I've really been enjoying cooking and baking in the last little bit, but blogging time seems to be so scarce. So here are a few pictures, links to recipes, and short reviews. Enjoy! I know I have been! :)
Pretzel Dogs (or "Mummy Dogs" for Halloween) from Food Mayhem.
The pretzel dogs (we actually used bratwursts because of my husband's hot dog aversion) were pretty good. The part of the pretzel closest to the dog was still a little bit doughy; maybe a little bit longer cooking time would have helped? So those were only okay. But I still had leftover dough after assembling them, and I used it to make a few regular pretzels. And those were amazing! Seriously one of my favorite things I've ever made. I highly recommend! The only thing I did different was I just popped the ingredients into my trusty bread machine, since I am sadly without a mixer. Hint hint, Santa!
Southwestern Pot Roast and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes from For the Love of Cooking.
Really, really delicious! I love pot roast, and this was just a nice change with all of the southwest spices. The potatoes were heavenly too, although I followed her directions for roasting the garlic and it didn't seem like enough time. Several of the cloves stayed intact, making for huge garlic chunks in the potatoes. They were still really good, but I just needed my garlic to blend in more.
Baked Pumpkin Donuts from Cheeky Kitchen.
These had such promise. A donut that isn't deep-fried but still tastes good? I had to give it a try. Too bad that they were only okay. The dough was way too sticky to work with, so I kept having to add more and more flour. The flavor of the donuts themselves was pretty nice. But they were just extremely dry on the inside, and the glaze didn't dry like a regular donut glaze at all. It just made the outside extremely wet and sticky and wasn't all that tasty. Too bad. Maybe I would try again if I was going to fry them, and if I could find a better glaze recipe.
Homemade Noodles for Chicken Noodle Soup, also from For the Love of Cooking.
Make your own noodles. Please! Please make your own noodles! They are so, so good, and really not that hard. I actually tried a homemade pasta recipe from Pastor Ryan of PW fame, and it was extremely tedious. You had to knead the dough for-ev-er! I expect homemade noodles to be more work than just opening a package, but that took way too long for me to ever want to do it again. However, this recipe from For the Love of Cooking was great! The hardest part was rolling the dough out as thin as you possibly can (since the noodles get much thicker during cooking), but even that didn't take a lot of time. Just some elbow grease. And I actually thought cutting them up with my pizza wheel was a lot of fun! :) Also, you can make a ton of noodles at once, let them dry out completely, and freeze them for quicker use later. I tried this and they were still wonderful. So come on! You owe it to yourself to try homemade noodles at least once. F'realz. :)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Until recently I had never tried spaghetti squash. I'm not a huge fan of squash in general, and I always thought "Why would anyone want to eat a veggie instead of pasta?" I've been having great success losing my baby weight with Weight Watchers, however, and the point values were just too hard to ignore. One cup of spaghetti is 4 points. One cup of spaghetti squash is 0 points. As in, you can have as much as you want. No contest!
So I gave it a try. And the verdict? Pretty dang good! Definitely not the same as having a big serving of pasta, but I wasn't expecting that, so I could appreciate it for what it was. I actually tried some of it plain right after scraping it out and liked the subtle flavor of it. It would be awesome with some garlic and just a little bit of butter.
I served it with my marinara sauce, some chopped Romaine, and my mom's parmesan chicken recipe (which I have included below the squash recipe).
Why yes, I do suck at taking food photos. Why do you ask? And yes, I do have a horribly lit kitchen! How do you know these things about me? :) Despite the freaky picture, this food is scrumptious. Trust me.
Select a squash and try to cut it in half. Those suckers are hard! I had to use some muscle! Scoop out the yucky guts and seeds with a spoon. Spray a baking sheet with Pam and place the squash halves rind side up. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Use a fork to scrape it longways, pulling out the strands as you go. Serve warm.
2 c. dry bread crumbs
3/4 c. parmesan cheese (I just use the stuff in the can)
1/4 c. parsley
2 t. salt
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. pepper
Combine all ingredients but chicken and butter in a bowl. Dip chicken pieces in butter*, then in crumb mixture. Place on greased baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, then remove the tin foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
*Since I'm going for low-fat lately, I didn't dip the chicken in butter. I just sprayed a little Pam on each side before dipping it in the crumb mixture. My husband actually liked this better than the original because it wasn't quite as heavy. I don't think I liked it better. Butter = bliss. :) But it was still good.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
(Sorry, best picture I could get in a hurry to eat the deliciousness before it melted!)
I have a big container of yogurt in my fridge that needs to be used up, so I decided to make myself a smoothie for lunch. I just figured since it was vanilla yogurt, pretty much anything would go with it. So I threw in whatever I could find first in the freezer and blended it up. I swallowed my first bite. I stopped. I looked at the smoothie. I took another bite. I made my husband try a bite. We couldn't believe it! It tasted like My Grandma's English Trifle, which, if you've ever tried it, you know is one of the most delicious concoctions known to man. (And if you haven't tried it, what are you thinking?! Click on that recipe for pete's sake!)
What a fortunate accident! I will definitely be making a lot more of these before the weather gets too chilly. But first, let me share something with you about the way I make smoothies. I don't like to drink smoothies; in my book, they should be nice and thick and eaten with a spoon. And I've discovered that the way to achieve this is to have all of your ingredients except the liquid frozen. Buy a bunch of fresh fruit when it's on a good deal and freeze it yourself. Much cheaper! Use frozen yogurt if possible, too. Then add just a little bit of milk or juice.
Here's my best approximation of the ingredients:
The Trifle Smoothie
3/4 c. frozen peach slices
1/4 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 frozen banana, broken into chunks
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. milk
Place all ingredients in blender and pulse. You'll have to stir things around between uses of the blender, because it really is quite thick, and in the end you'll probably still have some good-sized chunks of fruit. But that's the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it! :)
Monday, June 14, 2010
My "homemade" marinara sauce recipe comes from my mom, who got it from one of the many kitschy cookbooks in her cupboard that she received for her wedding in 1971. Maybe Make-a-Mix Cookery? I'm honestly not entirely sure, but I will say that I L-O-V-E this sauce. It's really easy to throw together and super cheap if you get the canned ingredients on sale. Plus, it's tasty. Dang, is it tasty! I've gotten to the point where I literally can't handle the pasta sauce you buy in jars at the store. Blech. Choose to make this sauce instead, my child. It's worth it. :)
1 T. dried minced onion
1 T. parsley
1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. sugar
3/4 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 t. garlic powder
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
1 tomato sauce can of water
Combine sauce, paste, and water in a small pot. Add all other ingredients, and stir well. Cover and heat over medium-low for thirty minutes to let the flavors become friendly with each other, stirring occasionally.
Believe me when I say you need to cover it; this stuff splatters a lot, so if you don't use a lid you will have a red-spotted kitchen.
You can certainly sub in fresh onion/garlic/parsley for the dried if you choose, and you can add any other ingredient that suits your fancy: ground beef or sausage, chicken, mushrooms, peppers, etc. You can also puree veggies and mix them in, and your kids will never know what hit them. Surreptitious nutrition! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
I love to use this sauce on pasta, but it's also a great on pizza, meatball subs, parmesan chicken, and added into soup (I came up with my minestrone recipe while trying to use up leftovers of this sauce). It freezes well for later use, too. The possibilities are endless. And delicious!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I told a friend of mine the other day that I was going to make some scotcheroos. She gave me a blank look and I realized, to my horror, that she had never heard of these treats, let alone eaten one! So Ang, this post is dedicated to you (do you even read this blog?) and to anyone else who lives in the cold, dark world where scotcheroos don't exist.
These are just one of the many sugary delights I have made since having my baby a month ago. It's so wonderful to be able to eat this kind of junk and still lose almost all of my pregnancy weight. I've got to enjoy it while I can, too, because once I hit the six-week mark and can exercise again, I will probably try to eat more healthily and lose the weight from my first pregnancy! Maybe. We'll see. :)
1 c. corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. rice crispies
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
(Isn't that a lovely, simple recipe full of...um...wholesome...ingredients? No wonder these taste awesome!)
Heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and mix in peanut butter. Pour mixture over rice crispies in a large bowl and stir together. Press into a greased 9x13 pan.
Melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch together, and spread over the cereal mixture. Allow to cool and cut into squares. Try not to eat all of them before you can take a few samples to Angie. I'm not entirely sure that last step is going to happen for me.