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Saturday, January 18, 2014

December Cookbook Challenge

I realized this morning that I hadn't shared our cooking results from December.  With the holidays, I wanted to make sure I had a cookbook that included lots of recipe variety.  It was the perfect month for an old classic, the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (I have the 11th edition and this link takes you to the current 15th edition, but I would guess that a lot of the recipes are the same).

Let's start with the dinners....

Steak with Lemon Butter was a good weeknight meal, as it was easy and relatively quick. We broiled the steak, per the directions, but I think it would be a little tastier done on the grill, so we'll probably try this again in the summer. The lemon butter was really yummy!
Steak with lemon butter
Pasta Pizza was great! I've seen dishes like this before, but we'd never made one and it is a good comfort meal. The recipe calls for ground beef and mushrooms, but you could easily adjust it to include any pizza toppings you like. The leftovers on this were even better!
Pizza pasta
Pepper Lime Chicken is a dish I'd made before - a long time ago.  It was great and also an easy weeknight meal. You make the glaze while the chicken is broiling and the flavors are really good. The kids really liked this one too. 
Pepper Lime Chicken
Stir-Fried Shrimp and Broccoli was a good, low fat meal, which is important  in this time of year of comfort food and baked goodies at every turn. 
Stir Fried Shrimp and Broccoli
Spinach-Rice Casserole is a recipe I tried because I had a ton of rice that was cooked (per previous recipe) and I needed to find a way to use it. The recipe is meatless and calls for tofu, which I'd never cooked with before.  In the end, it was tasty, but a little bland. I would make it again, but I would experiment with some more spices to zip it up a little. 
Spinach Rice Casserole
Chicken Tetrazzini - I love a good tetrazzini, but I don't think I've ever made it before because I was a little intimidated by it. The almonds on the top of this one made it. The kids didn't care for it, but Mike and I enjoyed it, so we will make it again (and we'll just cook some plain chicken and noodles for the kids). 
Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Soup with Lentils and Barley - This was the last recipe of the month and the leftovers carried us into the polar vortex the following week.  Like a few of the other recipes this month, it was good, but lacked any zip. It called for green or red peppers, which may have been the zip, but we don't eat them in this house. If you have any suggestions for a good alternate to peppers to add some zing, please let me know! (I forgot to take a picture of this one, but just imagine a big soup pot with chicken, barley, and tomatoes. More like a stew than a soup.)

Now that we're done with dinner, let's move on to dessert! 

At the beginning of December, Jenna wanted to bake cookies one day while I was busy working on Christmas gifts. I roped Mike into it and he was a little less than thrilled (but he was a willing participant.  He and Jenna made Shortbread cookies.  We have a family recipe for shortbread that I've always used, so I was interested to see how these turned out.  They were okay, but I will go back to using the family recipe! 

The other dessert that I made was Pralines. Being from Texas, I love pralines the way they are made there - with sugar instead of caramel.  This was the right recipe for that with 3 cups of sugar total!  This recipe was pretty labor intensive, but it was worth the effort, because these little bites of yum just melted in your mouth.  I may have made myself a little sick from eating too many of them....and they certainly contributed to some holiday weight gain! 
Mmmmmm, Pralines

Totaling all those up, we made 9 recipes from this cookbook, and we certainly could have made many more!  I will continue to go back to this cookbook for basics - tried and true recipes for cakes, cookies, breads and muffins, dinners. The other thing that is good about this cookbook is that it has reference pages, hints for preparing different cuts of meat, diagrams, and lots of good pictures. It would be a great gift for someone moving out on their own for the first time. 

1 comment:

Darling Jill Quilts said...

Poor Mike with the cookies! But everything looks great in this post. :)