Saturday, February 13, 2016
Bare Essentials Challenge: Weekly Recap
1. Eggs Benedict Night
I want to start out with this one because really it's the prettiest picture of all of them *laugh* (seen above). I made hollandaise sauce from scratch for the first time ever using Alton Brown's Good Eats recipe. It worked well. I did deviate from his recipe though in that I didn't use unsalted butter (didn't have any) and I used half butter and half margarine (to preserve my butter and also to cut costs). The hollandaise wasn't as scary to make as I always thought it would be and turned out well.
This was also my first real attempt to make poached eggs. All times in the past when I'd make eggs benedict I used a powdered mix for the hollandaise and then used fried eggs with still creamy yolks instead of poached eggs. This time I did it right. I was happy that I found my four extra eggs, that I knew I had, but they had gotten pushed to the back of the fridge, so I was able to use those up before they went bad.
I did serve the dish over toast instead of English muffins (didn't have any). And we ate it with ham vs. Canadian bacon as we had the sliced ham in the freezer.
This dish was actually cited in my original notes to be a chicken and rice soup. I used one of the free Uncle Ben's mixes in it to see if it would work well to thicken the soup into a stew. I put it in with the chicken and veggies and then added four cups of water and cooked for four hours on high. I had to do some last minute seasoning, believe it or not it needed salt and pepper, but overall it turned out pretty well and thickened up to the point I called it a casserole. I ate the leftovers all week for lunch.
3. Yankee Style Pot Roast Night
This was actually a freezer burned seven bone roast that I kept saving because beef was so expensive and I didn't realize it'd gotten freezer burned until I took some chicken out of the freezer and saw it. So, I decided with all the lines of grisel and stuff in it that making it into a yankee style pot roast was the best way forward.
To make a yankee style pot roast is actually pretty simple. Take your tough piece of meat and spread horse radish over it (see picture) and then slice up an onion and put that over the top as well (if you have one fresh. I used dehydrated since I'd used the rest of my fresh onion in the chicken and rice casserole). Place veggies of choice around said pot roast (I put canned potatoes and fresh carrots all around it as well as a rutabaga diced up into bite sized pieces). Season roast and veggies (I like to use grill seasoning or something with a bit of flavor to help season the veggies well) and then pour 1/4 cup of water around the roast. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at about 350 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pot roast starts to fall apart when you manipulate it.
This pot roast, due to the freezer burn, just didn't want to get to the point it would fall apart. I got it to the point it would fall off the bone and that was about it. It was chewy, but with a bit of extra horse radish on top it was actually pretty tasty.
4. The Korean style pork chops were pretty good! I marinated my pork chops in the marinade for 20 minutes (next time I'm doing it for a few hours) and then I just baked the pork chops in the marinade instead of grilling them (I didn't want them too hot for the sake of my daughter). I've had sriracha sauce for a long time as I got it for a certain recipe and it's been sitting around ever since, so it was nice being able to use some of it up.
6. My husband didn't feel like pancakes for dinner tonight nor pizza so we ended up having some chicken fried steaks we had in the freezer (they were prepackaged ones we'd gotten at our local bulk store...I think they are the same ones available at Costco). I made five steaks so we can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
My husband requested something different for dessert this week as jello just wasn't exciting, so I grabbed a graham cracker crust out of the pantry, along with some dehydrated bananas, some banana pudding and some dream whip and I made a banana pudding (kind of since I didn't use the traditional Nilla wafers in it).
I re-hydrated the bananas with some boiling water and then placed them in the bottom of the pie crust. I then made up the pudding to pie directions (you use less liquid. I used the boxed milk that was left in the fridge from last week) and poured that on top of the bananas. Then I mixed up the dream whip (once again with the boxed milk) and spread it on top of the pie.
It came out tasting alright, although I have to say that for really expensive banana chips the dehydrated bananas were really tasteless and I was kind of disappointed in the results. The bananas kind of came out tasting like cardboard in the pie, but the texture was alright. The pudding and Dream Whip came out great, though.
I think the next time I'm using the dehydrated bananas I'm going to add some banana essence to them beforehand. It might make them taste more like bananas (sad, but true).
My son's skin has been getting worse and worse the last little bit. I was trying to use up what was left of the home made laundry detergent I had before I made more but when I saw how much Fels Naptha was in the powder (probably because it was at the bottom of said container) I wondered if some of his skin problems was due to that.
But, I was definitely short on ingredients yet as I hadn't been able to squeeze some more ingredients into my laundry budget. Then it hit me. I only wanted to make a 1/2 batch of laundry soap to try this out, so WHY was I worrying about getting washing soda when I had a 4 lb box of baking soda staring at me and I had a nearly full thing of Oxi-Clean as well as 1/2 a box of Borax down in my laundry room.
So, I got to work making 1/2 of my box of baking soda into washing soda (thank you to the reader who reminded me about doing that!). I baked it at 400 degrees for 1 hour and voila. Washing soda. Got the Zote grated and added in (I put it all in, even though one bar probably would have been used in a bigger recipe, but honestly I like the idea of a higher soap to washing booster ratio anyway) and got everything mixed in a garbage bag and poured into my laundry soap jar downstairs (I emptied out the last of the old stuff into a container). I got about 3/4 of a jar of laundry soap now and we'll see if the Zote does better for my son's skin than the Fells Naptha did.
And hey, my shopping goals for the month are pretty much met. Woot!
So there you are folks. My week in review. Things are doing okay so far, I'd say!