Saturday, June 6, 2015

Snickerdoodle Snafus and other Cookie Complications

So. Its been awhile.  Since the last post we have moved to our new place. And we had to settle in, and then I didn't cook anything new for a long while. And when I did cook something new, I plum forgot to take pictures. And that's about it. Is there some grammar rule that says you shouldn't start sentences with and? Oh, well.
I love cookies. They are the best of the best.
I stink at making cookies.
Aside from No Bake Cookies(no baking involved) and my Gramma's Christmas Sugar Cookies(been making my whole life) I cannot make cookies.
I really like Snickerdoodles. Its like eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch in cookie form. Can't go wrong with that! After eating a rather disappointing Snickerdoodle(dry, and well stale[still ate 2])I thought,
"Well, garsh! I'll just make my own!"
Bahahahaha. How naive. 
Let me give you some history to my cookie making blunders. Something ALWAYS goes wrong. Are they edible? Yes. But they aren't "Oh my, this cookie is so good, I'll have more!" good. They are more like, "Well, that was a cookie."
There are too crunchy, or they burn, Or something. I don't know if its the high altitude, or just me. Baking is for sure a science. And I don't remember much about science. Something about photosynthesis?
Back to the Snickerdoodle story. A month ago, I decide to make Snickerdoodles for the church pot luck. I follow a recipe(Thanks for nothing, Trisha Yearwood), I am feeling really good about the batter, and I go a little heavy on the cinnamon, but that's just my preference. Well, first thing is that the oven rack was to close to the bottom. So they burn on the bottom. And they don't cook on top because they are too big. You now know that it is possible to burn and not cook something at the same time. This happens to the batch. They were no good for church, or for anyone. But that didn't stop me from scraping off the top and eating like, 4, while almost crying. It was that time of the month. I cried over Snickerdoodles.
So I throw it out and tell myself, not to give up. Just let some time pass, and try again. And here we are. A month later and another church pot luck. I didn't take too many pictures, thinking it might be another disaster. The result? 
Well, they are cookies.

1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened, 1/2 cup shortening, 2 eggs, 2 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt,, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 400 ºF. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Here I am, mid process. I have a question. What is Cream of Tartar, exactly? Its not creamy, and I have no idea what Tartar is. Is that like Tartar sauce?

 Its not the best raw cookie dough, but yeah, I still ate it.

Okay, there they are. How did they come out? I think, just okay.They look like Snickerdoodles, which is way better then my first attempt. But they aren't great. I know Snickerdoodles are supposed to be soft and fluffy. Mine are thin and crunchy. They taste fine, but its defiantly not what you would expect. I will take them to church. There are enough children without discerning pallets who will eat them.I think I will just have to call it. I can't make good cookies. I'll stick with Oreos.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sloppy Joe, slop, slop, sloppy joe.

Guess what! We are moving, again! Yeah, I know. Its been a few times. Husband got a new job, so now we get a new address. I type this when I could, nay should be packing. But I am kinda over packing at the mo. I sit in my living room that is filled with full boxes and empty ones that I told my husband to go trolling for this weekend. I'd rather have to many boxes than too few.
So, I thought I would post one last recipe from our current domicile. Its a super easy and simple one, and guess what else! I actually will eat this one. Wonder of wonders, it has happened.
Who doesn't like Sloppy Joes?
I did make some minor adjustments to the recipe. I will post it in its entirety, and I will tell you what I left out. It rhymes with Bunyan.

1 pound lean ground beef, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard, 3/4 cup ketchup, 3 teaspoons brown sugar, salt to taste, ground black pepper to taste


So, yeah I left out the onion and the bell pepper. I did say that I wanted to eat this, didn't I? If you feel inclined, include them. And I could totally be a spokes person for Kroger. I always by their stuff.

Since we are moving I thought I would take a picture of what I left in my utensil drawer. I do have a few large stirring spoons that I for some reason thought I would need. And an ice cream scoop. Lets be real, you always need an ice cream scoop on hand.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion(if any), and green pepper(if any); drain off liquids.

Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Whoop, there it is.
I know what you are thinking, "Surely, you can't be serious?"
"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."
Sorry, that quote was right there, I had to do it. Anyway, I digress.
It was very simple, and upon tasting(yes, again, I did eat it), I found it very good. It had just the right amount of everything. I even added some onion powder, since I had left the onions out.
I am sure there is a more flavorful Sloppy Joes recipe, but the reason I chose this one was simple. I had everything on hand. And it worked out well. Even if I did eat it in a hot dog bun since I forgot to take the hamburger buns outta the freezer. Same difference.

Monday, November 3, 2014

No one says "Tomato".

And you know which pronunciation I mean. So, here I am again, with a recipe that is sort of a recipe. I mean it is a recipe, but I just don't have the instructions. Let me explain.
Have you ever see "Julie & Julia"? Well, if you haven't you should. I got my copy from the $5 display of DVDs at Target. In one scene Julie is making Bruschetta. Every time I watch it my mouth just waters seeing the bread frying in a skillet on her stove and then she cuts up tomatoes that look great. And I don't even like tomatoes. Anyway, so every time I watch that scene, I think "I need to make that."
Well, here just see for yourself:

That's the scene. Doesn't it look fantastic? When I went to grocery shop I was determined to purchase the ingredients for it. The one thing though is that there is like, no set recipe for it. Its up to interpretation. But at the same time there are like, 4 ingredients. I though I could handle that. And I did! With no real recipe to guide me. Just what I saw in the movie. So, shall we get started?

Tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and bread. In the movie they ate some sort of sausage and I thought that was a good simple protein to go with it.

I just followed the package directions for that, and aside from burning it slightly...It turned out fine.
I think the amount of tomatoes was a little too much for two people, but it turned out OK, my husband ate the leftovers that same day. I diced up the tomatoes and the basil (which was fresh-ish, but a step up from dried which is usually what I always use) and tossed them with a little salt.

Now for the part I was really looking forward too. Pan searing the bread! Or is it pan frying? Anyway, I just put some olive oil in the pan and set the burner to medium heat and patiently waited.

And look at that fantastic result! I mean, come on! It was perfect! Now the sausage...

It was just a little crispier than it should have been, it tasted just fine.

As you can see my second batch got just a little darker, but still tasted great!

Before you ask, yes I did eat this. I am not a fan of basil. I think I would go a little less on that and I would've liked it a lot more. Also I don't really like tomatoes. Yeah, I think I just wanted the bread. But my husband liked it plenty! He ate pretty much all of it, and the leftovers. Well, enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wonderful Peaches

Peaches for me.
So its a bit late in the season for peaches now, but that didn't stop me from wanting to make a peach pie! Going to a BBQ tomorrow, even though it will probably be inside, seeing as its supposed to SNOW tonight. Blerg.
Anyway, I am making this pie for a get together and I wanted to be impressive, so I made a pie from scratch. Look at all the impressiveness in this one blog!
Actually, I was going to use frozen but than my husband asked for fresh because he doesn't care for the premade stuff. Well, OK, change of plans.
First! I made a pie crust. I actually made 2 pies, one cherry. That was just premade filling since cherry anything is the worst. I am picky, but I am also selective. I like bananas, but no banana flavored candies. That kind of thing.
Its all terrible. But, cherry was requested, and I even thought of making that one from fresh cherries until I could't find any in the store. So premade for that one. Anyway, I made the crusts ahead of time, and I didn't take any pictures. Since its pie crust though, its not that hard and doesn't really need pictures. Here is the recipe I used:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsps sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 stick cold butter cut into pieces, and 1/2 cup cold water

Combine flour, sugar, and salt into bowl.Mix in butter on low speed, until it looks like coarse meal. Mix in half the water on low speed, then mix in the rest, slowly. Pack the dough into a small ball and wrap with plastic wrap and set in fridge for minimum of an hour, max over night.

Now onto the main no king was before....

Crumb Topped Peach Pie
Doesn't the name just sound scrumptious? I thought so, I may even try this one! I know, I know, get those jaws off the floor. I, the picky eater, will dare to try this pie. Maybe.

1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 1/8 tsp salt, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp almond extract, 6 cups peaches peeled and sliced
Crumb topping: 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup all purpose flour, and 1/4 cup margarine 


First, how do you peel peaches with out wasting precious fruit? Never fear, I have an answer! Actually my recipe did. Submerge the peach in boiling water for 30 seconds. Then, take the peach out with a slotted spoon and plunge it into ice water. Take it out, pierce with pairing knife and it should peel right off!

A few notes on the peaches. I had no idea how many cups I would get out of how many peaches, so I bought 7. 2 were HUGE and I left them in the boiling water for almost a minute. That's another thing, I left my regular sized peaches in for about 45 seconds because I had left mine in the fridge over night so they wouldn't go rotten on me in the middle of the night. So they were super cold and took longer to "cook". Adjust were you see fit.


There they are. All peeled and sliced. It was really easy, and I will definitely do it again, it was no trouble as all. But rather messy. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg in a large bowl. Add peaches to bowl. Toss gently with sugar mixture.

Arrange peaches in pie crust. 

I got my crust out of the fridge and laid it down on my cool pie measuring sheet thing from Pampered chef. It helps me keep a somewhat circle shape to my dough. I think I will use it for pizza too, since my pizza's turn in to weird rectangles rather than circles.

For topping combine sugar, brown sugar,flour and margarine into a small bowl. Crumble together with hands (what I chose), pastry cutter, or fork until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of pie and place in oven for 30 minutes. Put aluminum foil under pie to catch drippings...Something I did not do...

And there we are all done! I looked in half way just to check up on it and found a big sploch on the bottom of my oven. This runs over a lot! It gets kinda soupy, I am sure it will taste fine, once it sits in the fridge for a few hours it should thicken up and not be hard to serve. It smells AMAZING. I even at some of the topping before it was cooked and that by itself was good. But its hard to go wrong with sugar.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Saucy is a Fun Word

Say it with me, "Saucy".
You totally said that in a British accent in your head, didn't you? Well, if you didn't, I did. Trust me.
Its been awhile, I know. But the last few recipes I've made have been bombs. And not in a good way.
Not like, "Wow, that dinner was the bomb!"
More like, "Wow, that dinner bombed."
See the distinction?
So I had to wait for sometime until I got a good one. Thus I present to you:
Saucy Beef Casserole
I got the recipe out of my Taste of Home 5 - Ingredient Cookbook. Its a super handy cook book that I got for Christmas a few years back.

It has tasty recipes(Like I would know), and they are quick and cheap, since there are only 5 ingredients. This recipe has been the first one in a while to get a "Please make that again!" from my husband. There isn't much to it, so I thought why not share?
So lets get right down to it shall we?

1 pound ground beef(not pictured), 1 medium onion chopped, 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup undiluted, 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed vegetable soup undiluted, 3/4 cup chow mein noodles

Ok, I am going to address the onion. Why does ever casserole have onion? Onion is terrible. But not only that is seems like all casserole recipes call for an extensive amount of onion. I don't know if I am just buying my onions too big or what but when I chop up a quarter of an onion it seems like A LOT. And I think, "They want me to put in a whole onion?! It would be like 2 cups of onions!" So I only used a half of a half. And that seemed just right. Now I know you can more or less onion depending on your taste preferences, but to me it always seems like the recipe asked for way to much onion. There, my onion rant is over.

In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; Drain. Stir in soups

So the recipe didn't specify what kind of vegetable soup so I grabbed Vegetarian Vegetable Soup. That also had alphabet noodles. I guess vegetarians can have fun soups too.

Doesn't that look....gross?

OK, here is another place I deviate from the recipe. It doesn't call out for Cayenne Pepper but I added about a teaspoon or so. The reason is my husband. He likes flavorful food. Usually when I make something he says, "It was good, it just needed more flavor!"
And I, like the guy in Oliver Twist, would respond, "MOOOOORE?"
So, when I was making this I thought, "He wants flavor, well he is gonna get it!" 
And he really liked it. So I made a note of it in the cookbook so I wouldn't forget!

Pour into a greased 8in baking pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover and top with chow mein noodles. Cook for 5 minutes.

There done! Told you it was quick, easy, and cheap! FYI, I used the whole bag of noodles to top it with. If I used the 3/4 of a cup it called for then I would have been left with a mouth full in the bag and I wasn't about to wrap that up and put in the the cupboard to go bad. I passed from partaking of this casserole. Are you surprised? But my husband loved it as usual. And his opinion is really the only one that matters since he is the one consuming the food. Ta ta for now!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Already?

Back at it! I have made other recipes since my last post, but I either forgot to take pics or was in a hurry and did not OR the recipe sucked.
Not much new here. My daughter is down for a nap so I have anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours until she wakes up. She is all over the place! Yesterday she was so tired and cranky but when I put her down for a nap it took like 2 hours to get her to sleep. She is a fighter.  Doesn't want to miss anything. She was awake when I made this dish during that 2 hour time period. At one point I just gave up, put her in her exersaucer and said, "You'll just have to cry it out in there."
And boy, did she. She was unhappy with me! So I am not sure if I will have to many amusing anecdotes for this recipe since my daughter was wailing because she was too tired. So tired that when I put her in her crib for a nap she was to exhausted to sleep. Kids. I find it so strange (maybe ironic is a better word)that as a kid all you want to do is stay up and not go to bed. But as an adult all you want to do is sleep. *shrug*
Well, I am getting used to the less sleep thing. I will have to if I am just going to add more children to my current 1 at some point. On with the recipe!
Jalapeno Beef and Corn Bread Pie
I got this recipe from my mom. About 15 to 16 years ago she signed up for this club were you get recipe cards every month. She was apart of it for like a year or 2 and canceled it because she noticed she hardly used them. She kept them anyway, since it was expensive. I just looked them up on ebay and all the cards are going for like 15 bucks. Ouch. Anyway, when I got married I ask if she had any cook books she didn't want and she gave me her set of cards. Its not a complete set since she cancelled the subscription but there are a lot. I took them, but also don't use them as much. But to make a long story short(too late), I am using one!

1 lb ground beef, 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 Tbsp melted shortening, 1 (8 oz) can creamed corn, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 large grated onion, 1 lb sharp shredded cheddar cheese, 5 canned chopped jalapenos

I searched, and I searched for whole canned jalapenos but I couldn't find them! So I bought the chopped ones and just guessed on the amount later. I also bought a whole new cornmeal, because I thought I didn't have any. I was wrong, there was a can in my pantry that I found when I got home. I looked at the expatriation date. June 2011. Yeah, I hadn't needed cornmeal for over 2 years.....Good thing I got new! 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef on medium-high heat. Drain fat.

In a separate bowl combine cornmeal, milk, eggs, baking soda, shortening, corn, and salt. 

Action shots!

Grease a 10 inch ovenproof skillet or baking pan (If you have a skillet, that is super cool. I, however, do not own a skillet. So I chose my nice stone pie pan from pampered chef. Use whatever works best for you!). Spoon (I poured mine. I am such a rebel) half the bread batter mix into bottom of pan.

Spread beef over that, and top with jalapenos, onion, and cheese.

OK, so I tried grating my onion. It didn't really work. It sorta just, mushed into nothing. I have tried grating an onion before so I don't know if there was some sort of trick to it, but it did not work for me. I ended up chopping the onion, and only using half of it. 

Spread remaining bread batter over top, covering completely. Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Ta da!!!! It turned out great! My husband really enjoyed it, but he said next time to add more spice to it. He likes spicy flavorful things. He really like it the way it was but said next time to add something else to it o make it really kick. I am not sure what though. Garlic? More jalapenos? If anyone out there has any suggestions let me know. I wouldn't eat it to see what could have made it better. Onions and jalapenos and creamed corn? Pass! I had a ham sandwich for dinner and I was very happy.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's In a Name?

Swiss cheese by any other name still tastes gross.
Hello!! Well how have you been? Me, fine, just fine.
My daughter is currently sleeping, and hopefully for the whole night! She just started sleeping through the night, for the past few nights so I hope its a trend!
The following recipe has many adjustments. Some on purpose, one not. You'll see. I found it in a Taste of Home magazine and thought it sounded fun to make.
Chicken Swiss Bundles was the original name but I have renamed it:
Chicken Pockets!
Sounds way more fun, don't ya think? Onward!

1 small chopped onion, 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, 1 1/2 tsp butter, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 cup cubed cooked chicken, 1,2 cup roasted sweet red peppers, 1 Tbsp honey mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning, 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning, 2 cups shredded swiss cheese, 12 frozen bread dough dinner rolls thawed, 2 Tbsp melted butter

Okay, so for the few adjustments that I made. The first being that I omitted the mushrooms. It was by accident really. I just forgot to write them on my grocery list. But my husband said that was fine with him, they didn't sound appealing. The next being that I used pepper jack cheese. If you recall from my last entry I discovered that my husband doesn't care for Swiss cheese. So, when I proposed this recipe I asked him what cheese he would prefer. Hence the pepper jack. And finally, the rolls. I simply read the recipe to fast and just presumed these were the type of rolls to get. Now, they worked fine but I will get to them later.

Cook chicken. Simple enough.

I chose to pan sear mine. But you can roast them in the oven if you want. Whatevs. Next time I will cut them up before hand. This took too long to cook, I think. 'Specially that one in the middle. Not that its bad, I was just impatient.

In a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms(or not)in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add chicken, peppers, mustard, and seasonings: heat through.

I wanted to get a really nice chop on the peppers so I threw them in my manual food processor. Or you could just use a knife, if you have fancy knife skills like that....Show off.

Remove from heat, add cheese.

Did I really need a picture of me shredding the cheese? Well, yes. Yes I did.

Flatten each roll into a 5 inch circle.

Place a 1/4 cup chicken mix in the center of the circle. Brush edges with butter, top with another flattened dough circle. Press edges with fork, top with butter.

Place on greased baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees(keyboards need a symbol for degrees, is there one?...Upon inspection I do not find one...) for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cut bundles in half to serve.

Okay, the finished product. And here is what I have to say about the dough I used. Its basically the knock off of the Pilsbury Grands Biscuits. They worked, in a sense. The flaws were that they didn't seal very well since they have a buttery-ness to them. And they were WAY doughy. Those bad boys puff up quite a bit, even after flattened into submission. My husband said they tasted great, but were a little too doughy, so next time I will make them with the right kind of dough. I leave you with a picture of my kitchen buddy. Since the baby came along he finds any excuse to be with me. Even if I am cooking.