And Just Like That

Bonnie Raitt kills it at the Grammys winning song of the year.

Probably the best Grammys I’ve watched in a while. I’m not an awards girl, rarely watch, but this one, glad I did.

In memorial with Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt and Mick Fleetwood, the Barry Gordy salute, performances by Brandi Carlile, Bad Bunny, and 50 years of hip hop (feeling old now?!).

 

Woot! Finally, I Can See The Finish Line

The newest book is ready to go to the publisher – just finalizing the cover and figuring out how best to format the recipes.

A sneak peek of Chapter One can be found here.

Meanwhile, in my kitchen, I’ll be making Frozen Spinach Ravioli Lasagna tonight. Part of my Frozen Shortcuts. Everything doesn’t have to be gourmet, but it does have to by yummy.  I’ll post photos and recipe tomorrow.

In other news, in the odd kismet that happens sometimes with JeffreyW and myself – I’ve been making Smash Burgers all week for lunch. Maybe I’ll do a tutorial this week on how best to achieve that crispy thin burger.

Until then…

Frozen Shortcuts: Air Fried Potstickers

There are a few things I don’t make from scratch, and potstickers are one of them. I did make them once and vowed never again.  Not when there are some very tasty frozen versions out there. The amount of ingredients, skill, and time needed is daunting.

These were a Costco special – you know the drill, the nice lady gives you a yummy sample and then tells you what a great deal they are today. How can you resist?

There are plenty of excellent choices out there, including vegetarian, chicken, pork and shrimp.  These are chicken and veggies.

I usually fry them lightly in oil and then steam them for a quick lunch or dinner.  Add a bit of oil to a skillet, heat, add potstickers, flat side down and fry until they are lightly browned. Add enough water to come to up the side of the potstickers, cover, and steam for 5 minutes.

I decided I wanted to try air frying them, per the directions on the bag.  Since I have a convection oven and not an air fryer, it took a little longer at a higher temperature. That compact air fryer definitely has its advantages. Cooking times are one.

The recommendation is to preheat to 390 degrees F. Coat the potstickers lightly in oil and cook for 8 minutes. Convection oven worked best at 425 degrees F, for about 16 minutes.

Serve with sesame seed and Ginger-Soy dipping sauce:

Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce

Mix together:

  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or fish sauce or rice vinegar)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or more as desired)
  • 2 chopped green onions (including green)

Make It A Good Day

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I don’t do a lot of processed foods. But occasionally, it is just easier than making something from scratch. I had been craving waffles over the holidays, but just no time to make them with all the other cooking I was doing. Mainly, because the waffle iron is up high in some obscure cabinet, and that was a good excuse to avoid the entire process. So I bought frozen buttermilk waffles, and while they are not near homemade flavor, they did a decent job of addressing what I was looking for and bonus, it was a quick breakfast.

That got me thinking. I have a few meals I make from frozen staples I find more convenient than making myself. Using them as a starting point and then taking them up a notch. So I think for January, when I’m extremely busy work-wise, I’ll share a few of those meals.

Until then…

Holiday Gifts: Salty, Sweet and Crunchy

Like much of the country, we are having a day of weather and are advised to stay home. Perfect. That gives me time to make a few more treats for the holiday gift trays.

Caramel Corn 12-17-11

I love popcorn. The more salt and butter, the better.  But my true weakness is caramel corn, so one year,  when I was trying to think of something fun to give in those neighbor Christmas treat boxes, I decided to try my hand at caramel corn.

And to take it up a notch, I decided to make Bacon Caramel Corn.  Recipe below.

But let’s begin with some other salty-sweet ideas for the holiday gift box.

Tex-Mex Popcorn Mix, recipe here.

White Cheddar Popcorn and Chili-Cheese Popcorn, recipes here.

And if popcorn is not your thing, how about some Cajun Spiced Nuts or Indian Spiced Nuts, recipes here.

And finally, the featured recipe:

If bacon isn’t your thing, just omit it from the recipe below to make regular caramel corn or caramel corn with nuts.

Cashew Bacon Caramel Corn

  • 8 oz maple smoked bacon, cut into eight pieces per strip
  • 12 cups (3 quarts) of popped corn
  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 1-1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups salted cashews (or peanuts, or peanut/cashew mix)
Skillet, saucepan, baking sheets*

In a skillet, cook bacon until mostly crisp, drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Reduce to 200 degrees after 15 minutes of baking.

Place popcorn onto well-greased baking sheets.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer until thickened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and baking soda (yes, it will foam up so be prepared). Gently stir nuts and bacon into the sugar mixture and pour over popcorn, toss, coating popcorn evenly. Bake, stirring occasionally until popcorn is a deep golden brown, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours  – mine was done at the 1-hour mark. Cool and break apart.

*most recipes call for a roasting pan, I had better luck on my second batch using baking sheets – the popcorn cooked more evenly and was very crisp.

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Holiday Gifts: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Someone asked me for this recipe this morning, and after I shared it with them, I decided to make a batch myself.

From June:

I really like these cookies, they’re simple to make and gluten-free. But one thing about them is they are terribly sweet. So I decided to see what would happen if I cut the sugar down considerably.

They turned out super – not too sweet and super peanut butter flavor.  Changes are in blue.

Peanut Butter Cookies (Revisited)

(makes 12-18)

  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg

baking sheet

Cream ingredients together and drop by spoonful onto a baking sheet. Dip a fork in sugar and press down the dough. Bake at 300 degree F for 10-13 minutes.

This usually gets a good, soft cookie, but I wanted to try for a crispier outside. But they are prone to burning. So at the 13-minute mark, I turned off the oven and let them sit for 5 more minutes. They turned out perfectly – crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside.

Maybe this will keep me from eating all the toffee that is supposed to be for Christmas Eve, LOL

Holiday Gifts: The Cookie Tray

We haven’t done the annual cookie bake – where a few of us get together and bake our favorite cookies and swap them for our gift trays – since pre-pandemic. We had good intentions this year, but we couldn’t get the timing right.  But I thought I’d still share all the recipes.

From 2017:

Sunday is my annual cookie baking day with friends. Most of goodies are going into gift boxes, but I’ll hold enough back for my annual Christmas Eve dinner. This is the usual round-up.

Pictured above:

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe here

Spritz Cookies, recipes and instructions for using a cookie press here.

Pecan Cookies, recipe below.  Much more below the fold.

But wait, there’s more! Click to read