Funfetti Day

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Despite spring allergies hitting me hard, I was able to go to the grocery store, where I noticed Funfetti Cake Mix on sale for 99¢. Being frugal, I picked up a couple to see what I could do with them.

I've had two recipes in my Pinterest account for quite some time. One is a recipe for Funfetti cookies I've tried before, the other a recipe for funfetti puppy chow that sounded interesting. Since the cookies have to chill for an hour, I had just enough time to make the puppy chow!

They both turned out pretty well. I was skeptical about the puppy chow at first, but I really like cake-flavored things (that aren't cake, for some reason), and these two things definitely fit the bill!

Funfetti puppy chow in a bowl Funfetti cookies on cooling racks

Rice Pilaf, Pork Chops, and Green Beans and Tomatoes

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The plan tonight was to make a risotto again. Then I forgot to buy the mushrooms. Unfortunately, I still had some beef stock to use up. So, as I had been perusing some coffee table books, I came across a recipe for rice pilaf.

Making pilaf is pretty simple: Melt some butter, sweat some onions, cook the rice a bit, then add the stock, boil, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. For improvisation, it turned out fantastic (and now that I think of it, Spanish Rice is very similar to Pilaf...)

The same cookbook had a recipe for green beans and tomatoes, which turned out pretty well, but I forgot the basil, which likely would've made it better.

All this was in accompaniment to some pork chops I picked up and pan-fried with some Lawry's.

Altogether it turned out terrific, but I need to keep working on my vegetable sides.

Pork chop, rice pilaf, and green beans and tomatoes on a plate

Mustard Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

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This is a good show of how much I've learned over the last 2 years:

  1. The chicken breasts were seasoned with Lawry's, pan-seared on a hot pan with a bit of oil for browning, and then finished in a 400° oven
  2. While the chicken finished in the oven, I prepared the risotto, mostly from this recipe from myrecipes.com (though I've learned from Emeril's recipe, and these risotto techniques from The Awl
  3. A cup of milk deglazed the pan, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 2 tbsp of dijon mustard, some salt, some pepper, and 1 tbsp of flour created a pan sauce

And one thing I haven't learned:

  1. Frozen broccoli looks kind of silly next to the rest of this...

Altogether I like the formula: One difficult or involved thing (risotto), one moderately-complex thing (the pan sauce), and the rest easy things (chicken and broccoli). I spent about an hour in the kitchen, and created something wonderful!

mustard chicken with mushroom risotto on a plate

Ham and Pepper Frittata

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I used to do prep at the pizza place, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to realize that chopped veggies can be stored overnight in a fridge and used the next day (or even, gasp, two or three days later).

It's easy:

  1. Buy an extra red pepper
  2. Chop it up with the rest of the red peppers from Chicken Paprikash
  3. Put the extra chopped peppers in a sealed container
  4. Add to eggs and breakfast potatoes

Red pepper and ham frittata with American cheese and breakfast potatoes with peppers

Where I used to think that a Denver Omelette (ham, onion, bell pepper) would be difficult to make for myself at home, now I realize that I can make them as long as I'm willing to have 3-4 of them during the week. Or I can make other things with the same ingredients, like add potatoes and make a hash, or add a pie crust and make a quiche, or sub the ham for some other meat and make tacos! Having pre-prepped veggies makes a lot of things easy!