Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recipe Recap!

I thought I'd do a little recap of the past week's cooking.  Some weeks I feel like I do A LOT of cooking, some weeks, not so much, but actually it all evens out in the end, I suppose.  However, when I cook a new recipe, it's nice to know if its any good or not.  And my forgetful mommy brain (seriously, kids fry your brain--moms, are you with me???) can't remember how to "tweak" it in the future if we liked it enough to make again, but didn't LOVE it the first time around (perfect example coming up!)

Here's the recipes from last week's menu plan:

Veggie Cheese Soup:  I talked about this earlier this week.  Hmmm., I could link to it I it is.  We liked it.  Emma even asked for leftovers for lunch, a rarity!

Chicken Salad:  Hit and Miss.  The dressing I said we'd try was good, but sweet.  Definitely too sweet for John, and too sweet for me.  I also breaded the chicken with cornflakes and coconut, which only added to the sweetness, so it was a miss.  So next time around, it will be just plain breaded chicken (coated with flour, egg, and plain or seasoned breadcrumbs, drizzled with butter and baked) and we'll keep searching for the perfect Asian dressing recipe.

Baked Spaghetti Casserole:  Another good one from Cooking During Stolen Moments.  Actually, this reminded me a lot of my mom's Spaghetti Pie recipe.  I used whole wheat spaghetti and no one could tell the difference!  (Yes, whole wheat pasta is at Aldi.  I need to use it more, since the kids really can't tell.)  AND, I was able to fry up half of the package of hamburger, split that half into two meals, meat for the sauce for this recipe, and meat for the Taco Pizza...

Speaking of Taco Pizza:  This one was kind of an experiment and you could tell, lol!  I made this pizza crust, which is also good (as is Pioneer Woman's) but uses bread flour, which I am quickly running out of, but that's not the end of the world, now, is it?  BUT, it only needs 5 minutes rise time.  I substituted 1/2 cup of cornmeal for some of the flour, and aside from making a "fluffy" crust, it really didn't make that much difference.  I was hoping for more corn flavor, kind of like a big, pizza crusty corn tortilla, but that didn't happen.  Oh, well, I was the one most concerned about the crust.  The biggest mistake I made was to put the tortilla chips on the pizza, cover with cheese, and bake.  Big soggy chip mistake.  I should have put the chips on after the pizza was completely baked.  After talking it over with John (speaking with experience from his Casey's taco pizza making days), I have the steps down, I think!  Prebake crust 5 minutes, top with a thin layer of re-fried beans, taco meat, and cheese.  Bake until crust is browned and cheese melted.  Remove from oven, top with crushed chips, a sprinkling of cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives, whatever else you like.  We'll try that one again, because our family loves tacos, and pizza!

Bagels:  I made the bagels and I'm not quite happy with the results.  John says they're good, but I'm not convinced.  They're just not pretty at all, and to me, appearance is almost as important as taste.  But, if the family eats it, that's a success.  I'll keep working on it.  Not sure how, but I'll try again.

I also made a batch of oatmeal cookies.  I put raisins in half and chocolate chips in half.  I also am working on testing a "special ingredient" to put in cookies.  So far, its worked great in chocolate chip cookies, and it worked very well in these cookies.  I'm going to try it in sugar cookies, and if that's successful, I'll share with you what this special ingredient is that will give you AWESOME cookies.  People will ask you how you make your cookies--they already have when I've put this special ingredient in mine.  Are you intrigued?  :)  Anyway, oatmeal raisin cookies are John's favorite, and although he's not a sweets guy, he gave these his approval.  A cookie tip:  if you want the flavor of butter but not the crispy-ness of butter, try half butter, half vegetable shortening.  You'll have enough butter flavor and they will still be somewhat crispy, but chewy and soft, also.

Hits: Veggie Cheese Soup, Baked Spaghetti Casserole, Bagels (I'm hesitantly adding these to the hits), Oatmeal Raisin/Choc. Chip cookies

Misses:  Asian Chicken Salad, Taco Pizza

Not bad, I guess.  We'll make the Taco Pizza again, I'm sure.  On to next week's menu!

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