We have made A LOT of waffles this year. Right now, one of our favorite kinds is a spiced waffle of my invention (more or less). It’s the perfect warm treat for a cool fall day!
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. hawaij (if you can’t find this spice blend, you can mix and measure from 1 Tbsp. ground ginger, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon…this blend is also great in coffee!)
2 c. buttermilk
1/3 c. melted butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients, and then slowly incorporate into dry ingredients until just blended. Cook according to waffle iron instructions.
I’m no expert on Chinese food, but I do know what kind of fried rice I like, and I’ve been trying to replicate my favorite fried rice for almost two decades now. I’m not claiming it’s authentic, but it is tasty, and it reminds me of the restaurant I used to like to eat at before it closed!
3-4 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, diced
Salt and pepper
5 cloves minced garlic
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup julienne carrots
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups cold cooked long-grain rice
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or to taste)
Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the diced onion to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until onion is fragrant Add the garlic, ginger, white part of green onions, and carrots and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. of oil. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Scramble eggs until almost set, then add to vegetables in bowl. Break the eggs up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Return the pan to the heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil. Add the rice to the pan and use a spoon to break up any clumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir-fry the rice to coat evenly with oil, adding an additional Tbsp. of oil if necessary. Stop stirring, and then let the rice cook undisturbed until its gets slightly crispy, about 2 minutes. Stir the rice again, breaking up any new clumps. Add the remaining green onions, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Transfer to the bowl. Stir all the ingredients together with the rice, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve.
Halloween is the one holiday this year that looks pretty much the same to us, since our celebrations are always minimal at best. But I still wanted to make the day special, so I went to some extra effort with our meals.
We started the day with pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls. Yes, they were from a can, but they were still a treat!
I chose all of the elements of our dinner from our Harry Potter cookbook. We had braised lamb, Brussels sprouts, boiled potatoes, mashed parsnips, and butterbeer.
Dessert also came from the Harry Potter cookbook…a chocolate gateau.
We spent the day watching movies (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, because it’s about candy, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, plus we listened to my favorite Halloween episode of The Baby Snooks Show. And of course, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was played!
Another holiday in the time of COVID-19 has come and gone, but the big ones are still on the horizon!
I’m always on the lookout for a new soup recipe, and when I saw one for a potato-parsnip variety, I was intrigued, because I both really like potato soup and the flavor of parsnips. I made a few changes so it would suit us a little better, and in the end, it was a huge hit (and also a very pretty meal!)!
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, cut into chunks
6 cloves garlic, smashed
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
32 oz. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
Crème fraîche or Mexican crema, bacon bits, and chopped chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 425.
Toss potatoes, parsnips, onion, and garlic with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in oven for about 40 minutes.
Combine vegetables with broth in large stock pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth.
Return to pot and combine with milk and cream and add salt and pepper to taste; heat though without boiling.
I think I have the school/cooking routine down pretty well at this point, although some days, it seems like I go straight from the school room to the kitchen. That’s weird, because I usually cook all of our dinners, even in pre-COVID-19 days. But for the last seven (?!?) months, I’ve certainly been putting more effort in, because it’s really the only thing I can do for my family, so it’s still kind of a learning curve, even though it doesn’t seem like it should be. We’ve had some favorite recipes in the last month (both chicken and steak shawarma, plus our favorite chicken with grapes and couscous, not to mention breakfast-for-dinner several times), and tried a few new things (a stir-fry of my invention, creamy chicken noodle soup, and a new kind of chicken for tacos):
There has also been baking (and some frying), including apple cider donuts, pretzels, my award-winning apple and pumpkin bread, and our every-Sunday cookies:
I guess I’ll keep this up through the end of the year, because it’s always fun to keep track of what we’re eating during the holidays, and they’re getting awfully close!
This recipe is so simple, it really doesn’t even need to be written down, but it was a huge hit with my whole family, and took very little effort, so I thought I’d share. It’s not only great in tacos, but also an excellent quesadilla filling!
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup taco seasoning
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
Place chicken in slow cooker and cover with taco seasoning and cream of chicken soup. Cook on low 8-10 hours or until cooked through. In last hour of cooking, shred chicken and return to slow cooker, mixing with sauce.
Time for the sixth installment of cooking through a pandemic…can you believe it’s been a half a year?!?
Cooking for the last month or so has been a little more challenging for me now that we’re back to school. I did have a little help though…the night before school started, we had Portillo’s via mail order, the first day of school was frozen pizzas for the first in I don’t know how long, we ordered Pizza Hut one night when I just couldn’t anymore, and just yesterday, we tried out the newest concept by Beast Craft BBQ, Wing Runner STL. We also tried quite a few new recipes in the last month, some of which were huge hits!
We’ve kept up with baking cookies every Sunday after church, and we even added a new chocolate twist. We also baked brownies, a few cakes, and made baklava over Labor Day weekend since we couldn’t go to the St. Louis Greek Festival.
Maybe I’ll do this again next month, maybe I won’t…only time will tell!
I have a confession to make. I’ve bought canned/jarred spaghetti sauce for years, but I don’t really like it. It doesn’t matter which kind we tried, I always thought it was too sweet, and didn’t have enough flavor. So I decided to try making my own. I already make excellent bolognese sauce (which takes all day to cook, so it’s not a an everyday occurrence)…how hard could it be? After tinkering with recipes a bit, I came up something I (and everyone else in the house) really like! Oh, and did I mention that the recipe is super easy? I call that a culinary victory!
29 oz. stewed tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 Tbsp. fresh parsley (or 4 tsp. dried)
Black pepper to taste
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
One large white onion, diced
1/2 cup red wine
In a blender or food processor, combine the first eight ingredients and blend until smooth.
In a large skillet, sauté onion with salt in olive oil until soft. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add tomato sauce and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve on your favorite pasta.
If there’s anything that defines this summer beyond the “Summer of Hamilton,” it’s “Waffle Summer.” When I rearranged our summer school plans from Tokyo 2020 to cooking, the first thing I wanted to tackle was making waffles. They were such a big hit that we kept making them…every kind we could come up with. Plain waffles, cinnamon, chocolate (topped with ice cream for dessert!), pumpkin, lemon-poppyseed, savory cheese and bacon (topped with fried eggs), cinnamon roll, banana, tropical, gingerbread, blueberry, potato, and buttermilk all made an appearance.
The waffle madness even made an appearance in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!