Showing posts with label bhg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bhg. Show all posts

15 January 2012

Scratch Silver Dollar Pancakes

As a child, pancakes were the first thing I learned to make. I wasn't actually allowed to cook them, of course, but I could be trusted to get out the Bisquick and follow the instructions on the back of the box. Even now, as an adult who is comfortable in her kitchen, I still turn to mixes when I want pancakes. Until today.

Today I woke up craving buttery, maple syrup-soaked silver dollars of deliciousness. But I had no pancake mix and couldn't be arsed to leave the house. What to do? With more than a little anxiety, I pulled out my trusty red-and-white Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book and made a batch of silver dollar "Buttermilk Pancakes." They were awesome. And easy. Too easy, maybe, for I can see myself making them every Sunday!

Silver Dollar Pancakes

I suspect some of my success was to do the quality of the ingredients I used -- King Arthur Organic All Purpose Flour, Butterworks Farm Organic Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, and Farmer's Cow eggs. Obviously, you can make these pancakes with whatever brands you prefer, but I am superstitious and am going make them exactly the same way next time.
Easy Silver Dollar Buttermilk Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup buttermilk

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, beat egg and whisk in buttermilk and oil. Dump egg mixture into flour mixture and whisk until just moistened, but still lumpy.

Heat a heavy non-stick skillet. Add a dab of butter and slide it around until melted. Pour about 1 tablespoon of batter onto the skillet (mine held 4 tablespoon-sized splodges) and cook over medium heat about 2 minutes until the pancakes were dry around the edges with bubbly surfaces. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until pancakes are golden brown.

Drizzle with melted butter and warm maple syrup. Eat!

Making Sunday Pancakes
Yep, thirty-five years old and only just now learning how to make pancakes from scratch.

10 January 2012

cookies and milk after lunch

I brought Better Homes and Gardens' Very Merry Cookies (Wiley, 2011) home from the library last week and told The Husband to pick out a couple cookie recipes he liked. Ten minutes (and one chapter) later, the book was studded with sticky notes. Among others, The Husband desired "White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies," "Mini Raspberry and White Chocolate Whoopie Pies," "Strawberry Cheesecake Tartlets," and "Raspberry Cookie Sandwiches." While they all looked delicious, I thought I should start with the simplest recipe -- the one for "White Chocolate and Raspberry Cookies."

Maybe it's because it's been a while since I ate a cookie, but these were really good cookies. And so easy to make! I will definitely be making them again -- perhaps next week? Or is that too soon?

Rasberry White Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients: white chocolate morsels, unsalted butter, sugar, baking soda, salt, all-purpose flour, seedless raspberry jam, shortening, red raspberry extract.

The recipe doesn't actually call for red raspberry extract, but I thought a cap full couldn't hurt (and it didn't). Also, the recipe says not to fill and decorate these cookies in advance but to wait until you were going to serve them. I don't know why it says that as I filled and decorated mine as soon as they had cooled and they kept fine for a week in snap/lock container. The trick seemed to be to poke little wells in the cookies' middles as they came out of the oven to hold the melty jam in. I didn't have this brilliant idea until my second cookie sheet came out of the oven, so some of my cookies didn't get wells and I didn't fill them with jam -- just drizzled the white chocolate over them and called them good enough. And they were.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies

Anyway, the wells keep the jam from running about and, once everything is properly cooled, the chocolate hardens up and there's no reason you can't store these cookies all filled and ready to go. They don't stick to each other. They don't ooze. They just sit in the container and say "Eat me! I'm delicious!"

05 May 2011

Cute, Fast Pasta

I made "Taco Spaghetti" from Better Homes & Garden's Fast Fix Family Favorites for supper on Wednesday as such a a grey, dreary day positively cried out for the comfort of pasta. The spaghetti was quite easy to prepare and very flavorful. The Husband also pronounced it cute and asked if I was going to take a photo of it before we ate -- as he never says such things, I can only presume he was as smitten with it as I.

"Taco Spaghetti"

I made a few changes to BHG's print recipe to healthify the dish and/or make it easier for me to prepare:
  • Whole grain linguine instead of "regular pasta"
  • Lean ground turkey instead of beef
  • Penzeys salt Free Arizona Dreaming instead of taco seasoning mix
  • Low-sodium chicken broth instead of water
  • Cabot's 50% reduced fat Pepper Jack instead of cheddar

The dish is pretty easy to prepare, anyway. Just cook broken (I snapped mine into thirds) noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside. Meanwhile, cook the meat and a diced onion until the meat is nicely browned. Stir in broth and seasoning, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes. Stir in pasta, corn, half the shredded cheese, salsa, and chilies.

At this point, you're supposed to transfer the spaghetti to a greased casserole and bake it at 350°F until everything is hot. And I did that this first time around, but I won't next time as it doesn't seem to do anything interesting and stirring everything around in the hot spaghetti pot will heat it through just as well.

I served the spaghetti topped with shredded cheese, bagged shredded lettuce, diced grape tomatoes, garlicky salsa, and sour cream. Again, it was delicious (and cute?!) and I expect to make it again soon.

21 October 2010

Presto Pesto Meatball Stew

Wednesday, I made slow cooker "Pesto Meatball Stew" from Better Homes and Gardens's Fast-Fix Family Food for supper as I knew we would be tired at the end of the day and craving something immediate. Unless supper was waiting, we would likely end up dining on pretzels and chocolate.

Ingredients: frozen meatballs, low-sodium stewed tomatoes, my Italian seasoning blend, low-sodium cannellini beans, refrigerated pesto, shredded Parmesan.

Overall, we liked this stew, I was a little disappointed by the meatballs. Commercially prepared frozen meatballs are never as good as homemade -- too smooth and spongy and never seasoned quite as I would like. However, for a lazy midweek meal, they did pretty well. I just don't think I'd feed them to company!

(I would recommend making this stew with bite-sized frozen meatballs rather than the larger dinner-sized meatballs as I found the larger ones overwhelmed the beans and tomatoes, but I could not find bite-sized ones at my grocer).

15 October 2010

Out of One Turkey, Many Meals

So, Monday I roasted the last freezer turkey and we had a little unThanksgiving feast with cornbread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, and braised green beans. It was all delicious, but made for a huge amount of leftovers.

What to do with all those leftovers?

Salad! And such yummy one at that -- mixed greens, red cabbage, red onion, cucumber, celery, red bell pepper, yellow pear tomatoes, chopped leftover roast turkey, goat cheese crumbles, walnuts, and blueberries all drizzled with fig balsamic vinaigrette. I ate this salad for three days running and did not tire of it.

Soup! A modified version of "Chicken Tortilla Soup" from Better Homes & Gardens's Quick-Fix Family Favorites topped with sour cream and diced avocado. Used leftover roast turkey instead of chicken, Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes instead of stewed Mexican seasoned ones, three tablespoons Penzeys Bold Taco seasoning, and a whole bag of sliced frozen mixed peppers.

I served this soup with tube biscuits I coated with shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar before baking and they came out pretty well. If I made them again, I'd sprinkle them with a little garlic powder and maybe brush them with a little butter ...

Pot Pie! Filling is made of diced leftover turkey, gravy thinned with low-sodium chicken broth, thyme, black pepper, leftover braised green beans, mushrooms, onion, celery, and garlic.

And, of course, manymany sandwiches!

Delicious as it all was, I don't think I want to see another turkey before 25 November!

07 October 2010

Fruity Crab Salad

This week, I've been eating the very tasty "Curried Crab Salad" from Better Homes and Gardens's 3 Steps to Easy Weightloss for lunch. I love fruit in salad -- especially melon and berries -- and do not understand people like my mother or The Husband who think fruity salads are just wrong.

Oh, well, more fruity salads for me!

Salad ingredients: cantaloupe, honey dew, strawberries, blueberries, surimi, celery, and mixed greens.

Dressing ingredients: light mayonnaise, low-fat milk, farmers' market goat's milk yoghurt, and Penzeys Maharajah Style Curry Powder (sweet, not hot).

29 September 2010

Pure Comfort

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
Sheila Graham

Monday's supper ended up being all about comfort food. While I had planned on serving "Baked Salmon & Vegetables" from Better Homes & Gardens's 3 Steps to Easy Weight Loss over parsley rice with salad, my plans went awry due to a lack of salmon and preponderance of gnarly-looking potatoes.

While it was obvious I needed to do something about the potatoes, I knew I would be too tired and achy after physical therapy to stand around peeling and mashing potatoes. But ... as soon as I decided against mashed potatoes, I developed a tremendous hankering for them!

So I made mashed potatoes in my slow cooker using's recipe for Crockpot Garlic Smashed Potatoes. I used regular white potatoes and, since I didn't have flavored cream cheese, used plain cream cheese and dried chives. I also substituted low-sodium chicken broth for the water.  The potatoes came out really well -- hot, creamy, buttery mashed potatoes with a nice, but not overly assertive, chiviness.

What goes with mashed potatoes? Dr. Praeger's fish fingers and ajvar! What goes with fish fingers?  Buttery, dilled carrots.

A far cry from salmon en papillote, but delicious nonetheless.

26 September 2010

Saucy Salmon

Of the four dishes I've made from Better Homes and Gardens's Big Book of 30-Minute Meals, I think it's safe to say "Tangy Thyme Fish" was the best of the lot and well worth repeating. I don't usually poach or sauce my salmon as I prefer to glaze and bake it, but this poaching method worked really well -- the fish was moist, flavorful, and perfectly cooked through.

It's an easy recipe -- poach salmon in a combination of low-sodium chicken broth, minced onion, fresh ground pepper pepper, and dried thyme. When the fish is just cooked through, move it to a hot plate, and make the surprisingly yummy simple sauce. Just reduce the poaching liquid by half, thicken with a water-cornstarch slurry, whisk in light ranch dressing and chopped parsley, pour over fish, eat.

It truly is a thirty-minute dish and I can see it becoming a weeknight regular.

24 September 2010

In Which I Rant A Little

"Easy Tuna Pasta" was the fourth recipe I made from Better Homes and Gardens's Big Book of 30-Minute Meals and probably the weakest of the bunch. While you, undeterred by my complaining, might try this dish out for yourself, I will never make it again.

Part of my unhappiness is driven by pure snobbery, I know. Many people are happy cooking with condensed cheddar cheese soup. Apparently, I am not one of those people. While I had never cooked with condensed cheddar cheese soup before, I have eaten many bowls of yummy cheddar and ale soup and so approached this new ingredient with some enthusiasm. I knew it wouldn't taste the same, but still looked forward to some modicum of cheesy goodness.

Well, there was not even an iota of cheesy goodness. Condensed cheddar cheese soup has a disturbingly long ingredients list, looks like orange colored pudding, and does not taste anything like cheddar.


Soup aside, I still cannot recommend this recipe. I presume most of the dish's flavor was supposed to come from the soup (??), but the soup doesn't really have much (any?) flavor so the whole thing was very bland. While I ended up tripling the amounts of dill, mustard powder, and black pepper called for in the recipe, it did not make much of a difference. Blandblandbland.

16 September 2010

A "Sort of" Supper

Sort of made "Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Over Tortellini" from Better Homes and Gardens's Big Book of 30-Minute Meals for supper Monday night. I say "sort of" because I found that, when prepared as directed, the sauce tasted very "meh" and I ended up doctoring the heck out of it.

Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

12-ounce jar roasted red sweet peppers, drained
½ cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1 cup heavy cream
½ shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup leftover diced cooked chicken breast
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Run roasted peppers through food processor until mostly smooth. Set aside. Heat oil in saute pan and add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender. Add peppers, thyme, oregano, and pepper. Cook until fragrant. Add cream and cheese. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened. Add in chicken and peas. Stir until heated through. Pour sauce over prepared pasta and toss to coat.
Pretty okay in the end, I think, but definitely less healthy than the original! (What wouldn't cream and cheese make better?)

13 January 2010

Pork Chops & Black Beans 3.0

This afternoon, The Husband (and one very naughty cat) finished off Sunday's pork roast. You know what that meant ... no leftover roast for stir-fry! Luckily, I had a pound of pork chops, a can of black beans, and some avocados on hand. I thought there was a recipe for chops and black beans in my old copy of The Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book and, sure enough, there was ... but it was not quite what I had in mind. Casting about on the internets, I found a recipe on the Celiac Family blog for "Pork Chops & Black Beans," which was based on the BHG recipe!

Kismet, I tell you.

I adapted the recipe a bit and ended up with ...

Chops w/ Black Beans & Avocado

Pork Chops & Black Beans 3.0

4 thick boneless pork chops, well trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Penzey's Bold Taco Seasoning
1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Green Mountain Gringo Roasted Garlic Salsa
½ cup minced cilantro
1 avocado, cubed

Sprinkle chops with taco seasoning and set aside. Heat oil in skillet. Add chops to skillet and cook until well browned (about 5 minutes each side). Add beans, salsa, cilantro to skillet. Cover and let simmer for about 8 minutes or until chops are no longer pink. Serve over rice and sprinkle with avocado.

This was sooo good. The cool creaminess of the avocado perfectly complemented the salsa's heat, the chops were tender and moist, and the beans and rice ... well, you can't go wrong with beans and rice!

18 December 2009

A Taste of Nostalgia: Fish Cakes

For Wednesday's supper, I made easy-peasy "Tuna-Potato Cakes" from Better Homes and Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith Books, 2008) with tiny peas and rice pilaf.

Comforting Tuna-Potato Cakes

These cakes took me straight back to my childhood -- my mother used to make salmon-potato cakes which I would eat drowned in ketchup with buttery parsley potatoes and peas. While I have my mother's recipe, I have never tried making them as removing the skin and bones from the canned salmon gives me a bad case of the ewwws.

Tuna, it turns out, works just fine. So, probably, would crab meat or minced clams. Mmm, clam cakes!

My experience with this recipe:
  • When I made these cakes, I did not have a twelve ounce can of tuna so I substituted two five ounce cans of solid white albacore low sodium tuna.
  • I also threw in some parsley flakes and used seasoned salt-free breadcrumbs.
  • Using a one-third cup measure to scoop out the cakes worked really well and I did, for once, end up with four servings (2 cakes each).
  • The trick to keeping them from falling apart when flipping was to not touch them at all as they cooked for four minutes per side. This way each side became beautifully brown and crispy and everything held together well (I learned this the hard way while making "instant" latkes last week).
I think, like the "Two-Step Crunchy Chicken Strips," these tuna-potato cakes are going to start making regular appearances at my supper table.

25 November 2009

Four Ingredient Cheesy-Crunchy Comfort Food

I must admit I included "Two-Step Crunchy Chicken Strips" from Better Homes & Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith, 2008) in this week's menu plan simply because the picture of the fish cracker-encrusted chicken strips in the cookbook was, quite frankly, freakin' adorabs. It also helps that The Husband likes fried chicken strips and this seemed like a (slightly) healthier option.

Cheddar Chicken Strips

This was an extremely easy week-night supper dish -- four ingredients and no more than thirty minutes labor! I did use chicken tenderloins, but in a pinch, it would have been just as easy to cut up a pound of boneless breasts. While I didn't own any fish-shaped crackers, 2½ cups crushed Kashi TLC Country Cheddar crackers worked just as well. I imagine many crackers would work well with this recipe -- Cheez-Its, Better Cheddars, Chicken in a Biskit, and Cheese Nips all come to mind. Mmm, didn't someone used to make a cracker that looked like a small rectangle of Swiss cheese?

If I had been thinking about aesthetics, I wouldn't have paired orange-colored carrots with orange-colored chicken, but I was thinking more of the wonderful comfort-food combination that is chicken-carrots-and-mashed potatoes.

The Husband really liked these chicken strips and wants me to make them again, so they will probably start turning up in my weekly menu every couple weeks or so. He was a little put out when he discovered the recipe had come form the "kid-friendly" portion of Quick-Fix Family Favorites, but a contented tummy seems to have triumphed over bruised ego!

18 October 2009

Chicken & White Bean Stew

"Chicken & White Bean Stew" (Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications Shortcut Holiday Cooking) with biscuits and salad.

Chicken & White Bean Stew

Ingredients: chicken, light Alfredo sauce, cannellini, low sodium chicken broth, red onion, chile peppers, garlic, Cabot mild cheddar, cumin.

This recipe calls for two pounds of chicken and one can of cannellini beans, but I used one pound of chicken and two cans of cannellini with perfectly tasty results.

Can't wait to make this again!

13 October 2009

Plus Pumpkin

Columbus Day, I made "Pumpkin-Bean Soup" (Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications Shortcut Holiday Cooking) and pumpkin-cornbread muffins to take to work for the rest of the week. The soup was very easy to make -- mix pumpkin puree, coconut milk, broth, cannellini beans, sage, salt and pepper together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Flavor-wise, it was definitely pumpkin-y with a nice hint of sage, but I will double the amount of beans next time as I thought the soup needed more texture. Happily, I had a brainstorm at work and started crumbling my pumpkin-cornbread muffins into each bowl -- thickened the soup up quite nicely and gave it an interesting flavor.

I'd suffered some confusion when baking the muffins -- was the pumpkin puree supposed to replace the egg and water in my corn bread mix or be added in with them? Thankfully, Denise on Nestle's Very Best Baking live chat was able to tell me that the pumpkin did indeed go in with not instead of the egg and water. My muffins baked up very high and fluffy with a strong pumpkin aroma.

Continuing with the pumpkin theme, I have also made Libby's "'Vegged-Out' Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup" and pumpkin-peanut butter spread (very good with baby carrots or on wheat toast with sliced banana). Again, I would add more beans to the soup next time. And, maybe, some corn.

01 August 2009

Bananapple Bread

Bananapple Bread

A beautiful bread modified from the recipe for "Banana Bread" from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book (Meredith Books, 1998).

Ingredients: organic bananas, organic unsweetened apple sauce, lemon zest, eggs, sugar, flour, canola oil, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda.

The original recipe did not call for apple sauce, but three bananas only made 1 cup of mash so I subbed in a ½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce to get the 1½ cups called for. Tasted banana-y ... would never have guessed the apples were there.

Taking half to my dad and the other half goes to work with a slice held back for me.

28 July 2009

Green Beans & Tomater Salad

Green Beans & Tomater Salad"Green Beans and Tomatoes" from Better Homes and Gardens Quick-Fix Family Favorites (Meredith Books, 2008).

Ingredients: Beans, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, light Italian dressing.

The recipe said to cook the green beans for 10-15 minutes or until crisp tender -- I did 10 and my beans were certainly tender, but far from crisp. 8 minutes next time, I think. The original recipe did not call for fresh basil, but I do have a bunch on hand so I added it in.

Would I make this again? You betcha! Next time I might even add some bocconcini and fresh minced garlic ...

21 July 2009

Chopped "Italian" Vegetable Salad

I'm just going to say this right off -- you must try "Italian Mozzarella Salad" from Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of 30-Minute Dinners (Meredith Books, 2006)!

Chopped "Italian" Vegetable Salad

Salad Ingredients: Black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), shallot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.

Vinaigrette Ingredients: Red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh basil, Dijon mustard, crushed red pepper, and garlic.

Diced veggies, mozzarella, and beans tossed in a tangy basil dressing -- what could be easier? Or more delicious?

I wouldn't make this recipe more than a day ahead of time and I'd certainly eat it within two, because the tomatoes start to get a bit squishy. Not that I'd expect this salad to last more than a day in my house, anyway, as it's so tasty I could eat the whole bowl in one go.

18 July 2009

Fast & Easy Rotini-Kielbasa Skillet

Rotini-Kielbasa Skillet

"Rotini-Kielbasa Skillet" from Better Homes & Gardens Every Meal Easy (Meredith Books, 2008).

Ingredients: pasta, kielbasa (from freezer), onion, zucchini, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes.

An easy and delicious thirty-minute meal which doesn't go weird if you double the amount of zucchini. Easily vegetarianized by substituting chunks of portobello mushroom for the kielbasa.

16 July 2009

Pork Chops with Colorful Vegetables & Rice

Pork Chops with Vegetables & Rice

"Peppered Pork Chops and Pilaf" from Better Homes and Gardens Every Meal Easy (Meredith Books, 2008) with tomato-cucumber salad.

Ingredients: boneless pork loin chops (from freezer), shiitake mushrooms (farmers market), bell pepper, jarred roast pepper strips, and red onion.

I had to fudge this recipe (a lot) because (among other things) I don't own any instant rice. I made "normal" rice in the slow cooker (using low-sodium chicken broth instead of water). When the rice was almost done, I started the chops.

Because I did not own any herb-pepper seasoning blend, I sprinkled the chops with McCormick Salt Free Garlic & Herb Seasoning. In a large skillet, I cooked the chops in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes per side. Then I set them aside to rest while I worked on the vegetables.

To the hot skillet, I added 6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, one diced orange bell pepper, one diced red onion, about half a cup of roast pepper strips, and two shots (seriously) of low-sodium chicken broth. I stirred the vegetables around over med-high until they were crisp-tender and the broth had evaporated.

(This recipe serves 4 and, while we two did eat only one chop apiece, we ate all the veg).