Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Different Christmas Cookies!?!!!

Tis' the season to buy gifts for loved ones…
Tis' the season to be merry and sing Christmas Carols…
Tis' the season to eat a lot of things we don't normally consume throughout the year...
Why not bake some cookies right?

Well if you know me, you know I love to bake. I'm a fan of sweets and I like to try baking. I've come to realize that once I start I can't stop!
I was in a very merry mood and began to bake, like I do every year for friends and family. I give out cookie platters as my Christmas gift to my friends and neighbors, coworkers and the like. This year I began with a few cookie tins and a list of 12 different cookies that I planned to make. Well my list began to expand and instead of 3 consecutive days of baking, it turned into a week. And instead of baking to fill 4 cookie tins, I filled 5 large cookie tins and 10 platters.
Here is what I have been baking in the past week:

Rainbow cookies

Chocolate Biscotti cookies

Chocolate Chip 

White chip macadamia nut


Peanut Butter cookies
Sugar cookies
Spice Cupcakes
Brownies with Chocolate chip cookie dough

Pecan tartlets

Chocolate cookies with white chips

Lemon cookies
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
red velvet cake balls
Chocolate Snowballs

Here is what one of the platters looked like:

Let's Try Fish Again...

Foil-baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn

I saw this recipe and thought this would be a good meal to prepare and leave in the fridge. Basically you prepare the beans and corn to lay it on the foil. Prepare the fish with a butter mixture over top of it and place it on top of the bean and corn mixture. The meal can then be sealed in the foil and either put in the oven to bake or in the fridge to eat at a later time.
This was a good overall meal. It was a colorful, tasty dish; sweet and at the same time I felt it wasn't fatty at all. They a good portions too.

Keeps You Wanting More

Super- Spicy Chili Mac 

This chili was amazing. Each spoonful brought a different flavor in my mouth. I love making dishes like this because it's one pot of a bunch of flavors and its easy to make.
My friend and I couldn't stop eating this and the kids enjoyed it too. For those out there who aren't aware: It's difficult to make a dish that kids will enjoy just as much as you will.
The chili has a little spice to it but just enough to please the people who like spicy food and enough for people who don't like spicy food to eat this dish as well. I've been using jalepenos to liven up the dishes a bit. I understand it's difficult to control the spice that goes into a meal and to please everyone. It's been a good experience.
Sam Adams and Chili Mac was a good combo!


We are Coming over Tonight, What's for Dinner?

      My brother and sister in law had plans to come over for dinner. This would have been no problem at all if it was any other time of the year. But it was Monday of finals week and I had an electronic portfolio to complete by wednesday of that week. Boy was I all over the place getting this dinner together. I looked for something that didn't require too much work and time. Then I realized my entire cook book consists of just that "The Best Simple Recipes!"
I put together a chicken and pasta dish. It was pretty good. In it were pine nuts that I've never really eaten before. Very good. We accompanied the meal with a salad.
Chicken and Spinach Farfalle

Soup Time

I thought it was a good time for soup again. A lot of the soup in this book consists of the same thing. I think that the rotisserie chicken is good to buy ahead of time and just piece apart. It saves time and it's really good.
This time I made Moroccan Chicken Soup. Since I had the kitchen to myself, I thought this would be good to freeze and save for a later date. Definitly leave the pasta out of it until it's time for you to eat the soup. I think I wrote this before but the pasta just absorbes all of the soup, leaving you all the pasta, vegetables and chicken extra cooked and soggy. The spice Garam Masala was added to give it that Indian food taste.
All in all, the soup was good for one bowl but not good enough to keep eating. I think it was the spices that got to me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Am I Cooking Tonight?

Beef and Vegetable Fajitas

This was pretty good. I don't know how to buy skirt steak. I've never bought it and i thought the meat would be labeled. but it wasn't. Come to find out it's like a london broil. Anyways I didn't use it. I used 2 different type of meat. angus beef and strips of stew steak.
Guacamole is a good side for the fajitas. It was my first time making it. i really need to practice because it wasn't tasty. I'm not a fan of avacado and that's all it tasted like. I wasn't a fan of it but i guess thats just something I should practice.
I ate this meal with salad and fried platanoes on the side. I think rice would be a good side too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spring Rolls

Ginger-Pork Spring Rolls
I didn't have anyone to cook for me so0o0o0... I opened up the book to this page. I've never eaten Asian foods as much as I do when I cook them. This was such a great time. I've never worked with rice paper before. Let me tell you, it was tough at first but you need to know that it dries quick so you must work quickly. Its like working with a circular thin noodle. You can't wrap it too tight or else it rips like some of mine did!

The recipe called for Asian-chili garlic sauce that I don't have randomly at my house so I improvised (like always). I used 1/4 of a red hot chili and 1 garlic clove. adding this to the housin sauce and soy sauce made it taste just fine. I ate this for lunch 2 days ago, then dinner that same night and then lunch the next day. It was really good. I used a broccoli based coleslaw instead of the normal cabbage based one. Yea I just had to be different. It has a harder texture to it like shredded carrots basically but it was still good. I just don't know how to warm these up without a microwave!

Jamie is coming over?!

Jamie (my brother's friend) came over for the weekend and I haven't cooked for my brother or sister-in-law yet so I took this opportunity to cook for them all. hmm... a Sauteed Chicken with Mustard and Dill Sauce would be nice for dinner. Since we were still in November I thought a nice side to the chicken dish would be butternut squash. I had found this recipe in a magazine a couple weeks back that looked good so I used it. I had never cooked butternut squash before nor had I eaten it much in the past. I had no idea what this meal was going to taste like. As a matter of fact I never really know what these meals are going to taste like until I start smelling it as it cooks! It's a surprise not only to the family and friends willing to eat my cooking but to me as well!
Well it was a very good meal. The butternut squash with spinach came out good I just should have left it in the oven a little longer so it would come out softer. But the chicken and dill mustard sauce was great!
  • shallot minced
  • chicken broth
  • dry white wine
  • unsalted butter
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • whole grain mustard

Tis the Season...

Thanksgiving came and went without me cooking...
 We had our fair share of turkey and amazing stuffing. peas and mushrooms,Mashed potatoes and gravey, sweet potatoes with marshmellows MMMMM!!!!!
Falling asleep after a meal always is a good sign!
But wait we can't forget about desserts. I baked Pumpkin Blondies which were a hit. There was pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie, apple pie, peacan pie, Italian cheesecake some cookies in case you didn't like the traditional pies and cakes!
One day I'll be able to contribute to thanksgiving
but until then, back to the kitchen!

I could eat this every day!
Glazed Chicken with Corn Relish
I make chicken a lot and I never realized how long it has to cook because I usually cook boneless chicken breasts not chicken on the bone. You would think it would be faster.
I learned from this recipe...
double the recipe (who ever made this book thought that 1 chicken was enough for 1 person) They were wrong about portions!
I never really go by the times they say in the book either because it always seems to be longer than they suggest.
They also suggest to cook the chicken on a skillet but maybe it would cook more thoroughly in the oven? You tell me!
Overall I did cook it all the way don't worry about that. There is an orange glaze over the chicken that consists of orange marmalade, orange juice and zest from the orange and minced chipotles in adobo... I used jalapenos instead because I can control the heat that way. I haven't used the chipotles in adobo yet...
I'm liking this cilantro and scallions trick they keep using a lot! it's so tastaaaay!

Quick Lunch

Chopped Salad with Apples, Bacon and Turkey

I needed to make a quick salad because I wanted to eat with my mother before I went to go make dinner somewhere else. I've been hopping from kitchen to kitchen trying to spread the taste of my cooking around. So I made this as simple as possible. It's the most tasty salad you will ever have and the dressing was tangy but when mixing it with the apples its such a sweet and sour taste it's delicious! I left out the bacon because I wanted to make it healthier and I just didn't have the time to cook the bacon.
here's the ingredients:
romaine lettuce
deli cut turkey breast
apples (macs)
for the dressing:
crumbled blue cheese
olive oil
cider vinegar
salt and pepper

What's the Soup of the Day?

Spicy Chicken Fideo Soup
I really wanted to make soup because I haven't yet out of this book. I think to make soup you have to be in the mood for it and it should be cold out. It was the first days of november when I made this but I had to work. I knew my family was getting together for dinner so I was nice enough to make it and they were nice enough to be my ginea pigs.
I never had to make soup in this way before. First off I had to double the recipe and I thought that would be difficult considering I really love to bake and it's always hard to double baking recipes. Anyway, I had to make the pasta golden brown on the stove in oil before adding it to the soup. I'm not sure what that does...
I've learned when making soup with any type of pasta you shouldn't add the pasta until you serve each portion. This helps the pasta to not over-cook when re-heating and the pasta is less likely to absorb all of the liquid in the pot.
The avocado, fresh cilantro and Monterey Jack cheese were a nice touch to each dish when serving.
This was a hit dish for the family. They loved it!! I was so excited to hear this and they even wanted the recipe.


Tuna Melt
I try to use the things that my mother buys before I go out and buy things that are seldom used in my house. I found a bunch of tuna and then opened the book and there it was "Mediterranean Tuna Melt." In the book it looks so much better than the way mine came out. And you would think that sandwiches are easy to make right?! well this one was. I didn't use tomatoes.. I'm not a fan (I think I've said that before)

This was a really good sandwich. The recipe calls for artichokes and I wouldn't have thought to mix the two but it comes out great! I think this would be good to have as a spread for crackers. It tastes pretty good. You should try it! I would suggest to combine it in a blender to make it a spread:
  • canned tuna
  • artichokes thawed and chopped
  • red onion chopped fine
  • mayonaise
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

On the other hand...
I had an old friend stop by and I wanted to make something quick and easy. You would think that a sandwich would be ideal during lunch time.... Well it wasn't very good.
I forgot to take a picture but I made Oven-Grilled Reuben Sandwiches
I've never had a real Reuben sooo I had nothing to compare it to, but my friend aparently likes reubens and has had his fair share in his days. The reuben I made consisted of coleslaw, mustard, mayonaise, rye bread, swiss cheese and corned beef...
Can ANYONE tell me what a real reuben consists of???!!!!!

Crunch Time!

I apologize to all my readers out there who have been awaiting another creation to be posted. I've had quite a month with finalizing school lesson plans and working weekends that I've been neglecting the blogs. Needless to say I haven't been neglecting the cooking aspect. A girls gotta eat right?!
I have pictures and stories to share that are experiences nonetheless...
Keep reading because I haven't given up this project!! Despite the messes i've made, most have been delicious!!
Can't everything be as simple as the way Strega Nona makes it out to be?