Friday, July 24, 2015

Food on Friday - the Big List

Hubby and I, along with his parents, attended a concert in the park last night.  It was a gorgeous night, sweetened with the sound of big band swing music.  Awesome.

I was up early this morning, since a headache kept me from sleeping further, and started my cooking for the day before the heat rolled in.  Cloud cover is keeping some heat at bay, but I doubt it will be for long.  I have hoagie roll dough proofing.  Dessert for tonight is cooling on the counter.  Breadstick dough is rolling around in the bread machine.  Homemade poptarts are cooled and powdered-sugar dusted.

I decided to start a detailed list (I'm a big list person) for the decluttering of my home, room by room.  At least the living levels, for now, as the storage rooms in the basement are a nightmare and tackling them will require the running start that the rest of the house will give me.  I've listed things out in such a way that I can tackle one bullet point and make a dent without feeling like I'm tied to an area forever.

This week I made a lot of stuff.  If you're looking for a tried, easy to pull together, tasty meal, there's bound to be something here.

I don't know what it is about summer, but it brings out the need to eat tacos - a lot of them.  I love tacos anyway, but they make an appearance every couple weeks on the menu during the warmer months.  So when I saw this Easy Weeknight Chicken Tacos recipe, it got pinned and used quickly.  The recipe said it fed four people on 1 1/2 pounds of cooked chicken thighs, so I doubled mine for In-Law Monday.  Given the amount of leftovers, which isn't a bad thing because this chicken R.O.C.K.E.D, I probably could have just added an extra 1/2 pound.  But I have no problem freezing the extra, and I may actually cook more the next time just for the leftovers.  I highly recommend using the thighs called for, they just stay moist and hold the seasoning better, because the chicken was smoky and full of flavor.   I did the shredding in my stand mixer, which I'd seen as a tip before, but hadn't tried; I may never pull out two forks again!   I would also just use roma tomatoes and save yourself the cost of grape tomatoes.  The lime crema was a must have, so don't not make it.  I may try feta with this next time.

I needed a side to my tacos, so I grabbed this Cilantro Lime Rice I saw posted to Twitter.  I used brown rice (adjust cooking liquid accordingly.)  My limes were over-juicy and so the flavor was a little more lime and a little less cilantro than I'd have liked.  I do have another Cilantro Lime Rice recipe that I've used before.  I need to pick one, so I'll have to have a rice-off.

Lime.  Love it.  It is definitely a seasonal thing.  I can't see me enjoying a Cherry Limeade as much with snow falling.  So I take advantage of recipes like this Key Lime Pound Cake before the leaves start to fall.  This pound cake was super moist with lots of tart lime goodness.  It was, however, a bit on the crumbly side and I'm not sure why; I may actually have to adjust for altitude for this recipe .  It also stuck to the bottom of my pan (I hate that!) so I will use shortening, instead of butter, to grease my pan.  I also needed double the glaze to cover the cake.

Salsa is something we go through a lot.  It's also one of those things that seems easy enough to make (and customize to taste) and, so, I've been thinking of adding it to my homemade staple list.  Enter Easy Salsa.  We like our salsa diced pretty fine, so I pulsed the chopped ingredients a couple times in Cuisinart.  This recipe has great fresh flavor, and is spiced just right for us.  I didn't use a jalapeno (though I almost bought one.)  Instead I used some roasted jalapeno I had in the freezer - next time I'll add a bit more.  It's good straight away, or letting it sit gives it even more flavor, as everything melds together.  It made about a quart and a half.  Everything in this recipe is a staple, so I'll continue to make it.

I used leftover pulled pork in this Game Day BBQ Chicken Ranch French Bread recipe instead of chicken.  Then I whipped up some Ranch Dressing and made a loaf of french bread and assembled.  It was warm, crunchy and gooey (I used monterrey jack instead of mozzarella) and even though it used the oven, it wasn't on long enough to adversely heat up the kitchen.

I'm always on the look out for morning meal options, especially for the school year.  More so this year because the 18 y.o. wants healthier choices for college mornings.  I whipped up a batch of these On the Go Breakfast Muffins.  They are really good.  Soft, a bit sweet and easy to eat on the run.  I used breakfast sausage, instead of italian.  I also used monterrey jack, instead of cheddar, because that's what I had on hand.  And, had I been reading the recipe I'd have topped them with more cheese.  The daughter and I were discussing them and thought some cumin and chili powder would also be good in them.  They reheat in the microwave (from the 'fridge) in about 30 seconds.  I put a couple in the freezer to see how they do from freezer to microwave, and they rocked that too - about a minute in the microwave. They stayed soft, with no sign of overdoneness or rubberiness. 

I've seen overnight oats for breakfast, but just haven't tackled them.  These Tropical Yogurt Parfaits (Overnight Oats) are also a school/college morning experiment.  Given my distaste for traditional oatmeal (too slimy), I approached these with caution.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The oats were soft, and maybe a bit too much for my tastes, but not slimy.  I used vanilla yogurt, and the yogurt did keep the bananas from browning.  I also only had crushed pineapple, but it worked.  These would be easy to customize with various fruits.  The Girly and I were going over other options; she's not a huge oat fan, so we talked about granola on the bottom (which would probably still soften, but maybe not as much.  Skipping something on the bottom and topping with granola.  Even toasting the oatmeal which might help it hold up a little at the bottom.  Adding a sprinkle of flax or chai, but probably just before eating, chai gets slimy too. The other option is thicker rolled oats on the bottom - Bob's Red Mill offers such.

Bring or give me a Cherry Limeade and I am one happy camper.  Last summer I had an adult version, but for the life of me I cannot find the recipe this year.  So I went in search of an {Adult} Cherry Limeade.  I used Three Olives Cherry Vodka and limeade concentrate (I was out of limes), about an ounce.  I, unfortunately, picked up the wrong seltzer water - I thought it was lime and cherry, but it was lime and cranberry, which affected the flavor in that you knew there was something other than cherry in the drink.  Next time, I'll just get lime seltzer.  It was yummy, though!!  Refreshing, lime-y and bordering on dangerous, since the vodka doesn't really jump and yell, "I'm alcoholic!"

For whatever reason I've not picked up Rhubarb much this year.  So when it caught my eye this week, I grabbed some and then came home to find a way to use it.  I opted for Rhubarb Freezer Jam.  Aside from the fact that it crystallized, I have to say, I'm disappointed.  The strawberry jello (used in place of pectin) was far too overpowering for me.  I don't get any of the tart from the Rhubarb and a whole 'lotta sweet from the jello.  It made four pints, three are in the freezer and one is in the 'fridge.  Since it's basically a solid, it'll probably end up as a sauce; pancakes or ice cream anyone?  I used it this morning in my homemade poptarts, where it worked well.  I've deleted the recipe, as I have other Rhubarb jam recipes pinned.

I've got several of these bloggers' tortellini combos and they are all good, including their Italian Sausage Tortellini.  Even though it was a warm day, there was something about the spice of the sausage, the cream sauce and the gooey tortellini that just hit the spot.  Save a little money and buy bulk spinach (instead of baby) and then just chop it.

I needed to make hummus for a recipe, but I chose Avocado Hummus because I had several avocados heading for over-ripe-land.  It was ok; I didn't get much avocado taste.  I know avocados aren't bold in flavor, but I was expecting a little something.  It was quite thick, too, so I added olive oil and then water when the oil wasn't doing much.  It worked okay with the recipe, but I'll try a traditional hummus next time.  I deleted this recipe since it didn't blow me away and I have two other avocado hummus options to try.

These Greek Chicken Wraps required the above hummus.  I liked the chicken mixture, it had good flavor and the hummus was a low-cal, flavorful dressing option.  These would be good with soup in the colder months.

Our weekend looks to be fairly quiet.  Maybe some fishing at some point.  Maybe some bed building at some point.  Maybe heading to the local Craft Beer-fest.  Maybe tackling something on my new declutter my house list.  We'll just have to see.

Happy Friday,

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