Friday, June 26, 2015

It's All About the Food

We've been enjoying some rain, to cool off from heat, at the end of the day.  Well, sort of enjoying it. It's not only a bit more rain than is good, like street flooding and high, fast rivers, but it's a bit more than rain.  We've had some palm-sized hail fall out east.  Palm-sized, people.  And not baby palms, big, adult, farmer palms! There was a tornado that touched down on the other side of town from us; Colorado gets tornadoes (a lot of them) but seldom in the city.  Today, temps will be down, but storms will again roll through.  It's the perfect day for cooking - and I have quite the list of things to get done:  a dessert for tonight, a loaf a bread, a loaf of raisin bread and some muffins (because I have bananas that are past their prime.)

I've been pinning recipes like a crazy person, now it's time to use them.  I did some last week and because I was a total potato this week and didn't plan, I carried over some recipes I was too lazy to do in last week's heat.

I watch a couple shows on the Food Network - Pioneer Woman (I'm kind of a groupie with her), being one of them.  I've finally figured out that while I watch, I should have Pinterest open to snag recipes.  That was the case with this pin.  She provided a couple options to the basic recipe, one of which was making Butterscotch Pudding.  I was planning to do the White Chocolate Chip version, but was doing gluten-free dessert, so I went with Butterscotch.  I'm hit or miss with Butterscotch, but after eating this pudding, I figured out I'm hit or miss with artificial Butterscotch, because this pudding was equally buttery and caramely.  It was amazing!  I topped mine with lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream.  My family opted to top their whipped cream with mini chocolate chips.  It is a definite do-over!

Tortellini is a freezer staple for me, along with ham steaks, smoked sausage and rotisserie chicken. Those types of things come in handy when you don't plan a weekly menu but need to feed the family.  Enter this Ham & Cheese Tortellini.  It was quick and easy and totally cheesy goodness.  The recipe calls for Swiss, which I love.  I had one person in the family comment, What's that bitey flavor?"  To which I replied, "Swiss cheese."  Back came, "Oh."  So, I'll take that comment into consideration next time, no matter how much of a perfect match Swiss and ham make.  I'll cut the Swiss with Monterrey Jack, both good melting cheeses.

I was supposed to make this for In-Law Dinner last Friday but the garage sale and my parent's move sort of cut into the day.  We cancelled the dinner and I moved this Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce to Monday.  It was a meal that was easy to pull together.  My only issue, the sauce was too thin.  Really good, but too thin.  When I think of a cream sauce, I think of a sauce with some body to it; some stick-to-it-ness.  Next time I make it, I'll drain off almost all of the fat - probably leaving a couple tablespoons for the flavor it provides, and go from there.  You could also try to reduce the sauce before putting the chicken back in.  I served it with angel-hair pasta to soak up the sauce, but orzo would work too.

We go through a lot of granola, so it's become a homemade staple these days, heaven knows I have plenty of recipes to try out.  I've made the kind you can grab by the handful to munch on and kinds like this Vanilla Almond Granola, that is more sprinkle on yogurt, ice cream, in a smoothie or in a bowl with milk.  It's good and light and crispy.  You can taste the toasted almonds and oats.

I love Oven Tacos - something about the sort of soft bottoms, crunchy tops and melted cheese - but never make them.  I don't know why.  So when I was menu planning, I pulled this Oven Tacos recipe.  They were just how I like them - soft, crunchy, gooey.  I didn't use the called for two pounds of beef, instead going with one pound beef and a half a pound of ground pork.  That combined with the rest of the taco-filling ingredients, made a ton of tacos - close to 20; filling them about a third full.  We topped them with lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and tomatoes.  I found I also had this one pinned, and they are almost the same (the one I made has green chilies and chopped onion), so I deleted the second one.

With the Oven Tacos above, the blogger provided a Taco Seasoning mix recipe (I'm making almost all my own mixes these days, they're too easy not to.)  I had a previous recipe of Taco Seasoning on hand when I made the Tacos, so I used that.  The recipe used up what I had, so I mixed up another batch using the new recipe.  Now, no menu plan for this week, combined with some freezer staples, raw tortillas that needed to be used up and a couple left over taco shells and I had dinner for last night.  I grabbed my rotisserie chicken from the freezer, some leftover brown rice, and a tablespoon of the new Taco Seasoning (with a bit of chicken broth to keep the chicken/rice mixture moist while it reheated) and boom, I have chicken tacos.  Served up with the same toppings as the Oven Tacos, that seasoning was really good!  It may become my go-to; I think I have one more pinned to give a try, but that one has bumped out my previous go-to.

Besides my baking for today, I have a couple end-of-business-day things to get done, so I'd best move on.

Happy Friday,

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