Friday, February 5, 2016

Recipe Trials

It's time again to share some pictures of recipes we've tried over the last few months!

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole, 1

First up, we tried the Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole from Our Best Bites. This one was OK, but the broccoli was a little too crunchy, and overall it just wasn't very memorable. Not worth trying to tweak & make again.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole, 2

Also from Our Best Bites, we made this Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn for dessert one night. Unlike the recipe pic, mine turned into a big, stringy mess. It was pretty tasty, but not worth making again. 

Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn

I might have mentioned it before, but Our Best Bites has recipes from two different girls, and both of these were from Kate. I've had quite a few misses with Kate, but Sarah is what makes it one of my favorite recipe blogs, and everything I've tried from her has been top-notch!

Here's one from way back in October. This year I was so busy painting the living room I didn't have time for much Halloween stuff, but the one themed recipe I did make was these little ghost sandwiches. You make a ham sandwich, lay a circle of cheese on top, and melt it to drape down the sides. Then you add some olives for the face. They were super tasty, but things didn't go so well! 

Ghost sandwiches, 1

First, the cheese didn't melt down very far, so I had to really pull it to get it just to cover the meat. You can see some where it didn't cover at all. Second, the olives were not easy to attach, and the sandwiches were so short they didn't really look like ghosts. On the second half (below) I used a punch with nori seaweed and the face stuck on by itself. They were easier, and the faces were cute, but once again they didn't really look like ghosts.

Ghost sandwiches, 2

This Cinnamon Quinoa Pudding is one of those recipes that stuck in my brain & I had to make it as soon as possible. I've been wanting to try quinoa for a while on it's own (I had only tried it in a grain blend before), and I *love* cinnamon and brown sugar flavors. I didn't want to use the syrup, but it looked like the quinoa was coated in something tasty.

Cinnamon Quinoa Pudding

After cooking it, I realized that the grains of quinoa become a little translucent on the outside with a brighter white center. So that wasn't a yummy coating I was seeing on the pictures, it was just the difference in the color of the grain. The results were meh ~ kind of like a thick, cinnamony oatmeal with a grainy texture mixed in. At least now I have a big bag of quinoa on hand for future recipes!

So far we've had a lot of failures, so let me share one recipe that turned out great! These Chinese BBQ Pork Steam Buns were incredible! I had a lot of shredded pork in the freezer, so I mixed it with bbq, hoisin, and oyster sauce. Then I followed this Food Network recipe for the dough and steaming. Instead of using half all-purpose and half cake flour though, I looked up directions on how to make your own cake flour and just mixed 6 Tbsp. cornstarch into 3 cups of normal flour. They weren't the prettiest, but they tasted just like ones from the store. Recipes where you mix dough and have to let it rise always intimidate me a little since they take some extra planning, but I need to make these again soon! 

BBQ Steam Buns

This Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken looked nothing like the recipe picture, but was very yummy. The difference in color is probably because I suck at caramelizing things ~ my sauce seized up like hard candy, so I added in some water to melt it back down. The only other problem was chopping the lemongrass. It would not mince in our chopper, so I had to finish mincing it with some kitchen scissors. Not easy! I was thinking next time it would be better just to use some ground lemongrass, but the minced pieces added a really nice texture to the dish. If I can find an easier way to chop that, it would definitely be worth making again. 

Lemongrass Chiken

On the left side of that picture you can see a Coconut Cabbage recipe I made up that I've cooked several times but keep forgetting to write about. Whenever I mention it to my husband, he forgets we've had it before and questions the combination of coconut + cabbage, then is always surprised by how much he likes it.  (There are also some caramelized onions and other flavors going on in there. It's good!)

I'll end with an Indian dish, Pakistani Beef Curry. This one was a little out of my comfort zone, but it turned out really good. The cinnamon and ginger were such a nice addition to the curry flavor that we wanted it stronger, and both agreed to bump up all the spices next time. It's quite liquidy in the picture, so next time I might try to reduce that, or just serve it in a bowl over rice. Her ingredient list not super exact (3 potatoes, 2-3 cups of peas, etc.), so you'll want to write down what ratios you used to recreate it later.

Pakistani Kima

Obviously I need to do these posts more often, because that is less than half of the pictures I have filed away! I really like trying new recipes, heh heh.

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