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Showing posts from March, 2021

Cold Corn Bean Salsa

  Nothing says junk food like chips and salsa, chips and cheese dip, chips and guacamole. Over the years I have perfected my salsa. It's good on tacos, on nachos, on enchiladas, and of course on chips. Just because I have the best salsa doesn't mean I don't like to try new salsa's like this Best Black Bean and Corn Salsa. Modifications Made: Shoepeg corn was replaced with one can of standard yellow corn with no salt added.  Petite diced tomatoes were reduced by half.  Italian dressing was swapped for half teaspoon comino, half teaspoon of chili powder, and two tablespoon of fresh lime juice.  Salsa was made and let rest for two hours before eating. Scaled for Likability: Good Salsa this was not.  Good it was however.  It was too much for chips by themselves but was great served over a soft beef taco.  

So Sad Cake Brownies

  Oh my word how does a space as small a pantry becomes so disorganized? And in such a short time, nonetheless? While reorganizing the four 2x4 pantry shelves yesterday a golden back of the box recipe was discovered. Milk Brownies. Replacing yogurt for milk or applesauce for oil, these are commonplace alternatives. Milk for water in a box brownie, this had to be tried.  Stat. Modifications Made: Per the box, 1/3 cup milk replaced 1/3 water.  Half cup of chopped walnuts were added along with two tablespoons of Hershey chocolate syrup.  Because why not. Scaled for Likability: No, Thank You The milk was fine, the extra chocolate was fine.  Walnuts could have been doubled. The problem was the brownies themselves.  I accidently made cake brownies with two eggs instead of fudge brownies with just one brownie.  So sad.  These were given to the neighbor who prefers cake brownies.  If the neighbor liked fudge brownies (they are the best kind) these would have gone to the chickens. They have no

Not Cornbread Muffins

  Staring into the pantry looking for inspiration usually has little to rewards. But sometimes, ,just sometimes, something amazing pops out at you like these Magic Muffins. Modification Made: Sugar reduced by half, powdered milk replaced fresh, and vanilla was omitted. Scaled for Likability: Good No, they were not cornbread muffins but they were so much easier.  So much so and just as tasty.  I would make these again to serve alongside scrambled eggs, swap honey for sugar, and butter for oil. Edit Note March 22, 2021: Unlike cornbread, these muffins do not reheat well in the microwave.  Maybe would have been great in the oven with a pan of water to stay moist, but the microwave resulted in a chewy texture.

Not Udon Stir Fry

  So many noodles, so many choices.  Hot, cold.  Spicy and savory, creamy and robust.  Thick, thin.  Italian, American, Asian.  Udon noodles are thick, square, and long.  Very similar to spaghetti noodles spaghetti noodles were twice as thick.  When reading the back of this warm and serve Udon noodle package I knew it had to be cooked simply due to the ease of instructions. Modifications Made: Carrots were added, thinly sliced. Scaled for Likability: Good The sauce was good, the meat tender, the veggies just cooked, the noodles a little too thick for our taste.  And it was not enough for three people unless served with egg rolls and soup on the side.  If you are looking for a great starting place to try Asian meals, this is a good place.  Veggies could be anything you like, beef could be switched for chicken or pork or left out all together.  Soy could replace Tamari, hoisin for oyster sauce, sesame blend for just 1 tsp of sesame oil.  Would have been great with fresh ginger, white pep

Italian Green Bean and Tomato Pasta

  This was recipe that started the idea for the whole month.  Of course, upon reading it I knew there would be easy modifications made but it made for a great starting platform. Modifications Made: Two links sweet Italian sausage, two links regular Italian sausage removed from their casings, cooked until very crispy, and set aside to drain.  To sausage grease, one finely diced yellow onion cooked until translucent and tender.  One tablespoon of minced garlic added and briefly allowed to brown.  One can of petite diced tomatoes were added along with one tablespoon of Italian seasoning and contents were blitzed with the hand blended to make a chucky sauce.  Sausage returned and ingredients were simmered on low while pasta cooked. With pasta cooked, green beans were added to sauce along with drained pasta.  When served, feta crumbles were added instead of parmesan. Scaled for Likability: Good The picture on the can does not match the recipe.  Do not let this deter you cooking this as it i

Chicken Fajita Crispy Tacos

  Last night was epic failure.  Luckily the chicken fajita was saved and could be served to redeem itself on these crispy tacos.  I know what you are thinking.  Chicken fajita and flour tortillas, not fajitas and crispy tacos.  Crispy tacos are only for soft beef taco meat.  Hey, new things remember. Modifications Made: Spanish rice was added to the bottom of the tacos before adding onion/pepper mixture, chicken, cheese, lettuce, salsa. Scaled for Likability: Great Who knew crispy tacos would be just as yummy as beef taco filling?  Not anyone at this table.  Our only complaint was the lack of extra crispy shells for lunch tomorrow.

Garlic Pasta Chicken BLT

For over a week I have been trying to serve this meal for dinner.  First it was the lack of chicken.  Then it was the last of salsa.  Lastly it was the lack of time.   Modifications Made: Yes, time.  The recipe called for rotisserie chicken but I wanted to use grilled chicken fajita to take this meal to the next level.  Then leftover chicken could be served for breakfast tacos the next day.  Fresh salsa replaced diced tomato. Scaled for Likability: Fail There is just one word to describe what went wrong.  SALT.  1200mg of salt per bag and the bag was only serving.  Luckily, the chicken was saved, the noodles were feed to the chickens (they are going to die of hypertension) and more lettuce needed.  Chicken fajita salad it was.

Sticky Sticky Lo Mein

  Lo Mein is one of this tables' T&T recipes. The original recipe is long gone but the idea is all the same: thin spaghetti noodles, stir fry veggies (less is more), and a sauce. So far back of the box had had mixed reviews and I thought for sure this recipe would be a guaranteed win. Modifications Made: Instructions were written at the most basic level which left lots of room for interpretation.  Noodles were cooked as instructed, rinsed with cold water, and set aside.  Sauce was equal parts soy to oyster, a splash of sriracha and a splash of sesame oil.   Scaled for Likability:  Good Sauce was good, veggies were good, noodles were sticky.  As in so sticky they stuck to the fork/chop sticks.  Don't really know what went wrong other than they were so sticky.

Way Too Rich, Extra Heavy Cheesecake

Pictures are deceptive. What this picture of this recipe does not show is how old and faded the print out paper is, how many stains are smudged across various spots, and the numerous notes written in the top right corner with the first one dating back to college days in 2001.  Yikes, twenty years ago makes this paper print out old, no wait, that makes me old.  Eek.   Sadly, my current living quarters do not allow for cooking of this cheesecake.  In fact the last time this recipe has been made have been close to six or seven years.  That is just too long.  Too long.  Luckily, we are spending Spring Break at family with a real oven.  A family who will help eat this oh so rich, very decadent, supremely yummy cheesecake. Modifications Made: There are four keys to a successful cheesecake. ONE: all ingredients must be room temperature.  If your house is ice chest cold, then warm the ingredients on the stovetop. TWO: do not over mix.  Excessive mixing creates air pockets resulting in split mi

Stovetop Corn Cassrole

  Stove Top stuffing is a take it or leave it food with me.  The table counterparts on the other hand love it, especially when served with turkey. Tonight we compromised, yummy fresh BBQ Turkey seasoned with Tony Chachere's Butter and Jalapeno injection flavoring, canned green beans, and Savory Corn Spoon Bread. Modifications Made: Sugar omitted.  Cooked in a 10" cast iron skillet. Scaled for Likability: Good My aunt makes a well loved version of cornbread casserole.  It is yummy.  This was by no comparison to her homemade cornbread casserole but it was yummy all the same.  Sweet, salty, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Next time, finely diced yellow onion would replace the green onion, the corn and the butter would be increased, and the dish would be served in a 9x12 pan allowing for a better spread of corn to stuffing ratio. Edit March 7, 2021: Leftovers were warmed in the microwave and then fried on a well buttered skillet.  This allowed the bottom and top to

Wild Rice and Greens

  Don't you love heat and serve rice bags? They are varied in flavors, grains, and ready to eat in less than five minutes.  Sadly, with the ease of cooking comes the high intake of salt and the high outtake in the pocketbook. Luckily enough, most ready to serve bags are easily replicated with fresh cooked ingredients such as this Seven Grain Spinach Salad found on the back of our local grocer brand seven grain ready to serve rice pouch. Texmati whole grain rice mixture with fresh baby arugula and dinner served. Modifications Made: One cup of Texmati Royal Blend cooked with three quarters cup water and three quarters cup reduced sodium chicken broth.  When almost done, 12 ounces baby arugula was tossed on top of rice and allowed to soften.  Juice of half fresh lemon added before mixing together. Scaled for Likability: Great Fresh, filling, and fabulously easy.  Whole grains provided the texture and the heartiness, greens provided the colors and the nutrients.  If you needed meat, t

Corn Chimichurri Shrimp Tacos

  For the recipes during this the first week of Back of the Box/Can recipes, tonight's Citrus Corn Shrimp Wraps from the back of a Libby's can of Sweet Corn is the one I am most excited about. Being I am not a shrimp taco fan, this says a lot. A lot.   Modification Made: Over a bed of lovely arugula,  Corn Chimichurri and Lime Creme from Ground Pork Tacos with Corn Chimichurri  was piled high with shrimp on top of homemade flour tortillas. Scaled for Likability: Great The table loved this meal simply because it had shrimp.  Bitter arugula, sweet corn, zesty lime sauce, and spicy shrimp.  So many flavors that paired perfectly.  Skillet fried shrimp or fried shrimp would have been just as good.  Shrimp blackened on the BBQ would have been superb. I on the other hand could have just had a tortilla with all the toppings minus the shrimp. Wait, I did and it was great.  But then again, that is just me and this thing with shrimp I have going on.  

Upscaled Sloppy Joes

Day two of back of the box/can recipes and I am already finding myself a little overwhelmed.  There are so many back of the can recipes but how many are really gonna be decent enough to eat.  Take Sloppy Joes.  So simple and easy, brown the meat and add the sauce and dinner is served.  But.... Modifications Made: Meat was well browned, allowed to drain, returned to the pot and allowed to cook to almost a crispy stage before the sauce was added.  Meat was then simmered on low for 30 minutes to develop the flavor fully. Scaled for Likability: Good There is nothing wrong with sloppy joes on the basic level: saucy meat and bread.  Kinda really can't go wrong except that it could be so much better.  Less sweet, more depth, less unknown ingredients that can't pronounced, more freshness.  Even with cheese and pickles this is still just a elementary school staple.