New To Me Cooking Challenge December

Week 49- Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket
I didn’t change much in this recipe. Honestly, the only thing I changed was the sauce. In BH&G cook book they combined some of the sauce ingredients, then set a little bit of that aside, and THEN added the ketchup, brown sugar, and some butter to a pot to heat w/ the reserved liquid. That way… was… well… too complicated for me. What I mean is, I was being excessively lazy and just dumped everything into the slow cooker. THEN I realized the sauce wasn’t thick enough so I boiled it on the stove top, and then added almost 2 tablespoons of corn starch. I think AP flour would also work, but don’t quote me. Or you could possibly boil it then reduce the heat and let it simmer to reduce it… maybe?
As for the brisket itself, I actually used a smaller one, it was closer to 1 ½ lbs. I guess the size doesn’t really matter (in this case). You’ll just have to adjust the time in the slow cooker accordingly.
 
Week 50- Jambalaya
Usually I write each segment for these Challenge posts as paragraphs, but I don’t think that’s going to work in this case. I’m going to try it w/ bullets instead.
– I don’t oven a real dutch oven. I have a pot the I “borrowed” from my mom that is wide & more shallow, it’s also not oven safe… but it works on the stove top in place of a dutch oven… it’s also wide enough for spaghetti noodles, but I digress.
– This recipe is adapted from a few on AllRecipes.com. They all called for Andouille sausage & something called filé powder. Neither of which could be found in my grocery store.  I subbed cajun sausage and just left out the Filé Powder.
– I’m not sure if I was supposed to drain the diced tomatoes… but I didn’t. If you do, use more chicken broth.
– It’s very possible that my jambalaya has too much rice. Actually I’m about 90% positive there’s too much rice. All the other recipes use about ½- ¾ of a cup LESS than I did. Yaaaaah… so…
– I’m not sure this counts as a “real” jambalaya due to the lack of Andouille sausage & filé powder… But it came out pretty darn good.
– This recipe made enough to feed an army. There was so much left over I got sick of eating it by the end of the week.
 
Week 51- Chicken Parmesan
I have to confess something…
I have the horrible habit of over-cooking chicken. Ever since I started cooking (whatever mom told my sister or I to start when she was getting out of work late), I’ve been petrified of undercooked meat. Is that strange? I think it drives Hubs crazy, but he’s too nice to say so. I mean… up until VERY recently I’d only EVER eaten steak well done. What I’m telling you is… I’m trying to break myself of the habit of overcooking meat. I bought a meat thermometer. It’s awesome. When we accidentally left the first one in the (hot) grill this summer, Hubs went out THE NEXT DAY, and bought me a new one. That’s love. 😉
Alright… so that didn’t have much to do with Chicken Parmesan, besides for the fact that this dish was NOT overcooked. Of course I stood over it the entire time it was cooking, staring like a hawk. Like a very hungry hawk.
The cutlets I bought where super thin, I think I cooked these over medium heat for about 5 minutes each side. As usual I forgot to effing check the effing clock when I started. Dammit.
After I put the sauce in the skillet and the cheese on the chicken, I only cooked it for another 5 minutes. I have a pretty big skillet so it ended up being a really thin layer of sauce. I used my favorite Prego (Heart Smart) Roasted Garlic sauce, obviously you can use whatever you want. I had a block of mozzarella that I sliced really thin than layered on the cutlets.
I bet you’re thinking “where the heck in the parmesan in your chicken parmesan”? The answer is… I left it off ‘cause it has a ton of calories, and so far I haven’t found a low calorie substitute that I like. Those fake ones in the shaker just don’t work in this case. If you’re willing to eat the extra calories… go ahead and sprinkle some shaved parmesan over the top. 😉 We had this over some plain spaghetti noodles this time. Next time it’s going on a hoagie with a big side of baked french fries.
This recipe gets thumbs up from both Hubs and I.
 
Week 52- Cheater Chicken & Dumplings (Slow Cooker)
I got this recipe from one of those silly recipe books they sell with the magazines at the grocery store checkout. We happened to be in a particularly long line and Hubs picked up one full of slow cooker recipes. Needless to say it happened to fall on to the checkout counter to come home with us. I modified it a little bit by adding the corn, using Grand’s biscuits, and using cream of celery soup. Next time I make this recipe I’ll either use regular sized refrigerated biscuits or make some homemade ones.
I’m not sure what “real” chicken and dumplings tastes like. I’ve never had it before. Hubs had a second serving, so he was either REALLY hungry or he liked it. IMO it tasted like chicken pot pie. I thought it was kind of… boring. But no complaints. It was, after all, stupid easy.
 
THE END!
 
That wraps December’s New 2 Me Cooking Challenge and an entire year of trying to make something “new” every week! I can’t believe I’ve attempted to make 52(!) new things. I know I didn’t try anything *really* challenging, but I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone of frozen pizza & chicken/ rice. It’s been pretty fun. I’m planning on continuing in 2014 but with a sliiighly different format! Keep looking out for it. I might even try something more difficult… maybe.
 
Happy Making!
-Hey Waitress!!
 
PS: click on the headers to see the recipe!
 
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