Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What we are eating

I know that what we eat isn’t very exciting to some of you, but I figure that if we can make these meals out here, then they should be pretty simple for you all back in the states to make them as well. I spent a lot of time on the internet tracking down recipes while we house sat, so some of the recipes are from online sources. Others are from our Wycliffe cookbook and others are ones that friends have recently posted on Facebook. Nice that we have so many sources to draw from!

I have made this first recipe twice since being back at the farm. The first time it was kind of a mess, but still tasted good enough that the kids wanted me to make it again for breakfast. The second time it turned out much better. The little paragraph at the end of the recipe was one of the comments that someone else had made about it online. The first time I made the recipe, I followed her directions, but it was way too soggy. Darin, who has an egg allergy, ended up getting sick : ) The second time I only used 3 eggs and a little under a cup of milk and it turned out just about perfect. Darin was still feeling a little ill, but not so much. You might have to play around with the recipe depending on the type of bread you use.

Apple or Peach and Caramel Baked French Toast

·         1 cup packed brown sugar

·         1/2 cup butter

·         2 tablespoons water

·         1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches, drained

·         12 (3/4 inch thick) slices day-old French bread

·         5 eggs

·         1 tablespoon vanilla extract

·         1 pinch ground cinnamon, or to taste

Directions

1.     In a saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, butter and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

2.     Pour the brown sugar mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish, and tilt the dish to cover the entire bottom. Place peaches in a layer over the sugar coating, then top with slices of French bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Slowly pour over the bread slices to coat evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

3.     Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4.     Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bread is golden brown. Spoon out portions to serve.

**I was very pleased with how this turned out. Like others have suggested I used 6 eggs and 1 and 1/2 cups of milk, and dredged the bread in the liquid before pouring the rest over. Because it is apple season, I used some Granny Smith apples in place of the peaches and it was DELICIOUS! The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is because it was VERY sweet and some may not care for that. You definitely do not need syrup. I think using the day-old bread is key to avoid the sogginess others have mentioned.

I have only tried making this dish with apples as Darin is a little grossed out by the peach option. The second time around we softened the apples on the stove top a bit, which didn’t make a huge difference overall.
Dishes 2 and 3 were both hits with the whole family. My friend, Chanell, had links to both of them on her facebook page. They both looked delish and when we opened the links we found that all the ingredients were easy to come by out here, so that makes both of these dishes winners in my book!

Alfredo Sauce

·         3 tablespoons sweet butter

·         2 tablespoons olive oil

·         garlic cloves , minced

·         2 cups heavy cream

·         1/4 teaspoon white pepper

·         1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

·         3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

·         1 (12 ounce) box angel hair pasta

Directions:

Melt butter in medium saucepan with olive oil over medium/low heat.

Add the garlic, cream, white pepper and bring mixture to a simmer.

Stir often.

Add the Parmesan cheese and simmer sauce for 8-10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and is smooth.

When sauce has thickened add the Mozzarella cheese and stir until smooth. STIR FREQUENTLY.

While the sauce cooks, boil noodles for 3-5 minutes. (or longer depending on the noodles you use)

Place pasta on serving plates and spoon sauce over pasta.

We followed some extra directions Chanell had added to make the dish a little less fattening. We used less than ½ the olive oil and about half the butter (it was actually baking margarine) and instead of two cups heavy cream we did one cup heavy cream and one cup of milk. The sauce was still creamy and tasted like alfredo sauce should taste. We ate this with salad one night, and I think that having ranch dressing on our salad made the alfredo sauce seem a little bland. Once I finished my salad and just ate the pasta and sauce it tasted much better. The kids both really liked this, especially since I served it over mini-shell pasta.

Mini Frittatas

Ingredients

·         4 large eggs

·         1/4 cup half-and-half

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         Assorted mix-ins (such as shredded cheese, diced vegetables, and cooked and chopped bacon, ham, or sausage)

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

1.      Heat your oven to 350º F and coat a 6-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2.     Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and salt in a medium bowl, then evenly distribute the egg mixture among the muffin cups.

3.     Add about 2 tablespoons of mix-ins to each cup, then sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese, if you like.

4.       Bake the frittatas until they are puffy and the edges are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. (If necessary, run a butter knife around the edge of each one to loosen them before removing them from the pan.) Makes 6 mini frittatas.

We had ham, bacon, cheese and some chopped onion in the fridge, so that is what we used for mix-ins. The kids loved being able to choose their own mix-ins (they did NOT choose the onion!)and I think that helping to make their dinner made them even more eager to eat their dinner! We used 6 eggs and 3/8 cup heavy cream and it made 12 frittatas. I’m not sure if this is because the muffin tin we used had smaller cups than a 6 cup muffin tin or what, but that is just what we ended up with. The frittatas got super puffy and poofed out of their individual tins, but still slid out easy peasy. We each ended up with three muffins, which wasn’t a super filling dinner because each frittata was very light, and if you do the math, we each only ate about 1 ½ eggs! Good thing I had decided to try out another recipe earlier in the day so the three least picky eaters in the family did have some other food to fill in the empty spaces.
The last recipe I made, the one that filled the empty spaces, was homemade stuffing. We bought the Wycliffe International Cookbook before we moved based on the recommendation of a few former international missionaries, including Darin’s Aunt Rose. This cookbook has very simple recipes in it and also tells you lots of substitutions to use in case you can’t find a certain ingredient in the country where you are living.

Homemade Stuffing

Fry:

½ cup chicken fat, butter or oil

½ cup chopped onion

½-1 cup celery

Remove from heat and add:

½ tsp salt

1 tsp poultry seasoning or sage

Dash of pepper

1 egg, beaten, optional (I didn’t add this)

¾-1 cup chicken stock or milk (used stock)

Pour over and toss lightly:

6-8 cups dry bread cubes

Bake at 350 in a greased pan for ½-1 hour.
I used a partial loaf of cheese bread to make the bread cubes and I think that made this stuffing more appealing to Darin who is really not a fan of stuffing under normal circumstances. I was fortunate enough to have poultry seasoning on hand because my friend Michelle had sent me a bottle in a package several months ago. I think my liquid to bread ratio was a little high, but I was just using the bread I had on hand and I’m guessing it was closer to 4 cups. It still turned out great, but just didn’t have as many “crunchy” bits, which are what Darin and Tyson both were digging for.

So that’s what we’ve been eating the past couple weeks. We’ve also had quite a few meals of frozen French fries or peanut butter toast, but we don’t mind eating light every now and again (and again…)


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