As the first post I have made with a real in person cook book, I decided to use the one my mom taught me how to cook with. Her cooking philosophy was always “If you can read, you can cook.” I am so thankful she inspired the love of cooking in me and taught me how. My memories in the kitchen are some of the best memories I have with her.
The book is the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, the one with the red checked cover. Mine is a newer version than hers and doesn’t have all the recipes I remembered (it also adds nutrition information which totally rocks), but it still brought back some happy memories! I made the coffee cake as a little girl.
First I made Chicken Keiv. It was relatively easy and smelled amazing.
See the melty herby insides?
I followed that with my favorite recipe for pilaf: Spinach and Carrot Rice Pilaf. I got this recipe from another source, the health department food calendar. It was awesome
I finished dinner with the very first thing I ever made by myself as an 8 year old. Buttermilk Coffee Cake.Something wasn’t right though, it didn’t turn out looking quite how I remembered.
From Better Homes and Gardens
1 TBS chopped green onion
1 TBS snipped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 of a 1/4 pound stick of butter, chilled.
1 beaten egg
1 TBS water
1/4 cup all-purpose four
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko as none was specified)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 TBS butter
1 TBS cooking oil.
Here I’ll paraphrase the directions:
In a small bowl mix green onion, parsley and garlic; set aside. Cut butter in half lengthwise and in half again. Mix egg and water in a shallow bowl, in two other shallow bowls put breadcrumbs and flour, respectively.
Pound chicken with a mallet until flattened (1/8 inch thick). Salt and pepper chicken. Sprinkle with green onion mixture. Place butter in the center and press edges to seal (I used toothpicks). Place chicken into 2 quart rectangular baking dish, cover and set in fridge 1-24 hours (overnight).
In a large skillet melt butter; add oil, add chicken and brown. Return to baking dish and cook 15-18 minutes until no longer pink. Serve topped with drippings.
Difficulty: 3 The directions were simple enough, but it was time consuming. I was about to put a 4 just because it seemed to take forever.
Taste: I did not eat this because I used Panko and I cannot eat gluten. I thought of using corn flakes but it didn’t sound too appealing. I had leftover chicken tacos instead. I asked R for his real opinion and he said “Eh, it was ok.”
Clean-up: 3 Come on, 3 shallow dishes, a skillet, and a casserole dish, the meat mallet, the cutting board and the kitchen shears. No likey. However, I have a good dishwasher handy.
Overall: It looked good, smelled good, but was perhaps to labor heavy with too little satisfaction to be made in this house again.
What I’d do differently: There was a variation on this dish that called for cheese in the chicken rather than butter, which I think would be amazing. I might add a vegetable or two, as well. Spinach or broccoli. I might try a mexican variation with pepper jack and cornflakes, that way I can eat it. then I’d top it with a fresh smooth-style salsa.
The reheat factor: R said that the flavors had a chance to combine, and the breadcrumbs soaked up all the liquids, so the chicken was moist and tender. “So much better the next day!” he said.
Spinach and Carrot Rice Pilaf
From a Utah Health Department cooking calendar
Easily serves four.
1 TBS butter
1 medium carrot, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb fresh spinach, chopped
Melt butter in a saucepan on medium high heat. Add carrot and onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until onion is golden. Stir in rice and cook another 3-4 minutes or until rice starts to brown. Stir in stock. Increase to high and boil. Immediately reduce to low, cover and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Stir in spinach and cook until heated through.
Difficulty: 2 Easy, easy, easy. I rated it a two because you have to really watch the pot while sauteing.
Taste: 4 R and I love it. Even my 2-year-old eats it. It was no different this time around.
Clean-up:2 Let the dish soak in water for a few minutes, then wash.
Overall: As a dish with such simple ingredients, you would think it would taste terrible, but it really brings out the best in the brown rice.
What I’d do differently: As you can see in the pictures, I did add parmesan cheese at the end. We regularly do that. Sometimes I’ll add a little splash of white wine. Other vegetables we have used include broccoli, zucchini and kale. Sometimes I substitute butter for olive oil. I also might try subbing in some coconut oil pineapple and other fun ingredients to this easily adaptable dish.
The reheat factor: This always reheats well. It is a little gooier, and if you add cheese, its a little meltier.
Buttermilk Coffee Cake
Better Homes and Gardens cookbook
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
2 tsp baking powder (Ah, I forgot to add this one! This is why it looked so flat!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 beaten eggs
1 1/3 cup buttermilk, or sour milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I used walnuts)
Grease 9x13x2 baking pan; set aside. in a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles course crumbs ( I couldn’t achieve this step for some reason); set aside 1/2 cup. Stir baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg into remaining crumb mixture.
In a bowl, combine the egg and milk. Add at once to crumb mixture. Spoon into baking dish. Combine reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle onto batter
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.
Difficulty: 2 This is a really easy cake. Apparently the problem I had was reading the recipe thouroghly. I had trouble getting course crumbs, too.
Taste: 4 I love this cake, although I couldn’t eat it this time around. R thought it was “okay….”
Clean-up: 1 I love a one dish clean up!
Overall: Since I made mistakes, I cannot fairly say it wasn’t good. It was edible, and my son loved it, too.
What I’d do differently: Read the directions, ha ha! Perhaps I’ll try the fruit coffee cake next time around, apples, or peaches would be amazing in this dish. I think I might try baking it with a gluten free all purpose flour. I really felt like I was missing out tonight.
The reheat factor: A whole week later and R is still eating it. Just the thought of cold coffee cake is yucky to me, especially since I left out an ingredient.
Next time I promise one recipe at a time.