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Friday, August 21, 2009

In the past week...

Oops! I guess it helps to actually pull my food pics off the camera, huh? So here's the latest week or so of dinners from here. There aren't 7 because we've been out with the in-laws, had scrambled eggs one night, and tuna melts last night. So nothing exciting on those evenings.

Salisbury Steak

Not fantastic, but the recipe was a place to start. I think Car Guy and I just aren't fans of Salisbury Steak. We'd rather have meatballs cooked in mushroom gravy.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with creamy risotto

This was the second time I've made this recipe from the set of cards, and it's pretty good. I'm not usually a fan of instant rice, but when it's cooked and served in a sauce, that helps hide the pasty, blah flavor and texture. The chicken part of this dish is fantastic! Boneless chicken breasts breaded in a combination of breadcrumbs and finely-grated Parmesan cheese.

Lemon-Lavender Butter Cookies

Not a dinner, but another new recipe I tried. My sister clued me in to a new (to me) cookbook, Fix, Freeze, Feast. The general concept is that of so-called power cooking - spend an hour or two prepping homemade packaged meals, and then daily dinner is a snap. The book's focus is on common food items from warehouse clubs, with most recipes generating 4 prepped entrees, each feeding 4-6 people. While I haven't tried any of the entrees yet (I'm working my way through what's in the freezer now to make some room), I did go ahead and make these cookies from the breakfast/dessert chapter.

Lavender is a hot herb right now, and these cookies are delightful. They're very girly, but Car Guy and his buddies seemed to like them when they were all over for car night last Friday. The recipe says that it makes 7 dozen, but I think I got about 8 1/2 dozen. Frozen while raw, they're then baked as needed. And I have to admit that the few I baked this morning for Car Guy's lunchbox came out a little better than those that I baked immediately after making the dough last week. I think they held their shape a little more when baked from frozen. That, or the butter I used was a little over-softened.

By the way, the pic is of the portioned dough balls before I froze them.

Pronto Pasta & Sausage Skillet

Another good recipe, but dangerous.

To save time, the pasta is cooked right in the sauce, with some water added. Easy-peasy! Until time to test the pasta. Car Guy doesn't like his pasta too al dente, so I do have to test it before I decide it's done. Usually that's not a problem. I grab a piece with a spoon or tongs and bite into it. Big problem with this particular batch.

It's made with penne, see. Penne is hollow. So it fills up with the cooking water. Water flows out easily when the pasta is taken from the pot. But this recipe calls for it to be cooked in the sauce. Sauce is more viscous than water, and doesn't flow out of the noodle as easily. See where this is going? I picked up a piece, raised it to my mouth, bit it, and the sauce squirted out and hit me on the nose. Hot, simmering tomato sauce. I now have a lovely burn on my nose, right between my nostrils. (I'll spare you the disturbing picture.)

Speedy Pork Fried Rice

Pretty good. It's basically the rice version of another recipe from the test kitchens of the company I represent. It would be good made with chicken, beef or seafood, if that's what one had on hand. But it needed a little something extra. Like a scrambled egg added to it during the last minute of cooking, like some Thai fried rice dishes. And I think I'll add a bunch of onions, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts next time I make it.

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