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Trying to keep my sanity in tact, while keeping bellies full

Monday, December 19, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 12/20

Christmas is only days away. That means my kitchen is on overdrive this week!

 I've been making buckeyes

Danish Wedding Cakes
Peppermint Pinwheels (a new addition from last year)
And of course, Peanut Butter Blossoms!
 What holiday goodies are you baking in up your kitchen this week?

Now it's time to link up all of your creations!
Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. The post has to be made from scratch.
3. The post you link up MUST CONTAIN A RECIPE!
4. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.



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Thursday, December 15, 2011

December's Iron Chef Challenge

 All year long, Ott,A has challenged us with monthly recipe contests. December's challenge, sponsored by Taste of Home, challenges the winners from the entire year to make the same product using the same recipe (cinnamon raisin bread) and create a new dish using the finished product.





First, I made the bread
While the husband ate the second loaf, I brainstormed some recipe ideas. I came up with two and made them both. The first one was not so great. Good thing the second one was quite tasty!

Herb Crusted Stuffed Hens

What you'll need:
2 Cornish Game Hens (I bought frozen, so make sure they're completely thawed. Fresh ones generally have giblets inside, so be sure to remove those first)
1/2 loaf Cinnamon Raisin Bread, cut into 1/2" cubes (Fresh from the oven bread won't work as well for stuffing, so I made these 2 days after I baked the bread)
1/2 c chicken stock (I make my own, so it's full of onion, carrot and celery as well)
1/4 c carrots, diced very small
Equal parts savory, rosemary, sage
3 parts Thyme
Salt and pepper

Mix all seasonings/herbs in a small bowl and set aside. Prepare hens by rinsing thoroughly.
In a medium bowl, mix together cubed bread and 1 1/2 t of the seasoning mixture. Toss well.
Add in carrots, pour stock over bread, mix well and stuff birds.
Take the remaining seasoning mixture and coat the hens well.
Bake at 375 until a meat thermometer reads 180 when inserted in the middle of the thigh (about an hour). The meat is done when the juices run clear and the wings and legs move freely. If skin starts browning too much, make a tent with aluminum foil and cover the hens. Because stuffing can be a potential bacteria hangout, make sure it's cooked thoroughly!

The skin was so crispy and full of the wonderful flavors of the herbs!
The stuffing soaks up the earthy flavor of the herbs and a tasty juices from the poultry, while the meat absorbs the cinnamon and raisin flavors. It all makes for a surprising and wonderful combination!

Thanks to Taste of Home for sponsoring December's Iron Chef Challenge and to Ott,A for a great year of challenges!

From Mess Hall to Bistro-Iron Chef Challenge entries

January Maple Leaf Farms (Duck)
February American Lamb (Lamb)
March Red Gold (Tomatoes)
April Clabber Girl (Baking Powder)

June Dean's and Kelsay Farms (Milk)
July King Arthur (Flour)
September Red Star (Yeast)
October Ocean Mist Farms (Artichokes)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Made From Scratch Tuesday 12/13

Sometimes when you're trying out new recipes (or concoctions), you end up with an EPIC FAIL. That's what happened last week when I was working on a recipe for Ott A's Iron Chef Challenge. December's challenge is for the winners throughout the year. We all start with the same recipe (cinnamon raisin bread) and then used the finished product to make something else. More on that on Thursday when you see my official entry.

I spent a few days trying to decide what to make and finally narrowed it down to two recipes. I figured the best way to decide was to make them both and enter the one we liked the best. The first one I made was spaghetti and meatballs. I used the cinnamon raisin bread as the binder in the meatballs. We're not going to go into the failure that was. They were just waaaay to sweet and almost confusing to eat. But while preparing that dish, I knew I couldn't just use regular tomato sauce, so I found a Sicilian pasta sauce with raisins in it that I could adapt to bring the dish together. In the end, the meatballs were horrible but the sauce was awesome! We'll definitely use this sauce again.

What you'll need:
equal parts raisins and rum
1 medium onion, diced
2 T olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
Oregano, basil, savory, thyme (I used between 1 t and 1 T of each)
Salt and pepper

Simmer equal parts raisins and spiced rum in a small pot. I used 1/2 c of each.

While those simmer, saute the onion in olive oil in a large skillet until translucent.
Add in herbs and tomatoes.
 By this time, the raisins will have plumped up. They should be about three times their original size.

Add in the raisins

 Toss and serve over pasta.  Ignore the meatballs in the photos...at this point, we didn't know they were horrible!

The husband, ever the skeptic, did not want to try to sauce. I told him if it was that bad, we'd just order pizza, but he had to try it first. To my surprise, he LOVED the sauce! He couldn't believe how great the raisin/tomato combination was. He ended up eating all the sauce I made.

Moral of the story, out of epic fails can sometimes come accidental hits!


Now it's time to link up all of your creations!
Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. The post has to be made from scratch.
3. The post you link up MUST CONTAIN A RECIPE!
4. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.




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Monday, December 5, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Giveaway!

I've cooked my way through 10 recipes in What's for Dinner....

Buttery Scalloped Potatoes

Now it's your chance to win a copy of the cookbook!






Make sure to visit the fantastic blog parties on my sidebar, and of course, link up all your made from scratch recipes on my Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!




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Made From Scratch Tuesday 12/6

Ok, I know I'm quite a bit late, but here's the 10th and final Gooseberry Patch recipe from What's for Dinner!!
You're going to love how easy this is too!
Peanut Butter Balls

What you'll need:
1 c peanut butter (I used Nutella)
1/2 c honey
1/2 c powdered milk
Mix ingredients together
Roll into 1" balls and set on wax paper. I used my 1" cookie scoop.
Chill until set. You can eat them right away, but they're creamier if you let the powdered milk hydrate for a bit!

Now since I'm done with the recipes, it's your chance to win a copy of this cookbook!! Head on over to this page and enter using the rafflecopter form!



Now it's time to link up all of your creations!
Here are the rules:
1. You can link up as many posts as you'd like.
2. The post has to be made from scratch.
3. The post you link up MUST CONTAIN A RECIPE!
4. If you want to put my button somewhere, that'd be cool. You can grab the code for the Made From Scratch Tuesday button on the top right of my sidebar.




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