Friday, December 16, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes with Rosemary and Feta

The Pin...

The Project...
I am a week behind on uploading this one. We had a lovely flu bug hit our house at the end of last week, and then I got caught up in another project that I have for a friend's Christmas present. But now I'm going to (finally) finish my week of Pinterest dinners.

The ingredients were nice and simple. Just potatoes, rosemary, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

After scrubbing the potatoes, I poked several holes in each with a fork and drizzled them generously with EVOO. They went into the oven at 450 degrees for 45 minutes...

And came out looking like this. I cut an X into each one, then pushed down on them with my finger (wrapped in a paper towel).

Now they looked kind of messy, but the directions warned that they would. I drizzled more EVOO on them, then sprinkled with rosemary, salt, pepper, and feta. Back into the oven they went for another 15 minutes.

They came out looking (and smelling) pretty yummy. I let them cool for another 5 minutes before serving.

Something New...
My husband and I both really liked these potatoes. They paired great with salmon and asparagus! The insides were soft and fluffy, and the skin was nice and crispy. My only complaint was that there wasn't as much flavor as I had anticipated. I ended up pouring the lemon vinaigrette that I made for the salmon onto the potatoes as well. I will definitely make these again! I just plan to add some lemon juice to the potatoes before their second round in the oven. They're a great alternative to plain baked potatoes. Remember to follow me on Pinterest to see more of my pins.

Happy Pinning!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Honey Lime Chicken

The Pin...

The Project...
I have needed this recipe for a while! We usually make chicken breasts at least once a week, and I only have about 3 ways I prepare them. That gets pretty old, pretty fast. And of course, having only a few simple ingredients is very appealing.

I ended up using 3 limes instead of 2 since they were a bit on the small side. I also omitted the lime zest (out of laziness).

Instead of using a plastic bag, I put all of the ingredients for the marinade into a measuring up to mix. Then I poured it over the chicken. After sealing the tupperware and giving it a good shake, the chicken went into the refrigerator.

6 hours later, it was time for dinner! I'll be honest, I'm not the best with the grill (that's my husband's domain), but I think I did a pretty good job. Each breast needed about 7 minutes on each side for proper doneness.

Thankfully, the chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, despite being skinless.

I served them with couscous and green beans (something I didn't have to worry about burning while I was outside with the grill).

Something New...
These were delicious! Don't let the cayenne pepper scare you. My very picky two year old even enjoyed it! I wish I'd been able to marinade them overnight as the recipe suggests, but the 6 hours was definitely adequate. We will definitely be adding this new recipe to our routine (especially since most of the ingredients are always in our pantry or fridge). Make sure to follow me on Pinterest to see more of my pins.

Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

The Pin...

The Project...
Day 2 of my week of Pinterest meals found me attempting to make broccoli and cheese soup, something that has intimidated me in the past, but has always been part of my ultimate comfort challenge. I have pinned several recipes to try, and decided to give this one the first go.

The amount of ingredients was slightly intimidating (as was the use of Cardamom, as I've never used it before and therefore had no idea what it tasted like). The recipe calls for 1/2 an onion, but I ended up using only 1/4 since my husband hates onions. I also ended up just throwing in veggies until it looked like there was enough rather than weighing them out.

Sautéing the onion and garlic in the butter. Easy peesy, nothing I haven't done before. Maybe this won't be so bad after all...

Now in goes the flour. Wow. Not the effect I really had in mind. I've made a roux before, and I don't remember it looking quite like this. However, I don't have time to start over, so I press on.

Ok, adding all the wet ingredients (milk, half and half, and chicken stock) helps break up all that flour. I breathe a little better.

Mmmm, veggies. I'm sure I added more than the recipe called for, but we love broccoli in this house. And to me, if every spoonful doesn't have broccoli in it, then there's not enough.

I let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then added the spices. I didn't measure out the salt or pepper, just kept adding until it looked like enough. It's starting to smell pretty yummy by now.

Then in goes the cheese. I didn't want to use the Velveeta substitution that the original blog suggested, so I just used the colby jack cheese that the recipe originally called for. I may have added a bit more cheese then called for, but I figured that after adding more veggies, why not? Can't have too much cheese in a cheese soup.

After mixing in the cheese and letting it simmer another 10 minutes, it was ready!

I wish I'd taken the time to make bread boules, but with all the errand running I did during the day, we were lucky to have a home cooked meal at all. Maybe next time I make soup, I'll put in that extra effort.

Something New...
As excited as I was to try this, the end result was a bit disappointing. My husband and I had to add more salt and pepper at the table to give it any flavor, and we both fount it to be rather chalky. If I were to do it over again, I would add less flour and more spices (probably more fresh garlic and onion as well). It was nice to have a warm bowl of soup on a cold night, but I don't think that this recipe will give me ultimate comfort. But, another day, another pin completed, and another boring dinner averted. Remember to follow me on Pinterest to see more of my pins.

Happy Pinning!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

The Pin...

The Project...
As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to give them a try. My husband has got to be the biggest buffalo wing junkie ever. However, neither of us is a big fan of bleu cheese, so we made a couple of substitutions.

The egg roll wrappers weren't too hard to find at my local grocery store (same with the broccoli slaw, which is missing from this picture). As a shortcut, I bought a precooked chicken at the store and used the breast meat for the filling. I also used feta cheese in place of bleu cheese for the rolls. Now, why do I have butter and Worcestershire out?

Well if you scroll through the comments on the recipe blog, you'll find a comment about making "authentic" Buffalo sauce using Frank's Red Hot, butter, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. In a saucepan on the stove, I melted 2 TBSP butter in 1/2 a bottle of Frank's. I added a couple squirts of Worcestershire. Honestly, I don't think I'd go through this process again, as it didn't make it taste any different to me.

After removing the pot from the heat, I added the shredded chicken to the pot and tossed well to coat.

Look, I found a picture of the broccoli slaw ;) These are the ingredients that actually made up the rolls.

A filled roll waiting to be wrapped. Having a small bowl of water is very helpful for sealing the rolls. Mine weren't as pretty as the ones on the recipe blog, but they held together well.

After all the rolls were filled and sealed, I sprayed them with cooking spray and put them in the oven. Don't forget to coat the cookie sheet with cooking spray as well! I forgot that step and ended up scrubbing it for 10 minutes to remove the burnt on juices.

15 minutes later, here's what I had. After tasting them, I realized that they could have used another couple of minutes in the oven to continue crisping up, but they weren't too limp or underdone.

All plated and ready to eat! I served them with green apple slices from some sweetness and ranch dressing for dipping.

Something New...
Of the 10 rolls I made, my husband ate at least 6 of them. All in all, I'd say that they were a hit! They were definitely too spicy for my toddler, and I am not a huge fan of Frank's Red Hot, but it was fun to try something new. These would be great to serve at a Super Bowl party. I think I'd like to try a variation with teriyaki chicken, or maybe just simple chicken egg rolls. I'm excited that I got to try a new method of cooking, and using egg roll wrappers definitely doesn't intimidate me anymore! So another pin goes onto my I did it! board, and one less boring dinner was served. Make sure to follow me on Pinterest to see more of my pins!

Happy Pinning!

Ultimate Comfort

Is there a food that you crave when you're feeling down? Or one meal that you find yourself making on cold days? That's called comfort food- something that not only feeds your body, but also feeds your soul. Before I get too carried away with my pins, I want to tell you about a few of mine.

Macaroni and Cheese
This one is a big hit in our house. It's Landon's favorite food and has always been something that reminds me of my mother. She and I used to split a box of the Kraft brand. But now, I'm looking to find a recipe that is less processed (i.e., less orange) and uses more whole ingredients.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup
I'm a bit of an addict when it comes to this dish. If I see it on the menu, I'm more than likely going to order it. It's one of the ultimates in comfort. Plus, nothing pairs better than hot soup on a cold day. Again, I'm looking for a less processed recipe. Most tend to feature Velveeta, which I'd like to avoid in favor of real cheese. And of course, fresh veggies are a must!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Remember that "addictive" behavior I mentioned above? Same goes for this. My husband knows that if there is spinach and artichoke dip on the menu, I'm going to be ordering it. I've never tried my hand at this recipe, but I feel like I really should. It would be great to learn how to make for any parties we might throw (or for me to indulge in "just because").

This one is as much for my husband as it is for me. He's very particular about what he dips his chips in (I like to call him a salsa snob). So far, he's only found a few places that makes salsa the way he likes, and he'd like to find a recipe that he can use to make his own at home. But he knows he'll have to make enough for two, as I can't resist a good salsa.

So if you see me mention Ultimate Comfort in a post, this is what I'm referring to. I'll be using Pinterest to finally find the best recipes for my favorite comfort foods.

A week of Pinterest meals

So this week I have challenged myself to a week of Pinterest meals. My Food and Drink board currently has the most pins, so I figured that this would be a great way to not only kick off my blog, but also help shake up our recipe routine. Derek is always game to try new foods, and I'm trying to raise my kids to be the same, so this week, it's all about trying foods we haven't had yet.

Here's our line-up:
Wednesday - Honey Lime Chicken

I'm so excited to get going on these new meals! Last night was the Buffalo Chicken Rolls and... Well, I don't want to give anything away! I'll be uploading that pin turned project next. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pretzel Hugs

The Pin...

The Project...
Well, looks like I've fallen behind on my pins. I actually ended up taking a break from Pinterest to focus on preparing for the holidays. But I'm back now and hoping to add more pins to the I did it! board.

I was wandering through the holiday candy aisle in our local Target (a dangerous place to be this time of year if you value your sanity) when I came across some Hershey's Hugs. That's when I remembered this pin. I hopped a few aisle over to grab some pretzels, then braved the lines and managed not to get elbowed by any other holiday shoppers.

The recipe calls for a large amount of pretzels (a "pounder" bag) and Hugs (2 bags). Since I simply wanted to make a small test batch (and the pretzel selection wasn't great), I just grabbed an 8 oz bag of Snyder's. I almost lost them to my hubby, who threatened to eat them plain if I didn't complete my pin soon. With that in mind, I preheated my oven to 300 degrees and got to work.

I decided to do just one cookie sheet as a test batch. I was still able to fit 30 pretzels on there though, so it was decent (and a great size for gift-giving, but more on that later). The waxed paper is crucial, so definitely make sure you have some! Nothing worse than melted chocolate stuck to your cookie sheet.

Next I topped every pretzel with a Hug. After searching through the bag to find pretzels that weren't broken and then unwrapping all the Hugs, the oven was hot and ready to go. I popped them in for 2 minutes, and decided to get another 30 unbroken pretzels out to complete the "sandwiches." It ended up being perfect timing, because once I pulled the last pretzel out of the bag, the timer went off.

The Hugs looked nice and glossy once they came out of the oven. I missed the part of the pin where it said to wait a minute before topping with the remaining pretzels, but it didn't seem like there was too much chocolate that melted through.

They were ready to go into the refrigerator.

Waiting 30 minutes for them to set was really the hardest part of this pin. I wanted to taste my hard work! But finally, my timer went off, and I pulled them from the fridge.

They didn't stick to the waxed paper at all! All of the chocolate was still contained within the pretzel, and they were easy to remove from the cookie sheet. Luckily I snapped a picture before finally sampling them. They were delicious! My hubby and 2 year old couldn't agree more.

Now, remember what I said about gifting? Well, if you happen to save the pretty holiday cookie tins (like I do), it's very easy to turn these yummy treats into a great holiday gift.
Just line the tin with a colorful paper napkin (or waxed paper, as I did above) and fill with the Pretzel Hugs. 30 sandwiches make just about the perfect batch size for this.

Something New...
So now I have yet another pin to add to my I did it! board on Pinterest. If you look, you'll see that there are more pins than blog entries, simply because I don't always have my camera around when I'm working on a pin. However, there will start to be a series, as I am on the hunt for the best recipes for two of my family's favorite meals: Mac and Cheese and Broccoli and Cheese Soup. Remember to follow me on Pinterest to see more of my pins.

Happy Pinning!