Monday, January 19, 2015

Souper Sunday: Creamy Tomato Tortellini

Last week, I blogged a soup that contained 9 oz of cheese tortellini.  When I took my package out of the freezer, I discovered that 1/3 of the Costco tripack I was using was about 18 oz.  That meant I needed to make not one, but two tortellini soups to use up the package.  No matter.  We love soup around these parts.
Soup is an incredibly versatile meal.  When you make your own, it can be hearty enough to stand on its own as the entree, and can include all of your favourite food groups (and maybe a few of your not-so-favourite ones).  If you're me, you can also use it to sneak a meatless meal past your husband.
This soup isn't quite as hearty as last week's, but it's still tasty, and surprisingly quick to throw together.  Despite not having been to the grocery store, I managed to pull everything I needed out of my pantry, fridge and freezer.  Don't skimp on the higher fat dairy...this would be thin without it.  Or try replacing some with evaporated milk.  Mouth-feel is important.
I present to you now Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Sour Cream Pound Cake

This is a sad, cautionary tale.  I needed a pound cake for the trifle I made for Christmas dinner with my dad's family.  I remembered that there had been a pound cake I'd been meaning to make in an Everyday Food earlier this year.  I read the recipe and decided that it was just the ticket - other than I didn't really want a tube pan of cake.  I was thinking a loaf was more my speed.  And pound cake is often in loaves, isn't it?
This is where the tale of woe begins.
After comparing Martha's recipe to "similar" ones that I found online, I figured that I could easily just pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and everything would work out.  I made the batter, and set it to baking.  The picture will tell the tale of what happened next.  Good thing it was tasty.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Sour Cream Pound Cake:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Glazed Shallots

I'm still making posts for things I made last year.  Sigh.  My excuse on this one is that these little gems graced our Christmas Dinner table.  I didn't really blog much between then and the end of the year.
I've made these and another onion side in the past year.  In both cases, J wasn't convinced that they were going to be good.  In both cases, he was pleasantly surprised.  Frankly, in terms of this recipe, so was I.
I'm not much of a sweet and sour girl.  I really don't think sweet things belong in an entree course.  But I thought these sounded good and they helped to fulfill my quota for Year 2 of the Magazine Challenge.
The biggest challenge?  Peeling a whole pound of shallots.  They're small and fiddly.  Martha did, however, have a tip for peeling them that did make decidedly short work of them.  Soak the shallots in warm water until the skins are wrinkled and cracked.  Then slip them off with a paring knife.  It didn't take me long that way!
I present to you now from the December 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Glazed Shallots:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Souper Sunday: Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup

My mom gave me a new soup recipe book for Christmas.  It's a great thing, seeing as we have soup here a lot on Sundays.  Soup is easy, makes a lot, and often tastes even better as leftovers.  With this one, it also used up a bunch of vegetables that I'd bought for other things that were lurking in the crisper.  Win-win, as far as I'm concerned.
This past week has been cold.  Bone-chilling, truth be known.  My new position has me standing outside the school meeting the 9 buses that come in each morning and supervising the students that are headed for the middle school campus (there are too many students for the building, and they're in the process of renovating/constructing a new school).  This week was not the week to start bus duty, IMHO.  But dressing for the weather (I have worn all of my wool socks at some point this week), and knowing that there was a hot lunch waiting for me later helps.
While reading about different soups I was interested in trying, I found one that intrigued J using spinach, potatoes, and cheese tortellini.  When I went back and looked through the book for that particular recipe, I came up with 2 that were somewhat similar and yet both contained things that I didn't like or didn't want to buy.  This soup was born out of the mashup of those 2 recipes.
I present to you now, inspired by my new Taste of Home Soups Cookbook, Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Planning: January 4-10, 2015


This is our new kitten, Raven.  Isn't she cute?  It's just as well, because she's also a pain in the behind.  Just ask our other cat, Missy (Raven looks almost exactly like Missy, but smaller).  You can also ask me while I'm eating dinner and fighting to keep Raven away from my plate or off the table.  Missy has no interest in people food so it's really just the ongoing struggle with Raven.
You could say that Raven helped me meal plan for the upcoming week.  She helped by trying to chew on the Everyday Foods strewn across the dining room table and lying on top of the sales flyers from the grocery store while buzzing at top volume.  Like I said, she's cute.  See?

Raven also left her teeth marks in the pages of my meal planning notebook.  Thankfully, we prefer food to paper.  I hope she does someday, too.  Here's what we're eating on the mountain this week:
Sunday:  My mother gave me a new soup cookbook for Christmas.  We're having a Spinach Tortellini soup recipe from there for dinner.
Monday:  J has requested meatloaf.  So, that's what we're going to have with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
Tuesday:  Leftover meatloaf etc.
Wednesday:  Hamburgers on the grill.  I have discovered that there are huge number of packages of burgers in our freezer.  We need to use these up on  my quest to empty the freezer.
Thursday:  Pork cutlets with Sauteed Tomatoes and salad. J doesn't like pork, but after he requested both meatloaf and soup for this week, he told me I could make something I wanted.  He's lucky we aren't eating buttered parmesan spaghetti or cereal for dinner so I don't have to cook.
Friday:  This is the wild card.  I'm starting at a new school tomorrow, so we may just go out.  Otherwise, there are Beef Pastry Pockets in the freezer.
Sounds like a good week.  And because this is a post featuring my kitten, one more picture.  There are never enough cute kitty pictures on the interwebs.  In this one, she could be mistaken for Missy.  But she's right where she wants to be:  in the sun, contemplating the next thing to chew.  Sigh.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Son of Magazine Challenge: January/February Planning

A new year means a new year of old Everyday Food Magazines!  This year, I'm working through the third year of EFs that I have in my cupboard, 2007.
2007 was a momentous year here on the mountain.  J moved in, we got married, and I started my last year of teaching before joining the ranks of administration.  Exciting!  Perhaps I should blame all of those things going on in my life for why I seem to have made very little from these issues the first time around.
But no matter.  In one of the few instances where hoarding isn't a problem and can be viewed merely as an opportunity, I'll revisit the issues this year and see what gems there are to be gleaned from their pages.
The Jan/Feb issue, as always, is the Light issue.  It promises to be Heavy on Flavour, and includes a French menu.  Can you guess what piqued my interest?  It also boasts 122 recipes and tips.  I only need 6.  Just as well, when I started looking at recipes.
The All in 1 Bag feature relied heavily on turkey, which J doesn't eat.  There were also a variety of things that I didn't think sounded appetizing to me.  I was commenting to my mother last month that when I look at the recipes that I choose every month, there are very few desserts now.  That is once again the case with only 1 making the list.  Frankly, any of these should be delicious.  And in exciting news, I've already made my first recipe!  I present to you now what we plan to eat around here from the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Everyday Food:

  • Molten Mocha Cakes
  • Ginger Carrot Soup
  • Salmon Tacos
  • Pork Cutlet with Arugula and Sauteed Tomatoes
  • Weekend Dinner Menu:  Wine-Braised Chicken, Salad with Celery, Red Onion and Croutons, Steamed Potatoes with Parsley, and Crepes with Sauteed Apples
  • Wild Rice Pilaf
So here's to a new year and the delicious adventures that await!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Quick Dinner: Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan

I seem to make a lot of meals where J turns at the end of them (or after the first mouthful) and says, "You're going to make this again, right?"  I dutifully promise that I will, and then move on to the next recipe that I promise I'll make again.
This recipe is different.  I want this again.  Soon.
As always with recipes from Budget Bytes, there's tons of flavour and it uses things that are found in my pantry on a regular basis.  While I enjoy making things that involve off beat things, it's nice to have somewhere to turn for recipes that I can make at the end of the week when I haven't been to the store in a while.
I buy the big packages of bacon here, and freeze the strips individually on waxed paper in a gallon ziploc.  I would suggest this to anyone who knows that buying a package of bacon is a mistake because it will go bad before you use it, or you know that you'll be forced to eat way too much bacon in the name of "using it up".  I used to be able to buy bacon by the slice at the butcher counter, and that's a great way to go too - except my butcher doesn't seem to be stocking it at the moment.  So, freeze and use as needed is the way to go.
Bacon, pasta and cheese in a bowl.  How could it be bad?  With some spinach to make it healthy.  Yup.  Let's call this health food.
I present to you now Budget Bytes' Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Goals: 2015 on the Horizon!

Last year, my resolutions here weren't just about the blog, but also some personal ones.  I did pretty well with my blog resolutions, but not so much the rest.  This year, we're keeping things just about the blog and what we're up to around these parts.
When I look at my posting patterns, I post the most when I'm on vacation (obviously), when I take part in an event (because I have to), and when mentally I'm in a good place.  October, November and December weren't great, and it shows in the amount I post and try new things.
I have so enjoyed the Magazine Challenge the past couple of years.  I've tried a ton of new things, most of which have worked, and have found a few things that we'll be eating again.  There's no way we wouldn't continue with the next year of magazines.  I need to set up a chart on the Magazine Challenge page to keep track of what I'm thinking of making.
Meal planning continued in earnest this year, and I'd like to keep up with that.  I find as well posting our dinner menus here keep us on track, and keep me buying only what I need at the store.  J and I work together to some degree on what we want to eat.  But ultimately, I make most of the decisions.  The good thing is, as my number one taste tester, he's willing to try pretty much anything.  That's not going to change anytime soon.
Here's what goals I'm setting for the blog for this year:

  1. Post 3 days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday).  I make enough new things that I can queue posts for times when life's busy.  I just have to do it.  I know I don't have time for everyday, but three times a week should be doable.
  2. 6 recipes per issue of Everyday Food, 2007.  I got closer to this mark in the past year, and actually had a couple of months where I made 6 recipes.  I don't think it's ever going to be a case where I make them all, but it's a goal.  I've already got everything to make my first recipe from Jan/Feb 2007.
  3. Eat at home.  J and I continue to work on this.  Meal planning is the way to do it.  Continue to post meal plans on Sunday.
  4. Continue to reach into the blogger community.  I've enjoyed the year I've spent with the Secret Recipe Club, and with the #10DaysofTailgate event I participated in this past fall.  I'd like to do more of this and connect with other foodies in the coming year.
I think that's enough.  Here's to the possibilities of 2015!