Reviews

Review: Creative Cooking (for One or Two)

I am changing things up a little this Sunday to instead talk about a cookbook that offers recipes which serve one to two people (sometimes up to four depending on how small you portion the servings). Seemed completely appropriate to post such a review on Single Serving Sunday!

Creative Cooking (for One or Two) addresses the problem that many parents have: how to go from cooking large quantities which feed a crowd to smaller servings for one or two when their children fly the coop. Or for those children who are now living on their own (like me still, ten years and counting).

These recipes span from breakfast foods, soups/salads/sandwiches, entrees, all the way to dessert. Many of these recipes can be made in a toaster oven (or microwave), reducing the amount of energy used and heat created compared to a full-sized oven. And each recipe includes degrees of difficulty and approximate calorie counts.

There is also a Festive Feasts chapter which offers meals for holidays and other special events, but with fewer servings for less leftovers. I loved this chapter as it relates to my Thanksgiving Dinner for Two. The festive menu line-ups include New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, sporting events, and even a birthday brunch.

Creative Cooking for One or Two

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Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts & The New Southwest Giveaway

Have you had a chance to check out The New Southwest Cookbook by Meagan of Scarletta Bakes? If not then today is your lucky day because not only am I sharing a recipe from her new cookbook, but am also hosting a giveaway for one lucky reader to receive a copy!

scarletta bakes coverTo start, there’s a chapter which covers all the essentials for a southwest kitchen pantry as well as acceptable substitutions when you cannot locate a certain ingredient in a recipe, which I completely appreciated as sometimes it is difficult to find certain ingredients. Then there is a “building blocks” chapter covering all the condiments and foodstuffs seen in southwestern cooking from roasted chiles to homemade corn tortillas. Although it is not necessary to make your own tortillas, salsa, etc. from scratch, it certainly adds to the experience. I really want to try making my own tortillas once I get my hands on a tortilla press.

Browsing through the subsequent chapters, several recipes immediately struck me such as the fried sage smashed potatoes and the dulce de leche layer cake with sweet pecan “pesto”. The picture of that cake made me swoon, with pecan “pesto” dripping all over the place. But when I saw the pinto bean breakfast patty melts I knew it was time to treat myself to a hearty, spicy breakfast.

These breakfast patties were easy to throw together and I loved that they could be wrapped up before being cooked and saved for later since I typically only cook for myself. After being fried and topped with cheese, these patty melts were layered with spicy flavor – both in heat and spices. If you are a bit timid to spiciness you may want to consider removing the seeds from the jalapenos.

 Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts

Want to win a copy? Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter after viewing the recipe below!

One year ago: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Two years ago: Andes Crème de Menthe Chocolate Cookies
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Review: Taste of Home Recipes Across America

One of my favorite things about traveling is sampling the local food. What food items have you tried during your journeys that you would love to have again? Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza, Southern Fried Chicken or Mississippi Mud Cake? You’ll find those classic regional recipes in Taste of Home Recipes Across America.

Divided into five regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West), Recipes Across America offers 735 specialties enjoyed by locals using regional produce. You’ll even discover ethnic specialties passed down through generations that became hometown favorites. In addition, hundreds of snapshots of food festivals and landmarks are scattered among the pages. And as a bonus, you’ll also find food folklore, recipe histories and fun food facts.

raa_cov
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Review: Baker’s Secret Giveaway & Lattice Chicken and Sweet Potato Potpie

If you’ve ever shopped for bakeware or have spent any time in the kitchen you have probably heard of Baker’s Secret. Not only do many bakers depend on Baker’s Secret, all Baker’s Secret Essentials products have a premium non-stick coating, are durable & long lasting, are metal spatula safe, are dishwasher safe, and have a full lifetime warranty. What’s your favorite fall recipe using your Baker’s Secret products? Tell me about it in the comments section and then enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post!

Lattice Chicken Potpie 1

With the holidays fast approaching, Baker’s Secret gave me an early holiday present of two of products in order to create two different festive recipes to share with you. I received their 9-inch pie pan and 12-cup muffin pan. Today I am sharing a savory recipe using the pie pan because your pie pan has more utility than just making sweet, delicious pies. How about POTpie? But not just any potpie, a potpie with sweet potato and a lattice crust!

Lattice Chicken Potpie 2

This potpie recipe had been my go-to for many years. The original recipe used canned condensed potato soup, but I like to use cream cheese instead and add in my own potato. This time I decided to use sweet potato (which I peeled and cooked in the microwave for 4 minuets) and some extra seasonings to make it even more fall-appropriate. As for the crust, don’t let the lattice top intimidate you. I simply used a can of crescent dough, sealed the seams and cut into strips. Easy peasy and looks great with the addition of an egg-white wash.

Lattice Chicken Potpie 3

One year ago: Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal
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Review: Carapelli Olive Oil & Crispy Gnocchi

Olive oil is one of those things that I typically buy the generic store brand of. Mostly because it’s less expensive, and also because I generally cannot tell the difference unless using in a recipe where it is the main attraction. So when I received a bottle of Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to try out, I made sure to pick out recipes where I would be able to taste the difference.

carapelli-extra-virgin-olive-oil

The first thing I decided to make with my bottle of Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil was herb infused olive oil. I got excited thinking about what I would cook with the infused oil once it was prepared, but to my disappointment it grew mold in the air-tight container stored in the refrigerator! Next time I’ll use a different method that doesn’t require leaving the herbs in the bottle. Thankfully I still had half a bottle remaining to try something else in the meantime.

After my failure to make infused olive oil, I decided to prepare something a little safer – homemade pesto. My basil plant had been growing out of control and it seemed fortuitous. This olive oil made me fall in love with my homemade pesto all over again. Pesto is definitely one of those things where the quality of the olive oil matters.

With the remaining small amount of olive oil, I decided to make crispy gnocchi by pan-frying cooked gnocchi in olive oil. This results in what you would expect – gnocchi with a crispy exterior. Served along with the Lighter Chicken Parmesan I shared yesterday, this meal was a hit!

Crispy Gnocchi

Two years ago: Butternut Squash Soup
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Review: Fleischmann’s Pretzel Creations & Apple Cinnamon Pretzels

Like many people, I cannot get enough of the pretzel trend. I enjoy many different versions of the soft-baked pretzel, whenever possible. In fact, my meal selection is easily swayed by a pretzel bun. Oh that sandwich comes on a pretzel bun? Sold. But of course, my favorite is making my own pretzel buns at home.

Pretzel Creations

Now Fleischmann’s Yeast is making it even easier to make your own pretzel creations at home. Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade Baking Mixes is introducing Pretzel Creations, which makes fresh-baked pretzels in less than an hour. The package contains pretzel mix, yeast, baking soda and pretzel salt – all you need is water and oil.

Pretzel Creations 2

In a large bowl, I combined the pretzel mix, yeast, water, and oil. According to the directions all that was left was to mix it together and then let it rise, covered, for only 25 minutes! But I decided to knead my dough a little bit to get a smooth dough which I am more accustomed to.

Pretzel Creations 3

After the dough was done rising, I decided to divide the dough in half and make two different things. With one half I made regular pretzels and they came out perfect. I served them with a bacon cheddar ranch dipping sauce.

Pretzel Creations 4

With the other half, I decided to stuff the dough with apples tossed in cinnamon-sugar. After boiling, I sprinkled them with more cinnamon-sugar. Don’t they look like little apple pies?

Apple Cinnamon Pretzels 1

They even tasted like apple pie, but with a pretzel crust. Originally I had contemplated stuffing them with apple pie filling, but worried that would be messy and more difficult to seal. Using fresh apple slices and cinnamon-sugar sounded good enough to me and they turned out to be delicious. Eat alone or serve with a cinnamon-sugar cream cheese dip.

Apple Cinnamon Pretzels 2

Two years ago: Basil Butter
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Review: Dining Out at Home Cookbook 2

For those of you familiar with Stephanie Manely of CopyKat.com, you know that she specializes in recreating dishes from your favorite restaurants at home. She also put together a cookbook called the “Dining Out at Home Cookbook” to further pursue restaurant favorites in the home for less. Today I am sharing a review for the sequel called “Dining Out at Home Cookbook 2″.

In her second cookbook, she hares copycat recipes for Starbucks’ frappuccinos, Logan’s Roadhouse Loaded Potato Skins, Olive Garden’s baked pasta romana, Coldstone Creamery’s cake-batter ice cream, and many more.

Dining Out at Home Cookbook

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Review: Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking Cookbook & Giveaway

I interrupt today’s regularly scheduled Single Serving Sunday post with a celebration of the release of Nicole Morrissey’s cookbook, Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking (Skyhorse Publishing). Complete with a giveaway of the cookbook to one lucky reader!

Nicole Morrissey is the blogger behind Prevention RD and is a registered dietician offering smart, sustainable solutions to healthy weight loss since she started her blog in 2009. She firmly believes that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and this motto is evident in her recipes. From healthier versions of mozzarella sticks and chicken tortilla soup, to creative recipes such as creamy chicken pesto enchiladas and carrot cake pancakes you’ll be satisfied while also being proactive about your health. There are even chapters dedicated to carb and dessert lovers

Prevention RD Cookbook

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Review: The S’mores Cookbook & S’mores Macarons

In honor of today being National Toasted Marshmallow day, I thought I would share a new cookbook that is all about such toasty goodness – S’mores!

S’mores have come a long way from the staple campfire-side treats during the summer months. You no longer even need a fire to enjoy the taste of s’mores which means you can enjoy them in your home, year round! This food trend is summed up in the foreword by Chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes fame, when Duff says, “This book is a fine example of a culinary evolutionary eruption.”

Oozing with fifty mouthwatering recipes, The S’mores Cookbook: From Chocolate Marshmallow French Toast to S’mores Cheesecake Recipes, Treat Yourself to S’more of Everything (Adams/F+W Media, August) by Susan Whetzel, of DoughMessTic, shows you how to indulge in the rich blend of creamy chocolate, toasted marshmallows, and honeyed graham crackers at every meal this summer – or satisfy your cravings for the gooey campfire treat all year long!

From Chocolate Graham Pancakes drizzled with a sweet marshmallow syrup to S’mores Éclairs smothered in a dark chocolate ganache, this book combines this favorite trio of flavors in ways you’ve never imagined to create delicious plates that will impress friends and family.

S'mores Cookbook

The cookbook begins with some s’more history and what its components are, followed by a chapter full of “not your average s’mores” with recipes to make nontraditional versions. The next chapters cover breakfast, cakes/pies, cookies/brownies, chilled treats, drinks, and even giftable treats. The final chapter covers all the essential basic recipes which are used throughout the cookbook such as marshmallow frosting and chocolate ganache, but also homemade graham crackers and homemade marshmallows for the extra daring baker.

The very first recipe that caught my eye is actually pictured on the cover, s’mores macarons, and knew I had to try them. I had only made macarons once before and although they tasted great, they weren’t visually perfect which is what macarons are all about. This time around they grew perfect little feet! Serious excitement. And of course they tasted just as good as they looked (despite my haphazard frosting-piping).

S'mores Macarons

The only thing I would change in this cookbook, is listing the page numbers when referring to the recipes in the essential recipe chapter. Not that it was a huge burden, but when preparing the macarons, it would’ve been nice if I could’ve flipped directly to the page number where the marshmallow frosting recipe was, rather than flipping through the chapter to find it. Despite that minor thing this cookbook is a hit! Next I definitely need to try the S’mores oatmeal. Although, the ease at which is can be prepared might be a dangerous thing.

Two years ago: Feta Stuffed Pesto Turkey Burgers
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Review: Leafy Greens Cookbook

I’m pretty sure most people don’t eat enough greens in their diet and typically make it a goal to fix that. I’m not a crazy health nut, but still find myself frequently saying such things to myself in order to balance out all those cookies.

Instead of green side dishes, how about making those leafy greens the star of your meal? Introducing “The Leafy Greens Cookbook,” a new cookbook featuring 100 easy-to-make recipes that unlock the of kale, chard, spinach, bok choy, collard, etc. Enjoy recipes such as Pomegranate-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans, Arugula and Tomato Pizza, Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Beef, and Chicken-Kale Enchiladas.

The cookbook starts out with an introduction on getting to know your greens. There are descriptions of each green used just in case you have never seen, heard of, or tried it before. Then there are 5 more chapters covering salads and soups, appetizers snacks and sides, vegetarian entrees, poultry fish and meat entrees, and juices and smoothies.

Leafy Greens
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