A tale of two mustards

This week I tried to different recipes for marinades that included mustard.  Now I used to hate mustard!  There were times when I would refuse to even touch the bottle to put it way after a bbq in case some of it got on my hands.  But I’ve slowly been warming up to the honey and mustard combo and have therefore experimented a bit with honey mustard marinades.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

I once again fell prey to the reviews!  Instead of following the directions exactly I tweaked a few things according to what other cooks had done.  That included using the sauce as a marinade instead of a glaze (this was good!) and using dijon mustard instead of regular (bad idea!).  The taste of the dijon overpowered everything!  My husband and I did not enjoy it, but my son gobbled it up.  I probably won’t make this again for a while, even following the directions, because (as I think I’ve mentioned before) too much sugar (honey) makes my boy go crazy.

Balsamic Honey Tenderloin

This recipe calls for grainy mustard, which I’ve never heard of before.  So, with the earlier dijon experience still vivid in my memory, I used regular mustard instead.

This marinade was disappointing.  Both my husband and I found the flavour to be very weak and my son wasn’t interested in it either.

 

If you have any pork tenderloin recipes that you enjoy (especially freezer friendly ones) I’d love to hear from you!

 

Playing Catch Up

Sorry folks!  I’ve gotten seriously behind on my blogging.  I blame it on the exam I had this month… though to be honest I tried to do anything but study leading up to the exam and it’s now been two weeks since the exam.

Before this task of catching up gets even more overwhelming, here is the month in review:

Chicken Noodle Soup

This was really good!  Especially the next day.  I used leftovers from a rotisserie chicken, and only used chicken broth since I didn’t have any vegetable broth.  My son didn’t really like it, but he’s got some strange dislike for leftover meat and was not into the egg noodles at all!

Delicious Ground Beef Stroganoff

I have made this twice now.  The first time I didn’t have any egg noodles in the cupboard so substituted bowtie pasta.  The second time I used egg noodles and added a splash of Worcester sauce as suggested by a reviewer.  However, I forgot until we were half done dinner to add the sour cream.  The Worcester sauce was a good addition, and don’t forget the sour cream!

Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

After finding the stroganoff recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe I’ve decided to start using this website as my go to for new dinner recipes.  I was not disappointed with this stir fry.  My son loves Teriyaki and this was no exception.  Now it did take me more than 30 minutes to make, but hopefully the more I make it the quicker I’ll get.

Popping Sugar

Okay, so this one may be cheating a little bit…

For my birthday this month my husband and I went out to a fancy restaurant for lunch.  For dessert we ordered an amazing cheesecake.  To our surprise and delight, they had secretly sprinkled popping sugar (think Pop Rocks) on it.  It was so much fun to be surprised by a little popping celebration in our mouths.

Since I loved it so much I decided I needed to repeat the experience at my family birthday party.  I had thought to try to make it myself (if you google home made Pop Rocks you can find a recipe), but when I went to the bulk food store to get citric acid I noticed that I could simply buy generic popping sugar for a dollar more and save myself the hassle.

My little experiment wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped.  The cakes had been refrigerated and so were moist with condensation and the sugar popped prematurely.  But I feel that with the right cake this could be awesome.  I have a lot of sugar left, and if I don’t eat it all myself, I will try this again!

Healthier Strawberry Banana Muffins (minus the “healthier”)

LOVED these!  Will definitely make them again.  The only changes I made was to use regular yoghurt (I haven’t yet jumped on the Greek Yoghurt band wagon) and I likely used my son’s 3.25% milk.  

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

Well, can’t say that I followed this recipe faithfully… so unfortunately it didn’t taste great but I can’t blame it on the recipe.  I think I can blame it on the Dijon mustard.  Many of the reviewers said to use Dijon instead of regular mustard.  Now I don’t like mustard on its own.  So after trying the chicken I had my husband try just the Dijon and let me know if that was the strong flavour we were tasting.  He thinks it was.

I also didn’t follow the recipe’s methodology.  Again following the advice of reviewers,  I marinated the chicken in the sauce for about 30 minutes, then baked it as directed, flipping the chicken after 30 minutes.  It did bake quite well.

My son really enjoyed the chicken and ate an entire breast himself.  We were quite amazed.  But then that night he was a little wild, I think from the honey.  So all things considered, I’m not sure I’ll try this again.

 

 

 

Childhood memories

I can clearly remember a few occasions as a kid when, long after everyone else had finished supper, I was still stuck at the dinner table.  This usually happened when my Mom made something “strange”.  Once it was a meal that had tofu.  Another time is was a vegetarian burger that we dubbed “birdseed burgers”.  But on more than one occasion it was when my Mom made something with sweet potatoes!

And so I used to think that I didn’t like sweet potatoes.  However, it recently occurred to me that every time my Mom cooked with sweet potatoes it was a part of this dish that had orange juice in it.  I have now decided that I just don’t like meals made with orange juice and I am willing to try to gain an appreciation for the orange spud.

(I must also point out that I have been feeding my son sweet potatoes almost since he started eating solid foods, and I am starting to feel a little guilty about the fact that I make him eat foods that I won’t typically touch.)

This week I decided to try roasting sweet potatoes.  My son, who loves sweet potato, of course loved it.  My husband was apprehensive and didn’t give the recipe a rave review.  I thought it was okay, though a little too salty and perhaps a little overpowered by rosemary.  I think I will try roasting sweet potato again, but use a different combination of seasonings.

Continuing on the sweet potato train, I threw some sweet potato into the stew I made this weekend.  I got the idea from a friend’s stew that I had last month.  This was quite good.  There was so much other flavour that you actually didn’t notice them.  My husband gave the recipe tweak his approval, and I’ll likely do this again.

How do you like to eat sweet potato?

Bran

My doctor recommended giving my son more fibre in the form of bran.  After the appointment I diligently went to the grocery store and bought a box of All Bran Buds.

Three weeks later… I finally made some muffins.  I must admit that I was scared.  Bran has a bad rap and I was afraid of making a batch of really gross muffins that I was going to have to eat all by myself.

I made this recipe and was pleasantly surprised!  If anyone tells you that you need more bran in your life, this is a great place to start.  My son enjoyed them (not a surprise, he has yet to turn his nose up at a muffin), and so did I.  What’s more, they have a most pleasant aroma.  If you find yourself sitting in a car with someone eating one of these you’ll wish you had your own (this is from experience!)

Go ahead and make a batch.  You won’t be disappointed!

Something simple

It’s a good thing that I made a little something new at the beginning of the week this week, because after Tuesday the week was a bit of a write off in the kitchen.

I had wanted to make herb biscuits to go with the soup we were having for supper.  I ran out of time and ended up using Pillsbury crescents that I found in the fridge and using this recipe.

I will have to try this again.  They didn’t turn out as I’d hope, but I believe it’s because I used large crescents instead of the regular ones.  Since the large crescents are baked longer, they ended up over done.

If you have a recipe for herb biscuits from scratch, let me know!  I’d love to give it a try.

Meatloaf… not the singer

I went to school with a kid named Phil Collins.  Stories about him always included “… not the singer!”

All that to say that this week I was googling meatloaf.

I had the crazy idea that I could make a meatloaf with spinach.  I have a giant bag of Costco spinach to use up before it goes bad!  I found this recipe and made it with a few tweaks.  I like that it doesn’t use ketchup and Worcestershire sauce has been working its way into my heart.

I used 1lb of meat and halved all the other ingredients, except for the Italian dressing of which I used 2 Tbsp.  (I really don’t like cooking with salad dressing, which is why I rarely make a dinner recipe by Kraft.)  Also, I substituted oatmeal for the breadcrumbs.  I only have Panko breadcrumbs in the house right now and wasn’t sure how they would do in meatloaf.

I made 9 mini meatloaves using muffin tins and cooked them in the oven at 375ºF for about 23 minutes.

These were really good!  If you are a saucy kind of person, you will likely feel like it needs some sort of sauce.  Perhaps a bbq sauce would go well?  I was thinking that these would make for a good burger.  Though they didn’t hold together very well, so a little more experimenting would be necessary first.

Also, it might be interesting to replace the parmesan cheese with cheddar for a different flavour.

 

Country cooking and a little more experimenting

Country cooking –

This week I stumbled upon the Pioneer Woman’s list of 16-minute meals.  Ever since having a friend’s version of the Pioneer Woman’s smashed potatoes I’ve been meaning to test out more of her recipes.  I can’t remember why I was searching around her site this week, but boy did I strike gold.  You will likely see me testing out a number of these quick meals.

Bowtie Lasagne:

This was well received.  It was easy to make, as promised, and made a ton!  We had lots of leftovers which were perfect for lunch.  I will use it again as a replacement for spaghetti.  Although the recipe has exact measurements to follow, I found myself just eye-balling amounts.  The only mistake I made was adding too much Italian seasoning.  The recipe calls for 1 tsp.  I added that much then tasted the sauce.  Initially it seemed like there wasn’t enough flavour so I added another 1/2 tsp.  In the end it was too much.

My son, who loved it fresh the first night, for some strange reason didn’t want to eat the leftovers.  Not sure if it was a texture thing or a flavour thing, or if it was related to whatever was causing him to be strange in general this week.

A little more experimenting –

I had my heart set on making a quiche this week.  My husband and I had convinced his mom to babysit for us… on her birthday.  (She didn’t need too much convincing!)  Because she’d be babysitting over dinner, I wanted to make her and my son a special meal.

My mom has a recipe book from the 70’s that has a number of great recipes that I use (Gourmet on the Go Cookbook).  I have made the quiche recipe a number of times.  Friday afternoon when I was ready to start cooking I called up my mom to get the recipe from her.  No one was home.  Shoot!

I tried to find a recipe online that was similar to what I could remember about the recipe.  Really, all I could remember was that the recipe called for nutmeg… I think… I couldn’t find anything and in the end had to make something up as I was running out of time.

Here is what I did:

– I baked an empty pie shell as directed on the Tenderflake box, so that the crust would not get soggy

– I sautéed several handfuls of chopped spinach, then briefly added 1/3 cup of sweet onion and half of a chopped red pepper to soften them

– for the filling, I combined 4 eggs with 1 cup of milk (actually I was a little short on milk, so I topped up about 3/4 cups of milk with half and half cream… don’t tell anyone!🙂, and added 1/2 tsp nutmeg, pepper and salt

– I put the veggies in the pie shell, topped it with about 1/2 cup of grated marble cheddar cheese, then poured the egg mixture over top

–  I baked the quiche at 375°F for about 45 minutes

It was great!  My son loved it and my mother-in-law wondered where I had bought it.  I’ll be making this again!