Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The tasters have tasted

Congrats to my cousin Nancy--you are the lucky random winner for a free cookbook! I'll put it in the mail this weekend. Your only requirement is to blog what recipes you try and how you like them!

True to my word, I've so far tried 7 recipes from my new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, and as promised in last week's post, I'm now going to provide you with my reviews of how they turned out. I'll comment on each one pertaining to flavor, ease of making it, and if I will make it again.

Applesauce Muffins (with butternut squash): They were moist and delicious! I especially liked that even though you are cooking healthy, you still get to put a yummy crumb topping on these. I took these with me to our Relief Society cooking group, and everyone loved them. You could not taste any vegetable content--Leah was sad that I gave away most of her "cupcakes" to "all those people". I will definitely make this again! 5 out of 5 stars.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins (with yellow squash): I was a little more hesitant to take that first bite, but the flavors of lemon and blueberry were actually quite powerful and complementary that again, you couldn't tell there was squash inside. I tested this one out on my friend Lisa and she was sold. I'll most likely make it again (I just don't normally buy blueberries). 5 out of 5.

Chicken Nuggets (with sweet potato): To bread chicken, you first coat the food in an egg/veggie puree mixture and then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture. While the food tasted great, the egg mixture was so heavy that it kept sliding off the chicken during cooking and got left behind in the pan. Anyone know a way around this problem? I would like to try making this again with the other vegetables recommended, namely pureed broccoli, spinach, or beet, and see if the flavor is at all affected differently by those vegetables. As it was, the crumbly coating was crunchy while also being moist and sweet--not at all like the sweet potato flavor I normally dislike. Leah also enjoyed these chicken nuggets far more than the freezer kind. I'd give this one 4 out of 5.

Mozzarella Sticks (with cauliflower): This one was a little iffy. Again, I couldn't get the crumb coating to stay on the cheese--they all turned into a giant glob of melted mozzarella rather than "sticks" and the cauliflower was a little "meaty" and actually made me gag a little. If I were to try this again(debatable if I will), I would add a little more corn starch to keep the shape better, and I would try to make each cheese stick smaller. Maybe that would make them keep their shape. Leah wouldn't eat more than one bite of these, and I frankly didn't really want to either. 2 out of 5.

Aloha Chicken Kebabs (with sweet potato and pineapple): Yum!! Very fun and tasty, and actually quite quick. I will definitely make this again now that I stocked my pantry with shredded coconut, an ingredient I was missing when I made this. It was a very subtle Hawaiian influence, but really quite good. Make sure your chicken fingers aren't too big or it will take forever to cook. Leah loved eating this off of a skewer! 5 out of 5.

Pita Pizzas (with spinach): This recipe is for mini pita pizzas, but they worked great on English muffins. They were our quick after-church snack, were super tasty, and actually tasted better with the spinach on them than without. And who's to know the difference? This is definitely making it onto our regular meal rotation. 5 out of 5.

Frozen Yogurt Pops (with berries): I think I am accustomed to super sweetened yogurt, because the taste of plain yogurt was way too tart for my liking, even though there were other ingredients mixed in. Perhaps more sugar would have made the difference? (thereby reducing the "healthful" purpose) Leah loves them and I will most likely feed all 8 of them to her over the course of the next few weeks. 3 out of 5.

I would still like to try making several more recipes, including rice balls, spaghetti pie, and some of the desserts. We'll see! Oh, and as soon as Chris comes home from his trip, I'm sure he'll beg me to make him all of the ones we've already tried so he can be a taste tester, too!

Some things I've learned in the process:
My 1.5 cup food processor is way too small to puree veggies by the plethora. (So I went out and bought at 6 cup food processor. I just needed a good excuse to get it!)
Don't try to make all the purees in one day. It is a lot of work, you will end up burned out, and will most likely have cauliflower on the ceiling.

I kept track of approximately how much puree each vegetable made, something that would have been a nice reference table to have in the cookbook:

1 bunch spinach = 1/2 cup puree
1 butternut squash = 1 1/4 c puree
2 medium beets = 1 c puree
2 small summer squash (yellow squash) = 1 1/2 c puree
1 large sweet potato (they call them yams here) = 1 c puree
1 head cauliflower = 3 1/2 c puree
2 large zucchini = 3 c puree


Rebecca said...

I have the opposite problem: I have a 6-cup food processor and it's just too big sometimes!

angela michelle said...

So can you post your favorite recipe? Brilliant idea on the English muffin pizzas for a quick after-church meal. We're so staving by the time we get home that we end up eating pb&j and we're getting sick of it!

david & michal coombs said...

thanks for the reviews! i have the cookbook, but haven't actually made anything from it (the whole steaming and pureeing thing seems a bit daunting to me)...when i do try i recipe, i know which ones to do!

Nancy Sabina said...

Yeah me! I'm super excited to get it. But I dont have a food processor! I guess I'll just have to go buy one (shucks!). I'm most excited to try muffins and cookies and such because I love a yummy muffin or three for dinner but Richard is always complaining that that's not really a meal (admittedly this happens most often once a month if you catch my drift). This way I can claim he's getting his veggies and further my cause of Muffins For Dinner!

Thanks Jenny!

Anonymous said...

Nancy, have you seen the Magic Bullet? It is a little blender that snaps onto cups you can then cover and put in the fridge.
Jenny, buy berries frozen at Sam's Club. You can buy a good sized bag of mixed berries for $7, which will only buy you about three cups of fresh blueberries. Mom

Kat Dahl said...

You make me want to try some new recipes too! But then I remember that I don't feel like I have much time to cook, let alone look through cookbooks for new things to try. Oh well...some day I will be spending my time at home, but that won't be for a little while yet!

I'm so glad that now I found your blog. Yes, Alyssa is my cousin; our fathers are brothers. Which means...your mom might know Uncle John! Heehee It's fun to read what your kids are up to. I hope that I will be able to keep more friends up to date with my blog, but we'll see how good I really am at keeping it updated! :)

Nancy Sabina said...

The rice balls are great. Only Naomi wouldn't eat them and for her I think it was a texture thing. Richard and I both liked them a lot. Although I think I'll use white rice next time since I prefer that taste over brown rice. You dip them in an egg/veggie mix like the nuggets and it kind of slid off a little but mostly it worked just fine.
I'm gonna try to choc. chip cookies tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!