Friday, August 19, 2016

Food for Thought

I receive two magazines to my home - Midwest Living and Taste of Home.  I have been getting both for years.  I love Midwest Living for the variety - some of their featured travel spots we can get to from Colorado for a weekend (we haven't, but we could.)  They have great recipes.  Plus, I was born in Minnesota and lived nine years in Wisconsin.  My extended family is almost all in Michigan.  The upper Midwest holds a sweet spot in my heart; the Great Lakes especially.

Taste of Home I've been getting for even longer than the Midwest Living.  It was my go-to for menu planning before there was Pinterest.  I rotate my magazines according to month.  Then I have seasonal recipes at my fingertips.

The mailman delivered my newest TOH this week and to say I wish it was Fall is an understatement.  I've wished it was fall for weeks now, but add the yummy fall recipes filling the magazine and I. CAN'T.  WAIT.

For now, I'm cooking with a mind toward the heat outside, and in my kitchen.

I was making a dessert for In-Law Dinner Night needed a large pound cake.  The kitchen would be too hot to make one, so I was going to pick up a family size.  For whatever reason our local grocer isn't carrying that size anymore.  After checking the price to buy two regular-size ones, my cheap-side won over the need to not heat up the kitchen. I had a couple pound cakes pinned, but the Easiest Pound Cake Ever won.  It made two loaves.  It is definitely not your store bought cake.  It has a crunchy texture outside, not unlike an angel food cake, but more dense inside.  Not as dense as the store version, the crumb is lighter.  It was good and it was easy.  Grease your pans well...when you  think you've done enough, do more.  The sugar and the eggs, which give it its nice crunch, makes it very sticky when in the pan.

I used the above pound cake to make this Berries and Cream Desserts (I don't know why they have "desserts" - it's just one.)  You can use any fruit.  You could even macerate the fruit, but be careful you don't go too sweet.  The topping is what I was looking forward to - something other than whipped cream.  It's basically that fruit dip of marshmallow cream and cream cheese.  It was just sweet enough and light - even with having to turn on the oven.

I was heading out to a women's meeting on Tuesday night and needed a dish to take.  I had no clue what was for dinner, nor what anyone else was taking so I thought a pasta dish would be good.  I found this Hawaiian Pasta Salad (as the blogger points out, not to be confused with the macaroni salad that accompanies dishes on the island.)  I liked it.  The dressing was light and slightly sweet from the pineapple juice and the peppers added a nice freshness.  Because canned pineapple can be lighter in flavor than fresh, next time I may use fresh pineapples.  I always have pineapple juice (in the small cans) on hand, so I'd be covered.  It makes a great light main dish - I've had it for lunch a couple times this week.

Monday was hot, so outside of baking the pound cake, I wasn't cooking inside.  Hubby would be grilling the Orange Maple Glazed Chicken for me.  The sauce was different - in a good way.  It had a slightly sweet thing going, but this fresh punch of orange.  The fresh basil gave it different twist.  The recipe calls for basting the chicken as it grills, but because of the balsamic in it, I asked hubby to baste it near the end of the cooking time to cut down on the chance of flare ups from the sugars.

I had some potatoes that were languishing in my pantry, so I used them instead of the red potatoes called for in this Bacon Potato Salad.  I liked the dressing on this - the ranch and Parmesan were different twists.  There was a bit more dressing than necessary, which isn't bad, but if you like your dressing less saucy, you can use more potatoes than called for or play with the ratio of mayo and vinegar.  I also used a homemade ranch, which may have added more liquid than a store bought, but I don't think that accounted for how much dressing there was compared to potatoes.

I'm sure you have a standard burger recipe, even if it's just making patties from ground meat.  I like playing with different takes on a basic.  This Burger Americana was the base for 50 different toppings.  The recipe called for mixing the "filling" before adding the meat.  Don't do this.  Or I should say, I don't know how to do this and get the filling to mix in with the meat so you don't have clumps of seasoned breadcrumbs in your patties.  Because of this I overworked the ground beef - they weren't tough, but they weren't as juicy as they would otherwise have been.  LESSON - mix it all together.

I love grilled cheese.  Any time of year.  This Green Chili Grilled Cheese Melt was awesome.  Little bits of roasted green chilies.  Lots of gooey cheese.  This is one of those I need to remember for soup season, because it would make an awesome side to a potato or tomato soup.

I have plans.  I'm heading to the basement to start trying to find order in it.  I need a dessert for tonight, which may just be cookies since school has started and I need something for lunches.  We'll see how the rest of the weekend takes shape.

Happy Friday,

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