Our Adventures In Cooking ~ Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats

For lunch today, my wife made ‘Chicken Parmesan Zucchini Boats’ from a recipe she found online at ‘The Wholesome Dish dot com’ ~ and they were outstanding! 🙂

She used a generous amount of diced chicken we had left over from an earlier roasted chicken, along with spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese, shredded Mozzarella cheese and one zucchini per person.  We’re great fans of the versatility of cooking with zucchinis, and can’t wait to try the next recipe we find for them ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures In Cooking ~ Pizza Zucchinis

My wife made ‘Pizza Zucchinis’ the other day using a recipe she found on ‘Sweet C’s Designs dot com’ ~ and they were a real hit! 🙂 This recipe turned us into true zucchini fans, intending to try many more zucchini recipes.

She washed and sliced the zucchinis, dipped the bottoms of the slices in olive oil, and baked them on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil and parchment paper.  They were topped with spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese and shredded Mozzarella cheese, and baked in a 350 degree oven per the recipe – and they were delicious! 🙂

Next time, she intends to dip each zucchini slice in olive oil, and then into Parmesan cheese to coat them, before adding the spaghetti sauce, and more toppings than we had available for the first try.  I’m sure this recipe will be part of our regular seasonal rotation from now on ~ enjoy! 🙂

Our Adventures In Cooking ~ Oat Flour Apple Pancakes

We’ve loved and enjoyed traditional German Apple Pancakes for years now, and it’s always been a staple in our meal planning rotation.  For recipes to try out, just Google ‘Apple Pancakes’ or ‘German Apple Pancakes’ which is where our recipe’s derived from, and you’ll have many to choose from.  Recently, I’ve decided to cut out wheat from my diet, and because oats are heart-healthy, I experimented as to whether I could substitute oat flour for wheat flour when making these delicious treats.

In my experience so far, oat flour is heavier than wheat flour measure for measure, and doesn’t substitute well in any baked goods that need to rise very high – like cakes.  However, apple pancakes don’t need to rise much, so I figured it would be a good candidate to try switching flours.  My wife made her pancakes over the past two days in the traditional way using wheat flour, and I made mine with oat flour.

I pulse oats in a food processor to make my own oat flour these days, and while it’s not as finely ground as the store-bought version, it’s worked well for me so far.  Another aspect of oat flour, is that it absorbs a lot of water per volume, so the longer you wait to use the batter, the thicker it’ll get.  It also means you may need to tweak the recipe a bit when substituting flours, as initially the batter seems too thin when using oat flour alone, but in time it’ll thicken up.  The tendency is to initially add extra oat flour to the mixture, so you may need to experiment to get the right oat flour ratio for whatever you’re making.

Yesterday’s attempt at making apple pancakes with oat flour turned out less than ideal, because oat flour doesn’t bind well to other ingredients in some cases.  My full-size oat flour apple pancake was too large and thick to successfully flip in the pan, and I needed two spatulas and some creative food arrangement to make the pancake appear to be in one piece after cooking.  So today, I decided to make smaller pancakes, and the process worked out just fine.

When cooking or baking with oat flour, you’ll get a heavy ‘oatmeal’ taste and texture, but if like me, you want to switch flours and experiment, the flavor of these oat flour apple pancakes was quite acceptable.  Instead of a light and flavorful traditional apple pancake, the oat flour version was heavy and very hearty – maple syrup would have gone well with these oat cake alternatives – and they’ll fill you up.  So if you enjoy eating oats and oatmeal like I do and want to switch from wheat flour, this is a possibility for you to try ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures In Cooking and Baking ~ Slow Cooker Potato Soup with Mama’s Yeast Rolls

I’ve got a few food posts for you today, as I’ve fallen behind on our culinary adventures lately.  My wife tried out a new recipe for ‘Slow Cooker Potato Soup’ found on ‘Gimme Some Oven dot com,’ along with ‘Mama’s Yeast Rolls’ found at ‘South Your Mouth dot com’ – and they made the perfect combination!

For the potato soup, she added 8 large thickly sliced carrots, a bay leaf and some black peppercorns in a metal egg as well.  You could also add chopped celery.  She adjusted some of the ingredient portion amounts as well, and used an immersion blender separately on some of the potato chunks to thicken the soup.  She topped the potato soup servings individually with extra cheese, bacon bits, and chopped green onions.

The yeasted rolls turned out as advertised, and made 10 large rolls, but could have made a dozen medium sized rolls.  The large rolls would make wonderful sandwiches similar to a Kaiser roll.  As usual, I batted cleanup in the kitchen ~ all in a day’s work ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures In Cooking ~ Summer Pasta Salad

My wife has been making cold Summer Pasta Salads for years with any number of variations on the theme, based on what’s available and/or in season.  The Pasta Salad itself includes: Bow Tie Pasta (al dente), Diced Cooked Ham, Cooked Peas (blanched), Pineapple Tidbits, Diced Red Bell Peppers, and Diced Green Onions.  The dressing includes: Non-fat Plain Yogurt, Brown Mustard, Pickle Juice, Diced Pickles, Diced Hard Boiled Egg, Chopped Fresh Green Chives, Chopped Fresh Parsley, Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Salt, and Garlic Salt to taste.

Keep the pasta salad and dressing in separate containers in the refrigerator, mixing together before serving.  The pasta salad should easily last a few days in the refrigerator before serving if the dressing is kept separately, stretching the salad out over a number of days ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures In Cooking ~ No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

My wife made No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream after reading a recipe for ‘No Churn Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream’ at ‘Jo Cooks dot com’ ~ and gave it a go using the chopped and puréed strawberries we had on hand.  She added a little sugar to sweeten the strawberry purée, and then swirled it into the chopped strawberries and cream mixture before freezing.

We were surprised at how wonderful our no churn strawberry ice cream turned out!  This ice cream was a real treat for us, just look at the photos below ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures in Cooking ~ Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup

My wife decided to make a recipe for ‘Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup’ she found on ‘Dinner Then Dessert’ dot com, and we enjoyed it so much she’s already made it twice! 🙂 Sabrina’s recipe is straightforward and easy enough to follow, and the only changes to our version of this delicious soup was the addition of garlic and a bay leaf, along with extra portions of the listed ingredients.

I’ve added a gallery of our photos below for your viewing pleasure ~ and as always, I made short work of the dishes afterwards.  You can’t go wrong with this wonderful recipe for Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup, as hot soup is always welcome on a cold winter day ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures in Cooking ~ Broccoli, Carrot & Potato Soup

My wife decided to make a soup she found online called ‘Broccoli and Potato Soup’ at ‘RecipeTin Eats dot com’ ~ and then added a few of her own touches along the way to the recipe.

She initially added extra milk, flour and butter to what the recipe called for, as well as a few more potatoes and 8-10 sliced carrots into the mix.  She also puréed about half of the carrots and diced potatoes after they were cooked, which helped to thicken and flavor the soup base.  Lastly, she salted and peppered the soup to taste, and topped it with real bacon bits, and chopped fresh parsley and green onions for garnish.

This soup was absolutely delicious and comforting on a cold day, and now one of our favorite soup recipes ~ enjoy! ☼ 🙂

Our Adventures in Cooking ~ Apfelpfannekuchen or German Apple Pancakes

One of our favorite lunchtime dishes is called Apfelpfannekuchen or German Apple Pancakes, sprinkled with cinnamon or cinnamon sugar on top.  It’s a simple wholesome meal fried in a pan on the stove top like traditional pancakes, and is sure to keep you asking for more until the extra portions being kept warm in the oven run out! 🙂  All you have to do to find a recipe is type ‘Apfelpfannekuchen recipe’ into the search window and you’ll find lots of recipes ~ simply find one with a picture that looks delicious and enjoy! 🙂

Our Adventures in Cooking ~ Oven Roasted Chicken

This is an update to my recent Thanksgiving turkey post to show you how I used a similar technique this week for oven roasting a chicken. The key is using a raised bed of carrots, celery and onions to elevate the chicken in the roasting pan, and adding a cup of water to the bottom of the pan to begin the collection of drippings for the gravy.

I trim the chicken of all extra skin, fat and the tail while cleaning the bird, and then split it into two halves for simpler roasting.  I then slather the chicken halves with Extra Light Olive Oil, and season it under and over the remaining skin, before arranging the chicken halves on the raised bed of vegetables.  Trimming away the excess skin and fat creates clearer drippings, and the raised bed of vegetables contributes to a flavorful broth for making the gravy.  Just be careful lifting and moving the roasting pan, as our chicken weighed 5 pounds, and you don’t want hot drippings to spill over.

We cooked our chicken halves at 375 degrees F for an hour and fifteen minutes without the oven convection feature, basting once with drippings after 45 minutes in the oven, and then tented the chicken halves on separate plates for 20 minutes under aluminum foil.  The vegetables and drippings were then carefully poured into a colander and collected in a pot underneath it.  Mash the celery a bit in the colander to capture extra moisture and flavor, before discarding the spent vegetables.  The broth should have a minimum amount of fat after earlier trimming away all the extra skin and fat from the bird.

We made homemade mashed potatoes, gravy and mixed vegetables for our meal, and saved enough chicken afterwards for a total of six meals each for the two of us.  Poultry is a very economical meal when made at home, and one that can be enjoyed in many different ways.  You can reheat the leftovers for the next day, serve chicken and gravy over rice or spaghetti noodles, and of course make wonderful chicken sandwiches ~ enjoy! 🙂