Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Well, I was by myself tonight. I hadn't planned anything but I defrosted a salmon fillet quickly and then baked it with this dry marinade. I like this stuff a lot- it's sweet and tangy. I found Wee Willy's at Cub, in the spice section.

The salmon is from Sam's Club. You can buy a package of them (10?) for like $19. It's a nice, quick option to have in the freezer.

The coleslaw is leftover from last night's dinner.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's amazing how little time it takes to scarf down all that food, all that love, energy, and time spent cooking for two days. Was it worth it? Of course! I was very happy to try so many new recipes. I don't think a single one really disappointed. My cranberry walnut rolls weren't light and fluffy, but kind of dense but still good. It was one recipe I wouldn't repeat as is. I wonder if I kneaded too much? Anyway, lots of good food. And I made my own gravy! Very proud and happy :)

OH! And my husband made both desserts. I can't make any claims on those. He did a fabulous job!


Stuffed Mushrooms


Unfortunately, I didn't get any "after" pictures of the turkey. This is the 20 pounder slathered in herb butter. James declared it "yucky" looking.

The turkey ended up with a fabulous brown crust. It was darn pretty. I am so regretful that I did not get one little picture. Oh well. I have something better- leftovers!

Pioneer Woman's Creamy Mashed Potatoes- These were great because I made them ahead of time and just stuck them in the oven while the turkey rested.

Brussel Sprouts Gratin- This isn't a picture from tonight's gratin. I was flying around the kitchen at the very end and didn't take a picture of the gratin or the turkey. Bummer.

Sourdough Stuffing with Carmelized Onions and Apples

We are all satisifed and full. Our guests all went home with plenty of leftovers. That 2o pound bird was more than enough for our meal and many others. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanila-Salted Caramel Buttercream

I finally tried THE chocolate cake recipe that I've seen so many times on food blogs. THE recipe is on the back of every Hershey's cocoa tin. Wow. I am so glad I tried this recipe. I guess I've been a cocoa snob, thinking my Penzey's Dutch cocoa is sooooo much better than plain old Hershey's cocoa. Maybe so. But this recipe reminds me of the fluffy, moist cake that you can can easily make with a boxed mix. Boxed mix is okay, and call me a snob again but I just think a homemade recipe with ingredients that you can pronounce is definitely the way to go.

So moist fluffy chocolate cake. Yum. And then there is a salted caramel sauce. A little bit of it went into the vanilla buttercream. And then a little is drizzled on top of the cupcake. Oh yum! Buttercream is usually a little too sweet for me so the saltiness of the caramel was good, cutting that sweetness a bit.

I'm so glad that (one of) my BFF's birthday is this week and I could make some cupcakes to share. I hope she likes them. Happy Birthday Bobbi! You better be at work tomorrow :)

Click here for the stolen recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla-Salted Caramel Buttercream.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best Meal Ever

So I guess we were both really hungry. We both devoured our food. Jim proclaimed this "the best meal ever". It's damn good.

Easy notes: Make this on a Sunday, be leisurely about prep. I made the rice in the morning. I chopped the carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, and green onions ahead of time so when it came time to put everything together it was all just about following the recipe steps.

The sweet and sour chicken takes some effort because you have to pan fry the chicken pieces after they've been dipped in cornstarch and then egg. You brown them up and then put them in a 9x13 pan, pour the sweet and sour sauce over it, and then bake for an hour. You do need to flip the chicken pieces every 15-20 minutes so they don't dry out. In the last 15 minutes I started the fried rice.


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Getting ready for Thanksgiving! I tried this recipe out last week, making it into mini cheesecakes that we could munch on all week. I also took two dozen of these babies to work. They were quickly devoured :)

We have declared them a success and will make the full sized cheesecake for Thanksgiving Day. Yay!

Click here for the stolen recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust.

Week's Menu

Sunday- Sweet and Sour Chicken & Vegetable Fried Rice

Monday- Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Tuesday- Leftovers

Wednesday- New recipe! Skinny Sloppy Joes & Buttermilk Broccoli Slaw

Thursday- Thanksgiving, baby! Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts Gratin, Cranberry Sauce, Cornbread Stuffing (?), Cloverleaf Rolls (new recipe), Pumpkin Cheesecake, Chocolate Pecan Pie (looking for recipe)

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Pizza

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Update: I added a better picture. Also, added this to my "Easy" category!

Sunday's dinner- Tuscan Vegetable Soup. I added some prosciutto and pesto paste (new product I found).

This is fabulous soup. I've made this a few times now and each time it tastes different, probably because I'll vary the amounts of each vegetable or add more spices. It is just full of good vegetables and it really is very simple to make, after the time consuming part of vegetable chopping. I really need a sous chef in those moments!

My brother in law ate this soup one night and asked me, "Was this cooking all day?" No, but it sure tastes like it!

Click here for the stolen recipe. This blogger borrowed the recipe from a cookbook called The Food You Crave, which seems fitting for this soup!

Easy notes: I have chopped the vegetables and premeasured the spices (except for the salt) in a bowl the night before. It comes together pretty quick if you have that chore out of the way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fish Sticks

I forgot to take a picture until there were just two left. James wasn't thrilled with anything today, so I don't know why I dared to dream that he would try something new tonight. Oh well. We thought these were good, and easy! I will make these again, maybe with a bit more seasoning in the crumb mix and a bit more cooking spray across the tops to make them toasty looking.
But good!

Star Wars cookies

I think these are my third official attempt at Royal Icing. I want to say that it's getting better with each attempt but I think I'm just failing to read the directions completely before I get too deep into the process.

Anyway, these were fun :) They were for James' 4th Birthday party and for the treat bags. Each of his little friends took home one cookie, wrapped with so much love.

Plain cookies. These are cute enough just like this!

I didn't get many pictures of the details but this is one cookie, very wet.

The cookies were all bagged up after completely drying overnight plus. I once made the mistake of moving and letting plastic wrap touch not-completely-dry cookies. Ugh. Never again.

We think they turned out well. Four year olds aren't picky!
My sister gave me this embosser for my birthday. Each cookie had my seal on it. I looked so professional!

Mummy Dogs

This was for my son. He didn't end up touching them. Stinker.


This is from a few weeks ago but the picture makes me happy. I must make this again especially now that it's cold!

Brussel Sprouts Gratin

I've made this recipe twice now and we've loved it. Jim isn't a big brussel sprouts fan but he really likes this one. How could he not like this recipe with shallots and brussel sprouts cooked in bacon grease and then with crumbled up bacon? Two strips of bacon isn't much in a recipe for two pounds of sprouts, but it's enough. Okay, confession. I used three strips.
Try this. We like it. We're making this for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 18, 2010