Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple Sunday Supper

As you know, I am loving The Pioneer Woman blog. She made chicken strips the other day, and the recipe was so simple I had to try it. I have made them before and they were awful. I guess the secret to great fried food is buttermilk! These were delicious, super easy and David loved them. If I had had more energy, I would have made gravy and then it would have been totally country. With rice. :-) OOh and HEB has fresh okra.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My confession

The last several batches of brownies that I have made do not have flaky tops. I HATE that! I then cover them with either icing or in last night's case, powdered sugar, to hide the flaw. I am not even talking about from scratch brownies.. these are from a boxed mix!!

According to the Internet, either I am using too much water, or my oven is too hot. I am going to go with the oven is too hot. Therefore, if one of you gals can loan me an oven thermometer, I would be ever so grateful. And my brownies will be too!

Potato Salad Throwdown: The Aftermath

My sister dreads the day that her children will ask why Nana and Aunt Tonya don't speak to each other, and she will have to tell them about the Great Potato Salad War of 2009. Thankfully, we all reached the diplomatic decision that my mom and I both make delicious potato salad.

The competition: mine on the left, mom's on the right. I used the Barefoot Contessa recipe as planned, and my mom used her traditional recipe. I think she uses miracle whip, sweet relish, pimientos, eggs and onion.

We both made a small batch with no onions. Neither of us was willing to lose the picky-eater vote!

The chefs

The result: most family members wisely decided it was too close to call!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day I hosted a dinner for my mom, mother in law, sister in law and of course, David. I made my famous avocado salsa. I cannot find the link for it, so here it is:

Avocado Salsa

2 cans diced tomatoes (or 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes. I use cans because I am lazy)
1 bunch chopped, fresh cilantro
3 chopped avocados
4 tbs finely chopped onion
6 tbs fresh lime juice
sea salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

Combine all ingredient and mash lightly with a fork.

I also made Angel Lush with Pineapple. It is supposed to be a layered angel food cake, but mine started to collaspe, even though I chilled the pudding over night, so I made a trifle instead. That's what I will do next time. Maybe I used too much pudding between the layers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ghost-Busting Cupcakes

I was in the mood to bake (and eat) yesterday, so I managed to find a recipe of the Food Network site using ingredients I already had on hand: orange chiffon cupcakes with meringue buttercream. Joe was meeting up with some of his ghost-hunting friends last night, so it was a good time to bake some treats and get most of them out of the house.

I have made many a batch of cake frosting, but this was my first time to make a meringue buttercream. I don't think I will bother with anything else ever again! It did involve making a sugar syrup and beating some egg whites, but it really wasn't much more time consuming than any other frosting recipe I've made. The recipe doesn't call for a certain temperature for the syrup, but I used the trusty candy thermometer and cooked it until just a bit past soft ball stage. The frosting was light, sweet without the sticky sweetness of so much powdered sugar like my regular recipes, and buttery without feeling greasy. Yummy!

Beaten egg whites are folded into the cake batter also, so these were very light. Makes it easier to eat two!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Potato Salad Throwdown!

I need your help ladies!

My aunt is hosting a Memorial Day get-together for my family. We are all e-mailing each other to let the group know what dish each family is bringing. I offered to make potato salad.

My mom e-mailed the group the next day to say that she is also going to make potato salad, since one person can't make that much. Translation: "Tonya's potato salad cannot possibly be as good as mine, so I am going to make my own batch so everyone will have something decent to eat."

So naturally, I sent an e-mail to my entire extended family issuing a potato throwdown challenge against my mother. Did I mention that I have never made potato salad before?

Right now I'm leaning toward the Barefoot Contessa's recipe, since Ina has never let me down before. I also like this one because it's very different from the traditional potato salad my mom makes. If anyone has any recipe suggestions though, please let me know!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joe's new favorite side dish

Thanks to my new couponing habit (inspired by Teresa), I bought a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash that were on sale. I decided to use them up in Ina Garten's Zucchini Gratin. I had everything on hand except the onion, so I decided to leave it out since Joe doesn't care for it anyway. I may have compensated for lack of onion with some extra cheese. :-)

We really enjoyed this dish. It might make it into the regular rotation ... as long as zucchini or squash is on sale.

Chocolate Lava Cake

Here's Paula Deen's recipe for Molten Lava Cakes. I made these a couple of weeks ago and have been very late to post the photo.

You would have to LOVE chocolate to enjoy this. The lava effect wasn't quite as noticeable in microwaved leftovers, but we still managed to finish them all off!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

I love this new blog I am following, the Pioneer Woman. She has great recipes with beautiful pictures. This morning I made her classic cinnamon rolls. I halved the recipe since I did not think I needed SEVEN PANS of rolls. It was a super easy dough recipe, however I am inexperienced so until it was too late I did not know my dough was too wet. As I was trying to roll up the dough, and it was sticking to the counter (despite the flour) and the butter and brown sugar started to leak out, I used a spatula and threw the entire thing in a 13 x 9 inch pan. And they came out delicious!! David said they were "very good". He never says ANYTHING is very good. Sometimes I get a "not bad" which really is two negative words equalling a positive. Hah!
My dad, who received half the rolls, said "The cinnamon rolls are delicious. It is the best thing I think you have made." And now David says he agrees. WOW.

(The only change I made to the recipe was brown sugar on the dough rather than white sugar. And the recipe does halve easily)