Monthly Archives: May 2013

New To Me Cooking Challenge for May (wks 17-21)

Week 17- Balsamic Roast Beef (no recipe)
I found this recipe over at Add A Pinch… go there to see it! And while you’re there check out some of her other awesome recipes! I literally didn’t change a thing. Except, I used a smaller roast (there are only 2 of us after all). I used a rump round…
This is my new favorite roast! Next time I think I’m going to cook some potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker with the beef, so I can save a step and not have to make them separately.
I’m def adding this to my recipe rotation, it got thumbs up from both Hubs and I!
 
Week 18- Oven Baked Chicken Wings… and a Jack Daniels Soy Sauce Marinade… and a Maple Jack Daniels Garlic Pepper wing sauce.
 I started the challenge for this week with the intention of making sweet & sour chicken (the Chinese takeout kind), and eventually it morphed into chicken wings. I’ve never baked wings in the oven, in fact I’ve never made wings. Ever. It’s another one of my weird food things… I don’t really like to eat “bone in” foods. Is that strange? Guess what else I don’t do… “butcher” things. Cutting/ trimming raw meat grosses me out. i didn’t really think about that when I decided to make chicken wings this week. I had to take this tips off AND trim the extra skin. I couldn’t make myself separate the drums & flats, it was too icky.
Next up… I couldn’t decide if I wanted to marinate, or just toss the wings in sauce, so I did both! I marinated some, and left some naked. Then I tossed a few of the marinated ones and the plain ones in sauce. I would def recommend marinating them. The plain ones came out… very plain. Even with the sauce on them. Haha, that was so confusing… just marinate them. 😉
I based the marinade off of one my Nana used to make. And then totally messed with it. I’m pretty sure it would taste good on anything!
The wing sauce was adapted from the Tabasco website. They seriously have TONS of recipes on there! I adapted it just a smidge. It was thinner than I thought it would be… I think next time I’ll marinate the chicken in it AND toss them in it too!
Overall, I’m pretty proud of myself… I really liked both the marinade and the sauce. I’m already thinking about how to combined them!
 
Week 19- Homemade BBQ “Baked” Beans
 We starting house shopping last month and it’s been kind of stressful. So I really wanted to make something easy this week. I chose baked beans… and went to my handy Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook. Then I changed everything in the recipe besides the cooking time and the kidney beans. They came out pretty good! I think next time I’ll try them with 2 kinds of beans instead of one, and I’ll probably use a low-fat/ low cal BBQ sauce. I’m also not 100% positive that I used 2 teaspoons of mustard… I didn’t measure it out. It’s possible there was a bit more in there. This recipe is a quick and easy replacement for those canned baked beans from the grocery store; I usually have all those ingredients already in my pantry! I wish there was more to say… but there isn’t. Enjoy.
Week 20- Chinese (Take-out Style) Beef & Broccoli
 Tastes JUST like the Beef & Broccoli from our favorite Chinese food take out place! I adapted this recipe from an unsourced one floating around Facebook. You know the ones I’m talking about? The one of FB was a little different and it was meant for a slow cooker. I decided to make it in the skillet instead!
I’ve never used cornstarch to thicken a sauce before… I def needed to whisk it in, not stir… I ended up breaking up a bunch of clumps.
I don’t have much else to say… except that I’m sorry there aren’t pix. We ate it ALL before I remembered I needed to take them! Oops.
And one last thing… I did the calorie counts based on the fact that I use Low Fat/ Reduced Fat products as often as possible.
Week 21- Impossible Taco Cheeseburger Pie
 This is another meal that my mom used to make when I was a kid. I just jazzed it up a little bit with the Jalapeño cheese and the taco seasoning. I actually “made” the taco seasoning at home instead of using a packet. I was going to put some sliced tomatoes on top… but they were too soft. BOO! I also only used ¾ of the cheese, but I counted the calories for the whole block anyways! This is a super duper, wicked easy meal… I even thought about throwing some frozen corn in there too… but I’m not sure if that would be weird or not.
 
That’s all for the New To Me Cooking Challenge for May!
Happy Cooking!
-Hey Waitress!
 
I just realized that I didn’t take ANY pictures… Sorry! I’ll try and remember to take some the next time I make any of these recipes!
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S’mores! With homemade Marshmallow & honey cinnamon cookies!

So… if you read the recipe for these S’mores… you might have noticed that I made 24 marshmallows and 44 cookies. Then you’ll do some basic math and realize that there aren’t enough cookies to make every S’more a sandwich. What’s a girl to do!? Weeeeeell… you could roll the cookies thinner, or you could eat the extra marshmallow, or you could do what I did and just use one cookie for some of them.
 
I made these over 2 days because the marshmallow has to sit for at least 4 hours before you can cut out the shapes. And because I wanted to sit on the couch and hang out with Hubs and the animals. Who am I kidding? I was feeling REALLY lazy this weekend, and lacking the motivation to do anything. But if you’re ambitious (or slightly motivated)… it could be done in a day.
 
The marshmallow recipe I used was from Miss CandiQuik. You should check out her post. Then you should go read about what happened the first time I tried to make marshmallow. This time around it worked out much better! I boiled everything in a MEDIUM saucepan, but it took me nearly 9 minutes to reach 240 degrees (AFTER the sugar was melted). Hmph. I don’t think the heat was high enough.
 
The cookie recipe is from Add A Pinch. I stumbled on it when I was searching for homemade graham cracker recipes. I started off mixing the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar/honey in my stand mixer… but finished it by hand with a wooden spoon.
I may have eaten one or 2 of these cookies as soon as they came out of the oven. Oh. My. Gaaaaaawd. So delish!
 
When I was putting these together I realized that one of my favorite thing about eating S’mores is the crunchy toasted outside & gooey inside of the marshmallow. So I broiled the first cookie sheet on HIGH, those kept their shape well, and got a nice brown color on top. The second batch got broiled on LOW for closer to 4 minutes, totally spread out and didn’t get really brown on top. I like the look of the ones I broiled on HIGH the best. They held the ganache better, and left a little room on the edge of the bottom cookie to catch the drips!
 
This is the part when I have to confess something. I used closer to 2 ½ cups of chocolate chips for the ganache and I ended up using a tablespoonful (or more) on each S’mores. I couldn’t help it. I originally planned on using only 1/3 the amount of ganache, but soon realized it wouldn’t be NEARLY enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
 
I’m pretty proud of these S’mores. They came out just like I wanted!
 
I’m keeping some in the fridge (will the cream in the ganache spoil if I leave them out?), and nuking them for about 10-15 seconds to warm up the marshmallow before I eat it. Just be careful, you don’t want it to explode!
 
Happy Baking.
-Hey Waitress!!
 
Also… it was Memorial Day this weekend. Not just the start of the summer, but a time to remember all the men and women who have fallen in service to our country. Please Bless Them.
 
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Moscato White Chocolate Blondies!

It’s totally possible that I ate one of these Blondies before I even finished cutting them. I’m not saying that I did… but it’s possible. They’re that yummy. IMO, the wine makes these Blondies really stand out. They don’t have a strong booze flavor, but the hint of sweet Moscato def does the trick for me.
 
The edges came out a little more brown than I would’ve liked. I may bake them in a standard jelly roll pan next time, just because it’s bigger.
 
I originally had these cut into 24 bars, but I thought they’d be too big, so I cut each bar in half and ended up with 48 (duh) smaller pieces instead.
 
My only issue with making these was the “frosting”. When I added the wine to the white chocolate chips it got sort of chunky and ugly looking. I think it was because of the stabilizers in the chips? I’d recommend using baking white chocolate (the kind that comes in bars or bricks), or candy melts instead of the white chocolate chips. It might make the frosting into a “drizzle” instead, and I bet that would look much better.
 
This recipe is another adaptation from the Boozy Baker Cookbook. If you like booze and sweets you NEED to buy that cookbook.
 
Anyways… that’s it for Sunday Bakery this week!
Happy Baking!!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
Check out MY Moscato White Chocolate Blondies recipe!

 
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White Sangria Cupcakes!

Summer is close… Well… Spring seems to be here, and that counts for something. I like spring, mostly because it leads to summer. And I LOVE the summertime. Now that the weather’s warming up, I figured it’s time to start with the warm weather recipes (AKA my favorite summer foods/ drinks turned into a sweet snack). And what a better place to start than Sangria!?
 
I adapted this recipe from Shefs Pantry, check out the original post! I changed the sangria syrup, mostly because I don’t drink red wine. I prefer really sweet white wine (Moscato or Rieslings), and most of the stuff I drink is mid-shelf. I digress. You can use whatever combination of fruit you want into the syrup. I just used what we had in the apartment. You don’t have to use Riesling… any dry white wine will do. And don’t ask me what “dry” means… I have no idea. I just picked a type I like.
 
I kept the cupcake batter the same… and got 16 cupcakes too! That NEVER happens to me. I usually get more than the recipe says.
 
I did change the buttercream recipe. I reduced the vanilla, and traded the milk for a smidge of Grand Marnier (which I would add into Sangria if I was making a pitcher) and the leftover Sangria syrup. It came out delish!
 
I will def be baking these again sometime… BUT… they did come out kind of plain. There wasn’t much sangria flavor. I think I’m going to work in some of the fruit into them next time.
 
Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Baking!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
Check out MY RECIPE for these cupcakes!!
 
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