Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tasty Time - Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls with Icing

As the holiday season fast approaches, there are plenty of commercials advertising Pillsbury products.  I think I've had some of the cookies before when I was younger but nothing since then.  After seeing that commercial where a little boy is in the kitchen with his mom & sister & he's saying "2 inches apart, Becky, 2 inches," I was seriously tempted to see what this whole ready-to-bake pastry is about.  And with a sale of $1.11, it's like the universe is telling me I should do it.

We went for the Orange Sweet Rolls since it is out of the ordinary.  The long cylindrical canister contains 7 sweet rolls & a small thing of orange flavored frosting.  The canister itself was kind of hard to open but that's probably because I had never done it before.  The baking process was easy enough & it took just 9 minutes for the sweet rolls to come out golden brown. There was virtually no clean up since I used a piece of parchment paper on top of the cookie sheet.

Now on to the taste.  The rolls themselves were pretty small - about 2 inches in diameter - but the texture was pretty good.  We opted to use the frosting only to regret it after the first bite.  To me, the frosting was super sweet & reminded me of a cheap, generic imitation of Tang.  To him, it tasted like orange Tums.  Aside from the artificial sweetness, we really couldn't taste anything else.

I can definitely see why something like this appeals to kids & the convenience really cannot be beat.  But for people like us who don't often eat cinnamon rolls, I would definitely recommend spending the time & the effort to just make them from scratch.  And hey, all that work will likely make me not want to have any more cinnamon rolls for a good while.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quick & Easy - Lemon Butter Salmon

It's hard to keep a full fridge & freezer when 50% of your household in on a restricted diet.  As a result, our freezer was left with only steaks & ribs for a good number of weeks.  Now that we're back to 100% eating capacity, first thing was load up @ Costco & second thing was to eat something that didn't live on land for the first time in 6 weeks!  I found this recipe on Pinterest - as I always do - but it seems to originate from a fishing Scotland.

It just takes a handful of stuff that's probably already in the kitchen...
     2 salmon filets, about 6oz each
     2 tablespoons unsalted butter
     1 lemon, zest & juice
     Salt & pepper to taste

And it's just a few quick steps before heading into the oven...
     Rinse & dry the salmon filets really well
     Melt the butter in the microwave (30 seconds is plenty)
     Let the butter cool slightly & mix it with the lemon zest, lemon juice, & salt/pepper
     Make a tray with foil by folding up the edges so it just fits the 2 filets
     Pour the lemon butter evenly over the filets
     Bake at 400F for 7 minutes

If you don't like too much lemon with your fish, use half the amount of zest & juice.  I used the amount of the full recipe because the Boyfriend isn't really a fan of the finned oceanic species.  I finished up the meal with some roasted Brussels sprouts which were also super easy to make & tasted really great with the bright citrusy flavors of the fish.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Dinner - Tuna Casserole

I wasn't exposed to my first casserole dish until I moved to the United States @ age 12; I think it was a green bean casserole that time.  I didn't understand why people would want to throw a bunch of stuff into a glass plate & then stick it into the oven for an hour.  Dude, it's beans!  They cook in like 10 minutes!  And why the heck would you cook beans with cream soup?!?  The concept of a casserole befuddled me & I wasn't exposed to it again until a couple of years ago the Boyfriend made me tuna casserole.  While still confused about the whole deal, I was hooked.

We don't make this dish very often since he doesn't really like canned tuna, but we do it sometimes when we want something that we can make a big batch of in very little time & not have to stand over it as it is cooking (maybe that's the motivation behind a casserole?).

The ingredients are simple...
     3 cups medium shell pasta
     10 ounces canned tuna in water, drain & flake
     1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
     3/4 cup water
     11/2 cup frozen vegetables
     Salt & pepper to taste

The steps are even simpler...
     Cook the shell pasta according to the instructions on the package
     In a baking dish, combine tuna, Cream of Mushroom soup, water, salt & pepper
     Once the pasta is cooked, drain it & add it to the baking dish
     Add in the frozen vegetables & mix everything together
     Bake at 350F for 1 hour, uncovered

And there it is.  A great way to add some texture to this otherwise soft dish is to crunch up some potato chips & add it on top; I particularly like using barbecue flavored chips. The top of the pasta gets a little dry from the oven which makes me think I should cover the dish for most of the hour.  But would that make the dish more soupy?  Or maybe I should use more water? 

Weekend Dinner - Turkey Chili

One of the things I like to do on weekends is to cook a big portion of something that we can bring for lunch & reheat for a quick dinner throughout the next week.  I particularly like making chili since it is filling & we can just eat a bowl of it without having to bother with rice, potatoes, or any other kind of starch.  When I was on Lent many months ago, I made a vegetarian chili that I liked a lot.  But now that I can have meat again, I need a new chili recipe.

The grocery list called for...
     11/2 pounds ground turkey
     1 yellow onion, chopped
     1 green bell pepper, chopped
     1 can kidney beans
     1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
     1 cup water
     1 tablespoon garlic, minced
     11/2 tablespoons chili powder
     1/2 teaspoon paprika
     1/2 teaspoon oregano
     1/4 teaspoon cayenne
     1/2 teaspoon cumin
     Salt & black pepper to taste

All you have to do is follow the steps...
     In a large pot, brown the ground turkey in a little bit of oil
     Add in the onion & bell pepper; cook until they are tender
     Add in water, kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, & garlic
     Season with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne, cumin, salt & pepper
     Bring the whole thing to boil
     Reduce heat & let simmer for 30 minutes

It sucks that I don't have a picture but all chili look about the same so you can imagine what this one looks like too.  We happened to have some really spicy salsa leftover from a taqueria in the Mission in our fridge so I threw that into the pot and it gave the chili some really good heat; just reduce the amount of water by 1/4 cup.