Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Make Ahead Meals

Lately I've been experimenting with make ahead meals. Something that can be frozen and then just popped into the oven when you want to make dinner. I've done a shepherds pie (I mixed the cheese into the mashed potatoes rather than topping), chicken pot pie casserole-put the crust on before putting it in the oven rather than before freezing or just top with biscuits after its cooked, and lasagna. I would've done enchiladas too, but those we ate that day. Also, I'd be worried the tortillas would get a little too soggy, I mean they get soggy anyway, but I don't know how well they'd freeze and thaw then cook. A couple of tips, don't use a glass pan-the temperature differentials are not safe for glass, even the super duty tempered stuff like Pyrex. With most things, you probably want to bring it to room temp first, so pull it out a couple of hours before you put it in the oven. The big point of making stuff ahead is to cut down your prep time, if you use the disposable foil pans, you also cut down on cleanup at the same time!

Other recent experiments have been homemade granola bars and homemade enchilada sauce. I like to cut our overall costs as well as improving overall health by cutting out unnecessary sugars, dyes, and preservatives. They were both hits! The links below are to the recipes I used. I adjusted for our personal pallates, which makes it fun! You usually don't have to follow a recipe to the letter, its a guideline not a law!

Happy Cooking!

Granola Bars

Enchilada Sauce

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My first Turkey

Ok, so last weekend wasn't thanksgiving, but I made my first turkey anyway. A friend brought over an extra turkey that he had gotten from a work giveaway, and we had a little dinner! It was a 13lber and unfortunately was still frozen a little in the center, so it didn't quite cook through, though it was damn near close. He had pulled it out of the freezer two days early, but it just wasn't long enough. That mini disaster aside, it was awesome! The bird was salvageable, leftovers will be heated through in other dishes, so there were no worries. I made a compound butter with your standard poultry suspects (rosemary, sage, and thyme) to rub all over and under the skin. Can I just say, not only was it delicious, it was pretty! Aluminum foil is most definitely your friend here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bacon Butternut Squash Risotto

I made this recipe awhile back, back before the holidays, at least before Christmas anyway. I've got a few pictures. Its adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe. The adjustments are turkey bacon and omitting a few ingredients I didn't have, and don't tend to keep around. Mostly its your typical risotto recipe, but you add in pureed roasted butternut squash and you start off with bacon, onion, and garlic in your veggie mix. Its delicious but very rich!