Monday, August 29, 2016

Oooooo Meatballs!

My kiddo loves meatballs.  Sometimes it surprises me a little because of the texture issue, but she has loved them for a very long time.  Which means, when I come across a new way to make meatballs, I save the recipe!

These Baked Orange-Glazed Meatballs have a lovely bright flavor, that's not heavy or expected at all.  I chose to use frozen turkey meatballs rather than making my own, because conservation of both time and effort won.  The sauce was strong enough in flavor that we didn't miss the homemade meatballs, and I didn't miss being elbow deep in raw meat.

I had one other variation from the traditional recipe--I placed the frozen meatballs in my slow cooker on low, and put the warm sauce over them to cook for about 3-3.5 hours.  It worked perfectly, and I loved being freed up to spend some extra time with my kiddo after school.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sloppy Joe Pizza

I have a couple of different recipes pinned for Sloppy Joe Pizza pinned, and decided in the end of take my own spin on them both.  It turned out great.

First, can I just say this is one of the prettiest pizzas I've ever made?  For once it turned out round!  And had a nice rolled crust edge.  I regularly rely on this quick and easy pizza crust.  It's very forgiving and easy to work with.  It just needs a tad more salt than called for.

The rest of the pizza is super easy too.  I browned ground beef and used a packaged sloppy joe/tomato paste mix for the sloppy joe mixture.  I spread it on the crust, then topped with mozzarella and a little bit of cheddar cheese.  Super simple, and the resulting pizza was excellent.  It was very much like you'd expect a sloppy joe to taste, just in a different form.

It's been a while since we had some fresh cookies in the house, so that needed to be remedied ASAP.  My little will always choose chocolate chip cookies, but I like to try new things, so I figured these Rice Crispy Cookies with Chocolate and Butterscotch Chips were a nice compromise.  They were just the ticket, and reminded me of cookies my mom used to make.  Doesn't get better than that does it?

We are sure ready for a weekend at our house, and this was a meal that got us off to a great start!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pancakes for Thursdays

By the time I reach each Thursday, especially during the academic year, I'm toast.  So, it's only fitting that a lot of Thursday evenings we have breakfast.  Breakfast is usually fast and easy, and perfect for my end of the workweek brain.

This week I found a new pancake to LOVE. For reals.  These Brown Sugar Pancakes with Bacon Maple Butter are fabulous. No lie.  Now, if you've been around this blog for any time at all, you know that I usually do not do syrup with pancakes.  Too much sweet for me.  But these pancakes.  These pancakes are perfectly sweet and salty because of the bacon crumbles and salted butter combined with syrup (and yes, use real maple syrup).  They are just so yummy.

Full confession, I did not cook bacon.  I used my handy dandy Costco bacon crumbles.  It worked perfectly to warm just a few of them with the butter and syrup, and then add more to each serving of pancakes.  They were so delicious I almost went back for seconds, and then I stopped myself just in time.  Just.

Pretty please add these pancakes to your recipe box or Pinterest board.  You will not be sorry.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Honey-Lime Chicken (Unskewered)

Honey and lime together is a great combo.  Normally I use it together on fruit, but this marinade for chicken skewers intrigued me.  The balance of flavors seemed like it would be an excellent combo.
First you'll notice that my chicken was not skewered.  I decided the extra time wasn't really necessary, especially with our busy back to church and school schedule right now.  Instead, I used two large chicken breasts and cut them down to smaller portions.

I liked the flavor of this chicken, but it wouldn't be at the top of my list.  There are several that come to mind that I like better.  And, if you don't have a go to chicken marinade, this could be it, especially if you like a fresh, citrusy finish.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Restoring Order

With a new school year, I'm working hard to restore order to our home and meals, and maybe even get ahead of the game just a little.

Now, I've been menu planning all summer, but summer plans are a lot more up-in-the-air, loosey-goosey, so I felt like I needed to make a good start at getting ready for September.  Plus, a late summer clean-out of my freezer made me a bit more specific about what I need to use up in order to avoid whole pile of freezer-burnt food.  So, here we are, ready to roll, and well ahead of the start of the month.  Go me.

This month includes some last summer grilling favorites, and a first sneak peak at chili and other comfort foods perfect for fall.  I'm looking forward to the change of the season, and hopefully keeping ahead of the game, for at least the first few weeks of school.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Taste of Rio

I love the Olympics. Summer. Winter. It doesn't matter a lick to me.  I'm just all in to cheer for my country, and learn about the host country.  I especially love to kick off the games by eating the food of the host country.

Brazil was interesting to learn about from a food perspective.  Lots of rice paired with other bean/meat dishes.  Very few desserts, sides, or other dishes that I could find.  No matter, we ate well with the selections I did find.

I started with this Quick Feijoada as our main dish.  The ingredients sounded familiar, but paired in new ways.  I was not reading closely and rinsed the black beans in error.  I think everything probably would have thickened a bit more if I hadn't, but it didn't change the flavor, which was excellent.

Almost all the recipes and blogs I read, said that Brazilians eat rice.  With everything.  So, of course, I had to make Brazilian rice.  It's not too different from the Butter Rice I made recently, but excellent in it's own right.  I especially loved how it came out perfectly done when following the instructions just as given.  (Maybe I should do that more often...)

If you search for Brazilian food on Pinterest, you will find a multitude of recipes for cheese rolls.  Luckily, Costco saved me some work by stocking them in the freezer department.  They were so yummy.  Yummy enough to try them on my own some time.  Our other side was tropical fruit from my sister.  It was the perfect light addition to our other dishes.

Our drink was Brazilian Lemonade.  Sounds fairly ordinary, right?  It is anything but!  And also, no lemons!  I thought it sounded delicious when I pinned it several months ago, but this was so much better than I imagined.  It was lovely and smooth with absolutely no bitterness at all.  Too bad my calorie counts won't allow this on a regular basis.

For dessert it had to be Brigadeiros (this recipe, but this micro cooking method).  They were easy and so good.  The hardest part was getting the toppings to stick.  I also made this coconut variety using the microwave cooking method.   They took a bit longer, but still turned out perfectly.  Based on the recipe reviews I read, I increased the coconut in the mixture to a half cup, and then added a little vanilla.  They are my daughter's fav; she can't stop eating them! 

Lastly, I had a few extra minutes, so I made this Corn Meal Cake.  I was skeptical that it might be just a version of American corn bread.  As much as I love corn bread, homemade versions are so often hit or miss--dry, not sweet, there are so many variables that can take away from my enjoyment of a good cornbread.  This was not cornbread at all!  The cake creates layers within itself, one of which is "custardy".  It's not overly sweet, and I think I'm going to really enjoy the leftovers for breakfasts.

The fun of planning and eating this meal always makes me look forward to the next Olympics even more.  The 2018 Winter Games are in Korea so stay tuned for more fun and games then.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pancakes and Ice Cream

It's hot here.  Uncomfortable, sticky, sweltering, yucky, hot.  So dinner preparations call for minimal cooking, and something extra special to take our minds off the steaminess outside.

Pancakes fit the bill very nicely.  The griddle doesn't produce a lot of extra heat it doesn't seem, and since we're in peach season, I decided to make Peach Pancakes.  And then just for fun, we topped them with ice cream.  As the recipe says, these pancakes are very "sturdy" and held up well to the melting ice cream.  With just a little syrup drizzle, it was the perfect foil to the hot day.

I don't think ice cream will become our usual choice for a pancake topping, but it sure was tasty today!