Sunday, January 31, 2010
Ever since she posted the recipe for Restaurant Style Salsa I had been dying to try it. We love salsa over here and frequently have Super Nachos on those "bum around home" kind of nights. When I say Super Nachos I just mean that I basically add taco meat to cheesy chips and make it a meal. So her Restaurant Style Salsa recipe was up for deliberation. Restaurant Style Salsa is very similar to a salsa recipe that I normally make, but with a few added ingredients. We all agreed that Restaurant Style Salsa will replace my normal salsa recipe. It was excellent! Now if only I could find tortilla chips that taste like those from Chili's!!
Have to let you all know about one of my favorite kitchen appliances of all time. I use this almost everyday to make smoothies for Landon and I. And it is very handy when making salsa. It is called a Vitamix--ever heard of them? Does anyone have one and do you use it much? Go here to check them out. Awesome, powerful machines, let me tell you!! I love it. We got ours at Sam's Club on a special promotional deal. Just a little tidbit...
Friday, January 29, 2010
Tonight I had each of the different chocolate chip cookies side by side. That is, one is from PW and one is my recipe. It is up to all of you to figure out which one is which. I heard loud and clear from Steve and Natalie about which cookie they think is the best. Can you figure it out?
So this is what you need to do...
The cookie on the left is _______ The cookie on the right is __________
Steve and Natalie's pick is _________________
Meanwhile, if you are craving some chocolate chip cookies, I have about 8 dozen sitting on my counter needing to be eaten. And if all of these are gone by the end of the week, we have a problem.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
(disclaimer: I have a slight obsession right now with picnik.com and editing my photos. SO fun!! I'll try not to be too obnoxioius. But I heard you wanted photos, right?)
For those of you who don't know who Pioneer Man is, I have pointed him out to you. See how happy he is when there's yummy food, fun, and fellowship? Hi Steve!!Look at all those smiley stars!! We are so thankful for our Sunday School Class! Love ya! And not just because you made all those yummy soups and pies...really.
I am sure that you can imagine how excited I was to see Italian Meatball Soup on her website this past week. Since I did NO cleaning whatsoever on Friday, I decided I would really be on top of the preparation for all of the weekend's recipes. It worked out well. I made the meatballs and stuck them in the fridge, cut up all the veggies except for the potato, and stuck them in the fridge, chopped my parsley and added it to the bay leaf and peppercorns and stuck the little container in the fridge also. I was ready now to make my soup when Sunday morning came!
I got up pretty early so the soup would have time to boil, simmer, and what not before I put it in the crockpot for after church. There are quite a few steps to Italian Meatball Soup . I think it is really good. Like really good in a "have your girlfriends over to eat" kind of way. Steve woke up to the strong smell of the meatballs (fresh parmesan cheese in them) and herbs boiling in beef broth. I think he would have preferred to wake up to the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls baking, however. I don't know if that did him in or what, but he did not like the soup. My kiddos ate the chicken and noodle soup that was at the potluck and very curtly turned up their noses at Italian Meatball Soup.
I liked it. I will maybe make it again. Although it is a lot of work if I am the only one to eat it. And furthermore, not one person asked me for the recipe... hmmm, so I'm not too sure how big of hit it was.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
When you prepare something and it marinates for a day and a half, then bakes for another almost whole day I think the expectations begin to soar. Do you know what I mean? On Saturday we had a day filled with our little girls' basketball games. I was very prepared in the fact that all I had to do was put the Brisket, Baby. in the oven and I could leave for the day knowing that our dinner would be ready when we returned. Is that not the best feeling? Preparation. Expectation. Brisket, Baby.
Last night we had some other preparation we needed to do (which you will learn about soon!) so Steve cut the fat off the brisket, carved it, and stuck it back in its juices and we headed to my parents' house. I was mildly excited for them to review the Brisket, Baby. also. Like I said, we just didn't love Brisket, Baby. Landon barely ate any of it--said it was "too sour". Which in his little mind I am guessing meant it was too salty. Which both Steve and I concurred. I thought the girls would pound it down because of their love for roast, but I don't think any of them went back for seconds.
My point is this: the Brisket, Baby. that I made was not very big. Four adults and four kids later there still remained some leftovers.
So what do you think?
Friday, January 22, 2010
Because I am trying to attain the title of daughter-in-law of the year, paired with the fact that my father-in-law absolutely LOVES fried chicken, we invited them to our house for the 2nd meal made mostly of recipes from this woman. Can't say they complained though when the smell of fried chicken welcomed them in through the door.
It was as down-home as you can get over here tonight. Good 'ole fried chicken, Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and gravy. The critics were restless and could hardly get through the prayer.
Fried chicken may be one of my very least favorite things to make on this earth. I do not like cutting up a chicken, for one. I am horrible at it. No pieces were identifiable tonight and everyone got a kick out of that. Yes, you're welcome, family, for the free Friday night entertainment. I also do not like touching raw chicken. I feel like I am swarming with salmonella and I have to wash my hands over and over again. And I still feel contaminated. PLUS, I am not a fan of grease spritzing all over my clean stovetop, shirt, face, and countertops. But that's just me. All of that being said, there are times in my life that I will put all of that aside and fry a chicken for my family. How's that for a martyr?
This fried chicken recipe is the BEST that I have ever come up with. It is in her cookbook that you all hopefully own by now. I could not find it on her website anywhere-- (althought there is something similar that I will be posting about another day). Everyone loved the chicken and did not seem to care one bit about the agonizing I did to prepare it. Again, martyr!!!
A sure winner, along side the fried chicken is the Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes. Do you want to make someone happy? Make these potatoes. Do you want to make someone feel like they need to immediately jump on the treadmill? Make these potatoes. Do you want to be daughter -in-law of the year? Make Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
And now, I am going to tackle my greasy kitchen. Because in the end, it is all worth it to see such fine smiley stars!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Before I even get in to this whole experiment that was conducted today, I must clarify a few things that I believe to be true: (disclaimer: this does not necessarily make them true, just what I believe to be true-)
1.) It is morally wrong to use margarine EVER!! Please use butter when ever you see that word. Butter is all natural, cooks better, bakes better, and tastes better!!
2.) There is not a place for instant coffee in this house and never will be. Especially if a recipe calls for just a teaspoon!
3.) Chocolate Chip cookies should not make you poop.
There. Thank you for letting me get that off of my chest. And now I will proceed with the experiment with the modifications I have made to her chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Let me begin by saying that my mom has got the best chocolate chip cookie recipe that I NEVER stray from. My kids love them, but not near as much as Steve. In fact, when I make them, it makes about 4 dozen so I stick the remainder in the freezer. I am not kidding when I tell you that they do not last more than a week. And it's not my kids digging them out of the freezer...
When I saw Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies I've gotta admit, I skimmed over them and thought, forget it. I've got the only recipe I need. But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became with Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies and so here we are on this drab, dreary day. Two different recipes awaiting the results of the critics final determination...
My modifications to Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies are as follows:
**I used a full cup of butter instead of half margarine. If you want to know why, ask me!
**I used a tbsp of strong brewed coffee instead of instant coffee granules. Added a tad more flour to even out the extra liquid.
**When I think of flax seed I think fiber. And when I think fiber, I think how many darn times is Landon going to be in the bathroom today. Putting my selfish thinking aside, I broke down and put the 2 Tbsp. of flax seed in my cookie dough. Only I bought the flax seed that was already ground--I don't think hers was ground. So as far as providing added crunch/texture, mine did not. Adding extra toilet paper? Maybe...that is yet to be seen.
Here is the verdict!!! The critics have spoken:
Kassidy said "They have a different feeling (texture) to them. Did you put cornbread in them?"
Kourtney said "I LOVE them!" (keep in mind, there's really not a cookie she doesn't like"
Landon said "I like both kinds of cookies"
Natalie said "I like them both, but kind of like yours better"
I am taking them to the biggest cookie critic of all right now. I"ll let you know what he thinks. I think they are actually very good. And I'd make them again.
Will Good Ol’ Basic Chocolate Chip Cookies replace my mom's recipe? Probably not. But I am guessing these won't last in my freezer any longer than the others.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
“Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie is really just a variation on a chocolate chip cookie. I did have a moment of panic while mixing these up when I could no where find baking powder or baking soda listed (note my previous mishap...). “Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie does NOT call for baking powder or baking soda, so if you are craving a chocolate chip cookie and are all out of said ingredients, “Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie is the recipe for you.
Our little neighbor boy even got in on this snack today. I'm pretty sure that Steve would give these a "thumbs up", "smiley star", whatever you want to call it. Since Steve did not get in on this snack we have a critic stand in. And I KNOW this neighbor boy loved “Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie. Even though I could barely see his smile amongst all the chocolate smeared across his sweet little 7 year old face! Landon managed to keep it mostly off his face but looked like he had painted his hand with chocolate. Don't ask me how that boy does it. To his credit and that of the other critics, Spreads” – My Brother’s Favorite Cookie are rather messy. A chocolate chip cookie IS much easier to eat. But then again, getting messy is a lot of fun too, right?!
I, for one, am thankful the weather was so nice today so I could push all the chocolate covered children on to the deck to eat their snack...
A weird name, but yummy just the same! Put it in the recipe file!! (shocker!!)
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
You could not make anything simpler in a pinch if you were needing a type of "bread" with your meal. I think it may have taken me all of 10 minutes from the time I started until the Cheese Muffins were in the muffin tins ready to go in the oven. Let me tell you---I LOVE THAT!!! My girls thought they were divine, Steve said they were a keeper, but Landon just kind of picked at his. He picked at all of his food though, tonight. Must have been the apple, peppernuts, clementines, and extra chicken he was grazing on all afternoon.
Cheese Muffins would be especially good with soup. And I plan to do just that the next time I have soup. But first, I'm gonna need to hit the grocery store and buy some more cheese.
That is UNLESS I convince Landon to join me in the kitchen. We are eating Chicken Spaghetti, or The Only Casserole Marlboro Man Will Eat tonight. I have made this recipe many times already and it always makes enough to put a couple of pans in the freezer. I am going to make 1 1/2 recipes today. Talk about comfort food...Chicken Spaghetti, or The Only Casserole Marlboro Man Will Eat is definitely it. My kids absolutely LOVE this meal. It is not hard to make, freezes unbelievably, and goes great with anything green (tonight's it's green beans), fruit, and a bread/biscuit type thing (I'm trying a new recipe from the one and only that I will post about later).
I can usually get a 9x13 pan for supper and at least 1 cake pan size casserole for the freezer. I love to have these on hand for when I go to work and Steve needs to get supper prepared. It works great, although there will be NO leftovers.
I have always boiled the chicken and taken the meat off the bone like she
says to, but today I have chicken breasts to use, so I will just be baking them. If you have children, it is almost a guarantee they will love Chicken Spaghetti, or The Only Casserole Marlboro Man Will Eat.
Tidings of comfort and joy...that's what we're talking about.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I know some of you may be a little freaked out by the amount of butter, heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, half and half, sour cream, and cheese that you may have seen in some of these recipes. But please don't bill me for your weight watchers register's fee, or your gym membership... Someone told me not too long ago "the first bite tastes the same as all the rest of the bites, so don't worry about all of the other bites if you've had your first--you know what it tastes like!" I thought that was a good bit of advice. a bit wasteful, perhaps, but none-the-less some good advice. Just thought I'd pass that along...
Did I have you all worried? This post is NOT about weight loss, gym memberships, or elliptical trainers. It IS all about Perfect Pound Cake. Have any of you ever made a pound cake from scratch? What did you serve it with? I personally thought Perfect Pound Cake was delicious!
It has a just a very hint of lemon and a wonderful moist texture. I loved the crusty outside edge the best, but unfortunately for me, most of it stuck on to my bundt pan. I really thought I had sprayed the thing 'til kingdom come, but apparently not enough. So, my only gripe was that it WAS NOT PRETTY coming out of the pan. So when I took it to my inlaws the other night, it didn't scream Perfection like its name implies. But looks aren't everything, right? Perfect Pound Cake is a great basic pound cake that can be served with anything you can dream up. We had a yummy fresh blueberry sauce (made by my MIL), and whipped cream. I loved it and will definitely be making it again. The Sprite was so fun to pour in! I may make it again, but I do know that Kourtney will not be eating it, Landon will take a few bites, Kassidy will have seconds, and Nat will lick the batter.
Seriously, folks--make Perfect Pound Cake the next time you need to take a dessert somewhere or just need something sweet at home. I pounded down 2 pieces with a cup of coffee on my way to witness the miracle of SIX babies being born yesterday on my niece's birthday (HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY, ELLEN!) Yep, you all did listen and decide to have babies. Thank you.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Nat said "This is the best way to eat carrots"
Kourtney said "I love this roast, Daddy and I want more (b)otatoes"
Landon said "I love these onions"
Kassidy gave it a thumbs up.
Steph called from work to see how it was and I told her that if she's begging for some leftovers, she is out of luck.
I think that maybe Pioneer Woman should call Pioneer Man for a couple of tips. I highly recommend the Excalibur Steak and Roast Rub which can be purchased from butcher shops. I browned the rubbed roast, browned the carrots and onions, and I added potatoes that were seasoned with olive oil and other seasonings. The only thing I didn't have were some of the spices and the beef stock. So not entirely her recipe. I actually made my own beef stock when browning everything.
I'd like to tell you all of my secrets, but then you wouldn't buy my cookbook once it is published.
This post needs to ROCK Steph's posts, so give me some comments baby.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Steve does such an awesome job with them and they generally come up with some very interesting meals when I am not home. And it is a guarantee that most meals are 5 SMILEY stars. I have learned that I don't ask much about what they are eating when I am away. It is usually best that way...
That being said, Steve, is going to try his hand at a PW recipe for lunch tomorrow. AND that's not all...he is going to be the GUEST BLOGGER tomorrow night to give you all the yummy (or not so yummy) details. He is so prepared that the meat is already thawed and he is getting his sleep as I write as to have enough energy to prepare the meal prior to church. What a guy!
I can hardly wait until tomorrow...but for now, I am thinking I need to brush my teeth again after that pesto on that pizza. And go to bed.
I made Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment. for everyone to try using PW's Pizza Crust recipe that is in the cookbook. If you don't have a cookbook, you really need to get one! The Pizza crust recipe is NOT on the website that I could find anywhere. I have found my new love...and that is the pizza crust recipe. First and foremost, it takes all of 10 minutes to mix up. Secondly, this pizza crust dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 6 months!!! That is just amazing to me. I am going to load up my freezer THIS week with this dough. She describes this crust perfectly. "Crisp on the outside, and chewy in the middle". I think it could use maybe a bit more kosher salt, but all in all, I thought it was great and I am readily going to switch out my old recipe. How many recipes have I said that about now???
One thing I have discovered with Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment. is my new found love for fresh ingredients. The fresh mozzarella is so yummy and I went a step further and topped the tomatoes with fresh basil. Everyone agreed this pizza was great. I did make another pizza loaded with real pizza sauce and hamburger for the kids. But to my surprise, they pretty much liked Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment.. I did not use roma tomatoes like she recommended because I couldn't find them at the grocery store. The roma tomatoes would work very well because they do not have near as much juice as other tomatoes. I think Tomato-Basil Pizza, Two Ways: An Experiment. will be even better in the summer when we can use our own tomatoes from the garden. I can't wait!!
Friday, January 15, 2010
"I want more, and I want A LOT more"...states Critic #2.
"This meat is so good"...states Critic #3.
"Yep, this is good"...states Critic #4.
"This is HOT!"...states Critic #5.
"I wish there was more than a spoonful left"...said me.
I was very productive in my kitchen yesterday. But not so much in the rest of my house. In fact, the rest of my house kind of went by the wayside. Not intentionally--my intentions were to cook AND clean. So when I got the call that the plans had changed for the evening and we would not be eating together as a family, I was a bit frustrated. Well, a whole lot frustrated. I had worked in the kitchen for this meal last night and I really wanted to be able to blog about it to you all, and now we weren't even going to be able to eat it. Luckily for me, the Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas! worked well to be made ahead of time and put in the fridge.
Sometimes, the best thought out plans are not always the best plans. This whole ordeal which really irritated me last night helped me gain a little bit of perspective. I am sure all of us have heard the horrible catastrophe in Haiti. How easy it is for me to completely take for granted how blessed I am! Even though the evening did not go as planned, I still had my husband who came home at the end of the day. I still had my four precious babies to kiss goodnight. And we all still have a roof over our heads. I am blessed.
So now that I have perspective, let's get on with it. BECAUSE I cooked yesterday and neglected my house and we did NOT eat what I had made...I was able to CLEAN my house TODAY and completely stay out of my kitchen. Which means my kitchen was clean and did not get messed up from my cooking!! And the best part about it?? My house is clean for the weekend and we had a fabulous dinner tonight that all I had to do was stick in the oven. Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas! were just that: simple and perfect! Oh my goodness, you guys. These were so good! We all loved them.
I did change one thing about the recipe. I added almost a whole tablespoon of sugar to the sauce as it was simmering. I think it helps take that really strong acidic taste out of the tomatoes in the enchilada sauce. But other than that, I followed the recipe.
I promise you, you will love Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas! if you are an enchilada fan at all.
***And here is the bonus of this post. If any of you can name who the critics were as stated above, I will make you and your family your own pan of Simple. Perfect. Enchiladas!. For my out of state friends, when you come to this area I will have them ready for you. ***
BUT, you have to get the name of the critics right. Good Luck!
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