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How to Make the Easiest Apple Muffins

By Lifestyle No Comments

Hey y’all! Another fall day, another apple recipe! When fall hits, I am cooking all things apple and this recipe did not disappoint! It’s from Southern Living, a favorite of mine as all the recipes are amazing! These muffins did not take long to make and had a great flavor profile. My only suggestion to this would be that you may want to incorporate another 1/2 cup of apples. I like chunky muffins with lots of apple bites and feel like another 1/2 cup would have made the perfect muffin! Overall though, they are the perfect fall breakfast item and I highly recommend them!

Overall Review: 4.7/5

Apple Muffins

From: Southern Living https://www.southernliving.com/recipes/apple-muffins-recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup Diced Apples
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Salted Butter Melted and Cooled
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs Slightly Beaten

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with spray
  • In a medium bowl mix the apples and granulated sugar and set aside
  • In a large bowl — Whisk flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon
  • Stir milk, butter, vanilla and eggs in the apple mixture
  • Add apple mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  • Evenly pour into muffin cups
  • Bake for 18 minutes until a wooden pick inserted to center comes out clean.
  • Remove muffins to wire rack and let cool.
  • Serve with butter and enjoy!

5 Simple Things To Make Cooking A Breeze

By Lifestyle No Comments

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 3 Comments

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.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Review – Magnolia Table

By Food No Comments

Chocolate Chip cookies are a staple in our house. I mean they are iconic in general, but seriously I think it’s the only cookie my husband actually likes. Of all the cookies that I have made, these cookies are always a safe bet. I love this particular recipe because they are just slightly different than your average chocolate chip cookie. Between no regular sugar and sea salt instead of table salt, the taste of these cookies is sweeter and honestly just so much better! Joanna’s instructions are clear and concise making it easier to bake and get to the end result!

Another thing I loved about these cookies is that each one came out the same, each one tasted great and the batch made quite a few cookies. I’ve tried quite a few recipes where ingredients didn’t mix well or the batches turned out different. This one was very consistent and each cookie was great! Out of all the chocolate chip cookies I’ve made, so far this is my favorite version! Easy to do and the taste is incredible! These are the perfect addition to any family dinner, group gathering, or just a treat for Saturday night. Overall, I would give these a solid rating and would highly suggest getting her book and trying them out! You can get her book at this link: Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines.

Overall Review: 5/5

Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Equipment

  • Baking Sheet
  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 8 tbsp Butter ie. 1 stick
  • 2 cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix flour, baking sode and sea salt together in a small bowl
  • Mix butter and brown sugar together. I'd recommend remembering to sit it out and let it get to room temperature. I was too impatient and it took forever to mix together correctly! WAIT!
  • Using a hand mixer, add in eggs one at a time.
  • Mix in vanilla extract
  • Toss the dry flour mixture into the liquid mixture and combine.
  • Once thoroughly combined add the chocoalte chips. I only do about a cup to a cup and a half because I don't like a ton of chocoalte in the cookies.
  • Scoop into spoonfuls, stick on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes
  • I prefer to serve them warm out of the oven with a glass of cold milk! Enjoy!

Mina’s Lemon Bars Review – Magnolia Table

By Food No Comments

Y’all, my husband LOVES lemon bars. He’d rather have lemon bars over cookies, cake, any other dessert. And to be honest, he loves the kind that comes out of a box. but I wanted a good homemade recipe instead. Today, we tested out the Magnolia Table Lemon Bar Recipe and oh my word was it amazing! The crust is, in a word, so flaky and crumbly that it melts in your mouth. And to be honest, I did not use fresh lemon juice. Mainly because I didn’t have it, but I did have the lemon juice that’s in a bottle and the lemon middle was so good I didn’t even notice it wasn’t fresh lemon juice.

This recipe is by the one, the only, Joanna Gaines. Which means I was expecting the best lemon bars I’ve ever had. I can tell you with confidence that these lived up to that standard. I highly highly recommend that you get her book and start making these recipes! So far I’m very impressed with how easy the recipes are and how good they taste.

Overall Review: 5/5

Mina’s Lemon Bar Recipe

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Equipment

  • Glass Pan
  • Hand Mixer

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Pound Butter ie. 2 sticks
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Eggs Slightly Beaten
  • 5 tbsp Lemon Juice

Instructions
 

  • Oven Preheated to 350 degrees
  • I only have one set of glass bakeware, so technically I probably was not using the right size. But considering she was very clear in her recipe that we need glass to bake lemon bars–glass it was!
  • Melted the butter and added it to the flour, powdered sugar and salt. Combine
  • Once combined it pretty much fell right out of the bowl and into the glass bakeware making it easy to spread to the bottom of the pan. Stick in oven for 20 minutes
  • In a new bowl, combine sugar, eggs and lemon. Whisk and add to crust you just baked
  • Bake this for 15 minutes. Then cover with foil and bake for 15 more.
  • Sprinkle (I heavily sprinkle) and then let cool. I swear cooling takes forever but worth it to get the good taste and easier cutting.
  • I stick the lemon bars in the fridge for a bit so that way the center and crust are nice and cool. Serve cool.

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

By Food No Comments

Every once in a while I get in the mood for some stuffed mushrooms. Personally, I love stuffed mushrooms that have cheese in them, always a crowd-pleaser! But for those like my husband who can’t handle cheese or just don’t like cheese; this is the stuffed mushroom recipe to go to! This recipe is super easy and doesn’t take long to do! It is best utilized as an appetizer but it’s great for dinner as well! If you try the recipe let me know your thoughts below!

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Quick and Easy Stuffed Mushrooms. Perfect for those with dairy allergies as there is no cheese in this recipe!

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 Jalapeno
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 1/2 pkg Hot & Spicy Ground Sausage
  • 2 pkg Baby Mushrooms
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Finely chop onion, jalapeno, and celery stalks and combine in a bowl
  • Using a small pan on medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil and cook the sausage
  • Once the sausage is cooked combine with the veggies in the bowl and transfer back to the small pan
  • Let the ingredients simmer on low heat for 5 minutes
  • On a large baking sheet — place all the mushrooms (stems gone) with distance between them
  • Take 1-2 tbsps of olive oil and lightly coat the mushrooms
  • Using a spoon, take your sausage mixture and stuff the mushrooms. I normally have fallout and I let that cook regardless. Always good to have more mix!
  • Place in oven for about 10 minutes or until tops of mushrooms look wrinkly
  • Remove and serve!

Super Tuna Melts – Cravings Review

By Food No Comments

If you like trying new things, this recipe is for you! Let me start by stating this as clearly as I can…. you need to like tuna to like this recipe. Warm tuna is a texture and taste that is very unique and specific. If you don’t like tuna or have a mild liking of it, be weary before trying this.

The ingredients on their own are good and what you would expect in a sandwich melt. I honestly believe the only thing that would make you not like this sandwich is the consistency or the warm tuna taste. But its always worth trying, so I recommend it!

Overall, I would say that while this is not my favorite recipe, its not bad at all! Like I mentioned before, this recipe is perfect for any tuna lover! So give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Here are the ingredients you need per Chrissy Teigens Cookbook and photos with instructions on how to cook it.

  • 2 (5 ounce) Cans of water packed tuna (drained)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 slices white country bread
  • 6 slices vine-ripened-tomatoes
  • 6 cheddar cheese slices
All the ingredients you will need.
Drained Tuna
Final Product — Add mango slices to go with it.

If you try it, let me know what you think in the comments!

Recipe Review is from Chrissy Teigens Cravings Cookbook.

Ramen Dump – Chrissy Teigen Cravings Review

By Lifestyle No Comments

I put off writing this review for weeks. Let me start out by saying that I had high hopes for this recipe. My husband and I have really grown to like ramen and I was interested in expanding my uses of ramen. Especially since it’s such a cheap ingredient! I will be honest that I was a little worried when I started reading the ingredients, there were a lot of items that I just wasn’t a fan of. For example, one of the prime ingredients is apple cider vinegar, which is a rough flavor, when it’s not cooked I feel like it overpowers the dish. There was also raw cabbage mix that went in, again something that I think it rough without being cooked with other ingredients.

Onto the honest thoughts. This was without doubt the most disgusting dish that I have ever had. I could barely get 3 bites down and my husband got maybe one bite before he looked over at me with wide eyes. This was just bad all around. For one, the ramen wasn’t cooked it was softened with the apple cider vinegar and that flavor combo was…. interesting to say the least. Combine that with the sugar, peas and corn and we just couldn’t stomach the flavors. I mean if you are a die hard ramen fan, then maybe I would suggest giving it a shot, but honestly I would say just avoid this recipe in its entirety.

Overall Review:

  • Overall Difficulty: 1/5
  • Price: Less than $15 for all ingredients.
  • Taste: 1/5
  • Recommendation: Now let me just state, this was an incredibly easy dish to make. It wasn’t hard and took very little time. However I would not recommend this dish. It makes a ton of food and if you don’t like it you will throw it all in the trash like I did. Sometimes its best to just let a recipe die and this is the one I would recommend.

The recipe can be found in Chrissy Teigens cookbook Cravings. This recipe review is a part of our Cravings Cookbook review.

xoxo – The Unprofessional Chef

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter And Sage

By Food No Comments

Two Words: Flour Explosion!

This caused one of the biggest cooking messes I’ve ever made in my trailer. I had flour covering me, the counter, and basically half the trailer. I’m not kidding either! So. Much. Flour. This recipe was relatively inexpensive and was honesty so so good. The biggest issue I had with this recipe was that I needed more counter space. The lack of counter space created a lot of issue trying to move things around and make space for all the steps.

Let’s start from the beginning, a quick 12 minutes in the microwave equaled soft sweet potatoes that were easy to mash. Combine the sweet potatoes, ricotta and salt and pepper. After that add the 3/4 cup of flour. I had to add a couple extra tablespoons of flour to get it to the consistency Chrissy said I had to be at. Goal was to not stick to the side of the bowl. I was so excited when I finally hit that point that I ran over to my husband to show him how well I was doing. He had no idea why I was so excited, but I needed to tell someone I did it! Ha!

At that point, you place it on your counter space with flour and start kneading the dough to make the gnocchi. Chrissy said 9-10, 90 degree turns would do. I’m pretty positive I was doing something wrong because it took me more like 15-20 to get it to be non-sticky. And non-sticky was a reach, it was more like less sticky than it was before. Once I got to that point, I moved it into the three dough balls as instructed and tried to roll it into 12 inch long rolls as requested. Honestly, each one was a different size and different width. I definitely did not get those rolled out right, but I wasn’t as concerned with that.

At this point, I cut the dough and threw the pieces into boiling water. As this cooks you can get the sauce ready. Honestly, the easiest part of the entire meal. Melt a stick of butter, add freshly torn sage leaves and cook. Once the gnocchi rises, strain it and put it into the butter/sage mixture. Sprinkle the Parmesan, salt and pepper and mix and you are good to go!


Overall Review:

Overall Difficulty: 1/5

Price: Less than $20 for all ingredients.

Materials Needed

  • 1 Pound Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (I needed a couple more tablespoons)
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1/4 cup torn sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigano-reggiano cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (butter sauce)

Taste: 5/5

Recommendation: This recipe is super filling, a little goes a long way. I would recommend pairing this with some veggies, fruit and some chicken for a wonderful meal.

The recipe can be found in Chrissy Teigens cookbook Cravings. This recipe review is a part of our Cravings Cookbook review series.


xoxo – The Unprofessional Chef

Cravings Review- Roasted Tomato Soup

By Food No Comments

Jack Frost decided to visit North Florida which meant tomato soup and ham and cheese sandwiches were a must! Chrissy Teigens Roasted Tomato Soup was one recipe I was looking forward to making. I’ve never made a tomato soup that I didn’t use some kind of canned tomato or canned tomato paste. Which made this recipe all the more exciting and slightly challenging. I’m never sure if I am buying the right amount of tomatoes or if they are ripe enough for the soup. But I digress that’s a problem for another day!

First off, this recipe called for gutting all the tomatoes, which honestly hurt my soul. Throwing away the inside of perfectly good tomatoes just felt wrong. Does anyone know what to do with just the insides of a tomato? If you do, let me know in the comments below. Regardless, this recipe ended up being a lot easier than I thought. While it did take close to an hour and a half to finish the meal, it was easy to accomplish each task.

Once you gutted and put the tomatoes in the oven, you could wait and prep the second half of the meal. After the tomatoes have roasted you threw them into the bowl and let all the ingredients stew. A few puree rounds in the blender and you are good to go! And from the reaction of my husband and I after we tried it, we would highly recommend this soup! Light yet filled with flavor! Definitely worth your time to make!

Overall Review:

  • Overall Difficulty: 2/5
  • Price: Less than $25 for all ingredients. Fresh tomatoes can get pricey
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Recommendation: This soup is perfect for a cold winter night! Pair is with your favorite hot sandwich and its a great dinner. If you are looking to feed a decent amount of people with this soup, you will need to double the recipe.

The recipe can be found in Chrissy Teigens cookbook Cravings. This receipe review is a part of our Cravings Cookbook review.

xoxo – The Unprofessional Chef