Google Amy's Cooking Adventures: February 2021

Sunday, February 28, 2021

The Best Brine for a Whole Roast Chicken


I never used to brine chickens.

Then, a couple years ago, I decided to try brining my first turkey - the moist turkey was a game changer, and I realized that I needed to start brining all my poultry...which means I do a lot of brining. 

Why, you ask?

Because of Spud.

You see, since kindergarten, at the most, Spud would eat about half the school hot lunches and want cold lunch for the rest.  As the years have progressed, this number has dwindled to the point where he only eats one school lunch (Taco in a Bag).  He sometimes goes for months taking only cold lunches.

Honestly, I’m fine with this choice, since I know I can provide him with a healthy balanced meal (school lunches can be as well, but kids have a huge tendency to dump what they don’t like.  I have lunch duty a couple times a week and you wouldn’t believe the stuff that gets tossed - yikes!)

Here’s the next problem - Spud (especially after COVID and quarantine) has become increasingly picky about what he’ll eat in his cold lunch.  I think being able to heat up whatever he wanted to lunch during quarantine spoiled him a bit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Chicken Wings


Let’s get reading with this month’s Cook the Books Club pick - Aaron Sanchez’s (Food Network Star) book Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef.  

This one immediately piqued my interest, since I’ve seen Aaron Sanchez on Chopped.  I have to admit - Sanchez was never my favorite judge, but I was intrigued nonetheless. 

After reading this memoir, I was impressed.  The memoir was well-written and gave a lot of insight into Sanchez’s past.  It gave the chef I’d seen on Chopped a lot more dimension.  I feel like I will watch old episodes of that show with fresh eyes.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Egg & Bacon Sandwich (Homemade Egg McMuffin)


Sunday Funday is back with one of my favorites: Breakfast for Dinner!

If I’m completely honest, breakfast for dinner is the only time I really ever eat breakfast foods.  In my house, breakfast is a protein shake for me and cereal for the boys.

The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my go-to recipes, though usually for lunch, not dinner.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Restaurant Style Rice


This month’s Food n Flix movie is hosted by Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  She chose the anime flick, Spirited Away.  As  I started watching, I realized that I had seen still shots from this show before (maybe a meme?)  I can’t recall, but do know that some scenes seemed vaguely familiar.

The movie was...odd…

I’m not a huge anime fan, and this one didn’t endear me to the genre any more.

Nevertheless, there was ample food inspiration.

The food that stood out the most was a rice ball. I started searching for recipes and then realized that what I was really interested in was the rice itself.  Lately, Spud has become more and more vocal about rice.  He is super frustrated that I make rice wrong or buy the wrong rice.  He loves the rice that sticks together at restaurants and has no patience for the regular long grain rice that I make at home.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

It’s Valentine’s Day!  Is there any more perfect day for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries?

And since Valentine’s falls on a Sunday, Romantic Valentines treats are also the theme for this week’s Sunday Funday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Red Lentil Soup (Sudanese Addas)

This month we are heading for Sudan for the Eat the World Recipe Challenge!

I look forward to these challenges every month, because it forces me to think outside the box!  

Yet, even when I’m thinking outside the box, there are still limits, especially because I have learned that there are certain flavor profiles that my kids will absolutely refuse.

Even when my kids were quite young, I’ve never been one to make two meals, simply because someone is picky.  My goal has been to nurture adventurous eaters.  My motto has typically been “eat it or starve”.  The exception is when I make something that I know will be quite spicy.  When I do that, I still require that the kids taste a small portion, but usually have some leftovers from the previous day or two in the fridge that they can heat up.

That being said, the kids have made it abundantly clear that there are some flavors that they simply won’t tolerate (they will literally go to bed hungry (taste a bite and say “I’m full), rather than eat what I’ve prepared).  Two of those flavors are cinnamon and peanut butter when added to savory dishes.  Then add in my refusal to cook seafood or fish in any form and a preference against coconut and we've got a real challenge when it comes to some countries, and Sudan was one of them.

After extensive research, I finally landed on lentil soup.  Then I worried, because I remembered buying the red lentils that were sitting in my pantry for a previous Eat the World Challenge....and I had made soup then too.

I looked back and the previous country was Fiji, and thankfully, the recipe was quite different.

I halved the original recipe (because I only had a cup of lentils on hand), so it was the perfect amount for two adults plus a small scoop for two kids, (who mostly ate the homemade mac & cheese I had on hand).

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Lion’s Head Meatballs


Chinese New Year is this Friday, so Sunday Funday is celebrating today. I wanted to challenge myself a bit and do something different than the usual stir fry.

Cue Lion’s Head Meatballs.  Lion’s Head Meatballs are called such because of their large size.  These meatballs are often served at banquets or special occasions, probably because they can be a bit labor intensive.



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