Cooking Reports

These are other recipes and things that I'm trying in the kitchen. If they turn out, or if they don't, I'm going to post about it. The things that work will likely get a full recipe writeup in the future.

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!