Thursday, March 7, 2013

Back Again

WOW!!! I can't believe that it has been that long since I lasted posted.  A lot has happened since then.  I have a new job and we now own a house.  Cooking and crochet are still my passions and I hope to write about them more frequently this time.

Here's to a new year and learning new things!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dessert Time

Most of the recipes in my box are desserts.  There is something about making a dessert and sharing it with other people that gives me such joy.  Today I am making a Snickerdoodle Cake.  It is not a recipe that I printed off, but from a book that I received at Christmas from my son Patrick.  I have been wanting to make this cake for awhile and never seemed to have the time or ingredients to make it.  But on this 3 day weekend - I am up for the challenge. 

Snickerdoodles are on of my favorite cookies and bring back such great memories of my mom in the kitchen.  I loved helping her with them.  Rolling the balls into the cinnamon & sugar mixture and then placing them on the baking sheet.  They would come out a perfect circle and absolutely yummy!  That is behind my thoughts that this cake can not possibly be bad. 

I've made the cakes and am waiting on them to cool.  Then it is on to the frosting.  As soon as I get some feedback on the taste I will post again and let you know all of the ins and outs of this "can't be not yummy" cake.

A Maybe

So, once again I went to the box.  This time it was Pork Chop & Spanish Rice Bake.  I was looking forward to this one because I love pork chops.  Not as much as chicken, but it is a close second.  My only problem this time was that it was only going to be me and my husband for dinner.  The boys had other plans and were gone for most of the weekend.  So, my only test subject was a man who is not so fond of pork.

This is one of those Campbell soup one pot recipes which are really nice on an evening when you get home late and don't want to eat at 8 p.m.  My one suggestion is don't add the corn until last and mix everything together well before you add the corn.  This way the spices are not just sitting on top when you put the pork chops on.  I changed the directions below to reflect that.

The boys did come home later that evening and ate some.  So I did get a family result.  I was not that keen on it, the hubby and one boy liked it and the other boy liked the meat part but not the rice part.  I think I might make this again, but I don't think it is cookbook worthy.  Anyway, here's the recipe~


1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbells Condensed Tomato Soup
1 cup water
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
3/4 cup uncooked regular long grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 boneless pork chops, 3/4 inch thick

Stir the soup, water, onion powder, black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the thyme in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.  Add the corn and mix in.  Top with the pork.  Sprinkle the pork with additional black pepper and the remaining thyme.  Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the rice is tender.

Recipe note:  For saucier rice, increase the water to 1-1/3 cups.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday Night Roast Chicken

I love chicken. Especially Roast Chicken. So, once again it was back to the cooking box. I found a Honey Roast Chicken recipe. My differences from the recipe were that I had an 8-pound roaster and did not make the sauce. My main problem was not with the recipe - it was that my chicken even after days of defrosting in the refrigerator was not totally thawed. My second mistake was trying to do all this while the Super Bowl was going on - thus the burn on my index finger. Needless to say I had some problems. It took an additional 30 minutes to thaw the chicken and I missed most of the first half of the game and commercials. I think my refrig temp is set too high - I'll have to fix that.

As far as the recipe, the chicken came out very good and the family liked so I am going to keep. The honey glaze was good on the skin but it took away from some of the crunchiness that I really like about roast chicken. Also, my husband would have liked it on the actual meat instead of just on the skin. I think the glaze will be a nice addition to regular chicken breasts in the future and I might even make a point of slipping it under the skin the next time I roast chicken.

All in all for all the trouble and time that it took it was yummy. So, I guess another winner for the book.

Honey Roast Chicken
Serves 6 to 8
1 Tbsp Salt

2 tsp Pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each), giblets discarded
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup honey
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into pieces and chilled

1. PREP CHICKEN Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, and paprika in small bowl. Pat chickens dry with paper towels. Rub mixture under skin and over outside of each chicken. Tuck wings behind back, and tie legs together with kitchen twine.
2. MAKE GLAZE Stir cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water together in bowl until no lumps remain; set aside. Bring honey and 4 tablespoons vinegar to simmer in saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to ½ cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk cornstarch mixture into glaze. Return to simmer and cook 1 minute.
3. ROAST CHICKEN Arrange chickens, breast side down, on V-rack set inside roasting pan. Roast until just golden, about 35 minutes. Remove chickens from oven and, flip breast side up. Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. Pour 1 cup water and broth into roasting pan. Return chickens to oven and roast until thigh meat registers 165 to 170 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Brush chickens evenly with thick layer of glaze, and continue to roast until glaze is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with remaining glaze, and let rest 15 minutes.
4. MAKE SAUCE Meanwhile, pour pan juices and any accumulated chicken juices into saucepan; skim fat. Stir in thyme, bring to simmer, and cook until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and remaining vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Carve chickens and serve, passing sauce at table.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Next - Simple Cheese Lasagna

I usually only make lasagna once, maybe twice a year. I don't know why - but that is how it is. I was just in the mood for it yesterday so I went through my cooking box and there it was. It was good, except I think I used WAY to much basil. I bought the basil in the tube (brilliant idea by the way) instead of fresh. Reason - my food processor has problem in chopping herbs (basil, parsley, etc...) And I put in the same amount that the recipe called for and it was way to much. So next time I will either use fresh or way less of the tube. As a side note - it tastes better today than it did last night. The basil mellowed a little so it didn't taste as strong as it did last night.

I also ended up doing 4 layers in stead of the three. I had a lot of the filling mixture and it worked well for me. But, I think it was because the ready-oven noodles were smaller than normal lasagna noodles. Other than that it wasn't to bad. I just know now to tweak it next time I make it and I have made notes on the sheet. So in the cookbook it goes.

Simple Cheese Lasagna

Serves 6 to 8

Our Chunky Tomato Sauce for Lasagna (see related recipe) tastes better than jarred sauce, but if using jarred sauce (tomato only) is more convenient, you will need about two 24- to 26-ounce jars.

15 ounces ricotta cheese (1 3/4 cups)
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated (1 1/4 cups)-
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 large egg , lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 cups tomato sauce (see note above)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles (one 8-or 9-ounce package)
1 pound whole milk mozzarella , shredded (4 cups)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the basil, egg, salt, and pepper until well combined.

2. Following the photos, spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Place 3 of the noodles on top of the sauce and drop 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture down the center of each noodle, then spread it to an even thickness. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the sauce evenly over the cheese. Repeat this layering two more times.

3. For the final layer, place the 3 remaining noodles on top. Spread the remaining 1 1/4 cups sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and then the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Spray a large sheet of foil lightly with vegetable oil spray and cover the lasagna. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.