Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pork and Apple Stew

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Everyday Food (January 2003)

I've been trying to make some of my original favorites from Everyday Food. Recipes that I tried when the magazine first came out and that made me love the magazine. This is from the very first issue, and I remember loving this recipe, even though I was skeptical of the apples. I made it several times, but I haven't made it for years.

So, I made it again, and I only used one Granny Smith apple. Unfortunately, the apple part was very unappealing to me this time. I'm not sure why. I cooked it the 10 minutes called for, but I may have cut the pieces too small, because it was very soft.

I'm not sure what I will do the next time I make this. Maybe skip the apples (the potatoes, pork and cabbage are enough) or maybe just use a smaller apple with small pieces that I add at the last moment with the pork so the pieces stay crisp and are just an accent.

Regardless, I will make this again on occasion, because I do like it overall. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Cookies (Makeover)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: No

Recipe Source: Comfort Food Makeovers

I give this recipe an A, but I probably won't make these again. They are easy to make and taste great. However, they are very sweet, and lower in fat. If I am going to have a cookie, I don't care about the fat. If I eat just mostly sugar, it will not do anything to curb my hunger, but a little more fat in a cookie will help. Not that I eat cookies to curb my hunger, but when I just eat mostly sugar-y things, my appetite is stimulated more than anything.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

O's with Meatballs

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Maybe

Recipe Source: Comfort Food Makovers
(Recipe found here)

Note: The prep time is broken up into two parts, 20 minutes at beginning and then another 5 to puree the vegetables and add pasta and meatballs. Overall, this is a pretty simple recipe, the most complicated part being using the blender.

The meatballs only use 6 oz of ground chicken. That was annoying to me, because when am I going to use the other 10oz. So I sort of doubled it and froze half the meatballs for another time. The meatballs are just the ground chicken, low-fat pesto (don't know where you get that at the store, but I had some in my freezer that I made myself and was relatively lower fat) and panko.

After you saute vegetables in chicken broth (tomatoes, carrots, onion, celery) you blend to puree then cook the meatballs and pasta for another 15 minutes.

It was good. Nothing exciting, but a nice simple meal. I don't know that it reminded me of spagetti o's, but it has been a LONG time.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Almost Hands Free Risotto with Chicken

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (May 2010)

This was good. I will change one thing about the recipe next time though and that is to use boneless skinless chicken breasts. I really dislike dealing with chicken on the bone, and although I do think it ends up tasting a bit better, I think poaching boneless breasts in the broth will be almost just as good and it will save probably 10 minutes of work.

Supposedly leftover risotto isn't that good, but I found the leftovers that I had for lunch the next day to be delicious. I have more in the freezer so we'll see how that works.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baked Shells and Winter Squash

Prep Time: 40 minutes (25 minutes hands on). 
Bake Time: 15 minutes 


Make Again: Yes 

I made this probably 10 years ago when this issue of the magazine was published. I remembered that I liked it but I wasn't reviewing recipes then. I really wanted to make it again to make sure. 
I actually don't like winter squash all that much, but since I remembered liking the finished product, I decided to make it. I couldn't find the pureed squash in the freezer section (I did the first time), so I bought some already cubed squash in a bag. I had to cook it in the microwave and then puree in my food processor. That probably added 5 minutes of work (but not to total time, because cooking the onions, takes the most time.) 

I hated the smell of the squash. I tried a taste, and didn't care for it. I was feeling skeptical. But I forged on and completed the dish. I did cut back on the olive oil, by 1 T, but still used 2 T for the onions and used the full amount of cheese. I wanted to make sure I could make the squash taste good.

One fortuitous thing was that I had leftover Rosemary Focaccia in the freezer, so I used that for my topping instead of crusty bread with oil and rosemary added. It worked perfectly.

The final dish was very, very good. I didn't taste the squash at all, and the smell of the squash was gone, overpowered I suppose by the Rosemary and caramelized onions. 

I am not sure how the leftovers will freeze, but I think it won't be too bad, because it wasn't too 'saucy' so there isn't a lot to soak up. 

I hope I can find the pureed squash in a different grocery store, because I would love to make this again. I really isn't too hard, you just need some time for the onions to cook. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Angel Biscuits

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Rise Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 14 minutes

Grade: B

Make Again: No

Recipe Source: Cook's Country (August 2007)

These are biscuits with the rise from yeast and baking powder. I thought they were ok, but not as good as regular biscuits and not as good as some dinner rolls I've made. They can be made fairly quickly, but are more work and time than regular biscuits, so I won't be making again.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Everyday Food (May 2009)

There isn't too much to say about this, but it is nice cake with rhubarb and a crumb topping. At first I thought it was just so, so. But after having the frozen pieces later, I decided it was pretty good. Since I have lots of rhubarb growing in my yard, it is a good recipe to have.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rosemary Focaccia

Total Time: 24 hours, with very little work
Hands on Time: 20-25 minutes 
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes 

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes 

The Focaccia is very easy to make, but you do need to be patient. You need to start the biga the night before. The dough is very wet and does not kneading – just folding, every 30 minutes, 3 times. 
My dough was probably a little too wet because I couldn't really make it into a ball at the end and it spread out in pan without my help, but it turned out fine. 
It was very good, but a little greasy. I even used a bit less oil. I also used a little less salt because it seemed like so much, but it could have handled more. 
I have already reviews CI's earlier version of this recipe here. I definitely like this recipe more so this will be the one I use if I want to make focaccia again.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Applesauce Snack Cake

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Cool Time: 1-2 hours

Grade: A-

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (September 2006)
(Find the recipe here:

This is a really nice, not too sweet cake. "Snack" cake is a good word for it.

I give it a "-" only because it is a little bit more work than you might think a snack cake should be. You have to cook dried apples in apple cider (or juice) until the juice evaporates. That took about 25 minutes. I was able to prep all other ingredient during that time, but I still had to wait. You are supposed to let the apples come to room temperature before mixing in a food processor with applesauce, but I did not do that. I mixed it with the cold applesauce and it ended up about room temperature.

I forgot the vanilla, but it still tasted very good. I will probably make again, but not very often just because of the time. It is a nice Fall treat.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Runsas or Bierocks

Filling Time: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 15 minutes 
Dough Time: 15 minutes
Rise Time: 60 minutes
Assemble Time: 15 minutes
Rise Time: 45-60 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes

Grade: A

Make Again: Yes

Recipe Source: Cook's Country (June 2012)

These take some time to put together, but the dough and filling times can overlap some. Really there is not a lot of hands on work, it is a lot of waiting for things to rise and/or cool.

But putting them together is quite simple. The dough wrapped around the chilled filling very nicely.

The biggest bonus is that these freeze beautifully. They can be reheated in the oven when you don't want to cook. I have defrosted in microwave then heated in over for 10-15 minutes and they are great.

I will try to make an Italian or Tex-Mex version with different flavors so I don't have to use cabbage next time. I don't mind it, but the picky eater does, so I want to try something he will eat.