Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pot Roast

Tonight I decided to try out one of my Christmas Presents, a Rival Crock Pot. My old one was getting old for an appliance. My mother-in-law gave it to me, and it was a wedding gift from when she got married. This one is so nifty! You can take out the inner part and wash it, and it has a setting to keep your meal warm until you're ready to eat. I plan on using it a lot. Tonight I tried a beef underblade roast with a can of cream of mushroom soup, 4 cloves of garlic, some apple cider vinegar, and a few turkey stock cubes from the freezer. As I was trimming the roast, it occured to me that I would be making a huge meal! The beef was two and a half pounds, and I'm really not big on leftover pot roast. I thought about freezing whatever was left after cooking, but that idea didn't excite me either. Then, it occured to me in a flash: why not freeze half of the roast before cooking? And that's exactly what I did. Sitting in the freezer now is an uncooked roast that I can just stick in the Crock Pot on a day I don't know what to do for dinner.

It doesn't look too great now, but it will once it's cooked! On the side we had homemade beer bread, toasted and sprinkled with garlic salt, and some green beans.

The verdict
I'm glad we'll be having this meal again, because it sure was good! The vinegar made a good job of tenderizing the meat, and the soup made for a good base. I'd never tried making garlic bread out of beer bread, but it was tasty, too. This was a delicious, down-home type of meal. I give it 4 stars for taste and 2 and a half stars for health.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fox-Point Marinated Chicken with Mashed Potato and Cauliflower

I was feeling especially creative a few nights ago, so I decided to try a few new things. First, I made my first stab at using my newest Penzey's Spice, Fox Point Seasoning, as a marinade. I blended it with lemon juice, olive oil, and another new spice, Shallot Salt. Mike grilled the chicken, and I decided to be a bit more experimental for the other new dish. I read in a magazine about mashing cauliflower like you would mashed potatoes, so I decided to blend potatoes and cauliflower together, with some sour cream and cheddar cheese thrown in. For a vegetable, I decided to go with something safe - steamed broccoli!

The verdict
The Fox Point Seasoning made for a very good marinade. We did end up sprinkling more of the Shallot Salt on the chicken, though. In fact, it was so good, we ended up using it on the potatoes and broccoli, too! I'm glad I decided to add cheese to the potato/cauiflower mixture, it turned out very well. I think if I do this again I'll make sure to cook the cauliflower very well, because while I couldn't taste them, the texture was still there. Overall, I give this meal 4 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

Now for dessert! I bought the ingredients to make this cake for Mike's birthday, but I never had the chance to make it until now. It was so easy!! It's just lemon pudding on the bottom and yellow cake mix on top. It sure was good, though! We've been snacking on it since I made it, and it's good right out of the oven and chilled!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pork Tenderloin

Tonight I made one of our favorites, Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce. I didn't have any green onions, however, so I tried using dried onion. I never use the green part of the onion as a garnish anyway, as the original recipes calls for. Also, I never have cream in the house, so I used milk and just added a little extra butter for the sauce. I also made roasted red potatoes, tossed with olive oil, garlic powder, and some Vidalia Onion-Peach Hot Sauce we got from our vacation to Atlanta. In the middle (I got creative with my plating) I placed some steamed broccoli.

The verdict
I managed to get the sauce nice and thick, and it tasted the same to me. It was wonderful, as this recipe always is! Mike likes anything that puts the words "hot" and "sauce" together, so the potatoes were a hit as well. I think we would have enjoyed this meal no matter what it was, though, because we were just glad to get a home-cooked meal! Exams are over, yaaaay!!
I give this meal 4 stars for taste and health.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I haven't made much worth posting this week. That's what finals do to you! I did manage to try a new recipe that both of us really liked, Meat Loaf Wellington. The recipe came from Taste of Home Magazine, and looks complicated, but after I read the directions carefully, it was pretty simple. The bread around the meatloaf is from Crescent Roll dough. This meatloaf would be perfect for company! I also made a Waldorf Salad from chopped apples, raisins, and yogurt, and pulled some French-cut green beans from the freezer. Very tasty!!

Mike's birthday was on Friday, so for a special birthday breakfast I made him muffins. This is the most simple recipe in the world: a box of yellow cake mix, a can of fruit pie filling, and two eggs. Not exactly diet food, but hey, you're only 23 once! I tried blueberry pie filling, which made for some electric-blue colored muffins. If you use apple pie filling, they taste just like those Apple McMuffins they used to have at McDonald's. We went to Clermont Friday night, and my mom made shrimp, with fondue for dessert. Mike ate well for his birthday!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Goooooooooo Gators!

For the big game yesterday, I made cookies in the shape of our football players. They were a lot of work, but everyone loved them and I think they were worth it. In fact, I think my cookies were the sole reason the Gators are going to the National Championship. Yep. That's it.

A special cookie in honor of Carlton Medder, whom I went to high school with. He was the guy that cleared the way for Chris Leak to run into the endzone. Maybe my special Carlton cookie was the reason for that, too!

Tim Tebow's cookie, with an especially long neck. Look at his picture sometime and tell me that boy isn't a giraffe!

Disclaimer: if you're an Arkansas fan, this will definitely offend you.

And NOW for the stinkin' Arkansas players!
The toothpicks are supposed to be spears, and that was Mike's doing, not mine.

Friday, December 01, 2006

NY Strip Steak

After work today I went back to the Fresh Market to find something special for dinner. I walked out with several somethings! First, I wandered through the produce section. That's when I ran into something curious: purple......potatoes? Huh? I found a produce guy, because I had to know if they were purple on the inside. He cut one open to prove that they are, indeed, a vibrant purple on the inside. Well, who can resist the idea of purple mashed potatoes? Not me!! Then, over to the meat counter, where I picked up two New York strip steaks. I also stumbled across a bag of herbed yeast rolls that I couldn't resist. While I was in line, I realized I forgot to pick up a fresh vegetable, but when I got home I used up the last of the lettuce for a salad. The purple potatoes boiled and mashed beautifully; most of the skin seperated from the potatoes and they whipped up very quickly. Meanwhile, Mike grilled the steaks, and it was showtime!

The verdict
When I asked Mike what we should rate this meal, he asked, "Can you give a rating higher than five?" This meal...was....awesome! I was a little concerned about how the potatoes would taste, but they were yummy AND fun! Mike said the steak was the best he'd ever had. The rolls were really good, too. I wished I had more room for another one! I give this meal 5 stars for taste and 2 and a half stars for health.