This week was pretty low key, which given the heat and a pinched nerve in my neck, that was a good thing.
I started on my Big To-Do List (purging my way through the house.) I've gotten through several drawers and cupboards in the kitchen; I have one and a half empty cupboards and one empty drawer as a result. I cleared through two tables in the family room - and found one of my favorite, no-longer-in-print magazines. Finding it made me wish, again, I'd kept the past copies. This, so far, isn't the kind of thing that's visible to anyone other than myself, unfortunately. But if I need a reminder, I need only look as far as my laundry room, where I've been stacking and piling my purged items. I need some boxes so I can get the stuff out of here. Fast.
The heat and my neck kept my menu pretty simple this week. Leftovers ruled one night and grilling outside helped keep the heat out of my kitchen.
I needed chocolate for dessert. I have a chocolate cherry cake that I've made before, but I'll have to compare recipes to see why these Chocolate Cherry Bars were different. They were super moist, chocolaty rich and the cherry flavor was noticeable. I used a homemade cake mix, instead of box.
I've had make Your Own Chocolate Cake Mix on my homemade-pantry list for some time. I have a couple different versions pinned. The only differences I can tell just by looking is the amount of flour, but eventually I'll do some comparing. I finally printed two out, one chocolate for the above recipe and one white/yellow version. I don't know if it was this cake mix or the recipe I used with it, but it was awesome. It produced a nicely dense, no-crumb chocolate cake. I don't have cake flour, I have a substitute for it that's just all purpose flour and you take out a few teaspoons and add corn starch. I'll be mixing up and storing a couple to use in the future.
These Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches have been bumped around on my menu for a couple weeks. They finally had their day this week. It was a simple recipe and quick to make - even in a hot kitchen. I couldn't find white American cheese, so used muenster (a fairly good melty cheese) and it was okay. I think the American cheese would have stayed gooey longer though, the muenster kind of "set up." So, if I still can't find white (I may need to see if the deli carries it) I'll use traditional American. I made homemade hoagie rolls (if you're going to do this, plan ahead, they are easy to do but require a couple days) and this is the part I will change. I won't oven toast them. The homemade rolls have a good crunch to start with, so next time I'll butter the insides and grill them. That way the outside stays crunchy, but not overly so, which is what the oven did, and the insides are buttery and toasted.
Oven Baked French Fries were supposed to go with the Cheese Steaks, but I just couldn't. We had them last night with Brats and they were good. Super crispy and I liked the pre-seasoning - I may add a bit more black pepper. But they came out as advertised - crunchy outside and soft inside.
I'm sure I'll tackle more from the Big To-Do List this weekend. The heat may actually make me head to the basement and deal with the issue going on down there. Ick. The kids are headed out kayaking tomorrow morning. Girlie is hosting a backyard movie for her Fam. Otherwise, I think the weekend looks to be as low key as the week before.