Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Archive for the ‘yummy’ Category

Cheddar Shortcakes

What does one eat with Cream of Tomato soup? Cheddar shortcakes.

I love a simple quick bread recipe, and this particular recipes makes large, tasty biscuits that dips well in a simple, thin soup.

Grandma’s Cream of Tomato Soup

My husband wanted his grandma’s cream of tomato soup, and no other recipes I could find met his needs. So he made the soup himself.

I like it because it is so simple: the soup is very thin, but this suits it. It’s also very easy to whip together.

Brown Sugar Bacon

Paula Deen’s food on her Food Network show are usually not too appealing to me, with all the fat. When her friend made Brown Sugar Bacon, though, I thought I’d give it a try. I don’t like bacon, normally, but I hoped the sugar would make it tasty.

It was good, although I let it get a bit too dark in the oven.

Get the Brown Sugar Bacon recipe from Food Network >>>


“Arancini” means “little orange balls.” I ate them once at a restaurant, and just as I thought when I first had risotto, I thought: “Wow! This is fancy! If I every cook arancini, I’ll know I’m becoming a cook.”

Arancini is so simple to make, that thought makes me laugh!

Some people don’t like leftover risotto: it becomes sticky and gummy, and loses the “fresh” consistency after a day in the fridge. I don’t mind it, but I love arancini better.

It’s so simple: make a ball of cold risotto, stick a little bit of melting cheese in the middle of it, roll it in bread crumbs, fry it in oil. Yum!

Yesterday night I only have cheddar cheese — I forgot to buy the swiss or mozzarella that is best in arancini. I wasn’t crazy about the cheddar flavor, but it still worked okay. I used a mozzarella-pesto sauce (the same one I had on my meatballs a few weeks ago, i.e., crushed tomatoes mixed with pesto) and it also tasted very good on arancini!

Giada‘s recipe is slightly more complicated than mine: she rolls the balls in egg before bread crumbs. I also used plain Parmesan risotto and her recipe calls for mushroom risotto with peas. I think any kind of leftover risotto might work.

Get the recipe from Giada >>>

Parmesan Risotto

My first date* with my eventual husband, he cooked me dinner. When I came in, there was something simmering on the stove.

“Have you ever cooked risotto?” he asked.

I hadn’t. I hadn’t even heard of it, and it seemed to be a very fancy dinner.

In fact, risotto is quite simple, and it has become a regular fall back meal for me. There are infinite variations, so I can add vegetables to it and have a one-dish meal.

I never cook it with white wine, but when I make it plain I do add some lemon juice. Delish has a simple recipe that is much like mine. I never heat the broth separately, though, and I also use shallots instead of onion. I also cook more than twice what that recipe calls for so they are leftovers (you’ll see why in the next post!). The secret is stirring it until the starches come out and the rice is tender.

Get the recipe from Delish >>>

*My husband still doesn’t consider this our first date.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Maple Vinegar Dressing

I always fall back on a maple vinegar sauce for chicken. My husband isn’t crazy about it just on plain baked chicken, but if I grill the chicken and mix it up with some greens and potatoes, it turns out pretty tasty. Last week also added an apple to it. You could also use leftover chicken.

I love the taste of real maple syrup, so this recipe is a favorite of mine. Even my son wanted more at dinner last night!


Coconut and Lime Granola

Coconut & Lime’s 5-year blogiversary contest has a deadline of today. So I better get this post up! I wanted to make Kiwi Sorbet, but I didn’t find inexpensive kiwis. It’s on the back burner for a day that I do.

I’ve been trying to perfect the breakfast granola I make. I love cold cereal, but it’s so expensive I prefer to make it. I think I originally based my recipe off of Amateur Gourmet’s recipe here, but I’ve changed it a bit in the past few months.

I thought that for the contest, I’d try adding some lime juice to give it a little zing, and thereby create a recipe with coconut and lime in it. I’m just a beginner at cooking, let alone creating recipes, but I think it worked out pretty well.The granola doesn’t taste like lime, but there is just enough other flavor to be different.

I thought I was being creative to add lime to breakfast, but then I noticed that Rachel herself just posted about coconut and lime waffles! Yum. I may have to try that next.

In the mean time, here’s my granola. (more…)

Baked Macaroni and Cheddar

I can’t eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner. It is just hurts my stomach and feels empty and cheap.

Of course, my one-year-old son loves it. I like to mush up butternut squash (from the frozen vegetable isle) up in his Kraft dinner. If it’s mashed up enough, he doesn’t notice it, and he gets some vegetables in him.

But while I don’t like Kraft dinner, I love real, oven-baked macaroni and cheese, specifically macaroni and cheddar. There’s something about the crispy crust that just makes it complete. I use a medium cheddar, but if you like it sharp, that would make it even more flavorful.

One can add vegetables to this casserole if desired; pre-cooked chicken could also be sneaked in. Last night, I made it without anything else added, and it was still delicious. My son loved it too. (more…)

Baked Pasta with Tomatos

I believe Sunday are meant to be a day of rest, including Sunday afternoons just before supper.

For that reason, I purposely don’t plan on cooking a big meat-and-potatoes supper. Instead, a simple pasta dish meets our needs: it fills our belly and is nourishing and tasty. And then we may have room left over for Sunday evening desert.

I found this recipe in a cookbook I got for my wedding called Favorite Brand Name Comfort Foods. It calls for Barilla brand Ziti pasta. I confess: I got a generic brand. I suspect it would also work fine with penne or a different cut pasta.

Two ingredients in this recipe might not need to be fresh. It called for four tomatoes, three of which were peeled, cut, seeded, and then diced. It took me forever! I suspect buying canned diced tomatoes and draining them very well would work just as well.

The recipe also calls for lots of chopped fresh basil. Because it was simmered with the sauce and then baked, I suspect using dried basil in smaller quantity would suffice; unless you grow your own basil, it would certainly would be cheaper.


Cider-Braised Chicken

It’s not really the season to braise right now: standing over a hot stove doesn’t seem very springy. But Tuesday it was chilly and rainy, and I had bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the refrigerator.

What does one do with bone-in thighs?

I don’t like bone-in thighs, simply because it’s harder to eat around a bone. But bone-in meat does work much better for long periods of simmering: my cider-braised chicken ended up quite moist and tender. The oniony-cider sauce was sweet and tangy. I was delighted it worked so well.

I based my dinner off of this recipe at The Kitchen Sink Recipes. I didn’t put the chicken in the oven: I just kept it on the stove until the chicken was cooked and then I reduced the sauce. I also didn’t add cider vineagar and I did add a little bit of brown sugar to make the sauce a little more sweet. I also forgot to add the parsley I had chopped: I found it in my little dish when I went to clear the dishes. Oops. It still tasted very good.