Experimentation

How many of you are on Pinterest? I got addicted by a friend of mine before it got really popular. Well this recipe came from a post on Pinterest. It’s a no-cook refrigerator oatmeal, in a couple different flavors. The science behind it is that the oatmeal absorbs the liquid while it’s in the refrigerator, and it eliminates the overheating feeling of trying to eat oatmeal in the summer time.

Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail about it just yet – I want to see how it works. But it’s basically a mixture of oatmeal, greek yogurt, milk, and honey with the other ingredients that add the flavor. I made a peanut butter cocoa version, a mocha, a peanut butter banana and an apple cinnamon. We’ll see how at least one of them tastes in the morning.

To continue on the path of yummy, dinner was a taco salad. You know how when you’re eating at Taco Bell, and everything falls out of the taco shell on to the paper? And then you use a spork and scoop it up and it usually tastes better than the taco itself did? Well, that’s what my salad tasted like. And it was amazing. It had a lot more calories than I wanted it to because avocado is expensive on the calories. But it was totally worth it and totally delicious. Avocado, tomato, lettuce and spinach, a mango salsa, ground beef with green bell peppers and onions, cheese and a home made taco seasoning. Try it for a quick dinner on a hot evening.

On a side note, when did Lego come out with Polly Pocket -esque figurines and Barbie-like scenery?

Oh, and dessert! I got dessert!! It’s a glorious day. My friend and I made a chocolate cake yesterday with chocolate whipped topping frosting. It’s delicious, light and moist. And tastes even better after a day in the fridge. Oh and 160 calories per slice. Yay dessert!!

Chocolate is a Girl’s Best Friend

Things for me this week…well really, this month…have been busy, crazy, stressful and just plain rough. I hit a bit of a breaking point today when it all added up and I spent a couple of hours on the phone with my fiance crying about it. And then I made brownies. From scratch.
I forgot how therapeutic cooking can be. And when it involves chocolate, it really can’t be any better. These brownies came out of a Hershey’s cookbook that I got as a stocking stuffer a couple of Christmases ago. They are really more like little mini chocolate cakes…and I’m so OK with that.
See when I went into the kitchen, I had every intention of making chocolate chip cookies and sending some to the fiance over in his far-off lands, but then I thought that these were for me and me alone and therefore I was going for the good stuff.

To my faithful readers who are still checking my blog in anticipation, I haven’t forgotten about you! I will be cooking more again soon. Just have to get through this week of busy-ness.

Holy Crepes Batman!

This week’s dinner with the sweet-tooth friend of mine (she needs a nickname…I think we’ll call her “Lady Luck” since she’s such a huge fan of Lady Gaga) had a French theme. So naturally, we had a super scrumptious supper of roasted chicken and sage-infused roasted potatoes and some delectable veggies. And did I mention the crepes?

Dinner was extremely flavorful, and to be honest, we were just too damn hungry and busy devouring it to take pictures of it – but I don’t want to anyone to think it wasn’t description worthy! Due to some car trouble, actually roasting a chicken – or making chicken francese as was the original plan – was a little bit out of the question. But substituting a rotisserie chicken from Fry’s works just as well. They were even nice enough to put an apricot glaze on it! Lady Luck made some awesome potatoes…I was eating them straight from the pan, I have to admit. We’ll call it quality control. They fried up in some sage and thyme infused oil and it gave them such a unique flavor! Definitely not like that other dish we had that wasn’t so good because of the amount of sage in it. My love of all things herb-y has been rekindled!

Once we had…you know, gorged…ourselves on yummy chicken, potatoes and a veggie medley, it was time for dessert. And let me just say that we are talented enough to edit a high school paper (Lady Luck’s daughter) while making crepes! Ridiculously simple to make by the way. I was a little intimidated at first – crepes seem like such a fancy food that it takes a patisserie chef to make one. I was wrong! They’re essentially a really big pancake made from a too-thin batter, and of course, we added Nutella to ours. Oh, and Ghiradelli chocolate chunks! Hence the little brownish black crispy goodness you see in these pictures.

I definitely love what has become a ritual with an amazing friend. Next week? We’re going to Thailand! There may even be a drink involved – non alcoholic that is!

Good Food, Good Friends

One of my really good friends came over last night and the plan was to cook and drink some wine. Boy did we ever!

So here was the menu: Spaghetti with Glazed Onion and Gorgonzola, Greek Salad and then for dessert, Chocolate Banana Cream Pie. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine was!

Let me just say, my friend cuts onions with such a precision, I was jealous. Guess I’m not that patient. While she got those sauteing, I was working on the salad. The onions cook until they are caramelized, and then the garlic is added in, and then some balsamic and it’s mixed with 4 ounces of Gorgonzola and pasta. For the salad, I made my own vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic, and sugar. I read about a new trick that works really well – pour the dressing in the bowl first, then toss the goodies in it and it distributes more evenly! The salad had feta, Calamata olives and tomatoes on a bed of romaine, with just a splash of dried Italian seasoning and some extra rosemary.

So lets talk about dessert. Now my friend and I both have horribly amazing hankerings for sweets. So I had found a recipe way back when for a Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, that I had been dying to try. Here was my excuse. Well come to find out she’s an avid baker, and knows how to make a pie crust from scratch without looking at a recipe?? Again, I was jealous. This pie crust had a little extra sugar and some cocoa powder added in. We froze it for ten minutes, baked it with weights for 20 minutes, then without for another 10 minutes and let it cool. While she was making the crust, I was making the filling, which is just flour, milk and sugar, all stirred together until it boils, then reserve part of if and mix the other part with chocolate chips to make the chocolate cream part. Once the shell was baked and cooled, we pour in the vanilla cream, then top with sliced bananas, and then the chocolate cream, and then home made whip cream on top, and let it cool. Sara Lee ain’t got nothin’ on us! Given, by time we realized how long this pie was going to take, it was almost 10:30 at night by time we ate it. Oh well, definitely worth the wait 🙂

At the end of the night, we realized that we might just have to make this cooking extravaganza a weekly thing…because neither of us has time to cook this well on our own, and because it’s a great Friday night when you spend it with your best friends!

Halloween Bars

I got this one off you are what you eat…or reheat. She’s definitely up at the top of my list for favorite bloggers. I think it’s because she writes like me, and she eats like me. The main difference is that she’s a better food photographer than I am. And she has more time to cook.

Anyway! So these bars are rich and delicious, a little on the chewy side, and perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth. The only part that I don’t like about them, is that they aren’t the type of dessert that you can make as you’re prepping dinner and have them be ready fresh out of the oven. They fall apart when they’re cooled, let alone when they’re warm! Although, they’re perfect with a glass of milk.

Katie, on YAWYEOR, mentioned that she used brown and orange M&Ms (apparently she has the patience). But also said that they would be good with Reese’s. Well, I got the two combined, because since it is Halloween, Reese’s puts out pieces that are in brown, orange and yellow. It’s great!
You can find the recipe copied directly from YAWYEOR on my recipe page.

Pecan-Crusted Cajun Chicken

So I posted on Facebook that I wanted to cook but didn’t know what to cook. This idea came from a very good friend of mine in response.
I basically used small chicken breasts, coated them in an egg wash, then a seasoned flour mixture, and then in to chopped up pecans. I took a shake and bake technique by putting the pecans in a bag. The seasoning that I used for the flour is a mix of salt and pepper, cayenne, basil, oregano, paprika and just a bit of garlic powder.
On the side, I made a garlic oil with some crushed garlic cloves and then sauteed asparagus in that oil. It didn’t change the flavor drastically like I expected, but it did give it just enough of a different taste to make it uber tasty.
For dessert, I made mini-muffin sized brownies. The recipe called for using Hershey’s cocoa powder, but I didn’t have any of that, so I used hot cocoa mix instead. I think it made them taste really good, but it also affected their cook time. It took almost triple the cook time! And of course, because we all know that I can’t just keep a recipe as-is, I added white chocolate chips as well. When I served it up, I made it a la mode, and I put some sliced strawberries on top.

pecan chicken

The pecan chicken and aspargus. I thought adding some more of the flour mixture would make it crunchier, but it didn't do anything.