My adventures in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Recipe Review

This will just be a quick review of some of the new recipes we've tried lately. We had great success with the Irish stew and bread of the last post, but the other new recipes need some modification. I'm withholding judgment until I can try the modifications I have in mind. If you try any of the recipes, please let me know how it went, and whether you tried with or without modifications!

The first recipe we tried was the artichoke tomato pasta, which can be found on Better Homes & Gardens website here. It ended up being a very liquid-y sauce, falling past the pasta to the bottom. We used fettuccine, and I had to use white onion instead of sweet onion since I forgot to pick up a sweet onion at the store. The first instruction says to mix Parmesan cheese and the reserved pasta water into the drained pasta; this made a horrible mess and didn't work at all, so I would definitely skip this step and just sprinkle the cheese on top before serving. I think if you use a 14.5 ox can of pureed tomatoes/tomato sauce and a 14.5 oz can of drained diced tomatoes instead of the crushed/diced tomatoes, it would make a thicker sauce that better coats the pasta, but still give you the tomato chunks of the original. The flavour was really good though, and even James, who doesn't like artichokes much, agreed it was a good recipe, though the limp sauce was a bit of a let-down. I can't wait to try the modifications.

Next up is a recipe from an advertisement for McCormick spices. You can find it online here (their website has a neat tool where you can adjust the serving size and it'll edit the recipe!! So cool!) This one had a lot of potential, but despite all the seasonings, it just ended up kind of bland. I think if you added salt and pepper to the flour mixture (or directly to the chicken prior to flouring) and to the sauce, it would end up much more flavourful. We didn't use the brand names, sticking with what we had at home and getting rosemary from an off-brand at the store for much less than McCormick's. I also only use Swanson's reduced sodium chicken broth. I've tried a few different chicken broths, and the flavour just isn't right to me, so I stick with what I know works. We ended up with a large sauce to chicken ratio, and I think we should've used a few more chicken tenders, but you could also always chop up the chicken and add it as an ingredient of the sauce over the pasta. If you can kick up the flavour a bit, this would be a great dish; as it is it's just a bit bland. If the salt and pepper doesn't work, I'm binning the recipe.

A few nights ago we tried grilled chicken with lemon-cucumber relish. This is another Better Homes & Gardens recipe, here, which my mom gave me a subscription to. We've found some great recipes through it, and I always look forward to flipping through it (it's also where I found the paint colours on our walls). There were a few thing about this recipe. The first was user error. I mixed together the relish and yogurt sauce because pregnancy brain. It still ended up ok, but in my attempt to make it more like the picture (before realizing my mistake) it ended up a bit thinner than expected. However, it still worked out fine, though next time I'll mix them separately and properly. I left out the lemon peel since I just use RealLemon for juice. I would also season the chicken differently. I'm not a huge fan of the cumin flavour, which is really prevalent in this recipe. It's ok, but definitely not to my or James' tastes. James pointed out that the chicken could really be quite versatile in this recipe, from plain grilling to lemon-pepper topped (<--this one!!) I definitely think if you season the chicken differently and properly mix the toppings, this would be a phenomenal dish. 

We made the side dish or sweet potato wedges. I've had this recipe for ages; my mom clipped it from the newspaper and sent it to me years ago (seriously, the newspaper is yellow). I found the same recipe here on Martha Stewart's website. These were FANTASTIC!!! Why did I wait so long to make these? James thinks I exaggerate, but he's never been pregnant, so he doesn't understand satisfying a craving you didn't even know you had. I think I hate 3/4 of them, only stopping when I was so full I physically couldn't take another bite; there were two half wedges left out of 32. I mixed the potatoes and seasonings in a gallon sized ziploc bag, shaking it until well-coated. I cooked them for the full 20 minutes and they were so soft, but still sturdy enough to dip (ranch, a tiny bit). So so so so so good. 

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