Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PDF downloads should be working

I found a new site to host the PDFs for download, so they should be working for everyone now. Let me know if you can't access something.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

These were really good and had the flavor of buffalo wings without all the fat. Although they were super hot and next time I'd use less wing sauce.

I got this great recipe from a fellow recipe blogger. Here's a link to her site and the recipe. And for the record, it was her blog that finally made me realize that since I already had several blogs that it was time to start a cooking one. So thanks Michi!

Basically take some flour with salt and pepper, egg substitute and crushed saltines. Dip the tenders in each, then place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes, turning half-way through. I then put them under the broiler for about three or four minutes to crisp them up.

Once they are done, put them in a big bowl and toss them with wing sauce until covered.

I served them with low-fat ranch mixed with feta cheese. It had the chunkiness of blue cheese minus the fat.

A Busy Weekend in the Kitchen

I did a lot of cooking this weekend, probably making up for the fact that I hadn't done much of anything over the last week and a half.

Friday night it was basil chicken and dill new potatoes.

That picture really doesn't do much to wet your appetite, but it sure is good.

Saturday was green beans, mashed potatoes and steaks with bleu cheese and bacon. No pictures because we ate it all before I thought about it.

And then came Sunday. I've got three things going today - another Baking with Dorie cake experiment, Garlic Steak and Peppers and Baked Buffalo Chicken Strips. I'll post recipes later, but at least this gives you an idea of what I've been up to.

All the peppers ready to go -

Then you add round steak that's been browned on the stove -

Then you pour a yummy mixture of soy sauce, fresh ground ginger, ground garlic, beef brother and a few other things and cook it in the crock pot for about four hours. Here it is done in the crock pot. It smelled soooo good as it cooked, and now all I have to do tomorrow is make rice and dinner is done!

And then the big Dorie cake experiment. You may remember that I'd previously tried one of her cakes, and it didn't turn out as well as I wanted it to. This one is holding much more promise. There are two things about Dorie's beautiful cookbook that I don't like. First, she writes all the recipes in paragraph format and when there are like 30 steps to a recipe, it'd be easier to follow if they were more bulleted. The second thing is that she doesn't include high altitude adjustments. I had to look some up, and I am still not sure the cakes got as puffy as they should have. But anyways, here's the results.

Here's her version -

And here's how I got to my version. The cake alone took over an hour to put together and was about 19 steps -

The frosting was hard because you had to be able to do several things at once and quickly.

Here's the egg whites working -

And while the egg whites were whipping up, a mixture of sugar, water and cream of tartar was boiling on the stove. The recipe called for it to be a specific temperature so you had to use a candy thermometer. Thankfully mom had brought one to me just last month!

Then when the sugar/water thing got to its specific temperature, you quickly poured it into the whipped egg whites and beat for five minutes. I am soooo happy to have my wonderful stand mixture because I just set a timer and let it go!

I layered it and crushed one layer for the topping. Here's the finished product. I didn't realize Dorie didn't put the crumb topping on the top and couldn't figure out why mine looked so dark. But I'm guessing it'll still taste yummy!

And the finished results -

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't think the PDFs work

I just found out that the reason the PDFs work for me is because they are through google documents and I'm always logged in when I check the site. Until I figure out how to fix it, just email me if there's a recipe you'd like in a printable format. Sorry!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken

I threw this in the crock pot earlier today so we'd have it for dinner tonight and a few lunches this week. It's so good, and it's really easy. The recipe doesn't call for a green bell pepper, but I had one in the fridge that was gonna go bad so I figured I'd use it. It's cooking now, so no finished pics until later.

Here's everything in the crock pot before I added the salsa:

And here's it all with the salsa. You don't want it soupy but you do want a good covering on all the ingredients.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The big girl's night feast

I will preface this by saying that I made several things tonight that I'd never made before. Some worked out better than others. But that's part of cooking - trial and error. I have signed up for a cake decorating class next month so hopefully this will just be a "before pic" at some point.

I had six friends over to play pokeno (like bingo but with a deck of cards). Everyone brought a $10 white elephant gift, and whenever someone won a round, they got to pick a gift. You could also steal the gift that someone else had already chosen. Once a gift had been stolen twice, it was frozen. Whatever was under your chair at the end of the night was yours to keep.

So on to the food.

I did a cheese and bacon dip as the appetizer. It's quite yummy and quite easy. No pictures of it but it was quite tasty.

Main Course
The main course was stuffed pork loin with rice pilaf and a strawberry and pecan salad.

Pork Loin
Here's the pork loin before it went in the oven. It's stuffed with spinach, bacon, cream cheese and spices.

And here it is sliced and ready to serve. The flavor was just amazing. Next time I think I'd cut the salt out since pork is already a salty meat.

There are no pics of the strawberry and pecan salad, but it's pretty yummy, too.

The sweet stuff
This cake was definitely the hard part of the day. This was the first time I made a cake from scratch much less a layer cake at high altitude. The recipe didn't have any high altitude modifications, and it in hindsight it definitely needed them.

I started out with orange zest and sugar. It smelled so yummy.

The recipe also called for "cake flour" which I didn't realize when I made my shopping list. So I found some modifications online which involved using 3/4 cup flour and 2T corn starch for each cup of cake flour in the recipe.

Here's the batter once everything was in.

And the batter in the pans. I should have realized at this point that there wasn't a lot of batter and the cakes would be pretty thin. But I trudged along.

Once the cakes had cooled, I sliced them down the center and filled raspberry jam and buttercream frosting.

Then I iced the whole thing and added some decorative fruit.

Although the berries started to run after a while.

And here is what it looked like once it'd been cut up. the layers were too thin, so everything got a little soggy. But it tasted pretty good. Next time I think I'd cut down on the orange zest but it was an interesting first attempt.

I also made stuffed strawberries. Here they are before they were stuffed.

And here they are after they had been stuffed (and we'd eaten half of them).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Coming soon...tune in for

Here's my menu for my party this weekend. Tune in to see how the following go:

Cheese and Bacon Dip
Onion and Gruyere Tartlets

Main Course
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Pork Loin Stuffed With Bleu Cheese and Spinach
Rice Pilaf

Stuffed Strawberries
Layer Cake (my first layer cake, courtesy of Dorie Greenspan)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My first post (on this blog at least)

I have a few friends who keep cooking blogs, and since I love to cook I figured I'd give it a try. I'll try to post pictures when I remember to (before we devour whatever I've made).

If my adventures inspire you to try one of these recipes, please post a comment and let me know how it goes!

Stir Fry
I wanted something quick and easy. This is one of my occasional go-to recipes because it's pretty easy to pull of. Here's what I did:

  • First I browned some sesame seeds.
  • Then I added some cut-up chicken with garlic and pepper.
  • I browned the chicken and removed it from the pan.
  • Then I added a bag of stir fry vegetables and covered the pan to steam them.
  • Once they had cooked pretty thoroughly, I added the chicken back into the pan and did several turns of the pan with Stir Fry Sauce. I cooked it for about three minutes and then served it over brown rice.
I also thought I'd share a few of my recent new additions to my collection. I make these pretty frequently, so I'll post pictures as I go. For ease, I've included these as links to a PDF so that if you want to give it a try, you can just download a printable PDF.

Basil Chicken - Way yummy. The scent of this cooking is just amazing because of all the fresh basil. This is a really low-fat recipe too, and it's from 3fatchicks.com

Balsamic Chicken - So good. The sauce has a really tart but rich taste.

Chicken Picatta - Yes, we eat a lot of chicken. That's why I like that I've found all these new yummy ones.

Chicken Cordon Bleu - So good I wanted to drink the sauce. Here's a link to a post I did on my other blog about this when I made it for Brian's birthday.