Monday, March 10, 2014

I'm not that great of a cook but...

I totally owned these three meals.

There are a few things I would do differently the next time I make some of these things but I gotta say..I'm proud of myself.  Now that I'm a stay at home mommy and soon to be wife I know I wanted to work on my cooking and baking skills.  I only have a few things that I feel confident in making but I need more than just a few meals to last our lifetime.  So this last week I made one meal that I've done before that I knew would be good and then tried two others.

**At the end of the post I have some recommendations for what to do next time/differently so be sure to check that out.  I'm no pro at cooking but I learned a few things and it's worth sharing.**

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
The first meal I made last week (and for the first time) was Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  My mom made this for my family all the time and she actually used my grandma's roll recipe for the dough.

Instead of retyping the dough recipe I thought I would continue with passing along "the original".  This recipe was my Grandma Lucy's.  My uncle Merritt called her one day to get the recipe.  He then typed it up and at some point emailed it to my mom.  My mom printed the email and put it in her binder.  Then last week she took a photo of the printed recipe and texted it to me.  So now I'm uploading that text message and sharing it on my blog.  (Kind of fun how things can get shared these days.)
**Along with these ingredients you will need chicken, garlic, pepper, butter, buffalo sauce and ranch.**
For the Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe I cut the dough recipe in half ^^ since we only have four people to feed and that makes a ton of dough.  **If you have issues with the dough rising this is what my mom had me do: turn the oven on to the lowest temperature (which was 170 degrees for me) and once it heats up to that turn off the oven and then put the dough inside the oven.  And please make sure it isn't in a plastic container.**
On the stove top melt half a cube of butter and cook chicken that is cut into cubes or small pieces.  Add garlic and pepper and add half a bottle of buffalo sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce).
To cut out each individual pizza I used a cup and instead of just using the dimensions of the cup I made it bigger by just rolling the cup around on its edge in a wide circular motion.  The first layer I put down was ranch dressing and I felt like I smothered it on but next time I'm going to put more on since it seems to disappear in the baking process.  Then I added shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese and put the cooked buffalo chicken on top of that.  I followed the dough recipe's baking instructions.  
The best part of this meal is the leftover sauce in the pan from cooking the chicken.  The buttery buffalo sauce is great for extra sauce when eating the pizza.
All done!!
Chicken Enchiladas
The second meal I made was chicken enchiladas.  Which I've done before and was pleased when Konnor loved them.  I didn't get any photos of this but I'm sure we'll have it again very soon.

For this I cooked chicken and shredded it.  I bought enchilada sauce packet from the store and cooked that over the stove by adding water and a can of tomato sauce.  I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and added some of the sauce to the bottom of the cooking pan.  Then added most of the sauce to the shredded chicken and mixed. I put some grated cheese on a tortilla and added the chicken on that.  I rolled the tortilla up and placed in the pan.  Once the pan was filled I put the remaining sauce over the top of all the enchiladas and added cheese to the top as well.  It cooked for about 20 minutes (until the cheese is melted).

Konnor and I also made homemade salsa together as well.  Chop of 10 roma tomatoes, half an onion, 2 serrano peppers and cilantro.  Add in some lemon juice and salt and's amazing.

Another side dish was refried beans topped with grated cheese and placed in the oven along with the enchiladas (next time I would add a hot sauce as the second layer though - I think that's what my mom does).

Egg Rolls and Stir Fry
Beef Egg Rolls and Chicken Stir Fry
This was my favorite meal last week.  Mostly because it wasn't like I followed both of the recipes.  I saw a few different recipes and picked between them what I wanted to do with our meal.

The wrappers I used, I found them at Walmart in the produce isle.
I've made Egg Rolls in the past but it's been a long time.  And we did try cooking them a different way but that .. didn't really work.  So I'll tell you the better way of cooking them that I had done before.

To start out brown ground pork (or beef..we did beef) on the stove and then add in a teaspoon of ground ginger (the recipe I read called for minced ginger but I had no clue where to find that or what it looked liked), 2 cups of chopped cabbage, 2 shredded carrots, 1 chopped celery, 1/4 onion chopped (I had 1.5 onions and I split the two between the egg rolls and stir fry so a whole onion is fine) and I also added 2 minced garlic cloves.  Once everything is all mixed in and starting to soften that's when we start putting together the egg rolls.  I bought a packet of egg rolls wraps and followed the filling directions (put some filling in the middle then fold and roll) and then we did the baking instructions..which I would not recommend.  I would recommend the stove top directions because this is how I normally make them and it tastes sooooo much better.  When we reheated leftovers the next day we did it on the stove and Konnor liked it waaaaay more.  He was so sweet to tell me they were good in the first place when I knew they would've been better cooked the other way.
The filling when it's ready to be assembled.
When I was at the store I had no clue what I wanted to make to go along with the egg rolls.  I saw Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce on the shelf and I was like, "Whoa, I love Teriyaki Sauce - let's go with that."  So I looked up a few recipes online for Teriyaki Stir Fry and decided which parts of each recipe I wanted to follow.  I saw these Wel-Pac Noodles (these can be purchased individually and not just packs of 12) on the shelf and thought they were a good idea (and they totally were!).
I used a lot of the same ingredients as the egg rolls (okay..I used all of them) but the cabbage wasn't as "chopped" and neither was the onion.  But again I added shredded carrots, chopped celery, minced garlic and ground ginger.  The only thing different was instead of ground beef I put in chunks of chicken.  The noodle to chicken recipe was a 3/4 pound of chicken and .. no.  I would put in more than that personally.  But I'll get to that more at the bottom of the post.  But anyways I cooked about a pound of chicken and added the carrots, not so chopped cabbage and onions, ginger, celery and once the noodles were cooked and in the same pan as the rest of the mix I added 3/4 of a cup of the Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce.  1/2 of a cup probably would've been enough but when in doubt, extra sauce is a good idea.
Before an after the noodles and sauce were added.
By the way..this was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good.

What I would do differently next time...
For the pizza I would only add way more ranch before cooking.  The amount of pizzas I made by cutting the dough recipe in half was perfect for four people plus there was enough leftovers to last for lunch for a few days.

The enchiladas were perfect.  But this time I didn't have this amazing food chopping device for the onions that I wish I had.  My mom has a Pampered Chef one and it's seriously the best thing I've ever used in the kitchen.  It's much quicker and gets the onions and peppers to the small pieces that I need to make salsa.
Konnor had a simple solution to eye irritation.
All the leftovers.
And for the egg rolls I would definitely make them on the stove than in the oven.  I would also cut both of the recipes for this meal in half for only needing to feed four people.  I love leftovers more than anything but this would be an easy recipe to cut in half since the noodles are packaged with two layers of noodles.  But don't cut the chicken in half, keep that at 3/4 of a pound..or a full pound.  ;-) 

This is what they look like once I reheated them as leftovers over the stove.  They tasted SO MUCH BETTER.

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