Saturday, April 28, 2012

Isn't That Pinteresting? (part 3)

So in the last post I promised a recipe for Lasagna Soup. This stuff is incredibly good. And pretty easy. Easier than making lasagna, even in the crockpot. I might never make real lasagna again.

The recipe looks long. And generally a recipe that long can kind of scare me off. I guess my general assumption is that if it takes that many words to write it down, it's going to take more time and effort than I want to expend to cook it. But my friend Sarah had raved about this recipe so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. It's actually not complicated and doesn't take that long to put it together. The hardest part was waiting for it to be finished so we could eat it! I cooked the pasta separately and just added it to each bowl. (I didn't want it to go mushy since Aaron and I were eating later than the kids.) It was a scoop of "cheesy yum," add a couple scoops of pasta, ladle on enough soup to cover the cheese and pasta, then top with a sprinkle of mozzarella. It was so good. So very, very good. Writing this post has reminded me just how good. I am going to have make it again. Soon.

We're not huge fans of chicken at our house. Actually, let me rephrase that. Aaron doesn't like chicken. Then rest of us like it fine. (Unless I'm pregnant - then I can't stand the sight, smell or even thought of chicken. Or eggs. But since I'm not pregnant, I am fine with eating chicken.) But even though Aaron doesn't like chicken, I thought this recipe looked interesting and decided to give it a try. It's quick. It's easy. And it tastes pretty good. As Aaron described it: "It doesn't taste so much like chicken. That makes it okay." I added some panko bread crumbs to the topping for a little extra crunch. I like it quite a bit, so I plan to keep making it.

So I was about to say that this recipe was unsuccessful, but the more I thought about it, I realized that I really didn't give it a fair shake. It's kind of like when a movie comes out that was "inspired by a true story" and then it turns out that the actual events were nothing like what happened in the movie? But hey, it doesn't have to be real, it was just INSPIRED by the true story. That's kind of what happened with this recipe. I decided to make it for dinner on Sunday - and because it was Sunday I was limited to the ingredients in my pantry. No running out to the store for the one ingredient you need! But I thought I had most things... I didn't take an actual inventory of the things in my pantry, just a quick browse through in my head.

To start off, I didn't have time to cook it in the crockpot. Plus I was kind of worried that the spaghetti would turn to much in the crockpot. So I decided to just make it as an oven casserole instead. So I cooked the spaghetti. (Strike one against this as a crockpot recipe. I've already mentioned my dislike of having to cook things ahead when it's going into the crockpot.) Then I was going to cook the chicken, but Aaron insisted that I use some other protein. (He really doesn't like chicken.) So I substituted beef instead because that's all I had. I did have the Velveeta. (Not because I keep it on hand, but because I'd bought it ahead with plans to use it in this recipe.) I added the cream soups. Then realized I didn't have the diced tomatoes. Okay... I'll just add some tomato sauce. The kids don't like chunks of tomato anyway. Oh, and I'm out of green chilies? (How did that happen? I always have those.) Oh well, I guess it just won't be spicy. And the mushrooms are gone too? (I really need to go grocery shopping.) Well, there are bits of mushroom in the cream of mushroom soup. No onion... the dehydrated ones will have to do. And then I stirred it all together into a big mess and tried to get that darned Velveeta to melt. It took forever... it just stayed as a big lump of semi-cheesiness. Ick. When I finally got everything mixed together, I dumped it in a casserole dish and topped it with a little panko - jsut because it seemed like it needed some extra texture and I really like panko. It was okay. Not horrible. But not great. And it seems like I can hardly blame the recipe, because I barely followed the recipe at all. And yet... my version was inspired by the recipe. Specifically the Velveeta part of it. It's not something I've ever cooked with before (really, my only experience with Velveeta is that my dad uses it as bait when he goes fishing), but I thought I'd give the recipe a try. And as it turns out, the Velveeta was my least favorite part of the recipe. It was gooey and glumpy and didn't taste very good. I think I'll stick to thinking of it as fish food instead of people food.

Okay, last one for now... Krispy Kreme Muffins (
The Pinterest pin calls them Krispy Kreme Muffins, though the actual blog post calls them Glazed Doughnut Muffins. Being a huge fan of sweets in general, doughnuts in particular and especially Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts, I just had to give these a try. For weeks I kept telling myself that I was going to make these on the weekend. But finding time to bake is little difficult with all these little ones. But I finally had a chance to make them this week when I had a kid-free hour (I had to work at home because of a doctor's appointment and thus had the hour I would normally spent commuting home free for little projects like this). They're pretty simple and quick enough that I was able to mix up the batter and bake the muffins in the allotted hour. I made the glaze later that night and glazed the muffins shortly before eating them for dessert/bedtime snack. I have to say, I don't know why the pinner would call them Krispy Kreme Muffins, because they don't taste anything like a Krispy Kreme doughnut. For that matter, I don't know why the original recipe refers to doughnuts, either, because they really bear no resemblance to doughnuts... except for the glaze I guess. That's similar to a doughnut. But you could just call it a sugar-glazed muffin, because that's what it is. But don't take that to mean that we didn't like them! They are really great muffins. They have a perfect muffin texture - a little dense and not too crumbly. They are not too sweet and have just enough cinnamon. The glaze is fantastic and I will definitely find other places that I can use it. I double-dipped the muffins so there would be plenty of that sugary vanilla goodness. The kids liked them (Brekken devoured two in about 3 minutes flat while I was out of the room) and so did Aaron and I. The recipe says it makes 12 muffins - I must not have filled my muffin cups as full as hers because I got 18 muffins out of the batch. I put half in the freezer so we wouldn't try to eat the whole big bunch in a day, and the one I defrosted (strictly as a test for the blog, not because I was sneaking an extra muffin!) stood up to the freezing and defrosting very well. Big thumbs-up for the Sugar-Glazed Muffins!

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