What I Cooked Last Weekend

If you happened to see my post from Saturday, you’ll know that my area of the country was hit by our first major winter-storm of the season. In fact, it was the first really major storm in the last couple of years. Parts of the state I live in experienced blizzard conditions. Though we had a lot of snow at my house, we didn’t lose power, have the blizzard conditions (according to meteorologists) and overall fared pretty well. The fact that it fell on a Saturday was also nice. In the end, it basically meant I was snowed in on Saturday which gave me plenty of time to hang out in the kitchen.

I did bake, though not from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I also tried my hand at some more vegan recipes. Here a rundown of my time in the kitchen last week.

Continue reading “What I Cooked Last Weekend”

A Blizzard in New England

Today, we are experiencing blizzard conditions. Or at least we might be. It doesn’t look like much, but the wind is blowing the snow all around. This is truly the first major snowstorm of the season, so I guess I can’t be too upset.

At least it’s happening on a Saturday and I don’t have go anywhere. I plan to spend the day watching tv, making soup, doing laundry, and eating way too much left-over birthday cake.

Barefoot Contessa Recipe 45 Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This recipe can be found in Modern Comfort Food, page 58.

Wow! What a week it’s been.

As things are beginning to open up in my home state and more people are getting vaccinated, my free time is slowly beginning to return to a pre-pandemic state. While this is great overall, it means that before I know it, it’s Friday. Then I realize I didn’t post all week long. Oops.

Anyway, last week we had a few colder days combined with some rainy weather. Even though it’s April, the weather had me thinking, “Soup for dinner, soup for dinner…” late in the week. So, that’s exactly what I did. I made a soup and it was the perfect choice!

Soup for Dinner…in April?

Ina’s Chicken Pot Pie Soup comes from her most recent cookbook, Modern Comfort Food. While I have only made a few recipes from this book so far, none of them have been short of amazing.

However, I will admit that I was a bit underwhelmed by this one. I liked the idea of taking puff pastry cut-outs to act as the “crust,” the soup itself didn’t taste much different to me than her regular chicken noodle soup recipes. I have found that when I make chicken pot pie, the mixture is a little thicker and has more body to it. For me, that makes pot pie heartier and more comforting. This soup, despite its name, still tasted and looked like soup. Perhaps it just wasn’t thick enough or maybe some of the flavors are off.

The world may never know!

This Week’s Cooking

Last weekend I had big dreams in the kitchen. My original post mentioned something like I would make three recipes all in one day. Well, that was a little optimistic. I only ended up making one (the soup).

But, the cookies I had planned to make are still calling my name, so they will be made today and I can’t wait to try them! According to the headnote, Ina says her Chocolate-Dipped Brown Sugar Shortbread cookies taste just like a Milano!

That’s reason enough for me to try them, right?

Dinner tonight will be of the pork variety. This will mark the first recipe I tackle under the Pork & Lamb heading in the recipe index. I am not a big fan of pork, but I’ve never had lamb. So I’m continuing to put those recipes off for as long as I can!

Until next post, readers!

Barefoot Contessa Recipe #37: Provencal Vegetable Soup

This recipe can be found in Barefoot in Paris, page 82.

Last Friday, I made a recipe out of one of my favorite BC cookbooks, Barefoot in Paris. I’m not really sure what it is about this cookbook that interests me so much. Perhaps it’s the fancy food. Maybe it’s the fact that it allows me to live vicariously through Ina in Paris. Whatever the reason may be, the book is full of French-inspired cuisine that tastes great.

The original recipe for this soup calls for making pistou, which is basically the French version of pesto sauce. But it is March in New England, so fresh basil is hard to come by and what the grocery stores do have this time of year is expensive and doesn’t look too great. So, I decided to not make the pistou for this recipe.

Overall, this soup is basically a French-style minestrone. Though, personally I prefer the heartiness of a minestrone over this one. There are more layers of flavors in minestrone and this vegetable soup kind of felt a little flat. We had ample leftover and I found myself adding in crushed red pepper flakes each time I reheated it, just to add to the flavors.

This soup uses a vegetable that I’ve never seen in a soup before: string beans. It was a nice way to use this vegetable and spiced up the vegetable soup-monotony that I usually have (carrots, onions, potatoes, etc). Leaving the skins on the potatoes and using white potatoes give the soup a natural thickening agent, especially as it cools.

To keep with the healthier-eating plan that my family and I have been doing, I used vegetable spaghetti instead of regular spaghetti. As expected, once the soup cooled and remained in the fridge a few days, the pasta did act like a sponge and soak up a lot of the excess water. However, it seems that the pasta didn’t “bloom” as much as other pastas used in vegetable-based soups before.

Overall, Provencal Vegetable Soup is nothing to really write home about. While it is easy and can be adapted to use any vegetables you have available to you, the flavors weren’t really there for me. As is common with many Barefoot Contessa recipes, the heavy use of pepper overpowers the dish.

Weekend Cooking March 12, 2021

This weekend, I am planning to resume the tradition of preparing dinner one night a week. Currently, we are in the middle of the Roman Catholic Lent season, which means my parents observe the practice of not consuming meat on Fridays.

So, my choices were a little slim. At first, I thought to myself, “Well, I can just make a vegetarian dish from one of the blogs.” But then I remembered that I skipped making Ina recipes last weekend. So, I forced myself to find a recipe that would work. But let’s face it, while I love Ina, she doesn’t exactly abide by the vegetarian lifestyle. So, my pickings were slim. It was basically soups or some large portion vegetable dishes like spanakopita.

However, things like spinach in puff pastry doesn’t have all that much nutritional value for a major meal at the end of the day. So, soup it is. And of course, I’ll be omitting all animal products. I’ll be subbing vegetable stock for chicken stock.

I decided to make a soup that features winter vegetables. After all, spring is just around the corner! And soon we will be saying “bye bye” to squashes and potatoes in favor of other vegetables like fresh, garden-grown peppers, tomatoes, and string beans. So, I’m going to take advantage of root vegetables while I still can!

Dinner Friday will be Provencal Vegetable Soup with Pistou. This recipe, if you couldn’t tell by the name, appears in Barefoot in Paris, which is still my favorite Ina cookbook. You can read the review of it here.

This weekend is also my father’s birthday. So I will be making him a cake. Though the cake will not be an Ina recipe, I will still make a blog post about it. I may cook an additional Ina recipe over the next few days. Maybe I’ll finally attempt one of her appetizers!

Until next time…

Hearty Vegetable Quinoa Soup

On Friday, I made this wonderful soup that tasted so yummy. An added bonus? It’s vegan! This soup is a wonderful soup to make because its essentially a one-pot meal. It has veggies, grains, and proteins all in one recipe! It will definitely save you some time in the kitchen while also ticking off some nutrient requirements.

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Today’s Snow is Prettier

Weird angle was intentional lol

The snow is more fluffy today than last week. This is the type of white stuff that I like! Much easier to shovel and usually the storm passes much quicker.

Even though we are getting snow, I’m not making bread. I’ve done a lot of baking this weekend! I’ve been recipe-testing a new cookie recipe. It should be ready for posting soon!

Today, I’m making chicken soup.

The soup is on!

Cooking Thoughts Week of 2/1/21

This week I am planning to move away from Ina Garten when it comes to my weekly Friday cooking. As of this moment, I am planning to make a vegetarian dish. Probably a soup. It seems like this time of year, my family enjoys having soup in the house on the weekends.

But the question remains….what soup?

Barefoot Contessa Recipe #30: Winter Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta

This recipe can be found in Foolproof, page 53.

Last Friday was really cold! Like really, really cold. Mother Nature was definitely preparing us for more than a foot of snow we got on Monday. But, with the colder weather on Friday, I decided that a soup would be the perfect dinner. Of course, I made an Ina soup!

Continue reading “Barefoot Contessa Recipe #30: Winter Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta”

Friday Cooking January 29, 2021

So I know earlier in the week I posted how on Friday I was planning to switch things up a bit and make something out of the Gourmet Today cookbook. However, sometimes plans change and the weather in southern New England today calls for a hearty soup. So, I’m back to making an Ina recipe. I’ll be making Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta out of Foolproof. I can’t wait to try this recipe since I am a big fan of minestrone soups in general. They’re so hearty. Especially in the winter.