Saturday, March 29, 2014

What lies beneath

On Thursday I decided that I would make a treat to take to work on Friday - yesterday. 
I was thinking cookies - maybe the very decadent Baci di Cioccolati, maybe something new - and just like that - I was running out of time. 
 It was 8:30, I was tired, trying to get the boy to sleep, still needed to figure out lunch and dinner for the next day. I really had no interest of baking, but I also knew I had promised a treat to my coworkers, and did not want to be in trouble for not making good.
 I checked my saved bookmarks - nothing there. Skimmed my posts here that were tagged "Cookies", but nothing grabbed me, and I didn't have all the ingredients needed for the Baci. 
 On my pinterest board I found the answer to my problem - a no bake chocolate and peanut butter bar recipe. 

I didn't have the required graham crumbs, but I did have chocolate crumbs - double chocolate peanut bars? Oh yes. 
 I also used a slightly smaller pan than the recipe calls for, and cut back on the amount of chocolate for the top layer. That was out of necessity - I used all my chocolate chips and buttons and still didn't have much, so I pilfered a dark chocolate Santa that my parents bought the boy from Rogers Chocolates in Victoria and called it a day. 
Yesterday morning I hacked off a piece to leave at home and carted the rest to work. 
At 8:30 I put them out, thinking is it ever really too early for chocolate? 
The answer is no, of course. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paleo casserole and Potluck

This is another dish I cooked from Quick and Easy Paleo Comfort Foods that I just loved.  It's a chicken and broccoli casserole, and the sauce is made from cauliflower and coconut milk and curry powder.  Delicious!  And thankfully the leftovers reheated well, because we had leftovers for a few days.  I like this book a lot.

I'm recovering from our latest potluck at work - what a feast!  My friend made a baked corn dish that reminded me of a souffle, and I really liked it.  There were lemon meringue pies in mason jars (so cute) and a decadent mint chocolate milkshake too. 

I was on salad duty and I wanted something different.  After searching Pinterest for 3 days I found a contender - a sweet potato salad with a cranberry chipolte dressing.  Yum!

I tested it out at home and loved everything about it, except that I found the dressing to be a bit too spicy for me, and I know a couple of the ladies attending the potlucks aren't fans of spice. (Yes, they suck.)  So I cut way back on the chipolte, and added a smidge more honey.  I took the salad unassembled to work, so I had 6 containers of various sizes to haul to work.  But who cares, it's potluck day!

I decided the night before to bring some extra cranberries, and I rough chopped them and folded them in the salad along with the pumpkin seeds (perfect touch in the salad), cilantro, green onions and dressing.

Everyone enjoyed it, and it was a nice healthy dish to stand up to the pie, milkshakes, and rice that was on the table.

Original recipe here

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Smackdown - Sneaky Mac n Cheese

Sneaky food is everywhere these days - avocado in chocolate mousse, prunes in cake, oats in smoothies, pureed veggies in EVERYTHING. 
And I have nothing against sneaky food, especially since my lovely child becomes more and more picky each day. 
Sneak away, my friends, sneak away. (Foodwise, that is. Behave yourselves!) 

Here's our 2 competitors 
Food Networks Mac n Cheese with secret ingredient cauliflower 
The Sweet Potato Chronicle's Sweet Potato Mac n Cheese

In the Food Network's corner is mac and cheese that was served as a side dish with bbq chicken in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue.  Cauliflower is cooked until soft in milk, then pureed, and cheese is stirred in.  Sauce done.  Add your cooked noodles, a splash of pasta cooking water, stir, and serve.
I enjoy Food Network magazine and have cooked some good dishes out of some issues.  Regardless of the outcome, I'll be adding this to my list of go to recipes.

Over in the SPC's corner is Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese.  This is a more traditional m&c - a traditional white sauce that has cheese and mashed sweet potato stirred in, and peas are added to the pasta cooking water for the final minutes of cooking.  
This book and I do not get along - I had a high number of iffy/failures from the book.  But this recipe produces a smooth and delicious mac and cheese, with bonus peas.

This was another toughie - these were both excellent recipes that I would make again and again.

The verdict?

Mac and cheese with cauliflower, from Food Network.

I love how simple but flavorful the sauce is - no roux, no flour - and the creaminess the cauliflower adds.  The sweet potato mac is also delicious, and also a must try.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

no ingredients were measured in the making of this meal

I had a craving for chicken stew a few weekends ago, but I couldn't find a recipe that appealed to me, so I winged (wung?) it. 

I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat, and added chopped onion, celery, and carrot.

While that was softening, I cut some potatos into chunks.

Back to the pot - in went a couple of spoonfuls of flour and chopped garlic.  Stirred often over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

I added a carton of low sodium chicken broth,turned the heat back up to medium high, and stirred until it was thick and simmering.

Next I added chopped cooked chicken, and seasoning - salt and pepper, thyme, a bit of poultry seasoning and also some saltless seasoning.

A couple of minutes before serving I stirred in a few handfuls of frozen peas.

It was delicious and easy!

Has Spring sprung where you live?  Yesterday afternoon was so beautiful and sunny.  My fingers are crossed that Spring may be here to stay!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Vietnamese Subs and Crock Pots

I'm here! I didn't go away again! 
We - and by we I mean pretty much everyone I know - has been sick.  This has been a bad year for flu and cold bugs.  I think we're mostly over everything now, but my boy is still not 100%.  
Nothing very thrilling has been going on around here, and that includes cooking.

I've had this recipe saved on Pinterest for a while. 
This is my favorite kind of food - I think I've documented that well over the years.
I liked the recipe, but didn't love it.  I found the sauce too strong and salty.  But I would try again, with modifications - cut down on the soy and hoisin, add more broth or water. 
My favorite Vietnamese style sub is still my no-recipe recipe for chicken subs.

We've got a very busy few months coming up, and I thought it would be wise to plan ahead for dinners to make it easier on busy days.
I've been trying to find some make ahead meals and crock pot recipes, but I haven't had much luck so far.  Today the crock pot is cooking a beef roast in homemade bbq sauce - I'm hoping to get 4 meals out of the pot, one for this week and 3 to go in the freezer.  I also assembled and froze a turkey meatloaf recipe, and froze some leftover baked pasta.
I bought some bulk ground pork, ground beef and chicken thighs, and froze them in 1 pound bags.
But now the hard part - finding something to DO with them.