Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipes You Learn Along the Way...

Going through life and minding your own business, you sometimes pick up useful tidbits from unlikely places. When I was in high school for instance, I was madly in love with this guy (which by the way I was scheduled to marry him in June of 2001, but that is a train-wreck for another time).

Anyway, I would go over to his parent's house and try to be as helpful and pleasant as possible. There were 5 kids in this household in a pseudo-Brady Bunch situation, and me being frequently-visiting type I am made it six. His mom's pantry was always full of tasty consumables, but trying to have a proper sit down meal around 6 teenagers was near impossible. She did eek it out sometimes to the tune of this cheap recipe. It could be served as any meal, and none of us complained when it was breakfast the next day. (not that I ever had it for breakfast at that time. I had to be home by midnight on Friday and Saturday thank you very much!).

Today's lesson, kids, is how to make Stromboli a la Bobby's Mom:

You will need:
1 package of frozen self-rising bread loafs (the kind I buy comes 3 to a package)
non stick cooking spray and saran wrap
1-2lbs. of breakfast sausage in your favorite flavor  (substitute chopped ham lunch meat for a healthier version)
1 large pack of shredded cheese that you like

Depending on how hot your kitchen is, you will need several hours to rise the frozen bread dough. Some people, who live in really well insulated homes, put it out before they go to work and it's risen enough to get by when they return after work. Putting it out about lunch time is average. Place the loaf in a well greased bread pan. (1 loaf feeds 2-3 people so rise the number that you need accordingly.) Spray the top of the loaf with more cooking spray, and loosely cover with a large piece of Saran-wrap. This will prevent the dough from drying out and/or sticking as it rises. Let the dough rise until it is about an inch over the edge of the pan.

When the dough has risen, or nearly risen, go ahead and fry up that breakfast sausage. One pound is enough for 2 loaves.When the sausage is sufficiently browned, for the love of God let some of the fat drain off on a few paper towels while you do the next step. Your heart will thank you later.

Pour some of that shredded cheese on a prep-plate, or just have it ready to get out of the bag, whatever.

Now this next bit might seem a little counter-intuitive after the whole, wait 10 hours for the bread to rise bit, but hear me out. The next thing you do is pop the dough and make a little trough in the middle like so:


n' trough

 The next step is laying down a layer of cheese, followed by a layer of meat, then more cheese.


Okay. The next two steps are tricky, so pay attention Myrtle. You are going to now seal up the loaf so that its guts are neatly encased. Simply fold over the edges and pinch them together. Gently now, don't get too rough:

Pinchy, pinchy
Now, if you're a bit lazy like myself, you can just pop it in the oven as is, and cook according to the bread bag's suggestions (usually like 20 minutes). But if you are a Polly Perfect and want to impress your son's girlfriend with your culinary skills, you can do the flip. Very carefully and oh so quickly, slide your hand under the entire loaf and flip it over so the pinchy side is down. Behold:

Now is not the time for pinching.

Flop! *raspberry noise*

Bake immediately as the teens are probably growing restless and pilfering bits of dough and cooked sausage. When it's done, slice it into pieces like any old loaf of bread. If you're a natural, it will look something like this:

I suppose could have put peppers and onions and other veggies in there if you like.

As a mom, you can try to do the respectable thing and serve this with a salad or something green, but let's be honest here, we're Americans. Grab a coke from the fridge, sit down in front of the tv, and enjoy the stromboli for what it is.

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