Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: April 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 2016 Reads

Author: Jennifer Armentrout
Rating: ★★★★

Author: Jenny Lawson
Rating: ★★★

Author: Shannon Hale
Rating: ★★★★★

Author: Diana Gabaldon
Rating: ★★★★

Author: JD Robb
Rating: ★★★★★

Author: John Updike
Rating: ★★  

Foodies Read & Food ‘n Flix 

Author: JK Rowling
Rating: ★★★★★  
Read out loud to my boys

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets

Another homemade chicken nugget recipe!  I know!  Craziness!

We have our family favorite, but this time, we decided to shake things up a bit and try to get a similar texture to frozen/fast food variety.

To achieve this, I poached and shredded the chicken, added an egg to help it stick and then made little nuggets!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sausage & Garlic Pizza

It’s the weekend!!!  Let’s have pizza!

I’m am so excited to be having pizza again!  During Lent, my family decided that together we would give up our Friday Pizza & Movie Night.  This made Fridays during Lent especially tough, because we were eating Vegetarian (something that never goes over well in my house full of men) AND we didn’t even have a movie to look forward to! 

We tried replacing it with Family Game Night, but it just wasn’t the same.  We play quite a few games in our house, but they’re not usually designated to a special day or time.  I’m thinking game night might work better when the kids are a touch older and less apt to cry and flip a game board when they lose.

Lent has been over for a few weeks now, but before I could make any amazing homemade pizzas, we had to get Little Caesar’s (because the boys love the cheese bread) and Pizza Hut (because Dude earned a Book-it coupon from school).  Then it was my turn!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Creamy Ham, Potato & Corn Chowder

Creamy Ham, Potato, & Corn Chowder is a delicious way to use up Easter leftovers!

Brrr!  We’ve had some chilly rainy spring weather for the past week!  Which is actually wonderful, because we need that rain, but it also means it’s bone-chillingly damp.

So what better time for a nice comforting chowder?

I had (even more) Easter ham saved up in the freezer and this time I decided to make chowder!

I seriously contemplated Scalloped Potatoes & Ham or Creamy Ham, Swiss, & Potato Soup, but neither of those meals go over really well with the kids.

This recipe, however, has bacon.

Bacon can win over even the most skeptical child 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Beef Stew #CooktheBooksClub

My family loves beef stew.  I definitely have my go-to recipes (here, here, and here), but I also love to try new ones (like this, this and this)!

Today’s recipe comes from Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family by Kathleen Flinn, this month's Cook the Books Club selection.  This was a slow, meandering story, intertwining the food and stories from her family.  It almost felt like going home for a family reunion!

The memoir follows Kathleen Flinn’s family through several generations with stories, anecdotes and recipes.  I loved this book!  I also grew up in the Midwest (though a different part than the author), so I was able to relate to her and her history.  Plus the recipes all sounded amazing and (again) many of them were foods I also grew up eating (with a few variations).

I loved so many recipes in this book, but as I started making stew one day, I remembered this recipe and decided to give it a try.  I was intrigued by the addition of the allspice and brown sugar in particular.  And I was totally thrown for a loop when I kept reading and saw that it was meant to be served with egg noodles.

Stew and egg noodles?  Whelp, I’ll try anything once.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Saucy Korean Beef Stir Fry

Last weekend, Dude realized it had been awhile since he had cooked dinner and blogged about his experience!

Dude has 3 favorite meals to cook: Chicken Noodle Soup, Spaghetti & Meat Sauce (here, here, here, and here) and Beef Stir Fry (here and here).

He decided that his night was going to be stir fry, but he wanted to blog, so we set off to find a new recipe for him to try!  He knew he wanted beef, red peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.  So we has a quick lesson is Googling and key words, and web browsing as he chose his recipe.

It was actually quite fun, especially since he first found a photo that he liked, with (as he said) “stir fry with a moat of rice around it.”  Immediately, he wanted to make the recipe that belonged to that photo, but we slowed down and he realized that he really didn’t care for most of the ingredients.  We talked about how he could style his own dish after the photo he liked, only with a different recipe that he liked as well.

The whole family enjoyed the stir fry recipe!  It was the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and just a hint of spice.  The sauciness felt exactly like take-out stir fry, only better because it’s homemade.  I loved it and can see this becoming a new family favorite!

Here’s Dude:

My Mom and Dad loved this stir fry!  I loved it too! It was the greatest stir fry I've ever had!

Saucy Korean Beef Stir Fry
Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

1 ½ lb top sirloin beef, sliced thin
1 small onion, sliced thin
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
¾ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup water
½ cup mirin or rice wine
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp sriracha
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch, divided

Stir Fry
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered

Place the sliced steak and onions in a large zipper bag.

In a large measuring cup (or bowl), whisk together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, mirin, sugar, sriracha, and black pepper.

Ladle out 1/3 cup of the marinade.  Whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into the 1/3 cup and pour over the steak and onions.  Zip the bag and turn to coat.  Set the steak aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.  Or place in the refrigerator to marinate for several hours or up to overnight, removing from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before cooking, to allow the steak to come to room temperature.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the sesame oil over high heat until very hot and shimmery.  Add the marinated steak and onions and cook until browned and nearly cooked through. 

Move the steak to a plate and quickly wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

Immediately, add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and heat until shimmery.  Add the vegetables and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, about 3 minutes.

Whisk the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch into the remaining marinade mixture.  Pour into the vegetables and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add the meat mixture and heat through.

Serve over rice.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cinnamon-Sugar Crepes #SecretRecipeClub

Welcome to April’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal!  In SRC, members are assigned another blog, search through the archives, bake up something delicious, and share it on reveal day!

I was assigned Maxine’s blog, Why Am I Not Skinny?  Haha – what a great name for a food blog!  Maxine is a South African blogger living in Brussels, Belgium.  And she loves food, especially desserts!

There were so many delicious recipes to choose from!  I actually made her Chicken & Broccoli Bake, but it was right after Easter, so I swapped out the chicken for ham and then I felt bad for changing the main ingredient for a SRC reveal.  It was super delicious, so I blogged it separately and started looking again!

This time my eye was all for the desserts.  Like this amazing Orange Ricotta Cake!  Or Lemon Poppy Seed Cake!  Or *be still my heart* Cappuccino Cake!!!

Then I remembered the whole “it’s the week after Easter” thing and that the Easter bunny brought SO. MUCH. CANDY.  And there were still Easter sugar cookies. *sigh* no reason to make cake *sad face*

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Floral Easter Bunny Cookies #FoodiesRead

I *ahem* I mean Santa got me a new cookbook for Christmas.  It was The Cookie Companion by Georganne Bell, the genius behind the cookie decorating blog, Lila Loa.

If you’ve popped by my other blog, Amy’s Confectionery Adventures, you know that I decorate cakes as a hobby.  I also dabble in cookie decorating.  I say dabble, because cakes come easier to me and I always feel like I could do better with the cookies. 

So when I found out about the book, I knew I needed to have it - if only for the color guides (mixing colors is so hard!!)  But the tips in the book - OH MY GOSH!  You guys!  I have been making royal icing wrong with whole time!!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Creamy Burrito Skillet

It was one of those nights.  You knows the ones I mean.  We’d gotten back home after Easter a couple days before and had been skating by on leftovers.  I had no dinner plan.  I had offered to volunteer at the Dude’s school.  Spud just wanted me to play with him.  The laundry was overflowing.  And I honestly can’t remember the last time I swept of mopped the floors.  Did I mention I had absolutely no dinner plans?

Oh, and I’d already been to the grocery store at least 3 times, but without a list, so the refrigerator was kinda sorta stocked, but not for any specific meal.

And so, for the second time this week, it was operation clean out the refrigerator (because after last time, I had ¾ a block of cream cheese just waiting to sprout some mold) with a strong reliance on the pantry.

I’d just made pasta, so I knew I wanted to do rice.  We were out of ham, and I didn’t have any beef (well, I had a roast but it was frozen solid), but I did have frozen chicken, so I wanted to make something that wouldn’t care if I started with frozen solid chicken.  I had a random jar of salsa (Mexican!) farmer’s market corn and homemade chicken stock in the freezer, so I was finally in business.

The recipe I (loosely) followed called this One Skillet Mexican Chicken & Rice, but the cream cheese and chicken reminded me strongly of Creamy Chicken Taquitos and the rice got me thinking about burritos.  As I thought about it, it really seemed like a yummy creamy burrito filling!  In fact, Dude & I scooped it up with tortilla chips and ate it dip-style.  Hubs added shredded cheddar and wrapped his in a tortilla, truly turning it in to a burrito.  Spud saw beans and lead a one man revolt.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Easy Ham & Broccoli Bake

We took the family to my parents’ house for Easter again this year.  They had bought such a huge ham that we came home with a bunch of leftovers, which was great, because the refrigerator was rather bare.

We pulled into town about an hour before dinner time, so I needed to figure something out – and fast!  And that’s when operation clean out the refrigerator began!

Ham?  Mostly gone carton of cream? About to expire cream cheese?  Partial boxes of random pasta – bring it on!

What started off as a bunch of random ingredients that needed to get out of the fridge turned in to an awesome meal!  The dish wasn’t saucy at all, but it was super flavorful and definitely something I’d make again…even if I didn’t have to clear out the fridge!

Recipe Note:
-I had several open, partial boxes of pasta in my pantry, so I used an assortment in this recipe.
-The heavy cream/milk combination can be substituted with 1 cup light cream or half & half



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