Autumn Apple Goodness

Hello!

It’s Catie!

Yesterday,to celebrate Veteran’s Day, my family and I decided to go All-American with our dinner. We had hamburgers with chips and dip (though hamburgers are not original to America, they are a staple!) It was all very yummy and Daddy grilled — Bonus! My role did not come in until dessert! (It’s the best part of the meal anyway!)

Keeping with the All-American theme, I was looking for something warm and filled with the flavors of Fall since the temperature outside started dropping. Thus, I turned to the humble apple crumble.

Turning to my favorite go-to cookbook, SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka, I found the perfect recipe. This dessert turned out to be delicious and healthy!

apple pie

One hour later, we were all sitting around the TV watching Agents of Shield enjoying our warm bowls of autumn apple goodness!

Until next time,

Catie

A Nibble or A Choke

Hello!

It’s Catie (I know…I’m still here….but no worries, my Mom will be back soon!)

So recently, I heard this quote and immediately felt that it resonated with my most recent cooking endeavors.

“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. To which I replied, I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”–unknown

I’ve already mentioned that I have a flair for the dramatic. (Yes…you should feel for my husband and parents.) So, I attempted to make the very ambitious Chicken Marsala recipe from the cookbook, SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka.

IMG_1952In my defense, I had very noble intentions for being so ambitious. You see, Chicken Marsala is one of my mother’s favorite dishes and as you’ll see, she’s SuperMom–What can I say? I live to please.

For any of you who do not know, Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish that involves a breaded and fried chicken that is covered in a creamy Marsala wine and mushroom sauce. Yum!

Actually, the whole endeavor started off rocky. First, I had never tenderized chicken before nor witnessed chicken tenderized in my life. So I was completely unprepared when I got out the breasts, cut them, and proceeded to attempt to wrap them in plastic wrap. However, all I succeeded in creating was a Salmonella ridden wadded mess. I recovered though with the thoughtful guidance of SuperMom.

Next, came the actual hammering of the chicken or “tendering” of it. Apparently, I’m something of a wuss. According to some, I was using about as much force to pound the chicken breasts as I would’ve used to bat my eyelashes–you could say, I was getting nowhere. All was saved though (again), when SuperMom came in to show me how it’s done, and let’s just say she’s no wuss….<>.

Then, I began the actual cooking and frying up of the chicken breasts which was no sweat because I am Mississippi born and raised after all.  I could probably fry just about anything up in my sleep. It’s in my blood. However, the tricky part came after the frying.  I’m using an iron skillet, ( is there really anything better??), but what I didn’t account for was the fact that an iron skillet takes a little longer to cool back down than other skillets. So, when I started making the marsala sauce, I ended up, not with golden and tender shallots and garlic, but burnt unrecognizable pieces of what use to be shallots and garlic glued to the bottom. Cue SuperMom back with her magical powers to fix it!

She cooled and cleaned down the skillet in enough time for me to re-chop the garlic and shallots. (Bet you wish you had a SuperMom!) In the end, despite the fact that apparently I had bought imitation Marsala wine instead of the real stuff, and used beef broth instead of chicken broth (what? I’m learning…) it ended up pretty good (or so SuperMom said…she could be biased though).

We paired it up with baked sweet potatoes (which I forgot to spear before putting in the oven –almost had some ‘splodin spuds…whoops!) and collard greens. Delizioso! (Delicious! For those of you who don’t speak I-talian)

Until next time,

Catie

From Disaster to Delicious

Hello!

If you’re just joining in, my mom usually blogs on this site but I’m guest posting for her for a few weeks.  I’ve been chronicling my adventures in perfecting my art of cooking.  You can find the first post of my challenge here, if you’d like to start at the beginning.

Since the last crock pot recipe went so well, I decided to try my hand at more slow cooker recipes. I just can’t help myself.  They are just far too convenient.

I ventured out and tried a different cookbook this time, Fix-it and Forget-It Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. It’s a cookbook that my mom found at a second-hand store. The recipe I used was for a southwest soup.

The recipe was…strange. The soup could only best be described as a kind of salsa soup with potatoes…weird, right??

So in order to salvage it, mom came to the rescue. She’s pure genius.  Thank you, Supermom!  I’m incredibly blessed to have you as my guide.

We cooked some ground meat in fajita seasoning and added it to the soup along with a can of rinsed dark red kidney beans. (The problem with the recipe before was the soup was only potatoes and crushed tomatoes. — Just too thin. ) Then, we added some sour cream, avocado, and shredded cheddar cheese on the top.  The soup turned out to be one of the best taco soups I have ever had!

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Until next time,

Catie

The Battle of Meal Planning

Hello!

It’s Catie, blogging for my mom!

This will be my third week now of cooking meals every night (or most nights) and I’m gong to be blunt here and say, it’s hard! Who knew being a grown up would  require so much work?!!

I equate this work much to how I imagine it’s like to prepare for battle.  First, you must plan your strategy (the week’s menu). It must be detailed enough that you know exactly what you are going to do, but flexible enough to accommodate the dietary preferences of your allies (the family members).  You know … don’t schedule a week of meaty meals when someone is going vegetarian. Keep thy allies happy! (or you will find yourself washing your own dishes..)

Next, you have to check the supplies and decide what must be bought. This step is by FAR the most crucial. Just as you wouldn’t want to go to battle without a sword (this is more of a medieval battle than a modern one), you  don’t want to find yourself elbow deep in marinating meat searching for that supposed bottle of thyme (Can we say Salmonella hands….Ew!)

Once you know what supplies you need, you must be cunning and quick in the grocery store! Dodging the slow or aisle hogging shoppers and quickly choosing the products needed, all while remaining on budget and on point.

Finally, you arrive home, and the battle begins!

Kinda Dramatic….I know.

Anyways, the results of my little battles have been very yummy!  For instance, a couple of days ago, I made this delicious Columbian Steak with Aji Picante sauce from the cookbook SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka. Gasp! A non-Mexican food meal you ask? Yup…and it was good!

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Mmm mmm!

Until next time,

Catie

Fish Tacos for Challenge 4

Hello!

It’s still Catie here, guest posting for my mom!

I’m sorry for the absence in posting, but this past weekend was Fall Break for me, and I took the break part very seriously!!  However, I did manage to pull it together for some pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) fish tacos! Did I mention the Mexican food addiction problem I have? But it’s just so good I can’t help myself!fish tacos (790x800)

(Sorry for the picture quality. I was working with a camera phone. I gave my trusty photographer a break–Thanks Mom!)

The recipe came from the book SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka, who I now feel is a sort of animal spirit guide leading me through this new world of cooking, because every recipe has been mouthwatering-ly delicious!

This recipe was a little bit more involved than I was anticipating, as in it took MUCH longer than the 30-40 minute prep time I’m used to.

The fish is, and I quote, “gently” poached over Rotel, onions, and chiles while the shredded red cabbage marinates in lime juice and cilantro.  I also prepared the blended jalapeno and avocado cream to top the tacos.  And getting all fancy with it, the tortillas were toasted in the skillet so that they could better hold the delicious filling. Whew, I’m a bit tired just remembering it and my mouth is salivating!

Although these tacos were very good, I think I’m gonna stick with the quicker recipes for now!

Until next time,

Catie

I Believe in a Thing Called….Crock Pot

Hello!

For those who have not read the two previous posts here and here, this is not Mimi but Catie, her daughter, here to blog in her place for one month. To start off, I am currently attempting to boost my cooking skills using the waistline friendly cookbook SkinnyTaste by Gina Homolka.

For my third night of cooking, I delved into the magical world of Crock Pots. Now, apart from marveling at all the pins on Pinterest that my clearly culinarily-superior friends post, I have not had any experience with this cooking style. So, I never understood the draw. However, after this meal, I can say that my life is forever changed.

On the menu: Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken.

It was seriously magic. I dropped in the ingredients: chicken broth, Rotel, beans, corn, cilantro, an array of spices, and chicken breasts into the pot and then, and this is the really cool part, I put the lid on it.  Poof, done! I was off the hook for the next 6 hours.

Six hours later when I came back, perfectly falling apart, fully flavored chicken greeted me. We had it as soup for dinner, but while we ate, everyone was excited to try it as a filling in other meals such as enchiladas or nachos. (Did I mention how much my family loves Mexican food?…really, its a problem…intervention, anyone?)

Crock pot chicken

Delicious looking right? I can say, truly from the bottom of my heart, that from this moment on, I am a HUGE believer in the power of a Crock Pot. I just may pin those recipes now on Pinterest with the best of ’em!

Until next time,

Catie

The Laws of Physics: Cooking Challenge 2

Hello!

To recap: I am, Catie, blogging in the place of my Mom this month as she completes some of her own projects. I am currently attempting a cooking challenge to help bolster my repertoire of recipes and learn some basic cooking skills. I am using the cookbook, Skinny Taste by Gina Homolka. Day one was a successfully delicious Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Pesto Mayo.

One of my all time favorite Date Night places to go eat is the Bonefish Grill in Madison,MS. And without fail, though I may browse the menu FOR-EV-ER, I will always inevitably order the Bang Bang Shrimp.  Now that my husband and I are both in school, such Date Nights happen less frequently, but my love for this dish does not waiver.  So when I saw in my trusty cookbook, Skinny Taste, a knockoff for this very beloved meal, I knew what I must cook! Also, since this meal is particularly spicy, (hence the name “Bang Bang!”)  I thought a dessert of Watermelon Lime Granita would be just the ending we would need.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this delicious meal. (Yep, it was That good.)

But here is the picture from her blogsite, Skinnytaste.com and I promise, cross my heart, mine looked the exact same (cough, cough).

skinny-bang-bang-shrimp

The Bang Bang Shrimp was quick to whip together. Mix up the sauce, (mayo, hot sauce, and sweet chilli sauce) coat the shrimp in corn starch (not corn syrup–I had an almost whoopsy with that one!), cook the shrimp, mix the sauce with the shrimp, and then layer over a bowl of shredded iceberg lettuce, and red cabbage.

I’m feeling like a pro….

Until the Watermelon Lime Granita ….

Now this dessert takes 5 hours prep time. No biggie, no sweat, I got this! I blended those fruits up, I poured them into a pan, popped them into the freezer and walked away. Well, I have a suggestion to make for all the novices out there like me: if your freezer is not empty, don’t pour your blended fruit juice into a pan and then, place it into the freezer like she instructs. Instead, cover that pan with a lid, before all laws of physics break loose. I came back 2 hours later, opened the freezer and before I had opened the door an inch, WHOOSH! Watermelon-Lime-Slushy everywhere! It was all over me, all over the floor, all over the walls, every nook and cranny was coated in that pink sticky stuff! Needless to say, I became my own clean up crew for this little incident.  All that was able to be salvaged of my cooling dessert was about 1 cup full left in the pan.  My mom and I can attest to the fact that it was very tasty, but I’m not sure it outweighed the mess. (yes, I’m still a tad frosty about it! ) However, lesson learned: Items in freezer will shift when liquids are involved!

Until next time,

Catie