Mad Hungry Family: Double-Decker Pork Tacos
Cookbook Overviews , Recipes / May 13, 2020

Previously I reviewed Lucinda Scala Quinn’s cookbook Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys. Now Quinn, who worked for Martha Stewart, has a line of Mad Hungry cookbooks. I picked up Mad Hungry Family from the library (before it closed). This book seems pretty similar to the other Mad Hungry cookbook. It’s full of dishes that are simple and filling, so you can feed your family homecooked meals. Quinn is a big proponent of the family meal and teaching your kids to cook for themselves. She describes great stories of sharing her love of food with her boys. I wouldn’t say these cookbooks are my favorite, but I did find quite a few dishes I would like to try out. I’m always looking for new ideas for Taco Tuesday, but this recipe might move to Sunday night. They were a little more work than my regular do-it-yourself taco setup, and a little heavy for a weeknight meal. But they were delicious, and my family loved them, so I know I will be making them again soon. Makes 1 taco 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 2 corn tortillas 1 slice mild, melting cheese, such as Monterey Jack, or Mexican melting cheese, such as queso…

Louisiana Real and Rustic: Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

So I already mentioned that i’m a big Emeril fan. The last cookbook of his I reviewed was all about comfort food. This cookbook is really the basics of Cajun cooking. I haven’t used it a lot, because my husband does most of the Cajun cooking in our house. The other day he make this gumbo recipe, but he always likes to tweak recipes, so I will provide info about that below. Six servings 2 pounds small okra 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes 1 cup chopped onions 1 cup chopped celery 1 3/4 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 5 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 2 quarts water 1 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined Wash the okra in cool water. Remove the caps and tips and cut into 1/4-inch rounds. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Fry the okra, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until most of the slime disappears. Add the tomatoes, onions, and celery and cook, stirring often, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the okra and other vegetables are soft and the slime has completely disappeared. Add the salt, cayenne, bay leaves,…

The Happier Homemaker Blog: Easy Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipes / April 21, 2020

No flour. No problem! So I had a request from a friend of mine (Hey, Max!) who is trying to go gluten free to see if it clears up some health issues. Before I had a chance to search for some recipes in my cookbooks, this recipe popped up on Pinterest or Instagram or somewhere. (Sometimes mindlessly scrolling turns out to be useful!) This recipe is super easy, with just four ingredients, and they turned out super moist and delicious. These cookies are like peanut butter out of the jar, but kicked up a notch! Click on the image to get the recipe. I have also linked to some of the gluten-free recipes I have posted in the past. Enjoy! More gluten free recipes: Superhero Muffins Deep Dish Skillet Brownie Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons Parmesan and Herb-Crusted Cod Brown Rice Bowl with Edamame and Tamari Scallion Sauce

The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook: Lemon-Glazed Blueberry Muffins
Cookbook Overviews , Recipes / April 1, 2020

My husband bought this The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook (2001) at a used bookstore quite awhile ago, and I hadn’t made anything from it yet. So I sat down and looked through it the other day, and it’s full of good stuff. As I’m sure most of you know, America’s Test Kitchen is a real kitchen in Boston where they test recipes that they publish in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine and demonstrate on their PBS show. Both the magazine and the show focus on “finding the best and most full-proof methods for preparing home-cooked food.” Each chapter of this cookbook, which includes headings such as “Simple Sandwiches,” “All-American Cookout,” and “Fajitas and Margaritas,” includes a few recipes with variations and reviews of the best equipment and ingredients for making the recipes. I took this recipe from the “Muffins & Scones” chapter. The Ekco Baker’s Secret muffin tin took top honors. They also discovered that you don’t need to use fancy butter for baking, just make sure it’s fresh and unsalted. I have to say this recipe, which is pretty detailed, does produce a really good blueberry muffin. I suggest you give it a try!   Makes 12 muffins 2 cups all-purpose…

Cook Something: Gnocchi
Recipes / March 25, 2020

OK, today I’m trying something new. I call it Anatomy of a Failed Recipe. I think it’s good to admit that not every recipe we try is going to work out great, even if we have been cooking for a long time. It might be the recipe isn’t great. It might be that you are trying a new technique. It might be that you substituted ingredients that did not work out. And it might be that you didn’t have much patience, so you tried skipping a step or simplifying the recipe. The reason that this recipe didn’t work out is probably a combination of all the above. So my youngest son Logan loves gnocchi. When I saw a recipe (that looked pretty simple) for homemade gnocchi in the Cook Something cookbook, I thought this would be a good project for Logan and I to work on together. It did turn out to be fun, and it was probably a good first step on the way to successfully making gnocchi. Unfortunately, the final dish wasn’t a huge success. My husband and I still ate it, but Logan didn’t (my older son is not a fan, although he was a sport and…

Cook Something: Pimiento Cheese

Ok, so since we are all cooking at home a lot, I thought I would go ahead and share some recipes. Canal House Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On by Christoper Hersheimer and Melissa Hamilton is one of those basic recipe cookbooks that are great gifts for anyone who is just starting to cook. A lot of the recipes are just variations on a simple recipe. The one I tried out, Pimiento Cheese, is about as basic as it gets. This is something my husband makes a lot, but he doesn’t really have a set recipe for it. So the other day when I was hosting my neighborhood book club (remember those days when you were allowed to have other people in your house :-)) and wanted to make something, I looked up the pimiento cheese recipe in Cook Something. My only complaint about this book was some of the recipes seemed a little old-fashioned and not really the kinds of things I’m usually cooking. My two favorite basic reference cookbooks are How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman and the always reliable Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. In fact, I need to get updated copies of both of these! Anyway,…

Everyday Italian: Beef and Cheese Manicotti
Cookbook Overviews , Recipes / February 19, 2020

I guess I have Food Network nostalgia, because here’s another TV star cookbook. Everyday Italian: 123 Simple and Delicious Recipes by Giada De Laurentis is true to its name. These recipes are Italian-American dishes that are quick and easy. She’s not trying to be super authentic or artisnal in her cooking, but she is trying to create dishes that are inspired by her Italian heritage that are easy for home cooks. I think she has succeeded. Serves 6 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 1 (15 ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 3 teaspoons olive oil 12 pieces of manicotti pasta 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces (optional) Heat a medium-size skillet on medium. Add the ground beef and onion. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, garlic,…

Smothered Pork Chops from Emeril’s Potluck
Recipes / February 13, 2020

Whatever happened to Emeril? I remember when he was super popular on the Food Network, and I was a big fan. I lived in Louisiana for a little bit, and I learned to love Cajun food. It’s become a lot easier to get pretty decent Cajun food in the Midwest, but it’s still fun to try some of these dishes at home. I have several Emeril cookbooks, and they are all good. But Emeril’s Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude is the one I use the most. (Warning: There no photos. Just some illustrations.) His recipes are not always super simple, but they are definitely doable for a home cook. These melt-in-your-mouth pork chops, which take a little time, are a great Sunday dinner option. They are quite popular in my house!   Smothered Pork Chops Makes 4 to 8 servings 8 to 6 thinly pork chops 2 teaspoons Emeril’s Original Essence* 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 4 cups thinly sliced onions 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 3 1/2 cups chicken stock 2 cups water 1 pound smoked sausage or andouille, cut into 1-inch slices 1 pound russet…

The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook: Korean Chicken Bowls
Recipes / February 11, 2020

It’s a new year, and I should be posting about a new cookbook. But right now I have been pretty stuck on The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. I even bought my own copy, which is rare. I already posted the Crunchy Lentil Salad, which I’ve been making a lot. The recipes in this book are simple, healthy, and tasty! So if you have an Instant Pot, I highly recommend you get a hold of this book. Korean Chicken Bowls Serves 4 1/2 cup soy sauce of tamari 5 tablespoons maple syrup 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon Sriracha 1 clove garlic 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 cup white rice 1 cup water, plus 2 tablespoons 1 red bell pepper 1/2 red onion 1 cup fresh baby spinach 1 tablespoon arrowroot or corn starch 1/2 cup chopped green onion Sesame seeds, for garnish Add soy sauce, maple syrup, ginger, Sriracha, and garlic to the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Place chicken on top of the sauce in a single layer. To cook the rice at the same time, position the Instant Pot trivet over chicken breasts and place a 7-inch oven-safe bowl on top. Add…

Cinnamon Spice Cake from Simple Cake
Cookbook Overviews , Recipes / October 24, 2019

I made this cake a few weeks a go, so I wanted to get a short post out about it. The cookbook that this comes from is Simple Cake: All You Need to Keep Your Friends and Family in Cake. The concept is great; it includes ten basic cake recipes, and then variations on those basic cakes. I really want to try out all the recipes! This may be one of those cookbooks I actually purchase, which is high praise. I wanted to try the basic Cinnamon Spice Cake since I am really in to fall baking right now. To serve it to my book club, I decided to make mini bundt cakes. This Wilton Mini Fluted Tube Pan is similar to the one I use. Cinnamon Spice Cake Makes one 13 by 9-inch rectangular cake or about 20 mini individual bundts 2 1/4 cups organic whole-grain spelt flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 3 eggs 1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil or canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1/4 cup honey 1/2 cup whole milk 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest 1 cup light…

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