Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bun Bliss

My first burger bun making experience turned bad when my boxer Chino ate all but two of them at the very end of their second rise. I was quite angry for quite awhile, but yesterday I decided it was time to give it another go. Oh Em Geezy. I would like to say I'll never buy packaged buns again, but I'm lazy so I probably will. I will say that I will try my darnedest to home make my buns any time we have burgers in the future. These were amazing. I mean that. Truly rewarding. I found this recipe at Annie's Eats and adapted it slightly, as I only had brown sugar on hand. I know it sounds weird, but they were still absolutely perfect. I was too busy making googly eyes at my buns and then eating my buns to take a picture of the final burger. We mixed some ground beef with A-1 sauce and chopped fresh jalapenos. I sauteed some additionally sliced jalapenos and onions to put on mine. Anyway, here's the bun recipe. And a few really bad pictures of some really good buns.

Light Brioche Burger Buns
recipe from Annie's Eats

3 Tbs warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp instant yeast ( I used one packet, that's the only way they sell it here)
2.5 Tbs sugar (I used brown)
1.5 tsp salt
1 egg
3 cup bread flour
1/3 cup AP flour
2.5 Tbs butter, softened

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water for egg wash

In a large bowl combine your liquids, yeast, sugar, salt and egg. Add the flours, mixing to incorporate. Mix in the butter and knead for at least 5 minutes. The dough will be a little tacky. That's okay. Form the dough into a ball then place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Place in a warm area and allow to rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and gently roll into balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and allow to rise for another hour, again until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meat. Cheese. Carbs.

I know I'm always talking about what a picky eater Billy is, but thats only because...well...he's a very picky eater. Meat, cheese, carbs, very few vegetables...that kinda stuff. So since my ingredient choices are somewhat limited, I like to try and find new ways to combine old flavors. Like boring old spaghetti and meat sauce. Or Lasagna. Instead, I made this:

Cheesy Meaty Baked Penne
recipe adapted from Cook Like a Champion

8 oz Penne Rigate or similar sized pasta
1 Tbs Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb Ground Chuck
1 tsp (heaping) Italian Seasoning
1 large can Tomato Sauce (28oz I think)
1 egg
1 cup Ricotta
3/4 cup Grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded Colby Jack (or any cheese you like)

Preheat the oven to 450. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is boiling mix the egg, ricotta, 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese in a bowl. Season this mixture with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic and stir around for a minute. Add the ground chuck and brown. Salt and pepper meat and add Italian Seasoning. When meat is cooked through, add tomato sauce and stir. Bring to a simmer and let it go for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half of your meat sauce to the bottom on a 9 inch square baking dish. Add the pasta on top of this in a fairly even layer. Spread the cheese mixture on top of the pasta, then layer on the rest of the meat sauce. Sprinkle the remainder of the parmesan and shredded cheese evenly over the top and bake for about 20 minutes, until melty and bubbly.

Serve it with some of these garlic knots and you've got a carb-o-licious supper!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple Supper Success

Other than spaghetti or soup, I don't really attempt many one pot dinners.

..And now that I think about it, spaghetti isn't really a one pot dinner. Sorry. That was dumb.

Anyway, I was looking through the recipe index over at elly says opa! and found this little one pot recipe. I thought it looked great and like something Billy would actually eat AND it is a Rick Bayless recipe (I've been wanting to try some of his stuff). I was not disappointed and I do believe I will be purchasing Mexican Everyday within the next week or so.

Now the recipe called for ancho chile powder, but i couldn't find any. I did find some ground chile de arbol, which is quite a bit spicier, but that is okay because mommy likes it spicy!

Red Chile Chicken with Rice and Black Beans
Recipe adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless and elly says opa!

2 Tbs canola oil
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp(heaping) ground chile de arbol
1 onion, diced
1 cup rice
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
sour cream, for garnish

Heat the oil in a medium/large saucepan over medium heat. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Stir together the chili powders and sprinkle over the chicken. Sear the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side in two batches if necessary. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and rice and saute for 3 minutes or so, add the garlic and remaining chili powder and cook for another minute. Add the chicken broth, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts into 1 inch chunks. When 10 minutes is up, add chicken and beans. Cover and cook another 12 minutes. Fold in chopped cilantro. Test a grain of rice, and if it is still at all chalky, cover and let it sit over low heat for 2 or 3 more minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with sour cream and cilantro sprigs.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cookies for Me

Yesterday I made some cookies that Billy wasn't crazy about. At first I was all feelings about it, but then I realized that meant more for me, so I got over it real fast. He decided to tell me AFTER our 20 minute discussion on WHICH peanut butter cookie to make, AFTER the measuring and mixing of the ingredients, and AFTER the final batch was baked and he finally tasted one, that he guesses peanut butter cookies never really have been his favorite. I gave him the big, mad, googly eyes for a second and then said,"Really??!!? Because I f-ing love 'em." And then I ate two more.

I like the chocolate in this cookie. Just a hint. This is a very simple cookie, where peanut butter is still the star. The batter was a little sticky to spoon onto the baking sheets right after mixing, so I stuck it in the fridge for an hour.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go have some cookies with my coffee.

Peanut Butter-Cocoa Cookies

1 cup AP Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
1(scant)tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 cup Peanut Butter

In a bowl, sift or whisk the dry (first four) ingredients together. In a separate (larger) bowl, or in your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until nice and fluffy. Mix in the egg, then the vanilla, then the peanut butter. Make it all smooth. Add the flour mixture half at a time. Chill the dough for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 350. Make tablespoon sized balls of the dough and place them an inch or two apart on a cookie sheet (use parchment if you like, but my sheets were ungreased and worked fine). Use a fork to smoosh 'em down a little and make 'em look like a peanut butter cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes. I found 14 minutes to be perfect for my oven. I got about 2 1/2 dozen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This Week

The snow really messed me up last week. Bad. The town completely shut down. Even Wal-Mart, dude. I didn't even know that was legal. Anyway, had the town not completely shut down, I still wouldn't have been able to drive my car more than a few feet. I ran out of MEAT, paper towels, baby wipes, tampons, and almost toilet paper. Just keepin' it real here. I am ashamed to say, once Billy even had to eat Ramen noodles. He loved it, I'm sure. We're supposed to get several more inches of snow pooped on us today and tonight and this time i am prepared.

I took a much needed getaway to the big city of Tulsa yesterday with the kid, the dad, and the Billy. Travel trailer living can really get you down. Especially when there's a blizzard outside and no way out. The 65 mile trip took an hour and a half with the icy highways and such, and it seems my dad has lost the ability to drive like a sane person, but we made it and I was able to purchase three more pieces for my Le Creuset collection (at half price. i love you, tjmaxx). Billy also requested 'some of that fish'. My mom and I purchased and prepared some sea bass from the only place with good seafood in the Midwest several weeks ago. I jumped on the opportunity to make something other than fried shrimp and catfish (the only other seafood billy is interested in).

Anyway, here's the plan..

Tonight- Pan-Roasted Sea Bass with Orzo and Spinach (not very Super Bowl-like, I know.)
Monday- PW's Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika
Tuesday- Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders
Wednesday- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Thursday-  Super Simple Shredded Chicken Tacos
Friday- Garlic and Lemon Pan-Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

..very chickeny, I know.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Things and Bad Weather

I kind of strayed away from my scheduled menu last week, and I can't even blame it on my sister or her baby, because she didn't go into labor until Saturday..

Oh yeah, I have a new niece. See.

Please don't mind my lack of makeup and greasy hair. Don't mind it I said!

This week I haven't even thought about a menu and I still can't blame it on the baby because she is way way WAY TOO CUTE for anything to be her fault. Ever. Let's get mushy for a minute..

I was one of like five people permitted to be present for the delivery of my niece, Sophie. (two were midwives, one was my sister, and one was her husband.) I was excited and anxious and all of those things you feel when yourself or someone close to you is about to have a baby. I knew it would be amazing and cry-worthy and all of that. But never (ever) did I expect to feel the way I did when it was all said and done.

I guess you could say I was astonished, or in awe. I was in awe of the skilled and practiced hands of the midwives, yes. In awe of Sophie's beauty the first time I saw her little face, well duh. But mostly, in awe of the strength and perseverance of my sister. I came back home after experiencing the laboring of my sister and the birth of my niece with more respect and adoration for Amanda than I have ever felt in my life. Which is saying a lot. A whole lot. *tear*

Sooooooo, anyway.. Apparently there's a blizzard going on outside. I went to pick up a few groceries last night and the store was WIPED OUT. I left with a gallon of milk(one of four left on the shelf) and a box of cereal. Earlier today I really felt like baking up some fluffy, steamy, delicious dinner rolls only to find that I am fresh out of yeast, so I mixed up a batch of Rebekah's flour tortillas, substituting butter for the shortening. This is something I've never done before, but I was very pleased with the outcome. Very soft tortillas! Mommy likes soft tortillas. I feel like dipping them in something, so I'll probably make a pot of chili tonight (hopefully I can scrounge together the ingredients from my freezer and pantry).