You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Cooking’ category.

The other day I woke up with the desire to try out a new recipe for breakfast. I wanted pancakes, but I wanted something with some fiber. I thought this pancake recipe would give me the hearty results I was looking for.

Oatmeal and Applesauce Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup milk

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-low heat.
2. In a bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix applesauce, sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Stir applesauce mixture and milk into the flour mixture until evenly moist and thick.
3. Scoop about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto the prepared griddle, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.

Makes 11 pancakes

Nutrition Information (as weighed and calculated by me):
Serving Size: 3 pancakes
Calories: 233
Fat: 2g
Sat Fat: 1g
Mono Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 62mg
Sodium: 276 mg
Potassium: 113mg
Carbohydrate: 45g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 8g

These pancakes were thick, hearty, and something like a 3.5 on a scale of 5 for me. I think I’m not head over heels in love with them because I’m just not a pancake person. I cover my pancakes in peanut butter and syrup and ICBINB and suddenly they aren’t quite so healthy anymore. So I’ll stick to my homemade breakfast burritos or my favorite “8g fiber per serving” cereal.

If you are a pancake person though, I think you’ll live them. Cook them slow because they are so thick and hearty, but they’re the perfect breakfast if you want something that will stick to your bones (in a good way, not in a jiggly way).

No seriously, it really is. I managed to find a recipe for “That Chocolate Cake.” So perfect for me, right? And also really, really delicious.

I put on the Etsy apron That Husband gave me for my birthday a few years ago and got to work.

I know this is really unlike me, but I have no pictures of the cooking process. The focus of this project was the food, not the photography, although someday I hope to be good enough at it to take pictures at the same time. Also I hope to live in a place with better light. When we start apartment hunting next year I’m going to ask “Does it have light? I want to live somewhere with lots of light.”

I assembled all of the ingredients on my counter, and pulled up the recipe. I substituted Black and Green organic cocoa powder and Bakers 100% Cacoa unsweetened chocolate for the Scharffen Berger ingredients.

That Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • Unsalted butter and flour for pans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Scharffen Berger unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup boiling water

Frosting

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces Scharffen Berger 99% Cacao Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

For the Cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Min in the eggs, oil, and milk.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.

When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.

For the Frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.

To Frost the Cake:

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.

Serves 8 to 10

There was one disaster during the process, but crisis was averted when That Husband offered to run to the grocery store to pick up another pint of heavy whipping cream for a second attempt at the frosting. Don’t take your eyes off that boiling cream and sugar for even a moment. Not even if you think your favorite character on the TV show you are watching while you bake might be dying.

After the cakes had cooled I used a trick I learned from a fantastic baker I lived next to growing up. I cut as much of the crust off of the cake as possible. It makes the cakes look ragged before the frosting is applied, but it means that no one gets an “end” piece. Plus you get to eat whatever you cut off, kind of like a pre-cake snack.

I frosted the first layer and That Husband was ready to dig right in. “Get away!” I screeched. He didn’t realize that this was going to be a double layer delight.

Just so you know, I spent about 15 minutes attempting to clean up all the frosting on the rim of this plate so I could take this picture. So pretty! But I wanted to take things a step further.

When I decided to run a hot knife over the frosting to give it this shiny smooth look I wasn’t thinking about how hard it would be to photograph. I don’t think it looks very good in this picture, but after it was in the fridge for a day the shine wore off and it looked as delicious as it tasted.

Would I reccomend you make this cake? Heck yes! I was told by our friends that it was better than the cake they like to buy from a bakery they like to visit in their neighborhood. Success!

Don’t mind the slightly creepy Stepford wife look I have on my face. My eyes are trying to say to you “Did you sign for the challenge? Make that cake!”

We asked some friends over for dinner on Sunday night and I decided to attempt to feed them using a recipe out of my newest cookbook acquisition (Thanks to Miss Taffy!) I chose to make Real Beef Stroganoff, Cauliflower Gratin, some store bought rolls, a slow cooker Hot Fudge and Peanut Butter Cake, and some Homemade Fat Free White Chocolate Ice Cream. The Hot Fudege and Peanut Butter Cake was a complete flop so I won’t be sharing the recipe with you, and the rolls were just that, rolls but I have recipes for everything else to share so you can enjoy them as well.

Real Beef Stroganoff

Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 30 Minutes or less

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (optional)
1.5 to 2 pounds beef tenderloid or sirloin, cut into 1 to 1.5 chunks
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 plum tomatoes (canned are fine), choppen, or 1/2 cup good tomato sauce (optional)
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh dill or parsley leaves for garnish

1. Put the butter in a large, deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the onions, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and the mushrooms if you’re using them, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring for just a minute.
2. Stir in the mustard, the tomatoes if you’re using them, and the stock. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily but not violently and cook until the meat is tender, about 5 minutes. (You can make the dish in advance up to this point; cover and refrigerate for up to a day before reheating and finishing.) Stir in the sour cream, taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with dill, and serve.

Cauliflower Gratin

I’m not even going to take the time to transcribe this recipe because it’s ridiculously easy, so these are my own personal steps.

1. Take a head of cauliflower, trim off the leave, and cut it in half. Drop it in a pot of boiling water until tender. Break off the “flowers” and drop in a gratin dish.

2. Preheat the oven to 400.

3. Add some butter (a lot for a really buttery taste, a little if you are feeling healthy) and some fresh grated parmesan (that crumly Kraft stuff is not going to do it). Toss the butter, cauliflower, and parmesan together.

4. Slide into the oven and cook until browned.

Fat Free Ice Cream

via All Things Ice Cream Blog

1 4 oz package sugar free fat free instant chocolate pudding mix
1/4 cup splenda
1 12 oz can fat free evaporated skim milk
1 cup fat free milk

In a medium bowl, stir together the instant pudding and splenda.

Add the evaporated milk and fat free milk and stir until blended. Pour
into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manf. directions.

After all of that delicious food we settled in and played 11 games of Sequence in a row. Our friends ended up staying for 5.5 hours! We learned that couples should not team up and play together, since it causes cat fights to erupt all too easily. The boys creamed us 6 or 7 times in a row, but I still loved the game.

What a fun couple they are! Also much more creative with their poses for photos than us.

I bought another cookbook last week. I don’t know why I keep buying these huge cookbooks with 1000+ recipes because I just end up overwhelmed at the task of choosing some recipes to try. I’ve been looking for ways to utilize my slow cooker a lot more, and the Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook looked like it might help me get started.

I chose 3 different recipes I wanted to try, did my shopping, and due to time constraints this morning I decided to make the one with the shortest cooking time for lunch today.

Asian Style Tuna

Makes: 3 servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour
Ideal Slow Cooker Size: 2-Quart

Ingredients
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips (I used a whole)
1 small onion, thinly sliced (I used 2)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened pinapple juice
1 1/2 tsp. cornstrach
2/3 cup canned unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vingear
6 oz. can solid, water-packed tuna, drained and flaked (I used a 12 oz. can)
1/8 tsp. black pepper
dash of Tabasco sauce (I didn’t have this so I didn’t use it)

Directions

1. Cook green pepper and onion with oil in a skillet over medium heat, leaving the vegetables slightly crisp.
2. Mix pinapple juice with corstarch. Add to green pepper mixture.
3. Cook, stirring gently until thickened.
4. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into slow cooker.
5. Cover. Cook on Low 1 hour.

I served it over rice and splashed some soy sauce into my bowl, That Husband did not, since he tries to eat low sodium.

Nutritional Information:
Per Serving
170 Calories
3.5g fat
20 mg cholesterol
210mg sodium
18g carbohydrates
17g protein
20% vitamin C
2% calcium
8% iron

I think for both of us, it was good, but not great. Some Chinese noodles would have been really tasty with it I think. If I ever make this again I’ll be sure to have some of those on hand.

While living in one of the coolest places ever, the Yellow Brick House, I had a fabulously artistic roommate named Kacey who presented me with this book for my 22nd birthday.

It’s an awesome gift, and I love looking at it, but I’m about 20 years away from actually being able to cook things out of it on a regular basis. It has no pictures (other than a few stenciled drawings) and I think that it assumes when I am cooking chicken I am first going to head out back and start choppin’ away at necks in the chicken coop. I’m rather intimidated by most of the names of the dishes. If I can’t get past the name, how will I ever find a way to assemble the ingredients correctly?

Last week I decided to overcome my apprehension and cook something out of the book for the first time. The results were quite delicious, probably because I picked the easiest recipe possible.

Sauteed Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Lemon and Parsley, Siena Style

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

3 whole chicken breasts

The freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt

Black pepper

Directions

1. Put the oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam subsides, slip in as many of the chicken fillets as will fit loosely. Cook them briefly on both sides, less than 1 minute altogether. Transfer the fillets to a warm plate, using a slotted spoon or spatula, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat the procedure until all the fillets are done.

2. Add the lemon juice to the skillet, and let it simmer briskly over medium heat for about 20 seconds, while scraping loose cooking residues from the bottom and sides of the pan, using a wooden spoon. Add the chopped parsley and the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir rapidly for 4 or 5 seconds , then turn the heat down to low and return the fillets to the pan together with any juice they may have shed in the plate. Turn them over in the pan juices 2 or 3 times, then transfer, together with the juices, to a warm platter. Garnish with the thin slices of lemon, and serve at once.

I don’t know what the cooks call it, but the “pan residue” that remains after the chicken is removed tastes absolutely divine. The butter, lemon, parsley, and chicken juice combine to create a lick your fingers kind of experience.

Last week I made two delicious things. Well maybe the brownies were a little overdone, but they were my first ever brownies from scratch and I am still learning.

Thanks to Julie for the delicious Mexican Lasagna recipe! Go ahead and visit her blog to get the recipe, she has step-by-step photos on how to make it! Of course we used the tortillas to make it. Any recipe that requires tortillas is our new official favorite.

Mexican Lasagna

That Husband was gone from 5 AM Monday morning to 7 PM Thursday night, so I made brownies to celebrate his return. Not just any brownies, Peppermint Patty Brownies, as invented by Coconut & Lime. I love Coconut & Lime. Beautiful photography combined with delicious food.

Find the recipe here.

The secret is lining the middle of the brownie batter with broken up pieces of Peppermint Patties. She used mini’s but I couldn’t find them, so I just bought whole ones.

peppermint pattie brownies

I love eating the sections with the almost-burnt oozing filling. They are perfect with a glass of milk and a little bit of whipped cream on top. Please note that I made these brownies with eggs, flour, sugar, and the like. Not from a box thankyouverymuch.

Oozing Peppermint Pattie BrowniesSuper rich and so delicious!

So I made the name up. And some purist might come along and say “Those are, in no way, enchiladas.” Well in my house they are.

Before we begin you must buy these exact tortillas. Or any other type of uncooked tortilla. Then you must not be angry with me that you find yourself consuming 7 or 8 of them every day. They are divine and I love them with every fiber of my being. I think I will have to cook some up right this very minute and eat them for lunch.

tortillas

Step 1:

Make your cheesecake filling. It’s going to taste better if you make it one day in advance, but when I do this I have a hard time resisting the urge to eat spoonfuls throughout the day. It does need to sit in the fridge for a few hours to “set”.

Ingredients

1 box of cream cheese

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Some lemon juice

1 tub of whipped cream

Beat cream cheese to soften. Add powdered sugar, possibly add more if you want it extra sweet (sometimes I do). Add vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until thoroughly blended. Fold in whipped cream (if you are new to baking like myself, fold means don’t over-beat. Just enough to blend the whipped cream with the cream cheese mixture).

This time I made it with fat free cream cheese, and fat free whipped cream. I have a hard time eating the fat free cheesecake filling plain, but it works great for the enchiladas!

Step 2:

strawberries

Now make yourself some strawberry topping. Don’t say that these strawberries look old, the age adds sweetness so they are the best kind! Just cut off the really icky parts.

I cut the tops of my strawberries, cut them into quarters, throw them in a bowl, add some sugar, and mash away with a fork. Or you can throw everything in the food processor and make a nice little puree.

Step 3:

Cook your tortillas in a large pan for a few minutes on each side. Watch them close, because they just aren’t good burnt. I spray some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on each side to make them a little bit crispy.

I didn’t do it this time because I was lazy, but usually I melt some margarine and mix in cinnamon and sugar and fry them up like elephant ears. It is, to put it simply, divine.

tortilla

Step 4:

Cover our tortilla with cheesecake filling. If you put a lot on like I do, be prepared to get messy! That Husband puts his strawberries on the inside, but I like mine on the outside.

cheesecake tortilla

Step 5:

Roll it up, throw some strawberries on top, and dive right in. Have a napkin handy, and feel free to come back and thank me for introducing you to this little piece of heaven.

cheesecake enchiladas

Yesterday I attempted to play hostess for the first time and it was kind of a bust. That Husband was wonderful and tidied up the house while I felt all frazzled and crazy in the kitchen.

First of all, I made the worst mashed potatoes ever. Who even knew it was possible to screw up mashed poatatoes? One time my best friend in high school was unable to make chili from a can, and I believe this situation isn’t much better. First, I think I thought I bought red potatoes, when I really bought some other kind. I’ve never seen red potatoes that were yellow inside have you? Then I saw mentioned online somewhere that someone cooked their potatoes inside of the slow cooker. Genius right? I could dump them in, take my nap, wake up and mash away. Maybe they were just underdone, but they were awful. Of course my guests were very nice about it, the poor things.

I also thought I could make this lasagna:

If you read the recipe, you will come to a part that describes making a milk sauce mixture. This is where I failed, and failed horribly. The mixture was so terrible I couldn’t even use it, I just threw it out. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but mine was lumpy and thick and pasty. I also made the mistake of throwing in some soy crumbles because That Husband insisted it would be rude of me to serve a meatless dinner. Well it was rude of him to trick me into ruining the dish that way. The butternut squash was amazing, definitely the best part of the dish. Without the milky mixture I had to make my own cheesy sauce mix to lay on top to keep it from being a dry crusty mess (which it kind of was anyway). Overall, it was not my best work.

The saving grace of dinner was the asparagus I recycled from my last post and the cheesecake enchiladas I invented. I don’t have picture of the enchiladas yet, so I guess I will have to make one for myself tomorrow night even though That Husband will be out of town on business. Darn.

Please go ahead and tell me your stories of failed hostessing experiences.

Wow, that is a really long title. But, in my defense, I’m going to show you two really delicious recipes, and if you, by chance, are getting ready to go grocery shopping one day and think “I really would like to make that Chicken with Apple and Brie and Asparagus with Sliced Almonds and Parmesan Cheese That Wife talked about a few weeks ago,” you will now be able to locate it very easily. This blog is all about convenience people.

There is something I should have told you the last time I posted some recipes… I don’t follow recipes very well. Sylvia Weinstock taught me that baking is about chemistry and science, but I think that cooking is all about ingenuity and creativity. So if I bake something, I will do my best to follow the recipe exactly, but when I cook I make it up as I go along.

The Chicken recipe was found here, at The Cook Mobile. She made a dish that looked like this:

As is always the case when I copy a recipe, mine did not look so pretty. If you want the original recipe, click on the above link. What I am pasting below is what I actually did (well, it’s what I can remember from what I actually did). I don’t have a meat tenderizer, and after debating on the merits of using a hammer to flatten out the chicken, I just decided to improvise.

2 packages of trimmed and sliced chicken breasts (I believe mine were Tyson)
1 large Granny Smith apples, sliced thin
3/4small block of light Havarti cheese, sliced thin
3/4 box of corn flakes, crushed (mine were kind of big because we were watching Bones and TH got made that I was being loud and ruining the show for him 🙂 )
6 large eggs, throw out half the yolks

Dip one package of chicken breasts in egg mixture and roll in crushed corn flakes. Line the bottom of the dish with corn flake encrusted chicken breasts. Cover the chicken with apple slices, then cover the apple slices with Havarti cheese.

img_51081

Dip and coat the rest of the chicken breasts, and lay those on top of the cheese. Sprinkle extra corn flakes on top for extra crunch.

img_51101

Bake in a 375 F oven until cooked throuh, around 20 to 30 minutes.

While that was cooking I whipped up the asparagus. Again, the recipe below is what I did and includes my wannabe witty commentary. Visit the link to see the original.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons margarine
* 1 bundle asparagus, bottoms trimmed
* Some water
* Some thinly sliced almonds
* Some Parmesan cheese (not the dehydrated Kraft stuff, use the real thing people!)

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, and cook and stir. Add in some water like I did because it doesn’t like like it is getting tender fast enough. (Take small bites to keep checking tenderness. Try to bite the same piece each time or you will wind up with a bunch of half-chewed asparagus pieces and husbands don’t like that.) Cook until all of the water is gone.

2. Stir in as many almonds as you want and grate parmesan until you are satisfied. Cook for a few more minutes, until all of the cheese is melted.

Pull the chicken out of the oven and serve with some kind of bread/starch because your husband demands it.

chicken with brie and asparagus

That Husband and I really liked liked both the Chicken and the Asparagus dishes, and the Asparagus dish will definitely become a staple in our house from now on. The Chicken was good, but the true test of any dish is how it holds up as leftovers, and this one might not make the cut because of it. Actually I’m starting to feel hungry right now, signaling the end of this post, and the beginning of my lunch of dinner leftovers!

I had the idea a few weeks ago to begin a series that will give you a little bit more insight into the life and mind of That Wife, as well as introduce you to some things you might want to incorporate into your own life. Please note that these are in no order whatsoever. Todays post is not the #1 thing in my life, nor will it ever be (thought it is quite fantastic).

What is the easiest meal in the world? Could it be waffles or pancakes? What would it take for you to believe that I discovered a way to make the easiest meal even easier. Enter the Batter Blaster.

batterblaster

This my friends, is waffle/pancake batter in a can. In a spray can to be exact. Warm the waffle maker, grease, pop the top of the batter, and pour. Wait a few minutes and it’s all over.

batterblasteruse

I topped mine with fresh raspberries, Cool Whip, and syrup. I would have added some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and peanut butter to the mix if we had some.

batterblasterwaffle

I discovered this lovely on our last trip to stock up on all of life;s necessities at Costco. Every time I open up the fridge I get a sudden craving for waffles. I suggest heading on over to the nearest Costco ASAP.

Those Photos

More Photos