here's what's cookin.

I've been cooking lately. That's a big deal. I'm sort of an uninspired cook usually, excited to find ready-to-heat meals at Trader Joes, excited to make another eggs and potatoes breakfast-for-supper sort of meal. But lately, I've been chopping. And grating and things have been bubbling and my house smells amazing.

I'm not sure what brought about this change. I think seasonally, when it gets so cold, there is something in a Minnesota mama that wants to get her family real close and feed them warm things just to ward off the offensive temperatures. So we've had lots of soups and hotdishes.

I also read a quick read called My Homemade Life, a food memoir that painted a picture of the process of cooking that sort of challenged how I see myself in the kitchen. Typically, my goal is to get food on the table, bellies full and the kitchen cleaned up so we can move onto the next thing. This book made me wonder if I'm missing the joy involved in the simmering, the smelly garlic fingers that linger for days, the actual process.

This little shift has helped considerably. I'm not afraid to try new recipes. And as the food memoir recommends, I follow the instructions and ingredients exactly. That's always been my biggest problem. The Scandinavian in me tries to omit the chili peppers, and then wonders why her corn chowder is so bland. Well, I committed to the chile's and that recipe is pure gold.

So, since this little blog is my own journal of life happenings, and because I hope to reference these recipes that shined a bit brighter than the others, I thought I'd post the favorites with hopes of more chopping and mincing and simmering.

Pioneer Woman's Corn Chowder with Chiles
Land a livin. This was so good. Full of cream and butter and bacon, I welcomed it all and it did not disappoint. We ate most of a loaf of crusty bread with it, and that was key. It's a soup for dipping. Pioneer woman is not afraid of butter and cream, and I decided not to be either. But if you are, her recipes will freak you out. They will terrorize you in the night. But I'm not scared.

Pioneer Woman's Lasagna
I used her recipe from the cookbook, which is slightly different than this one on her website in that it uses fresh basil and parsley, and honestly, after eating it with the fresh stuff, I think I might be too snobby to go back. It was utter perfection for a lasagna. Saucy, but didn't fall into a soup when I served it. I mean, perfection.

Paula Dean and Jessica Sprague's Chicken Noodle Soup
I think I've blogged about this soup three times now. It is just that good. We use broth instead of stock and like that much better. And also we cook our own chicken breasts in the oven (using this method for oven roasting) and have much juicier chicken that way. And then we never add the noodles to the soup until it is time to serve. We cook them seperately and mix the soup and noodles in our individual bowls when it's time to eat. They don't get soggy and that's important. And I leave out the cream and Parmesan cheese, but will sprinkle some mozzarella on it if we've got it.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
I had a hankerin' and it wasn't going to go away. I doubled this recipe and it was fantastic. Hit the spot. And spots for days after as it made so much.

And another super easy, I love this meal: Trader Joes Naan bread (toasted), Hummus, Tzatziki Creamy Garlic Cucumber Dip, and chicken breasts seasoned with Lawry's and covered in fresh squeezed lime juice. This meal takes 10 minutes to put on the table and Rory will comment the whole time, "we should have this once a week." It's easier than frozen pizza!

Alrighty. Enjoy. Happy Eating. I sure am happy when I eat.

1 comment:

emilyberit said...

Try Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta...delightful! Add the seasonings liberally! I know that can be hard for us Norwegians!