Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Smitten with These Cookies

Snow days always make me feel like baking.  It's something about being stuck in the house, and wanting to make it nice and warm.  That, and I believe treats are in order when everyone's stuck in the house for three snow days in a row and getting on each other's nerves!  (By that I mean, parenting's hard.....lol.)

This is the first Smitten Kitchen recipe that I've tried, though I've been reading their Facebook and blog posts for some time.  They call them both brownies and chocolate sugar cookies, and both descriptions are accurate.  Lots of brownie flavor, in sugar cookie form.

I don't have a lot of cookie cutters that aren't Christmas-themed, so we went with mittens, stars and ducks.   Oh, and a few Cookie Ninjas, though those guys were surprisingly fragile.   Surprisingly, I didn't have a heart-shaped cookie cutter to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Anyway, here's the recipe.  Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

I am sad to report that the kids didn't like these.  Which is really too bad for them, more for me!   I would be tempted to make them again to create ice cream sandwiches as the recipe states.  But my favorite way so far to eat them is dunking them in coffee.  I easily ate a few every day with coffee, which is a bad habit to develop.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fridge-Cleanout Nachos

Snowy, lazy Saturday...and I want nachos.  I've actually wanted nachos for about a week but I've been really good lately about eating right.  And nachos aren't what one would call healthy. 

So I'm feeling snacky and I decide that nachos at home are better for you than ordering nachos at a restaurant, especially in the portion control dept.  I comb the fridge, picking out stuff on hand and start throwing away expired stuff as well. 

Nachos.  I used up a quarter bag of Tostitos Scoops and tossed out a bag of tostitos fragments.  Added minced shallot (from the fridge)  and some pickled pepperoncini slices.  A palmful of shredded cheddar and it's off to the toaster oven.  Afterwards, a couple spoonfuls of jarred mild salsa, topped with chunks of avocado.  Delicious and just the right amount to satisfy the craving.

And on the way I threw out the following:  a jar half-full of spicy chili paste.   Two-year-old maple barbecue sauce.  Kalamata olives.  Homemade pickled jalapeño and onion.  The oldest condiment was a jar of capers, and I have no idea how old they were.  And oops... the olives expired sometime in 2018.  Guess I should wear my glasses when I'm cleaning out the fridge!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Under Pressure

My pressure cooker is definitely the most underused appliance in my kitchen.  So when I was browsing cookbooks recently at the library, a cookbook specializing in pressure cooker recipes caught my eye.  We chose three recipes for the menu this week:

Pot Roast with Potatoes

By and far the best recipe of the three, but definitely took the most time to prepare.  It was a good choice for a  Sunday night dinner, and had lots of great flavor.

Enchilada-Glazed Chicken Tacos

This made a tasty, saucy shredded chicken, which we served with flour tortillas, rice and beans and for the grown-ups, sliced avocado.  (Though the kids can try this whenever they like!)
However tasty it was, though, my taco completely fell apart.  Leftovers were taco "bowls" with all the fixings.

Pork Chops with Buttery Apples served over Shaved Brussels Sprouts

This was definitely the worst recipe of the three.  Overdone pork, apples turned to mushy sauce, and watery shaved Brussels sprouts.  Brian and I each ate a bit and it did little more than "fill the belly."  All leftovers were promptly discarded and we tried to forget the sadness of this recipe.

So....thoughts on pressure cookers.

1.  The "browning" feature?  It doesn't really brown, at least not as well as on the stovetop.

2.  I didn't find any of these recipes to be a huge timesaver.  The pot roast recipe took about three hours.  Which, I guess, is a timesaver compared to how long it takes to make a pot roast and potatoes in the oven.

That being said, I'd still try some different recipes with the pressure cooker.  It is great for "set it and forget it" until it's time to depressurize.  Think we'll stick to weekends, though.