Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sarah Cooks the Books Box

I had every intention of posting the one recipe from the last cookbook that I enjoyed, as opposed to the other two that I did not, but I ultimately decided that it wasn't really worth the time.  It was a good recipe (an enchilada bake of sorts), but it's been done a hundred times, and there wasn't anything special about it.  It was good, but not worth its own week.

In short, I'm going to add that book to the list of books I've done and call it a day.

This week, I've got something completely different for you.  I came across a service called Hello Fresh a couple of months ago.  The gist of it is that you choose three meals from a list of 5 (or, you get a specific three meals if you're ordering the vegetarian version) and they send you all the ingredients for those meals in a box, right to your front door. 

Except for salt, pepper, and olive oil (which a lot of people have in their kitchen anyway), Hello Fresh includes everything in the box, nicely separated by recipe.

I got three recipes, two of which I'll share this week.  The first one was a burger with caramelized onions and bacon, and it was. . .just OK.  It fell to the dreaded Lemonpalooza Disease.  The taste of lemon kind of overpowered everything else, and it was disappointing.  But the other two were wonderful, and I'll post those.

One thing I did for this was a box opening.  I'd never heard of these until pretty recently, when Dennis told me that people video themselves opening new gadgets they've received and post their reactions, etc.  People also do this if they receive makeup sample boxes like Ipsy or Julep. 

Dennis has recently added YouTube video production to the list of things his business provides, so I was a pretty good guinea pig.  He produced the video for me, so thanks to him for that.  I should also note that I did this like two months ago, so my outfit doesn't necessarily match the weather outside.  So this is my first attempt at a video entry. 

Stay tuned for Hello Fresh Recipes, coming later in the week!

Note:  I was not compensated in any way for using Hello Fresh.  I did find a coupon code to get some money off, and I used it, because it's kind of an expensive service, but they don't know who I am and they didn't give me anything for this series.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An Update

So, the book that I picked for this week. . .wasn't great.  I made a few recipes out of it, and only one was any good.  Not only is that wicked disappointing, but it's also frustrating, because it doesn't leave me with anything to write about.  (I'm not planning to give you recipes that are terrible.)

My plan for this week is to post the one recipe that was good out of the cookbook.  Likely, that'll be on Thursday.  Next week, I've got something different planned, as I tried out a subscription box service that sends you three meals' worth of ingredients and directions on how to make them.  There will only be two of those posted, because the burger recipe that they included was OK, but way too lemon-y.  (What's up with lemons trying to ruin my life?)

Hopefully, there will also be a video involved in next week's posts.  I shot it a while ago, and am hoping it'll be up to par by the time I'm ready to post the box recipes.

Going forward, I'm trying to come up with a plan for incorporating other things into my cookbook venture, because the lags when things don't work out aren't good.

Thanks for sticking with me, and I'll put up the one recipe from the last book soon.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine -- Channing's Greek Hamburgers

These burgers are another instance where I follow the recipe, mostly, but there are a couple of changes made that kind of change the whole thing.

The differences are, for one, I had to add an indiscriminate amount of breadcrumbs.  The original recipe for this didn't have anything to really hold the burgers together, and when I put the first couple on the stove to cook, they almost immediately fell apart.  I don't know if it's some kind of special burger-making thing I didn't do, or if I just don't have the magic touch or something, but they fell apart before I added the breadcrumbs.  I don't know how much I added, but if you are like me and you don't have the Magic Burger Touch, just add breadcrumbs until it doesn't feel like they're going to fall apart on you.

The other thing I added was feta cheese.  I had some in the fridge, and everything's better with cheese, so I added that as well.

I didn't get a picture of the ingredients, but I got a picture of the pre-breadcrumb burgers before they all fell apart.  I hope that will suffice.

Channing's Greek Hamburgers

Makes 6 burgers


2 pounds ground beef
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. red wine (I used Merlot)
2 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup or so breadcrumbs, to preferred texture
Feta cheese (optional)
Lettuce (optional)

Mix the hamburger with the olive oil, garlic, wine, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Mix in breadcrumbs as desired.  Cook in a pan on the stove over medium-high heat until they reach your preferred level of doneness.  

Top with lettuce and cheese as wanted.

Dennis approves of the ones that fell apart. . .

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine -- Chicken Coffee Paprika

It seems like I've been hitting several recipes that just aren't awesome, and I hate that, not only because I'm not a fan of, you know, bad food, but also because then I don't have recipes to share.

This one sounded like a winner, but what ended up ruining it was the lemon.  There was way too much lemon included in this recipe, and that's all you could taste.

It was pretty, though!

At least it's more attractive than the green spaghetti!

The next one's good, though.  I promise!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine -- Stuffed Shells

When I first picked up this book, I assumed that every recipe in it had wine in it.  Clearly, this wasn't the case.  Instead, this recipe came with the suggestion of drinking either Chianti or Zinfandel.  I'm pretty sure I completely disregarded these suggestions and drank Riesling.

This was the first time I'd ever made shells.  Twice before, I'd made shells that came, pre-made, packaged, and frozen from the freezers at Aldi, and twice before, Dennis was really impressed with my shell recipe.  I had to tell him that they were frozen.

After the second time, I decided I should probably make my own and stop being upstaged by a discount supermarket.

These were awesome, and not too hard to do.  We had them as leftovers when some friends of ours came over, and they re-heated nicely as well.

Stuffed Shells
Serves about 6


1 box large shells
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1/2 pound small curd cottage cheese, drained
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 beaten egg
2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to directions on box.  Rinse in cold water and drain well.

Break the sausage into small pieces and saute.  Mix with the spinach, cottage cheese, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Stir in the egg.

Stuff the shells with the sausage mixture and place, open side down, in a greased baking dish.  (I had to use two 9x13 dishes).  Top with the spaghetti sauce and the mozzarella cheese.

Bake until hot and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.