Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken Florentine (Light)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Grade: B+
Make Again: Maybe
Recipe Source: Light and Healthy 2010

It may not look all that appetizing, but this was pretty good. The sauce was very tasty. I wish it was quicker though. I could have done more prep while things were cooking, but when I have time I like to prep first because it is less stressful.

One annoying thing about this recipe is that is calls for 2T of heavy cream. When trying to cook lighter, that isn't an ingredient I'm going to use up a lot. I will have to try to figure out a way to use up the rest.

I only put spinach on half, because I was cooking for someone who doesn't like his spinach cooked. It was good though. The sauce mixed with the spinach is a good lighter sub for creamed spinach. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Banana Bread (Lighter)

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

Grade: A
Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Light & Healthy 2010

The ways this recipe is "light" is by roasting the bananas to bring out their sweetness. It adds time to prep work, but is easy enough. It cuts the sugar by 1/4 c. from CI's more recent banana bread recipe. They also use only 1 T. oil and 2 oz cream cheese (yeah, I can finish using up the cream cheese I opened for the biscuits and the cookies). It called for fat-free cream cheese, but I used Light, since that is what I had.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Dough: 90 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Grade: C-
Make Again: No
Recipe Source: Light & Healthy 2010
The picture of this looked so good to me. (In the book, not mine!)

But I really didn't care for it. The dough was fine and I liked the crust of the pizza, which is why the recipe still gets a C. But I hated the no-cook sauce. It made the top of the dough crust a little soggy and it also made my roasted veggies soggy too, so the awesome-ness of roasted veggies disappeared.

I will probably use the dough recipe again and experiment with my own toppings, but I won't be using this light and healthy recipe again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cuban Inspired Black Beans and Rice

Soak Time: 8-24 hours
Prep Time: 13 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Prep Time: 27 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Grade: B-
Make Again: No
Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (March 2011)

I was sure I'd love this recipe, but it fell a little flat with me. I think the cumin taste overpowered everything else. It calls for 4 teaspoons of cumin, and I think half of that would have worked better.

It wasn't bad, but not something I think was worth the effort. This past winter when I had no time to cook at all, I discovered a quick beans and rice meal. (Boil in the bag Brown Rice, plus canned black beans, plus some salsa with a little bit of cheese on top.) That takes about 3-4 minutes of effort and 12 minutes of cooking time, and was almost as satisfying as this dish.

This dish isn't hard to make, but you do have to soak the beans and cook in stages, so there is some effort involved.

I should add that I used bacon instead of salt port. I used 2 thick slices instead of the 6 regular they suggested. Maybe more bacon or salt port would have tempered the cumin.

I will say the beans after cooking initially were very good, but the final recipe was were things fell flat.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 22 minutes
Cook Time: 11-13 minutes per pan

Grade: A
Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: America's Test Kitchen TV (Season 11)
Recipe Source: Cook's Illustrated (November 2010)

I wrote a post about this yesterday, and it isn't here anymore. :-( So, I am going to keep this short and sweet. These are very, very good. Nice and chewy, even when not warm anymore.
I had already opened some cream cheese, so this helped use up some of the open package. I didn't sprinkle the extra sugar on top at the end, and didn't miss is.

There is a video on the ATK TV show link, and you can get the recipe their also.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cream Cheese Carrot Muffins

Prep Time: 23 minutes
Cook Time:20  minutes

Grade: A-
Make Again: Maybe
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

These are nice muffins with a cream cheese filling. They are not too sweet, and the filling is very good. I guess I skimped on the filling, because I ended up using only 1/2 - 2/3 and had a lot left over. Also, I probably should have put less batter on the bottom of the pans.

Despite having to grate carrots (it's only 2), and put the batter in the pans in the 3 steps, these are fairly easy to make. I may make again if I have carrots on cream cheese on hand and need to use them up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chicken Piccata (Light)

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Grade: A-
Make Again: Yes
Recipe Source: Light & Healthy 2010

This recipe is somewhat similar to the one from the magazine (from 2001) or the Lighter version they did in 2007.  But it is definitely not exactly the same. I can't find a link anywhere online to this, so I guess you need the book to try it.

I had never tried capers before, and thought I wouldn't like them. I didn't. But I do think they added to the sauce flavor, so would make this again, and just not eat the capers. I may try it without them also to see if I notice a difference.

The sauce was very flavorful. I used less lemon, because I don't like things too lemony. You add just a bit of butter at the end, and it tasted very nice. It takes a while to reduce the sauce, but otherwise, this recipe is pretty easy and quick.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buttermilk Biscuits (Lighter)

Prep Time: 75 minutes (1 hour from freezing some ingredients)
Cook Time: 17-20 minutes

Make Again: Maybe
Recipe Source: Light & Healthy 2010

These were good, and very pretty, but I probably won't make them again. They were very flaky, I guess thanks to freezing the light cream cheese and butter. But I missed the buttery flavor from the other biscuits I make. And with 10,000 other biscuit recipes, I think I will just use one of the others.  The Tall and Fluffy biscuits are lighter than most biscuits and I will use those when I want something light. (I just looked for a link to my review of that recipe and can't find it. I can't believe I wouldn't have reviewed this one.  Coming soon, hopefully.)

One interesting thing from trying this recipe. The recipe tells you to arrange them upside down. The tops looked much nicer and smoother, and I thought they would be prettier, so I only turned about half upside down. It turns out there is a reason. The upside down biscuits rose considerably higher. (See photo above - the one on the left was turned upside down, the right one was not.) I guess I should know that they don't tell you to do something if there isn't a reason.

Update: I froze the leftovers, and reheated some today for dinner. I liked them better today. Not sure why that is. I may or may not make these again. So many biscuit recipes, and so many that I probably prefer over this one. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

I'm back

After a very grueling year as a full-time student (my posts from last fall were mostly queued up over the summer), I am hoping to get back to cooking and blogging.

I was studying Graphic Design so I can transition my programming skills into creating web sites. I hope to move this blog to WordPress over the summer and redesign it myself. If I have time.

In the meantime, I have Light & Healthy 2010 from the library, so I will be reviewing some of those recipes soon. And I haven't even looked at Cook's Illustrated all year, so there are probably at least a few recipes there I want to try also.