The Best First Impression

 There are times when making a good first impression is vital. Interviews, first day at work, first day of school, first date, first time meeting the parents. Some of those times, it’s all about you… How you present yourself, what you say and how you say it. Sometimes, though, you can ‘cheat’ a little. You know, get a bit of help from your super-stylish friend or your stove.

This recipe for Chicken in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce is the perfect impressive meal. If you’re having the parents over for dinner for the first time, or inviting your date over for a home-cooked meal, or even having the boss over (apparently this happens… Weird), this is the dish to make. Serve it with some egg noodles or pappardelle (bonus points for home-made or fresh pasta), some steamed veggies (asparagus is always a classy choice… Does anyone else think asparagus seems like a fancy vegetable?? Anyone? No? Ok.) and voila! That stain you’ve been meaning to get out of your shirt has become invisible, your not-so-organized living room is an afterthought. Why? Because this dish is that amazing.

It’s just that damn delicious. Hehehe, see what I did there? Chungah has truly outdone herself. I thought her sun-dried tomato sauce (recipes here and here!) was my favourite… But this one takes the cake. Go make this now. Seriously. Go. Now.

Let’s get to it then! (And look at that creaminess!!!!! Is it ok to just drink a sauce?)

 Chicken in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce 
Yield:

  • Original Yield: 8 servings
  • Actual Yield: 4 servings (this is only because we eat 2 thighs/one breast for dinner… One chicken thigh wouldn’t be enough for me!)

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Actual Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time:

  • Original Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Actual Cook Time:  35 minutes (we did chicken breasts instead of thighs this time, and the cook time was a bit faster)

Notes or comments from the author:

  • In the post, Chungah mentions that she wishes she had made more sauce. I found that there was just enough and we didn’t really have much extra for, as an example, the noodles. Doubling the sauce, though, would have given us too much (is that a thing, though? Too much creamy, mushroomy, sauce?), so I’d stick with the given amounts unless you want a whole lot of sauce. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sauce is good. I won’t judge.

Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This recipe is a winner in my books and I’ll definitely be making it again. When it comes to flavour, Chungah has yet to steer me wrong (ingredient amounts and timing is another thing, but always sooooo worth it). And seriously… The mushroom sauce she made here can be used for a myriad of other meats or dishes… I’m thinking of thinning it a bit and trying it with pasta as well as with a pork roast and mashed potatoes. I’ll tell you how those turn out!

 Chicken in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce 
** Please note, the recipe for Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.

The Perfect Partner

 Garlic, Herb, and Cheese Rolls So on Wednesday I shared an amazing Tomato Parm soup, and I mentioned that made some rolls to go along with it for dinner. I promised to tell you all about them, so here we are!

I was browsing my savoury baking board on Pinterest to find a suitable bread or roll to make with the amazing tomato soup I was cooking, and I stumbled upon this recipe for Garlic, Herb, and Cheese Rolls and since the soup had both garlic and Parmesan in it I figured I’d use those flavours to tie the meal together. Let me tell you, it worked like a charm! The rolls turned out great the first time around, and even better the second and third times.
 Garlic, Herb, and Cheese Rolls 
Here’s how it all went down.

Yield:

  • Original Yield: 15 rolls (how are they all so even?!?! Sorcery!)
  • Actual Yield: 15 rolls (not nearly as beautifully even as the original blog post, but still delicious!)

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Actual Prep Time: 20 minutes (garlic and I are not friends…)

Baking Time:

  • Original Baking Time: 20 minutes
  • Actual Baking Time: 20 minutes

Notes or comments from the author:

  • It’s mentioned that the total time for this recipe is 2 hours, due to the rising time for the dough after mixing and after being shaped into the rolls. I let the dough rise for the full hour the first time (suggested 45 min – 1 hour) and let the rolls rise for 20 minutes (suggested 30 minutes). Make sure to account for this extra time when making these!
  • The first time I made these, I used dry herbs instead of fresh ones (I was out of fresh). I used just under half a tablespoon of each, and the taste was quite a bit stronger than expected. The second time I used dry herbs again, but this time I used closer to 1/4 of a tablespoon… It was much better. Of course I tried the recipe with fresh herbs a third time (I had to make sure that I wasn’t taking points from the author for a substitution I did on my own!) and using the given amount (1 tablespoon of each) turned out to be a bit strong for my tastes… Not as strong as my first batch but stronger than my second.

Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This is a recipe I’m keeping in my repertoire for sure! These rolls smelled amazing coming out of the oven, worked amazing well paired with my new favourite tomato soup, and they freeze amazingly well, too! I’ll be using fresh herbs for this recipe whenever I can (so worth it), but I’ll keep the amounts under 1 tablespoon… Although next time I’m adding a bit of extra cheese. Why? Because it’s cheese! What a silly question!

 Garlic, Herb, and Cheese Rolls 
This weekend, like the last, I won’t be posting as I am attending the funeral of a dear friend. Tune in next week for some kicker Korean beef and more!

**Please note, the recipe for Garlic, Herb, and Cheese Rolls is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Handle the Heat or any other third party.

A New Classic

I’m a sucker for “classic” recipes. You know, the ones that pretty much everyone makes? The ones that are all pretty much the same even when everyone’s recipe is a little different? Yeah, those ones. Like chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes, spaghetti with bolognese sauce, egg salad sandwiches, or tomato soup.

I used to hate tomato soup. Then I grew to like it, as my hubby introduced me to tomato soup (the canned, Campbell’s variety) with grilled cheese sandwiches. As an aside, I think eating grilled cheese with ketchup is gross, by the way… An atrocity, I know! I also think adding ketchup to Kraft Dinner is yucky, so maybe I’m just weird? Anyways. Back to the soup.

Soup is yummy and comforting on a cool day (we’ve started getting autumn weather here) and is a perfect meal if you add some warm, homemade bread or rolls. You know what makes a soup better? When it’s done in a slow cooker (aka with almost NO effort). You know what makes soup even better than that? Cheese. So when I found this Tomato Parmesan Slow Cooker Soup from Life Currents, I knew I had to give it a try. Guess how it turned out?

 Tomato Parmesan Soup 
Yield:

  • Original Yield: 8 servings
  • Actual Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: None mentioned
  • Actual Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time:

  • Original Cook Time: 5-7 hours + 5-7 minutes (for the roux)
  • Actual Cook Time: 7 hours (on low) + 15 minutes (for the roux)

Notes or comments from the author:

  • The author mentions that you can use any kind of milk for this soup… I used whole milk (it’s what we buy normally anyways), but next time I’m thinking of adding at least a bit of 10% cream (maybe subbing 1/2 the milk for cream) to get it a bit creamier. Not that it wasn’t amazing with just the whole milk! Also, don’t be afraid to add extra cheese!!

Verdict: Success! I will never eat another plain tomato soup again. Or at least I’ll never be satisfied with one. This soup was amazing! It was tomato soup… But so much more. Next time, I’ll purée it before serving (makes it a little creamier, if you prefer it that way), and I’ll make the same rolls as I made the first time to go with this soup. They were pretty good, too… I’ll tell you all about them on Friday!

 Tomato Parmesan Soup 

** Please note, the recipe for Tomato Parmesan Slow Cooker Soup is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Life Currents or any other third party.

The Lemon Rosemary A-Side

 Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes 
If you’re a non-athlete like I am, and if you would permit me to give you a word (or several) of advice, then remember this: If you’re asked to do a charity walk/run of 5km or more, do only one per weekend. Unless you want to be sore and not able to move from your couch.

I’ve done the Toronto RBC Run for the Kids two years in a row now. Last year I had been training to run the 5km, but found out I was pregnant, so I walked it instead. This year, I signed up again, ready to jog behind my stroller… I ended up walking it (briskly, though!). Now, 5km isn’t a massive distance, but when you include having to get up at 7, prepping yourself and your little one, driving up to the race location, and then doing the walk/run… Well, I was tired by the end. Of course, this year, I also signed up for the Terry Fox run with a group I’m part of, not realizing that the race was the day after the RBC 5km. Also, it started earlier and was farther (so, more getting up really early and driving far, grump!) We ended up walking 6km at the Terry Fox run (although three of our group got lost and ended up walking a total of about 20km), and by the time I walked in the door on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t want to walk anymore. Two races in a weekend are never a good idea, even if you’re just walking them.

Enough of my complaining! I seem to always start with these asides, don’t I…

Let’s chat about side dishes, instead. To me, they tend to be an afterthought most of the time. I’m a huge fan of both one-pot meals and dishes that require a basic ‘sort-of’ side (like having Beef Broccoli and making rice with it)… You know, the kind of side that doesn’t require much time or thought or work. Sometimes, though, you want a side that’s a bit more than just your boring starch or steamed veggie.

Hubby and I have a favourite sausage from the farmer’s market we like to have every now and then, and we usually have it with mashed potatoes or a potato salad (if hubby feels like making it). That’s a bit repetitive though, so when I decided that we were going to be having sausages for dinner, I decided to look through my Pinterest boards to find a fun side to try. I stumbled upon Chungah’s Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (can you tell I love the Damn Delicious blog??). We didn’t need 6 servings, so I cut the recipe in half and added the ingredients to my shopping list (we had most of them already).

 Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes 
Maybe it was because I did only half the recipe, but the lemon rosemary flavour was very mild… Or maybe it’s supposed to be more subtle? Or maybe I’m spoiled by the very lemony Greek-style potatoes hubby makes sometimes? Whatever it is, I was definitely hoping for more flavour, and I didn’t get it. Saying that, I will tell you that the potatoes came out nicely done, crisp on the outside and creamy in the inside. They paired very well with the sausages too! It’s a side I’ll definitely be trying again, with some changes of course. Want the details?

Yield:

  • Original Yield: 6 servings
  • Actual Yield: 6 servings (after halving the recipe, there were enough potatoes for 3 people, so the original amount would have fed 6)

Prep Time:

  • Original Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Actual Prep Time: 7 minutes (close enough)

Cook Time:

  • Original Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Actual Cook Time: 35 minutes (the slightly larger potato pieces were almost on the verge of being undercooked, so if you have bigger pieces, I’d recommend keeping them in the oven for a bit longer)

Notes or comments from the author:

  • In the post, Chungah mentions that these potatoes are blooming with flavour… Unfortunately I didn’t get that when I cut the recipe in half the first time. If you do half the potatoes but keep the rest of the recipe the same (juice a while lemon, use all of the rosemary, etc.) the flavour is very much there and it’s just delicious. I do think that using the full amount of potatoes would be fine too, of course.

Verdict: Success (with modifications)! Like I mentioned above, there wasn’t enough lemon rosemary flavour to these potatoes the first time around. Make sure to make the full amount and you won’t be disappointed though! These are so easy, I’ll definitely be using them as a side for dishes other than sausage!

 Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

** Please note, the recipe for Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.

    Delicious Alliteration

    Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Bread 
    Desserts are almost always more fun when they’re small and fancy. There’s something whimsical about eating a mini cupcake, or a tiny bundt cake or a petit four. Even something simple like a mini loaf is more fun than a normal-sized loaf. That’s one reason why this Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Bread recipe from Damn Delicious caught my eye. The other reason? The title!! The beautiful alliteration! The writer in me squealed.

    Also, I had leftover buttermilk.

     Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Bread 
    This is a great recipe. I’ve made it several times already, using different pans each time, I might add, and every time it’s been delicious. I also want to add that this recipe took me the same amount of time as is noted in the recipe… That’s a first for me for the Damn Delicious recipes! Yay!! Wanna know the details?

    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 4 mini loaves
    • Actual Yield: 4 mini loaves or 9 mini bundt cakes

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: the same! 15 minutes!

    Bake Time:

    • Original Bake Time: 35 minutes
    • Actual Bake Time: 35 minutes for both mini bundts and mini loaves!

    Notes or comments from the author:

    • The reason Chungah made this recipe is that making a regular quick bread or loaf didn’t work well for her (she said it, not me!). I had some extra batter and decided to give a regular loaf a try, giving it some more bake time of course… It didn’t exactly work. Don’t bother trying to make this recipe in a normal loaf pan. You’ll end up with either an over-baked exterior or under-baked interior as I did. Seriously, just stick to making this recipe in the cute little loaf pans or other small vessels and you won’t be disappointed!

    Verdict: Success! This recipe is a keeper. Hubby loves it (he asked me to make it about 3 days after the first batch!), it’s quick and easy, and making small loves makes it easy to portion. It’s very yummy, moist and filled with banana flavour. They’re super cute, too! I mean, just look at them!

     Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Bread 

    I also wanted to let you all know that there won’t be any posts from me this weekend. I’m running in the RBC Run For The Kids on Saturday and the Terry Fox Run on Sunday, so I’ll be a bit busy. Have a great weekend (and give these a try)!

    **Please note, the recipe for Buttermilk Banana Blueberry Bread is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.

    The One Where There Was Too Much Sauce

    I love the Food Network. Growing up with no TV to speak of, I never got into the routine of Saturday morning cartoons (I was being carted off to Polish school at 8 on Saturdays anyways, so no time for anything in he mornings besides eating breakfast), I never came home after school to watch a favourite show, and never learned to get frustrated with reruns. It wasn’t until I got married that I actually sat down, flipped through the channels we had (basic cable and SuperChannel aren’t much by today’s standards, but it was amazing compared to the three or four channels I was used to!) that I began to understand why people watched TV.

    Now, when I say I grew up without TV I mean I almost did. We had a TV… It was from the 1980’s. You know, the fake wooden side panelling, crappy coloured, massive and blurry screen, no remote to speak of but had two giant, silver dials…  This is what it looked like. That was the TV I grew up with until it broke right before we moved in 2000. About a year later it was replaced by a small, more modern TV, but alas, we still had no cable. Then when I started dating my husband and going over to his place for dinner, I was introduced to the amazing world of cable, DVRs, On Demand programming and more! That was also when I became aware of TV seasons being out on DVD (I lived under a rock as a kid, I know) and one of the first shows we began to watch on DVD was Friends; I think he figured it would be good for me to understand the millions of references that the show has brought about. Also, I couldn’t deal with anything with violence or scary stuff (I’m still pretty bad), so our viewing options were very limited.

    When we moved after getting married, our apartment came with basic digital cable, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget sitting down and turning on our TV for the first time. I didn’t even know how to get to the guide! I finally managed to find the Food Network… And I’ve been watching it periodically ever since.

    One star who’s show I’ve never seen but have heard a ton about is Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. I know a bit about her show, I know she’s quite popular, and I’ve seen a TON of pins with her recipes, but I have never seen a single episode of hers or gone to visit her blog. So when I happened upon a pin of her recipe for Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce I decided to try it out.

    The recipe was for 8 servings, but with only 2 solid-food eating humans in the house, we decided to half her recipe. I usually don’t make modifications to a recipe until I’ve tried the original at least once, but 1.5 lbs of pasta is waaaaaaay too much for us, even if we want leftovers. So, did you wanna know what happened?

    Yield:

    • Original Yield: 8 servings
    • Actual Yield: half of the recipe, pasta-wise, made 4 servings, but half of the sauce yielded 8 servings

    Prep Time:

    • Original Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Actual Prep Time: 15 minutes (that’s pretty close… I blame my crappy garlic mincing skills)

    Cook Time:

    • Original Cook Time: 25 minutes (although in the body of the recipe Ree mentions cooking the sauce 25-30 minutes, so I think this should have said 30)
    • Actual Cook Time: 30 minutes (includes adding the cheese in, adding the cooked pasta to the sauce, etc)

    Notes or comments from the author:

    • Ree’s recipe has the pasta cooking almost right as the sauce is being cooked… My fettuccine has a cook time of 7 minutes, so even with boiling the water, I ended up with the pasta just sitting there getting cold. I suggest cooking the pasta about half way through cooking the sauce, that way you have enough time to drain the pasta before the sauce finishes.
    • The amount of sauce this recipe makes is crazy. I admit I’m not the kind of person that drenches their pasta in sauce, but I’m by no means stingy, either. We had quite saucy pasta, and ended up with so much leftover sauce that it actually made leftovers a second time and lunch for two the following day. So unless you like your sauce to be more of a soup, I’d make less of it. Or you could freeze it, I suppose. Whatever works.

      

    Verdict: Success (with modifications)! The sauce was delicious! I almost licked my bowl clean, it was that good. The one issue, though, was the amount of sauce! Now, don’t get me wrong… this sauce is definitely something to make again… Next time, though, I think I’ll either make a quarter of the sauce required for half of the pasta or freeze the extra sauce for another meal.

     Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce 

    **Please note, the recipe for Pasta in Tomato Cream Sauce is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Ree Drummond/The Pioneer Woman or any other third party.

      Take Out… From Your Oven!

      Everyone has their own little guilty pleasure. For some, it’s chocolate and a glass of wine. For others, cupcakes with fresh buttercream icing. Others still love a plate of ravioli in a creamy vodka sauce. Me? I have quite a few of these guilty pleasures. Cake is one… Those cupcakes I mentioned… Good quality white or dark chocolate… Chinese food…

      It’s not exactly the worst one of the lot, but of course my favourite dishes are the least healthy ones… Like orange chicken, sweet and sour chicken, broccoli beef, egg rolls, and lemon chicken. The fried stuff. So, needless to say, we don’t have Chinese very often, and when we do, we limit ourselves to one or two of the less healthy dishes. So when I came across this healthier, homemade Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken from Damn Delicious, I put it on our weekly menu immediately. And boy am I glad I did!

       Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken 
      Something I noticed while making Chungah’s recipes is that, for some reason for me, the prep time is always off… And usually by quite a lot. This recipe is no exception. The end result was delicious, as usual, and it’s definitely a recipe I’ll make again, just next time I’ll give myself some extra time to make it. Let’s get to the recipe, then!

      Yield:

      • Original Yield: 4 servings
      • Actual Yield: 4 servings

      Prep Time:

      • Original Prep Time: 20 minutes
      • Actual Prep Time: 15 minutes (basic prep plus sauce) + 15 minutes (prepping chicken up to and including the cornstarch and egg dipping)

      Cook Time:

      • Original Cook Time: 1 hour
      • Actual Cook Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes (15 minutes to fry the chicken pieces and prep them for the oven, 55 minutes to bake in the oven, 5 minutes of time in between to stir the chicken and sauce during baking)

      Notes or comments from the author:

      • As Chungah mentions, this dish is definitely worth the wait. It’s flavourful, tender, and much healthier than take-out!! Make sure to stir the chicken as it cooks; I set my timer to 15 minutes three times then 10 minutes to finish it off and it was perfect!

      Verdict: Success (with modifications)! This is definitely a recipe I’ll be making again… And again and again and again! If you haven’t already tried it, go now!! This time we had it with some sesame rice and steamed veggies (yummy and healthy), but I’ll be sure to try other sides next time! 

       Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken  

      **Please note,  the recipe for Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken is in no way mine. The views and experiences above are mine and not endorsed/influenced by Damn Delicious or any other third party.