Friday, March 4, 2016

Food for Thought

First, I'm so annoyed, the app that uploads my photos from my phone isn't working, so two posts for this week didn't happen.  I've looked for a fix, and found there are others having the same issue, so I'll either need a new app or come up with plan C.

It has been quite warm here in Colorado.  Our usual daytime temps are in the mid 40's low 50's.  We've been above that by 10 or more degrees since the blizzard at the beginning of February.  Coming home from drop offs this morning, I noticed a green haze in some of the trees that denotes some buds popping.  The multitude of bulbs I planted in the fall are also coming up, and while they are a little early, I'm excited to see the fruits of sore knees and achy back.

Compared to last weekend, this weekend is positively dead.  There are a couple things on the calendar, but they don't need me.  Hubby is attending a Pheasants Forever dinner and the boys will go to Life Teen.  It remains to be seen what I will do with the time.

I was a slacker in the dinner department twice this week, which just means I have a two-meal jump on next week's plan.  I had a menu, but opted to not cook on Tuesday.  There were only three of us to cook for and couldn't work up the energy.  Thursday night I had two places to be, at the same time, and the planned meal had too much prep time, so Papa Murphy's it was.  Still, I managed a fairly large swipe at pinned recipes.  How?  Host a meal that uses pinned recipes.  Now, granted, in relation to the number of pins I have, it's just the tip of the iceberg, but still.

I needed an egg dish to round out all the planned carbs and was looking for a Frittata.  Enter Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Frittata.  A few tasty ingredients and bam.  My cast iron skillet is a 12" so I added two extra eggs and an additional tablespoon of milk.  I could have probably added four additional eggs, because it came out a bit thin, but it was still really good.  I'll add extra feta, but only because we love feta.  This would make a great meatless dinner as well.

I couldn't decide between scones, donuts or rolls for breakfast.  Scones are at their best the day-of.  Donuts are good, and my donut maker would free up my already over-scheduled oven.  But it came down to I never make cinnamon rolls, so I found this Three-Ingredient Cinnamon Roll recipe.  It uses frozen rolls which are great when you're making a lot for a gathering.  I have my Quick Bread Dough recipe which can be used for cinnamon rolls, but I haven't played with it for that.  As I sprinkled on the dry pudding powder, I had my qualms.  But come morning, it had dissolved, the dough had risen and they were ready to hit the oven.  They were really good.  They were a little under-done, but that's not too bad an issue for cinnamon rolls.

As I mentioned, my oven was doing double time for this breakfast, so picking a Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole recipe relieved some of that.  It's also prepped the night before.  Bonus.  The sides got all caramelized, so make sure you grease the insert well.  This would be a good Easter brunch dish, frees you up to enjoy the basket and egg hunts.  Or Christmas.  Turn it on before the gift opening and in about two or three hours you're ready to eat.  Next time I might dry out my cubes a bit before soaking them so they hold their shape a bit more.  I'd also add a little more cinnamon and a dash of salt.  They are just the right sweetness to add syrup or fruit sauce to - both of which I served.

I needed a potato for my breakfast, and these Crack Potatoes worked well with my over schedule.  I ended up using potatoes I re-hydrated (instead of frozen.)  I opted for real bacon, instead of bits and sprinkled it on top when it came out of the oven, since real bacon tends to soften when cooked in dishes.  I also used a homemade dry ranch mix.  My only complaint, because they were otherwise really good, was they weren't creamy.  I would either add some half and half to the sour cream and/or use a more melty cheese along with the cheddar, like Monterrey Jack.  Like I said, they were good, they just didn't have the creamy I was expecting.

These Cinnamon Cream Cheese Roll-ups were a runner up option for breakfast, and I opted to make on Sunday instead.  Super easy.  The most time consuming thing was mixing and spreading the filling.  I wasn't sure they'd get crispy, but they did.  That sugar mixture caramelized on the butter and then that sweetened cream cheese.  You didn't need syrup, but the kids had some to dip in, and one used the leftover raspberry sauce.  The recipe doesn't give how many it makes, but I used the whole loaf of bread, including the crusts, and it made 24-26 rolls.

This Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup was my meat-less Monday dish.  It was a pretty warm day (mid-60's), not the 30 degrees I usually enjoy soup at, but it sounded good nonetheless.  Plus, it was an easy make-ahead-and reheat after hockey practice dish.  It had lots of good flavor and was nice and filling considering there was no meat in it.  I one and a halved the recipe to feed the seven of us and had enough left over to send some home with my in-laws and still have three (or so) servings left, so I could have made the recipe as stated and had enough.  I served it with my go-to Cornbread, with cheese, sour cream and diced avocados as toppings (I chopped and added the cilantro to the soup before serving.)

My blender is not the beast-of-a-blender the BlendTec must be, because all it managed in this Perfect Blender Brownies recipe was combining the butter and chocolate chips.  I ended up mixing the rest with a hand mixer.  Frankly, and I don't know about the BlendTec blender, but scraping all that batter out of a blender sucks.  However, it's an awesome brownie recipe.  Fudgy.  Cakey.  Rich.  Chocolaty.  Everything a brownie should be.  Minus the blender.

During the I-don't-feel-like-cooking shuffle this Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu moved days.  As it turned out, it worked out better since it was a fast meal on a hockey night.  It was simple, but good.  The sauce was enough to coat the chicken, but I made some thin spaghetti and I wished there was more sauce; I'll double that for next time.

When I pinned this Make Ahead Buttery Baked Oatmeal I didn't realize it was a mix.  I don't know what I thought "make ahead" meant, but it wasn't a mix.  I opted to halve the dry mix because I'm probably the only one who will eat it and I didn't need that much around.  It was really good.  I will change two things when I'm baking it.  First, it was a bit salty for me, which I can correct by halving both butter amounts on baking day, if that's still not enough I'd just remove one of the butters.  Second, it was a little too sweet, so again, I'll half the amount of brown sugar on the top.  It didn't get as crunchy on top as I expected, but that didn't detract from the buttery goodness of it.  It was filling, it was hot and it was easy.

Temps are supposed to be good again today.  If the wind stays down, I might be able to drag myself out for a quick walk. Right now, you'd have to pay me to do that, but there's still light in the day.

Happy Friday,

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