My first ever attempt at bread! It went pretty well. This was part 1 of a night of fancy cooking with my friend Carolyn. These Soft Pretzels with Jalapeno Cheese Dip didn’t seem too difficult, and in fact, they weren’t. I think we left the pretzels in the oven about 2 minutes too long, so they were a little over cooked, but otherwise they were great. We only had kosher salt flakes (not regular big salt), but it turned out all right. In the future, I might make an effort to have regular salt but it’s a small lesson. I had to have 2 friends help me determine whether the water in the dough was too hot before I put it in, but now I know about how hot it has to be. Waiting for it to cool was the most grueling part of the whole thing. The honey in these pretzels leaves a wonderful sweet taste to them. I also may have developed new muscles on my wrist from kneading the dough the whole time. I don’t have a stand mixer, so it was all hand kneaded, which was maybe a bit tougher than it needed to be, but not prohibitively difficult. As you can see, we didn’t shape these into real pretzels and instead made pretzel bites, but that’s no real difference.
The Jalapeno Cheese dip worked out pretty well also. We added more than the suggested amount of cheese because we love cheese, so it came out a bit thicker, but we both were okay with it. Our motto for the night was “will we still eat it?” and if the answer was yes, we continued ahead. If you’re not okay with extra thick sauce but you’ve added too much cheese, a dash more milk can help thin it out for you. As always, jalapenos don’t care about your feelings. Rub your hands down with oil (or peanut butter according to a housemate of mine) for a good few minutes after cutting it, or you’ll be sorry. I think in the future I might use sharp cheddar for this, instead of the colby jack. The colby jack was fine, but it didn’t have a particularly strong cheese flavor. The pepperjack required by the recipe was a stroke of genius though. Absolutely don’t miss that. We didn’t have cayenne pepper, but the sauce came out fine without it. I’m having trouble figuring out how to reheat it in a way that doesn’t leave cheese in a puddle of oil, so I’m sorry to say, you might be best served just eating it all that night. Break your heart, I know.
Once we started eating these we couldn’t stop. We had 2 more courses planned, and finally we had to put these away once we’d eaten half of the batch, or else we would’ve never had room for anything else. So worth it. So worth the effort. I might have to make these once a week until I get sick of them. I was worried about what I’d do with the leftover “special” ingredients (bread flour, fast rise yeast, etc). No worries now, I’ll just make this again. And again.
I challenge you to find an easier recipe than this Garlic Chicken. Four ingredients that you probably already have in your house, 10 minute prep tops, and unsupervised oven time. I’ve been wondering about it for months, but when my grandpa came into town this week I finally took the opportunity. We don’t get to see my grandpa that often, so I didn’t want to waste all of that time in the kitchen. I whipped this up while he and my dad talked about IU basketball, and by the time they got into the superbowl I was out hanging out at the table waiting for this to bake. I mixed up some mashed potatoes from a boxed mix because again, not wanting to waste any time with my grandpa, and my mom set up a vegetable plate, and bing bang boom, there’s dinner.
The picture doesn’t do it justice. For so little work, this chicken has some great payoff. The only trouble I had was trying to get the brown sugar mixture to stick to the top of the chicken before putting it in the oven. I would consider using a bit more oil in the future just to make it a bit more liquid, and break up the brown sugar some. The flavor is pretty subtle, so it’s mostly just some good chicken. When you do pick up the flavor though, it’s a great combination of sweet and garlicky, which is actually hard to balance in my humble opinion.
whoops posted this on the wrong blog at first but whatever. Facts are facts, this is still food.
I fried something today! Today I made this Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken that I found on pinterest. I was scared to fry things, as I’ve never done it before, and hot oils flying about seem scary, but I braved my fears. This was worth it, as it was awesome. We had it with rice and a small salad- spinach, radish, and a raspberry vinaigrette that is about to go bad. Again I used bagged rice like the terrible cook I am, but it seriously cuts so much time out of the cooking process that I’m not sure I really get the problem.
I accidentally added too much thyme (2 tbsp instead of 2 tsp), and then had to pull some of it out, so I was worried that it would be overpowering, but it wasn’t, so that was nice. We also didn’t have enough honey to make the full batch of sauce, but since I only made 4 chicken breasts, we only needed a half recipe anyway. I also only needed half of the egg coating.
I keep trying to think of more interesting things to say in these posts, but sometimes there’s not much more to say, so I’m going to keep this pretty short and sweet. My parents both scarfed it down like it was their job, so I’m going with a generally positive review all around. And since it fried for 5-6 minutes, I actually got to feel okay about frying it because I knew it was going to be cooked all the way through.
In a similar fashion to the sudden fancy grilled cheese craving, I was on my way to the grocery store, preparing to make mini fruit tarts, when I had a thought. Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. It was genius. It was destiny. It was not very hard to alter a normal Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe to create what I wanted. So here it is! I warn you- this makes a LOT of cookies. You could easily half it and still have far too many cookies. But, if you’re going to a party or a family reunion, this is perfect.
I had to use a hand mixer to get this all worked together. It came out pretty thick, until I added the raspberries in. The cookies spread a lot while baking, so make sure to leave space between them. I considered making a white chocolate drizzle for the top, but when I got more cookies than I could handle, I decided that was more work than it was worth. In a smaller batch, it might be worth it.
Here’s the recipe
Time to confess: I have no idea how to fry anything. I tried, but I got freaked out and worried that I wouldn’t successfully cook the chicken all the way through. So as a result, these Pecan-Parmesan Chicken Tenders were baked. I put them in at 425 for about 25 minutes (maybe longer, I’m not sure. Keep an eye on them, when they’re bubbling they’re about ready). I used whole wheat Ritz crackers- totally fine. Also they now come in these little “fresh packs” (~15 crackers per pack, sold in groups of 8 packs) which means you don’t have to open a pack and then rush to finish it for fear of it going all soft and weird from being open too long. The chicken came out perfect, although neither the parmesan nor the pecan taste came out particularly strong. It did taste better than standard breaded chicken tenders, in my opinion.
The real star of the meal, though, was the Honey Mustard Sauce. “But Chelsea,” you say “I can buy honey mustard premade.” Yes. You can. But try this once. I’m not a big honey mustard person, honestly, but this was totally amazing. I ended up adding a bit more honey (like a squeeze more), so make sure to test it out before serving it. Even my dad, skeptic that he was, was raving about the honey mustard- in fact, he still is, and this was 3 days ago.
We had honeydew melon and broccoli to round out the meal. Although my mom, cheater that she is, put most of her broccoli back, both my dad and I thought they were good complements. This reheated well, so never fear your leftovers on this. It was a bit of work, but honestly, not as much as I pictured. With a good food processor, you can really get these set up in 20 minutes before putting them in the oven (if you bake them).
Since the recipe doesn’t specify, I used 2 egg whites to coat the chicken before putting it in the breading. I also forgot to sprinkle parmesan on after baking, so that might have something to do with the not-prominent parmesan flavor. Overall, something I’ll definitely be making again.
Ah pinterest, you have served me well! Buns in My Oven posted this recipe a few months ago, and I finally got to try it out.
Paired with banana, pear, and baby carrots, this was an awesome meal. The only problem I had with it was that my chicken breasts started out frozen (not refrigerated) so they took about another 20 minutes in the oven.
I’m kind of getting spoiled living at home right now. Since I feed my parents and clean the kitchen for them, they agree to let me take over the kitchen and within limits, they give me grocery money. At school, hot pockets are my jam, and I never have time to do a lot more. I’m almost not looking forward to my last semester because I’ll end up giving up the kitchen mastery.
Anyway, the main thing I have to say about this is that I’m pretty sure this chicken is impossible to mess up. My dad is trying to teach me about beer (I have to honor my German heritage somehow, and I’m not seeing lederhosen in my future), so while this was in the oven we had some Guinness, and factoring in that I’m a lightweight, let’s just say if I could’ve ruined this, there’s a good chance I would’ve. But I didn’t and my dad loved this. Plus, it’s surprisingly quick. No muss, no fuss, just some good chicken that I’m pretty sure anyone would like.
Apologies for the long impromptu break. I was finishing up my major with the highest GPA of my college career- a little busy.
So the other day I went to see Silver Linings Playbook (which I thought was fabulous, by the way) in celebration of my grades and on the way home I was suddenly struck with a brilliant thought. I couldn’t shake it. I needed to make grilled cheese with bacon & caramelized onions immediately.
After a google search (“how exactly do I caramelize an onion”) I started cooking. At like 11 PM. Like ya do. So a couple of tips:
1. You can bake bacon. Which is wayyyyy easier than a lot of things- you don’t even have to flip it if you don’t want to (I did because I was nervously hovering around the kitchen anyway). To make it even easier (seriously so easy it’s a crime), lay down a layer of tinfoil on your cookie tray before you lay out your bacon. Now cleanup is literally as easy as throwing that tinfoil in the trash. Or letting your dog get it and lick it clean if you’re me. To bake it, set your oven to 400, and stick your bacon in for 20 minutes. Pinterest tells me you should put the bacon in before you preheat, but I haven’t tried it, so don’t blame me if it fails you.
2. Don’t burn your caramelizing onion- it just tastes burnt. Cut it thicker if you’re worried that it’ll burn.
So overall, the random intense craving worked out- minus that one poor onion that didn’t make it, and got burnt instead. It is now compost. And holy crap was it good. I showed it off to everyone who wasn’t actively avoiding me. Food heaven. I’m pretty sure that’s not just the extreme hunger talking either.
Barbecue chicken sandwich, watermelon, and corn. What a perfect summer dinner!
This barbecue chicken is so easy I taught my dad to do it. All you do is boil the chicken, drain the water, shred it with a fork, and then mix it with barbecue sauce til it looks/tastes about right. Spoon it on to a bun, and eat. Seriously easy, and very quick. I toasted the buns because why not?
This was one of my last meals at home before heading back to college. I’m now moved in and have my own kitchen here, but I haven’t gotten my groceries, so not much cooking has gone on here. I’ll be getting on that this weekend, so that’ll fix that.
It turns out, there are tons of ways to make corn. I always boil water and cook the corn in there. My dad steams it. One of my housemates bakes it in the oven. My friend Nick grills it. I prefer the boiling because it’s so easy.
I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to update lately, I’ve been working on getting packed and ready to get back to college.
I recently made these champagne cupcakes for my friend Kyle’s birthday. They’re red because it was a superhero themed party, and Kyle was dressed as Iron Man. I followed exactly this recipe, frosting and all, and it was awesome. The champagne really makes the cupcakes fluffy. The sugar sprinkles on top are red and silver- more Iron Man-y goodness. I’m not so sure the Black Widow (who I dressed up as) would be domestic enough to make cupcakes, but oh well. Worth it.
I sincerely recommend these for everyone, but be warned that you’ll have about half a bottle of champagne to consume afterwards. The first time I made these I was not aware of that, and let’s just say that finishing it off at 11 AM on a Sunday was not my proudest moment.
I knew this Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata was going to be good from the minute I smelled the sauce. That sounds weird, but believe me, if you make it you’ll know what I mean.
I found this recipe a while ago, and thought it looked interesting. Mostly, though, I wondered what the heck “capers” were. It turns out they are those green things- which taste a little oniony. I didn’t think I’d get around to making it until I dug through our cupboard and found a jar of capers. Who knew where they came from (okay fine, the label said trader joes), what we’d gotten them for, or how long they’d been there- only that they were still good, and were the only thing other than half and half that I didn’t already have on hand to make this. It was fate.
The pasta is very lemony, but it actually doesn’t overpower the whole thing, which is nice. It really reminded me of the kind of food I ate in Greece last summer- flavorful, but light. The whole thing felt like something I’d order at the Cheesecake Factory- a nice pasta dish that came in a large serving. We had a whole extra bowl of pasta my dad ate the next day. I put some champagne grapes and baby carrots with it because we had to finish those off, but the baby carrots would probably be better replaced with a small salad if you’re trying to impress. My dad and I also each had a glass of Andre champagne with this. To those who don’t know, Andre is a cheap (~$7) champagne. It’s actually not bad for the price. I had half a bottle on hand from another recipe, and we had to finish it off. It did make the whole meal feel fancier.
Champagne grapes (the little grapes in the picture) are smaller and sweeter than regular grapes. I like them better even though I’m sure the difference is mostly in my head. Anything that makes me feel like a giant is okay by me.
This is a very summery meal, so make it quickly before it’s time to turn the heaters on. I found the whole thing perfectly balanced, and the kind of meal that just about anyone could like. Do note- you have to marinate the chicken overnight, so make sure you know in advance that you’re making this. It’s worth it though!