Saturday, April 19, 2014

Glazed Meatloaf

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Rest Time:  20 minutes

Grade: B+

Make Again: Maybe

Recipe Source: Cook's Country (February 2009)

This meatloaf is good, but I think I like this version of meatloaf better. They both take a similar amount of time to prep and cook, so I'd probably choose the All Beef version. I still always feel like a meatloaf should take very little time to prep, but it always takes at least some time. The beauty of a meatloaf though is that the cooking part is easy and the kitchen is always clean by the time you serve dinner (other than the pan the loaf is on.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Apple Pie Cake

Prep Time: 22 minutes
Bake Time: 70 minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours

Grade: B+

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Everyday Food (January 2003)

Note, my prep time is based on making a half recipe and only using 2 pounds of apples. Making a full recipe would take longer since there are more apples to peel and cut.

The half recipe should have used 2.5 lbs of apples, but 2 pounds was plenty. I could barely fit them in my tall 7" springform pan. And the end result still felt heavy on the apples.

This is one of the very first recipes I tried from the first issue of Everyday Food and it made me a fan. It is a fun recipe using the same mixture for the crust and topping and it was very tasty. The only complaint is the apple to crust ratio is a little high.

It is more pie like than a cake, even though it ends up looking like a cake. I will probably make again sometime in the Fall.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 2 hours on low

Grade: B+

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Slow Cooker Revolution

This recipe is super simple, and good. The one thing I don't love about the recipe is that it uses Condensed Cheese soup. But they claim it was very helpful in making a recipe that works in the slow cooker. And I can't deny that the end result was creamy and tasted, and overall worked.

Usually when I make a homemade macaroni and cheese, I double the pasta (or halve the sauce recipe) because I usually find the recipes too saucy for me. I didn't want to do that here, because the pasta cooking in the sauce, means it needs all the moisture it can get.

I did however, reduce the amount of cheese just a bit in this recipe. I used 5 oz of montery jack (instead of 8) and 6 oz of Cheddar (instead of 8). That worked perfectly find and things were still quite cheesy. I do think I could increase the pasta a few ounces and it would still work. I would get an extra serving out of it, and cut the heavyness of the recipe just a bit.

This is not quite as wonderful as Classic Macaroni and Cheese but it is still pretty good and easy to make. If you want to have a dish that is prepped earlier and finished 2 hours later, this is a good choice.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Prep Time: 34 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes (microwave)
Slow Cooker: 5 hours on low

Grade: B+

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Slow Cooker Revolution book

These were not my favorite meatballs, but they were good. They take about the same amount of work as any meatball, unless I pan fry them (which I rarely do). Pan frying them takes longer. The sauce was delicious, it was the meatballs that didn't wow me. The Meatballs for a Crowd are better.

But it is nice to cook them in the slow cooker. I actually made them in the afternoon and let them cook while I was gone teaching a class all evening. Then we had them the next day for dinner, reheated.

It was a nice way to get dinner done ahead of time.

There is another Slow Cooker Meatball recipe from Cook's country, that is similar but not exactly the same. The main difference is instead of using a panade of bread and milk, they use cream and mozzarella cheese. I'll probably try that one eventually just to compare.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Skillet Chicken Fajitas

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 5 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (September 2012)
Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen TV (Season 13)

This was a little bit of work because you have to roast the peppers, but it wasn't too much or too hard.

I had the most trouble with the chicken. The chicken I buy sometimes has huge breasts that are very thick. I did pound them to 1/2" as instructed. But after marinating and putting in the pan, they were 1" at least! So the cooking method of sauteing till blackened on one side (4 minutes) and then finishing in a 200 degree oven didn't work well. I ended up cranking up my oven to 350.

The peppers and onions were good, but I would use less lime next time. Of course the reason I needed to use less lime was because I only used 1/2 the heavy cream that it called for. I didn't want to make the dish too heavy, since the rest of the meal is fairly light.

I did like these and will probably make again.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chicken and Slicks

Total Time: 80 minutes

Grade: B+

Make Again: No

Recipe Source: Cook's Country (February 2011)
Recipe Source: Cook's Country TV (Season 5)

I made this a while ago, and didn't keep good notes on the details of how much time this took. I just wrote down 80 minutes. I think that was total time, and was not work time. This is not an overly complicated recipe, actually. The time comes from cooking the chicken, freezing the noodles then cooking them. 

I did the recipe in two steps, made the chicken and noodle dough the night before, then shredded the chicken and cut and cooked noodle the 2nd night. It worked out well. 

The broth and chicken on this was super flavorful and delicious. The noodles were decent as well but a bit too thick for me. The only reason I wouldn't make this again is because if I am making a recipe like this I would probably go for Chicken and Dumplings instead which I like a little more. This is certainly good, but I missed the vegetables, and the noodles were more work than dumplings. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Weeknight Beef Chili (Slow Cooker)

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 hours on high 6-8 on low 

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Slow Cooker Revolution

I got a new Crock Pot for Christmas. The one ATK recommends, so I can finally make more of the recipes from this book. The new one is larger, and making the older recipes always involved cutting recipes in half.

This chili is good, but for a Weeknight recipe it took more prep than I wanted. Of course, the prep isn't done at night anyway. For me, cooking all the beef took some time, more than they suggested it should. You also have to saute the onions and spices and make a panade with bread and milk to keep the beef tender with the long cook times.

The nice thing about the recipe is that it makes lots and chili freezes quite well.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Roasted Pepper Soup

Total Time: 50 minutes

Grade: B-

Make Again: No

Recipe Source: 6 Ingredient Solution

I thought this tasted very nice, but my picky eater didn't care for it. (At least he tried it, which was a shock.)

Although only 6 ingredients you do have to roast the peppers. That part was okay for me. The part where I got in trouble was dealing with the blender. I ended spilling soup everywhere and then I decided to strain it because I wasn't sure I got all the pieces processed enough. That made the soup just too thin for me.

This recipe used these Cheese Stick crackers (only 2), and suggested using the crackers as condiments also, which was good. It also called for a basil whipped cream which I liked. But you were supposed to make that in the blender, and that didn't work well for me. I ended up pulling out my mixer to make it. That part was delicious. You dollop a little on top of the soup.

Although I liked this, since I was the only one and it was a bit of work, and I made a mess of my kitchen, I probably won't make this again. It might be nice for a dinner party though if you have friends who are not such picky eaters and nice like flavors.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Prep Time: 35-40 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (January 2004)

I made this years ago and liked it, but never added it here. The first time I made it I used a half recipe in my small bundt pan. This time I went for the full recipe since it was for our family Christmas Eve dinner. My Kitchen Aid mixer ended up being almost filled to the brim by the time I was done.

While I was baking, I checked at 45 minutes and it seemed underdone, but I didn't try a skewer. The bottom just looked moist. So I did another 5 minutes. The bottom still looked too moist, but I did try a skewer and had not crumbs (I was supposed to a have a few.) So it was just slightly overcooked.

It was still good and the family seemed to enjoy it, however, I think it would have been better had been better about it checking it more carefully.

What saved it from seeming too dry was the tangy whipped cream topping which includes a little sour cream and brown sugar. That made the cake I think. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it cut with the cream, which looked nice. This is a good recipe, I just need to remember to check with a skewer sooner.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Sauteed Chicken Cutlets With Vermouth, Leek, And Tarragon Pan Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (September 2007)

This was a nice simple recipe. I may have finally learned the lesson of the importance of prepping ingredients before I start cooking. I have a bad habit of assuming I can prep ingredients while initial parts of recipe are cooking. It rarely turns out well for me. I end up rushed, mess things up and usually make a disaster of my kitchen. It may take me longer as well.

I looked at recipe and realized the chicken breasts cook in just minutes, since they are cutlets. So I did the "mise en place" today and cooking was a breeze.

The sauce in this is fairly light, just 1T of butter, and 2 t. of oil in terms of fat, which is pretty good for Cook's Illustrated. So for once, I didn't cut the fat. :-)

I like the sauce a lot and it was nice serving this chicken with rice. My picky eater liked this, even though I couldn't give him any of the leeks. It wasn't hard to serve him some sauce and avoid the leeks.