One of my current coping mechanisms for this never ending pandemic is baking new and fund things. This week brings you my first ever peach cobbler. I had to make do with canned fruit but the family devoured it and declared it delicious!
Also, given that we are fully in February I feel the following meme sums up my month very well
My backyard gifted me just enough apples in the latest harvest for roughly two pies worth. I needed a mom break so I dropped my kiddos with the grandparents and went to MY Grandma’s house and made pie while we chatted. (I wore a mask the whole time even though we are both vaccinated, better safe than sorry!)
I hit a roadblock. We were having so much fun chatting that I didn’t realize we had run out of flour after making two bottom crusts. So I had two half constructed pies that were missing tops! And where my GG lives, the nearest store is 30 minutes away in a different county. So we got creative and made do. We combined quick cooking oats, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to make a crumble topping.
All reports were that it worked out well, but the pie was a little dry as the oats sucked up all the excess liquid from the cooked apples. But all in all still an edible dessert. But the best part was spending a few hours alone with my GG. I wish I could do it more often so I’ll cherish the time I do get.
About a day after American Thanksgiving I found myself staring at the fridge full of leftovers. And for whatever reason I felt a surge of creativity. Maybe it was the small gathering and zoom meeting hangover? So I pulled all the bits and bobs of Thanksgiving and started creating.
I decided on a “pot pie” like construction. I used the extra crust leftover from the 2-pack I got for pumpkin pie. I filled the pie pan and then in a separate bowl I mixed green bean casserole, a dollop of mashed potatoes, a little bit of turkey gravy and a healthy dose of diced smoked turkey.
I baked that for about 20 minutes and then pulled it out of the oven to crumble the last little bit of stuffing we had and cooked for another 15 or 20 minutes. It came out gorgeous looking!
Oh my lawwwwdddd….. and it was delicious too. It was creamy and hearty and tasted like the parts of your thanksgiving plate where your different foods touch. I threw in some leftover hot rolls with jelly and had the best dinner ever. And best yet? I literally finished off three whole containers of leftovers instead of letting them sit and get thrown out!
I am considering keeping more pie crusts on hand throughout the year. I feel like there is a whole world of untapped potential for leftovers cooked in this manner. I could do quiche with leftover roasted veg or even spicy taco pot pie with bean, meat and cheese. As long as my family indulges me…this might be staple “recipe” for us!
Fall has hit me full force. I pulled out my good Swedish Lutheran roots and cooked up a full midwestern chili dinner. And no chili dinner can’t be complete without cinnamon rolls!
I slipped some of my husband’s smoked brisket from the freezer into the chili for a bit of a smoky twist. It turned out delicious and carbtastic.
I have no idea why my family of four (two of which are small children) needed a full pot of chili and an entire pan of cinnamon rolls. But hey, it got us all in the fall mood and we have leftovers for the whole week.
Quarantine life is really starting to have an effect on me. I got a wild hair at 7 pm on a weeknight that I wanted to see if I could actually make cheesecake in my instant pot like I keep seeing on social media. I just so happened to have all the ingredients, so in the midst of bedtime preparation for the littles I pulled a recipe off the internet and got to work. It mixed up well and was super easy to get in the cooker.
What I didn’t expect was how “poofy” the cake was when I pulled it out of the cooker. I thought for sure I ruined it. The filling had over spilled and made a cheesy volcano. But I set it out to cool and walked away.
When I came back an hour later I noticed it had receded into something more resembling an actual cheesecake. We let it rest overnight in the fridge and then the family promptly DEVOURED the entire thing. The flavor was very good. I think I need to work on my filling texture and how much to fill the pan. We all voted that this was something we would do again.
PB didn’t much care for the filling and just liked the crust. But Jellybean had a ball experimenting with different toppings. He settled on caramel sauce as the best option. I can’t blame him!
Jellybean looked at me this week and said “we should make cookies”. And I said why not! So here is more gratuitous quarantine baking content.
We made pretty standard cookies except for Jellybean insisted on adding the whole bag of chocolate chips. He then put fork marks in them like peanut butter cookies because why not? He also squished the completely flat. So we have very nice and crisp cookies.
They lasted all of 3 days. But to be fair I only baked 1/2 the dough and froze the other half or another baking day. I hope future Rachelle enjoys the work of past Rachelle, lol.
The dough came together nicely. I managed to make more reasonably sized dinner rolls that were almost all the same size. The batch made 15 rolls and they raised nicely. I think I need to space them a little better during their second proofing.
The rolls taste and texture were a VAST improvement form my first try. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I printed it and put it inside my bread machine cookbook. My family quickly gobbled these with a bit of butter and peach jam.
I’m my father’s daughter and when I feel uncertain or stressed….I like to work me feelings out by making carbohydrates. Today’s self care is brought to you by my bread machine and my first go at making dinner rolls.
The batch went swimmingly well in my machine. However, I definitely need more practice at sizing my rolls. I kind of overshot the “roll” size and landed more in a “hamburger bun” size range.
My family pronounced them delicious no matter the size. They browned beautifully and rose nicely. I used a basic white dinner roll recipe from my Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger. The texture was light but this recipe used eggs and it had different texture than I an anticipated. I’m new to hardcore baking but my mother told me this is normal for egg based breads. I think I am going to make the pizza dough recipe for the next round and shape them as rolls instead of crust. It is just flour, salt, olive oil, water and yeast in that recipe.
Based on the current social distancing, I think I’m going to get a lot of baking practice. And I might end up needing bigger pants…
I have continued my carbohydrate craze this week and tried something new….pizza dough in my bread machine. And y’all…I should have done this sooner!
My mom got me this great book on bread machine bread. Its really comprehensive and has helped me make really successful bread. But that is all I have ever made.
Jellybean and I needed a project this week so we decided to make homemade pizza. I pulled out the book and used the machine to make one batch of regular crust and on batch of whole wheat crust. It was SOOO EASY. The machine does all the hard work and when it’s done you can cook it right away, store in the fridge for 24 hours or store in the freezer for 3 months.
As a working mom who handles most of the cooking I feel like this has opened up a whole new world for dinner options. My family gets home between 5 and 5:30 and everyone is hungry, especially the kids. I can’t take an hour to cook dinner or there will be meltdowns. It’s just how it is with our littles right now and I know it will change when they get older. But as it stand now, during the week I have to plan meals that can come together quickly.
So holy cow, I can make up dough the night before and put fresh rolls, homemade pizza or whatever else I can think of in the oven for a few minutes when I get home. This has kind of fired up my cooking mojo and maybe I can shake up our recipe rut a little this spring.
What is your favorite (and quick) thing to do with basic dough?