Gussy Up Glass Plates

When Journey Chic had a call for guest posts I was psyched and had a few projects in mind. For as many serving vessels as I have, I don’t have many dishes that aren’t huge platters. I saw these dressed up plates on Pinterest and thought ‘done’. Check out my guest post (as well as some other rockin’ projects) at Journey Chic.

I’m not quite as crafty as I’d like to be. I had a flopped glass etching project but have since been more realistic with napkin rings and tile coasters. These plates were easy, cute, and totally cheap.
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“Ingredients”

Glass plate
1 sheet of scrapbook paper
pencil
mod podge
acrylic sealer
scissors
paint brush (foam or bristled)

Directions

Trace the paper to fit your glass plate.
Cut your traced line leaving ⅛ less on all sides.
My plates were squares so I worried about my ability to stay straight/even so I used scrap booking scissors that look like a jagged cut.
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Snip from the edge towards the center in the four corners (or 4 times for a circle).
Brush the plate evenly with mod podge and stick the paper on (decorative side towards the glue). Prop it up with a jar lid or bottle underneath so you can easily paint with mod podge all the way to the edge.
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Smooth gently from the center towards the edges making sure wrinkles are out and all of the paper is stuck down.
Evenly spread mod podge over the paper allowing to dry between coats (1 or 2 coats).
Once fully dry spray paper side of plates with acrylic sealer in a well ventilated space.
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These looked really streaky before they dried but came out really nice in the end. I thought wrapping paper would have been fun to make birthday or holiday plates too. I’d advise against a directional design unless you can be really careful. I had a square plate and striped paper so the lines had to match up perfectly.
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I’m curious about trying it with fabric if it were soaked in mod podge. Hmmm. Maybe that’s a future test.
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Note that these can’t be submerged in water, they are more of a cookie plate. To clean, wipe them off and let air dry.

It seems like everywhere has plain glass plates for sale that are pretty cheap. Thrift stores usually have them too. I grabbed mine at Bed Bath & Beyond for only a few bucks per plate. I had the paper, mod podge, and sealer already so this was a very cheap craft. I will definitely keep this in mind next time I need to bring food to somebody then I don’t need the plate back!
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Cost breakdown:

Glass plate: $2.99
Scrapbook paper: $0.28 per page
Mod Podge: $7.00 which will last a lifetime
total: about $4.00

Pumpkin Pasta Perfection

I’ve made this simplified pumpkin pasta a few times since I first saw Rachael Ray make it but I hadn’t made it for real in awhile. This time I used leftovers and it wasn’t quite right. I made it for real just before moving since it only requires a few ingredients and the leftovers are pretty great too.
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I like the pumpkin puree since it coats like a sauce on pasta on it’s own and with just a few other ingredients this pumpkin pasta is a winner. It’s a nice pre-fall or mid-winter treat. I carefully avoid the overly pumpkin time in mid-November.

Ingredients

8 oz pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 pound pasta (something short)
2 sweet sausage links
1/2 cup chicken stock (or veggie stock)
4 tbs heavy cream

Directions

Boil water for the pasta.
Remove the sausage from the casing and brown in a skillet.
Mix pumpkin puree and stock over medium-low heat until heated through.
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When pasta is almost cooked drain and put it into a flat pan so it is only about one noodle deep
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Add in the sauce, sausage and cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the pasta is cooked al dente.
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Gently mix in heavy cream just before serving.

I chopped some fresh rosemary over the top too. I thought it was woodsy and I had some on hand. Sage would be good too. I sprinkled a little nutmeg in as well.
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I love this dish. It’s rich and flavorful but so simple. I think it’d be a great for guests.

Such a cheap dinner!

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

1/2 lb pene pasta: $0.75
1 can pumpkin: $1.79
2 sausage links: $1.42
chicken broth: 4 oz. chicken stock: $0.05 ($2.99 jar/25 cubes=11 cents per cube/cup)
heavy cream: $0.16
total = $4.17 and serves 3-4 ($1.39 per serving)

Mashed Potato Pizza Pie

I had to! I’ve been remembering the Pizzaria Uno’s “Pizza Skins” aka deep dish pizza with mashed potatoes and all the fixings ever since I first made a sliced potato pizza last year.
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All my stars aligned when I was thinking what I could make for dinner without having to grocery shop. I live to avoid grocery shopping. I had a frozen ball of dough, a scant amount of cheddar cheese, a bag of potatoes, and of course I always have bacon!

Ingredients

1 ball of pizza dough (I used wheat here)
2 large potatoes
2 tbs butter
2 tbs cream cheese
1 cup cheddar, shredded
2 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Prepare mashed potatoes (I mix mine with butter and cream cheese and I left some chunks).
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Spread pizza dough into a circular cake pan or deep dish pizza pan. (I spread some jarred pesto, but it’s not crucial.)
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Layer with half the cheddar cheese and half the bacon.
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Carefully spread mashed potatoes.
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Bake for 40 minutes until edges of dough are crisping.
Immediately after removing from oven, top with remaining cheese and bacon.
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I liked this one. I thought it was fun and different with comforting flavors. I would have used more cheese if I had it. Sour cream, ranch dressing, or scallions would have been fun additions as well.

Since Mr. J and I would easily consume more bacon than our bodies neeeeeed, I freeze it in 2 strip packets (2 strips = 1 serving) and usually label it as maple, thick cut, etc. If I don’t, a lot seems to disappear between the pan and our plates. Unfortunately I hadn’t labeled my bacon so it was a gamble coming out of the freezer and turns out it was maple. That made it a tiny bit weird. Whatev…we ate it anyway.

You could make itty bitty ones in muffin tins for single size portions! These would be so cute for a tailgating party etc. You could also stretch it a lot further if you made a regular flat pizza, rather than a deep dish.
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Cost (be prepared to be amazed)

Mashed Potato Pizza

pizza dough: $1.50
2 potatoes: $1.58
1 cup shredded cheddar: $0.93
2 slices of bacon: $0.49
total = $4.50 for the pizza (=$1.12 per serving)

Yes, folks, $1.12 per serving (I assumed you had butter and cream cheese is optional). Can’t beat that Uno’s can ya?! (Ha! Theirs half the size is $9.49 near me!)

 

 

Super Sweet Potato Streusel

I’m sure you’ve been wondering about my fall potluck sweet potato dish that I referenced what feels like forever ago. I made a small batch using just 1 sweet potato but my recipe would feed about 8 as a side dish. I hope to make it for one of my holidays meals coming up.
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All the butter in this makes it so good…Paula Deen would approve. Personally, I wouldn’t scrimp on the quantitiy but I’m sure butter/margarine substitutes would work just fine. I figured I’d use actual butter since there were so few ingredients.

Ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes, peeled & boiled
1 & ½ sticks of unsalted butter, separated, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbs flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, ginger, and allspice)
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds

Directions

Boil peeled potatoes until cooked all the way through.
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Mix sugars, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 stick of butter until crumbly.
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Puree potatoes with ½ stick of butter until no lumps remain.
Roast nuts in a skillet on medium for about 5 minutes and add to crumb topping mix.
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Transfer potato puree into a baking dish.
Top with streusel crumbly topping and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and crisp.
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This was awesome! It felt like baking and it still came out great! This sweet potato dish feels like it could be dessert, but that’s kind of the norm with sweet potatoes.

I made a lot of topping because I like the texture combinations but making less would lighten this one up. I loved how rich and sweet it was. The topping gets too powdery if the butter is melted or too warm. You’re going for hunk o chunks of butter.
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Mmmm. So easy and it traveled well! I reheated the leftovers after the potluck and had it for lunch another day.

Are you watching your pennies this spend-happy-season? Here’s the breakdown:

Sweet Potato Streusel Costs:

3 sweet potatoes: $2.37
1 & ½ sticks of unsalted butter: $1.50
1 cup brown sugar: $0.32
1 cup white sugar: $0.65
2 tbs flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg, ginger, and allspice)
1 cup chopped walnuts, peacans, or almonds: $3.99
total =  $8.83 / 8 servings =$1.10 per person as a side dish

 

Butternut Squash Goes Layered

Ohh. So. Good.

I ate this at bookclub one night and was so impressed. I wanted to make it immediately. Martha sure knows what she’s doing. This is a great recipe and cooks so much faster than regular Italian lasagna.
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Butternut Squash Lasagna (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, roasted
16 oz ricotta cheese
½ cup cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
½ box lasagna noodles

Directions:

Roast butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 30 minutes at 425 degrees.
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Combine ricotta, cream cheese, egg yolk, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
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Mix squash and chicken stock over medium low heat.
To assemble lasagna: spread noodles on the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan; top with ricotta mixture and some cheese; layer more noodles; top with butternut squash mixture. Repeat laying noodles then ricotta and cheese, then noodles, then squash and repeating until all the layers are used. Sprinkle some cheese on top.
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Bake 30 minutes at 375.
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Mr. J LOVED this. I tried not to hype it up too much since that can end in disapointment but this was really great. I roasted the squash the night before to save some time too.

I tried to be really careful not to overcook the noodles. I was afraid everything would be too mushy so I also tried to leave some lumps with the squash.

I spread a little pre-made alfredo sauce on the bottom which was a nice touch. I did however forget to put the mozzarella and Parmesan until it was almost too late. I scooched a few layers up and snuck it in there. I thought it was more important to get the cheese in there than for the layers to look perfect.
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Umm let’s discuss how amazing the cream cheese mixed with ricotta is. YUM. Sooo good and I can’t believe I’ve never thought about it before! It’s a must-try!

I nixed the sage because I just wanted fewer ingredients in my dreaded grocery shopping trip. My friend put in some basil instead and we thought that was really nice…lighter than sage.

The lasagna was filling and really good. I ate it reheated for lunch a few days and continued to love it. I should attempt some more meat-less meals more often. Shhh! Don’t tell Mr. J ;)

Let’s do a little cost breakdown I’m so into right now!

Butternut Squash Lasagna (serves 6-9)
1 butternut squash: $1.89
16 oz. ricotta: $1.99
4 oz. cream cheese: $0.62
1 egg yolk: $1.24
16 oz. mozarella: $3.59
4 oz. Parmesan cheese: $1.98
8 oz. chicken stock: $0.11 ($2.99 jar/25 cubes=11 cents per cube/cup)
8 oz. lasanga noodles: $1.00
total cost = $12.42/9 servings = $1.38 per serving

Even cutting larger pieces (6 instead of 9) comes to $2.07 per serving!

Cheap & Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I have to do a price breakdown for these Chicken Enchiladas because they were so filling and actually used so few ingredients. Cheap? Easy? Quick? YES PLEASE!

I whipped these up for dinner in a hurry and was thrilled. They were really good and I’d never made enchiladas before. I don’t know what was stopping me.
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Ingredients:

1 chicken breast
1 tbs taco seasoning
½ yellow onion
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans
½ cup tomato sauce
1 ½ cup enchilada sauce
4 wheat tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar
½ cup salsa

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Dust chicken with taco seasoning before grilling it. Once cooked through, shred the chicken.
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Sautee the onions until almost translucent and add in the cooked chicken, corn, tomato sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
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Fill four tortillas with half of the cheese, and the chicken mixture.
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Place the filled enchiladas, seam side down, into a baking dish on top of ¼ cup of enchilada sauce.
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Top them with the rest of the sauce and bake for 20 minutes.
After taking them out of the oven, top with remaining cheese.
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I served the enchiladas with the best tortilla chips I’ve ever had. They’re Tostitos artisan recipe chips with roasted garlic & black bean. Yum. These are seriously really good.
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That was it! I thought they were filling and easy enough to just serve the enchiladas with some chips and salsa. Mr. J LOVED it. I was afraid it might be a bit too spicy for him but he really liked it. I tell ya, he loves anything with a sauce!

The enchilada sauce was much spicier before it was cooked. I’m not sure why. I got a mild canned sauce but I hear they’re not hard to whip up.

Chicken enchiladas would be an easy one to prep in advance and just assemble and bake when ready.  I’ll totally make them again. I still need to make my own taco seasoning…I use it so much and hate that it seems to only come in packets.
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Here’s the estimated cost breakdown I could come up with (thanks to the local Peapod listings):

Chicken Enchiladas (serves 4)

chicken: $1.50 (1 breast)
onion: $1.25 (1/2 of a onion)
black beans: $0.50 (1/2 of a can)
tortillas: $1.32 (4, 8” tortillas)
enchilada sauce: $2.00 (1 can)
shredded cheddar: $1.94 (1/2 bag)

total: $8.51 for 4 enchiladas ~$2.12 per serving.

Do you see that? Crazy! I already had frozen corn and salsa but the rest is totally cheap. The pricing really surprised me. I knew this meal was cheap but it makes a single $4 frozen enchilada look pitiful!