New To Me Cooking Challenge, weeks 9-12

 
Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers, week 9 (no recipe)
I messed with the original recipe a little bit… and I’m not happy with the way it came out. They were edible, but not worth posting a recipe. Since I’m determined to share the “Fails” as well as the successes, I figured just a quick note would be enough until I mess with the recipe again. The original was from How Sweet It Is. You should check out hers! I bet it’s awesome!
Things I did different:
-No wire rack for the second half of baking- I took it out ‘cause my kitchen started to smell funny, and I started to doubt whether or not my non-stick wire rack was oven safe (or if it was perhaps whatever I happened to burn to the bottom of my oven)! The chicken tenders still came out crispy.
-I used Chipotle Panko Breadcrumbs instead of whole wheat (I couldn’t find any panko labeled whole wheat in the grocery store)
-I changed out ¼ cup of all-purpose flour for crushed Rice Krispies.
-I used an egg (lightly beaten) instead of the buttermilk.
-I used cooking spray not an olive oil mist.
 My main issue with this recipe is that it’s supposed to be healthier than eating regular fried chicken. And I guess with the substitution of the almond meal & olive oil (and NOT frying the tenders) it would be… but… almond meal costs over $10 for a small bag, and it’s definitely not low-calorie (the almond meal has 50 more calories per serving than all-purpose flour). So… because I count calories these chicken fingers aren’t quite “healthy” enough for me. I’m already working out a way to decrease the calorie count a little bit more, and I’m really excited to post it (as soon as I figure out what I’m going to change)!
Check out the orginal recipe from How Sweet It Is.
 
Beef Stroganoff, week 10
This recipe is from the Better Homes Cookbook.
I’m not sure where to start when I talk about this meal.
It reminded me why I don’t eat mushrooms. I really don’t like them. I don’t like the taste or the texture. Or even the way they look. So, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “The why the eff did you use them!?” Am I right? Well… I used them because Hubs likes mushrooms.
Besides the Shroomy taste this Stroganoff was kind of bland. Basically all I could taste was the shrooms & occasionally a bit too much sour cream. I think if Hubs asks for it again, I’ll probably add some Cajun seasoning.
In the Better Homes Cookbook (which I LOOOOVE, BTW)… the type of noodle wasn’t specified, so in an attempt to clean out my pantry I used some egg noodles I had sitting around. The nutrition facts I posted are the ones from the cookbook. I’m not sure if they include the “noodles” or not, but the original recipe only uses 2 cups.
Overall… I wouldn’t make this again, unless Hubs asks for it.
 
BBQ Chicken Pizza w/ Homemade Pizza Dough, week 11
I have (what I now believe to be a totally irrational) fear of yeast. Seriously… it scares me. Extra step, rising, warm places, warm (but not hot) water, and the waiiiiiiting… eeek!
Today I used yeast for the first time. Yay me! I chose a simple pizza crust recipe and crossed my fingers. It worked! I made something with yeast! Yay me (again)!
 The dough recipe is from the Pioneer Woman Cooks. Ree Drummond is AAAAHmaaaaazing. The cookbook has beautiful step by step pictures, easy instruction, and is filled with great (hearty) recipes. Go buy it. I’m not kidding.
 I did use light olive oil instead of regular olive oil, and didn’t EXACTALLY follow the directions.
I let the dough rise for about an hour and 15 minutes. You’re supposed to put it in a warm place… but my apartment thermostat is set at 64 degrees… what’s a girl to do!? I put it on top of my clothes dryer while it was running (I need dry workout clothes, geez). I’m not sure if it helped or not, but it was pretty funny.
After it was done rising I divided it in half, wrapped one tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for future use. If you do this, make sure to thaw it at room temperature. Apparently yeast dough gets all jacked up if you thaw it in the fridge (internet rumors, I haven’t tried it). If you don’t freeze (or use) half store it in the fridge and use it w/in 2 days.
 I stretched my dough out onto a 9X13 pan, slathered on the bbq, then the pre-cooked chicken, and the mozzarella, and baked it for about 12 minutes… if you want a crispier crust bake for a few minutes longer.
 Oh! A note about the cheese! I used a block of mozz, and started shredding it (with a grater, ‘cuz that’s what I have) … then I realized it peels just like string cheese. How cool is that!? So I basically peeled strings of cheese off the block, and then put them on the pizza. You could probably cut thin slices if you don’t want to peel all those string. The other day, a friend pointed out to me how much “extra” stuff is in bags of pre-shredded cheese, and when I actually made the effort to check the ingredients I was kind of bothered by it. The block of mozz I bought listed less than half the ingredients of the bag of shredded. I know it’s a convenience thing for most people, but for me (because I’m lucky enough to have the time), I might as well shred it myself and cut out the extra crap.
 Any ways, that’s all for week 11. This week gets thumbs up from both Hubs and I. Yay me (AGAIN)!
 
Chicken & Broccoli Cheesey Casserole, week 12
When I decided to make this dish for week 12 I had originally wanted to make a Mac N Cheese dish. That evolved to a Chicken Mac N Cheese… which turned into this casserole! I adapted it from a recipe for Mac N Cheese on AllRecipes.com. I added the broccoli, chicken and mozzarella, and left out some cottage cheese (eeeew).
It was SUPPOSED to be “healthier” than regular Mac N Cheese… but… well… I don’t think that worked out so well. Hahaha!
I divided my pan into 6 HUGE servings. If you’re going to eat anything else with it I would suggest much smaller servings.
I used Perdue individual packed Italian Seasoned Chicken… mostly out of convenience. I know what a serving size is. Plus we keep them in the freezer, and they thaw and cook quickly. I cooked 2 pieces on the George Forman (I love that “grill”), rested them, then diced them into small pieces.
 
That’s the New To Me Cooking Challenge for March!
 
Happy Cooking!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
PS click on the headers to see my recipes. And I’ll hopefully have some pictures to post… soon. ;)
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