Tag: Operation Use My


My New Kitchen Beauty

Posted 3 January, 2015 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 32 Comments

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Behold my new kitchen beauty:

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Every year my mom asks what I would like for Christmas and my response is always that I don’t need anything. This is mostly true–I can generally either buy what I need or go without. But, I put on my thinking cap and as I was cooking one day I realized that what I really need is something that I don’t need at all: a dutch oven. Ok, more specifically I wanted a pot that could go from stove to oven and I’m not sure my basic pots and pans fit the bill.

And oh how my mother loves me.

Since I was home from work the day after she gave me my new beauty, I decided to finally make that tomato sauce from Dinner: A Love Story that I had been wanting to make for weeks. The sauce simmered on the stovetop for hours making the house smell so lovely, and we enjoyed a quite delicious meal of Meatballs and Sauce over penne pasta. And as a bonus I had enough leftover meatballs to freeze some for later. I’m thinking about doubling the sauce next time for freezing as well.

Pictured below: Great-Grandma Turano’s Meatballs (and sauce). Full recipe is on Dinner: A Love Story website.

dutch oven cooking

 

So, I’m feeling a new Kitchen Operation sneaking up on me (fondue pot be damned!). I have my eye on this Braised French Onion Chicken and even this No-Knead Dough!

Do you have a Dutch Oven? Want to share some of your favorite recipes to cook in this kitchen workhorse?

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Linking up with:

ook it up Challenge - small

I cooked these dishes as part of Cook it Up: A Cookbook Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to dust off your cookbooks and put them to use. Link up the first Saturday monthly on Love, Laughter, Insanity.

 

 

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

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Operation Use My Grill

Posted 20 September, 2014 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 17 Comments

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Operation Use My Grill

 

Imagine me doing my “Yay I know how to turn on my grill dance.” Except that one time that we were out of propane and the two other times when Scott had turned off the propane and I didn’t realize it. But otherwise, I know how to turn on my grill! And actually kind of sort of use the grill for cooking things.

If you’re new here (hi!), I challenged myself a few years ago to pick a kitchen thing (or in this case an outside kitchen thing) and spend the month using it. You can see past Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff here.  July was our grill month and we rocked it!

Lessons Learned:

  • Thermometers are friends. There were a few times when we had to throw the chicken back on the grill because it wasn’t cooked long enough. And the first time we cooked steak, it was too overdone. After going through a few thermometers, we finally splurged on a ThermoWorks. It works beautifully.
  • The grill has different temperatures. There is also such thing as indirect and direct heat. I’m still trying to figure all of this out. #headdesk
  • Grilled fruit is delicious. Like seriously.
  • Parchment paper doesn’t really belong on the grill. I learned this when my pizza dough was too sticky to put it directly on the grill. It all worked out in the end, even if the paper did nearly catch fire.
  • Prep everything before you start using the grill–especially if you’re grilling something a little more fragile like fruit/vegetables.

The Recipes:

Meats: Strip Steak, Ribs (started off in the smoker), Fajitas (Big Book of BBQMolasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, Cornish Hens (Big Book of BBQ, started off in the smoker), Bacon Wrapped Burgers (Big Book of BBQ–pic from the book), Grilled Drumsticks (Big Book of BBQ).

The ribs were the best we’ve ever had–I loved the smokiness from the smoker but the flavor from the quick grilling at the end. And the molasses glazed chicken thighs were my favorite of the bunch. There are still many things I’d love to cook–some salmon (which we’ve done before but not in years) and more chicken.

bbq

 

Fruit/Dessert: Grilled peaches, grilled pound cake (with blueberries and blueberry ice cream), grilled pineapple. I was in love with it all. And it allowed Scott to eat fresh fruit without compromising taste. The peaches were a hit with the girls. I didn’t put them directly on the grill because they seemed too tender but I bet they would have been good that way, too.

grilled dessert

 

Veggies/Sides: Corn on the cob (YUM!), Potato Salad (from Big Book of BBQ), Asparagus, Zucchini.

grilled veggies

 

Pizza!  Ok, so the pizza on the grill was a bit of a flop, but it was a fun experiment. On a whim I grabbed a package of Betty Crocker pizza dough mix instead of making my own dough. You know, the whole busy working mom thing. It was a disaster–the dough was too sticky for me to do anything more than spread it out on parchment paper and then throw it on the grill. I called up to Scott and yelled “We need a backup dinner!” After grilling the dough on both sides, I decided to just throw it on the pizza stone in the oven with the toppings. Good news was the entire thing came together in about 15 minutes and it ended up being pretty delicious. It’s BBQ chicken with red onions on my half. So, next time I’ll make my own dough and then follow Beth Fish Read’s instructions on grilled pizza. The Pioneer Woman inspired the assembly of ingredients.

grilled pizza

 

Where Do I Go From Here?

SO. Operation Use My Grill was a huge success. We used our grill more this summer than in all of the other summers combined. Fun random fact–the day that we got the grill was also the day that I joined twitter. Ha! I feel like such a badass for knowing how to turn on the grill and for actually being able to make some things on my own. I’d like to experiment a bit more with the pizza and grill some fish. I think we still have a ways to go before we perfect chicken on the grill. But really, we grilled meats, veggies, fruits, *dessert!* I’m pretty pleased with how Operation Use My Grill turned out.

What’s next? Freaking Fondue. I say that because I’ve been trying to get that fondue pot out for years now. I keep stalling and thinking of new Kitchen Things to play with instead. Have a favorite fondue recipe? I’d love for you to share!

What’s your favorite thing to make on the grill? Anything out of the usual?

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Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

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Operation Trifle Dish

Posted 22 February, 2014 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 42 Comments

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It’s been a year since my last Operation Use My…!  Holy Hannah time passes quickly. If you’re new to Love, Laughter, Insanity, Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff began in 2012 when I made a goal to start using those pesky items in my kitchen that take up space but aren’t often used. Operation Use My Trifle is my sixth installment.

Operation Trifle was a bit tricky for me because Scott cannot eat fresh fruits. There is an abundance of recipes online for trifle desserts but so many with fruit!! Plus I wanted to stretch and see what else I could use the trifle dish for besides dessert. Overall it was a pretty successful operation and we had some yummy eating.

Lessons Learned:

  • Trifles are such a pretty way to present desserts. But people seem to be at a loss on how to dish them up. Just scoop it out folks! It doesn’t have to be pretty once it hits the plate/bowl (and it probably won’t be).
  • Trifles make for a huge dessert (or whatever you’re serving in the trifle). These babies go a long way.
  • The dishes and steps to creating a trifle. OMG. Because of the layers I often had three or four mixing bowls and so many ingredients.

The Recipes:

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle
from How Sweets It Is

So rich, so delicious. Sinful. And not a fruit in sight.

Lemon Berry Trifle
from Barefoot and Baking

I made this trifle a little more complicated than the original recipe because I cooked the fruit over the stovetop before combining the trifle so that Scott could eat it. But so good and I ate on the leftovers for a few days. Just a spoonful here and there…

Seven Layer Salad
adapted from Allrecipes and Southern Food

I made this for a birthday party potluck and the trickiest part was digging in for that first spoonful. I received a lot of compliments but honestly I don’t think people knew how to eat it. I thought it was delicious and it was just as good the next day.

Fresh Fruit Trifle

I made this for Easter brunch last year and Elle loved “helping” me cut up the fruit–or at least taste test the fruit. From bottom to top: pineapple, bananas, kiwi, blueberries and blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.

Tortellini Trifle

Ok, so I totally made this one up. Cooked tortellini layered with spaghetti sauce and tossed with cheese. Whatever. I really wanted to make a taco salad but household allergies cross over to fresh veggies as well.

White Chocolate Tiramisu Trifle
from Rachael Ray

I forgot to take a picture before the candles and clown heads. (Clown heads thanks to Elle). This was actually one of the easier trifle desserts that I made but I was surprised to learn that the party guests (aka my family) are not big fans of mascarpone. I think if I ever made this one again I would need to make it a little sweeter.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Oh Trifle dish. You are sure do make a pretty dessert. But alas, I don’t think you’ll get a ton of use in my household. I think trifles work best for big family gatherings–which we have a fair number of–but most of these dishes were quite a bit of work. I think the trifle will be relegated to fancier affairs rather than everyday.

What’s next? Fondue Pot!!! Ok, so maybe the real reason why I’ve been slacking on the Operation Kitchen Stuff is because I know that fondue pot is one of the last things on my list. I’ve even toyed with starting all of the other operations over again since it’s been a year or two for some of them. Can you believe that the only thing we have used our fondue pot for is to heat up queso? And not even good queso–just heated up the jarred kind. I know, so sad.  Honestly I’m terrified of making fondue!!  I would love to hear if you have any suggestions or recipes you love.

What’s your favorite thing to make in a trifle dish?

Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

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Operation Bundt Pan

Posted 9 March, 2013 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 30 Comments

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You guys thought I forgot all about Operation Kitchen Stuff, huh? Operation Ice Cream ended in September and I’m not really sure how to account for the last five months except a big trip, the holidays, and a serious lack of energy. Now that things have settled back down, I’m ready to get back into the game with Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff. I’ve finally finished with Operation Bundt Pan and as you can see below it was a pretty tasty challenge. I only managed two savory dishes but I’m still calling the challenge a success.

Lessons Learned: 

  • Even if you have a “non-stick” bundt pan it’s still really helpful to grease the pan before making a cake.
  • Pouring icing from a measuring cup makes decorating a bundt cake a breeze. My dear friend recently showed me that you can melt regular frosting in the microwave in low heat and easily pour it over the bundt for simple fancying up.
  • Bundt cakes typically have a space on the bottom from the rounding. If you don’t cut the bottom of the bundt to level it (which I am way too lazy to do), you can just fill that space with cut fruit–see last picture.
That’s pretty much it. Ha! Otherwise using the bundt pan couldn’t have been easier, and the presentation beats the heck out of a regular cake from a cake pan unless you take the time to decorate and ice the cake.
The Recipes:

Pumpkin Spice Bundt with Buttermilk Icing
I learned from the recipe that it’s best to add the powdered sugar icing after the cake has cooled so that it doesn’t just melt into the cake. But still–delicious, delicious, delicious.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

I wanted to see if I could make my regular banana bread recipe in the bundt pan. I doubled the recipe but I wasn’t quite sure how long to cook it for so I ended up overcooking it a bit. Still tasty but I’ll stick to the loaf pan unless I plan on having brunch for a crowd.  For the powdered sugar, pour into a sieve and lightly tap over the cake to dust.

Whole Chicken in a Bundt Pan
From Food.com

Winner winner Chicken Dinner. I will never roast a whole chicken another way again–seriously. I covered the whole of the bundt with foil and clean up was a breeze. Next time I’ll add veggies to the bottom and I did add less butter than the recipe calls for. Once more…seriously the best way to roast a chicken in your oven.

Twinkie Bundt Cake
From Pure Vanilla Cookbook

It was a lot of work to dig those tunnels to pipe in the cream, but I love the idea of a filled bundt cake. And so did everyone else who tasted it.

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
from Foodie Bride

Really good and it really didn’t take too long to form the little pepperoni balls. Elle liked to help, but mostly to pop the cheese into her mouth. It’s the savory take on Monkey Bread (though I’ve heard that you can make regular garlic bread pull-aparts in bundt, too).

Lemon Bundt Cake
from America’s Test Kitchen
(I can’t find the original website I used for recipe)

ZOMG. And the icing? ZOMG. My brother is still asking me when I’m going to make this one again.

Regular Boxed Cake
from my pantry (Duncan Hines)

I had never tried making regular boxed cake in a bundt before and wanted to see how it would turn out. Lovely. Why bother making a cake in a pan and then have to go through the headache of frosting it?


Where Do I Go From Here?

I think it’s safe to say I’ll be making mostly desserts with my bundt pan from now on but I’m still on the hunt for savory things that can be made. Someone suggested meatloaf but honestly I just can’t imagine. Ha! Maybe with some potatoes in the middle? But mostly a big hunk of hamburger like that does nothing for me. I do want to make some monkey bread, because can you believe I’ve never made monkey bread before? And I have a few other recipes pinned to my Operation Kitchen Gadgets board that I’d like to try. But most of these are definite keepers. Win win, right?

What’s next? Trifle Dish!!! Have any recipes you love to make in the trifle? I’d love to hear about them! I’m also on the hunt for creative uses for trifle dishes and I’m also looking for some non-dessert recipes to test out. Hopefully not another five months before I share with you…

What is your favorite thing to make in a bundt pan?

Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

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Operation Ice Cream Maker

Operation Ice Cream Maker

I think I might have gotten a little carried away with Operation Use My Ice Cream Maker. Not because it was so successful but because at first it was quite the struggle. The first couple of ice cream recipes I tried didn’t work out the way I would have liked and it took about five attempts before I found something that knocked my socks off. And now that my socks are knocked off I want […]

Posted 15 September, 2012 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 29 Comments
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Operation Use My…Ice Cream Maker

Operation Use My…Ice Cream Maker

Have you guys missed my kitchen antics? Well just in time for the last week of National Ice Cream Month I’m back with Operation Use My Ice Cream Maker!! Like so many of my other appliances, we received our Ice Cream Maker as a wedding gift. Six years ago an ice cream maker was the epitome of fun in the kitchen (now there are all sorts of baking pans and accessories that I lust for […]

Posted 21 July, 2012 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 21 Comments
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Operation Springform Pan

Operation Springform Pan

When Scott and I were registering for wedding gifts all those years ago there were so many things I thought I HAD to have. If only I could go back in time and tell my younger self that I probably won’t use that shake-maker as often as I think I will. Springform Pans might have been one of those items as well. In the six years that Scott and I have been married, I used […]

Posted 2 June, 2012 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 28 Comments
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Operation Food Processor

Operation Food Processor

I never thought that I would need a food processor and never thought about buying one until I started making baby food for Elle. And let me tell you–having a food processor to puree fruits and veggies (and occasionally chicken) has saved me so much time and allowed me to make fresh and tasty food for my baby. But…if I’ve lived my entire life without a food processor, what would I use it for once Elle […]

Posted 28 April, 2012 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 31 Comments
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Operation Crockpot Part 2: Lessons Learned

Operation Crockpot Part 2: Lessons Learned

A little over a month ago I announced my intentions to use my kitchen gadgets in 2012. I have so many cool things in the kitchen but many of them I don’t utilize as much as I could or should. First up was the crockpot. This post is Part Two of Two – Lessons Learned. Part One contains The Meals. Personal Crockpot Revelations• The crockpot can be used for so much more than just cooking […]

Posted 25 February, 2012 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 41 Comments
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Operation Crockpot Part 1: The Meals

Operation Crockpot Part 1: The Meals

A little over a month ago I announced my intentions to use my kitchen gadgets in 2012. I have so many cool things in the kitchen but many of them I don’t utilize as much as I could or should. First up was the crockpot. This post is Part One of Two – The Meals. Part Two contains lessons learned and tips and tricks as well as my next Operation Use My… Can I admit […]

Posted 24 February, 2012 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 32 Comments
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