Every year my family plants a garden in the spring and in the late summer and into the early fall we reap the harvest. Tomatoes of various sizes, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, string beans, cucumbers, the list could go on. While many of our plants are very prolific (this year, especially, the cherry tomatoes), our zucchini plants this year did not do as well as usual. While we still were able to eat some home-grown summer squash, the numbers were far fewer than in years past.
One day, our fridge was overloaded with some large zucchinis, so I figured it’d be a good idea to whip up some zucchini bread. You know, kind of like April 2020 when everyone had those bananas that were beginning to turn brown and the whole world started baking banana bread.
I was a little hesitant to try Ree’s zucchini recipe. After all, I love the one that we use in our family from my grandmother. So, PW had big shoes to fill! And guess what? It did!
This recipe came together quickly and the bread baked beautifully. I also like that it makes two loaves. It was smart on Ree’s part. The first loaf didn’t last very long so it was good that we had a second one to eat through. The bread was super moist and flavorful — the addition of cinnamon really makes the flavors pop.
This is definitely a recipe I will be making again!
Late last week I shared with you my second recipe from Pioneer Woman: Beef Stroganoff.
Traditionally, stroganoff is served over a bed of egg noodles or other pasta which helps to make it a “complete meal.” (I say “complete meal” because I doubt the amount of vegetables in a single serving of stroganoff counts as a full serving, but I digress…) So I was a little surprised to find that PW’s recipe for stroganoff didn’t include any pasta. In fact, she recommends serving it with her Buttered Parsley Noodles.
At first, I was a little hesitant. Regular pasta is thicker than egg noodles and with beef as the main ingredient, I didn’t want the bite to be too hearty. But, I figured I’d give it a go anyway. Plus, when you are cooking-through someone’s recipe backlog, anytime you can sneak in an extra recipe or two is extremely beneficial.
This is a simple side dish that is very low fuss. It’s basically buttered noddles, but with a heightened flavor profile. This recipe calls for pappardelle noodles, which is a pasta shape I have not used before in my cooking. Much thicker than linguine, pappardelle is great when you want to substitute out something like egg noddles. Unlike egg noodles, though, pappardelle is a long pasta, similar to spaghetti or fettuccine so just be prepared for that.
Combining garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and of course, butter and parsley, these noodles a quick side dish that comes together before you know it. I only gave it a 3 out of 5 because it didn’t really add to the beef stroganoff recipe I made. I think I would have preferred traditional egg noddles in that instances. But, on it’s own, this side dish is great!
This time, I was in the mood for brownies but I wanted something a little bit fancier than your usual brownies. So, I decided to make the brownies fit for the rich: Billionaire Brownies. A shortbread crust drizzled with some caramel then topped with a lush fudge brownie sounds like heaven, right?
Well, it didn’t turn out exactly the way I thought it would. Here’s what happened.
For my second Pioneer Woman recipe, I decided to make one of my favorite dishes: Beef Stroganoff.
Name of Recipe: Beef Stroganoff
TV Episode: Kitchen Confessional: Dinner Through the Decades (Season 10, Episode 4)
Rating: 1.75 out of 5
As someone who did not grow up eating a lot of red meat, beef stroganoff was not something I can really remember having as a child or even a teenager. I fell in love with beef stroganoff a number of years ago when my best friend made it for dinner for us. He claims that the recipe is from his grandmother, but he leaves out certain ingredients such as mushrooms since he doesn’t like them. Needless to say, this has been the version I’ve been making for a few years.
Until I stumbled upon Ree’s recipe. Featured in her cookbook, Dinnertime! this recipe looks amazing and it is super simple.
Name of Recipe: Teriyaki Salmon and Kale Sheet Pan Supper
Cookbook: Come and Get It
TV Episode: N/A
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The first recipe on this journey was an easy one. I also loved that it was a sheet pan recipe, so clean up was extremely minimal.
This recipe was so easy and almost hands-off, so there were no pitfalls except for the fact that I think I need to add more kale to the sheet pan. That stuff really cooks down, like spinach, and I forgot about that.
There were basically three main steps to this dish: kale on the pan and season, add salmon and cover with teriyaki, bake! Super, super simple. It’s a wonderful week-night meal since it can be ready in under 25 minutes. It is also an easily scalable recipe. As a first recipe, this one was the perfect choice. It was not very involved and it tasted amazing so it gave me the renewed confidence that I needed for this project.
Here are some pictures below, since I’m trying to take more of them during the cooking process.
See? An easy recipe with only a few ingredients and only one dirty dish. This is a true winner!
We served this meal with a side of white rice, but it would be even better with brown rice or quinoa!
I can see why people flock to Ree’s website and TV show. Her recipes are simple and are designed for modern parents — quick recipes, easy clean up makes for a real winner in my book. I have a feeling I’ll be coasting through these Sheet Pan suppers in no time! Who wouldn’t want a beautiful and tasty meal with little cleanup?
I had a few days off from work this week. I didn’t go anywhere, I was able to take some time for myself. While I didn’t get everything done that I wanted (mainly due to my own laziness and poor planning skills…and the fact that I took a nap one afternoon), I did spend the majority of Tuesday in the kitchen making something tasty.
I also took the time to try and take some halfway decent photos of what I made, which you can see in this post! I am really working on upping my photography game.
So what did I make?
It appears that I am on a Magnolia Bakery kick lately. I’m not sure if it’s because of an article about their vanilla cupcakes is making the rounds online or I’m still just infatuated by the cookbook itself. Whatever the reason, I decided to tackle a recipe from the Icebox Desserts chapter this week.
Last week, I came home from work and was in the mood to bake. But, by the time I got home, ate dinner, and did some chores, I was not in the mood to go to the store. So, I had to pick a recipe that called for ingredients that I already had on-hand.
Enter Brown Sugar Cookies from the Magnolia Bakery Handbook. I recalled that this recipe was in the book and they looked interesting, so I seized this opportunity to make them. The only downside was the recipe required that the dough chill for at least 30 minutes before baking. Ms. Lloyd says that her cookie recipes should actually chill overnight before baking, but 30 minutes will do. In fact, I let this chill for a little over an hour before I started the baking process.
The second baking recipe I made over the weekend comes from the early days of Ina. Her second cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties! takes on a menu-based theme. Recipes are organized not by type, but by party theme.
The recipe I chose to make from this book is one of three variations on the same base recipe. Combined, all three would make wonderful treats for friends or family. But the star recipe of the bake on Sunday was the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies.
There were surprisingly so simple to make. At first I was hesitant because there isn’t a lot of peanut butter in the recipe and it makes a lot of cookies…like over three dozen! At least that’s how many I got out of it. However, upon biting into one, they tasted like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! I was in heaven!
In the recipe, Ina states that these cookies should bake for 17 minutes. I did that for the first tray of 8 cookies. But when I removed them from the oven, I found them to be too browned and overdone. When tasted, they were much drier and didn’t really have a lot of flavor. They were overdone.
So, I adjusted for the remainder of the batch. I baked them for only 16 minutes and they were perfect! What a difference 60 seconds could make, huh? Who would have thought so much could happen in such a short amount of time?
These cookies are super simple but packed with flavor. Everyone loved them. I think they belong on the Favorites list!
This recipe can be found in Back to Basics, page 214.
This past weekend was filled with baking and cooking! After a long hiatus, I finally got the BC bug and dived head first back into the project. Over the course of three days I made a total of five Barefoot Contessa recipes. You can see the full list here, but the different review posts will be dropping over the next couple of weeks.
Over the weekend, I was finally able to see some friends for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Both of these friends were former co-workers who have moved onto bigger and better opportunities. It is so strange, sometimes. You go from seeing certain people almost every day for years then suddenly overnight it’s over. It’s the same thing with graduating high school and even college.
We still keep in touch and had plans to see each other regularly, but the pandemic kind of put those plans on hold. We are now hoping to restart our regular visits.
We decided that I would host the little get-together, so naturally, I made a couple things. I made a lovely dip as an appetizer. In fact, it was Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) Eight-Layer Dip. But the star of the show was the dessert!
This dessert is featured in the Banana Pudding chapter of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Banana Pudding seems to be their signature treat at the bakery. The chapter contains variations on the basic BP recipe: salted caramel, java chip, peanut butter, etc.
All of them look delicious. So, I figured combining the deliciousness of banana pudding with Nutella would be a hit! And it was!
But, I will say, I think the recipe for Banana Pudding that I made from Ina’s Garten’s cookbook tasted better. Maybe next time I’ll try that recipe with the Nutella addition!