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Showing posts from December, 2020

Italian Noodle Soup

It started as  Spicy Pork Mustard Green Soup  and then added  Italian Wedding Soup  to create something not either.  Created something tasty, filling, and simple. Modifications Made: One box plain-o jane-o spaghetti noodles cooked to al dente and set aside. One pound ground pork browned, set aside to drain.  To pork fat, one small, finely diced white onion and one container quartered white mushrooms sauteed till translucent and tender.  Two tablespoons minced garlic, four cubes chicken bouillon cubes, eight cups water, one pint halved sun gold tomatoes, one teaspoon red pepper flakes, one tablespoon soy sauce, and drained pork were added and simmered on low for 20 minutes.  Half bag of frozen chard was added and simmered until tender. Noodles were not added to the soup, instead placed in bowl and soup ladled over.  This keeps the noodles from becoming mushy (yuk) and brings down the temperature of the soup to something more consumable (yummy). Scaled for Likability: Great So many diffe

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Pomegranate molasses made and ready to use and I couldn't decide between  Egyptian Barley Salad with Pomegranate and Feta  or  Egyptian Barley Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette .  Sadly, neither of the table counterparts were jazzed about fresh seeds in their salad and I didn't have feta cheese to complete the salad anyways.  Instead a vinaigrette was made combining flavors from both recipes. Modifications Made: In a large bowl, the following were whisked: 1/8 cup olive oil, 1 heaping tablespoon pomegranate molasses, half teaspoon lemon juice, pinch of cinnamon, pinch of comino, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Scaled for Likability: Great Vinaigrette is one of our preferred dressings.  You know, mayo and what not.  Gross.  In the past there has been balsamic, French, raspberry, olive oil and vinegar, lemon, red wine, and Italian.  Never once has there been pomegranate but there should have been.  Especially when served over rocket greens.  Bitter greens, sweet dressing.  Perfe

Cinnamon Barley Pudding

  What to do with leftover barley?   Barley was made for dinner but those plans were scratched.  With fresh, slightly undercooked barley sitting in the pot, a warm creamy pot of cinnamon pudding was made.  Just like stovetop rice pudding but better. Ingredients: Two cups cooked barley Two cups milk Two tablespoons sugar One teaspoon cinnamon Instructions: To a pot, add all ingredients and cook on low until milk has thickened. Scaled for Likability: Great Was perfect on a cold winters days but would have been great served cold, too.

Pomegranate Syrup-lasses

A whole new world has opened up to me in the form of  Pomegranate Molasses .  Yesterday at the store three bags of pomegranates were on clearance.  Every year the lovely little burnt red pods arrive in the stores the same time as cranberries.  Without all the hype and advertising of cranberries, pomegranates just sit there on the sidelines getting riper and riper in their bins waiting for a perfect customer.  Personally, I think they are great, even if they are absolutely one of the messiest foods on the planet to eat.  They are not purchased because of costs.  At half price, one bag of two beautiful pomegranates were brought home, a dinner recipe was searched, and pomegranate molasses was made from the juice of two pomegranates.  Modifications Made: Recipes was reduced as only one cup of juice was available to make into molasses.  With so little juice, the molasses took just over 20 minutes to reduce. Scaled for Likability: Great I am in love.  Attaching the word molasses to something

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranates.  These are a love them or leave them kinda food.  The last time I have had a pomegranate I was ten.  Erin G. and I would sit under the eve of her house fighting for shade on hot summer days eating pomegranates straight off her tree and spit seeds at the wooden fence.  Hours later, we would emerge sick to our stomach, covered in head to toe bright pink stains, and vow never to do it again.  Well vow until the next set of three or four fruits were ready to eat in a week or so... Having scored a bag of the two most perfect pomegranates, I vowed to not make myself sick or stain my hands and cloths.  Two fruits, two different recipes planned, all starting with  How to Make Pomegranate Juice . Modifications Made: Half of the fruits were deseeded under water, the second half knocked out with a spoon .  Both were just as messy. Once seeds were removed, they were blitzed in the blender and strained. Scaled for Likability: Great What a beautiful color.  The fruits were perfect ripe

Grandma's Dumpling Noodles

After having secured Grandma' Chicken and Dumplings recipe by trial and error, it was requested to take grandma's dumplings and cook them as noodles and cover with brown gravy.  So I did. Modifications Made: Dumpling recipe was followed as instructed and boiled in heavily salted water until done. Scaled for Likability:  Great Dumplings are just good food.  They are soul comfort food when loaded down in chicken and dumplings or covered with brown gravy.  This table even went so far as to state the meat could be left out and just dumplings, gravy, and a veggie could be served.  Hmm, wonder if they would be good as just plain buttered noodles???

Extra Minty Peppermint Bark

Oh, peppermint bark Oh, peppermint bark How we love thee  Peppermint Bark Modifications Made: Two bars of white chocolate chopped were melted in microwave in ten second intervals until nice melty and smooth.  One quarter teaspoon of peppermint extract was added and mixed well.  Chocolate was poured onto parchment lined bread pan, smoothed out by gently tapping sides of pan, and stuck in the freezer for 10 minutes or top is very firm. Five peppermint candies were crushed in ziplock bag as set aside. One bar of semi-sweet chocolate chopped was melted in microwave in ten second intervals until nice melty and smooth.  Less than one quarter teaspoon of peppermint extract was added and mixed well.  Chocolate was poured on top of white chocolate, smoothed out by gently tapping sides of pan, and topped with broken peppermint candies.  Pan was placed in the fridge until solid. Scaled for Likability: Great I do not care for peppermint bark but the table counterparts love it and ask for it severa

Roasted Asparagus and Squash with Cranberry and Pecans

Oh, my cranberries.  Another tasty recipe containing fresh cranberries has been discovered.  With a bag in the fridge waiting for its debut dinner, Cranberry Pecan Roasted Vegetables  was immediately planned for dinner today! Modifications Made: Holidays bring out the crazy, even to those who don't celebrate.  Went to the local grocer this morning to find a dozen or so customers milling about in the produce trying to form a picketing plan over the unstocked bins.  I understand, really.  There was no pre-packaged carrots/broccoli/green beans/snap peas/cauliflower, no cilantro/parsley/green onions, no celery/leeks/napa cabbage, and no brussel sprouts.  Chill, people. Human beings are the most adaptable species on the planet.  What did they did have, however, was some of the freshest, most tender asparagus bunches at $0.97.  As compared to brussel sprouts at $3.47/bag, asparagus was a more economic and tasty anyways. To a large bowl, one bunch of asparagus cut into 1" chunks, hal

Creamless Creamy Sausage Pasta

One my most favorite T&T staples is Rachael Ray Pasta.  Way back in March, Spicy Sausage Pasta was discovered having all the same yummy flavors of Rachael Ray Pasta but so much easier to make.  Tuscan Sausage Pasta   Spicy Italian Sausage Pasta  looked like spicy sausage pasta with greens.  Sounds good to me. Modifications Made: Feta chicken brats were pan fried with casings then diced when cooled. Half can petite diced tomatoes replaced sun dried tomatoes.  Frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh.  Cream was omitted. Scaled for Likability: Good Chicken brats were not the ideal meat.  Flavor was great, texture was odd.  Chopped spinach lacked texture.  Cream would have been great for extra flavor and a thicker sauce, but it was good without, too.

Sopa de Fideo de Vegetales

Visiting family always result in the same meals.  Meats, meats, meats. Never could something a simple and healthy such as  Sopa de Fideo con Pollo  be served.  No matter how fabulous. Modifications Made: NO MEAT.  Not chicken, not beef, not ground, not sausage.  NONE. Brown fideo, remove and set aside.  To same skillet, brown onions and potatoes until just fork tender, add bell peppers, carrots, and garlic, half cup fresh small diced zucchini, and half cup corn.  In a blender, puree one cup zucc with half cup homemade salsa and one cup water.  To mixture, add one pollo de tomate bouillon cube, one tablespoon of chili powder, one teaspoon of comino.  Blend and add to veggies in skillet, cook until zucchini is soft. Return fideo, adjust water, and cook till desired tenderness. Scaled for Likability: Great Another meal proving meats are not always needed.  Fideo soup was tasty, filling, and loaded with colorful veggies.  Served with a side on buttery corn tortillas and all tastebuds were

Thick Stock Chicken and Dumplings

Last week while visiting family for a Covid Xmas, homemade chicken and dumplings were requested.  When I showed the pictures of  Grandma's Chicken and Dumplings  made last December a piece of the missing puzzle was found.  Grandma's chicken and dumplings were thicker in stock, less soup broth, more dumpling starch.  Well, hot dog!  Let me make them right now.  Luckily said family member always has several family packs of chicken thighs in the freezer.  So with eight chicken thighs, I set to the task of creating a thick stock based chicken and dumpling. Modifications Made: Using the same chicken and dumpling recipe as a base start, chicken thighs and one finely diced yellow onion were cooked in heavily salted water along with pepper to taste.  Once broth was cooled, thighs were deboned and meat left in fairly large chunks allowing for any shredding to happen in a naturel process during dumpling cooking.  The dumplings were liberally, as in one cannot have too much, coated in fl

Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

Good grief, after last night's epic failure of Dusty Chocolate PB Cookies , an award winning cookie was needed asap.  Having limited supplies on hand,  Butter Pecan Cookies  were settled on for their simple ingredients.  And brown butter, of course.  Mmmm.... Modifications Made: Since cookies had to be cooled before baking, each balled cookie was rolled in additional sugar. Scaled for Likability: Great Thank you, thank you cookie season spirit.  I have been redeemed.  These cookies looked nothing, NOTHING, like the pictures but they were amazing all the same.  They like so many other brown butter cookies that have come before are worth the wait. Next time, a dash of cinnamon will be added along with double the pecans.

Dusty Chocolate PB Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate are good in almost every type of candy.  Peanut butter in a cookie, not so much even with paired with chocolate.   Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies  were nothing like the pictures alluded to.  Nothing. Modifications Made: When recipes are listed in grams, reducing a recipe by half is so simple.  Just wish all recipes were listed in grams.  So. Much. Easier. To reduce one egg by half, the large egg was scrambled, weighed, and divided.  Easy.  Scaled for Likability: Fail Dry, dusty, and dull.  These were not "deliciously thick and soft cookies".  These were edible cardboard, slightly sweetened.  I had one bite, the teen one cookie, the uncle (who eats everything I have ever made with love) two cookies (he had to be sure) and the rest were tossed to the garbage.  Good grief.

Potato Corn Chowderless Chowder

Last week's Peppery Potato Soup left me wanting another non-traditional potato soup.  Corn and celery in  Potato Corn Chowder  were just the ingredients for a non-traditional potato soup winner. Modifications Made: Bacon was doubled, because um hello, bacon.  Once celery and onion were softened, two tablespoons of flour were added and quickly browned for extra flavor, before chicken stock was added.  Pepper was doubled and milk was omitted. Scaled for Likability: Great Now, this was what I was looking for in a non-traditional potato soup.  It would have absolutely blissful with added milk or cream as the recipe listed.  Flour did allow the soup to thicken but flour does not add that creamy taste. Oh, the chew of celery, the sweet corn, the salty bacon, and the peppery potato.  When topprf with a tablespoon of sour cream (not shown as I was the only one who added it) this soup was just perfect.  Perfect.

Colorful Roasted Veggies

Eating a colorful dinner plate can be challenging.  Finding a bag of multi-colored finger potatoes on sale makes the challenge easy peasy.   Roasted Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary  sounded like a great starting base. Modifications Made: The potato quantity was reduced from three pounds to two and the following was added: one bunch asparagus (diced), two large carrots (diced), and half bag cranberries (left whole).  Red onion and garlic was omitted.  Veggies were tossed with ample amounts of salt, pepper, dried rosemary, and a teaspoon of dill. Scaled for Likability: Great Just look at the coloring of this dish!  And when served with the last bit of turkey breast, the colors stand out even more.  Vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and just bit of sweet.  Delicious!

Unlemon Tea Cookies

Car 54, where are you?  Lemon,  Lemon Tea Cakes , where are you? Modifications Made: Recipe was reduced by half.  Sugar was reduced even further and only a heavy 1/4 cup was used.  Zest of one small lemon was added for extra lemon tang. Scaled for Likability: Good If the recipe had just been labeled tea cookies, these would have been great.  They were light, crispy, a perfect golden color, not too sweet, and looked just like the pictures.  But since the recipe title lead with lemon one would expect a lemon flavor.  Nope. None.  Nada. Will make these again but double the zest and the lemon extract.

Soggy Stuffing Turkey Casserole

Leftover turkey plages most after turkey day bliss.  Not this table.  There is just never enough turkey. Last week's turkey was divided in half before we even ate.  Half was frozen for later and half was allocated for this week.  Leftover turkey is always consumed in sandwiches, more turkey dinner plates, or straight from the bag.  Once many years ago a turkey tetrazzini was made when the teen was an infant.  Never in all those years since has a  Turkey & Dressing Casserole  ever crossed this plate. Modifications Made: One cup of fresh cranberries were added and cheese was omitted.   Scaled for Likability: Fail Oh, how it pained me to feed this to the chickens.  Soggy, soggy, soggy.  Only the tiniest bits at the top were less than soggy and there most certainly not crunchy. So sad.

Lime Curd Pielets

With the success of the lemon pies and the lemon curd to go with it, I wondered if a  Lime Curd  used to  make  Lime Curd Pie s would be just as good.  There is a big difference between the acidity of a lemon and the acidity of a lime. Modifications Made: Lime Curd:  All limes used to make create half cup lime juice were zested. Lime Curd Pies: Mini graham cracker pie crusts replaced the large 9" pie shell. Scaled for Likability: Great The lime curd was not as tangy as expected.  Using the mini pie crusts was the golden ticket to a successful pie ensuring perfect graham cracker ratio in every bite.


When life gives greens, life make  Suffering Succotash, A Staple but with kale. Modifications Made: Fresh picked sun gold cherry tomatoes replaced petite diced tomatoes. Scaled for Likability: Good More tomatoes, less kale.  The ratio was just too much bitter, not enough sweet.  More onions and garlic were needed along with a dash of red pepper.

Sweet & Spicy Kale

Bright orange sweet potatoes in the oven, bright white rice in the pot, bright green  Sautéed Kale  will round out this veggie dinner plate just beautifully. Modifications Made:  Onions were sauteed with garlic, kale was cooked in reduced sodium chicken stock with two tablespoons of OJ concentrate, and a dash of red pepper flakes was added at the end for a much needed bit of heat. Scaled for Likability: Good Tender and brightly colored, the kale was lacking flavor.  OJ concentrate was a wonderful addition along with the onions.  Red peppers flakes were there because I saw myself put them in but no heat was obtained.  Next time a couple dashes of Cholula hot sauce will be used as the vinegar will be nice addition to the OJ and full sodium chicken broth for more flavor.

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are overrated as a Thanksgiving side and underrated in its versatility.  There more plenty of recipes using sweet potatoes that does not include a pound of light brown sugar, nut, or marshmellows.   Chili & Honey Roasted Sweet Potato with Lime Juice  is a perfect example. Modifications Made: Recipe was intended for one person.  Splitting one sweet potato was not gonna cut it so three were made instead.  Three very large sweet potatoes.  Orange Cinnamon Honey replaced plain honey, Hungarian paprika replaced sweet paprika, and lime juice was omitted. Scaled for Likability: Great All the work is in the five minutes prep.  Pop these bad boys in the oven, make the rice, steam a bag of veggies in the microwave, and dinner is served.  Sure the meal takes 30 minutes but all you did was less than ten minutes work to include side dishes.  Be sure to make extra as you are going to want these as leftovers.  Dry, crispy outside.  Tender, moist inside.   Next time, plain honey wil

Lemon Curd Pie

It seems every fast food joint nationwide has fried pies on the menu.  I do not care for these fried pies as they are too sweet and never fresh.  Having seen fresh fried pies at the local grocer this morning, I decided with the nice cool weather now is a great time to try my hand at a  Mini Lemon Hand Pie s. Modifications Made: To half of the pies, fluffy cream cheese with a dash of sugar was added along with the lemon curd.  Pies were cut into triangles as to not waste pie crust and white sugar was to the egg wash for additional sweetness.   Scaled for Likability: Great These were better than any store bought, prefried, stale lemon pie.  These were better than any fresh fried, overly sweet, oily fast food pies.  These were baked to flakey perfection with its sweetened cream cheese complimenting the tangy lemon curd being the preferred favorite.  These were good warm out of the oven, room temp, and even warmed slightly after refrigeration in the microwave.

Winter Gold Pasta

Winter tomatoes are still growing strong.  They look better now than they did all summer.  What better way to do represent their full winter flavors than in  Pasta with Sun Gold Tomatoes . Modifications Made: Sliced garlic looks pretty but minced garlic is easier.  Three quarters bag of frozen spinach was added to garlic and cooked until water evaporated before tomatoes were added.  Shaved parmesan offered more robust flavorings without cooking into the pasta itself.  Basil was omitted. Scaled for Likability: Good If I were a fresh tomato kinda person, then this would have been a great meal.  All it needed was a bit more red pepper flakes and a dab of butter.

Turkey Bit Gravy

The teen has been sad about not going to school for going on three weeks now.  The reason for being sad has nothing to do with missing friends, riding the bus, or afterschool activities.  The reason for being sad is the missing of the annual Thanksgiving feast.  Apparently our tiny little town takes Thanksgiving seriously and serves every kid who wishes to eat a full Thanksgiving meal the week before Thanksgiving.  With the teen table counterpart being a virtual learning student, this means no Thanksgiving feast. Gosh, I can't let down the teen with no turkey feast at school or turkey feast with the family.  The teen wants a turkey feast then nothing says Thanksgiving a week late better than BBQ turkey.  Everything was just about ready when the teen says to me, where's the gravy.  Argh, no turkey gravy because this is a BBQ turkey.  Thank the recipes for the internet and its  How To Make Gravy Without Drippings . Modifications Made: Just the basic gravy was made, no onions/garl

Green Chili Pork Stew

I'm in love.   Green Chili Stew with Ground Pork and Tomatoes  has been added to the T&T list.   Modifications Made: One diced red bell pepper was added to the onions.  Petite diced tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes ensuring they fell apart while stewing.   Scaled for Likability: Great Served over mashed potatoes instead of as chili, this meal was loved by all.  Every last crumble.  I am sure as the original recipe states, this would have been great leftover, alas there was none.  

Failed Apple Pie Filling Muffins

Apple filling for pie but why not bread? Using  Applesauce Oatmeal Bread  as the basis, switching out applesauce for pie filling seemed doable. Modifications Made: Recipe was cut in half, sugar was reduced to 120 grams, 40 grams of additional flour was added, and apple pie filling was used instead of applesauce, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.  Muffins were baked at 350°℉ for 35 minutes. Scaled for Likability: Fail Moist.  Even after baking for 35 minutes these muffins were too moist to eat.  They stuck to the pan, they stuck to the fingers, and they stuck to the inside of the mouth.  Flavor was great, sugar was perfect, and spices were just noticeable.  Lovely bits of apple in every bit.  The chickens loved them.

Wild Pork and Hominy Stew

Hominy is great.  Yellow or gold, hot or cold.  Straight from the can, pan fried, or added to  Pork and Hominy Stew . Modifications Made: To a large dutch oven, one wild pork shoulder was added with a finely diced yellow onion, two carrots diced large, one can of petite diced to tomatoes with juice, juice of hominy, three tablespoons of minced garlic, one chicken bouillon cube, one pollo de tomate bouillon cube, one tablespoon of chili powder, two teaspoons of comino, and handful chopped cilantro. Pork was cooked till tender. While pork was cooling to debone, hominy was added to pot and stock liquid was cooked down and seasonings adjusted to include a dash of chipotle chili powder and more comino. Scaled for Likability: Good Wild pork just does not have enough fat to produce a rich, well developed broth.  This broth tasted good but was light in color and stock.  To offset the fat free pork, the shoulder should have been coated in masa, fried in bacon grease, and then stewed to tender p

Sugar Crappys

Who knew such a simple cookie would be so difficult to make?   Whipped Shortbread Cookies  look so tasty with the brightly colored sprinkles.  They looked like perfect bitesize happiness. Modifications Made: None Scaled for Likability: Fail Looks in one hand, crumbly disaster in another.  For the life of me I cannot figure out what went wrong as the recipe was stupid simple.  But wrong it was in epic greatness.  Boo hoo...

Microwave Ramen and Veggie

Microwave ramen, a bag of steamable veggies, and a splash of soy sauce.  Dinner served. This is a super easy dinner that is quite filling and when the ramen seasoning packet is discarded quite healthy.  Mix and match your veggies.  Add some leftover chicken, shrimp, or pork.  Easy, cheap, good.  Makes great leftovers.