Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dinner When No One Is Home

Dinner When No One Is Home

Often in our house, no one is home at dinner time,  it's sad really, but we're doing our best.  I use to leave a pot of soup on the stove, or something in the fridge, but it never got eaten!  If it isn't in front of their faces, they don't realize it's there!  So these are meals that I make earlier in the day and then I set them on a tray out on the counter and the kids warm them up at their convenience.  It's usually when I'm running a carpool or at a bball game and some kids have to stay behind for homework or dance class.  It has turned out to be a beautiful thing.

Ciabatta Rolls
(Or any combination of fun sandwich fixings)
Assemble sandwich so there is cheese on both sides of bread and some in the middle to keep it together. Grill in a panini press.

Bagel Breakfast Sandwiches
(Or any combination of breakfast foods)
Break egg in a bowl, about the size of the bagel, lightly scramble and cook a few seconds at a time in the microwave.  Assemble sandwiches as desired.

Grilled Burritos
Shredded Chicken (Don't tell the kids, but I have totally used canned chicken out of the food storage and NO ONE has noticed, even my food snobs! It seriously gives me great delight! I mix it with the salsa to get rid of the canned flavor.)
(Or any combination of fun burrito foods)
Place in tortilla and grill in pan until crispy and will stay closed!

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream

Place cookies in a zip lock and place in freezer.  When cookies are hard and firm, get ice cream and cookies out of the freezer.  Scoop ice cream onto cookie and press with top cookie, working quickly.  Wrap in tin foil and place in the freezer immediately. Enjoy a little later.

**When I was little, my mom made a bunch of these sandwiches with ginger snaps, and I remember them in the freezer stacked in nice silver tin foil towers.  I mean really, who would eat a fat boy when you can have a homemade one that is soooo much better!
**Any cookies will work as long as they are frozen first, but through my experience, Breyers natural vanilla ice cream is the best! 
**I'm obsessed with the spicy molasses cookie ice cream sandwiches at the moment...this ice cream was a tad thick, a little too hard to eat, but man was it the best "fat boy" I've ever seen!  I made mini ones at this exact same time....1 1/2 inches wide....really tiny, but the kids love them!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup
 3-4 C chicken, cubed
8 C broth
½ t salt                     
¼ t pepper                  
½ t basil
1 t parsley                  
1 1/2 C carrots
1 1/2 C celery
Add pam or oil to large soup pot and cook chicken until no longer pink.  Add broth, salt, pepper, basil and parsley.  Bring to a boil, add carrots and celery, continue cooking for 10 minutes.  While soup is cooking prepare egg noodles.

Egg Noodles
1 beaten egg                  
½ t salt
2 T milk                  
1 C flour (maybe a touch less depending if you aren't using a lg egg)
Mix and roll out as thin as you can, let stand for 5 minutes, cut into small squares using a pizza cutter and add to boiling soup.  Cook and additional 15 minutes.

**This is an awesome soup that everyone enjoys. The little square noodles are so fun and a little thicker than normal noodles.  It's also a great soup to take to a sick friend...right Kathy? :)
**If you don't want to bother with the noodles, just add 2 C cubed potatoes when adding the carrots and celery, and cook until tender!

Spicy Molasses Cookie

Spicy Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces) 
1 t baking soda  
2 t ground cinnamon  
2 t ground ginger  
3/4 t ground cloves  
1/4 + 1/8 t ground allspice  
1/4 t ground black pepper  
3/4 t table salt (I actually like a bit more...1 t)
12 T unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool 
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C packed dark brown sugar (about 2 1/2 ounces) 
1 large egg yolk  
1 t vanilla   
1/2 C molasses (about 6 ounces), light or dark
1/2 C sugar for rolling cookies
 Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in a bowl.  Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.
 Using 1/4 C measuring cup (we like big cookies around here), scoop dough and roll between palms into a ball; drop ball into cake pan with sugar and repeat to form about 4 balls. Toss balls in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, press down slightly with a flat surface (I use the bottom of a glass) spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. 
Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 10 minutes. Do not overbake.
Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack; cool cookies to room temperature and serve. (Can be stored at room temperature in airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bag up to 5 days.)
 **Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen. I added a lot more spice, it's how we like them.  
**1 T cookie dough balls bake for 6 minutes.  Makes 32. Awesome for ice cream sandwiches.