Friday, March 17, 2017

Food for Thought

We wrapped up hockey last weekend.  We'll have a short break from that before heading into some off-season drop in stuff and a camp.  The 70 and, yes, 80 degree temps are saying Spring, even though this is Colorado and we should still be in the clutches of Winter.  We've had to turn on our sprinklers, as we haven't had enough snow/rain. 

I've been eyeing closets and drawers with a building need to clear them out.  I know there are coats in the hall closet that are sized 12 months, and even our gold fish is older than that.  I'm also reviewing my garden.  I need the burly men of the house to shift a few barrels around.  There are a couple totally in shade, thanks to the evergreen tree, that I think would be a much happier spot for my blueberries.  Though the temps are supposed to be in the 80's this weekend, I might convince them to break a sweat before the temps fall off again next week.  Fingers crossed.

Meals this time of year vary from need-to-have-fresh and comfort casseroles.

Dessert time.  Tiger Eye Brownies up.  Bonus points for having everything on hand.  Extra credit for it being fast and easy.  They received thumbs up all around.  They were soft and peanut buttery, without being overly sweet.  And somehow four people managed to polish off 14 in two days.  I was not one of the four people, neither was the 18 y.o.  So I believe we have our suspect base - who had how many will, likely, forever be a mystery, though I have my suspicions.

Friday.  Lent.  No meat.  I thought about going healthy and loading up on something packed with veggies, but then I saw this Sour Cream and Onion Tuna Noodle Casserole, and well . . .  It's from Pioneer Woman, so I know it will be good, creamy and loaded with things that some may say are less than healthy.  But hey, it's got peas.  It's got celery and onion.  All three of which fall in the veggie category.  Pasta, that's a grain.  And tuna . . . fish . . . Omega 3's.  Gooood.  See?  Totally healthy and really good.  Now, I used heavy cream, but cut it with 2% milk, because that's what I had on hand.  I would have liked it just a scosh creamier, so I will probably add a bit more milk and a tad less cream (because I almost always have both those on hand and don't see the need to buy half-and-half when I do.)

My 8 y.o., who has a PhD in manipulation, mentioned that it had been a while since we'd had brownies (his personal choice for desserts) and before I knew it I was making Perfect Chocolate Brownies.  To which he was delighted.  They are almost as good as my mom's brownie recipe.  They are rich and more cakey, than gooey (not a gooey brownie fan), but moist.  Plus they make a 9x13 pan size!  To which I added a note that only ONE PER DAY, lest we have a repeat of the Tiger Eye Brownie situation.

I found two pints of enchilada sauce stowed way in the back of my 'fridge, so I figured I needed a recipe to use up at least one of them.  Unfortunately, this Slow Cooker Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken uses zero cups.  AND I don't have anything else on the menu this week that will use the bounty of sauce I will still have at the end of the week.  Brilliant.  I did put some sauce on the refried bean sides I served up with this chicken that found it's way into tacos (both crunchy and soft) for dinner.  The chicken was easy to set up and forget about - it smells amazing.  I used thighs instead of breasts - no worries about dried out chicken - it was super moist even before the cream cheese.  I also found it sacrilegious to be tossing out the drippings from the bottom, so I sneakily kept about a tablespoon, before moving on in the recipe.  After tasting the chicken before the addition of ranch and cream cheese, and then, obviously, after, I have to say, I preferred it before.  I really liked the seasoning rub, and had I kept all the drippings, it would have been all the better.  I think next time I'll drop the ranch and cut back on the cream cheese.  Dare I say leave it out, too?  This chicken would be great on salads and nachos, in taquitos (maybe keep the cream cheese here) and tacos.  We served it up with Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded romaine and avocado.

Holy crap, these Easy French Dip Sliders were awesome!  I used my grocer's "pan rolls" rather than the Hawaiian Rolls.  The grocer rolls were a little larger, but still 12, and over $1 less expensive.  Soooo good.  Soft, warm, gooey, meaty, a slight crunch from the tops of the buns.  I had a package of deli roast beef on hand (it was under a pound), and eyeballed the meat on the sandwiches; could have probably gone a bit more, I only used about half the package, but two sliders per person seemed to fill everyone up.  The sauce you pour on top, we brushed on.  It also seems to do a weird coagulating thing (maybe I didn't whip it together sufficiently, I don't know.)  I'm sure it's the packaged sauce's thickener, but it was still weird so I didn't keep any leftover sauce.  Whatever it was, I didn't care once it was on the buns, baked and in my mouth.

I'm always on the lookout for what to do with leftover chili.  In this case, I actually made chili earlier in the week so that I could make this Chili Cheese Crescent Hot Dog Bake (I don't have a canned chili recipe that I like, if you do - go for it.)  The recipe is set to make eight, being a family of six, that's not gonna be enough, so I managed to squeeze out four more.  They were good - warm, cheesy (in a way that only American Cheese can be), with that soft crescent dough-thing.  I didn't get a taste of the garlic in the butter, that goes on top of the crescents but my chili recipe has some good spice, so that may be why.

Don't forget about the current savings deal on the website - 15% off your entire order (prices are already discounted on line) and a FREE Second Helping of Paper when you buy in multiples of three (buy three get one, buy six get two, etc.)  Use code CLOSING15 at check out.  Offers good thru March 25th.

Happy Friday,

No comments: