Thursday, May 27, 2010

White Chicken Enchiladas

We really enjoyed the enchiladas from the cookbook so we tried the PW’s white chicken enchiladas. I added some cayenne pepper to kick-it-up, and mmmm I’m so glad that I did. This picture reminds me of those I Spy children's books (ex: can you find all of the ingredients for the PW's white chicken enchiladas?)These were delicious, but I think we still prefer the enchiladas from the cookbook.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5 recipes - 1 meal!

We hosted our Dinner for 8 Saturday night and it ended up being a tribute to Pioneer Woman as I cooked 5 recipes for the meal! I consider it my final tribute to her as I vote with Carissa and am ready to move on to another book!

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers and Salsa

The poppers were a big hit! They are labor intensive which I don't mind if they taste really good - and they did. Great combo of spicy, creamy and touch of sweet. Some of the jalapenos were spicy and some were not - the ones with a little kick were definitely better! Not a one left!

The salsa recipe is from her website and was easy and good. It actually tasted better this week since the flavors had a chance to meld. I would rate it a mild salsa and I would have a liked it better a little spicier - I find it hard to judge with fresh jalapenos as you never know how spicy they will be - could have used a couple more for my taste.

Katie's Roasted Corn Salad

This salad was yummy, healthy and summery! Will be making this again and again this summer. Very easy - roast the veggies, chop and pour dressing over. Would be easy to substitute many other summer vegetables but the key is the fresh corn!

Pinto Beans

I had made these before and they were good but they were really good this time because I cooked them with a ham bone - makes a big difference in the taste! I added onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, chili powder and fresh cilantro at the end. Yum!

Spicy Pulled Pork

This is still my favorite recipe from this book - yummy and easy! Served it with tortillas and fresh limes.

Chicken Scallopine &Trinidad Chicken Curry

We’re on a chicken-kick in our house right now, and to prevent boredom, I’m trying every chicken recipe I can find. These are a couple that I found on the PW’s website and I thought I would pass along my recommendations. For the chicken scallopine I used wheat noodles and fresh Italian parsley; we will definitely have this one again. My husband loves anything with curry, so I thought this one would be a hit. It was a good recipe, I would just recommend adding some other vegetables to the curry-slurry to make it better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flat Apple Pie

I am going to have to make this one again- I tried to use whole wheat flour for the pastry dough and it just didn't turn out well at all!  The filling was delicious, but the pie sure didn't look too good!
I also did one pie with apples and one with fresh peaches- yummy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


James was excited about this lasagna, having heard good things about it from a friend. Not remembering to read previous posts, I cooked the whole box of lasagna.

It was pretty easy to put together; it just took time to cook and simmer the meat mixture. The sausage with the ground beef was really good. I didn't have fresh herbs, but I'm sure it would have been better with those. I'm not a big lasagna fan, but my husband appreciated it and agreed with previous posters in naming it one of the best lasagna's. It's definitely the best lasagna I've made, since it's my first time to make it! I liked the idea posted about putting the noodles in one at a time; if I had remembered that then my noodles would have cooked a little more evenly. Not that it mattered; having made the whole box, I could just choose the best ones.

Pink Velvet cake

While this cake tasted pretty good right after I made it, I think my method of storage (in the cake stand in the fridge) was not air-tight and thus caused it to get stale rather quickly (or maybe we just didn't eat it fast enough!) Really I think the best part of this recipe was the icing. I've made red velvet cake before, and I just remember it being more moist. Also, this cake ended up a little too dense. After searching high and low (HEB and Randall's), I could not find red food coloring, so I resigned myself to pink velvet cake. Upon mixing the food coloring (gel) with the cocoa (powder) I thought perhaps that brown and pink made crimson. Here in the picture it even seems reddish.

But no, upon cutting into it it was evident to all that it was indeed pink velvet cake. Oh well. Everyone said that they liked it. Sorry, no pictures of the completed cake, but don't worry, I did finish icing it. The recipe made plenty - I even had leftover icing.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What do you ladies think?

Hey there fellow Cook A Book chefs!
I had a question for you gals. Where is everyone in their cooking with Pioneer Woman? I am almost done mainly because I am trying to cook a little healthier these days and she does not lend herself to that! :) I'm not trying to rush anyone, but just thought I'd ask what everyone wants to do. Do we want to all get together for a potluck dinner and chit chat about PW? Do we want to go through another cookbook together? If so, then what kind of cookbook are we thinking of for the next one? I vote something easy on the arteries! Ina and PW have not been the healthiest. This pregnant lady needs to watch the weight a bit! I am almost 7 months pregnant and had to go buy new pants yesterday! It is a sad day when you start out growing your maternity clothes with 2.5 months to go!! Yikes! But as always I am up for anything. so be thinking about if you want to move on to another book and when you want to do that. It could be in a month, or it could be next Fall, I'm fine with anything. If you do have future cook book ideas, or potluck ideas post them on the blog.
Let me know what you girls come up with! --Carissa

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Monkey Bread

A couple of weeks ago I decided to try my hand at PW, I mean Pastor Ryan's Monkey Bread

This was so extremely easy.    I can't tell you that enough.  It was one of those days where it's 5:25 pm and you find out extra people are coming for dinner and you need a couple quick extras.

I had one simple problem with this...I lost my bundt pan.  I have no idea where it has gone off to, but it is not in my my cabinet. So, I had to use a cake pan so it wasn't as pretty as most but it tasted the same so I was okay. 

Anyway I had about half of this left over and not wanting it to sit on my counter for me to eat I took it to work as I do on a regular basis with left-overs.  People were dropping by my desk thanking me for their "breakfast snack".  So, I'm going to take it as they loved it.

So, quick, easy and good.  All great things for me!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Patsy’s Blackberry Cobbler

I made this delicious dessert again, but only with raspberries this time. Last time I made this I served it with Blue Bell ice cream. I can’t stress to you enough how many extra points this dish gets with the vanilla ice cream melting on top. Yum-o!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich

I made these sandwiches after her great description of them. I would say we voted them good to Ok, ours were a bit chewy. I tried my hardest to cut the slices across the grain, but it was hard with it being so tenderized! I couldn't tell where the grain was half of the time. That could have been part of the chewy problem.
Here is my 2 year old trying her hand at cooking in cast iron! Not sure why the pink sunglasses...she has an odd fashion sense sometimes!

I felt super pioneer-y with my cast iron skillet and cast iron griddle going at the same time!
So, you ask...would I make these again? Probably not, but that is mainly because I have a sandwich recipe similar to this (with different meat and added melted cheese) that we really like, and it is healthier. But as always, it was fun to try something new! --Carissa

Perfect Pot Roast and Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! So that James' mom didn't have to cook or clean, we hosted Mother's Day dinner at our house. I was excited about using more PW recipes (the salad, dessert and macaroni and cheese were provided by other Fields), though worried about having enough food. Abby, my sister-in-law, was surprised at my worry. "It's just our family, Kara."
"You realize that's 9 people, right??"

So instead of the 3-5 lbs. PW suggests, I bought about 7 pounds of meat and used both my crock pot and my mother-in-law's Pampered Chef stone to cook all the carrots, roast and onions. I cut the vegetables the night before, leaving them in the fridge in a zip-lock. I also salted the beef and readied the fresh herbs. This morning before church I seared the meat and browned the veggies, starting the timers on the slow-cookers as we left.

I made the mashed potatoes last night. James had the ingenious idea of using my apple peeler-corer-slicer to help peel the potatoes. While not perfect, it definitely helped speed the process. I didn't add the last bit of butter on top before baking, since they seemed plenty decadent to me without it. And while they took longer than 30 minutes to heat back up in the oven, Abby's macaroni and cheese wasn't ready yet, so they weren't the cause for the dinner delay.

Everyone agreed it was a delicious meal. The potatoes were so rich. Someone ventured to say it was the best pot roast ever... except for their mom's, of course.

Cowboy Calzone (with PW pizza crust)

These turned out really well, I thought, though we decided the pizza crust was too "wheat-y." I made the pizza crust with 1/2 all purpose flour and 1/2 whole-wheat flour, so they were thicker than regular pizza crust. I've never had success with homemade pizza crusts, so I was pleased that this worked out so well. Next time I think I would just follow her recipe and it would be perfect.

James says that PW uses a lot of ground beef. It was hearty, but I liked how filling and easy to make it was. I ran out of pizza dough before I ran out of filling, so I had to freeze a large portion of the meat and cheese mixture. I bet you could make a bunch of these ahead of time, freeze them, and then just cook the amount you needed.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Egg in the Heart!

Part of the fun of raising 2 little girls is everything gets to be pink or heart shaped! So, here is our version of Egg in a Hole! My oldest daughter (4 years old) just ate the heart egg out of the middle of hers, saying that she only wanted to eat the bestest part! I was trying out my new cast iron Kara, my cast iron was a gift, an early Mother's Day gift. So far I love it! --

Pineapple upside-down cake

I had never made pineapple upside-down cake, and I had never used an iron skillet, much less put one in the oven. So this recipe was great fun for me. I had just received an iron skillet for my birthday (actually, two, different sizes). Here I am wondering what in the world this world-class wrapping could be hiding.
And here I am discovering my new "best friend in the kitchen." Or so PW says... I'm wearing the hat I got for my birthday, too. This was 11:39pm, also, perhaps another reason to be so enthused about a skillet. I didn't want to wait til midnight to open my presents.

But about the cake. It took a bit longer than I thought for everything. The brown sugar took longer to dissolve properly. While I didn't make the same mistake as the French puffs and try to use all the batter, my cake still overflowed a little bit in the oven (this skillet is 10" and my other one is smaller; the recipe said 10" or 12" so it makes sense I guess that it would be too much for a 10"). Then it took about twice as long to bake. We were >30 minutes late for our friends' house for dinner, but they forgave us, since we brought the cake.

Delicious, moist and sugary, and a good review from all.

Chocolate Sheet Cake

I made this for our small group dinner last week- it was DELICIOUS!  Pretty easy to make- But I do have to agree with Hailey that you need to send it home with others so you don't eat it all.

Use a very large sheet cake pan with edges

My grandmothers recipe is VERY similar, but she adds cinnamon- I will be doing this next time- it tends to take a bit of the sweet edge off :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No olive cheese bread and Marlboro Man pasta

Ok, so neither of these recipes are actually in the book, but the cheese bread recipe is close! I made this before I got the book (so really, I should have posted this before the others, chronologically, but oh well), using a recipe on-line. Comparing it to the olive cheese bread in the book, however, I would definitely choose this one. I don't like olives, for one, and this one had more cheese. But perhaps too much cheese... I froze the leftovers but we only had them once or twice before we decided to throw the rest out. Oh and I didn't actually have mayonnaise, so I used sour cream. And a different ratio of cheeses since I ran out of cheddar. Maybe that's why it wasn't as good and melty. In one word - "cheesy."

The pasta was good, I thought, though lacking in liquid. While leftovers were deemed acceptable, the night it was served brought complaints of the solidarity of the pasta-meat dish. In one word - "meat." I said that's how Marlboro Man likes his pasta. James is not Marlboro Man.


Here they are soaking in the butter. These were fun and easy to make. I had enough time to cook something before church on Sunday, though I'm not sure this counts.

James doesn't like yolk, however, so I should have scrambled his egg before pouring it in the toast. I like my eggs over medium or over hard, so I cooked it that way. It was a little dry, though, so maybe I could try it a little more over easy so that the toast has some yolk-y sauce. Just for me, though. James would not eat any yolk-y substance.

I toasted the little holes, too. Waste not, right?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

French Breakfast Puffs

These were so easy to make, though they did take a little while. And when you don't wake up early on a Saturday morning and breakfast ends up being closer to lunch time, they seem to take a looong time.

I think the batter makes more than 12. Here's the results of trying to fit all the batter in one muffin pan. They overflowed a bit and the tops were almost as big as the stumps.

The tops came off when I tried to get them out of the muffin pan. I tried to be gentle when extracting them, but there were still a few casualties.

Turns out after dipping them in butter and rolling them in sugar, they were too sweet to eat! James and I each ate one for "brunch" and decided to bring them to our home fellowship group for dessert that night! I cut off all the tops then quartered the stumps and tops, making a total of 8 bite-sized pieces out of each muffin. This made plenty for our church group with the kids begging their moms to get the recipe for these "cookies."

Chicken Spaghetti

So it's been a while since I've posted... but I've been trying some of PW's recipe's even before I received the actual cook book for my birthday.

I used the website and followed the recipe almost exactly. I used some of a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking my own, and we had whole wheat pasta. When I told James we were having chicken spaghetti, he was like... how is that any different from chicken with pasta (something I often throw together last minute)? I explained that it was a casserole and completely different. He said it was cheesy. It's exactly what I think of when I say "chicken spaghetti," and I liked it alright, though yes, quite cheesy.

Breakfast Potatoes

You have to have the right situation going on in your home to get these potatoes on the table for breakfast--because you have to bake the potatoes for 45 min. before you start browning them on the stove. So that means you have to get up pretty early! This past weekend I had 4 grandkids at my house, all under 3 years...and that meant early mornings!! So as soon as I heard the first little peep of noise, I got up and stuck these potatoes in the oven to bake, and got the kids interested in toys while they waited for breakfast. By the time the two mommies of these 4 kids were awake, I had the hot baked potatoes cut up and in the frying pan.

I cooked bacon while the potatoes were baking, so I just used all the bacon grease to fry the potatoes and onions. That just gives them so much flavor!
Here they are seasoned, and patted down in the pan to crisp up. I didn't get a pic of the browned potatoes because you can hold off kiddos only so long for breakfast...~Janice

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chocolate Sheet Cake

The one thing Daniel, my husband, would tell you he's deprived of is chocolate desserts. He is correct because I'm not a chocolate lover so I never make chocolate related desserts but he has been VERY busy at work and he had some big deadlines Friday so in celebration I decided I would make him PW chocolate sheet cake on Thursday.

He loved it as well as about twenty of his coworkers! Even I the non lover of chocolate liked it...I think it's because it used coco powder and not actually chocolate, as in Hershey's milk chocolate. And maybe the 4 sticks of butter helped!!:)

I just used my largest cookie sheet and that worked perfectly. As she stated in her recipe as soon as it came out of the oven I poured the icing over it and it was perfect.

I definitely recommend making this dessert just be sure to have company over to help devour it or send it to work like I did.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I had not planned on attempting this recipe because chicken pot pie is not one of my favorites. Then after talking to my friend Shannon, who is also a contributor to this blog, she convinced me to give it a try.

To save time in making this dish here are some things that I did the night before:
1)Cut up the carrots and celery and stored in Ziploc bags
2)Made the dough and put in the freezer, liked suggested in the cookbook
3)Instead of boiling a chicken, I bought a already cooked rotisserie chicken and pulled off the meat and kept in the refrigerator

When putting all the ingredients together, I opted to use fat free half & half instead of heavy whipping cream. I didn’t notice any significant change by doing this. I left the dough sit out about ½ hour before I needed it but I had a lot of difficulty to get it to roll out well, as well as laying it on top of the dish without it pulling apart. But I made it work anyways.

It made a lot so I froze a casserole dish of it to have at another time.It was a good dish but in my opinion it was not one of the best ones I have had from the PW Cookbook.