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  • Pantry Challenge – Week 4 Update

    {This is embarrassing.}

    I joined the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats with good intentions but I have to admit that it’s been a total fail for me. I intended to use up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    I used some of the noodles, some of the beans, a little of the cornmeal, and actually had a lot less jam that I thought. So I still have quite a bit of this stuff to use up.

    What I realized during this Pantry Challenge is that I can only multitask so much. I’ve been very focused on other goals, and I just don’t seem able to add working in the kitchen into my routine right now.

    But I really want to, because we eat a lot healthier when I cook more. So that is something I am going to work on in the coming weeks, to find a balance between accomplishing the goals I’ve been focusing on with cooking and baking (which I really do enjoy, when I do it).


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    Pantry Challenge – Week 3 Update

    I know I said I was joining the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats, with the goal of using up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    But I’ve made hardly any progress at all. As I mentioned when sharing my menu plan for the week, I haven’t felt much like cooking because I’ve been focused on other projects. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s just not possible to do everything at the same time, let alone do everything well.

    However . . .

    I do want to make more progress with this pantry challenge before it ends. And my family will eat better if I do. So I’m planning to use anchovies in tomorrow night’s Pasta Puttanesca, and I finally acquired the ingredients to make Key Lime Bars and Mushroom & Artichoke Chicken with Egg Noodles. I will also finally get around to making cereal bars, which will use up some jam.

    I do really like cooking . . . I just need to plan better!


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    Pantry Challenge – Week 2 Update

    Ostensibly, I’ve joined the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats, with the goal of using up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    From this list, I used all of two cans of cannellini beans last week.

    Ahem.

    I’d intended to use some cornmeal to make cornbread, but ended up making cream biscuits instead to use up some cream that was about to expire. And I didn’t do any baking either.

    So . . . I have two more weeks left to this pantry challenge, and I’ve got quite a few things still left to use up. I’m going to try Gina’s Mushroom Artichoke Chicken, which sounds really good, and serve it with some egg noodles. I also foresee a caesar salad (anchovies) and cereal bars (jam) in our future. But obviously I’m going to have to kick things into high gear if I want to have these things used up by the end of the month!


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    Pantry Challenge – Week 1 Update

    I decided to join the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats last week, with the goal of using up some random ingredients I have on hand:

    Ronzoni Healthy Harvest egg noodles
    Sweetened condensed milk
    Canned cannelli beans
    Cornmeal
    Jam
    Anchovies

    From this list, I used one package of egg noodles to make what was supposed to be Tuna Noodle Casserole, but as I posted on Facebook, I totally forgot the tuna and ended up with a sort of macaroni and cheese dish. It still tasted good, and I did use up a bag of noodles, but I felt rather foolish for forgetting the “tuna” in “tuna casserole.”

    I also used about 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal to make calamari (I soak the squid in buttermilk, then coat in seasoned cornmeal and fry).

    I realized that having a written-out menu plan will help me use up these items faster, although the only items I worked into this week’s plan are the cannellini beans (in Friday’s soup) and more cornmeal for cornbread. But I’m also using up a couple items that aren’t on the list, like an almost full but open bottle of red wine with tonight’s short ribs, and the carton of cream of mushroom soup that’s already open in the fridge.

    Also, now that both kids are back in school, I’m hoping to have some time to bake, which should help me use up some condensed milk and jam. I’ll probably make some Key Lime Bars to used up the condensed milk, since it’s been a while.

    I am going to have to think harder about how to use up the rest of these ingredients in the coming weeks . . .

    Kitchen Tip: Rescue Burnt Cookies

    It’s cookie baking season, so I thought I’d share a handy tip in case anyone forgets about the cookies in the oven (not that it’s ever happened to me or anything, no sirree. yeah right). If the bottoms are too dark, simply take a microplane grater and scrape off the black part until you have a nice golden bottom.

    This works beautifully with other burnt items like grilled bread – mine always ends up burnt on the bottom when the cheese is browned and bubbly on top. I scrape the black parts off with my microplane to eliminate the burnt taste, and the rest of the pizza still tastes amazing.

    I’m baking cupcakes tomorrow, and I also need to do a big batch of cookies to include with my teacher gifts – hopefully I won’t need this tip but unfortunately, I do tend to be a little scatterbrained when I’m this busy!

    Do you have a favorite cookie recipe you could share with me? Thanks!

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