Food for Thought (and Discussion)

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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby ValiantArcher » Dec 07, 2017 6:22 pm

I found out officially today that we will be working longer days in the New Year, so I'm going to have to rethink and restructure how I do food/cooking. I'm already am low energy, especially when I come home after work, and based on trial periods, the new schedule will make it worse (at least possibly until I get used to it, but I'm not holding my breath). To that end, I was hoping you all had some thoughts on nutritious food that is easy/quick to make AND/OR things I can make easily but that will keep for a week (so I can do all my weekly cooking in one go). And if that food also freezes well, that's great too. ;))

I do have a crockpot, but I've been afraid to use it as all the recipes seem to be "Cook for 8 hours" and I'm away for more than that at work, and I don't cook overnight as I don't have time in the morning to deal with cooling down and putting away in the food. :P

Thanks! :)
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby Kalta79 » Dec 11, 2017 11:58 am

*ears perk up* Black bean brownies? Where's the recipe? Had a recipe once I wanted to try, but I lost it :(
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby johobbit » Dec 14, 2017 11:12 am

:ymhug: Valia. I have been really into soups and muffins lately and find that soups are especially good for making, freezing, then using as needed. A fresh roll or slice of crusty French bread to accompany a bowl of steaming soup is scrumptious. Or a muffin. ;)) Chili is also great to have on hand, as is a thick stew. Both are filling and so yummy. Chili freezes really well, but I find the stew becomes a bit too liquidy after it's been frozen.

Here is one I'm trying for the first time. I got it from a friend when we had it at her house for a Christmas baking day awhile back. There is a lot of protein and fibre in here and not much fat. I will probably leave out the salt as the ham is salty enough.


Split pea and ham soup


Ingredients:

2 - 16 oz bags split peas
2 or 3 medium carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I'd probably put in more, because we adore garlic :ymsmug: )
2 or 3 medium potatoes, diced
some ham, diced
1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked pork shanks
2 bay leaves
pepper (and salt, if preferred)

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a large stew pot
Cover with water about 2 inches above the top of the ingredients
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours, or until peas are pureed and slightly thickened.

I made a favourite Beef-veggie soup yesterday. It's wonderfully tasty and so hearty. I adore lots of cabbage in soup, so ...


Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef, extra-lean
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 Tblsp white sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
3 Tblsp parsley flakes
2 cups raw potatoes, diced
2 cups raw carrots, diced
5 cups chopped cabbage
1 5 & 1/2 oz can tomato paste
2 - 900 ml cartons beef broth
4 cups water

Directions:
In a large frying pan, saute beef, onions, celery, and green pepper in a bit of oil. Break meat up and put in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on stove, simmering, for 2-3 hours. Sometimes I add a few drops of Tabasco sauce, which adds a snappy touch.
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby stargazer » Dec 15, 2017 12:44 am

Jo, that split pea and ham soup was something I grew up on, and now I miss Mom's homemade variations on it.

She used a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time, and this led to a 'family legend story' from before my time. Apparently one time there was some issue with the pressure cooker lid and the soup was ejected rather...violently. When my dad got home from work, my older sister (who was very young at the time), cried out, "Mommy spilled pea soup on the ceiling!"
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby johobbit » Dec 16, 2017 6:40 am

:)) stargazer. Too funny. And cute!

I finally finished this soup last night. It seemed overly runny, so I went online to check this out. Seems that when it is cooled and reheated, it thickens. I left it overnight to cool, and sure enough, it's a beautifully thick soup this morning. I'm actually having some for breakfast. :P Couldn't resist. ;)) Again, the house smells amazing.

I did add more potatoes (I love lots of small pieces of potatoes in soups like this), as well as another cup of split peas. These would have helped to thicken it too.

I've edited the recipe above to reflect these changes.

Today is bran muffin day, as well as making homemade Nuts and Bolts for the holidays. We're having company over tonight, and we'll be having chocolate fondue, so I need to make that up too. The dippers will be: pineapple, apples, grapes, bananas, clementines, marshmallows, pretzels. Yum!

We pick up our local farm-fresh turkey this Saturday. B-) It will be between 21 and 24 pounds. We like lots of leftovers, including some to send some home with those who are at our home on Christmas Day. :D

I was going to make Baked Alaska over the holidays (request of my kids), but I don't think I'll have any room in the freezer for it. :p Will have to wait until a non-Christmas family visit, but I am determined to make it for them sometime in 2018!

Another two recipes I'll be making closer to next weekend are a sour cream coffee cake (bundt pan size) and those scrumptious ginger-molasses cookies. fantasia, it turns out that your yummy recipe is almost identical to my mom's. ;)) My family (and guests) LOVE them!

Off to the kitchen. The best way to spend time preparing food, imho, is to listen to audio dramas. I'm on FotF's THaHB now. ♥
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby aileth » Dec 16, 2017 10:06 am

johobbit wrote:I was going to make Baked Alaska over the holidays (request of my kids), but I don't think I'll have any room in the freezer for it. :p Will have to wait until a non-Christmas family visit, but I am determined to make it for them sometime in 2018!


As long as it's not Baked Elastic, a la Paddington :)
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Dec 16, 2017 5:26 pm

I'm not sure which black bean brownie recipe fk used, Kalta, but here's a popular one from Food Network. Let us know what you think if you try it. :)

Those soups sound so good, Jo! And I have to second Jo's suggestion about stews and chilis, Valia. I made a big pot of tomato-base vegetable soup with ground chicken a couple of weeks ago, and it's been helpful to have containers of it in the freezer to pull out whenever I'm running low on time. Since it was just seasoned with basic spices, I can turn it into something more Italian, Mexican, Asian, et cetera, depending on what mood I'm in and the ingredients/spices I have on hand.

Oh my, gazer! That's quite a story. ;))

Lately I've been trying to cultivate my inner chocolatier. I love very dark chocolate, but I don't like how expensive it is. ;) I realized that I can combine unsweetened chocolate and baking chips to make my own 85% cacao chocolate for a lot less money. Tempering the chocolate can be a little tricky, but I'm getting the hang of it.

In order to temper the chocolate so it has a smooth texture and satisfying snap when broken, you slowly melt two thirds of the chocolate and then remove from heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until it melts. This brings the temperature down to the correct range so the right kind of fat crystals can form. Ideally you'd use a double-boiler, but since I don't have one, I make do with a glass bowl floating in hot water like you see in this video about making popcorn rice and crispy chocolate. (Also, it is my opinion that all cooking tutorials should have a studio audience made up of cats. :P)
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby fantasia » Jan 04, 2018 3:36 pm

I love it when recipes turn out. ;)) This year as a semi-joke, we made Figgy Puddings for Christmas dessert. It was INTENDED to be for fun, and I had Peppermint Chocolate Cream pies to eat as a real dessert, but the Figgy Puddings were... good. They were really good! :D I guess we all assumed they wouldn't be as they've gone by the wayside. So yay!
The other surprise in the same exact vein, was my husband made fruitcake from scratch. Again, it was really good! Although I made a mistake of tasting the dried fruits soaking in raw rum. :)) Yeah that was... potent. But once it was cooked the harsh alcohol went away. Fruitcake is another old-timey thing imho. I don't remember having them since I was little, and they always had those green maraschino cherries which were.... :-s
And then today, my husband made soft pretzels from scratch. I'm not a pretzel person at all, but these were also quite good. :) (Although, I suspect they were technically undercooked as even soft pretzels often have a crispy exterior...but that's probably why I liked them.) So yay for tasty food! ;))
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby ValiantArcher » Jan 04, 2018 7:15 pm

Thanks for the soup recipes, Jo! :) I actually did make a batch of cheese muffins the other night, and I am enjoying them (had some with canned soup). However, they're a bit dry, so I may have to swap some of the oil out for applesauce on the next batch and see if that helps...

Thanks, Rose! :) All the best with the chocolate making - sounds delicious! :D

Nice, fk! :D Does Figgy Pudding have a strong fig taste? And soft pretzels sound delicious. I made some when I was little with a friend (under her mom's supervision and with her help), but we haven't done that again in all the years of holiday baking sprees.

Speaking of those holiday baking sprees, we had another this year. :D She chose most of the recipes but they all turned out nicely. We made fudge, coffee chocolate chip blondies, yellow cupcakes with "scorched honey" meringue buttercream frosting, "'scorched honey" meringues, marshmallows, and tamales. She has a far more adventurous streak in the kitchen than I do (I only requested the tamales, which we've made a number of times before) - which was shown in the scorched honey goodies. I had never caramelized anything before, so putting sugar and honey in a pan with water on top was all new to me and I was suspicious of it burning - especially when the recipe went on about it having a smoky taste (never a good thing in my book). :P We disagreed about how long the pot should stay on the heat and what "dark golden brown" looked like, so we pulled it off a little after I thought it should've come off but before she wanted it to come off (which was after it started smoking). Then it was mixed in with the whipped egg whites, and then whipped with butter. The result was a very faint hint of honey in the frosting and none of the smoke she wanted. Whoops. :ymblushing:

But since we knew we would have extra frosting, we took half the honey-egg white mixture out first and made meringues, which turned out lovely. They had a much stronger honey flavour after baking - but no smoke. ;))
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby fantasia » Jan 04, 2018 7:39 pm

Valia wrote:Does Figgy Pudding have a strong fig taste?
This recipe didn't, which is good because I'm not a big fan of figs. It had more dates in it than figs, so that's what I was tasting for the most part.

Oooh, tamales. :x
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby ValiantArcher » Jan 06, 2018 7:43 am

:D Oooh, dates! Do you have a recipe for the pudding? And was it complicated to make?
What type of tamales do you usually have? We always do a venison filling because that's what our taco meat is. ;)) But my mom pointed out some recipes for sweet tamales with fruit or caramel filling, so now I'd like to try that sometime.
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby fantasia » Jan 06, 2018 7:52 am

Yes, no, pork. ;))

Here's the recipe. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/warm ... pe-1918585 :D Let me know if you try it and what you think!
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby ValiantArcher » Jan 06, 2018 4:33 pm

;))

Thanks, fk! :) Will post here if/when I get a chance to try it!

Last night and this morning I made a variant on Peanut Butter Twisters, one of Summer's favourite treats. The original recipe calls for a rolled-out dough spread with a peanut filling to be folded in half, cut into strips, the strips twisted and baked, and then drizzled with a chocolate sauce. Instead of making them into strips, I spread the filling all over the dough and then rolled it up into a log. I cut the log into circles and baked them like cinnamon rolls, "frosting" with the chocolate sauce after baking. I think they were about comparable to the originals, but perhaps a bit drier - I think this might be solved by increasing the amount of peanut butter filling. Overall, though, people liked them. :)
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby fantasia » Jan 23, 2018 12:09 pm

I started a new tradition last year with the Super Bowl: Making two desserts that loosely represent the two teams competing. So this year for a super bowl party (that no one may come to, and if that's the case the hubby will take the food to work), I'm making a Boston Cream Pie and a Philadelphia Cheesecake. :D

Oh, and Kansas Day is this Monday so I need to get some groceries put together for a Kansas Dirt Cake. ;))

And my husband's birthday is coming up too, and he wants a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. I usually do the molten lava cakes with peanut butter filling for him, but we're getting to be such a huge family (babies everywhere!) that those are getting to be a bit overwhelming.

Making desserts > Making real food :))
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby johobbit » Jan 24, 2018 2:05 pm

You gals are making me h-u-n-g-r-y! ;))

One of our (many) favourite dishes is Sweet and Sour Chicken. It's such an easy-to-make meal and is delicious with fresh brown rice and a couple of vegetables. We're having ours with sautéed spinach with garlic cloves tonight and crunchy carrot sticks, mmm!


Ingredients

Sauce:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water (I use more like 3/4 cup)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Chicken:
6-8 chicken breasts or thighs
butter
salt and pepper

Directions
Sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until a bit thickened.

Chicken: Place chicken in roasting dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Brown, uncovered, in oven at 425°F for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and continue for approximately 2 hours.

A few notes:
*I hardly ever include salt in my recipes (including this one), and they are still very tasteful
*I usually double the sauce recipe to freeze a batch. Obviously it needs to simmer longer if doubled. I think I let it go nearly an hour last night.
*2 hours seems long to me. I often stop ours baking at ! & 1/2 hours and it was yummy. I guess if you want the flavour to sink in even more, continue for that extra time.

It's been fun having lots of homemade soups and muffins in the freezer over this winter. They're certainly handy for us to pull out, and also it is so important (in our family) to have them readily available to give away to folk who could use a little pick-me-up in mid-winter. :)
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Re: Food for Thought (and Discussion)

Postby stargazer » Jan 25, 2018 10:36 pm

I like your idea of the representative desserts, fantasia.

Note to self: don't look at this thread when hungry. ;))
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