Friday, September 23, 2016

Food for Thought

I haven't posted recipes in a while, but not because I haven't been cooking, but because I haven't done much original cooking.  That happens when you don't plan meals for the week until you're already at Wednesday of said week.  For one reason or another, I haven't done my usual Sunday planning/Monday shopping and that means cooking on the fly.  It's that "crap, what am I gonna make."  It's food without thought.

Cooking on the fly, for me, usually means cooking from what I have on hand.  One night I needed a side and had some languishing sweet potatoes in the pantry.  These Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes were the ticket.  They had good flavor and were super simple.  I diced them a little too small, and will leave them larger so the insides are nice and creamy.

We didn't make arrangements for the annual Palisades Peaches, nor did we attend the Peach Festival.  We were those crazy people driving around town looking for a pop-up peach stand to get our yearly "hit" of sweet, juicy Colorado peaches.  We gorge ourselves on them and then put up the remainder, in some fashion, when we can't possible take another bite.  This year I saw this Peach Butter recipe in my inbox and thought, "There's what I'm doing this year."  At initial glance, I liked that it was a small batch recipe; I don't need eight quarts of Peach Butter.  I haven't had the processed product, but it was awesome when I was bottling it.  Lots of great spice, like any fruit butter, but the sweetness of the peaches was there, too.

I have my grandmother's Chocolate Chip Cookie (CCC) recipe, and that's pretty much the only CCC I make.  I typically bypass those recipes on Pinterest, too.  But for some reason these Big, Fat, Chewy Chocoalte Chip Cookies called me to stop.  The ingredient list isn't much different than most CCC recipes, it was the prep that intrigued me.  So, i pinned it and then made them.  While my grandmother's will always be number one, these were good and big - which my kids loved.    They were chunky with chips and quite chewy.

Our Birthday 'Palooza was a brunch.  So I asked those with birthdays what they liked and did my best to get a dish for them.  Eggs Benedict is one of those items I don't make at home, but will order when we're out.  Luckily, I'd pinned this Eggs Benedict Casserole which is perfect for serving to a large mass of people and getting a Benedict fix.  It was simple.  It was something to prep the night before.  It was good.  My only complaint is the hollandaise, which is THE thing in Benedict.  I'm not sure what exactly it was missing, it was bland and didn't have that bite, but I'll keep the casserole, and try a different sauce.

Funeral Potatoes, also sometimes called Crack Potatoes, are a must at a brunch or breakfast.  I liked these because they didn't call for a condensed soup.  They were creamy and cheesy, and I really like the crunch of chips and Parmesan on the top.  I opted to use dehydrated potatoes (a pantry staple here), re-hydrated, instead of frozen.

I was looking for something different for a weekend breakfast for hubby and I.  I had potatoes in my pantry that needed using, so I found Baked Cheddar Eggs & Potatoes.  I cut the recipe in half, since it was just the two of us.  The recipe calls for red, but I had russets, so I just made sure I diced them small enough to cook well.  It was tasty with lots of herbs, and a good bit of crunch on the skins of the potatoes.

When you're not taking time to plan a menu, you tend to go for short cuts and make too many runs to the store.  The night I made Macaroni Taco Bake was not only an in-law dinner night, but the 17 y.o. needed to carb-load for a meet the following day AND I didn't have a plan.  My "plan" came at 2:30 when I was frantically flipping through a Taste of Home looking for something fast and easy.  This recipe met both those needs, but it was also good.  Warm and comforting.  I grabbed an extra box because I was serving eight.  Next time, when I've actually planned it, I'll make the mac 'n cheese (instead of the box) and finish the recipe as it stands.

Here's to hoping for a more inspired menu planning session this week.

Happy Friday,

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