2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 Recipe Challenge Results

I am really enjoying going through the recipes each week to find something new to make for dinner.  It is also nice to make things that I have had for so long.  The good news is that most of them still look appealing :) 

We had a mixed bag this month and there are several recipes that will go to the recycle bin when I finish this post.  No meal was bad, but they just weren't good enough to repeat.  Here's the rundown of what we made in February. 

The first recipe of the month was Orzo with Chicken and Asiago.  The funniest part of this recipe was trying to get the kids to find Asiago cheese in the case at Kroger - they had a hard time with the spelling & pronunciation.  We were short on orzo, so did 1/2 orzo and 1/2 pasta and it was still pretty good, but the kids weren't crazy about it.  It is a one pot meal, one dinner meal (no leftovers if all four of us ate it), which is nice every once in a while. 
Orzo with Chicken and Asiago
Next up was a pitch-in at work, so I pulled the Firecracker Brownies recipe.  I thought they would have some great secret ingredient like cayenne pepper, but they were just straight up brownies with chocolate chips and nuts.  And they were pretty dry...not nearly as good as the Betty Crocker box, so this recipe is history.  Having said that, they did all get eaten at the pitch-in! (P.S. I didn't take a picture of them - they looked like standard brownies.)

That night was the start of the winter Olympics, and I had a crock pot meal going all day to make dinner easy so we could settle in on the couch.  Hungarian Beef Stew was a big hit - it makes a nice savory stew/soup that you put over egg noodles.  The noodles also make it easy to make a swap for the kids - they had noodles for dinner without the stew. I love this use for stew meat and we are sure to make it again. 
Hungarian Beef Stew
Cashew Chicken was next on the list, and I had to buy fresh ginger for it - a first time purchase for me. I found out easily how to mince it thanks to Google. It was just as good as what we've had a Chinese restaurants, although I need to learn to moderate the spice a little more.  We all enjoyed the dish, but Jenna didn't like her cashews - no worries there, I was able to eat them for her. This recipe was from the Cuisine at Home magazine, and they don't share their recipes online, but I do recommend the magazine!
Cashew Chicken
The next meal was an easy weeknight dinner - Pasta with Chicken-Sausage Sauce.  It was okay, but just okay.  Our biggest complaint with it was that it was bland, and there was very little sauce to coat it.  Mike wound up taking leftovers for lunch and said it was better when he added sauce and spices. This is another one we won't keep to make again. 
Pasta with Chicken Sausage Sauce
We had friends over the day after Valentine's, so I made the pink dessert - Strawberry Whipped Sensation.  It was super sweet and it never did set very well.  While the picture of it in the ad was pretty, it did not look that good for me!  I will prefer to use my strawberries another way in the future. 
Strawberry Whipped Sensation
Next up was Beef Taco Skillet.  As I looked at the recipe, I realized I have (and use) another very similar to this, so I was curious to see if this would work, as it was a little easier version.  It was another one that tasted okay, but just okay. I prefer our other recipe for a taco casserole much more. 
Beef Taco Skillet
The next night was Barbecue Roasted Salmon and the same story.  We had a couple salmon dishes we really loved last year, but this one just didn't measure up.  In the end, it didn't taste very barbecue-y to me at all, and no one raised their hand to eat it when we had leftovers. (Thankfully, Mike was willing to take one for the team!)
Barbecue Roasted Salmon
Over last weekend, we had two final recipes for the month.  The first was Rosemary Chicken with Zucchini.  I was apprehensive about this one because it called for Mustard, and I don't like Mustard.  I was really prepared not to like it, but in the end I did!  And so did the rest of the family.  The kids weren't crazy about the roasted veggies, but they did okay and they really liked the chicken.  This one is another that is easy to make, but it takes an hour to cook, so you do have to plan ahead. 
Rosemary Chicken with Zucchini
The final recipe of the month was a dessert - Sugar and Spice Cake.  Jenna and I made this one together and we had a good time whipping eggs into a meringue and separating egg. It looked really pretty with the two layers, and it tasted okay...but not great. The cake part was dry.  That hasn't stopped the rest of the family from eating the leftovers though. We won't be keeping this one either. 
Sugar and Spice Cake
So, at the end of the month, we were 4 for 10, so it is a little defeating. However, it is nice to clear out a few recipes and find a few gems.  We'll keep at it in March! Let me know if you try any of them and how you like them. 

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