Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cake Mix Cookies

Cookies can be some of the easiest desserts that can be made. I myself have made many different kinds of cookies, but I recently made the easiest cookie ever. And delicious.

Growing up, I don't think there was a single party that my mom's aunt came to without bringing a couple plates of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or sprinkle cookies. Sprinkle cookies? I don't really know what to call them. Maybe 'Auntie Ginny cookies' would be a better description of what they are.

Yummy cake mix cookies with sprinkles, just like my Auntie Ginny used to make!

In any case, I made said cookies the other day, and as previously stated, they are not only delicious, but also ridiculously easy.

The ingredients, you ask? Cake mix, eggs, and oil.

I did some measuring, and there is about 3 cups of mix in a box of cake mix. For one box, you need just 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of oil. Mix everything together well, and drop the mix on a cookie sheet. I then used the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies, and I put some colored jimmies (sprinkles?) on top.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Day!

Today is March 18. Yesterday was St Patrick's day tomorrow is St Joseph's day.

While I am not at all Irish but I am very Italian, I ironically found myself only baking/cooking for St Partick's day this year.

I made an amazing Boiled Dinner.  This was not only my first time making a corned beef dinner, but I also took it a step further and made it in the pressure cooker.  Once again, it came delicious.  Here's what I did:

  • In the pressure cooker, place the corned beef with the fattiest side facing up, pour in a bottle of Guinness, enough water to cover the top of the meat, and the seasoning packet (I used about a 2.5 lb piece of meat).
  • Secure on the lid, and place the pot on the stove on high-heat.
  • When the pop comes up to pressure, lower the heat to as low as it can go while maintaining the pressure.  Let the pot sit like this for 50 minutes.
  • At the end of the 50 minutes, let the pot depressurize naturally by removing it from the heat and waiting patiently for the pressure to come down (this takes about 15 minutes).
  • Once the pot is depressurized, remove the lid, and transfer the corned beef to a cutting board, wrap it in foil, and cover it with a towel to keep in the heat.  This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat.
  • Pour out about half of the liquid from the pot, and add in the vegetables (I used potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage).
  • Secure the lid back on, move it again to high heat, and as soon as it comes up to pressure, lower the heat again and maintain pressure for 6 minutes.  
  • Slice the meat against the grain, and place everything in your serving platter!
My first attempt at a Boiled Dinner - SUCCESS!!
SO easy!  And from start to finish (including any prep time), this only took 2 hours!  If I had cooked this in a regular pot, I would have been in the kitchen for probably closer to 4 hours.  (Note:  The package on the corned beef said to cook the meat for 50 minutes for each pound of meat.  This means that I would have had to boil my piece of meat for 125 minutes, never mind the time to get up to a boil, and then the cooking time of the vegetables, which would have probably been about 20 minutes).  Pressure Cookers are awesome!

Serve with some mustard, and you've got yourself a feast!!
I also made an amazing (if I do say so myself) Irish Soda Bread.  I haven't made it in years, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  It's an incredibly easy recipe that my mom got from a friend of hers long ago, and I haven't made it any other way.
Irish Soda Bread, made from scratch, sliced, and ready to be eaten!!

So now that St. Patrick's day is over, and the non-Irish in me has celebrated, it's time to make some Zeppole and celebrate St. Joseph's Day!!!

Homemade Zeppole that I made a few years ago....It's time for another batch!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oven Fried Fisn 'n Chips

That's right...oven fried! Or baked. But oven fried sounds so much more delicious.

Oven Fried Fish 'n Chips - delicious homemade french fries and fish sticks!

Being that its Lent, we always have some kind of seafood on Fridays, but lately, they've been lacking.  This past Friday, I really felt like I needed to spice up our Lenten feast. I feel like I don't realize how much meat (chicken, turkey, beef) I eat until Friday comes along and I 'can't' eat meat. One week we had shrimp, another we went out to eat. But this week, I wanted to make something at home. So I figured fish and chips - but my way.

When I was young, my grandfather was a fisherman, and he stocked our freezer with all kinds of fish, so we ate it at least once a week. After he passed away, I feel like fish got reduced down to just during Lent.

My experience with cooking fish is very limited, so I decided to make something I know, but also something new that I couldn't mess up too bad.  Hence:  Oven Friend Fish 'n Chips!

For the Fish:

1 lb cod
1 1/2 cup Panko
2 eggs
Garlic powder

Slice the fish into 1/2" thick slices. Coat the fish in the egg, salt, and pepper, and then coat in the Panko, mixed with the spices.

Let the fish sit for about 20 minutes on a drying rack (like when breading chicken, the actual breading stays on the fish better if you let it rest before immediately transferring it to the baking sheet). Then transfer to a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the fish with the cooking spray and bake for 12-15 minutes at 400* until browned and firm.

For the Chips:

Olive oil

Slice the peppers and transfer to a large zip-lock bag. Add a little bit of oil (about 1 tsp), and the seasonings and mix well to coat the potatoes. Then transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes at 400* (I put the potatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes, then put them on the bottom rack while the fish baked).

I then made a quick tartar sauce (mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, salt, and pepper) and we had a feast!!

The result: delicious. Scott said there was too much seasoning on the fish (he says he likes to taste the fish, but then covers it in tartar sauce / ketchup), but I enjoyed the flavor. Maybe I'll go a little lighter on the garlic powder and paprika. But for a first attempt, I'd say it was a success!! :o)
The fish is resting, the potatoes are ready for the oven!

This makes about 3 servings: 510 calories, 74 carbs, 5 fat, 40 protein, 6 fiber. 12 Points Plus.