Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday Night Lights, Food and Men in Kilts

It was over 90 degrees yesterday.  Yes.  90.  You know how thrilled I must be by this weather episode.  It's been in the upper 80's all week.  Today doesn't sound like it will be any different.  It's the end of September people!!
Given the temps during the day, I figured the evening would be lovely; cooling down this time of year isn't an issue.  Hubby had returned home after being gone since Monday.  The High School football game was a Thursday Night Lights affair.  It seemed like a perfect equation for hitting the game ourselves.  So we did.  I sat in my tank top well into the second half before starting to feel the need for my sweatshirt.
The game, while a win, wasn't much of a thrill with a final of 43 - 9.  RV took the lead early and stayed there.  Go Mustangs!  The evening was also special as the student body and parents honored a player whose mother passed away after last week's game.  It does a soul good to see such an outpouring of support in a community. 
With the hubs being gone, I wasn't much for cooking.  I didn't even menu plan.  My menu got shuffled around the week before, with some recipes going uncooked, so I just moved them to this week.
Last week, for In-law Friday I cooked up these Salted Caramel Apple Cups.  The fall just screams "cook with apples or pumpkins," so I do.  These yummy little things were just the fall-ticket.  Tart, sweet, crunchy, buttery.  A definite do-over, in spite of the multiple steps.
This Kielbasa, Pepper, Onion and Potato Hash will be a good meal to remake when it's cool.  It was quick and, luckily, when I made it we were down a diner.  It makes a good amount, but would not have fed hubby too, had he been here.  I'll make it again, but I'll double it.  The blogger who made it talks about making it in two pans, to keep the potatoes crisp.  Hubby's gone, I don't have to cook, I'm not using two pans.  I crisped up the potatoes, sort of shoved them aside to brown the sausage.  Shoved all that aside to soften the onions and peppers and then tossed it all together.  In the end the potatoes had that golden, caramelized flavor, they held their shape but had softened a bit.  I was okay with that.  They weren't soggy, just soft, but with flavor.
This pin for Hot Ham & Cheese with Bacon and Caramelized Onions was down a ways on my board.  It made me wonder if I'd pinned it when the kids were still playing sports.  It's a good meal for doing ahead.  They'd be great served up with soup.  You could probably even set extras in the 'fridge or freezer for reheating.  Add some scrambled eggs and you'd have a good grab-and-go breakfast.  I didn't use the Hawaiian buns, but made these 40 Minute Hamburger Buns instead.  They were really easy and super soft. 

This was last Friday's main dish.  The Honey & Spice Baked Chicken was good.  Only getting a "good" rating was mostly my fault because I  used chicken cutlets and overcooked them just a bit.  Next time I'll either use full sized breasts, cook a cutlet less time, or sometimes I like subbing boneless-skinless thighs, which stay juicy.  The sauce was good and the in-the-oven baking meant less time over the stove.

I served the Honey & Spiced Chicken with these Mashed Potato Patties with Tapenade Cream.  This recipe has tons of options for flavor mix-ins; the cream topping does too.  I did a cheddar mix in with a Cumin Cream.  They were good, but a little too soft.  The crust just didn't get as crispy as I'd have preferred.  They did have to sit for a bit, which might have contributed to the problem.  Next time I'll use Panko crumbs instead and keep them on the skillet until we're ready to sit down.  Any leftovers would be good with an egg the next morning.  Just use a little butter in your pan to add a bit of crisp back into them.
We have an open weekend in front of us.  The weather should be pretty good.  Hubby may hit the lakes again.  Pre-season hockey is on TV.  We are I am now the happy viewer of Starz - bring on the men in kilts.  Or rather the one man in a kilt; I may not leave the couch all weekend.

Happy Friday,

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