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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sky Sunday

Well folks, the itty bitty kitchen is officially hi-tech. I am writing to you all ON THE PLANE. Thanks Delta, for the free wi-fi.

Just a brief update to let you all know we've been MIA celebrating Christmas with family, fun, oh, and food. Lots of food. We are en route to California to continue the celebrating.

Never fear, I plan on returning after the holidays with lots of new recipes and gadgets (one involves garlic) to try out.

I leave you with a picture of Matthew and I on Christmas eve, pre-Swedish meatball-induced coma.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Throw it Together Thursday

Yes folks,  I am talking about last Thursday.

We will not be spending Christmas in The World's Smallest Kitchen, as fun as that sounds, and have been trying to clear out our fridge all the while avoiding buying new groceries.

The Contenders:

1 Package of Broccoli
1 Package Cheese Tortellini
3 cloves garlic
1/8 cup alfredo sauce
Parmesan Cheese

The Challenge:

Make dinner.

Ok garlic, play nice.

After the tortellini had cooked, I began to add a little bit of garlic and parmesan cheese to my minimal amounts of alfredo sauce.  As I was doing this Matthew asked, "how are you going to cook the broccoli".  I responded, "well roast it of course".  His response,  "roast it?  You always roast broccoli, you're like obsessed with it."

It was at this point that I began to feel self conscious about my broccoli-cooking habits, and decided to steam it.  Mistake #1.

I tossed it in the sauce, and added some salt and pepper (and some more garlic), I tossed in the pasta. It sure looked pretty.  I thank Costco for the colorful pasta.

Dinner Conversation:

Wife:  "What did you think?"
Husband:  "Well, the broccoli is a little rubbery"
Wife: "That's because I steamed it..."
Husband: "Hmmmm"

Moral of the story/blog post:  In matters of cooking broccoli, never listen to your husband.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wimpy Wednesday

As stated in my past SEVERAL blogs, yes, December is a crazy month.  I know, I know your sick of hearing it.  After a 13-plus hour day, followed by a 6:45 AM meeting, we definitely needed some comfort food around here.

Matthew has been consistently asking to eat dinner in front of the TV, so I decided to make something couch-friendly.  I decided on nachos, mostly because I wanted so badly to hit up the Taco Bell drive-thru after work yesterday.  But, of course, I had to put a "sophisticated" spin on it.

Not Yo' Average Taco Bell Nachos

1 recipe homemade tortilla chips
1 can black beans
1 cup sweet corn
Chili Powder
Taco Sauce
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream

While baking the chips, I whipped together the beans, corn, and spices.  Remove chips from oven, top with bean mixture, cheese, and sour cream.  Eat.  Sit half-comatose on the couch for 3 hours.  Hey, sometimes you just need to.

But, I made my own chips.  Martha/Ina/Giada would be proud.  We are gone this weekend, so I have purposely delayed Thursday evening's dinner for a later posting.  I think they call that delayed gratification...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Secretive Saturday

I had to physically restrain my self from typing "Snowy Saturday", it just seemed inappropriate, and like a bit of an understatement.

Saturday found me, as it found many other Minnesotans, cooped up and in need of a project.  Indeed, I did find a cooking project.  But, alas, as this project includes edible gifts which may be coming to a stomach near you soon, I can't tell you what it is.

So, I leave you with this cliff-hanger of a picture, stay tuned...

Please excuse my dirty stovetop, household cleaning was not on my snow-day project list.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mismatched Monday

I sat down to write this post and had to think for a long time about what we had for dinner on Monday.  Note to self:  this is why you write your posts in order Hannah.

So, Monday.  We were both craving something cheesy and Italian, and I am still working my way through a huge can of rolled oats from several granola exploits.  During my several hours of staff development on Monday (see: fun), I had a brilliant idea.  What if I breaded chicken in oatmeal?  We are all about killing two birds with one stone around here, so I went ahead and did it.

Oatmeal Chicken Parmesan

4 4 oz chicken breasts
1 cup oatmeal
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup marinara or tomato sauce
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

I combined the oatmeal and spices, until it looked and smelled like some sort of weird, savory oatmeal.

I preheated the oven to 350, and dipped each chicken breast in the oatmeal.  In hindsight, I would have thrown some butter in there for good measure.  I placed the chicken in a greased baking pan, and baked for 20 minutes.  I then poured marinara sauce and cheese over the chicken, baked for 8 more minutes, and threw it in the fun broiler drawer ( you remember, don't you?), for about 2 minutes.

The stray oats got a little burnt, but it was cheesy, and pretty good.  Like I said, some butter next time.

Next time I will post my meals in chronological order.  As God intended.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Truth Tuesday (Part Two)

Alright friends, here it is, my confession.

I have as a Norwegian, native Minnesotan, despite all laws of nature, developed a taste for SOME spicy foods.

Pause for silence and reflection.

I blame my husband (mostly).  Matthew has had a busy week, and in general December is kind of a busy month.  So I promised Matthew that he could have whatever he wanted for dinner, and I would do the dishes (not).  He said "tacos, I want tacos".

Well, my knowledge of tacos doesn't go much beyond browning meat and adding in some sort of pre-packaged seasoning.  I guess that's not entirely true.  Let's not forget those college-days 1 AM Taco Bell runs.  Oh come on Cobbers, you know you did it too!

As a newly, self-proclaimed, "foodie", I was craving something more tonight.  Fresh, good, produce is hard to come by in this tundra currently, so I wasn't entirely surprised when a can of Rotel ended up in my shopping basket.  I was surprised that it said "medium" on it.

Truthful Turkey Tacos

1/2 lb lean ground turkey meat
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
Taco Seasoning of your choice (chili powder, cumin, etc.)
The Fixin's:  Tortillas, Cheese, Sour cream (please don't skip the sour cream)

I browned the meat (easy), and added in the Rotel with the juice, I stirred in seasoning, and had made taco meat that at least looked a little more sophisticated than a 1 AM Cheesy Gordita Crunch.

Even my Californian husband, with nay a drop of Norwegian blood in him, said it was spicy.  Success! Or, dismay, I'm not sure how I feel about my new taste buds yet.

PS-- As previously stated, December is insane.  Expect an as yet unnamed Monday blog after Truth Tuesday.  My type A personality doesn't like the disorganization anymore than you do.  Consider yourself warned.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Found it! Friday

Story time:

Approximately 1 year ago, we were sitting in a house in Eagan with our dear friend Sophie.  She presented us with some of the best sugar cookies I have EVER had.  EVER.

I have tried in vain to recreate this recipe.  Most of these attempts have ended in "epic fails".  This past week I had a thought.

Self:  "those cookies were really almond-y, what if I used almond paste".

Use it I did.

Cookies, as yet, unnamed

1/2 cup almond paste
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp almond extract

I diced the almond paste in the food processor.  I added in the butter and sugar, and combined.  I then added the egg and pulsed until combined.  The remaining ingredients went in and pulsed until they formed a dough.  Resist the temptation to eat all the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Make the icing.


3 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 drops green food coloring
3 cups powdered sugar

Stir all the ingredients together, and place in your piping bag.  Oh wait, I mean your ziploc bag, and throw in the fridge.

I rolled out the cookies, made a few cutouts, and threw them in a 325 oven for 10 minutes.

After the cookies had cooled (mostly).  I cut a hole in the ziploc bag and made my husband ice the cookies so I wouldn't make a mess.  I was on sprinkle duty.

I think (according to Matthew), I came pretty close to the original cookie.  Sophie, if you're reading this, don't tell me if I'm way off base!  I want to keep my sense of accomplishment?

Best part about cookies?  You can make enough for your husband to eat in 24 hours (see above picture), and then freeze the rest of the dough for some sort of church event.

Happy shoveling!

Take Two Tuesday

I'm sure you all remember my first risotto attempt.  Remember?  Red Velvet cake, and then risotto.  Ah yes, I said cake, now you remember.

Regardless, Tuesday found us here with an abundance of weird ingredients.  Kale, broccoli, bad white wine, arborio rice.  Because, as my husband pointed out, you can't call arborio rice risotto until you make risotto.  Whatever.

Most importantly, Tuesday found us with a shiny new stainless steel pot.  Here in the World's Smallest Kitchen, we get really excited about these things, and by we, I mean me.


Whatever you have on hand Risotto

2 cups arborio rice
4 cups fat free chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon

I first preheated the oven and roasted the carrots an broccoli as I have been know to do.  I toasted the "arborio rice" (as Matthew would say) in the butter.  I added the wine, salt, and pepper, until the wine had cooked off.  Then comes the part that makes the itty bitty kitchen itty bitty, and also really warm.  You ladle in the stock a cup at a time, until all the liquid has cooked off.  Heat the stock first, or the rice will overcook.  Which is what happened to me

I folded in all the vegetables, including the kale.  I seasoned the rice and added in the cheese and lemon.

I corrected my mistakes from my last attempt at risotto, but didn't really improve it all, because I made different mistakes.  Isn't that just the way life works?

It was still good.  Sticky, gumminess, and all.