Rebecca's Cooking Journal

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Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

Hawaiian Haystacks

I was trying to think outside the box when I’ve planned my meals this month. Each week I gave myself a new recipe to try, but I didn’t want to be overwhelmed, so I went with ones that sounded easy.

First I tried Hawaiian Haystacks, and Raisin (my three-year-old) loved them! His favorite aspects was the ability to build it himself, but he also loved the pineapple and chow mein noodles, which made it fun.

If you don’t know, it’s a chicken mixture on a bed of rice, with what ever toppings you want.

Toppings we had: tomatoes, spring onions, pineapple, coconut, chow mein noodles, almonds, cheese.

I used a recipe I found online and the cannned Cream of Chicken soup made it far too salty. I’ll try it again sometime without using canned products, but I must admit, it made it nice and easy!

Get the recipe from Cooks.com >>>

Chicken Salad Croissants

I found a new fun site, thanks to some blog followers at my reading blog: Buttery Books, which gives book club menu ideas that go along with the books discussed!

I was hosting our club’s meeting for The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld, so I followed their suggestion and made Chicken Salad Croissants. I also made some ghost-shaped sugar cookies (since it’s a ghost story of sorts), which needless to say, were also a hit.

The salad was good, although I didn’t measure the mayonnaise and I think I had too much. Two and a half cups seems like a lot, based on the other ingredients.

Get the recipe from Buttery Books >>>

Braised Chicken with Apples and Sage

I wanted a perfect braised chicken recipe for a chilly fall afternoon, so I turned to epicurious.com. The recipe I made seemed quite familiar, but I haven’t mentioned it on this site, so here it is.

I had to simmer it longer than 20 minutes — it was not cooked through yet at that point.Otherwise, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I normally use boneless/skinless, but I went with bone-in skin on thighs and it made it quite tender and moist. Altogether, an easy and taste meal but nothing spectacular.

Get the recipe from epicurious.com >>>

 

Onion Tart (Pizza) with Mustard and Fennel

I am afraid of yeast.

For some reason, I have always avoided breads and doughs that are made with yeast. But this week I’ve been reading Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom and Julia Child makes everything sound so easy. So I’ve determined to try yeast breads this week.

Last night, I made a simple onion pizza. My husband had made it a few weeks ago, so I knew it was going to taste good.

As I started with the first step, I was all nervous about making sure the water was the right temperature, making sure the bubbles were forming, etc. As I stood over the cup of yeasty water, my husband said, “Look! It’s farting!” Ha ha.

At any rate, I was nervous as I mixed the flour into the yeasty water. I was nervous as I kneaded it. And then all the sudden I realized that was  it! I prepped the onions (FYI, 3 pounds of onions was a bit too much) and an hour and a half later, I formed the now-risen dough into a few mini-pizzas, spread Dijon mustard on them, topped it with the onions and Parmesan, and there you had it! Onion Tarts!

We served it with an Arugula salad (I’ve been craving Arugula) with a mustard vinaigrette and bacon and apple slices.

“So Provencial!” my husband said.

“Pretty easy!” I said.

“Mmmmm!” toddler son said.

Get the recipe from epicurious >>>

Chicken with Cheese and Apples

My husband hates baked boneless/skinless chicken breast and thighs. It’s too boring, it’s too plain, it’s too “rubbery.” I like it and I find it easy, so the fact that he always complains about baked chicken makes me sad.

Emily Franklin’s recipe for “Autumnal Chicken” was one that I enjoyed. You wrap cheese and apple slices in a piece of chicken and bake it. I liked it. My husband did not. He thought it was too boring. It probably was: I should have made some kind of sauce with it. But the chicken was juicy and I just love apples cooked inside of things, so that was good in my book!

The other problem: the cheese. Ms. Franklin’s recipe calls for Istara. I cannot find “specialty” cheeses at my budget grocery store. So I used what I had in the refrigerator: cheddar. My husband did not like that either.

“Cheddar and chicken just don’t mix,” he says.

I’m getting tired of cookbooks that have recipes with fancy and expensive cheeses and other ingredients. Doesn’t anyone else live on a budget?

Chicken Nuggets (Breaded Chicken)

I made Emily Franklin’s recipe for chicken nuggets the other night. I was thinking it was a quick weekend meal, and that it would be delicious.

It certainly was delicious, but being an inexperienced cook, it took me quite a long time. I found I was breading each piece of chicken individually at first. Once I realized I could do many at once, it was much easier. (I know, I’m so dumb.) The breading Emily Franklin suggests is the normal flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.

They were quite delicious. I whipped up some honey mustard (ingredients: honey, mustard, and a little mayonnaise). However. The time it took to fry and then bake the many little bite-sized nuggets was not made up in flavor. Next time I do it, I’m going to leave the chicken in strips, rather than small bite-sized bits.

I think Ms. Franklin’s entire point was that kids are familiar with bite-sized chicken nuggets: once they know Mom can make chicken nuggets better than McDonald’s they won’t hesitate to have Mom’s breaded chicken either. Since my son is still too young to have ever had McDonald’s, I figure I can just skip that step and go strait to the breaded chicken and other chicken dishes!

Ginger Chicken with Mango Chutney

I made this a few times in the past few weeks. Originally it was for some dinner guests, but it was so easy I started making it just for us! I love adding new “regulars” to the line up.

I’ve always said I don’t like “Asian” food. I think my husband is right: I just don’t know what good Asian food tastes like! I used a half of a jar of mango chutney that I found on the international isle. (more…)

Congee and Deep-Fried Sugar Taro

(I can’t believe the month is two-thirds over and I haven’t posted any recipes yet! Oops!)

I hosted a book club for a novel that took place in turn-of-the-century China, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. To make the book club fun, I made two foods that were mentioned in the book.

The first was Congee, which the main character, Lily served to her children and in-laws during a local outbreak of typhoid. While the other people ate diseased chicken and subsequently died, Lily kept her family alive with this simple rice dish.

I don’t think Lily’s congee was anything more than water and rice, but I added vegetables to mine, based on a recipe I found at the website Appetite for China. It was very good, although I put in too many sliced scallions. It was also easy; most of the work was slicing the vegetables, and then it simmered for a long time. I intend to make it again!

Get the recipe from Appetite for China >>>

For desert, I made Deep-Fried Sugared Taro. In the book, Lily met her friend Snow-Flower at a village every year, and they always ended their trip with a serving of this delicious desert.

Taro root is not a vegetable I’ve ever tried before. It tasted a little bit like potato, and so the deep-frying method made it a bit like French Fries. I then placed it in melted sugar, and so it was a sweet treat. Unfortunately when I made it, the sugar had been warmed for a little too long and had started to solidify again; it subsequently did not coat the fries very well. While I probably won’t ever try it again, I am nevertheless glad I gave it a try. Note that leftovers did not keep well as they got all soggy.

I got the recipe from Lisa See’s site. It was a fun way of making the book real for the book club meeting.

Get the recipe from Lisa See >>>

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.

Arancini

“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 >>>