Monday, February 7, 2011

I bought an ugli fruit because I felt sorry for it.

I mean, honestly.  Why would you do that to something?  No parent would name their child 6 Toes or Pockmark.  You don’t focus on the least attractive quality of something when choosing what it will be known as for the rest of eternity.  Why pick on the poor fruit?  Furthermore, I decided it’s not even that ugli anyway.
I thought about using it in my salad tonight to make it feel better.  Then I got nervous about it and just put it in my fruit basket.  So I suppose the ugli fruit really has nothing to do with Yummy Monday.  But I saved him from the embarrassment of people pointing and mocking.  I’m nice like that.  I also bought tomatoes, Fiesta Lime Mrs. Dash, rice, and caramels and they DO have to do with Yummy Monday - but not all at once.  Thank goodness.
I’ll start with our salad - since that’s what you normally start with when eating.  Unless you live in France.  (Is it true that they eat their salads LAST or is that just a rumor?)  When I decided to serve a salad it was because the menu just looked too bare.  I figured I’d have to do a homemade salad dressing so the bag of salad with tomatoes and mushrooms thrown in wasn’t too pathetic.  I wanted something I’ve never tried before, and I didn’t see any in the cookbook, so I turned to the internet and found Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing, here.  Sounded promising.

I ended up with Cran-Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing, since they didn’t have the exact kind of juice I needed at the store.  And I LOVED it.  So did my parents, although the kiddos thought it was too “spicy” and mr, well, he’s still gone.  (excuse me while I cry a little.)

OK.  Anyway, the general consensus was DELICIOUS.  Yummy bit of tangy fruit with some kick from the vinegar and garlic.  Here’s my take on the recipe:
Cran-Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 C Veggie oil
1/4 C plus 2 T Ocean Spray White Cranberry Strawberry Juice Drink
1/4 C Red wine vinegar
2 1/2 T Honey mustard
1 Small shallot, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 tsp salt
Combine everything in a bowl and whisk well.  Pour into a nice jar or bottle and chill until ready to serve.
For our side dish, I baked some asparagus.  The recipe I used was contributed by Kayla  - Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan.  It was very tasty.  Her recipe calls for a specific type of Mrs. Dash seasoning, and while staring at the spices in the store, I couldn’t for the life of me I couldn’t remember what one... so I went with Fiesta Lime, because it sounded tasty.  (Wrong one.  Hers was tomato basil.  Ah, well.)  Anyway, it involves olive oil, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, roasting, and parmesan cheese.  Very tasty.
Our main dish is from Bertie.  It’s Chicken Rice Casserole, and I will most likely make it again.  Even bug ate it, and there’s just enough left over for mr to have a little taste.  (you’re welcome mr).  So, I totally messed this up, and it was STILL good.  There’s a special place in my heart for recipes like that.  Because, as we all know, failure is common around these parts.
Here’re the goods:
Chicken Rice Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 soup can of milk
1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup chicken, diced
1 package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Mix together the soups, milk and rice in a 9x13 pan.  Place the chicken on top.  Sprinkle this with the dry onion soup mix.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour uncovered, than 1 hour covered.
Soooo, want to know what I did wrong?  I knew it.  Well, there aren’t really any specifics about the chicken, and since I almost always use frozen chicken because it is cheaper, I just cooked it up on top of the stove with some olive oil - so I wouldn’t have to defrost it first.  I didn’t realize until after it was all in the oven (for a while) that the cook times probably allowed for RAW chicken... so in the end I had to wing the cooking time and the chicken was a little dryer than ideal and the onion soup mix was a bit charred in places.  I added some parmesan on top, since I had it on hand for the asparagus anyway.  And, like I said, still tasty, so that’s saying something.
Want to know what my favorite part was?  As if you don’t already know... of course it was the cake from Diane (and her mom) - Turtle Cake.  Holy cow.  And I messed this one up too.
Turtle Cake
1 German Chocolate cake mix
14 oz. bag of caramels
1 Small can of evaporated milk
1/2 C butter
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups pecans
Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions on the box.  Pour half of the batter into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Melt the caramels, butter and milk in a double boiler and pour half of it over the cake.  Add 1 cup chocolate chops and 1 cup nuts.  Add the rest of the cake batter and bake for 20 minutes more.  Add the rest of the caramel, chips and nuts to the top of the cake and bake until the chips are just melting.  Cool and serve.
So this time, I really didn’t cook it long enough the second time around.  I shouldn’t have stuck to the 20 minutes so religiously, because I could see when I took it out that the center was still mushy.  But I went ahead anyway, and the caramel just SANK.  BUT, it was really good anyway, and I will totally add this to my “go to” dessert repertoire.
On an only slightly related note, I have to say how cool it is that I’ve come this far since beginning my “Yummy Monday/Monday Food Fests” a little over a year ago.  Before that time, I would have read double boiler and either scrapped the project completely out of ignorance, or called my mom in a panic because I didn’t know where on my oven that was located.  But tonight, I deftly pulled out my biggest pot, threw in some water, stacked two oven safe ramekins in the middle of it, and plopped my second pot, loaded up with the ingredients, right on top.  I’ve come a long way from messing up the Kraft mac, guys.  A long way.

*Be sure to check the sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Lisa said...

Wow, what a meal. That dressing sounds so good, much better than what I've been buying at the store.

Stephani said...

That cake looks absolutely wonderful. I will definitely have to make that at some point. Thanks so much for sharing.

It sounds like I'm doing something similar to you. I wanted to make sure I had at least one nice, sit-down dinner a week in our crazy lives, so I do a "Dinner Diaries" post on Mondays, nothing big, but I enjoy sharing recipes.

Kayla Marie Hyatt Cameron said...

MMMMmmm... I love asparagus!!! How was the fiesta lime? Mom makes it with the tomato basil, but I don't have that one and I use the garlic and herb Mrs Dash. Just for another suggestion to everyone who reads this!

Kayla Marie Hyatt Cameron said...

Mmmm... I love asparagus!! How was the fiesta lime Mrs Dash? Mom uses the tomato basil one, but I don't have it, so when I make this I use the garlic herb. Just another suggestion for all the readers out there!!

Ginger said...

That asparagus looks fantastic! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

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