Thursday, August 21, 2014

Checking Off Boxes

One by one we are slowly getting things on the march toward "normal" again.  Or perhaps "scheduled" would be a more appropriate word.  I'm sad to see our lovely summer come to an end, but I'm sure I'll settle in to our schedule once again.  Truthfully, I'm always more settled with a schedule!

With all that goes on to get our daughter and me back to school, our evening meals become very sporadic.  Our one night together this week, though, did yield an excellent dinner!  These Pineapple and Peach Turkey Meatballs tasted great.  I used frozen turkey meatballs to save some time and effort, and the sauce adds just the right touch.

I would definitely make these again, and I think next time I'm going to just make the sauce and pour it over meatballs in a crockpot.  That would give more flexibility in how/when we can it, and I'm pretty certain it won't affect the flavor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mmmmmmm Mac

I've found a new recipe to love, kids, and it is delicious.  Total yum.  Of course, with a couple of cups of cream and three cups of cheese, why would it be!?!!

This Chicken Verde Mac and Cheese caught my eye right away, and immediately went on the August menu.  Delicious, and I really didn't mess with it much.  I used mostly green taco sauce because I already had a mostly full jar in the fridge.  I did use a little salsa verde to make the full amount the recipe called for.  I also used reduced fat cheddar, but left the Monterey Jack full fat, and, of course, used real heavy cream.

This dish got rave reviews all around, and I'll definitely be making it again.  I love mac and cheese and when it's married with the salsa verde flavors, it's fantastic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When It Rains...

What do you do when you're supposed to be grilling and it's pouring outside?  Plan B, use the cast iron skillet and the oven.  It's not the same, but we made the best of things with this "Grilled" Pork and Pineapple.
So how did I adjust the recipe?  I just pan-fried the pork chops and added the marmalade at the end.  For the pineapple, I cut it in spears and topped it with marmalade and then baked it.  For the last few minutes I turned on the broiler to try and get a little more color in it, but it didn't work.  The yogurt (I used plain Greek) and marmalade combo is an interesting addition to the top of the pork.  I won't say I loved it, but it was okay.

Then came dessert.  With a big box of blueberries camping out in my fridge, I settled on this Blueberry Pudding Cake.  Chocolate pudding cake always takes me back home to Mom's, so I figured a blueberry version would be yummy and homey too.  It was.  I think you could add more than two cups of fruit.  There was a pretty high cake to fruit ratio, that might be even better with a little more fruit.  Regardless, it was delicious, and no adjustment for rainy days necessary.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How Corny

Normally I wouldn't make soup for summer, but this Santa Fe Corn Chowder seemed summery.  Plus, as luck would have it, the day was a bit overcast and sprinkly.  All in all not bad soup weather.

The corn flavor in this soup is decidedly sweet.  I live in Illinois, obviously I know that corn is sweet, but the level of sweetness really surprised me.  Now, I used a few drops of hot sauce rather than a jalepeno pepper, but I still don't think that would have countered the sweetness much more.  I decided to add just a bit of red onion since that seems like how all soups start.  We topped our finished soup with an extra sprinkle of salt, some cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.  It was just okay.

What I've since discovered is that this is a soup that needs some time for the flavors to work together.  So, I recommend making two to three days ahead of time and let it sit.  You'll thank me!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chicken Salad Love

Chicken Salad is one of my favorite things.  I love trying all different versions.  When I visit a restaurant or tea room, it's always at the top of my list of things to try.

So, even though I've made and loved many chicken salad recipes, I'm always game to try a new one.  This Cranberry Apple Pecan Chicken Salad sounded like a bowl full of everything I like in a chicken salad.  I really enjoy the sweet and salty combination of the fruit and nuts alongside the chicken.  This one has an interesting twist because of the addition of Dijon and dill.  I actually don't think there's enough goo to bind this salad together.  The flavor was good, but it was a bit dry.  I think I've got other favorites I'll go back to.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer's on the Table

I love this part of summer when fresh produce is abundant, and all the flavors of an Illinois summer come together.  We really dug this dinner of Fall Off the Bone BBQ Ribs, corn on the cob, and Butterscotch Caramel Peach Cobbler.  The ribs were so good (although I'm lodging a formal protest against recipes that call for three to four times the sauce/marinade needed), the corn was the perfect size, and the cobbler was sweet and buttery.  I could do it all over again.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

On Camping

I am not a camper.  I have camped many times in my life, so it is not a fear of the unknown, but rather a poor fit for who I am.  I don't seek the outdoors, and I really don't like all the extra work that has to go into accomplishing the smallest task on a camping trip--before, during, and after.

My in-laws do enjoy camping, and in order to spend some time with them, and give our girly a taste of outdoorsiness, we scheduled a weekend trip with them.  I decided the way I would make the best of it was yummy treats to share.  My contributions included:

Caramel Kisses Brownies--dense chocolate layer on the bottom, gooey caramel middle and cakey top.  An easy way to make caramel brownies.

Peanut Butter Cup S'Mores Bars--delicious cookie base, peanut butter cups, and gooey marshmallow fluff.  Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmm.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins--moist, chocolately muffins where zucchini is an afterthought.  Delightful.