Monday, December 9, 2019

What's Cookin, Good Lookin?

Boy have I been super busy in the kitchen lately!

There's just something about being snowed in that makes me want to spend the whole day in my kitchen whipping up all the yummies!

 

I got at least 30 inches of snow at my house last week, and wasn't able to get my car out of the garage for three days. 


I kept up with the shoveling, every time a few more inches of snow fell I would clear the paths and steps again. 

Did I mention how much I HATE shoveling? 


My plow guy had made an initial sweep after the first few inches fell, and then his truck broke....and I was snowed in. 

Fortunately my wifi was working, so I set up my laptop at the counter and was able to work from home. 

I also got some good cooking in during the storm! The most amazing thing is that many of these dishes included veggies from our garden, that I had grown from seed and frozen in mid summer! I find that incredibly gratifying!

Here's what I've been creating in Mountain Mama's kitchen: 

 
You know I'm a huge fan of Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken.....here's a photo of the last time I made a roast chicken using that amazing recipe. 


But this time I mixed it up and tried Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk recipe....and wow, it was soooo good!! 


Cooking the chicken in milk leaves behind this wonderful flavorful sauce, with bright notes of lemon and herbs. 


Served with creamy mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a biscuit it was a perfect Sunday night meal. 

I'll definitely be alternating between the two in the future - Ina's got competition!! 
 

Another recent Chicken experiment was this incredible dish, amusingly called Marry Me Chicken. I changed the recipe up a bit, using my Sous Vide (LOVE that kitchen tool soooo much and it would make a wonderful gift for a foodie in YOUR life!!)

Basically I marinated the chicken in the sundried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and chicken broth.... and after cooking it sous vide to temp, finished it in the pan, adding a touch of cream to create the sauce. I grated fresh parmesan over the top and sprinkled it with chopped basil. 

NEW FAVORITE DISH!!!  And I'm so excited, because guess what's for lunch today?  I served it with rice pilaf and green beans from our garden, that I had frozen in mid summer.


This next dish was a real experiment for me, a little out of my comfort zone. I had tried spaghetti squash in the past, but wasn't a fan....until now. 

This recipe for Spicy Tomato Parmesan Spaghetti Squash from Half Baked Harvest absolutely blew me away.  I am a true convert now....and may even try growing spaghetti squash next summer! 


I've tried a few recipes from Tieghan's blog, and they've all been winners so far. 

Another recent experiment was her Cheddar Pierogies with Caramelized Onions

I am a HUGE pierogie fan, and when they are homemade they are the bomb, no doubt. 

Honestly, the dough was easy to make and roll out, but stuffing them was quite time consuming. Better done with a partner to help, the process would go much more quickly. 


The recipe made 42 pierogies, which I split into three batches of 14 per batch. 

I froze them on a plate first, and then put them in freezer Ziploc bags. 

I made the first batch a few days later, and learned a valuable lesson....do NOT try to defrost them before cooking - cook from frozen! 


They stuck together when thawed, and some of them fell apart....which left empty shells floating in potato flavored water. 

I gave the best ones to Sweetie but forgot to take a picture of his plate.....as you can see, mine aren't nearly as pretty as Tieghan's...next time! After boiling for three minutes, they are pan fried and topped with grated cheddar, crumbled bacon, and caramelized onions....YUMMM!!!  Even though they looked messy they were sure tasty and the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes!


I also used up some leftover mashed potatoes another day with this potato corn chowder. I sort of combined a few different recipes to make this, and homemade broth of course makes it that much better. Farmer's market corn, cut off the cob in August and frozen in batches made this even tastier! 

Served with a batch of cornbread straight from the oven, this was such a satisfying meal!


Another soup that made the rounds recently was this hearty beef barley soup. I had never attempted beef barley soup before, and decided on a snowy day that it would be perfect to put into the Instant Pot on slow cook before I left for work. 

Sadly, the potatoes did not cook enough even though they were in there for 8+ hours....so next time this will be made on the stove top.....OR using leftover baby potatoes. 

Again, I combined a few different recipes....served with crusty bread topped with my garlic herb butter along with a nice glass of Merlot it was a perfect meal for a frigid night.


Another evening we had my favorite air fryer buffalo wings.....ooooh I'm craving these right now, looking at this photo!  Along with a lovely salad and celery and carrots out of my garden, this simple meal really hit the spot.


Some roasted beets from the garden were defrosted to make my favorite winter salad another evening....this time with fresh feta cheese from a local specialty market. 

It was a soup and salad kind of night, this time with a curried zucchini soup I had whipped up late summer and frozen, when I was up to my eyeballs in zucchini! 

But it wasn't all savory items I was busy creating, no sir! 

 
I made a batch of my famous Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce on Thanksgiving....it's not Thanksgiving without it! 


All packed up for the trip to my sister's house and cooling on the counter....doesn't it look wonderful? 


My sister used some of it on top of a round of Brie to create this wonderful appetizer - yummmm!!! 


Speaking of cranberries.....I went wayyyyy out of my comfort zone recently and made jelly for the first time! 

I saw the recipe for Spiced Pomegranate Jelly on another favorite blog, One Hundred Dollars a Month....I knew immediately I had to try it! 

Mavis was right....Holy Canoli this was incredible!! 

I couldn't find straight pomegranate juice in my local market, so I used Cran-Pomegranate juice - and this was so easy to make I made two batches!


The very same day I made a batch of apple butter....the result of having wayyyy too many apples to use up! 

I used the recipe from Fresh Preserving, but I cut the sugar back to 1 1/2 cups - there's no way it needed 4 cups of sugar, it was sweet enough at 1 1/2.  Perhaps that's due to the apples I used, which were a mixture of Gala and Red Delicious.

We tried both the apple butter and the pomegranate jelly the following morning on some apple muffins I had whipped up. Both are fabulous, and will make wonderful Christmas gifts for some foodie friends in my life! 


So that's what's been going on in Mountain Mama's kitchen....what about you? Any amazing recipes to share with me?

40 comments:

  1. Wow! You have certainly been busy in the kitchen. If my husband would eat more, I would try many new recipes, but he is very particular about his food.

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    1. I'm so fortunate that my sweetie will eat anything! He never asks for anything special, or what's for dinner....just sits down and enjoys it!

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    2. Same here, Debbie - my husband will eat anything!

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  2. Oh my gosh...I just ate dinner and all of your wonderful dishes are making me hungry again lol! Wow...you have so much snow!!

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    1. My tummy was grumbling like mad while I was writing this post, Linda!

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  3. Wow, you did get some cooking in huh? I like spaghetti squash but find it boring to eat. Thanks for the idea of spicing it up. I will give it a try.
    Thats a lot of snow. I do not thing I have ever seen more than two foot of snow here. We normally get a flurry or up to about 4 inches in February. Right now here in North Carolina, it’s 34 in the mornings and gets up in the 50’s during the day.

    Lisa

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    1. Our snow has been melting yesterday and today (yayyy!) but we are heading for a deep freeze tonight, so it's going to be a skating rink out there, sigh. Yeah, I didn't care for spaghetti squash until I tried this recipe! I ate 1/4 of a squash, and the other 1/4 for lunch the next day....it was sooooo good!

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  4. Holy quap! You are a kitchen ninja!!

    I’ve been meaning to try the milk and chicken recipe. Some of the negative comments said it curdles, and although it was good it didn’t look very appetizing. Did you experience that?

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    1. Well Doreen there's lemon in there, so it will curdle, but those curdles are like little cheese curds....it might not look like much but it sure was tasty and the chicken was so tender!

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  5. Wow! I'm coming to your place for dinner! Everything looks amazing, what fun you had being snowed in!

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    1. I didn't hate working from home, that's for sure Carole! I wish I could do it more often!

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  6. Wow you have been cooking up a storm. I had wondered about cooking chicken in milk. Glad to know you liked it! Look at all that snow!

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    1. Yeah, we loved it Penny! The chicken was so moist and tender!

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  7. Wow Deb even with being snowed in you had some wonderful meals to prepare. Thankful I am sure for your canning of the garden veggies. Wowsie 30 inches of snow! All your meals look so good. Glad you had your wifi and could work from home. Deb I have sent you a few emails and have not gotten a response back so not sure I have had your correct email. Can you respond to this comment and let me have your email. I mailed something to you and I used a po box address I had so I hope that is still your mailing address.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Awwww you're the sweetest, Kris!! I checked my gmail - nothing from you recently, that's strange!! I'll reply to an old message of yours so you have my email! xo

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  8. Have you ever thought of a cooking blog called Mountain Mama's Kitchen? Food blogs can make a great deal of money. Big money. Some make like $100,000 a month, I kid you not. Pinch Of Yum used to publish monthly income reports. They stopped in 2016. Here's one of the last ones to check out: https://pinchofyum.com/november-traffic-income-report#income
    Brenda

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    1. I think maybe I'd need more spare time for a true food blog, Brenda - but I'll give it some thought, thanks for the advice!

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    2. Don't forget though, Brenda - all the recipes at Pinch of Yum and other famous food blogs are all original recipes. And they have an entire staff.

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    3. And I'm sure they don't also work full time outside of the home! What a great way to make a living though....creating wonderful meals to share with your followers!

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  9. So you're always saying that my crafty creations blow your mind...but mine is blown every time I visit you!! Amazing. You really need to own a restaurant or write a book. Recipes From My Snowy Mountain..there's your title.

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    1. You're so cute, Kim! Brenda says I need to write a food blog....I feel as if I barely have time to get a post out these days though!

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  10. Debbie, EVERYTHING on this post looks SO DELICIOUS! I enjoy your cooking posts and the neat things you make. That snow is so pretty but I sure wouldn't like to shovel it either! LOL

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    1. It's not my favorite chore, Debbi, nor is stacking wood....but they are a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful area, I suppose!!

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  11. Oh my goodness! You can come cook for me! I am going to try to find that recipe for the spicy pomegranate jelly! Thank you for sharing al your goodness. Nancy

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    1. I linked right to it, Nancy - it was so delicious and really fairly easy!!

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  12. The last biggest snow storm we got of that proportion (which is rare here in IL) was about 8 years ago. Everyone was calling it Snowmeggedon and it was all people talked about for along time. I remember opening the garage door and seeing my son's car on the driveway - totally buried.

    All your food looks so good! I pinned a few of the recipes. I was wondering why your chicken dish with the sun-dried tomatoes looked so different from the original recipe and then I saw the changes you made to it. That one looks really good; so does the one with spaghetti squash.

    I got in a conversation with the woman behind me in the grocery store line today and she said, "Hardly anyone cooks from scratch anymore." I said, "I do all the time!" She was amazed. I turned and looked at what she had on the conveyor belt (when she didn't notice) and sure enough, it was nothing but frozen meals. I thought that was very sad.

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    1. That IS sad, Melanie! I rarely eat frozen meals, although I do keep a frozen pizza or two in the freezer for when Sweetie's not coming for dinner or I'm taking a quiet night to myself. I don't usually cook on those nights, I take the evening off and just binge watch some favorite TV show or relax in another way.

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  13. Wowee, Debbie, I could be a serious foodie if it weren't for my picky-eating Mr. P., but I love to see people enjoy cooking and baking as you do. I was recently searching your sous vide tool on your blog, knowing how much you love it, and seeing if the price range was in our family $ limit (sadly, no, not even with stacked coupons). Just last weekend I had a brother in law bragging about how good a leg of lamb was that he ate which was cooked using the sous vide. And the spaghetti squash - I love. I think you'd be smart (unless the yield turns out like the zucchini, hehe) to plant it too.
    I like to cook when the weather is bad too, but most of when yours was snow, ours was rain. 30" wow, that's snowmageddon for our region!

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    1. It was too much for this early in the season, Rita - hard to believe it's not even winter yet! The 30 inches is pretty much gone now, except for the giant piles left behind by the plows. We are due for another storm tonight - this time only about 6 inches which seems like nothing in comparison! Yes the sous vide is expensive, but it's so worth it in my opinion. It's one of my most used kitchen tools!

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  14. All that snow looks beautiful. But it is a lot of snow.
    Do you do any winter sports? Skiing, skating, snow shoeing or snow boarding?

    Oh my.... the meals you prepare look so good...
    Would you do more extensive posts on using your sous vide? What are you favorite foods to prepare that way. What makes you say....hmm today I will use the sous vide. Do you ever freeze meals you prepared in the sous vide?


    ..I think you will still have a white Christmas....and the snow will still look so beautifully white and clean and glistening.



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    1. I cook many meats using the sous vide, MJ - it just depends on what I pull out of the freezer. In summer months I'll cook with the sous vide and then just finish the meat on the grill, in winter I finish it in a hot pan or grill pan. It's fantastic for ham, pork tenderloin, chicken (not a whole chicken, that I roast), steak, whole filet mignon, pork chops....anything you don't want to overcook!

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  15. Girl! You have been busy. I guess thirty inches of snow and being stuck in does make one very productive. I have printed out just about every recipe you have linked here. They all look super delicious! I have become obsessed with roast chicken lately. You must try Michael Ruhlman's roasted chicken with lemon and jalapenos (it's in his new book and on my blog), super good! I'll be trying the milk chicken mentioned above next. Great post!

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    1. From one foodie to another I always appreciate new recipes, thanks for the tip! I'm going to look for that roast chicken recipe!!

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  16. Hey Deb,
    I totally agree with Doreen! You are a kitchen ninja! Girlie how do you do this and so well too, I might add. Yummmy spicy pomegranate jelly...you know I do like jalapeno jelly too:)
    30 inches of snow! You really are a Mountain Mama!
    xo

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    1. Cooking is a joy to me, Jemma - and experimenting in the kitchen is fun! I don't have time to do as much in the summer, as my spare time is spent in the garden.....so winter is my time to try out new recipes!

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  17. Debbie, I shoulda been there! Love a good multiple-day, forced-to-stay-home cooking marathon! It all looks wonderful.

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  18. If I ever get snowed in, I hope it is at your home! I've never seen anything like the meals you produce combined with your enthusiasm while cooking them. I hope you will someday do a cookbook, Debbie.

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