Friday, August 26, 2016

Food for Thought

Ah . . . the cool weather means roll the comfort food on out!  And with several 70 degree days this week, plus rain, the menu was loaded with warm and gooey items.  It's almost been a pleasure to be at the stove.  Almost because the new gas range and I are not exactly besties.  Well, the stove top and I are getting along.  Me and the ovens, yeah, not so much - even less so as I gaze across at the fallen cake sitting on top cooling, while I decide what to do with it.  Not.  Happy.

But fallen cake aside, these are some delish meals if you're in need of inspiration for tonight, or planning for next week.

I have made these Cheese Enchiladas before and they are awesome.  The sauce is nicely spiced and rich.  The all-cheese insides are gooey deliciousness.  If you have some onion-phobic people, mince them well, or even grate them, but keep them in there if at all possible.  Plus it uses flour tortillas which are much easier to roll, and hold up better in cooking.  Even  with making the sauce, this is an easy, pretty quick recipe to pull off.  It makes 16, so you could freeze half.  We serve with avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.

These Meatball Calzones sounded good, but I didn't really use anything from the recipe.  It was more the idea.  I had meatballs in the freezer, so I didn't make my own, but they look good.  I used my Quick Dough recipe, instead of frozen loaves.  You could use the pizza dough in a tube if you're looking for a faster fix, or you can usually get a pound or so of pizza dough from local pizzerias - one of our local grocers even sold dough with their store-made take-and-bake pizzas.  I made Marinara, but if you have a favorite jar, go for it.  I opted to make individual calzones.  My dough recipe made eight; I divided the dough evenly into balls and rolled them out into 8" rounds.  I put three meatballs per calzone, but I could have probably gotten in four for a better meat ratio.  I also added some chopped green chilies inside that I had left over.

This Mexican Chicken Alfredo will make two casseroles.  I opted to just cut it in half and make one.  I used chicken thighs, but you could use rotisserie chicken.  Just cook the onions on their own until soft, then add the chicken in when you make the sauce.  I also opted to try making my own Alfredo sauce; I've yet to find a jarred one that I like.  NOTE:  It's probably the jarred ones that make this freezable - homemade sauces would probably separate on reheating.  I also used my own Taco Seasoning that makes a decent amount to keep on hand.  I did bake it, but the homemade Alfredo did separate.  Next time, because separation aside, it is warm, spiced well, and perfect for a rainy evening, I'll just toss the sauce with the pasta and served it.  Top it with some fresh cilantro.

While I like cooking most things from scratch, I'm not opposed to short cuts, store boughts and pre-mades.  These Creamy Lemon Cake Bars are just such an animal.  It's basically five ingredients.  I wasn't so much worried about the cake mix, it was the canned frosting.  Some frosting has a weird taste.  I actually thought about adding some lemon zest to freshen up the flavors, but stuck to the recipe as-is for the first time around.  The cake/bars were moist and chewy with a light lemon flavor; they don't have that tart punch that you get from fresh lemons.  The lemon frosting I picked definitely had an imitation flavor to it, but nobody but me seemed to notice.  I think the zest might have helped with that, had I added it.  Next time.

We don't really have plans for the weekend.  The kids do - one is heading to a friend's for dinner tonight.  One is heading up to Greeley, after work, to see a friend.  One is heading out on a rafting trip with friends.  Hubby is finishing up the boys' beds and we'll get those moved in at some point this weekend.  Otherwise, it's quiet.

Happy Friday,

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