Friday, February 3, 2017

Food for Thought

When I planned this week's menu it was supposed to be in the 40's and 50's.  Yeah, not so much.  The dropping temps and freezing mist we did get were not in the forecast, but that's okay, I managed without the gooey, creamy dishes I usually make to go with such weather.

I made this Roasted Chicken with Honey Bacon Pears for an in-law dinner.  I didn't used bone-in chicken breast, instead opting for boneless, skinless thin-cut because that's what I had on hand.  Because of that choice, I was careful not to over brown the chicken (just some light color - maybe a couple minutes a side), since it was cooking more in the oven.  I also decreased the first oven time to 15 minutes, added the pears and then watched the meat's temp instead of setting the timer.  I think, in the end, it did cook for the 10 minutes.  Worked like a charm.  I also doubled the recipe and made this a one dish meal.  I have a giant cast iron skillet that I used.  Instead of transferring things to a roaster, I just put it all back in the skillet and it all went in the oven as directed.  It was really good.  Chicken was moist.  Pears were sweet and the cooking liquid with the bacon was great over mashed potatoes.  I served in the skillet, which made it hard to spoon out the juice.  I'll have to think of how to fix that, because serving it in the skillet is one less pan to clean.

For Christmas I bought hubby a Pellet Smoker/Grill.  He's cooked the main dish three times now.  This last time he smoked a pork shoulder, which just left me looking for sides.  This Cranberry Orange Brussels Sprout Slaw was good, though thin slicing sprouts is a pain and time consuming.  It has a surprising punch of tang, offset by the sweet cranberries.  It was really good with the meat, and would make a good topper on a pulled pork sandwich.  I subbed sour cream for the yogurt and used regular mayo.  The recipe says best served the same day it's made, but we had some the following day and it was just as good - the spouts hold up well.

We had a couple evening activities this week, so I had a couple quick things to work with that schedule.  These California Chicken Club Wraps being one of them.  They were good.  Filling.  I was hoping for a bit more sweet from the mango, but I think my mango was a tad under-ripe.  I used a whole wheat tortilla, instead of spinach.  In the end I opted not to keep the Pin, mostly because I have a ton of wraps pinned and wraps are more about combinations, sort of like quesadillas.  Once I have the combination in my head, I don't need the recipe.

Dessert time and these Copycat Lofthouse Soft Sugar Cookies.  I found I had several such recipes pinned.  I compared the other recipes to this one, and with the exception of the other basically being double the ingredients of this one, they are identical.  The other "full-sized" recipes had a little more than double the baking powder and sour cream, and required chilling, rolling out and cutting.  This one no chilling, rolling or cutting; shoot I didn't even roll them into balls, I used my mini scoop and then flattened them.  They were soft, light and vanilla-y.  The butter-cream frosting is divine.  I had also done this version and liked them, but decided to delete the pin and just have the one.

These Crockpot Meatball Sandwiches were another "people are coming in and out" recipe.  I used store-bought meatballs (we have a brand we like) and put them in sauce recipe - though I cut the sauce recipe in half because it seemed like it was going to make a ton; halved was plenty for us.  It was the perfect thing to sit as people came down to eat.  The sauce was flavorful and the meatballs were tender.  I made them as people came to eat, and broiled them long enough to melt the cheese and toast the bread a bit.  Next time I might pre-toast the bread, then fill them, and broil them to melt the cheese.

We've got the weekend ahead, with a sprinkling of items on the calendar, including celebrating Girlie's 20th birthday. 

Happy Friday,

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