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Lunchtime Epiphany

Rantings of an Amateur Chef

I have relayed to you all my troubles with coming up with items for lunch. Occasionally I find something interesting, but I often fall back to some old stand-bys. It was looking like that would be the case the other weekend.

I had been in my pantry the night before and saw some canned chicken and in my fridge and noticed some wraps that were not allocated to a recipe on the menu. What should I have? Chicken salad sounded good. I had just bought some low-calorie mayo to use in a recipe that hid some of the taste (doesn’t compare to the full test stuff), but not sure I wanted that for the chicken salad.

Then my eye hit on the bottle of Buffalo Wing sauce. I could make Buffalo chicken wraps. I had some celery and blue cheese crumbles too. It sounded good, but I was really in…

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Imitation Crab Pasta Salad

Crab recipe numero dos .. and I can proudly say that I came up with this almost all on my own! I used the base recipe from cooks.com that was called Imitation Crab Pasta Salad and then threw stuff together to come up with my own recipe!!! It actually worked out really well as a cold pasta salad and I can’t wait to have some for lunch tomorrow!

Ingredients:
– 1.5 cup dry shells pasta
– 1 pack imitation crab
– 2 celery stalks
– 1/2 green pepper (large)
– 1/2 red onion
– 2/3 cup “old” cheddar cheese, shredded
– 4 tbsp mayo
– 3 tbsp italian dressing
– 1/2 sour cream

Directions:
– Chop onion, pepper, celery, crab into reasonally small pieces and put in a bowl. Mix cheese in as well.
– Boil the pasta as desired. Rinse with cold water.
– Mix all together. Add mayo, Italian dressing, Sour Cream
– Let chill

So the sour cream/mayo part may be a little questionable and not for everyone. I think it tastes pretty darn good but you can definitely taste the sour cream.

Imitation Crab Cakes

So this will be the first of two crab based posts! Imitations frozen crab was on sale a few weeks ago for $1 a pack (!!!) so I bought two and looked for some recipes to use it with!! I am a seafood fanatic so this may be the start of a beautiful relationship with crab ha ha! The original recipe was from Spark Recipes called Maryland Style (imitation) Crab Cakes but as usual, I had to alter a bit! I only had two eggs so that threw everything off and thats what caused the changes and going off recipe

Ingredients:
– 1 package of imitation crab meat
– 3 tbsp mayo
– 2 eggs beaten and mixed with a splash of milk
– Approx 1 cup bread crumbs
– 1 stalk celery

Directions:
– Chop the crab into small pieces
– Cut the celery up the middle then  chop into small pieces (this was not included in the recipe but it worked well!)
– Beat the 2 eggs in the mixing bowl and add a splash of milk
– Mix the crab and celery in the bowl
– Pour about 1/3 of the bread crumbs in and mix. Continue doing this until the mixture has a good “meat like” consistency
*I don’t know what else to compare the consistency to but ground beef when your making home made burgers kinda thing*
– Shape the mixture into patties! Whatever size you prefer works

Heat a skillet using medium/low heat. Coat it generously with PAM spray or oil
– Cook the patties, flipping fairly frequently until thoroughly cooked

I had the heat on a little higher and the patties did burn a little bit. I personally didn’t really taste it but I gave some to my dad and he said he could taste it a little bit.

I also made a sauce to go on top. I googled “easy crab cake sauce” and didn’t find anything really easy but I grabbed a few ideas and made my own sauce! I mixed 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp mayo. Worked out pretty well!!

Easy Mac & Cheese — no water!

Ahhh lame! I just had this whole thing typed up and when I went to add the photos it all got deleted. Oh well! Anyways first and foremost, Happy Canada Day to any of my followers who are Canadian!!! I enjoyed this beautiful day out by my pool relaxing. 32C and sunny. Bliss!

I pinned a recipe on pinterest a few weeks ago, and had been dying to try it out! It was called Revolutionary Mac & Cheese and it’s excellent. I love blue box Kraft Dinner. It’s so wonderfully orange and cheesy, how can I resist. However, with my attempts to eat healthier and less out of boxes, it’s a rare treat to have KD. So I was ecstatic to find a recipe for home made Mac & Cheese! It’s not as cheesy as KD but it does the trick and it tastes pretty darn good!!!

Ingredients:

2 cups dried pasta
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup loosely packed cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
1 tsp salt

Directions:

Add milk to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat (do not want milk to boil) and add pasta. Stir often until pasta is soft (as desired) for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Turn off heat and add the cheese in small batches, stirring as you go along. Add salt and stir.

Cover pan for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir. Cover again for a few minutes and it’s ready to serve!

The beauty of this recipe is you don’t have to worry about straining pasta and adding milk, as the milk is already in there!! It’s definitely a different taste but I still really enjoyed it!

I used fusilli pasta, although the original recipe called for small shells. I used “old” cheddar cheese and the smaller holes on the cheese grater for more finely grated cheese.

On the original recipe page there is also added instructions if you want to bake this. Definitely something I will try next time! Also, comments on the original post said that they liked to include different vegetables, meat, etc. to spice it up … great ideas!

An epic fail in baking

Don’t have much time to hammer out a post, but I thought I would share this epic fail in baking. My coworker makes bread from scratch all the time and on my newfound cooking blitz I told him I wanted to try!! That was about 2 months ago, and he’s been bugging me ever since. So last week I finally went and bought some yeast and decided it was time!!!

The recipe he uses is Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread. Should be easy right?

Easier said then done! I thought I followed the instructions to a T (Coworker told me after that I probably added a bit to much water, even though I did the amount it said!). I mixed the dough, and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day when I went to go get it out for step 2 .. it was sooo sticky! It didn’t feel right. But my mom said who knows! So I kept going and tried … here’s what I got …

   

The first one, excuse the hole in the middle … I tried to eat a bit so it wasn’t a complete waste. SOoo starchy. But yeah … clearly the bread didn’t rise. Ugh!!! Well guess I will just have to try again!!

Only positive thing from this experiment: the house smelled soooo good

Sauteed Cauliflower

creative noshing

I have had the best time with my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box that I received this week. Another item inside my box was a large, perfectly white head of cauliflower. If there are any vegetables that I remember loving them enough to eat raw as a child, it was broccoli and cauliflower.

As I have gotten older, I enjoy my cauliflower cooked over it being raw. Sauteing slightly steamed cauliflower in olive oil and garlic and kicking it up with a little spice makes my taste buds happy! Enjoy.

Sauteed Cauliflower

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Last Night’s Dinner

Last night’s dinner!!! Which I am proud of because a few months ago theres no way in hell I’d have made something like this. Healthy, and well rounded!

I made baked asparagus. Got the recipe off pinterest. Preheat oven to 400F. Coat asparagus in cooking spray or olive oil, pepper and salt in a oven safe pan. Put in oven for 12-15 minutes (until softened). Theres a sauce I made to put on it, but I was so excited to eat that I forgot to put it on top. Whoops! It was 2 tbsp butter melted, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegerette.

I used different panko crumbs on the haddock I used. One was Japanese Panko that you get at those specialty Asian stores (white, flaky). The other one was Italian Panko crumbs that I have been using for baked pickles, zucchini, etc. We didn’t have eggs so I used milk and the Japanese crumbs didn’t stick as well which was to bad because they are delish! You can’t tell in the photo which has which crumbs on it.

And then good ole salad with balsamic vinegerette dressing.

So good!!