Thursday, March 2, 2017

Make ahead meals

Earlier this week I found a recipe for a prosciutto covered pork loin roast in a Hy-Vee grocery store Seasons magazine. I had left over prosciutto in the refrigerator and decided to try it. Fareway had a 2.5# pork loin roast on hand and I cut it half, freezing part for another day.  
Prosciutto covered pork loin, tied with cotton twine
Cabbage and cherry topped with sliced pork loin roast
Instead of serving up the side they suggested, I used Ellie Krieger's Weeknight Wonders cookbook,  cherry and cabbage recipe which she paired in her cookbook with a pork tenderloin. The sweet potato I had baking at the same time as the roast wasn't done in time for dinner. It was a HUGE sweet potato.  That was okay, we'll have it later in the week!

This weekend I'm heading out of town for Little Rock to spend a weekend with a sibling and walk the half. I really want to run the full one day--it has a medal about as wide as my chest. For now, I'll settle for walking thirteen point one and having that future goal.  Since I'm leaving The Mike for the weekend, I am making him up reheatable meals. Serves several purposes:  1. He has a home cooked meal when he wants; 2. He is getting pronounceable ingredients; 3. He says it's better than buying a spendy lunch at work.  (psst, I still expect he'll get something from Caseys this weekend--a tenderloin or pizza). In asking what he wanted for meals, he said 'hot pockets'.  Hmmm, I thought I had made something like this before but couldn't find a recipe in my books. Then I looked at Chebe's website and couldn't find a recipe.   Thus, I had asked Chebe on FB for a hot pocket recipe. I had seen one before, but when I looked at the webpage I was coming up empty.  They suggested this recipe  by Simply Gluten Free.
Mexican Lasagna:  Layers of Frontera enchilada sauce, corn tortillas cut to size, refried black beans, ground beef, corn, cheese.  Bake at 350 for about half an hour. Cool and top with a little cheese.

A new recipe The Mike thought sounded good was a Cornbread jalapeno chili one out of a cookbook I purchased from my old yoga place.  I made half the recipe and it looked fabulous when done.
Cornbread with jalapeno and cottage cheese (interesting!) on bottom and top, in the middle is beef, kidney beans, black beans, salsa.  

The recipe Chebe sent me suggested to cut the dough into six pieces. I think next time, I'd do longer, skinnier pieces, so I could just fold over and have three seams instead of four.
Pepperoni and cheese, Ham and cheese, and Broccoli Chicken and cheese. 
My crimping job wasn't too bad. I tried to do a couple like a pie and it didn't work out well. I then just decided to use a fork--worked perfectly!
 Finished items:
Cornbread chili 

Hot pockets 
All labeled and ready for the refrigerator.

I did put the hot pockets on a cooling rack to cool completely, then wrapped each in a piece of parchment paper in order to make handling/reheating a bit easier.  Put each inside a ziploc bag. I hope The Mike enjoys the hotpockets. I wanted to make more to take with me, but that's not the best since I'll be flying.  I have Mama Chia fruit packets, a couple wrapped eggs, Chobani, string cheese, and Tanka bars!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Birthday Cake a la Oscar! No, not that Oscar.

The Mike had a birthday this month. He's officially caught up to me (again)--for a few months anyway.   I asked him a earlier this month what kind of cake he wanted and he said "swirl".  Me (thinking) "how do I make a swirl cake?" Thanks internet for teaching me how!   The thing The Mike didn't know was that I had found some old Wilton cake pans at the consignment shop last November.  I had Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and then there was a Cabbage Patch one.  I had made a round Cookie Monster cake last year for his birthday, so that one was out. I casually asked my husband, "Which Sesame Street character is your favorite next to Cookie Monster?".  The Mike took a minute to think, and wonder why his wife is asking him this question out of the blue, to say "Oscar".  Okay.  Oscar it is!  

Fast forward to February and I cheated with using a Betty Crocker chocolate and Betty Crocker yellow cake mix. I  would have made one cake from scratch, but two cake mixes--not happening, and on a rushed day.  I had four hours to bake, cool, and ice the cake before an afternoon appointment.   To the yellow cake mix, I added a package of J-e-l-l-o French Vanilla pudding (I think that was the flavor), just to add flavor to the yellow cake mix, because we all know it doesn't have any flavor.  Don't add any extra liquid to the yellow cake mix/pudding bowl.
FB helped me with friends saying to heavily butter/grease the pan and then suggested using cocoa powder instead of white flour in the pan.  Great tip!
Google helped with the swirl part. To make a swirl, mix up both cake mixes. Then make a grid system of alternating mixes every other dollop/plop into the pan.    
In hindsight, I could have used more vanilla plops, but it was moving together quickly in the pan. I was told only one cake mix was needed for the cake pan. Knowing this, I held back some of the mix and made six jumbo cupcakes to bake and freeze. 

 Then use a wide cake frosting spatula or something wider than a regular knife to swirl the cake together.
 I was afraid of mixing too much, but once it was cut into, I realized I could have swirled more.  
 Go ahead, laugh. I sure did.  It looks like an alien opening his mouth to scream.  

I followed the pan how to decorate. I could not believe how much frosting is needed on this!  The grass piping tip works well for his fur/hair.  I originally tried using some KToos GF oreo type cookies or the eyes, and that was just TOO MUCH, so I went with the Wilton eye decorations instead.    
Was The Mike surprised?  Yes. He had forgotten naming Oscar as his second favorite Sesame St character though, so he was a bit perplexed as to why he had an Oscar cake.  :-) 

We should have pulled some of Oscar out of the freezer to have on Oscar night! It's in there for when we have a cake craving.