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.