Freezer Breakfast Sandwich

Who here has a life? …right, I didn’t think anyone would actually respond and willingly tell the truth. (The truth is no, no one does.) But who here likes easy, ready to go, good for you breakfast? Yes, I thought that might resonate a little with some of you.

I personally LOVE Egg McMuffins. I personally dislike McDonald’s. Unfortunately, and as the blogger I had pinned this from points out, Jimmy Dean and many of the other frozen pre-made breakfast sandwich makers seem to have a lot of things in their sandwiches that are not exactly what I would deem natural (soy flour egg patty, anyone?). Although Pinned Foodie may not follow any particular diet, natural foods are always the way to eliminate questions of what’s in your pre-prepared whatever you’re eating. Never forget the Kraft mac and cheese metal scandal.

Author: Jess Fuel at Flying On Jess Fuel posted on May 8th, 2013

6 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
6 English muffins
6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
18 small slices deli ham
Plastic wrap

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a jumbo muffin tin or small ramekins with nonstick spray. Crack one egg into each ramekin. Use a sharp knife to gently pierce each yolk.
  3. Bake the eggs 10-15 minutes, until set. Slide eggs out of the ramekins and cool slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.
  4. Slice the English muffins. Layer one slice of cheese on each English muffin, then 3 slices of ham.
  5. Finally, layer on the egg and top off the English muffin.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.
  7. To reheat, remove the sandwiches from the plastic wrap and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute on 50 percent power. Flip sandwich over and microwave for 1 more minute on regular power.

Best and fast make ahead meal! Anyone can do this, and anyone can do this the Sunday before work starts, even if you have no life. As you can see, it makes six little sandwiches, which means you can even have one for Saturday morning!

Step 1

I do not own ramekins, so I used the muffin tin. I’ll tell you right off: RECIPE SUGGESTION 1: DON’T USE A MUFFIN TIN. After I pierce the yolk and cook the egg, let me tell you why:

Step 3

Isn’t it cute? AND TINY?! Bleh. I’m considering buying ramekins for this recipe alone. I was hoping for a flat, perfect English muffin sized egg patty. Oh, and for those of us who may be needing a low cholesterol breakfast option? RECIPE SUGGESTION 2: GO AHEAD AND USE EGG WHITES IF YOU LIKE! BUT DON’T USE A MUFFIN TIN…..

Step 5

My cheese slices were a lot bigger than the muffin, which actually led to a problem after I heated my first sandwich up. Did you know cheese melts? Yes! Cheese melts, and when it’s put in a paper towel wrap in the microwave, it melts all over the paper towel! Oh, well, silly me. RECIPE SUGGESTION 3: CUT THE EDGES OF THE CHEESE SLICE HANGING OFF THE ENGLISH MUFFIN. EITHER CONSUME IMMEDIATELY TO QUENCH YOUR CHEESE ADDICTION WHICH I KNOW IS FLARING UP RIGHT NOW. OR PLACE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SANDWICH. 

When it comes to the deli ham, it does get a little tricky when trying to stay natural. There are a lot of lunch meats lurking around with unpronounceable ingredients in them. Can’t the main ingredient just be pig? Your best and even more delicious bet than the pre-made deli meats in the refrigerated section is to go to your grocery deli and ask them to cut slices from their deli meats made in house. RECIPE SUGGESTION 4: CHOOSE AN IN-STORE MADE DELI HAM FROM YOUR GROCERY.

Step 6

As you can see, the egg patty is much smaller and rounder than desired. Nevertheless, I topped my sandwich off and wrapped it in my plastic wrap as tight as possible.

Final Product

I have tried the sandwich two ways: defrosted and not heated; and re-heated straight from the freezer. I wouldn’t recommend the defrosting with no re-heat. My stomach is sensitive in the morning, and for some reason, the unheated, defrosted version had my stomach tossing and turning for all the morning. However, the re-heated version was delicious…until I got to the middle where the egg patty was still slightly frozen. RECIPE SUGGESTION 5: REHEAT ONE MINUTE AT 100 PERCENT POWER. TURN OVER AND REHEAT ANOTHER MINUTE AT 100 PERCENT POWER. OR HEAT BACK UP IN THE TOASTER OVEN/REGULAR OVEN. I’m not sure if this happened because my egg patty wasn’t…well, a patty. More like a hockey puck. Guess I’ll have to buy a few ramekins! The English muffin itself was a little soggy as I had feared. Honestly, though, I’d rather have a soggy English muffin than a whole bunch of “ingredients” in my body I cannot pronounce.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS BY A FOODIE
Suggestion 1: Use ramekins, not a muffin tin.
Suggestion 2: Egg whites are a lower cholesterol alternative. You can easily make your own by cracking the egg and draining the whites by tossing the yolk in between the two shells.
Suggestion 3: Heat at a higher power if using a microwave.
Suggestion 4: Try with Canadian bacon!

What worked in this recipe: Great make ahead; Healthier version of a breakfast sandwich; Good to make for visiting family and friends (already thinking about holiday season)
What didn’t work in this recipe: The suggested re-heat wattage for my microwave
Will I go back for seconds?: Yes, especially when the holidays start

I don’t have a revised recipe, because there is really nothing that needed a huge change! Just little tweaks here and there, and you’ll have a great on the go breakfast that isn’t a granola bar!

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5-Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup

As I fixed this soup, I became very aware I am eliminating many readers from enjoying this week’s post. There seems to be an increase in people going dairy-free for various reasons including its supposedly addictive element casein. Well, strap me down and send me to rehab then, because I AM A DAIRY ADDICT! In that spirit, I pinned one of my favorite soups, trying to change it up from the Asian food posts.

Author: Sara at Budget Savvy Diva posted on January 4, 2015

4 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
1/2 small onion, diced
15oz can evaporated milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large stockpot, place chicken stock, onion, and healthy amount of salt and pepper over medium heat. Add broccoli. Cook for 15 minutes
  2. Stir in cheese and milk and cook at lower heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Pro 1: Fast, easy, yum. Maybe that’s more like three pros.

Step 1

I saw sharp cheddar cheese, and my heart melted. My dairy addiction was in full swing. It took everything in me not to snort the cheese up…I mean, eat it. Obviously I shredded probably a little more than two cups of cheese. I freshly grated my whole stick of Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar Cheese and still had enough to snack on while chopping the 1/2 onion. RECIPE SUGGESTION 1: Grate it all! JUST GRATE IT ALLLLL! MUHAHAHA! (That damned dairy addiction, creeping up again!)

Step 2

What are those little orange things you got in there, Pinned Foodie Kat D.? Well, that would be carrots, my friends. My favorite broccoli cheese soup is not at Panera Bread (SHOCKER!) but at McAlister’s Deli, where their version of the soup has carrots. (Well, Panera has it in their’s, too. So. McAlister’s is still better.) It was a tasty preference I couldn’t do without. RECIPE SUGGESTION 2: BREAK THE BANK AND GO WITH A 6-INGREDIENT SOUP. ADD CARROTS. Since all the veggies cooked at once in the chicken stock, I thought that would be the best time to also introduce the carrots, which actually came out wonderfully crunchy! They added a texture greatly needed in a mostly “no-denture required” recipe. I also decided to go with frozen broccoli and used the whole bag of it. Honestly, I don’t think it changed a thing and made the prep experience faster and cleaner.

Step 3

Then the dairy! All my cheese melted easily and beautifully. I dumped in all my evaporated milk. (Side Note: At my grocery store, I didn’t find one 15oz can of evaporated milk. I instead had to buy 3 5oz cans. Just in case you are looking for a 15oz can, you may not find it.) And here it is! Before something TERRIBLE happened……

Final Product

Those little chunky looking clumps aren’t cheese. Oh, no. My milk curdled! Or something along those lines…Con 1: I wasn’t informed to temper, preheat, stir frequently. Going into this recipe, I thought it was a fairly easy, occasionally stir, dump everything in kind of thing. But my final product taught me this isn’t so. RECIPE SUGGESTION 3: PREHEAT YOUR MILK AND CHEESE IN A SEPARATE POT. This will allow you to seamlessly add your dairy without worry of curdling or creating these odd and texturally disastrous clumps.

Broccoli Cheese Soup Leftovers

And there you have it! Fast, easy, yum. I had a very good amount of leftovers (almost 2 and 1/2 pints). Despite the curdling, I didn’t throw it out and decided to keep it. To soothe my dairy addiction for the day, I partook in one of these pints for lunch just today. The curdling/clumping had subsided slightly, and it was actually better the second go around! I would deem this a great make-ahead recipe.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS BY A FOODIE
Suggestion 1: Add some carrots for a great texture and little added flavor.
Suggestion 2: Preheat your dairy.
Suggestion 3: Maybe try a little garlic? I felt it was well rounded enough, but if you want to add a little something-something

What worked in this recipe: Good for your pocketbook (do people have those anymore?); Great leftovers; Fast, easy, yum
What didn’t work: My dairy curdled.
Will I go back for seconds?: And thirds, and fourths, and…well, at that point, I’ll need to probably make another batch

Pinned Foodie’s revised recipe:

4 cups chicken stock
1 bag frozen chopped broccoli florets
1/2 small onion, diced
1 bag shredded carrots
15oz can evaporated milk (or 3 5oz can evaporated milk)
1 stick shredded sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large stockpot, place chicken stock, onion, carrots, and healthy amount of salt and pepper over medium heat. Add broccoli. Cook for 15 minutes
  2. In a separate small pan, preheat cheese and milk.
  3. Stir in cheese and milk and cook at lower heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

With our dairy addiction hopefully satiated for a time, did you get enough to eat?

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Two weeks since my last post, I’ll present my small but hopefully loyal readers with two posts this week! These two recipes go hand in hand, and I suppose I’m going to stick with the Asian/faking-the-startches-out trend.

Many people detest cauliflower but perhaps making it as a rice will change your mind. Cauliflower rice has been a trend now for quite some time, and I’ve had the delightful pleasure of trying it with just parmesan cheese mixed in after being chopped into “rice.” But when it comes to this cauliflower rice recipe…let’s just say, I threw out my leftovers.

Author: Corey from Family Fresh Meals

3 cups of grated raw cauliflower (use a cheese grater or a food processor)
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of carrots, thinly sliced
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs (or 4 egg whites) scrambled
3 tbsp soy sauce

  1. In a large pan, saute garlic and onions in olive oil on a medium/high heat until onions become soft and transparent. (2-3 minutes)
  2. Next, add in peas and carrots and cook until carrots begin to soften and peas heated through, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Next stir in scrambled eggs, cauliflower, and soy sauce. Cook stirring frequently for about 5-7 more minutes.

Oh! How could anyone know the truth in this recipe? It looks so delicious, so tantalizing! Ugh. Here we go.

Step 1 - Chop That Flower

I chopped my cauliflower in my food processor, because, let’s be honest, the thing barely sees any action since it requires a minimum of a two butt kitchen. Which leads to me chopping up my cauliflower so small, it’s more of a couscous than a rice (couscous is a Berber dish made of semolina rolled up into extremely tiny balls). Alas, it’s there, and I need to use it. Can’t take back a chopping. So, I slip my olive oil into my wok, heat it up, and my onion and garlic are already in the pan doing their thing, which by the way, I used a whole white onion. Next in, the peas and carrots, which by the way, I already bought shredded and then used the whole bag. PRO 1: AND PROBABLY THE ONLY PRO. THIS DISH WILL TAKE NO TIME AT ALL TO MAKE.

That Carrot and Peas, Though

At this point, I’m feeling a sense of distrust with the recipe. Can you see what doesn’t seem right? Now, when you read scrambled next to the egg, I’m not sure what you think that means, although I am pretty good at reading your mind if I do say so myself. When I read it, I see take your 2 eggs and scramble them. Not cook them, just scramble them. You’d put them in the recipe raw but already scrambled. I then think about all the times I’ve been to a hibachi where knives and fire fly into the air like they just do not care. When they make fried rice, they actually cook the egg before it goes into the mix. But I want to stay pure to the recipe. CON 1: NOT CLEAR DIRECTIONS. IT WILL BE A THEME IN THE NEXT POST AS WELL.

Scramble That Egg

Here it is in all its glory. My scrambled egg now cooking with my veggies. It looks utterly disgusting and on top of that is sticking to the bottom of the wok. So, basically, I had no scrambled egg in there. All because I’m not sure what scrambled exactly means. I’ve asked a few friends and family (okay, just The Boyfriend, my mom, and my grandmother), and they didn’t really know what that meant either, making me feel confident that my confusion is warranted.

Add the Flower

After my dilemma, I mix in the remaining ingredients (cauliflower and soy sauce). Of course, we already know here at Pinned Foodie sauce needs to be in excess for happiness. However, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce for my end portion amount was not enough for anyone, not just myself. I ended up with probably 5 tablespoons. Love me some soy sauce.

Final Product 1

I still hadn’t really tasted it up until this point. I grab a big fork full, thinking of all the ravs I saw on the blog I snagged this from. It. Tasted. Like. Nothing. A mishmash of all these veggies stir-fried with olive oil in a wok. So, the end result was a lack of something tying it all together. Where did I go wrong? The little amount of soy sauce? The eggs not cooked before going in? Too much of everything? CON 2: THE RECIPE ITSELF IS BAD.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS:
1. Find another recipe if you want to sike out your family and friends with amazing cauliflower rice.

What worked in this recipe: It’s very quick.
What didn’t work in this recipe: Everything else
Will I go back for seconds?: C’mon…

My stomach turns when I think about this recipe. Perhaps it’s the retrospect that makes it seem worse than it really was. But you were saved from this one.

Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki

Oh, Pinterest! How full of ideas are you! My slow cooker hasn’t seen any action since my last batch of red beans and rice. So, when I pinned this recipe, I was ready to whip it out and get it Asian-fied.

Author: Sherri from To Simply Inspire posted on November 23, 2014

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water

  1. In a bowl, mix together the honey, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onion, ground ginger, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken and turn to coat both sides with sauce.
  3. Cook in a slow cooker on low for about 4-5 hours.
  4. Remove from the slow cooker and shred the chicken with a fork. Then set aside.
  5. Pour the remaining sauce through a fine mesh strainer to strain out the onion and garlic chunks.
  6. Transfer this remaining liquid into a medium sauce pan and heat on the stove to medium heat.
  7. Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water in a separate bowl.
  8. Once the sauce on the burner starts to boil, slowly pour the cornstarch mixture in, stirring constantly.
  9. Return to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for about 4 minutes until thickened.
  10. Pour half the sauce over the chicken and mix together.
  11. If you serve with rice, drizzle more sauce on top.

Step 1 - Sauce

PRO 1: HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE FOR YOU TO KEEP! This sauce should keep for maybe a month. And I’ll go ahead and say it is delicious. What isn’t delicious? What the hell should I do with it after I rub my chicken all in it? Does it go in the crock-pot, fridge? And I have to waste my onions. CON 1: NO DIRECTION ON THE SAUCE IN BETWEEN COOKING THE CHICKEN AND THICKENING IT UP. CON 2: THERE NEEDS TO BE A PLACE FOR THESE ONIONS.

Step 2 - Chicken...With Onions?

So, guess what I did with some of them? After I rolled my chicken in the sauce a little, I took a handful or two and sprinkled them in to cook with the chicken. RECIPE SUGGESTION 1: USE THOSE ONIONS. At this point, I’m wondering how my chicken is really going to cook. Since there is no instruction on what to do with the sauce, I decide to put it in the fridge. I think perhaps if I put in the slow cooker, it’ll cook down too much. Since the chicken only has the sauce I coated it with, I wonder whether the chicken will burn! I imagine pulling out this stinking, black coat of a mess and trying to pour all of my sauce all over to cover up my misdeed to a beautiful piece of chicken. I decide to hold my breath for four hours to find out.

Chicken Is Cooked!

But alas! There’s not charcoaled mess! I had forgotten the slow cooker is gentle and loving to its inmates. In fact, there is a beautiful, juicy mess at the bottom. My chickens are glistening with joy. With three and half hours to dwell on the audacity of wasting onions, I decide for the last 30 minutes of cooking to throw in the remaining onions. BOOM! ONION CRISIS 2015 SOLVED! RECIPE SUGGESTION 2: USE THOSE ONIONS SOME MORE.

Icky Mixture

We all know by now how at Pinned Foodie we like to switch out ingredients for things we already have. This baby formula looking mix is my water and FLOUR, not cornstarch, mix. RECIPE SUGGESTION 3: USE WHAT YOU GOT TO THICKEN UP YOUR SAUCE. I think that just might be a given thus far.

Step 3ish - Sauce Is On

Now that my sauce is at a rolling boil, I need to slowly add in my thickener. AND whisk the crap out of this sauce. CON 3: YOU NEED TO HAVE A STRONG WHISKING HAND! You need to whisk while pouring it in, and you’ll need to whisk while it’s cooking for that last 4 minutes. You don’t want anything separating or it not thicken at all. SO WHISK YOUR HEART OUT!

Step 4 - Chicken Is Shredded

Who’d thought I was worried about this chicken? It came out beautiful and moist. However, here’s the deal. RECIPE SUGGESTION 4: EITHER MARINADE IN THE SAUCE THE NIGHT BEFORE OR COOK IN THE SAUCE. Not that the chicken was bad without the sauce; I’m just a big proponent of marinading. It would soak up that flavor even more. If you decide to cook it in the sauce, I would double that sauce recipe. One portion for the chicken, the other portion to thicken up and either keep or pour over white rice.

Final Product 2

Look at it. Thank God that sauce was good, since that cauliflower fried rice was so icky (see my post from yesterday to learn more). PRO 2: THIS RECIPE IS VERY SIMPLE AND LOW MAINTENANCE. MINUS THE INTENSE WHISKING. I had a very good amount leftover for me to eat later as well. I had leftovers with white rice, and it was still just as good later.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS BY A FOODIE:
Suggestion 1: If you hate waste like this foodie does, use those onions in some kind of way, preferably with the cooking chicken.
Suggestion 2: Marinade the chicken. Or if you don’t have time for that, cook it in the sauce. Double suggestion, double the sauce if you decide to do this.

What worked in this recipe: The end portion size; The taste was AMAZING; Low maintenance
What didn’t work in this recipe: WHISKING; Lack of instruction on what to do with the sauce; Waste the onions? No, not for me, thanks
Will I go back for seconds?: Yes!

Pinned Foodie’s revised recipe:

4 chicken breasts
1 cup honey
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch (or flour)
3 tbsp water

  1. In a bowl, mix together the honey, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onion, ground ginger, and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken in a leak-proof container and pour half of the sauce in with it. Refrigerate and marinade overnight.
  3. Place remaining sauce in the refrigerator overnight for marination.
  4. After marination, cook chicken with sauce in a slow cooker on low for about 4-5 hours.
  5. Strain onion and garlic from the second portion of sauce and pour into slow cooker last 30 minutes of cooking.
  6. Remove from the slow cooker and shred the chicken with a fork. Then set aside.
  7. Transfer the second sauce portion into a medium sauce pan and heat on the stove to medium heat.
  8. Whisk together the cornstarch (or flour) and cold water in a separate bowl.
  9. Once the sauce on the burner starts to boil, slowly pour the cornstarch/flour mixture in, stirring constantly.
  10. Return to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for about 4 minutes until thickened.
  11. Pour half the sauce over the chicken and mix together.
  12. If you serve with rice, drizzle more sauce on top

This was actually very good and blew Chinese takeout out of the water for sure. Did you get enough to eat?

Dark and Stormy Cocktail

Grab a beer, and let’s chat about alcohol. America and alcohol have been together for a very long time. They’ve seen the worst and best of each other, a married couple that should consider either redefining their relationship or divorce. We all know what happens when they get divorced, though. They secretly slip into each other’s beds at night, becoming something a little more sinister, a little more deadly (ahem, moonshine).

What if America and alcohol, then, went to counseling? What if, instead of being abusive toward each other, or rather America taking advantage of alcohol, it becomes a loving relationship again? America would see alcohol as the craft it really is instead of a way out of reality. How delicious it is, taking small sips for the enjoyment of taste only?

In that spirit, The Boyfriend and I took small sips for the enjoyment of taste of this mix for a dark and stormy, taking steps to help America see alcohol as it really is: a beautiful work of art. (How noble of us!) And we were just simply okay with our results.

Author: Andrea J. Bartholomew from The Framed Table posted on April 23, 2014 

2 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
4 oz. ginger beer
1 lime wedge

  1. Optional: Rub rim of glass with a lime wedge then tip the glass over on to a plate full of sugar.
  2. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  3. Pour in ginger beer.
  4. Pour the dark rum over a spoon to help the layer float.
  5. Garnish with a lime wedge.

PRO 1/CON 1: THERE ARE VERY LITTLE VARIATIONS ON THIS DRINK. Now, when it comes to your ginger beer choice? You can choose whatever. We decided to spin off with the Old New Orleans Gingeroo, which is a bottled rum cocktail but tastes and acts like ginger beer. It’s very good all on its own. This is a local New Orleans beverage, released in 2012, and can be bought directly through http://www.drinkgingeroo.com or if you’re local, Dorignac’s or Martin Wine Cellar.

But when it comes to your rum? You HAVE to choose Gosling’s for it to be officially called a Dark and Stormy, which we did not use. We didn’t even use a dark rum. Bacardi Gold Rum. I know. All of my bartender friends are hissing and booing right now. Pinned Foodie, though, is about trying variations on a recipe. This is the rum we had on hand, and we thought why not? RECIPE SUGGESTION 1: DON’T VARY ON THE RUM.

We did rim our glass with sugar, a very easy process that some at home may balk at. Don’t. PRO 2: RIMMING YOUR GLASSES WITH SUGAR OR SALT ADDS A LITTLE BIT OF NEEDED FLAVOR TO SOME DRINKS. We definitely over did the sugar on our glass so be careful with that. RECIPE SUGGESTION 2: RIM YOUR GLASS WITH SUGAR, BUT DON’T OVER DO IT.

Our glass rimmed, filled with ice, and Gingeroo-ed, we go to our rum over the spoon technique. CON 2: THIS MAKES A MESS. In the process, we probably sterilized my counter with all the rum we spilled. According to alcohol professionals, when you die and go to heaven, you are given a barrel with all of the alcohol you spilled in your life. You’re made to drink it, and if you can’t, you’ll go…well, you know. With as much as we spilled, our barrels probably got a little bit fuller. (The Boyfriend comments: “We didn’t spill that much rum.”) It was everywhere, and since there is a lack of pictures on the Pinned blog we got the recipe from, we weren’t sure how to hold the spoon, pouring over the back of it rather than the bowl of the spoon. RECIPE SUGGESTION 3: USE A BAR SPOON FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR AFTERLIFE FATE. Bar spoons are smaller and would probably help avoid the mess. I mean, they are designed for these types of things.

Drink

As you can see, we didn’t use a highball glass either. This is actually a tulip beer glass. You can also tell our rum didn’t exactly float. All I can say is we tried.

We took our sips and meh’d the whole thing. Perhaps it’s the Gingeroo, perhaps it’s the rum, perhaps it’s the sugar, but we definitely messed up enough on this one that it was just okay.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS
Suggestion 1: Use a bar spoon.
Suggestion 2: Rim your glass with that sugar, y’all!
Suggestion 3: Perhaps next time, add just a little bit of bitters if you want to vary it up.

What worked in this recipe: Very easy, quick to make, and only three ingredients
What didn’t work in this recipe: Variations and the lack of knowledge and tools for the spoon technique
Will I go back for seconds?: No, but The Boyfriend will

I don’t have to revise this recipe. A dark and stormy is what it is: dark rum, ginger beer, a little bit of lime. We might have messed up on this one, but The Boyfriend is always perfecting his cocktails. Next time around it may be better. But maybe not. Did you get enough to…um…not eat?

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles

1. Veggie pasta-ization (which is now a word, you’re welcome)
2. Asian-esk food

Those are the top two reasons I chose to do this recipe. Pinned Foodie is mostly about Pinterest recipe reviews, but it is also about trying new things. Specifically new things I’ve been dying to try. That new thing I’ve been wanting to try in this recipe: zoodles. What are zoodles?

Zoodles

Zucchini julienned or spiraled to look like noodles! You can do this with almost any vegetable, but you’ll find the majority of recipes with noodle-ized veggies are zucchini.

What will you need that not every ordinary one-butt kitchen has? A spiralizer (which range from $9 to $32 on Amazon) or a mandoline slicer to julienne. You may have really mad cutting skills and can julienne yourself! It’s totally up to you, but if you buy a spiralizer, you’ll probably end up using it again. In other words, it won’t go to waste, something every foodie should hate.

Author: Skinny Taste by Gina Homolka posted on August 10, 2014

INGREDIENTS:
2 medium zucchinis, about 8oz each, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
6 oz skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp sesame oil
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
2 tbsp crushed dry roasted peanuts
2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions along diagonal

FOR THE SAUCE:
1 1/2 tbsp reduced soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp hoisin sauce
2 1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp red chili paste
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch

1. Cut zucchini into long spaghetti-like strips using either a spiralizer or mandoline.
2. In a small bowl, whisk sauce ingredients together. Set aside
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Heat grapeseed or canola oil in a large, deep nonstick pan or wok over medium heat.
5. Add the chicken and cook until browned and fully cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
6. Reduce heat to a medium and add sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
7. Add bell peppers and stir in the soy sauce, bringing it to a boil. Reduce heat again and simmer until the sauce is thick and bubbly, about 1-2 minutes.
8. Stir in zoodles and cook until just tender and mixed well with the sauce. If the sauce seems thick, don’t worry. The zucchini will release moisture which helps create a sauce.
9. Mix in chicken.
10. Top bowls with scallions and peanuts.

I’ll start this session by saying this recipe to me seemed really daunting. And in my size kitchen, it actually was. It was hard to make the zoodles with a madonline, mostly because the lack of room. The other part was a lack of knowledge of how to use it properly. I just received it two months back and have only made french fries once with it. There was a lot of zucchini waste that I had to comes to terms with.

Pro 1SKINNY TASTE HAS THE BEST INSTRUCTIONS AND THE BEST HEALTHY “CHEATER” RECIPES. Although it felt daunting, Gina from Skinny Taste has great instructions to calm you and make you feel comfortable doing possibly complicated works in the kitchen. She also has recipes like these that seem as if they would be unhealthy, when in fact, her Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles For Two is under 300 calories for each serving. Check out her website: www.skinnytaste.com. You can also always click the author line at the top of every recipe to be brought straight to the recipe page.

Another note I would like to make is I made a few what could be considered vital mistakes to mess up this recipe, starting with I did not add water to the sauce. I also doubled everything, as I wanted to make Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles For Four for leftover purposes. CON 1: IF YOU ARE A NORMAL AMERICAN AND EAT WAY OVER YOUR PORTION SIZE, YOU’LL NEED TO DOUBLE THE RECIPE, EVEN IF THERE IS JUST TWO BUTTS EATING. By doubling everything, it wasn’t necessarily a mistake for the sauce. It was a mistake when it came to my quantity of zoodles. Four zucchinis later, I was overflowing with zoodles. RECIPE SUGGESTION 1: IF YOU WANT TO DOUBLE THIS RECIPE, QUADRUPLE THE SAUCE. RECIPE SUGGESTION 2: FORGET THE WATER. I actually didn’t know it called for water until I reread the recipe later, which led me to believe maybe that’s where I went wrong. On second thought, though, by not adding the water, I made a more pure sauce. Besides, the zucchinis will cook down, leaving more water than you can stand. That’s what zucchinis are primarily made of: water. So why would I need to add even more? I didn’t want to be drowning! I also switched out the red chili paste for a red curry paste, which brought down the heat. RECIPE SUGGESTION 3: FOR LESS HEAT, USE RED CURRY PASTE. It doesn’t really change the flavor, just the heat. I also switched out cornstarch for flour. It’s what I had on hand. Plus, I wanted to be cheap. Again, not sure that it really changed anything. Lots of switches!

I cooked the chicken in vegetable oil. CON 2: THE RECIPE SUGGESTIONS YOU WASTE YOUR MONEY ON OIL THAT YOU MAY ONLY USE ONCE. Grapeseed oil is healthy, that’s probably why she wants you to use it. But again, I don’t want to spend money on something I’ll end up using only once. In my experience with different cooking oils, I’ve learned the oils don’t matter too much when it’s being used for a lesser component in a recipe. Here’s an example of what I mean: I have this great chicken recipe from Pinterest (WHOA! Who’d have thought of that?!). It requires the chicken to be cooked in coconut oil. So, I did and came to the conclusion that without that oil, the chicken would not have been so great. But when I make chicken for, let’s say, chicken parmesan, I’m going to cook that chicken in either olive oil or vegetable oil, all because it’s going to be smothered with sauce and parmesan. All in all, what I mean is I could care less what the chicken in this recipe is cooked in, as long as it’s cooked. You could even bake it! Or use leftover chicken. RECIPE SUGGESTION 4: JUST COOK THE CHICKEN. DOESN’T MATTER IN WHAT OR HOW, JUST MAKE SURE YOU AREN’T FEEDING PEOPLE SALMONELLA.

RECIPE SUGGESTION 5: DEFINITELY USE A WOK. Once warmed, the whole thing is evenly heated. You’ll cook better and happier. They are also nonstick. Now, add that sesame oil. Again, friends, if you don’t want to waste your money on something you’ll only use once, don’t go buy this oil. I already had some, so that’s what I used. Plus, it fits within the situation where the oil does matter. Anyways, add your oil of choice, garlic, and ginger. Be ready, your pan or wok is hot, so it could burn easy. It is literally within seconds that you will get that garlic/ginger smell. PRO 2: GINA’S INSTRUCTIONS ARE THOROUGH AND CORRECT.

Thick, THICK Sauce

I’ve added my bell pepper, which, by the way, I used the whole thing, not any of this half business. Added my sauce. This is where the not adding water could be a problem. The sauce won’t need to simmer, because it’s going to thicken almost as soon as it hits that pan. RECIPE SUGGESTION 6: IF YOU DIDN’T ADD WATER TO THE SAUCE, DO NOT WAIT TOO LONG TO ADD THE ZOODLES. You need that water almost immediately, because it could all burn.

TA DA!

As I’m looking at this, I realize I barely have any sauce. CON 3: THERE ISN’T EVEN ENOUGH SAUCE ONCE I DOUBLED THE RECIPE. I am a sauce fiend, so I say, let’s only add half the zoodles. I add half the zoodles; and for my taste, it’s a perfect amount of sauce. Remember how I said quadruple the sauce recipe? Do it, because now, I have two zucchinis julienned and nowhere to go. I also go ahead and add my peanuts directly into the mix. It’s only a two minute cook, and then I’m done, serving, and eating. PRO 3: ONCE YOU START COOKING, EATING IS ONLY 15-20 MINUTES AWAY.

Final

To my utter amusement and delight, it is absolutely delicious. Lacking heat, which I can only blame on myself yet still delicious. The zoodles are tender but still crunchy and delicious. But I still have a ton of uncooked, unused zoodles left over, which is not delicious. When I’m done with my modest bowl, I try to go back for more. But alas, I am not alone eating…nor was I alone cooking, as I made it sound…the Boyfriend is here, munching on my food and just as delighted with the results as I. Until we both want more, and there is only a wok full of leftover sauce.

I look down at the bottom of both of our empty bowls. There is a TON of sauce in them, because, as Gina had promised, the water in the zucchini had cooked out. I suddenly realize, by cooking my other zoodles, it would make more sauce! How perfect!

As I hum in delight at my brilliant plan, I throw our leftover sauce back into the wok, heat it all up again, and add the last of my zoodles, which of course seeped out a ton of water. And to my utter shock (which, honestly, if you cook AT ALL, we both should’ve seen it coming), the sauce was completely watered down and lost a good amount of its taste. I tried thickening it up with flour, which it did thicken up. But again, it led to a loss in taste. The Boyfriend and I ate our seconds, shaking our heads and saying, “The first batch is better.” RECIPE SUGGESTION 7: DON’T DO WHAT I DID. Just quadruple the sauce, and everything would be right with the world. Also, even “cooking for four,” I had half a serving left for leftovers, which turned me into an even sadder face.

FINAL SUGGESTIONS BY A FOODIE
Suggestion 1: Let me reiterate: quadruple that sauce if you’re making for four. I like sauce, and you should, too. (Not really but the sauce was delicious!)
Suggestion 2: Actually follow the recipe and go with red chili paste for heat. I like my things spicy.
Suggestion 3: Add a white onion with the red bell peppers. Although this recipe is delicious on its own, it was missing something, which I have determined as a taste of onion.

What worked in this recipe: Healthy and fun way to get your veggies, beats Chinese takeout, and probably great for kids
What didn’t work: The smell of the sauce lingered in my tiny apartment (a common theme, it seems) and the quantity as a whole
Will I go back for seconds?: Yes

Pinned Foodie’s revised recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
4 medium zucchinis, about 8oz each, ends trimmed
4 tsps of whatever oil
12 oz skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 white onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 gloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ground ginger
2 tbsp crushed dry roasted peanuts
2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions along diagonal

FOR THE SAUCE:
6 tbsp reduced soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp and 1 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp red chili paste
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch

1. Cut zucchini into long spaghetti-like strips using either a spiralizer or mandoline.
2. In a small bowl, whisk sauce ingredients together. Set aside
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Heat oil in a large, deep nonstick wok over medium heat.
5. Add the chicken and cook until browned and fully cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
6. Reduce heat to a medium and add oil, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
7. Add bell peppers and onion. Stir in the soy sauce. Cook until just heated.
8. Stir in zoodles and cook until just tender and mixed well with the sauce. If the sauce seems thick, don’t worry. The zucchini will release moisture which helps create a sauce.
9. Mix in chicken and peanuts.
10. Top bowls with scallions.

YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY! Despite the second portion debacle. I’ll make this again. When I have a bigger kitchen. Did you get enough to eat?

Small Batch Refridgerator Dill Pickles

Well, friends, I can say this is a great recipe to start with on Pinned Foodie!

Let me guess what you’re thinking right now. You see the word pickles. I bet you’re already thinking this is too complicated and that you’ll have to can. Settle down, cowboy. THERE IS NO CANNING INVOLVED! You will need mason jars, however. And if you are like me, you might have some mason pint jars hidden in your closet underneath your formal dresses! Well, maybe you don’t, but you can get some easy. Canning and mason jars are all the rage right now. You can find them at any Target or Walmart for pretty cheap. Keep them around after you’ve pickled to use for drinks or maybe a green alternative for food storage. In all honesty, the brands don’t matter too much. All mason jars are pretty much made the same if you aren’t a canner.

I have been dying to make pickles, and this recipe does not disappoint. I happened to find this on Pinterest when browsing (like almost all of the recipes I have) and thought I could finally do it. They are absolutely delicious and were devoured by the Boyfriend, who looked at me with earnest last night and said, “These are really good.” Coming from a former picky eater/pickle lover, I would say that’s a raving review.

Author: Prudent Garden by Debbie posted on June 29th, 2015

3 lbs pickling cucumbers
1 1/2 cups vinegar (white or cider)
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp salt (pickling or kosher)
1 chili pepper (Debbie suggested a Serrano, but says jalapeno will do as well)
3 tsp dill seed
3 cloves of garlic
3 glass pint canning jars with lids

1. Wash and slice the cucumbers lengthwise (trim the top and bottom, they are bitter)
2. Sterilize the glass canning jars in boiling water. Remove them from the hot water and set them on the counter.
3. Add the water, vinegar, and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Mix it until the salt dissolves.
4. Add a clove of garlic and a teaspoon of dill seed to each pint jar.
5. Slice the chili and divide among the jars.
6. Pack in the sliced cucumbers and pour the brine on top. Make sure to keep a half-inch space at the top.
7. Put on the lid and let it sit for 48 hours in the fridge. They will last up to 2 months.

Now, let’s break this down, shall we? The following are the steps I took to make the perfect, easy, no canning needed pickle. PRO 1: THESE PICKLES ARE ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS AND WORTH EVERY MOMENT. IN CASE YOU DIDN’T FIGURE THAT OUT YET.

Pickling Cucumbers

I have to be quite honest, especially since this is my first whack at pickles, I have no idea what a pickling cucumber is. Aren’t they all created equal? Now, I have to be even more honest and admit the ugly truth. *AHEM* (long, drawn out pause for dramatics) I loathe cucumbers. Yes, I, Pinned Foodie author, hate cucumbers. CON (OR PRO FOR MOST PEOPLE) 1: THE SMELL OF CUCUMBERS WHEN YOU’RE CUTTING THEM. IT FILLED MY TINY APARTMENT AND KILLED ME SLOWLY. (I am obviously not really dead.)

But I love pickles, so perhaps I need to learn what a pickling cucumber is. Does anyone really know? When I was in the grocery store trying to find out what a “pickling cucumber” was, I stopped wracking my brain and went with a mini cucumber. These, for two packs, cost me a total of maybe $7.00. RECIPE SUGGESTION 1: PICK WHATEVER CUCUMBER YOU LIKE, HOWEVER SMALLER IS BETTER. Once I got home with my “minicumbers,” I followed step one accordingly. I decided to quarter them instead of going with halves. I like spears a little better, plus I thought I could probably get more bang for my buck with eventually sixteen spears per jar.

Step 1

As soon as my cucumbers were cut up, I added my dill, garlic, and pepper (which I will address next) onto the bottom of the mason jar. This is really important! You NEED to put all of this stuff at the bottom. RECIPE SUGGESTION 2: FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS ONE! PUT YOUR SEASONING AT THE BOTTOM!

Dill seed is not something we can come by easy for those of us who don’t grow gardens. Which I assume is a great many of us. Since we live in a city. With crappy dirt and dirt options. I happened to have the actual dill herb from a previous Pinterest recipe, however. Let me tell you in advance, if you have never chopped up dill, it makes a huge mess. The little leaves go everywhere. It is the glitter of the kitchen. And glitter mass multiplies like rabbits. Besides it making a huge mess, once you chop it up, it yields a TON! You can keep dill in the fridge for two weeks. RECIPE SUGGESTION 3: GO WITH DILL HERB.

While we are still on the seasoning section, let’s talk about the chili pepper.

Pepper

As the author on the Prudent Garden suggests, you can really use any pepper, including crushed red pepper. I would love to have gone with a Serrano or jalapeno. But I tend to rub my eyes or nose after cutting onions, peppers, really anything that causes pain and discomfort to my extremities. To avoid that (and more cutting, because let’s be honest, I’m a lazy human being sometimes), I decided to go with a crushed red pepper I’ve been hoarding since April. This is a Turkish crushed red pepper courtesy of my aunt who visited there recently. It is a little bit finer than, let’s say, McCormick. But it honestly turned out to not be much hotter. I put half a teaspoon in each jar. RECIPE SUGGESTION 4: IF YOU ARE A LAZY, ACCIDENT PRONE, OR WANTING TO KNOW THE KIND OF HEAT YOU’RE PUTTING IN, USE CRUSHED RED PEPPERPRO 2: IF YOU HAVEN’T CAUGHT ON BY NOW, THIS RECIPE IS FLEXIBLE. YOU CAN CHANGE ANY OF THE INGREDIENTS.

Now, before you make the brine, pack those cut cucumbers in tight. Really, REALLY tight. Remember my projected sixteen spears per jar? I packed my future little pickles so snug, eight spears got left out. Con 2: No directions saying to cut your little green babies into spears or halves, just lengthwise. I know that’s a little nit-picky, but in the end, it cost some of my dudes to be left out, which translates to wasted. This was perhaps one of the hardest steps, as you try to cram every one of your cuts into the jar. You aren’t hurting them, so jam them in until there’s no more room.

Brine

Time to make the brine. I am a huge sea salt fan. Instead of wasting money on pickling or kosher salt, I swapped for sea salt. RECIPE SUGGESTION 5: USE ANY SALT YOU WANT. The quality of vinegar does not matter too much. I used a store brand white vinegar, and they still turned out AWESOME!

As soon as that brine has the salt all dissolved, pour that sucker over your packed little babies, top it, then lock it…That means put the lid over it.

Step 4

Step 4 A

Let’s play that game again where I read your mind. You’re looking at the now tightly packed, tightly lidded jar thinking they look so beautiful. Then (perhaps like me) you think, “All the good stuff is at the bottom…” You feel a panic wash over you as you realize you spent good money and time on this recipe. Now, all the good stuff is at the bottom! DEAR CHEESUS, WHY?!

Okay, maybe you didn’t react like I did, but in case you are wondering what will happen with all the good things at the bottom, fear not. PRO 3: THIS AMPS UP YOUR FLAVORS.

     Step 5

Say bye-bye to your pickle puppies for 48 hours. They’re on fridge lockdown. You need to put them in while the brine is still hot. CON 3: YOU WILL BE TEMPTED TO TAKE A TASTE. Don’t. Do. It. As my worry for the bottom swelled in me, I decided I would need to shake the jars every so often to get all the good stuff around. This is extremely unnecessary. However, it taught me that it all breaks up with the brine and starts to infuse the brine, which therefore infuses your pickles. Pro 4: BY POURING IN THE HOT BRINE THEN STICKING THEM IMMEDIATELY IN YOUR FRIDGE, YOUR JARS WILL SEAL THEMSELVES. Look, Mom! I canned without any real effort on my part! No, really, Mom, look, because I told you these bad boys were good.

Step 6

Over forty-eight hours later, I get a beautiful pickle and an already almost empty jar to show how good they were. That almost empty jar had just been cracked open at 10 AM that morning, and by 6 PM, there were only 3 pickles left. That’s why you have three jars worth. And the taste? Just like a good ol’ dill pickle with a little kick. Next time, I’ll be adding a little bit more crushed red pepper. But this brings me to: FINAL SUGGESTIONS BY A FOODIE!

SUGGESTION 1: I’ll be making a sweet dill pickle next time around. 1/2 tsp of sugar instead of the spice.
SUGGESTION 2: Add some veggies, like onion, carrots, or even bell peppers.

What worked in this recipe: The flexibility, the self-sealing cans, and the waiting time for your delicious pickles
What didn’t work: The smell of cucumbers and the lack of cutting instructions (in terms of spears or halves)

Pinned Foodie’s revised recipe:

3 lbs pickling cucumbers
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp and a pinch of crushed red pepper, per jar
3 tsp dill
3 cloves of garlic
3 glass pint canning jars with lids

1. Wash and slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise (trim the top and bottom, they are bitter)
2. Sterilize the glass canning jars in boiling water. Remove them from the hot water and set them on the counter.
3. Add a clove of garlic, a teaspoon of dill seed, and crushed red pepper to each pint jar.
4. Add the water, vinegar, and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Mix it until the salt dissolves.
5. Pack in the sliced cucumbers and pour the brine on top. Make sure to keep a half-inch space at the top.
6. Put on the lid and let it sit for 48 hours in the fridge. They will last up to 2 months.

For the cons being mostly nit-picky problems, I’d say this recipe is an A+! Well done, Debbie from Prudent Garden! Did you get enough to eat?

Pinterest, Meet One Butt Kitchen

You may not be familiar with the phrase “one butt kitchen.” These types of kitchens are not for the light-hearted. Now, yes, they do contain the essentials: a microwave, a stove, an oven, and a sink. But that’s it. Slim to no counter space, very few drawers and cabinets, and enough space to move one step left or one step right. Enough space for, you guessed it, one butt. And I am one of the lucky cooks endowed with a one butt kitchen.

I am quite grateful for my baby kitchen. It does the job, and I do have a wonderful portable island to make my work that much easier. But I cook. I don’t make ramen (never have), microwave meals, or a quick egg in the morning. I make real, substantial food that would feed a family of four. Why do I cook so much for only one butt? Leftovers. It’s good. And one butt households deserve to treat ourselves to home-cooked meals. Four butt households shouldn’t have all the fun!

Now that we understand the term one butt kitchen, you may be asking why I am introducing an inanimate, intangible item to an unconscious, sometimes extremely hot room. I am on Pinterest for one thing: the plethora and never ending supply of recipes. From Thai food to pot roast, there’s everything a home-cook/foodie like me could dream of. I have one catch-all board entitled “FOOOOD.” And it has become a task to navigate as the recipes pile up. If my food board was a house, it would look like a hoarder lived there. I have slowly started to pick through these recipes and cook more. But I never write the recipes down before, during, or after the cooking. SO! To give me peace of mind and for your enjoyment/interest, I have made the public decision to keep all these recipes/reviews/suggestions to make them better right here. Isn’t that great?

Let’s bring all this information together for you, my readers (as few as you may be), to understand. The mission statement of Pinned Foodie: To post, comment, and suggest recipes from Pintrest each week. To speak sarcastically and ironically as much as possible. To speak on the benefits and deliciousness of beer, wine, or spirits. To post restaurant reviews when a Pintrest post is not possible due to lack of caring, wanting, or energy on the writer’s/home-cook’s part. And there you have it. No promises of gluten free, paleo, or vegetarian/vegan cooking; that the meal will be completely economic (YOU NEED SAFFRON! GO BUY IT NOW!); or that your family will love it. There’s going to be good recipes and bad ones, because I am only following a recipe. This is an open conversation blog as well, meaning I shouldn’t be the only one talking. I’m cooking from Pintrest for all those one butt, two butts, hell, even eight butt households. So, make sure you get all your fill. Did you eat enough?

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