Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Treats

Well, my Halloween weekend was spent editing and eating unhealthy Halloween treats including candy corn and peanuts:
The best combination ever!
And making donuts the Tangier Island way:

You use a can of biscuits, and cut a hole in the middle using a small round cutter. I used a spritz cookie tube attachment, but you can use the top from a bottle of soda. Then you deep fry them by turning once, and immediately dredge them in powdered sugar.

Not healthy, but delicious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crockpot Roasted Turkey Breast

While grocery shopping, I saw a marinated turkey breast that looked pretty good. Normally, I try to avoid pre-marinated meats because they are usually really salty. I had never seen a marinated turkey breast before, so I thought I would give it a try. I cooked it in my crockpot, which made it really convenient.  It did end up being a little too salty. I served it with some sauteed green beans and roasted butternut squash. I followed this recipe from Simply Recipes, and I was quite impressed.

I have since bought a frozen, un-marinated turkey breast, and I can't wait to try my own marinade--maybe something cranberry flavored?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lemon Cheese Pressed Cookies

When my grandma moved out of her house and into her retirement home, I ended up with a lot of her cooking tools including her spritz cookie press. I also ended up with her Betty Crocker Cooky Book where I found this recipe:

I decided to give these a try since I also wanted to use my cookie press.
I always have to get down low to make sure they come out of the press.

These had a light lemon flavor to them. Regular spritz cookies are so good. I finally bought some almond flavoring, and I may have to make some regular ones next.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yogurt Fail

I don't why I decided it would be a good idea to make yogurt at home, but for some reason I thought I would give it a try. I found a recipe from the blog A year of Slow Cooking, and I think I modified the recipe a bit too much. For starters, I cut the recipe in half because I didn't think I could eat as much yogurt as the recipe made, and my crockpot was half the size of the one described in the recipe. My next problem was that  I don't think I was able to keep the yogurt insulated enough--even though from the looks of my fancy insulation system enough heat should have stayed trapped:
Two beach towels wrapped around the crockpot after it tempered the milk for 6 or so hours.
I also used fancy dehydrated cultures, which seemed to half work. The recipe called for using plain yogurt from the grocery store for the cultures. There was some congealed yogurt at the bottom of my crockpot, but the rest of the milk I used didn't gel up into yogurt.
Fancy cultures...
I think it would be good to make your own yogurt if you could go through it quickly and if you ate a lot of it because it probably would save someone money. For me--I would not have saved money, and it wasn't worth the time to make it myself.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Memory Friday--Boudros in San Antonio

In April, I attended a conference in San Antonio, Texas. I stayed downtown by everything, and I looked up a few restaurants to try before I went. The one restaurant that seemed to come up in every search I did was Boudros on the Riverwalk...and it didn't disappoint. I went for lunch, and I ordered the smoked shrimp and pepper bacon club sandwich:
The vegetable chips were made on the premises. I also ordered a piece of pie that I forgot to take a picture of.

I also went up the Tower of the Americas and looked around:

They had a really great happy hour in the restaurant on top where I had a hummus trio and grilled ahi tuna on wontons. I sat near the bar, but the restaurant slowly rotates while you eat. I would definitely eat dinner there if I ever went back.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pork Chop Dinner

When I was browsing for wing spice rubs at the grocery store, I ran across this marinade I thought I could use for wings. I ended up using it for pork chops:

I served the pork chops along with some sauteed green beans and squash, twice baked sweet potatoes, and garlic bread:
The marinade sounded better than it tasted. For me it wasn't that flavorful, and I definitely didn't taste any bourbon. Sorry McCormick, this one isn't a winner. The pork chops may have tasted more like bourbon if I had grilled them, but I'm doubtful.

I sauteed the green beans and squash in a little olive oil, and I squirted some fresh lemon juice over them while they cooked. I still become impressed with myself when I can assemble a complete meal like this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two-Potato Latke Fail

I made these awhile ago, and forgot I had taken pictures of them. I had seen this recipe in my Cooking Light Cookbook for two-potato latkes, and I thought I'd give them a try. Making these also gave me an excuse to use my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer vegetable shredder attachment:
Fancy! and Handy!
I couldn't get a close-up prior to baking that wasn't blurry. They started out pretty, but I think one problem with them was that they were too thick.
They are pretty ugly. They didn't hold together, and they burned too much on top. The recipe wanted to you to flip them multiple times, but that didn't work well for me.
I think latkes are something that should be deep fried instead of being healthified by being baked. I may try this recipe again by making them smaller.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fancy Alfredo

Over the summer I purchased some sweet potato flavored noodles from the Des Moines Farmer's Market. I decided to use them by making an Alfredo sauce using this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I used half and half instead of cream. I also added some broccoli at the end of the noodle's cooking time, and I sauteed some chicken to go with it. I was quite impressed with how it turned out:
I have half a package of these noodles left, and I will be sad when I run out. The noodles are made by a company called Pappardelle's Pasta, and I guess they are sold at festivals and farmers markets. I guess I'll have to figure out how to make my own pasta...I do have a Kitchenaid attachment for that...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Helper

Growing up, Hamburger Helper was never something my parents would make for dinner. Once I was on my own, I decided to try it to see what I was missing. After a few times making it for myself, I realized I wasn't missing anything. To me something about the sauce and noodles just isn't good. Eventually, I came up with my own homemade version that is everything I wished Hamburger Helper was, and it doesn't take any more time than actual Hamburger Helper.

Homemade Hamburger helper
Serves 2

1 cup dried elbow macaroni noodles or shells
1/2 pound lean ground sirloin (93/7)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
Freshly ground pepper
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (I prefer extra sharp cheddar)
French's Friend Onions

1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
2. While the noodles cook, brown the ground beef with the diced onion. Drain the fat from the meat.
3. Once the meat has been drained, add the tomato sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
4. After the sauce has simmered, add the cheese and noodles. Stir until the cheese melts.
5. Top with French's Fried Onions

I may add more than 1 tablespoon of chili powder, so add more to taste.
I don't think ground beef ever looks attractive, but this does look better than real Hamburger Helper.
The best part is the French's Fried onions on top. I have to stop myself from eating the whole can when I use them.