Monday, July 25, 2011

Easy Glazed Carrots p.235

These were easy to make, yummy, but my boys still won't eat cooked carrots- oh well, I'll keep trying :)

Tortellini, Peas and Asparagus in a creamy, tarragon sauce p.175

Delicious!  I used skim milk because I didn't have any half and half, and it did just fine- I like thickening the sauce and adding it to the pasta instead of just serving it on top.  Make sure you use fresh tarragon and fresh pasta- I used Buitoni-then you finish in 30 minutes.

Both my boys loved this one!  And it had two green veggies in it!

Skillet Baked Ziti p. 140

This was very good!  Great flavors, easy to make, good taste- We did finish it off in the oven to brown the cheese on top.

You definetly can finish this in under 30 minutes

I added ground, cooked italian sausage. 

Skillet Spaghetti and Meatballs p.138

Honestly, not one of our favorites and I can make regular spaghetti and meatballs in under 30 minutes, so I don't think we'll be trying this "one pot" recipe again. 

The noodles never cooked enough and we didn't like the taste of the sauce cooked into the noodles.  Tasted like can spaghetti and meat.  Very interesting to make though-  You really do have to constantly stir it and add more liquid. 

I couldn't find meatloaf mixture for the meatballs- so I used half ground pork and half ground sirloin.

Salmon and Couscous Skillet Supper p.129

This was good, but for some reason my couscous turned out mushy- I did accidentally buy the couscous pearls- that could have been the problem.  I ended up pouring it into a strainer and then serving it. 

We love salmon and this was another good way to fix it- the sauce was very good!

Baja Style Fish Tacos p.128

Another variety of fish tacos and once again I retreated to my favorite sauce instead of the adobo chipotle chiles which we do not like.

But...I tried to fry the fish for the first time and it was surprisingly easy, although, not as healthy as the grilled variety I usually do.  But still yummy.  It was my first beer batter and we did like the flavor of it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tostadas (page 263)

This is the very last recipe in the cookbook, though not my last recipe- I still have many left to go through. This is another great post-Thanksgiving meal to add some variety to your turkey. I made this meal simply because I already had all of the ingredients on hand and it wouldn’t require a trip to the store. I know you know what tostadas look like so I just took a picture of all the fixin’s I had available for dinner: salsa, refried beans, avocado, green chilies, cilantro, sour cream, black olives, cheddar, and chicken.

Fiesta Chicken Casserole (page 254)

This was so good, and I can’t wait to cook it again. I made this as if it were a regular recipe and not a left-overs meal. I just boiled some chicken and then shredded it. Most people who know me, know I don’t like left-overs, but I plan on using this recipe after Thanksgiving this year with turkey to switch things up a bit

Simplified Smothered Pork Chops with Apple Cider (page 212)

This dinner received a perfect score from me. I really liked the delicious sweet and savory flavor with the subtle mustard undertone. My husband did not like the pork as much as I did though. I served this over white rice and will probably be making it again, when my hubby is out of town.

Beef Teriyaki (page 205)

Of course I had to cook this recipe because it looked so delicious on the picture page :-) This meal can be made much faster than the 30-minute maximum. In fact I’m pretty sure I had this insanely simple meal on the table it a little over 15 minutes. I used 1/8 tsp dried ginger instead of freshly grated, which probably saved on time. I also added sesame seeds and served it over white rice to match the picture. Deliciously quick dinner!

Baja-Style Fish Tacos (page 128)

A couple weeks ago we had fish tacos at smallgroup for dinner. I don’t remember ever having fish tacos before that night. Since they were so delicious I decided to try making my own and was thrilled to find this recipe in our cookbook. I didn’t want to fry the fish though so I grilled it instead. I added cilantro, fresh lime juice, and homemade salsa verde as toppings. I served the tacos with Cuban black beans, but everyone ate the beans as another taco topping. I really like the idea of fish tacos, but I think cod was a little too much of a “fishy” flavor for me. I will definitely try this recipe again but with another type of fish (e.g. tilapia).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spaghetti with Spinach, Bacon & Toasted Bread Crumbs (page 165)

My husband liked this dish a lot more than I did simply based on a tasting preference. I added grilled chicken to go on top and I think that I really wouldn’t have liked this dish without the chicken. When I subtract the time it took to grill the chicken, I needed about 45-minutes to make the rest of the dish. If you do make this and you really like it, then you will be in luck because there are a lot of left-overs. For the bread crumbs I used “Oatnut” by Oroweat. Make sure you read the note at the bottom of the page for tips on how make your own bread crumbs; they’re very helpful.

Skillet American Chop Suey (page 148)

To be perfectly honest, I only made this recipe because of the name. Surprisingly, I didn’t change the recipe at all. Shocker! I loved that it was a one-pot meal and that the ingredients were simple and appeasing to picky eaters. However, I will say that this recipe was VERY similar to the Skillet Chili Mac which I deemed “glorified hamburger helper.” I’m not a fan of hamburger helper, but if you are, than this is certainly a recipe for you.

Creamy Skillet Penne with Mushrooms & Asparagus (page 143)

We thought this pasta was pretty good. Like always, I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe to suit our tastes. I added grilled chicken for some protein, used whole-grain penne, and omitted the wine. The parmesan cheese was the perfect last ingredient to complete the meal.

Skillet-Braised Bratwurst and Sauerkraut (page 123)

We enjoyed this meal and I can see myself making this again during football season. The note recommended sauerkraut in the bags, but I couldn’t find that so I purchased the jars and it tasted just fine to me. I omitted the juniper berries because I refused to spend that much money on a small glass jar of berries. I served both the brats and the sauerkraut on a bun with yellow mustard and everyone was grinning ear-to-ear

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie (page 115)

I can’t say this was my favorite chicken pot pie, but not because it was bad though. It was just so different from that traditional chicken pot pie that we all love. For the chicken, I purchased one of those pre-made rotisserie chickens and shredded it. I also used more celery than they recommended (about 4). Instead of the frozen pea-carrot medley, I used 2 cans of mixed vegetables. For the breading, I used pie crust, but it didn’t end up being that bready at all. If you’re like me and you do like the bready part, they suggest refrigerated biscuits as an alternative to pie crust.

The guts of the pie,
and with the pie crust topping.

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo (page 89)

My husband loved the flavor of this gumbo, and I liked how quickly I got it on the table for dinner. For the Creole spice mixture, I used Zatarain's because it was the cheapest I could find. To make it seem like there was more shrimp, I cut up each jumbo shrimp into 3 or 4 pieces. If you do this remember to watch the shrimp because they will cook even faster and you don’t want them to get chewy. Also, make sure you don’t rush step 1; the roux is the most important aspect of the gumbo. Since this was so fast to make, I had extra time to butter some toast for dipping.  We decided that the next time I make this I will add crawfish and some corn for more flavor.

30-Minute Chicken Tangine (page 77)

Of course I chose to cook this recipe because it is on one of the picture pages. This meal smelled delicious; it took all my energy to wait until dinner to dive in. Just like the note says, the sauce is both sweet and savory. I forgot to include onion in mine, but will try to remember it next time. Like I’ve said before, I don’t like to microwave my chicken so I grilled mine before adding it to the sauce. I think grilling the chicken added a nice texture to the meal and didn’t take up too much more time. I served the chicken over couscous and we gobbled it up! My favorite part of the meal was the chick peas, yum-o!

Black Bean Soup (page 54)

This was very easy and fast to make. I used dried oregano, about 10 oz of chorizo, & let everything simmer longer than the suggested 5 minutes. I served it with some tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Quick Cheesy Ravioli Bake (page 177), Creamy Caesar Dressing (page 25), & Garlic Toast (page 90)

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything that I have been cooking. We had company and things got a little out of control, but I’m back now and I have a lot of cooking adventures to share with y’all. I’m going to try to remember everything, but still keep it quick and to the point.

On this particular night I must to have been feeling pretty brave because I attempted 3 new recipes. Best advice for the ravioli is to READ the recipe. I had a major blonde moment that my sister has had a blast laughing over. For some reason when I read the recipe instead of reading “ravioli” I read “ricotta.” I think I must to have assumed that I was going to be making homemade ravioli? What was I thinking? This is a 30-minute cookbook! No way was I getting homemade ravioli in 30 minutes! So anyways, I had to do a last minute switch up and just use penne (because I already had it) and dump the ricotta I bought into the sauce. It’s kind of like ravioli, but in a different shape, right? No one complained about the taste, so everything besides the shape of the noodles, I can attest to being pretty easy and delicious.

I served a Caesar salad with dinner. I was not a fan of the dressing, but everyone else seemed to like it. I omitted the anchovies because I’m weird.....I can’t eat those little fish. Eek! It’s entirely possible that this is why I didn’t like the dressing. Maybe I actually do like anchovies in my dressing! (gasp!)

The first time I flipped through the cookbook I didn’t see the little garlic toast recipe box. To be honest though, I don’t think you need the box. There isn’t anything in this recipe that you don’t already know on how to make your own garlic bread.

Ok that was NOT short. Let me try again: All in all, a good meal and under 30-minutes