Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oatmeal Souffle

Ah, breakfast.  One of our favorite meals, yet there really is no variation of what's for breakfast.  Eggs, pancakes, french toast, waffles, bacon, sausage.  It's quite easy to get stuck in a rut. 

I had gotten a Breakfast cookbook a few years ago, sheerly for the reason that it was just that:  breakfast food and breakfast food only!  And yesterday, we dusted it off to try something different:  Oatmeal Souffle.  I've never made a souffle, and I can't take the credit for this one either, because it is all Brian's doing.  (he's the one that's usually despondent over the lack of variety in breakfast food so it's only fitting that he found this recipe.)  It also used a lot of ingredients that we had kicking around in the house, which is always appreciated.  We bought a mammoth-sized box of instant oatmeal packets at BJ's recently, and neither of us like the plain ones.  Two blocks of cream cheese that I had bought to make a dip, only to not go to the party AND later discover that I bought fat-free.  (ok for baking, not ok for bagels)  Golden raisins left over from Christmas baking.  Into the souffle they go!

 It baked up almost like a cake, and it looked like it had a golden brown, biscuit-crisp crust.  But when you cut into it, instead of being crispy the result was soft and creamy.  The recipe said to serve with warm milk or creamer, instead we opted for peach butter.  Delicious! 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Good Week, Grocery-Wise

Here is the definition of a good week with the groceries:

Two empty crispers
one empty meat/cheese drawer
lots of cans, jars and bottles on the counter, waiting to go out in the recycling

A very successful week, with using up what you have on hand!  What will next week bring?


Last month I made a ham and potato casserole from the 9x13 Cookbook and it came out ghastly.  I shredded my own potatoes instead of using frozen shredded hash browns because I was trying to be thrifty, and it turned out gray and it had the consistency of boiled cabbage. 

Do over!  This one came out perfect, with just the right amount of cheese flavor.  The only thing I would do differently is to dice the onions instead of thinly slicing them, so they would distribute more evenly.  For some reason, looking at it on the plate reminds me of Eggs Benedict. I want Eggs Benedict.  :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recent Foodstuff

I've had a few experiences in the past week or so that I've been meaning to blog about, so I'll roll them into one big post!

First, I was at the library last week before my hair appointment and I remembered finally to look for Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."  I'm more looking to drool over the recipes that I saw in "Julie and Julia" than make a whole bunch of them, especially anything involving liver or calf intestine.  They didn't have it, but I took a good look at their food and cooking section and liked what I saw.  I brought home a slow cooker cookbook on a whim, and well, it was pretty disappointing.  I was reading aloud some of the recipes to Brian and commenting on the recipes.  Suddenly Brian asked me if this was also a three-ingredient cookbook.  A quick glance at the cover and yeah, it is.  I had missed that on the cover when checking it out.  Let me tell you something, three ingredients does not make a good cookbook.  Black bean soup cannot be made with a can of corn, a can of black beans and a jar of salsa.  Not good black bean soup, anyway!  Ah well, it was a valiant effort and next time I'm in a food rut, there's free cookbooks to the rescue.  Any kind of food I could imagine!

Going through the cabinets the other night, I found something I've been meaning to ask someone what to do with it.  Every year, one of the tenants at my old job sends me a food gift from this Amish place in Pennsylvania.  (I miss her, she's the nicest lady!)  One year it was homemade salsas from this place, another year jams.  This year it is fruit far I've opened the peach, and I have apple and pumpkin butter as well.  The last jar is something called "Peanut Butter Schmeir"  What the heck is that???  So I googled it and it turns out it is a dessert dip and sauce.  It's quite peanutty, with a smooth texture.  It makes ice cream really special, with a little drizzle over it.  Mmmmmm.....

I've saved the best for last.  We had our friends Chris and Jenny over yesterday with their boys, Ethan and Nolan.  I made two pans of lasagna, one traditional and one roasted veggie.  She brought bread and a salad to round out the meal.  I am in love with no-boil lasagna noodles, I don't know why I resisted them for so long!   They make putting together a lasagna so much easier.  The veggie lasagna was great, roasting the vegetables first before assembling the dish really brought out their flavor.  The meat one was good as always too.  And dessert.......fresh banana cake with homemade caramel frosting!  That's the best part.  :)  Cake Doctor of course, the cake was full of banana flavor but light instead of dense like a banana bread.  Now, I've always thought that making frosting was really hard, but it wasn't!  You melt brown sugar and butter together on the stove until they're boiling, then add a cup of milk and bring to a boil again.  Then you add vanilla extract and powdered sugar until you get the consistency you're looking for.  Simple and so delicious!! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken and Garlic "Stew"

We have a saying in our house, there is no such thing as too much garlic!  I once wanted to try a restaurant in San Francisco called The Stinking Rose.  They have their own saying..."We Flavor Our Garlic with Food."  We would've made it there too, if it hadn't been for the rotten parking in downtown San Francisco.  Ah well...there's always next time!

I chose this recipe this week from Mark Bittman's "Everything" Cookbook.  I love this book!  Most every recipe in it is very simple to make and really makes whatever the main ingredient shine.  This one was no exception.  Plus, you have to love a meal that you basically stick in a pot and forget about for about an hour.  Ding!  Dinner's done. 

When I first read the recipe though, I incorrectly assumed it was going to be a stew.  Really, it was more of a method of cooking, since there was only half a cup of liquid in the entire thing.  Brian said that it was more like braising, and since he knows about such things from watching countless hours of Food Network I am going to assume he's correct.  The recipe also called for serving it with crusty bread.  Uhm...I realized around 4pm that we didn't have any bread.  So instead we made biscuits.  Bisquick to the rescue!  No biscuit cutter, so Brian improvised using a Christmas ornament cookie cutter.  (Trust Mr. Christmas to add Christmas cheer whenever possible...regardless of the calendar!)

The end result was so fantastic, we didn't even flip through magazines, just ate in almost silence.  This is one for the notebook!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Say It with Sweets

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentines aren't a huge deal in our house.  We exchange cards, get something small for the Big Kid, and that's about it.  I had the idea of making some sweets to enjoy with my Sweets this year. 

I had every intention of making the fabulous Alton Brown cinnamon rolls that my friend Shannon made up a couple of weeks ago and blogged about.  But yesterday was just bedlam so I didn't have the time to prep them, and let them sit in the fridge overnight to be baked today.  The best of intentions....Instead, Brian came home with two cans of refrigerated cinnamon bun dough!  Sweet, hot, delicious....what more can you ask for?  It's still an act of love, even if they're not homemade!


Tonight's dinner will be simple:  broiled salmon, brown rice and baked asparagus.  It's dessert that will be fabulous, as I've picked out a Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake from my new Cake Doctor cookbook!  It's chocolate cake with a brown sugar topping, that you top with ice cream and serve warm in bowls.  I'll start baking it soon, and it'll be the treat of the day!  Can't wait to sink my spoon into that chocolatey goodness.  Mmmmm.....:)

A Better Sloppy Joe

I tease Brian a lot about some of the food he grew up eating....stuff like Hamburger Helper (hate the stuff) and the fact that ketchup was a vegetable in his childhood home.  Another food on that list is Sloppy Joes.  I've never been a fan of "Manwich" sauce.  You know, the canned sauce that you mix with hamburger and call Sloppy Joe.  School cafeterias all over the nation call this a staple, right up there with what my grade-school called a "hamburger sundae" (sloppy joe mix over mashed potatoes) and all of it was gross in my book.  So when Brian made up the menu for this past week and I glimpsed "Sloppy Joes" as an entry, I inwardly groaned. 

What a pleasant surprise....someone on Food Network came up with a recipe for homemade sloppy joes!  They were absolutely delicious and not at all tasting like processed, salty food.  Red peppers, onions, hamburger, spaghetti sauce, cider vinegar...who knew it could make s sandwich so tangy?  I've had one for three meals, two lunches and a dinner.  They're also the kind of meal that gets better with time, the second tasted better than the first and the third was the best of all.  This is one sloppy joe that I wouldn't mind eating again and again!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sushi Saturday

Sushi tonight!!!  I haven't had it in about a year because of the baby belly.  I'm surprised that I made it four weeks without having it already.  All things I couldn't have......salmon, yellowtail.....mmmmmm!