Author Archives: Angela

About Angela

I'm a wife, a mother, a dancer, a singer, and a non-union wench. I have a tendency to state my opinion.

Tomato Soup

It’s Easter Sunday. We are done with the lunch and egg hunt that we attend every year at the Thomas Hub (which is what I think I will call our Aunt Judy’s house from now on).  Naturally stuffed on ham and other goodies, and completely exhausted from the day’s activities, we got home and wondered what we would do about dinner.  We wanted something simple and not too filling, mostly something to keep us from going to bed hungry.  So Aaron and I decided that grilled cheese sandwiches were the easiest answer.

We almost always have tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches.  I didn’t understand this when I met my husband, but I certainly do now.  In fact, that’s just about the only time I eat tomato soup.  Sadly, we didn’t have any in the house (we usually get Campbell’s Select Harvest) but we did have a can of tomato paste.  So I decided it was time to experiment.

I used one can (six ounces) of tomato paste.  I added two tablespoons of butter, a teaspoon or two of both garlic and onion powder, and some basil paste I had in the fridge that I need to use up.  Now, if you were being a good little cook and not lazy like I am, you would saute one or two cloves of garlic with somewhere between a quarter and a half of a small onion.  When the onions were soft you would then add the tomato paste.  You would also use fresh basil chopped finely, and not paste out of a tube like I used.  But like I said, I’m a lazy cook.  I then added a few shakes of the Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.  When everything was mixed well I added three cups of milk and kept it on medium high until it just started to boil.  At that point I turned the heat down just a touch and let it simmer for a bit, maybe another ten minutes.  Be sure to check and taste it from time to time to make sure you don’t need to add any salt, pepper, or other seasonings.

The kids dipped their sandwiches in it without too much argument.  I enjoyed it.  Aaron declared that we were never going to buy soup in a can again.  I guess that means he liked it.

Advertisements

Easter Cookies

It’s time to stuff baskets with goodies, and I wanted to treat my kids with something a little more special than the standard store bought stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I bought candy, but that’s not all that’s in their baskets.

I went looking for a sugar cookie recipe (so I could make shapes, obviously) and went to my usual go-to resource for All Things Food.  When I did a search for sugar cookies on The Pioneer Woman’s blog, This Recipe   popped up.  The fact that they were decorated with a glaze instead of being covered in frosting appealed to me.  So, using the only spring themed cookie cutter that I own (a flower, which can also double as a snow flake) I baked a batch of lovely easter cookies.

I used blue and yellow for the glaze, mostly because those were the only colors I found in the pantry that were not green (Who said I was good at planning?)  I also did not have shortening, so I used butter.  Shortening would have probably made them a touch softer, but they are a rather pleasant texture with butter.  And I didn’t use the egg whites in the frosting.  If I were serving them today, or only eating them myself, I might have.  But the Idea of using raw egg on cookies that aren’t going to be eaten until Sunday made me feel icky.  A note on the frosting – if you’re going to forgo the egg white (I have no idea how it alters the frosting) be sure to let the frosting begin to set up just a bit.  I made mine a tiny bit too runny, and some of the flowers look like they are… um… pollenating vigorously.

But otherwise, aren’t they pretty?

Have a lovely week, whatever you celebrate.

-Angela


Warm Pudding

I was in a bad mood yesterday.  I wanted chocolate, and thought that I wanted to bake, but decided against it for laziness reasons.  So, for kicks, I pulled out my pudding recipe and added cocoa to it.

First, the basic vanilla version…

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups milk, divided

Pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions

Place 2 cups milk and salt in a saucepan. Sprinkle sugar on milk.  Let them sit for a minute without stirring for at least a few minutes; heat over medium-high. Quickly combine cornstarch with remaining milk; add egg yolks and mix well. When milk comes to a full boil, remove saucepan from the heat and stir in cornstarch mixture (I always temper the egg/cornstarch mixture first).  Return to the heat and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into individual dishes. Serve warm.

Now I took this recipe and added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder to the egg mixture.  It was tasty, but extremely rich.  I would recommend starting with 1/4 cup of cocoa for a less intense flavor.

Also note, this recipe is meant to be served warm.  If you chill  it before eating, it will start to get a bit gloopy.  It still tastes wonderful, it’s just not as smooth and pretty as it is when it’s warm.

I would have taken a picture, but I devoured all of it before I thought about it.




Palak Paneer (sort of)

There is a dish that I would love to learn how to make properly.  It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re getting closer!  Tonight I made lentils and rice (rice cooker, one cup lentils, one cup rice, some turmeric, salt, and if you like, a little ground cumin) and the desire struck me to have something green and vegetable like on the table.  I went and looked up various recipes for Palak Paneer, and sort of winged it.

I have always been under the impression that this dish required yogurt, but none of the recipes I found listed it.  One called for sour cream, which I just found weird.  One called for heavy cream which sounded fine, but I didn’t have any and wound up adding whole milk.  I was also out of paneer cheese, seeing as how I still haven’t learned how to make it (must correct this soon) and I have yet to find a store near me that sells it.

I don’t have any idea how much of anything I used.  When I finally get the blasted dish right, then I’ll worry about measuring and writing down what I’ve done.  I know this doesn’t make sense, but it’s how I work.  I grabbed some garlic and put it through the press because it’s easier than chopping, and tossed it into some olive oil and cooked it a bit.  I also tossed in some chopped onion, ginger, ground coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, and a touch of red pepper (I don’t know, it’s the stuff in my husband’s special Indian food spice kit).  When the onions looked clear I added all of the spinach I could find in my fridge and cooked it down until it just looked like I had hardly any spinach at all.  At this point I added a tablespoon or two of tomato paste.

I took everything out of the pan and put it into a food processor.  I poured in a bit more olive oil and hit the button.  After a few seconds I grabbed the milk and added a little at a time, pulsing the mix in between pours.  When it was just a little too thin I pulled it out and put it in a small pan to simmer for a bit.  When it had the right consistency (and a pretty close flavor) I pulled it off to let it cool for a bit.

Like I said before, I didn’t have any paneer cheese, so I used what was in the fridge.  What was in the fridge happened to be goat cheese.  I think this is where things when horribly wrong.  The goat cheese melted into the palak way too easily.  It also had such an overpowering flavor that it took over the whole dish.  Since I think goat cheese is wonderful and can do no wrong, this wasn’t entirely a problem for me, but it just wasn’t… right.

I still have not mastered this dish, but believe me, when I do, you’ll know!


Simple Herbed Chicken Breasts

So I was sitting on my couch exhausted this afternoon, chicken breasts in the kitchen thawing, with absolutely no clue what I was going to do with them.  It was “Clean the Kids’ Rooms” day and I was feeling more than  a little wiped out.  I had every intention of doing my usual parmesan chicken nuggets (which I’m only getting a little sick of) when I happened upon the show Cook Yourself Thin.  Now, this is not their recipe.  To be fair, I didn’t really pay attention to what they were doing, I just saw that they were doing an herbed chicken and it sounded good.

I took three chicken breasts (the kids usually share one) and set them aside.  In a large dish I added olive oil, lemon juice, sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.  I mixed that together well, and dredged the chicken breasts in it.  When the breasts were nice and covered, I let them sit for a while, just to let everything soak in just a touch.

While I waited for the chicken to get cozy with all the ingredients, I went ahead and turned the oven on to 400 degrees.  I also sliced up some potatoes.  I’m not sure I’m even capable of making a meal that doesn’t include those delicious red potatoes anymore.  I might have a few issues.  I tossed the potatoes around with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  That’s really all there is to them.  Every thing is to taste.  If you don’t have (or like) rosemary you can easily add basil, or oregano, or thyme, or ROSEMARY, because rosemary is really really good.  Did I mention that I have issues?

I popped everything into the oven, checking the potatoes after about 15 minutes, giving them a good stir (so they don’t stick).  The potatoes take about thirty minutes total.

The Husband devoured it, because that’s what he does.  The four year old ate one bite and declared that he didn’t like it.  Apparently it couldn’t even be saved by ketchup.  He ate the potatoes, but only after scraping the rosemary off of them. The toddler devoured the potatoes, ate two bites of chicken, drank a large glass of milk, and asked for crackers.  That’s my girl.

I thought it was wonderful.

Simple Herbed Chicken Breasts

3 – 4 Chicken Breasts

3 TBSP Olive Oil

1 TBSP Lemon juice

1/4 tsp sage

1/4 tsp thyme

1 tsp rosemary

2 cloves garlic pressed (or chopped)

salt and pepper to taste

In a large dish, combine olive oil, juice, garlic, and seasonings.  Dredge chicken breasts in mixture. When the breasts are fully covered, let them sit in the oil for 10 to 20 minutes.  Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.  Set the chicken on cooking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until juices run clear.