Monthly Archives

August 2020

5 Simple Things To Make Cooking A Breeze

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Cooking, especially on a busy workday can be stressful. By no stretch am I an expert cook, but I have been dealing with busy work nights and a husband with a busy schedule for years.

1.) Use A Cookbook

Seriously, unless you are a professional chef or have been cooking for years and years, use a cookbook. It is extremely helpful as you learn proportions, foods and spices that mix well together and just gets you comfortable in the kitchen. I rely heavily on cookbooks and do a ton of recipe reviews because its the best way to learn! Just like being in school, cooking by recipe is a great way to learn. If you don’t have a cookbook to learn off of, Pinterest is a great resource. Find food boards that either have reviews of the recipe or are by a reputable chef and use those recipes to enhance your cooking skills! But don’t do the same thing over and over again. Branch out to new recipes and slowly try to enhance your skills. You won’t get better if you continue to make sheet pan dinners.

2.) Necessary Tools

Okay this is going to be an ongoing topic for me. Let’s start with the absolute basics. When you are cooking you don’t need all the expensive culinary tools. You just need the basics and then you can work up from there. So basics I found that I just can’t replicate without.

  • Grater – A grater is so important so you don’t accidentally cut yourself (like I did) and saves you endless time and frustration. Trust me trying to ‘grate’ a lemon with a knife is not the same and it hurts when you miss the lemon.
  • Hand Mixer- The standing kitchen aid mixers are beautiful, but they are expensive. So if you are just starting out, I think getting a hand mixer will be your best friend. I have been hand mixing all the recipes I have tried and the time and effort it takes to get to the consistency you want is astounding. Save yourself the time and buy a hand mixer, this way you won’t be frustrated with recipes you are trying. My husband just got me one for our anniversary and I was thrilled! My cookies and recipes turned out 10 times better than if I had mixed them by hand.
  • Ladle, Spatula, Whisks, Wooden Spoon and a Spatula – For most of the meals you will be cooking these utensils should cover the basics! But my biggest recommendation is to buy good quality! You will be hardest on these utensils so make sure they will last! My spatulas are falling apart so I’m planning to get a better quality version!

3.) Use Salt Lightly

You can’t take salt back once its on your food. Start light and add more when necessary. So when they say sprinkle salt, sprinkle lightly and add as you see fit. But be careful not to add too much or you will ruin the food you spent so hard working on. You may already know this but it is always worth mentioning. Instead of excess salt, use other spices to bring flavor. I love red pepper flakes, oregano, basil and black pepper. Salt is an essential spice, but it should be used sparingly.

4.) When In Doubt – Stir Fry

This may not be the correct way to ‘Stir Fry’, but it’s what I call these super easy and healthy meals. For nights where I want to eat healthy or have a home cooked meal I make this. There are so many ways you can vary this and its done within 20 minutes!

  1. Take a large skillet and heat with about 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Chop up a meat(or meat substitute) of your choice and add to the pan.
  3. While your meat cooks, chop up a variety of veggies. I personally go for zucchini squash, bell peppers, onions, and jalapenos. Throw those into your 70-80% cooked mixture and combine.
  4. Season with salt, and pepper.
  5. Let cook for 7-10 minutes until veggies are tender.
  6. Serve warm with sides of fruit or rice.

5.) Cook Foods You Like

I feel like people forget this, cook the foods you like. Don’t cook foods that are healthy or popular if you don’t like them. Find healthy ways to serve the foods you like. Cook the tacos, the burgers, the chicken wings, etc. Life is short, cook the foods you enjoy and just look for new ways to help make those meals a bit healthier. But to cook at home more often, you need to like doing it. And that starts with cooking the foods you actually like eating!

Overall, just make cooking fun! The more fun it is the easier it will get. And the easier it gets the more frequently you will do so! Have fun cooking everyone!

How to Make a Buttermilk Blueberry Puff – Magnolia Table

By | Food | One Comment

Y’all, why I decided to try a new dish for a get together…. I’ll never know! But this dish is so easy to make and has such a unique taste! All the eggs and buttermilk give it a very unique texture and honestly was hard for me to work through. I absolutely loved the flavor profile, everything about the flavors is exactly what you’d hope for. Between the berries, the pastry and the coarse sugar topping the flavor is immaculate. But it is a very squishy dessert and I wasn’t huge on it. If there was a way to toughen it up -it would be the perfect dessert! But it was good in its own right and is definitely worth trying!

*Fun fact, figured out afterwards it should be cooked croissants. Fun lesson learned!

Overall Review: 3.5/5

I honestly just couldn’t get over the texture, but this is a super easy recipe to make and is a great brunch item! So if squishy textures don’t bother you, give it a shot and let me know what you think below!

Buttermilk Blueberry Puff

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Ingredients
  

  • 12 tbsp Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
  • 12 cups Cubed Croissants (6-8 large)
  • 3 cups Blueberries or Blackberries
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Coarse Raw Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Grease a 9 x 13 x 3 baking dish with 1 tbsp butter
  • Spread the croissant cubes evenly in the dish and top with berries
  • Use a mixer and beat the 12 tbsp butter with granulated sugar until creamy. This takes a couple minutes to do.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in the cream, buttermilk, vanilla and salt.
  • Pour over the croissants and berries. Sprinkle with coarse sugar
  • Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  • Serve warm. Leftovers last about 2 days.

How to Make After School Banana Bread – Magnolia Table

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I have NEVER topped my banana bread with sugar and seriously it is a game changer! It added the perfect crunch to the top of the banana bread and made it taste so much better! I couldn’t have loved that addition to this recipe more! Overall, I really liked this banana bread. The recipe really isn’t much different than other recipes but nonetheless, it had the crunch and sweetness that you want so I will chalk it up to a success! This banana bread took no time at all to make and is perfect for rainy cold days or days of quarantine boredom.

Overall Rating 4.5/5

After-School Banana Bread

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Ingredients
  

  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • 8 tbsp Salted Butter (melted and cooled) — Plus more for serving
  • 1 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4-5 Very Ripe Bananas -Mashed
  • 1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans I used Walnuts
  • 1-2 tbsp Granulated Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat to 350 degrees. She recommends an 8×8 pan but I think a bread pan works just as well! Make sure to grease the pan.
  • In a medium bowl beat (with a mixer) the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until blended.
  • Add bananas and combine.
  • In another medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and combine. Add pecans and combine.
  • Pour batter into greased pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top.
  • Bake for about 40-45 minutes until cooked. Use a knife or toothpick to test that its cooked.
  • Slice and serve with butter.

How to Make Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches – Magnolia Table Review

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Chicken Salad Sandwiches just hit the spot on a warm Saturday afternoon. Add it with a good glass of Arnold Palmer and you have the perfect lunch! Let me preface this by saying that when I assembled our sandwiches I did not add the lettuce/tomato. Mainly because the chicken salad was so good I felt it didn’t feel that it needed anything else, and I prefer my sandwiches without the lettuce and tomato. This sandwich is pretty standard when you look across the board at chicken salads, except for one ingredient – chives. The chives add that punch of flavor that really takes this chicken salad to the next level. These sandwiches are super easy to throw together and should be your next meal as we head into fall!

Overall Review: 5/5

Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Ingredients
  

  • 5 Cups Shredded meat from rotisserie chicken
  • 1 1/2 Cups Halved red grapes
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Pecans (Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced green onions or chives
  • 1 1/4 Cups Mayonnaise
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 12 Small Croissants
  • 6 Butter Lettuce Leaves
  • 2 Vine-Ripened Tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Combine chicken, grapes, pecans, chives in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Add mayo, salt and pepper to taste and combine.
  • Cover and chill until cold — About 1-2 hours
  • Serve on croissants. Add tomato and lettuce for an additional punch.

Bow Tie Pasta with Baby Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes – Magnolia Table

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This pasta is AMAZING! It’s definitely a heavier dish, but the flavors that you get are astounding. Don’t skimp adding in the kale, tomatoes and artichokes. They are all necessary to the flavor profile and worth the cost! So this dish does take a bit of time, so be patient with it. None of the steps are difficult, its just that it takes some time to get everything together. I highly suggest buying canned artichokes too because artichokes are a huge pain to cut from the whole artichoke, plus you need quite a lot of them. But finding canned versions are super easy! This recipe was a huge hit with me and my husband! I was so surprised he liked it too, because there were a lot of veggies and no meat. But like I mentioned earlier, the flavors make this pasta what it is. You definitely only need one bowl at a time so this will last several days if it’s just two people eating. I’d highly recommend making this one night, especially for these coming chilly fall nights!

Overall Review: 5/5

Bow Tie Pasta with Baby Kale & Sun-Dried Toamtoes

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Ingredients
  

  • Salt
  • 1 pd Bow Tie Pasta
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 8-oz block cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 12-oz marinated quartered artichoke hearts – drained and halved lengthwise
  • 1 8.5 oz jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 oz baby kale or spinach
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Chives — For Garnish