bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Get 30% off at Plated.com - Fresh Ingredients Delivered

Do you watch Shark Tank?  This past Friday there was a company called plated on the show.  Plated is a service that will deliver fresh, locally grown ingredients right to your front door, along with a full-color, easy-to-follow recipe card so that you can turn those ingredients into a delicious home-cooked meal in 30 to 40 minutes.

On the show, most of the Sharks didn't really seem to get it. They asked questions like, "Why would someone want to order food that they still had to cook?" and, "Someone who cooks can just go to the grocery store."  Personally, I think it's a great idea.  I think there are a lot of people who would like to be able to provide delicious and healthy home-cooked meals for their families, but they just don't know where or how to start.  It can't get easier than having all the ingredients delivered straight to your door along with step-by-step directions.

And, as far as the people who cook just going to the grocery store, I'm sure you've seen this:  (or, if you haven't - now you have!)

I do cook, and I do go to the grocery store, but I've been browsing through the menus available for delivery in my area next week, and there are some amazing-looking dishes.  Sometimes the hardest thing about fixing dinner is deciding what to have for dinner.  Plated has full-color pictures along with a list of everything they will send for each dish, and all you have to do is choose the ones that look good to you.

A lot of these menus include ingredients I don't ordinarily buy, so this would be a good way to try something new, without ending up with a whole lot of extra stuff I won't know what to do with - like when I buy eggplant.  I always end up buying it and then letting it go to waste because I don't know what to do with it.  The ingredients for the plated.com meals are packed fresh and pre-portioned to cut back on waste.

So, I can see this service being very handy for both people who want to start cooking at home and for those of us who do cook but want to try something new, perhaps for a special occasion.  The meals cost $15/plate (or $12/plate with a membership) with a minimum 4 plate order, so they're not exactly cheap, but they really don't cost more than going out to a restaurant - and they're fresh and home-cooked.

Be sure to check it out and see what they have for you.  For a limited time, save 30% off your order at plated.com by using the code SharkPlated30 at checkout - through 4/18/14. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chicken Cottage Pie

Secret Recipe Club

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Chit Chat Chomp, an amazing blog written by Leigh who lives in Melbourne, Australia.  Her blog is full of amazing recipes and gorgeous photos of all of them.  Leigh calls herself an amateur photographer, but they look pretty professional to me!  I wanted to try everything on her blog.  Once again I started making a list:
And there were many more!

Of course, since Leigh is a child of English parents who lives in Australia, I needed to convert some of the measurements.  How much is 160g flour? I admit, I've let something like that keep me from trying some of the recipes I've found online, but this time I looked up some recipe conversions.  (Well, that was simple!)

Chicken Cottage Pie
adapted from Chit Chat Chomp 

  • 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in chunks (about 8 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • fresh spinach (I didn't measure)
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup sweet corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
  • 2 T butter
  1. Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large fry pan and cook onion and chicken over a medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, until the onion is soft and the chicken is starting to brown.  Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook until spinach starts to wilt.  Season with dried parsley and salt & pepper.
  3. Pour in the stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the corn and sour cream.  Season with additional salt & pepper if needed.
  4. When potatoes are cooked, drain and mash them with the butter (or extra sour cream or creme fraiche) Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat oven to 400° F.  Spoon the chicken mixture into a medium baking dish; top with the mashed potatoes, sprinkle with a bit of additional parsley, and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

The chicken and corn mixture was soupier than I was expecting when I put it in the baking dish, and the potatoes were quite thick on top.  Then, the oven worked its magic, and they baked together into this perfectly creamy delicious dish that my husband and I both loved.

When I decided to make this particular recipe, I had to look up Cottage Pie, too. Leigh says this is not the sort of cottage pie her mum would make, which would be "an Irish or British meat pie cooked with beef mince and has a crust made from mashed potato" - and certainly not chicken.  Or corn.  Well, this one has both, and I added some mushrooms and spinach too, just because, and it is yummy.  Definitely comfort food.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Couple of Pizzas

I made a couple pizzas for dinner this week.  They both turned out pretty good!

 And we have a whole pizza - some pieces from each - left over for another meal!  Here are the toppings for both pizzas.  No measurements really, because pizza is just like that.  You pile on the toppings until it looks right to you.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza
  • Barbecue sauce
  • 1 boneless chicken thigh, grilled
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Cheese - Mozzarella and Cheddar
Roast Beef Pizza
  • Garlic Ranch Sauce - Ranch dressing mixed with minced garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Leftover roast beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Asparagus pieces
  • Cheese - Mozzarella and Cheddar, crumbled Queso Fresco
  1. Spread sauce on crust, sprinkle Parmesan on the Garlic Ranch sauce.  Add toppings and cheese. 
  2. Bake pizzas at 450° F for 15 minutes or until crust is done and cheese is melted and browned.  
  3. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

I am still trying to find the perfect Pizza crust recipe or technique or whatever the secret is to that perfect crust.  This one wasn't too bad, but there's definitely room for improvement.  The toppings, on the other hand, were very yummy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rhubarb Focaccia

Secret Recipe Club

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  As the name of her blog suggests, Camilla is very adventurous with her cooking.  She loves trying new ingredients and exploring the cuisine of different countries, and she hopes to inspire the readers of her blog to try something new, too.

I found several recipes that looked interesting.  Here are a few of them:
I actually did make the Chocolate Zucchini Brownies.  They were more like a dark chocolate cake than actual brownies and not too sweet, so I really liked them.  BUT, they weren't really something new or adventurous, so I thought I should take Camilla's challenge and make something I'd never made before.  I chose her Rhubarb Focaccia because I have a hard time resisting anything with rhubarb - rhubarb is not my new ingredient.  What's new is that I had never made Focaccia before - savory or sweet.  I'm not sure I'd ever even eaten it, either.

Rhubarb Focaccia
from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Sweet Focaccia Dough
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups flour (divided)
  • 2-1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 pkg.)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 T raw organic honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • additional sugar and olive oil
    1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, salt, and yeast.
    2. Combine the warm water, olive oil and honey in a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup. 
    3. Stir the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture; gradually add remaining flour, mixing in as much as you can with a spoon and then kneading until it becomes smooth and soft (5 to 6 minutes).
    4. Coat the inside of the bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl; turn to coat. Cover and allow dough to rise until it has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
    5. When dough has risen, punch down and allow to rest 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, coat a jelly roll pan with the coconut oil.  (If your coconut oil is solid, place the pan in the oven on low until it has melted.)
    6. Slightly flatten dough and place it in the jelly roll pan, turning once to coat with coconut oil.  Begin pressing and stretching the dough to fit the pan.  Then press your fingers through the dough, making dimples all the way to the pan, all over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with chopped rhubarb, pressing it into the dough, and 1/4 cup sugar.
    7. Cover and let dough rise until it has doubled in size again, about 1 hour. 
    8. When focaccia is ready to bake, preheat oven to 425° and generously sprinkle the top with some more sugar and lightly drizzle a little more olive oil on top.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Cool before cutting and serving.

    This stuff is really good.  The crust is kinda flaky and crunchy, and the texture of the dough is nice and soft.

    The first time I made it, my husband wasn't really impressed.  He felt like there wasn't enough fruit and that it was basically just bread.  He's not quite as crazy about bread as I am - and this is good bread.  Mostly the problem was that my  frozen rhubarb had been thawed, so most of the juice was gone - I saved it and used it in a smoothie, but that didn't do the focaccia any good.  And, a lot of the rhubarb fell off when I cut it,  so a lot of it really was 'just bread' even if it was good bread.

    So I made it again.

    This time I used frozen rhubarb - without allowing it to thaw - and pressed it into the dough.  And I split the dough and made two so I'd have more of that lovely crust.  What made my husband especially happy is that I made a simple powdered sugar glaze - melted butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, milk - and drizzled it on top.

    Totally yummy and hard to stop eating - with or without the glaze!  Thanks, Camilla, for getting me to try something new!

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    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Easy Fettuccine Cacciatore

    This recipe was on the same page of the Kraft Food & Family magazine with the Beef Noodle Bowl, which I now make quite regularly.  And this week I finally got around to trying this one.  I had mushrooms that needed used and a green pepper in the fridge, too, so it was the perfect time.

    This is a very simple recipe and very tasty.

    Easy Fettuccine Cacciatore
    adapted from Kraft Recipes

    • 8 oz. fettuccine
    • 2 tsp. oil
    • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 green pepper, sliced
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1 T dried basil
    • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
    1. Cook fettuccine as directed on package.
    2. While fettuccine is cooking, heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 6 min. or until no longer pink. Add sliced peppers, onions, and mushrooms; cook 3 min., stirring occasionally. Add basil and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant.  Stir in tomatoes and dressing; simmer on medium-low heat 5 minutes or until chicken is done.
    3. When pasta is cooked, add some of the pasta water to the chicken and vegetable mix.  Drain pasta and toss with chicken mixture; simmer a couple minutes to blend flavors.

    I added the sliced onion, because the original recipe didn't call for any onion - and it just needed some onion.  (doesn't everything?)

    Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese, serve with a vegetable and some crusty bread, and you have a very delicious meal.   I think I'll be making this one on a regular basis, too.

    Sunday, February 9, 2014

    Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

    Secret Recipe Club

    If you're thinking that it can't possibly be time for Secret Recipe Club reveal already, you're right.  I usually post with Group A, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the Group B blogger assigned to Jane's Adventures in Dinner could not do it - so I got to step in!  Lucky me - I am enjoying Jane's blog very much.

    Jane is a Canadian wife and mummy who loves to cook and even trained as a chef at one time.  Then she discovered her love of teaching and became a teacher - a teacher who still loves to cook and feed everyone. Now she's got a small daughter and this blog full of amazing recipes and pictures to chronicle the adventures of it all. 

    Once again I had a hard time choosing just one recipe.  There are so many to choose from, all with mouth-watering photos.  Here are some that made the short list, and that I will most likely be making soon:
    Don't those all sound yummy?  I finally decided on this Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese because I just had to see how it turned out.

    Mix the cheese and seasonings together, mix it together with the macaroni in your slow cooker, pour some broth and milk on top, and let it cook.  Can it really be that easy?  Yes, yes it is! 

    Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese 
    from Jane's Adventures in Dinner

    • 4 cups shredded cheese (a mix of mozzarella and sharp cheddar)
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 2 T ground mustard
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 4 cups uncooked pasta
    • 1 L milk
    • 1/2 L chicken stock
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs)
    1. Mix shredded cheese, cornstarch, ground mustard and paprika together. Place pasta in greased 5-quart slow cooker and mix in cheese and seasonings. Pour milk and stock over the top.
    2. Cook on HIGH for four hours (at 3-1/2 hours, dot with butter and cover with bread crumbs).  OR Cook on LOW for six hours (at 5-1/2 hours, dot with butter, cover with bread crumbs, and turn heat to HIGH for remaining 1/2 hour).
    Makes A LOT

    This was perfect for dinner on a snowy winter's night.  Comfort food at its best!  I haven't had mac & cheese in ages - not since my kids were little, and then it was just the kind that comes in the blue box.  This is better!  And pretty much as easy.  Jane says the key is coating the shredded cheese with the cornstarch and seasonings.  So I did what she said.

    At the end I had Mac & Cheese!  I ate way too much, and I still couldn't stop nibbling on the crunchy edges - though those might have been because I ended up cooking it for the full four hours before I added the topping, because I was out shoveling the driveway and didn't get back into the house.  Nope, just checked the picture, and there were already some crispy edges.  I really like those crispy edges.

    Before the topping
    Warning - this recipe makes a lot.  There will be plenty of leftovers, unless you're feeding a crowd.  This would actually be a great recipe to take for a potluck, especially if you have a few hours to cook it once you get there.  Mix your cheeses, spices, and macaroni in the slow cooker and take your broth and milk in a separate container.  Pour them in when you get there and turn on the slow cooker.  How easy is that?   It would probably also be perfectly yummy without the topping if you didn't even want to mess with that.  Though the topping does make it pretty -

    If you're not feeding a crowd, be sure to visit Jane's blog to see what she did with her leftovers.  Me, I've been eating Mac & Cheese for lunch.  I also had to try it with ketchup.  I had never heard of such a thing, but Jane mentioned that she likes hers with sriracha but her daughter opts to dip hers into ketchup.  Sadly, I have no sriracha, a problem that I must remedy soon, but ketchup is really good with Mac & Cheese.  Who knew?  Did you know?

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    Pineapple Coconut Rum French Toast

    Secret Recipe Club

    It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Daily Dish Recipes, a really great blog written by Nicole, a crazed mom of 5 teens who loves cooking, writing, photography, blogging, and scrapbooking, among other things.  And in her spare time, she...  Well, never mind - on to the recipes!

    Again, I had a difficult time choosing just one.  Having no idea what kind of recipe I wanted to try, I just started scrolling through Nicole's blog.  Her Green Onion Egg & Toast Tarts look really good, and so does this Coconut Vanilla Kahlua Cow.  I must admit, I'm a bit jealous of those posts sponsored by Kahlua.  I've loved Kahlua ever since my college roommate introduced me to it - for breakfast, on her cornflakes! (with milk)

    Speaking of breakfast, when I saw this recipe for Pineapple Rum French Toast, I knew it was the one!   And, oh, was I right.  This stuff is amazing!  Sweet and crunchy and gooey and just plain yummy!

    Pineapple Coconut Rum French Toast
    Adapted from Daily Dish Recipes

    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 12 slices bread
    • 1 cup brown sugar, divided into two ½ cup measurements
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided into 1 teaspoon measurements
    • 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained or ½ cup to 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
    •  5 eggs
    • 1/4 cup Malibu coconut rum
    • 1-1/4 cup milk
    • shredded coconut, optional (I used about 2 T. unsweetened coconut)
    1. Melt the butter and pour into a 9×13 pan.
    2. Lay 6 pieces of bread in the pan, and spread 1/2 of the pineapple across all the slices of bread.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar on top of the pineapple and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon across everything.  If desired, sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
    3. Place the remaining 6 pieces of bread on top of each of the original slices, like a sandwich, and repeat the process again - layer of pineapple, layer of brown sugar. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of cinnamon across the top and then the coconut.
    4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut rum, and milk together. Pour this over the entire dish.
    5. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
    6. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator, leave covered and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes or until lightly browned.
    7. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. 
    Serves 6

    Nicole's recipe called for coconut milk and rum extract, but I didn't have any coconut milk, and my rum extract didn't smell like I thought it should.  So, I used the Malibu for the rum and coconut flavors and added the shredded coconut to get more coconut flavor.

    With the brown sugar and the butter in this, you don't really need any extra syrup, but it's also good with a little extra drizzled over the top.  I made some with brown sugar, water and coconut oil that was really good, with that extra bit of coconut flavor.  I will definitely be making this again! 

    And, since I always have such a hard time picking a recipe - have you noticed what amazing recipes all of our Secret Recipe Club member post? - I made Nicole's Potluck Corn, Black Bean & Cilantro Salsa Dip, too.  Be sure to visit her blog for that recipe, but let me tell you, it is really good!

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