Monthly Archives: August 2013

August New To Me Cooking Challenge

Week 32- Sour Cream & Panko (and some other stuff) Baked Chicken Breasts
OK. Would you believe me if I told you that this is the first time in my adult life that I baked chicken breasts? ‘Cuz it was. I’m a little embarrassed by this fact. I’m NOT embarrassed about how this chicken came out though! It’s pretty yummy!
This is a combination of a bunch of different recipes I found online, all jumbled together and made my own!
I really like the addition of the sour cream as part of the “marinade”. Before I rolled the chicken in the breading mixture, I made sure the whole thing was slathered in the sour cream.
I originally used double the dry ingredients, but it was definitely too much, so I adjusted the recipe and posted the amount I actually used. Make sense?
The next time this recipe happens in my kitchen I’ll be changing 2 things… I’ll probably use less chicken. This recipe made 5 (4 oz) servings, not that Hubs complained (he ate the other 4). I’ll also cut a bunch of calories by using non stick spray (Pam) instead of pouring all that oil & butter over the chicken. It made everything a little soggy… I think if I use Pam it should make everything less “wet”.
Other than those 2 things… this got thumbs up from both of us!
 
Week 33- Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
I decided to make biscuits this week because I have half a jug of buttermilk in the fridge and I don’t want to waste it. I adapted this recipe off of AllRecipes.
How come nobody ever told me how EASY biscuits are to make? I always thought there was some secret magic and totally difficult process… little did I know. The most difficult part of these was cutting the butter into the flour. If you don’t have a pastry blender (I don’t need an extra toy), just use a fork. Smoosh the butter into the flour over, and over, and over, until the big chunks of butter are all gone and the dough is crumbly.
I rolled these out pretty thin so I could make smaller biscuits (with fewer calories). But I think they’d be even better if they were thicker, and a little bigger. If I was going to make these for anyone else (besides Hubs & me) I’d roll out the dough out a little thicker so the biscuits will be puffier.
Also… I got 17 biscuits out of this dough, but I also folded and used the scraps. I heard that’s a no-no in the biscuit making world… but, really, I couldn’t tell the difference.
This recipe is going into rotation. As soon as I was done making the regular ones I used a variation of it to make 2 Bite Cinnamon Orange Biscuits. Next up is garlic cheddar biscuits!
 
Week 34- Mini Pretzel Dogs
I’m a kid at heart. I love “kid food”. Pizza, Mac N Cheese, Pigs In A Blanket, PB&J… if it’s kid food, I probably love it.
This recipe happened because I was craving corn dogs and looking for a healthier option. AKA a recipe that didn’t require frying. I mention it to Hubs and he suggested pretzel dogs instead! What a genius! While it didn’t exactly fix my corn dog craving these pretzel dogs are like a more awesome version of Pigs in a Blanket! We both REALLY like soft pretzels, and I’ve been dying for an excuse to use this pretzel roll recipe again so it worked out perfectly!
I know the recipe looks complicated, and there are like a million steps. But it’s worth it. Kind of.
The problem is… it takes a bit of time, and there’s leftover pretzel dough. There are a 2 ways to solve this. First… if you’re feeding a bunch of people make 2 packages of cocktail weenies and use all the dough. Second (this is the option I chose) make the other half of dough into pretzel rolls! I divided the other half into 8 small rolls. The last time I made the pretzel roll recipe they were HUGE (and calorie filled), so I made them half the size and adjusted the baking time.
While we both really liked these, they probably won’t happen again soon. It’s a little time consuming, and made too many leftovers. However… if our nephews ever come for a visit or if I ever need to bring finger food to a potluck these will be my go-to.
 
Week 35- Coffee Dry Rub & Kahlua BBQ Sauce, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
This week has been kinda busy around here… so I wanted to make something easy for the challenge. What’s easier than throwing something in the slow cooker then forgetting it for a few hours?! Not much. I also have an obsession with BBQ style food. Now, we don’t have a smoker, and I really hate leaving the oven on for HOURS. The slow cooker saves the day!
I knew I wanted easy peasy, and I knew I was going to use pork… but the next question was seasoning. The thought process behind all this was kind of random, and I’m not really sure how I ended up settling on coffee dry rub, but I’m glad I did. The rub recipe is from The Hungry Southerner. I can’t wait to try it on some grilled steak or chicken! The Kahlua BBQ is adapted from Pineapple & Coconut. I made the original version for the challenge in week 5.
At first I wasn’t planning on using any sauce, but I’ve never put anything in the slow cooker without the extra liquid. After the 6 hours was up and my pork shredded easily, I realized that the BBQ was too thin still, so I reduced it on the stove top. It took me around 30 minutes. While it was simmering, I ended up skimming out as much of the remaining fat as I could. Fat chunks gross me out. For an option w/ less fat you could substitute a pork loin, but that would be more expensive.
I see this happening quite often in the future. It was good enough that Hubs ate all the leftovers the next day!
 
That finishes up the New To Me Cooking Challenge for August.
 
Happy Cooking!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
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PB Caramel Cookie Bars

Last week I made the original version of these bars from Mom on Time Out. And I had a couple, very minor, complaints.
 
After cutting them up and putting them in the fridge, the oatey texture wasn’t even noticeable and the caramel amount was JUUUUUUUST right, as long as you ate the bars cold. What I’m telling you is that they came out even better than I thought. Winning.
 
Even though I liked the original version of these bars I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome this caramel filling would be with peanut butter cookies! So… of course I had to try it.I used my standard peanut butter cookie recipe, but cut it in half. I used the same filling from the original recipe. I thought these bars really needed a little bit of color, so that’s where the mini M&M’s come in. These came out a little greasy, but I think that’s because I sprayed the edges with cooking spray to keep the caramel from burning to the pan… I cooled them on the counter (in the pan), then cooled them in the fridge (still in the pan) before I cut them into the bars.
Overall these got a thumbs up, but I think the original recipe was better. I think I need to use a chewier PB cookie recipe.
 
Check out my version of PB Caramel Cookie Bars!
Happy Baking!!
-Hey Waitess
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Chalkboard Doors & New Doorknobs!

Have I mentioned that Hubs and I moved into our new house last month? Haha, OK, I know I have. I can’t help it! I’m so freaking excited! Or… I was excited. until we moved in. Then it hit me. we’re responsible for this. For ALL. Of. It. For that crack in the ceiling (Hubs insists it’s not serious), and the ugly paint. For the mismatched fixtures, and old flaking gold door knobs. For floors that need to be refinished, and landscaping that needs help! It’s all on us now.
 
Talk about freaking out!
 
To help myself through it… I thought I’d chronicle all the “home improvements” we do! If you know us in real life you know that neither of us is particularly “handy. This is probably going to be interesting.
 
One thing I’ve always wanted in my kitchen/ pantry area was a chalkboard. A big one for my dinner menu, grocery list, and random tic-tac-toe. 😉 At first I was going to just hang up a few chalkboards in the kitchen… but I thought that might be kind of boring. Instead I was going to paint a big thick strip across the wall, but I’m practically incapable of drawing a straight line AND I plan on changing out the deep red paint for a brighter red. Then, one day, it hit me! Paint the pantry door! GENIUS!? I think so.
But there’s a problem… that UGLY gold doorknob. It HAS to go. But how do I get it off? There are no screws! Seriously, I had to google it. This site had the best answer. This video helped too!
So, after the HOUR (maybe 30 minutes) it took me to get that doorknob off I sanded the door with a fine grit sandpaper to get the shiny finish off. Then I sanded it w/ a fine grit sandpaper, and used a foam roller to put on a coat of primer. Then 3 coats of chalkboard paint. 3 coats!
The last step for the door was to “prep” it for writing. This was a suggestion online to help prevent the chalk from scratching the paint. What I did was using the long side of a piece of chalk rub it all over the finished door, then wipe it off with a slightly damp towel.
I let each coat dry for 24 hours before adding the next. And then let 24 go before I installed the new door knob. Which I did backwards. I put the latch in backwards and could figure out why the door wasn’t closing right… DUH.
After I finished the pantry door I noticed that the door to our family room & master bedroom/ bathroom looked crappy (and had an ugly gold doorknob). It had to be fixed! So I took that doorknob off and turned that door into a chalkboard too! Only this time, I did both side and the edges. We leave it open 90% of the time and I thought it looked funny with only one side painted. I followed the same process as the first door, but I did one side and an edge, then the other side and an edge. Did that make sense?
This whole project went super smooth! Until I peeled the painter’s tape off and a bunch of the chalkboard paint came too! Drat. I’m not sure why it happened, I think I might have let the paint get to clumpy along the edge of the tape? Whatever the reason I just touched it up with some paint, and you can’t even tell!
 
I’m pretty proud of myself. I mean, seriously, I can change doorknobs now! BAM!
 
Oh, and my husband looks sexy mowing the lawn. He used to do it when we lived in VA, but for some reason… it’s much sexier when it’s OUR lawn. 😉
 
Until next time,
Hey Waitress!!
 
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No Machine S’mores Ice Cream!

S’more S’mores please!? I can never get enough S’mores! Never!
 
I actually made this LAST Saturday for National S’mores Day. I know… these silly food “holidays” are, well, silly. But I just couldn’t control myself. Any excuse to make some sort of S’mores food is totally acceptable in my mind.
 
The base is adapted from Gluten Free On A Shoestring and the Honey Cinnamon Cookie Dough is from Add A Pinch.
 
I really love that cookie dough. It’s pretty much heaven. I actually didn’t use all of it in the ice cream; I saved about a cup for myself… to eat raw like a fat kid. It doesn’t have eggs so it’s OK! You could probably use all of it in the ice cream. If you knead it too much, just break up the pieces back into chunks. No harm done. If you don’t feel like making the cookie dough I think some broken up graham cracker could work. I kinda think they would get too soggy though…
 
The regular marshmallows were a last minute addition. I saw them in my pantry and figured I might as well toss them in there. The next time this ice cream happens I’ll use mini marshmallows to save myself from the sticky mess of ripping the big ones into pieces.
 
This ice cream didn’t fit in my regular 64oz freezer container. It was just a smidge too big. It also took longer than 4 hours to set. I ate some at hour 4, and it wasn’t quite there. The next night it was all set up and ice cream like. But that’s a normal occurrence for me. Maybe my freezer isn’t cold enough?
 
The only problem for me is that the flavor is a little rich. I’ve been mixing it in with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt to fix that. 😉
 
Check out the recipe!
 
Happy Making!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
 
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