The first trial of Continue reading
An experiment for lab party tomorrow! I tried one of the baby pies and am a fan =)
- 1 lb (about 2) sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed and cooked
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 package (4-serving size) vanilla pudding mix
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp lemon peel
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 unbaked pie crust to fit your pie pan
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Prepare pie crust in (9″ to 12″) pie pan. Beat sweet potato until fluffy. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into pie crust. Bake 40 minutes or until golden and center is set.
Cold weather inspires me to experiment with the slow cooker. What’s more cozy on a cold day than being home with Chris, Henry and a warm meal of comfort food?
The first one I tried this season is from The Crockstar. I am trying to gather recipes that are easy to prepare ahead and/or on a week night, especially since I foresee family meals will become a major responsibility — I can’t eat cereal for dinner like a college student anymore. (Well, I can, but Chris can’t — he needs protein. A lot of it.) The Crockstar’s recipe for Creamy Chicken and Noodles fit my search criteria. I tried it with a few modifications to fit our tastes, and it was a success! By which I mean: Chris approved. We’ve made it twice now.
Side note: I did some research trying to find a more descriptive name for this combination of ingredients and found several similar recipes for “Chicken Stroganoff,” but I disagree with that designation. The principal ingredients for a Stroganoff seem to be a sauteed meat — usually beef, but it can also be chicken — and a sour cream sauce, usually made with sauteed mushrooms and onions. This recipe has no sour cream, mushrooms, or onions.
Crockpot Creamy Chicken and Noodles, a la Butz
- 2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken (dark or white meat), cut in 1″ cubes or smaller
- 11 oz condensed cream of chicken soup
- 11 oz condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 packet (about 1 oz) dry vegetable dip mix (I like Lipton Recipe Secrets Kosher Soup & Dip Mix because it doesn’t contain MSG; you could also try dry ranch, Italian dressing, or onion dip mix)
- 1 tsp onion powder (optional but tasty)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional but tasty)
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus 1 cup water (or substitute 4 cups water if you prefer less salt and more vegetable flavor)
- 2 oz (1/4 package) cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (which tastes like lower-fat cream cheese), cut in small slices/pieces (you could also substitute sour cream)
- 1 bunch celery, sliced 1/4″ thick
- 12 oz (1 package) wide egg noodles
- In the crockpot, combine the two soups with the 2 cups of broth. Add half the dry dip mix and stir all together until smooth.
- Lay the chicken pieces in the pot and season it with the remaining dip mix, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Set the slow cooker to Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
** The remaining steps can be done an hour or two before the cook time is completed, or they can be done after 8 hours on Low. Leaving the slow cooker for 4 hours on High might burn or dehydrate the sauce around the edges of the pot. **
- Add the cup of water, cream cheese, and celery. Stir well to mix. (If this step is done after the cooker has finished 8 hours on Low and it has switched to Warm, set the temperature to High.)
- Cook the egg noodles al dente, about 7 minutes. Add the noodles to the crockpot and stir well to mix. If the sauce is too thick, add more water in 1/2-cup increments.
- Simmer until the chicken is cooked and the celery is tender.
This year was our first married Thanksgiving. For weeks, Chris had been excited to roast his first turkey, and I was equally excited for stuffing! We made a game plan, did our grocery shopping, and went to bed (relatively) early the night before so we could get started at 7am. Thursday morning came. Game on.
Well, the first hiccup came early — I had trouble sleeping, so we slept in an extra hour. We adjusted and got right back on schedule, though. (Yes, we made a schedule.) As it turns out, we learned a number of things:
- Chopping the vegetables the night before means we don’t have to get started until 8am. Whoo hoo!
- Our 24-pound turkey took about 5.5 hours to cook. By about 3 hours, enough fat had drained off to baste it.
- We do not have a platter big enough to hold a 24-pound turkey. Fortunately, a smaller platter on a baking sheet will suffice.
- Potholders can also be trivets.
- The day is not nearly as busy as I thought. We had breaks to to watch Star Trek, set the table, and so forth. It was easier than cooking for the party we just had! (Then again, we had over 30 people there.)
I also took notes on miscellaneous adjustments to our schedule and recipes. Here is the result of our Thanksgiving Matrix (which obviously is not formally a matrix, but sounds niftier than Thanksgiving Chart):
And here is the resulting feast:
Having slept well with the aid of turkey somnolence, we dismantled the bird this morning. Henry also helped, sort of.
This might be the easiest baking I’ve ever done. I came across this recipe a week ago and have been craving it since. Tonight I finally gave in and made it. Henry grew increasingly restless as aromas of cinnamon and cake filled the house. With Chris’s approval, I gave the poor puppy a few (big, crumbly) morsels. The crust is my favorite part.
Bonus: I cut the sugar in half with Splenda. Chris hasn’t noticed, and I’m not sure I can tell.
Here’s the recipe, with my slightly altered directions.
Cinnamon Sugar Coffee Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar. Add egg, milk, and oil to flour mixture. Stir until smooth (small lumps are okay).
- Stir together the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon.
- Lightly grease a 9″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour half of the batter into pan.
- Sprinkle with about half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Cover with remaining batter.
- Top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. With a fork, swirl the topping into the batter until it is marbleized.
- Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
Having accumulated several groupons, we decided this week was a good time to knock off a few. On Tuesday, we went to Makiman Sushi. We frequently order delivery from various sushi places nearby, and I’m pretty sure we’ve ordered from here as well. We ordered the sushi boat for 2, which included miso soup and salad appetizers. The soup was good, but the salad dressing was a bit too concentrated for my taste — too tangy and ginger-y. That’s okay, though, because the sushi was very good.
On the boat: 6 california maki, 2 shrimp nigiri, and 2 nigiri each of 9 different types of fish. I am sure we had salmon, yellowtail, tuna, mackerel, and surf clam. The rest I could not name, but all were tasty. We had a nice table outside, the weather was pleasant, and the service was good. All told, we had a nice dinner and happy full bellies.
We spent another groupon today at Catahoula, a bar in the Queen Village neighborhood. Catahoula is the name of a Louisiana parish, and the bar serves Cajun-Creole food. I visited New Orleans once, when I was 14 years old, and I remember very little of the local cuisine except for crawfish…and I’d love to go back for more of that. For today, though, I ordered the shrimp n’ grits. Chris got a burger, a simple one rather than their signature version, since he prefers his burgers with less fancy fixin’s.
The shrimp n’ grits were awesome. I make that assessment without prior knowledge of what shrimp n’ grits should taste like. The shrimp were tasty and not overcooked (I hate that), and the flavorful grits had a bit of truffle oil. I could have eaten way more of the collard greens and bacon. As it was, I thoroughly cleaned my plate.
I’m guessing shrimp n’ grits might be Catahoula’s signature dish — it’s on their homepage: