Thursday, October 25, 2007

on the menu

I've finally gotten a chance to browse through the various cookbooks we've bought or be given over the last couple of years. My staple book that is already showing it's wear and tear is America's Test Kitchen.

I used to order from a company that preps meals into ziplock bags so you can freeze them and cook them when you see fit. And based on what I learned from getting those meals, I'm trying to think of how I can do the same thing with these recipes. Obviously stews, casseroles and stir frys are quite good for this kind of thing. And why not prep a week, maybe even a month's worth of dinners in the fridge for an easy quicky stir fry. And if I can do all the prep on the weekend when I actually have time, all the better.

The first step in doing that was to make homemade pesto, which I've never done. We recently unpacked a mini-prep machine we received as a wedding gift, so it was the perfect time to learn to make pesto. I didn't know how much 4 cups of fresh basil was, so we bought excessive amounts. And I forgot to buy pine nuts, but then remembered reading somewhere that pistachios, which the hubby serendipitously purchased, could be substituted. It was enough for three batches, two of which I popped into the freezer and one I added the parmesan to for dinner that night. It worked out well and it was enough pesto to slap on some roast chicken for the rest of the week. yummy! and way better than the jarred variety, which we still have from costco.

Also on the cooking list that night was carrot bundt cake. Before the hubby would buy apple pie or other dessert for the week, but now I'm into making cakes. So far I've tried bundt cake, banana bread, and now carrot cake. I've cooked banana bread and carrot cake before so pretty easy, though it took me 40 minutes to grate the 1 lb of carrots in the batch, but it was worth it. I'd like to try the banana bread and bundt cake again as they turned out decent but not as good as I would have liked.

Next up after I season my pastry board, I'm going to try making pizza dough to compliment the pesto and challah bread. But it also means to look to purchase a couple new things for the kitchen including a kitchen scale (for the bread making) and a roaster, which is what the hubby would like to do more of. Which means I need to rethink a few of the kitchen cabinet spaces to better organize them for what we need and to use up or get rid of things we haven't used.

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