Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Shortbread

I heard about these cookies on the radio when I was hungry so I made them a couple of days later. I prefer plain shortbread, but they weren't bad. After reading the comments I decided to only use orange zest (plus I didn't want to buy orange oil or flavoring), and they were still very orange-y.

The Brass Sisters' Shortbread from All Things Consider's Found Recipes

Vanilla Bean Caramels

I love good caramel and I've been wanting to try to make these awesome pretzel/chocolate/caramel sticks, so I decided to start experimenting with caramel recipes. This one was okay - I think I cooked it a little long (I'm pretty sure I went to 250 instead of 248 on the candy thermometer).

I used sea salt instead of fleur de sel because I thought it was probably the same. I'm still not sure if it is or isn't, but the caramels tasted a little too salty (even though I omitted the salt on the top).

I used my vanilla bean paste instead of the vanilla/vanilla bean.

Vanilla Bean Caramels from Annie's Eats

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chocolate Raspberry Fudge

One day Eric and Moo went to Cabela's just for fun and they brought me home a piece of chocolate raspberry fudge. I didn't know that Cabela's had fudge, and it was a couple days or so before I felt like eating it. But once I ate it, I had to have more. Some days while I was pregnant it was all I could think about. Now I crave it less often, but I still want it quite a bit. Cabela's is about 30 minutes away, though, and the fudge is kind of expensive, so I've been looking for recipes online.

This particular recipe doesn't have the chocolate and raspberry layers like the fudge at Cabela's, but I thought it might still be good. It is, but it isn't as awesome as the Cabela's fudge. This fudge has a little bit of a grainy (but not really grainy) texture and doesn't have as clean a flavor. I wouldn't make it again, but not because it's gross - just because it's not exactly what I'm looking for.

Chocolate Raspberry Fudge

Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing

Eric loves taco salad. I don't. But this salad popped up on my facebook page and I decided it looked okay, so I made it (mostly for Eric). I used ground beef (though I would have used vegetarian beef-like crumbles if I had found them at the grocery store because I don't love ground beef outside of burgers and meatloaf) and only romaine lettuce (because I thought it would be silly to be left with two half-heads of lettuce). It was pretty good. I was surprised to be a big fan of the dressing because I thought I didn't like catalina dressing.

Next time I'm going to try to do a vegetarian version - maybe with more black beans.

Chopped Taco Salad with Homemade Catalina Dressing from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soft Pretzel Rolls

I hadn't ever had pretzel rolls until one day a few months ago when they were on sample at Costco. They were pretty good, but not something I craved. But when this recipe popped up the description made me want them. So I made them to go with our chili dinner tonight. The first part (before rising) was easy - I didn't have instant yeast so I proofed it before adding it to the milk/water mixture, and I probably used 8 cups of flour (I just added a half cup at a time after the first 6 cups and stopped counting but watched for the dough to be the right consistency). The boiling part was easy, too - I did it while Moo was napping and it took probably 30 minutes to get all the rolls done. I varied the boiling time and didn't see a huge difference in the end result. I do wish I had used more coarse salt on top - on the parts that were salted there was a definite pretzel taste. And my baking time ranged from 18 to 20 minutes.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe Soft Pretzel Rolls

Slow Cooker White Bean Chili

I made this for dinner tonight and it was really good. The preparation was quick - I got everything into the crock pot while Moo was eating her breakfast pancakes - and once it was cooking there wasn't anything to do until about a half hour before dinner. We had a couple of people over for dinner and ended up with just one small serving of leftovers, and everyone liked it.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe Slow Cooker White Bean Chili

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

White Chicken and Spinach Lasagna

I made this for dinner tonight. I wanted to make a freezer meal to get ready for the upcoming new baby (but this is probably the only one I'll make - I don't make dinner every night, so why do I need a freezer full of freezer meals?), and when I saw this recipe on Facebook it looked good. I used my regular 8*8 glass pan and bought a disposal aluminum pan (that ended up being a little shallow but will probably be fine since the spinach does cook down quite a bit and the foil stays on for the first part of the baking). Instead of using 3 lasagna pieces I used two for each. And I didn't measure the spinach; I bought a big carton of it and tore it (tearing is like coarse chopping, right?) over the lasagna until it looked like there was a thick layer. Also I used Costco canned chicken (cooking chicken seemed like an extra step I didn't have time for) - 2 cans total.

I really liked the recipe. I like white sauce lasagnas, and overall it was tasty. I like that I can have it ready in the freezer, and I imagine it will make good leftovers.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe White Chicken and Spinach Lasagna