Over the past few days, I have gotten back in the kitchen! Having a few days working at home/simply lounging at home (thanks G-20!) has allowed me some actual downtime. Woohoo! Lots of exclamation points are needed because it has been very relaxing to lounge around, take time for myself, clean my apartment, and not feel rushed going to the gym, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.
I suppose staying at home all day would get boring after a bit, but I can definitely handle a few days. It will be back to work as usual on Monday. Thanks to my time cooking though, I should have some frozen meals and other items to get me through the next few weeks. I love being able to grab a frozen container of homemade soup or pasta for lunch. Much better than a Lean Cuisine or a trip to Au Bon Pain.
- First up, I made this Cooking Light Bacon Mac Recipe. I have been searching for a lower calorie homemade mac and cheese for awhile. I have tried several other Cooking Light recipes over the years and had decent luck (can’t seem to locate any particular recipes at the moment). I have also tried and liked the Ellie Krieger Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. I had high hopes for this recipe.
I really liked this mac and cheese. The only change I made to the recipe was using rice pasta. You may notice I used rice pasta (basically solely out of curiousity) the first time I made the Ellie Krieger recipe. The rice pasta seemed to have an extra chewy, gooey texture to it. Perhaps not perfect for all dishes, but it really seems to add to the texture of mac and cheese. I think I like the chewy texture of really rich baked mac and cheese and get some of that from the rice pasta. Maybe its just me but I would encourage you to give rice pasta a try! Also, you surely taste the bacon and green onion here – its not overpowering, but it is prominent. Most of this recipe went into containers and is resting in the freezer.
- Next up, I made Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream using this recipe. I made no changes to the recipe.
I liked this (obviously – look at the dwindling amount in that container) but I didn’t love it. The texture reminded me of pumpkin pie filling, just frozen. Not overly creamy and almost a bit grainy tasty from the pumpkin. I guess I was expecting more of a vanilla base with spices, etc. I will stick to my pumpkin bread from now on 🙂
- After all that, I decided to tackle homemade bagels. I used this recipe.
I have zero experience in bread baking or even using yeast. I only altered the ‘shaping’ step of the above recipe. I punched a hole through the center of the dough ball instead of rolling the dough and pinching the ends together. However, I did see some other recipes suggesting a second rise after the bagels are formed. Is this necessary? If anyone could chime in, that would be appreciated.
Anyway, I did the whole kneading and rising and kneading and shaping and boiling and baking thing.
I probably could use some practice shaping – they ended up a bit lumpy and thin. However, the taste was pleasant, particulary when toasted. It would also be fun to experiment with topping other than sesame seeds. I will freeze most of these to use for quick breakfasts.
Whew! I have a few more items in the works so please check back for more of my G-20 induced cooking and baking 🙂