Occasionally I come across a cooking tip that’s too awesome not to share.

Garlic Chicken RW

Roasting a small bird for dinner?

Don’t want to pull out the big roasting pan and rack?

Love roasted garlic?

Love roasted garlic so much you could eat it by the spoonful?

Then this tip is for you!

Instead of propping your bird up on a fancy schmancy rack that you’d just have to wash later anyway, prop your bird up on a few heads of garlic with the tops chopped off.  It’ll get your bird up off the bottom of the pan for more even cooking, provide aromatics to help flavor your bird and BONUS you’ll have heads of roasted garlic for dinner or just for snacking.  It’s genius.  Pure genius.

For this bird I used four heads of garlic.  I stuffed the cavity with fresh basil from the garden plus a cut orange (I was out of lemons).  I brushed the bird with melted butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Roasted for an hour at 375 degrees, then flipped the bird over and doused with more butter and seasoning.  Baked for another hour.

So simple and so tasty. From this one quick and easy recipe I got ALL of the following:

1) A four pound chicken to eat for dinner

2) The most delicious butter sauce for drizzling or making into gravy

3) Roasted garlic

4) A chicken carcass for stock made in the crockpot

So go forth and roast some chicken and garlic my internet friends, roast away.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What are your favorite roasted chicken seasonings?

Title Ranch Dip RW

When life gives you holiday parties, make ranch dip I always say.

Okay, that’s a lie.  I rarely ever say that.  Mostly because I rarely ever eat ranch dip.  I think it’s the texture and the fact it always always always reminds me of chugging super strong salad dressing.  Not that I’ve ever done that.  Seriously, I’ve never done that.  I’m a modest salad dresser and that’s putting it mildly.

This ranch dip recipe fixes all that.  I’m taking a few liberties by using the word “recipe” here since this is more of a to taste sort of thing.

I like sour cream in moderation.  I like mayonnaise in moderation.  I just don’t like them in my dips.  What I do like and don’t feel nearly as bad about chugging (not that I’ve ever done that, seriously I’ve never done that) is low fat cottage cheese.  It tastes better, the texture is better and best of all it’s better for you.  Although pretty much anything is better for you than mayonnaise amiright?

So here’s all you need to do to make the BEST ranch dip ever.

Two Ingredient Ranch Dip


Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Packet

The Haps

This is why I’m having a difficult time calling this a recipe.  I never measure.  Ever.  Depending on how many people I need to feed, I dump some cottage cheese into the blender or food processor (I never dump the whole tub because Sweetey Petey loves cottage cheese and he’ll want some later.)  Then I sprinkle in some ranch seasoning.  I whir it all together into a smooth consistency, taste test, add more seasoning if needed and whir some more.  Repeat as necessary.

That’s it.  Fabulously tasty.  Fabulously thick for dipping.  Completely customizable to your level of ranchy preference.  Oh, and it’s super simple as well.  Comes together in seconds!  Unless you are too lazy to wash the food processor and your blender stinks and requires a little bit of prodding with a spoon, then it’s more like minutes.  Still.  Very little prep work and no measuring cups to wash afterwards!  And isn’t it really all about how many dishes you have to wash anyway?

– Joanna

Oh!  Sorry the blog has been a bit sparse lately.  I’ve been working on painting the nursery (no VOC so no lectures please) and unboxing and organizing and boxing and organizing the mess that’s been shoved behind our bar for the past six months.  Also, I’ve been reading a lot more lately.  I had forgotten how awesome it feels to just sit and read a book.  Quietly.  With no distractions.  Bliss.  Anyway, coming up on Friday is Thrift Gift Facelfit and hopefully Monday The Husband will be in to give you a tutorial on that funky picture I posted the other day and made you guess on.  I’m also going to write up a review of Girl Reinvented by Ann Moore (Allchin) of Cooking Dangerously fame.  Not sure when I’ll get to that, but hopefully soon.  That’s the plan Stan.  Do I have any readers named Stan?  If so, show yourself please.

Oh Oh, as another aside, I really hate photographing white things.  Also, yellow flowers.  That is all.

Question of the Day:  To dip or not to dip . . .  that is the question. 

Believe it or not I do on occasion get requests for blog posts, thank you Tortillas and Honey!  Go check out their post on Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches or Tres Leches Pumpkin Flan if you haven’t gotten your pumpkin fix in this season yet.  Although don’t forget canned pumpkin is not seasonal, mmmm K?

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This particular request was for an Apple Cranberry Pie I tweeted about last week. Aside from pumpkin of course, it’s my all time favorite pie for the holiday season and a tradition I’ve started and withheld for the past four years.  I’m finally old enough to start my own holiday traditions right?

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I realized over the weekend that my last post made it sound like I used all the items from my Foodie Pen Pal box to make rice pudding.  Yes, that would include Kelp Granules.  That’s not entirely true.  I actually made two recipes from the box of goodies.  It was a necessity because it turns out Kelp Granules don’t taste very good in rice pudding.

I’m going to focus on the rice pudding today so the second recipe will have to wait till later on in the week.

Sorry to be a blog tease.

Back to the pudding.

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If you recall, I received the following box of goodies from Sonya in the Foodie Pen Pals exchange.

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25. June 2013 · 15 comments · Categories: Recipe · Tags: , ,

The second in our five part recipe series is Chocolate Malt Fudge Sauce.  While this sauce is destined to be in cupcakes, between cupcakes and atop cupcakes, it would make an excellent ice cream topping.  At least that’s what Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook’s author Christina Tossi tells us.  Spoonfuls straight outta the fridge are okay in my book too though.  It’s quite thick when refrigerated but moves quite nicely when hit with a few seconds of heat.  Aka the microwave.

Chocolate Malt Fudge Sauce RW 2

So, let’s recap.

Today we are making Chocolate Malt Fudge Sauce.

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Yesterday we made Chocolate Malted Milk Crumb.

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This week will be full of mini recipes in preparation for my 5 year old nephew’s birthday party!

My job was cupcakes and seriously, I couldn’t have been happier with the assignment.

So, what will we be making today?

Today we’ll be making Chocolate Malted Milk Crumb.

Chocolate Malted Milk Crumb RW

Then Chocolate Malt Fudge Sauce.

Then Chocolate Cake.

Then Chocolate Malt Ovaltine Soak.

Then Chocolate Malt Frosting.

All adapted just slightly from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.

Here’s what we’re working towards.  Chocolate Malt Cupcakes.

Cupcakes RW

Here we go.

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I hate to call this a recipe.  It’s more like a way of life.

While we strive to eat mostly fresh foods, processed foods creep in.  I have a toddler whose favorite hobby is holding onto Mama’s legs and squealing while I’m trying to make dinner.  Processed foods are inevitable.  Cereal.  Crackers.  Have you tried Blue Diamond Nut Thins?  I’m addicted to the Smokehouse flavor.  Wholly Guacamole.  This isn’t super processed but it’s still prepackaged so let’s throw it onto the list.  Mac ‘n Cheese.

Ahhhh Mac ‘n Cheese.

The stuff of toddler dreams.

I usually buy Annie’s Natural Mac ‘n Cheese.  Mostly because the ingredients list isn’t bad at all and it goes on sale for a buck a box pretty often.  But even though I buy it from the organic aisle I still scoff a little at the sodium content.

We’re supposed to be decreasing our sodium intake people.  It’s a thing.  We’re all just supposed to do it.

How do I get around this in a box of processed food then?  Simple.

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Midwestern Bite Foodie Pen Pals Soda Sauce Titled RW

Hello internet friends!

If you’re new here, let me fill you in on a not-so-secret secret,  The last day of the month on Midwestern Bite pretty much always means Foodie Pen Pals and the Chopped Challenge.  It’s my blogging claim to fame.  I love it.  My readers love it (at least Aly seems to like it anyway.)  The Husband who gets to eat what I concoct loves it.  He was especially fond of the brownie challenge.  The ice cream challenge ranked pretty high on his list too (even despite the giant plastic rat I posed it with.)  Oh, and Big Balls . . . cause it was funny and he got to pose for some hilarious pictures.  Wait.  No.  The really funny pictures of him, blindfolded, were in the caramel apple butter challenge.

I’ve clearly been doing this awhile.  In fact, you could even say I’m an expert.  The fact I’m the only one who does the Chopped Challenge at all is irrelevant to my expert status.

Here’s the Haps.  The Lean Green Bean organizes a cool program called Foodie Pen Pals.  You sign up and get matched with two other pen pals, one who you sends you a fifteen dollar foodie box… and one that will receive a foodie box you send.  That way you meet two new foodie friends per month.  My twist since I started the program over a year ago has been to take the entire box of random goodies I receive and create a recipe from it.

Yes, the entire box.

Yes, last month I totally combined dried mushrooms, chocolate, mint and coconut.  And it was totally tasty.

This month’s Chopped Challenge is actually from a box I received late a few months back.  I sorta forgot to sign up for the program in May.  Whooops.  I won’t make that mistake in June.  Luckily I had the late box from February to fall back on so I didn’t disappoint you all today.

Here’s what I received:

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Way back around Valentines Day I got the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook.  So far I’ve only made one recipe . . . The Birthday Layer Cake.  I turned the recipe into cupcakes for my Grandma’s 90th birthday though.  My nephew said he liked them better than Panera’s Mac ‘n Cheese.  That’s high praise from a five year old.  High praise indeed. 

No, I did not take any pictures and I stink for that but I plan on making this recipe again.  I did borrow a pic from the Momofuku webpage so you’d have something pretty to look at.  Here’s what the real deal looks like.

Birthday Cake R

This one recipe contains four parts.

1 recipe Birthday Cake

1 recipe Birthday Cake Soak

1 recipe Birthday Cake Frosting

1 recipe Birthday Cake Crumb

It’s the Birthday Cake Crumb I’d like to talk about.

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Some time ago, Dad introduced you to our favorite local pizza joint.  I encourage you to hit that up and read about the colorful history of Larry Dinolfo and his culinary hero status in our hometown.  Dad did such a great job there I can’t add much.  Needless to say, it was a very special kitchen in which to grow up. At one stage of my life, Larry offered candy necklaces and fun singalongs… colorful stories at another stage… then dirty jokes… and later some… *ahem*… wisdom on courting the opposite sex.

Who knew college was supposed to be like a doughnut factory?

Larry knew.

Today I’m here to share a tribute to Larry and his famous Garlic Salad Dressing. Prepare yourself for a life-changing event.  You won’t be the same after.

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I’m writing this up instead of Joanna because it might not be the healthiest recipe in the world.  Dad spent way too many hours after Larry passed perfecting this tribute and I refuse to allow The Wife to ruin it by attempting substitutes like tofu for pepperoni and condensed quinoa sweat or something instead of salad oil.

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