Monday, January 31, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Cobbler

I love Rasberries.

I enjoy cake.

I've discovered I quite enjoy the sinful guilt of streusel.

Combine all three of these together & you get what we had for dessert tonight.

Tonight, I made a Rasberry Cobbler with a streusel topping.  I discovered this cobbler recipe a couple of months ago on the Pioneer Woman's website & have made it a couple of times since {blackberry & blueberry}.  My Dad had a bag of Raspberries at his house that needed to be used, and he wanted cobbler as well, so I was happy to oblige.

When making up the cobbler, my husband asked, "Are you going to put streusel on top??" {he quite enjoyed the crumb cake on saturday}.  I said sure.

 Well, as you can tell from the picture, the streusel kind-of sunk into the cobbler; but no was still delicious!!!  The top was still crispy, so I was happy.
Oh delicious made me run for an hour tonight....but it was well worth it!

If you would like the cobbler recipe, go here:

And the great thing about it, is that you can add whatever fruit you want.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Carrot & Squash Soup

Yep.  Two cooking challenges today.  I didn't get a lot of sleep the other night, so I was dragging yesterday.  I was going to do a leftover night tonight, but switched that to last night-I was just in no mood to cook.  My comfy couch had most of my attention yesterday.

Anyway, it's interesting that I wanted to try this soup.  I'm not a big fan of squash, but I'm discovering that the little squash are kinda like zucchini which I like when cooked.  I think that the thing that struck out at me the most was the curry.  After making curry chicken, I was interested in making this soup.  Plus, everything is pureed, so you don't really know what's in the soup.

 This was a very easy soup to make.  It tasted so yummy in my tummy.  I liked how I could take a bite, savor, then get the kick of curry at the end.  I didn't really taste the carrots or squash or onions for that matter, but I figured they just provided a healthy base for the curry.

My husband said that he would like to try this with some chicken & egg noodles; I liked it just the way it was.

If you would like to try this recipe, go here:


Cooking Challenge- PW's Blueberry Crumb Cake

I really like Blueberries & I really like Blueberry muffins.  So it only seemed fit that when I saw this recipe online, that I needed to make it for breakfast.  I usually set aside Saturday mornings as a day that I'll bake breakfast.

The recipe was really simple to make.  Of course, {as I always do with fresh blueberries}I mixed the blueberries a little bit too much & it turned the batter sort of blue.....oh well, my kids enjoyed the color aspect.  I did something a little bit different when it came to the streusel .  I decided to put my kitchen aid mixer to work.  I know you can use a pastry blender {which I do have, just don't use as much} and I usually just use my food processor, but I cleaned out the batter bowl & threw in all the streusel ingredients.  Using the paddle attachment, I mixed the flour, butter, sugar & cinnamon until I had a good consistency.  It worked well-one less dish to wash.

I've made struesel muffins before, but the topping always came off.  This cake was very delicous & everything stayed put.

 It was well worth the 45 minutes I had to wait for it to bake.
I think throughout the day, I had 3-4 servings of this "Blueberry Muffin Cake" {what my kids called it}.  I'm glad that I'll be able to eat some for breakfast tomorrow.

If you would like to try out this recipe, here's the link:



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Comfort Meatballs

Mini-balls of meatloaf....That's what we called tonights dinner.

I decided to be brave & make meatballs; I mean, the recipe looked so simple & sounded so good.  I usually just buy a bag of the frozen stuff whenever I want to add it to our pasta dinners, so this was a step for me.

Now, I looked at the cookbook {found here} and followed the instructions {I even weighed my meat}.  I thought that the meat mixture was a little wet & at the time, thought that that was how it was suppose to be.  Then I found the recipe online, and the online version has many more pictures than the book does.  Online, the mixture seemed a little bit dryer, so the next time that I make these, I'll watch out for that.

So, I've decided that I just don't like the smell of frying/browning food.  I know that it's good for the meat, and it gives the food nice color, but I just don't like the smell of it.
 All these meatballs were able to feed my family, plus some for my husband to take to work tonight.
 Now, in the cookbook these meatballs are called "Comfort Meatballs", but online they're called "BBQ Meatballs".  It makes sense since the sauce is basically a homemade BBQ sauce w/ the ketchup & vinegar.
 I rounded out our meal with some smooth mashed potatoes & corn.
 Everything was very delicious; my son even asked for seconds.
If you would like this recipe you can either go here:

and turn to page 172
Find it online here.



Cooking Challenge- PW's Roasted Corn Salad

With a later indoor soccer game & being tired afterwords, I wasn't able to post what scrumptious thing we ate last night.  I thought I would write it up now as another scrumptious dinner is cooking in the oven.

After later finding the recipes online for previous posts, I'ved looked hard to find the recipe online; but it's not there.  So you'll have to go here:
and turn to page twenty-six.

When I saw this recipe, I really wanted to try it out; and pairing it with some grilled chicken would have made a great dinner.  Everything was so simple to prepare.  With it being the dead of winter though {and cobs of fresh corn not to be found} I opted to go with some frozen corn that I really enjoy.  Grilling everything from the chicken to the veggies gave the meal such yummy flavoring.

For the chicken, I decided to sprinkle it with some EVOO & Cajun spices.  I pounded out the chicken breasts to even them out so that grilling them wouldn't take forever.  The chicken turned out very moist; just the way I like it.
All the veggies were delicious!  The salad used a balsamic vinegar-olive oil dressing.  My husband's not a big fan of balsamic vinegar, so this wasn't the "best thing" to him; I however enjoyed it-it had that little bit of something-something.
I only used half the dressing though; and I don't know if it was because I had to guess on the frozen corn {because the recipe called for 8 ears of corn}.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Simple Chili & Skillet Cornbread

Ahhh, tonight's recipes worked out perfect for what we experienced today...snow.  Nothing like having a hot bowl of something to warm the insides.

Yes.  I live in Utah and I was shocked to see it snowing & subsequently drop 3-4 inches.  The weatherman did not warn me of such happenings.  Luckily, I didn't have to worry about the shoveling of the snow-thank you hunny.

Anyway, both of these recipes I scooped up out of the cookbook,

{found here}
Originally, I was going to make my own cornbread, but then I was looking at the recipe in the book & thought that I would give it a try.  I've never thought about using buttermilk when it comes cornbread; in fact, I don't really think about using buttermilk at all; unless it's biscuits.

My husband & I had a discussion on Chili.  We both know that there are different versions of Chili, depending on what part of the country you live in.  The cookbooks version of Chili is a meat Chili w/ no beans; I've always thought/enjoyed Chili w/beans & meat.  Luckily, the recipe had optional ingredients, so beans got to enter the equation.

One cooking technique that I really liked was using the masa flour {with some water mixed in} as a thickening agent for the Chili.  Along with the spices, everything blended so well.

I declined to add the jalapeno {even though I bought one for this meal}, mainly for the kids.  I decided to give their tongues a break for the night.

All in all, I really liked the Chili recipe....I think I'll keep it in my arsenal.
Now, the chili recipe is in the book, but the cornbread recipe can be found here.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Flat Apple Pie

Mondays nights I don't have to worry about dinner.

I actually don't have to worry about dinner Sunday & Monday nights; although I still help out in the prep of the meals, I don't have to plan the meals.

With this cooking challenge though, I knew I could throw in a dessert to go along with dinner tonight at my parents house.  The recipe that popped out at me was the Flat Apple Pie.  Simple ingredients, simple prep work, simple baking.

I'll have to admit, I was never a pie person growing up.  I would always avoid the crust & eat my pumpkin filling instead.  I never ventured out of the pumpkin pie realm either for that matter.  Now that I've grown up, my taste buds have changed, and when I contribute to the making of the pie, I like it so much better.  Something about knowing what goes into the end product.

I found the recipe in the cookbook again.
I really am enjoying this cookbook.  I like the detailed instructions & the pictures.

I kinda strayed though; instead of making my own crust, I kept it simple and pulled out one of Pillsbury Ready-Made Crusts {mainly because my kitchen was already a mess & I didn't want to contribute any more mess}.  I think this recipe is such a universal recipe: apples, sugar, flour......pretty simple right.  Simple but so delicious ;)

It was so easy to just lay out the crust, dump the apples, and then fold up the outer edges; no shrinkage!  I only made half the recipe, but I wanted to make sure that there were enough apples.  So instead of 2.5 apples, I put in four; and I'm so glad I did.
 Oh yummyness!!!!  I was so glad that I didn't have to tent the pie, or cover the edges to make sure that the crust didn't burn; everything bakes so well.
 I'm so glad that my Mom had some cool-whip in the fridge, it made it that much better to eat.
I had two servings.  Two Servings!!!  I tried to hold out after the first, but my tummy was craving it.  I justified the second slice saying "it's lots of apples, and only a 1/2 cup of sugar, plus the little bit of crust".  That's somewhat healthy right???  Yeah, yeah, probably not ;)

I hope you try your hand at making an apple pie; I think I might have to make another one tomorrow ;)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Orange Marmalade Muffins

Nothing like fresh homemade muffins on a Saturday morning.

Today's cooking adventure: Orange Marmalade Muffins.
{found here}
I picked this particular recipe because of the Oranges.  It just sounded good at the time.  These muffins came out so moist, sweet & delicious.  I've made scatch muffins in the past, but they've never had that sweet quality that I enjoy from the box mixes.  I've been eating these beauties all day.
 The brown sugar-orange glaze was a nice extra; my son thought I poured honey over the top.
The only downside, I didn't think the orange came out as much as I wanted.  I'm thinking maybe some orange extract would take care of that.
My kids loved licking the bowl......I think they enjoyed the batter more than the muffins. 

What a way to start the morning!

Again, this recipe came from this cookbook; I looked online to see if it happened to be posted there, but it wasn't.
I found the recipe {I guess I really need to search her website}!!  Go here to get it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Spicy Pulled Pork

Tonight's recipe came from this beautiful cookbook.
As I was flipping through the pages, this recipe jumped out to me.  My husband has been wanting me to cook more pork, so I figured this pulled pork recipe would satisfy his cravings.

Let me tell ya.....I had to search the meat isle for a pork shoulder.  Sure, I could get a pork leg {lots of those}, but the lonely pork shoulders were hiding behind everyone else.  But I found one {well,}.

Pulling everything together was pretty easy.  I added all the ingredients into my food processor, and slathered that sucker up.  I placed the meat into my dutch oven, poured the rest of the marinade & the water, and stuck my blue pot into the oven to let it cook slowly over the next 7 hours.

Five hours later, my shoulder was done.  The house smelled delicious {thanks to the spices} & I had dinner ready to go.  I had to use a spoon & tongs to get all those velvety pieces of pork out of the pot.  In the cookbook, the instructions had said to turn the meat over every hour; I was able to do twice because after that, the meat started falling apart.  I pried the fat away, and started shredding away.  This is what I got:
 Oh so good.  The only wasn't spicy.  Nope, we didn't get a spicy pulled pork, we got a sweet pulled pork.  Now looking back at the recipe, none of the ingredients jump out as "spicy".  Either way, it was yummy.

My son came home from school, took one whiff, and asked for some as his snack.  That's my boy!  We served these beauties with some warmed corn tortillas & lime juice.  My kids had fun squeezing the limes over top.  Oh yes, my husband also devoured these with cilantro {I'm not a big fan}.

I thought that we would have leftovers for at least another meal, but that turned out to be not the case; we've got leftovers, but maybe for just one person.  We all very much enjoyed the simplicity of this dinner.
 The meal was so simple, it gave my daughter the idea that she could "chill" while eating.
 I thought it was funny how she was lounging throughout the entire meal.  And as you can tell, one of my sons was trying to show off to the
So the consensus...I will be buying more pork shoulders in the future.

The recipe can be found in the Pioneer Women Cooks cookbook; I checked to see if she had posted it online {because she has with some recipes}but it is not there. 

I found the recipe online.  Yay!  Go here to get it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cooking Challenge- PW's Cajun Chicken Pasta

So today marked my new culinary adventure.  I've hit a sort of a creative block when it was coming to making meals for my family.  I had fallen out of habit of planning meals {I usually planned two weeks at a time}and was anxious to get back to it.  It's alot easier to do something when you're organized about it.

That's when I decided to do sort of a theme for the next two weeks.  I would pick one thing & run for it.  I did something like this over the summer when my garden of 1 zucchini plant was spewing out produce like there was no tomorrow.  We had two weeks of meals were zucchini was in something.  It was kinda fun.

I've been reading the Pioneer Women's blog, and decided that her recipes would be my theme for my adventure.  My mother-in-law had her cookbook {which I borrowed}; so I picked recipes from that & then went online and picked up some more.

Tonight's recipe:  Cajun Chicken Pasta.  I liked the sound of the spices and all the vegetables that were to be used in the recipe.
 The dinner was easy enough to make.  I loved the smell of the peppers & onions cooking.  I decided to cook up some penne pasta, instead of a just makes it easier to eat for the kiddos.
 My only sauce never thickened up.  It was kinda like soupy pasta.  And as my husband reminded me-after he had looked at the recipe-there was no thickening agent.  When I make this again, I would probably throw the Cajun spices in with some flour, so that when I cook the chicken up, the flour stays in the pan; then when I deglaze, the flour works to make a roux.
 Either way, dinner was delicious.  Delicious enough that my daughter scarfed down at least five bowls of this stuff.  She inhaled the food...I swear.  I couldn't help but go get her more when she would push her bowl towards me and sign "more".

Again, I tried to work on my photog skills; but alas, my lighting is lousy.

If you would like to get this recipe & try it out for yourself, go here to get it:
{sorry the linking tool wasn't working}