Sunday, December 14, 2014

This week in my kitchen

It's been a decent week cooking wise. A few easy nights, one leftover night.  However I did manage to come up with a few things.

I found this thin sliced spicy chicken at Stater Bros. and while I wasn't sure just HOW spicy it would be.  I also wasn't sure what I would do with it, but it was a damn good price and I thought I would make something a little more leaning towards something I would want to eat.  I see recipes for stuffed chicken and chicken wraps so I thought I would figure something out. 

I looked at different recipes for what they stuffed or rolled into chicken and I came up with cream cheese, some shredded cheddar jack, and a little bit of spinach.  I admit I overcooked it just a bit, because I wasn't sure if it would take longer for the inside to cook, but it didn't.  However, the taste was delicious.  I don't usually see the spicy chicken, but I can probably do it with regular chicken and add different spices. 

I made a beef stew also, but I didn't take pictures.  Easy crock pot stew that was warm on the inside, except everyone in this house is weird about vegetables.  Everyone will eat the potatoes.  SR will only eat onions, the boys, just the carrots.  I'm the only one who will eat the mushrooms and everything else.  So serving it was a bit of a chore and everyone's bowl looked a little bit different.  sigh...

These are egg muffins.  One of my friends posted this on the internet.  Except hers looked really good.  These look kinda wrecked.  They did taste pretty good though.  I made them so I can grab a few to take to work for breakfast.  I did it for about three days, after forgetting the first day.  They were tasty, good reheated with some salt.  However after three days, they just felt kinda slimy in the bag.  Probably condensation- but I have a weird thing about wet eggs.  But they are not going to waste, because SR had a few and Max really likes them too. 

Now for something sweet.

Last week cake and brownie mix was on sale for .99 each if you buy 4.  So I bought 4- and then a few days later I bought 4 more.  I realized that the snacks I was buying for the kids lunches was costing me about $10 a week.  And if I made brownies at home, it would cost me maybe $2.00.  So I made a batch of brownies and used my mini muffin pan.  It made 40 little brownie bites.  And guess what, you can FREEZE them.  So I put them in a ziploack and every day I took some out for the kids lunches.  They were defrosted by lunchtime and they said they tastes delicious!!  Go mom!!!

Since I then had 3 boxes of brownies and 4 boxes of cake in my pantry, I decided to look up recipes for cake mix.  When I read "cake mix cookies" I thought- whaaaaaa?????

Cake mix
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
I c chocolate chips.

They are delicious!!!  A little sweeter than the usual chocolate chip cookies- one or two is quite enough,  But really good.  Easy to make.  Bake for 10 min at 375 and while they are cooling, the sort of settle.  They look fluffy and cakey when you take them out of the oven- but after about 5 minutes cooling, they flatten out and they look and taste awesome. 

Very light in color, but delicious.

Imagine the possibilities!  Red velvet with white chocolate chips.  Chocolate cake and mint chips, or peanut butter chips.  Ohhhh the sweets.... I love the sweets.

As you can imagine, the kids and SR are really loving my domestic abilities. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

You win some bread, you lose some dough

So my bread making efforts have been decent. 

Banana bread- win.  It could be a little sweeter, I need to find the sweet spot for ripe bananas.  But hot with butter, it was delish.

French bread- turned out awesome, but doesn't really keep for more than a day. 

Rolls for thanksgiving.  The dough was awesome, and the rolls turned out beautiful. 

I was impressed.  They cooked about a minute too long- but while still warm, they were a huge hit.  and so pretty. 

Lightly flour a rolling pin, and roll one dough half out into a 13×9-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 6 strips. Stack the strips evenly, with the buttered side up, and cut the stack into 12 pieces. Repeat with the other dough half. Grease 2 regular muffin pans, and place one piece in each muffin pan cup, with the layers facing up.

This week my attempts were not so good.

I wanted to make a French bread as my inlaws were visiting I wanted to wow them.  I thought to just use the dough cycle, and then bake it in the oven so I could shape it like an actual French bread roll. 
That didn't happen. 

I don't know exactly what happened but maybe I misread the flour, cause it was a sticky mess.  Cleaning was a bitch also.  And I had dough in my hair many hours after my company LEFT. Bought sourdough rolls instead.  Objective: failed

Then I thought I'd make burger buns to go with the pulled pork sandwiches we had for dinner tonight.  Again, didn't happen.

The dough cycle mixes for 7 minutes.  That's it, then it starts the first rise.  So any changes you want to make to the dough has to be done the first 5 minutes or so.  I peeked in to look at the dough ball and it was dry.  Not even mixed well enough if you ask me.  And by the time I tried to add more liquid, the mixing stopped.  No fixing it at that point.  I took the dough ball out and tried to add more water and mix it with the hook attachment (for dough) on my hand mixer.  I don't have a stationary mixer.  For this task, I need one. 

So picture me, with a huge ball of dough with some added liquid.  I put the hook into the dough ball, and turn it on low.  The BOWL starts spinning.  Liquid flying.  Holy shit!!  So I hold on to high speed bowl spin, and then the dough ball is spinning.  Nothing is mixing.  More liquid flying.  Shit.

So I flour a cutting board and thump the dough ball onto it.  THUMP.  It actually THUMPED.  I tried adding water but there was just no penetrating this thing.  It was just getting messier.  My fingers were getting stickier.  I heard my friends voice, "bread is cheap to make so it's ok if you fuck up a few batches." 

So I threw the whole wet mess into the garbage.  Today, I bought rolls.  Objective: failed AGAIN

I am not giving up on this.  I know I can make dough.  I made it for the rolls for thanksgiving.  It CAN be done.  Also I need to watch the mixing on the dough cycle more carefully. I only have a limited amount of time to correct mistakes.  It's all about finding the correct wet to dry ratio.  When all else fails, apply math!!!