Thursday, November 28, 2013

Egg Salad- My Favorite Weird Sandwich

Egg salad sandwiches are weird.

Squishy, mushy, eggs squashed between two pieces of bread.

But I do love them so :-)

Click to see the recipe on Allrecipes.com
I remember potlucks after church as a kid, I have no idea who it was but some wonderful soul always brought a platter of egg salad sandwiches that had been cut into perfect little triangles- which I proceeded to inhale as if they were the last egg salad sandwiches I would ever see...

Have you ever cringed at a pre-packaged egg salad sandwich in a gas station and wondered what disgusting person would purchase such a thing?  I mean someone has to, or else they wouldn't keep selling them...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Thanksgiving Countdown

I won't lie, I tend to have big plans for cooking all kinds of dishes on Thanksgiving and then I lose my cool just a wee bit as dinner time approaches and I'm in the middle of a million dishes and I want to be done so badly I could cry and...yeah.  There's inevitably a last minute freak-out.  

  Don't get me wrong...everything turns out just fine.  :-) Generally things take a turn for the better when I finally give in and allow my husband to step in as sous chef.

It's all a lack of planning.  I get the recipes, the ingredients...but I sort of wake up Thanksgiving morning and expect to be able to throw everything together quickly and magically.

It just doesn't work like that.  In reality, there's limited time, one oven, and only one of me.

This year, I decided I was going to do things the right way, and I foresee a stress-free day of cooking tomorrow, one with a plan...and maybe a glass of wine at some point?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meatloaf on a Lazy Sunday

Sunday was chilly and rainy- and I've certainly never been one to complain about weather like that!  I'm a sucker for a gray day.

Click to see recipe on Allrecipes.com
My husband and son both had colds and I was absolutely up for a slow-paced lazy day.  Meatloaf is one of my favorite comfort foods and easy to throw together, so I decided to try out a recipe I've been meaning to make for a while- Classic Spicy Meatloaf.

Oh wow.

Now really...for someone who normally has a "take it or leave it" attitude about all things meat, I have a really odd love of meatloaf.  It's just so good...by itself, with mashed potatoes, on a sandwich the next day...mmmmm...  Personally I like mine with BBQ sauce or a spicy ketchup baked on top.  I've had some successes, some flops, but this...this one is absolutely a keeper.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Beginning of the Baking Season

I'm always looking for fun ways to spend time with my daughter in the kitchen.  She loves the idea of helping, and I love the idea of passing on my love of cooking on to her.

Click to see the recipe on Allrecipes.com
Generally, she gets bored after about 5 minutes (or whenever she's had the opportunity to crack the eggs, whichever comes first!) and I take over.  Thankfully, this recipe is one that kept her interest.  The dough comes together quickly and then chills for a while, giving her the opportunity to go be a crazy kid for a while and come back interested in helping again.

Next comes the fun part- rolling out the dough and cutting the cookies.  I let her pick out the cookie cutters on her own, so we had an interesting assortment of flowers, Christmas trees, hearts, and pumpkins.

I love that kid :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Banana Bread and Clean Freezers

I have this really annoying habit.
I got it from my mother, it's stuck with me, and I'll probably pass it on to my daughter.

My husband absolutely can't stand it.  I just can't help myself, though.

What is this horrible offense?
Well...I just can't throw away a banana.

As they reach that brown speckled stage where most people would throw them away, I throw them in the freezer.

Perfect for banana bread later!  Why waste their sweet ripeness?

 But then...well, then the problem escalates...have you ever been attacked by a flying rock-hard frozen banana?  An ugly, brown, tropical, projectile?

Yeah well...neither had my husband before he married me :-)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Apple Pie For a Crowd

A couple of months ago my daughter had her bridging ceremony, moving from Daisies to Brownies in Girl Scouts.  Personally, I was in Camp Fire as a kid and hadn't experienced this ceremony before- very neat!

Click to see the recipe at Allrecipes.com
After the ceremony there was plenty of food for everyone to enjoy.  This was when I was in the middle of trying to get rid of a ton of apples and was baking up a storm, so of course I didn't pass up an opportunity to get rid of a few more of them!

My go-to pie recipe (with a few seasoning changes) is Apple Pie by Grandma Ople from Allrecipes.com- always a winner!  It's absolutely delightful, every time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An Exception to the Rule

I mentioned before that, as a general rule, I dislike pre-made sauces.
Often, they are over-priced, over-salted, and lacking genuine flavor.

Is that harsh?  
Yeah, maybe.  But true, nonetheless.  For less money and not much of a time investment, one can generally do much better cooking from scratch.

Herdez cooking sauces are a big exception.  Those I stock up on.
I keep several varieties on hand- and for good reason.  The Allstars program partnered with Herdez earlier this year, and I'm not sure how I forgot to share this with you!

Click to see the recipe on Allrecipes.com
I'd say most of the ladies in the Allstars program are pretty tough critics of products like this, so if they can win us over you know these are products worth buying.  Herdez (Mexico's #1 brand of salsa) makes four varieties of cooking sauce- Roasted Pasilla Chile, Tomatillo Verde, Red Guajillo Chile, and Traditional Chipotle.

They are ALL wonderful.  As in, straight out of the jar, full of flavor, awesomeness.  In a hurry, they're great just heated and tossed with meat and veggies.  If you have a little more time, they make for an excellent ingredient in many types of dishes.  The best part?  Even my small town grocery store carries them!

Monday, November 11, 2013

And I Thought *MY* Sauce Rocked...

Normally I'm not a huge fan of store-bought pre-made sauces.

I've been making my BBQ sauce for quite awhile now, after discovering how much better it is when I make it myself.  I give complete credit to good recipes that are not my own and tomatoes from the garden, so no tooting my own horn here :-)

Well, then I won this little giveaway on a fellow Allrecipes Allstar's page- Hudson Valley Handymom.  She's a pretty awesome gal, and I love her blog.  

Anyway, she partnered with a small company called Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly and I won a jar of their Zesty Peach BBQ sauce and a jar of their Candied Jalapeño BBQ sauce.  Candied Jalapeño just sounds divine, doesn't it?  Well, the taste lives up to the expectation, for sure.  Before we even cooked with it my husband took a taste and declared that he could eat it with a spoon.

What to Do With All of That Turkey- Part Two

A couple of days ago I wrote about my recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers Monkey Bread.
Awesome, right?

Well, the second recipe I came up with was for these Thanksgiving Pockets- equally awesome :-)

These are great fresh, but really...freeze them.  By the time you start looking at things to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers, you're most likely turkey-ed out, right?

You've had all of the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing you can handle and now you just want it gone.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What to Do With All of That Turkey

In a few weeks and change you're most likely going to be faced with a wall of Thanksgiving leftover-filled tupperware containers when you open your fridge.  A blessing and a curse, right?  I mean...how much turkey and stuffing can one person really eat?  We've already addressed one delicious means of getting rid of some of it with Kraft's Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole that I wrote about.

But what else?  What can we do with the rest of it?

I'm here to save the day with a couple more recipes.  lol if three recipes isn't enough to dispose of your leftovers, you're on your own.

That, and you cooked way too much.

Click on the picture to find the recipe on Allrecipes.com
The first recipe I came up with was a savory monkey bread.  Or bubble loaf.  Or whatever you want to call it.  I'll go with monkey bread because it sounds more fun :-)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Does This Count As Being Famous?

Allrecipes.com has launched a magazine of it's own.  It's still a fledgling publication and only out bi-monthly at this point, but the two issues they've published have been great.

I may be biased, but I think the second issue was even better than the first.  


Well, pick one up on the newsstand November 12th (then like it so much you get your own subscription!) and turn to page 70.

See that wreath?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Never Too Early for Leftovers?

This month as part of the #AllstarsLeftoverChallenge I was asked to try Kraft's recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole.  Though I don't technically have any "leftovers" since we're still a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, I was more than happy to have a little pre-Thanksgiving feast (as I was last year, as well!).  

Click to see the recipe on Allrecipes.com!
Besides the taste, I think the best part of this recipe is how versatile it is.  You really could toss in whatever you have left.  No mashed potatoes?  Sub sweet potatoes.  Use carrots.  Use green beans.  Add cranberry sauce.  Whatever.  Literally- whatever is left from your Thanksgiving table can go in this one!
I pretty much followed this to the letter, though, since I was making this before any random leftovers existed!

It starts with a base of stuffing with creamy layers of turkey and veggies.  It's topped off with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese before being baked.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tis the Season for Simmering Soups

When I was a kid my mom sometimes made beef barley soup.  It was so warm, so comforting...I have the recipe, but I've never made it myself.  One of these days I might, but I think part of me really doesn't want to screw up that memory and association with my mom.

Click to see the recipe on Allrecipes.com!
I bought a box of barley on clearance at the grocery store a while back without any real purpose for it in mind and it's just been hanging out in my pantry, getting shoved farther and farther to the back behind all of the other random ingredients I haven't found the time to play with yet.  I can't think of any time I've ever actually eaten barley aside from my mom's soup!  No wonder it was on clearance!

With my pantry getting messy and far too full, I decided to find a use for that barley.  I came across a recipe for chicken barley soup and decided to give it a try- definitely a good decision!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Twist on Your Typical Thanksgiving Dessert

Well, it's official- we're entering the Holiday season and fast-approaching Thanksgiving.  Normally I wind up making a HUGE shopping trip right before T-Day and spending a painful amount of money on that one, big meal.  
Not this year.

Well a new tablecloth and napkins are here and ready to go.  I have craft supplies for my daughter to make placemats.  But most importantly?

I have everything but 5 things from my giant list ready to go- and those are perishables that will have to wait until the last minute.  Rather than another hugely expensive (the kind that makes your heart seize in your chest as they're ringing up item after item...) shopping trip, I spread things out a bit.  I made up my menu well in advance and made a list of every item I will need.  For almost a month now, every time I've made a trip to the store I've picked up an item or two from the list.