mean all over; I didn’t get the body the first time through, and when I checked it in the oven, it was puffing up to a ridiculous degree).  While this is happening, combine the olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic, and dry the sliced tomatoes (and sprinkle with a bit of salt).

Put it in the oven for 15 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 and bake until golden brown and crisp (usually another 10 to 15 mins).  Remove from heat, and take the oven back up to 425.  While the tart cools, tile on the mozzarella and tomatoes, and sprinkle with the garlic oil.

Return the tart to the oven, and bake until deep golden brown and the cheese melts (appx 15 mins).  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh (or dried) basil (half amount if using dried).

So, this blog’s inaugural post is Budget Bytes’ Tangy Tomato Pasta!  Honestly, part of the reason that I picked this recipe was because it’s super cheap (most of these things, except for feta and maybe the tomato paste, should probably already be in your pantry), and because it’s super quick (this took about fifteen minutes, tops). Great if you’re feeling lazy (or, in my case, throat achey), or if you’re running low close to payday. 

Also, a note: I cook for one, and I’ll try to give you an idea of how long recipes last me, instead of servings. If this is my first time cooking a recipe (which, in this case, it is), I’ll likely edit it after the fact.

Tangy Tomato Pasta
Lasts appx 5 meals

Ingredients

  • Pasta (whatever amount you have handy, and whatever you have in your pantry; alternatively, whatever’s cheapest)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Several cloves garlic, chopped (I tend to go a little heavier on the garlic; the recipe originally calls for one clove, can be done to taste)
  • Pinch dried basil, dried oregano, salt, rosemary, dried thyme, crushed red pepper (oops, forgot this), black pepper (you can go dried, ground, or fresh, whatever you have handy, really, for all of these)
  • 3 oz tomato paste (half a 6 oz can)
  • ½ t honey 
  • 3 oz feta (half a 6 oz package)

Boil a pot of water.  While you wait for it to reach a heavily rolling boil, in a separate skillet, turn the heat to medium to medium high, and combine the olive oil with the chopped garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, rosemary, dried thyme, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.  Stir, and wait for it to start sizzling, and then cook for one more minute.  Add the tomato paste, turn the heat down to medium, and stir and cook until the mixture is a few shades darker red (appx 2 mins).  Turn off the heat, and add the honey.  Once the pot is boiling, cook the pasta per the instructions, drain, and then add to the skillet and stir until the pasta is coated.  Add the feta (either 2 oz straight to the skillet and stir to combine, with the remainder for garnish, or just all of it to the skillet). 

And then, nom!