Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Cooking Club Players and Reviews

Well January has come and gone. Hopefully you were able to make some of the recipes last month. You can read about how the Cooking Club started here.

We took a year off, as my sister-in-law Raelynn was pregnant-which for her unfortunately means deathly ill, but we have started it again! This year, even with a point system and motivation to keep us cooking.

So before I get to the reviews, I want to introduce you to the players.Left to Right, Top to Bottom
Melidee (mother-in-law), Me
Raelynn, Rachel

This picture was taken in 2004.. so a bit old, we really need to get another one all together.

Melidee- Melidee is the perfect mother-in-law. She is so kind and loving and has made me always feel like a part of the family. She is FULL of energy and can and does make everything fun. She is so kind to everyone around her and my kids love her.

Raelynn- Raelynn is Eric's older sister. She lives with her husband and two kids in a high rise out east. They visit national museums and gallery's on a regular basis. She got married a year before Eric and I did; at the time we all lived in Utah and had a lot of fun together our first few years of pre-kid marriages. Raelynn's husband is an amazing cook and they have very good taste when it comes to food. They first introduced us to sushi.

Rachel- Rachel is Eric's little sister. She was still in high school when Eric and I started dating, which seems so odd to me now as it just seems like she is my age. She has a great blog, you can see it here. She has two adorable kids, who are both about a year younger than mine. We always like to tease Rachel that they copy us, they are just a year behind. We move, they move, we have a boy, they have a boy; we move again, they move again, we have a girl, they have a girl... Rachel is actually the reason I started blogging. So thanks Rachel!!

Me--well since this is my blog, you probably already know about me.

And now the reviews and tips (starting with the first recipe from January):
You can click on the name of the recipe to take you to the actual recipe.

1) Hoppin John-
Melidee: Didn't have a stove-to-oven pan that was big enough, so after frying everything she put it into a 9X13 pan and used the 2 hour cooking time. They said they liked it and her "house smelled like a restaurant."

Raelynn: She and Sam liked it, their 5-year-old daughter did not. While she was cooking, she took the cover off to stir and noticed the water was gone, so she ended up adding a whole glass full of water, and then a while later 1/2 glass full of water to make sure the beans didn't scorch. She said, "I liked the bacon in it, I think it added a lot to the flavor."

Rachel: "I was surprised at how much I liked it and Todd (Rachel's husband) said, 'Wow, this is actually way better than I thought it would be'. He was laughing while he spoke. So in all reality, it was a success."

Me: I used my dutch-oven and it cooked perfectly. The prep time was longer than 15 mins for me though. Oh--and a little tip, when it says to let the beans cool for 10 minutes, it is a good idea to take the lid off the of the dutch oven to let them cool. Alex ended up eating it and liking it--Lucas, not so much. Eric and I both liked it but I don't think it's a dish that will be added to our regular meals."

So this recipe I will give 3/5 stars. Adults all liked it, kids did not. Good flavor and taste but not something I would eat on a regular basis. Easy quick prep, just longer cooking time.

2) Homemade Ravioli
This is the recipe that scared everyone.. it seemed like, and was a lot of work, but everyone buckled down and made it.

Melidee: "I thought this would be something fun to do with other people. One thing I would change about this recipe is I would reduce the amount of ricotta a bit and add more Italian sausage. I would have liked more meat in them, I think."

Raelynn: "I made the filling earlier in the day (sans the egg) so it wasn't hard to get it all done in the end. And Kate and I ate the leftover filling, just heated up the next day for lunch."

Rachel: "Madeline liked them, and Ethan ate one bite and wouldn't try another. Todd and I both had seconds and maybe thirds until we had tummy aches. haha. I had fun making them, I don't imagine I'll make them anytime soon again, but it was such a fun experience to make something like that."

Me: I used egg/wonton wrappers and they worked out great. It took longer than I thought it would, so I ended up dumping all of the ravioli in the pot at once.. and well do NOT do this, they all sort of fused together and became a big mushy mess, but it was a YUMMY wonderful tasty mushy mess.

RECAP: 3.5/5 Stars--so so tasty, but took some of us over 2 hours to make them so probably won't happen again. A fun experience to try once though.

3) Pork Paprikash

Raelynn: Had a bit of trouble with this dish as she didn't cook the onions long enough so they were a bit crunchy. But she is also the one with a new baby, so she has an excuse.

Rachel: "I loved how easy it was, but since I have cheap paprika it tasted mostly like sour cream. But hey, we like sour cream around here, so no worries."

Me: This was the first recipe this month that my kids actually ate and liked. I kept the pasta separate and pulled out pieces of the meat for them, but they both gobbled it up. Eric and I both really liked it too. And it really was quick and easy!

RECAP: 5/5 Stars--quick and easy, not too many ingredients, so yummy and my kids liked it!!

4) Crusty Black Bean Chorizo Subs
By far my favorite recipe! So so yummy. My kids didn't eat them.. but oh I want them again!

Melidee: "It was so wonderful. Dad wasn't sure as he watched me put avocado and goat cheese on his roll, but after he started eating the sandwich, he just went on and on about how great it was."

Rachel: Really liked it but their chorizo was a bit spicy and made the dish SO HOT. Both of her kids ate the black beans unsmushed with cheese and Madeline loved the avocados and goats cheese. She says: "I really enjoyed the flavors and was grateful to add the cheese and avocados to help lessen the heat."

Raelynn: Had just the opposite problem, her chorizo was a bit bland so they added some pickled jalapenos to theirs and then really liked them, even their daughter ate it, minus the avocados.

Me: I used smaller sized crusty rolls and loved it like that. Some of the bites had a bit of a kick, but nothing I couldn't handle and of course Eric didn't think they were spicy at all. He kept saying, this is totally something they would eat in Mexico. I really did like them and they were even good as leftovers.

And guess what!?! One of my great readers also made this recipe!!

Kathy- At Real Mom, Real Life I love reading her blog. She is honest, has a good out look on life and just seems like someone who would be a great and loyal friend.

On her blog she said "Today, I found a recipe that I couldn’t pass up. Maybe not the healthiest on the block, but definitely a keeper. EVERYONE loved it. Even my “i-hate-everything-because-no-one-loves-me-enough-to-make-good-food” ten year old boy."

So check out her blog and thanks for the review Kathy, so glad everyone loved it.

RECAP: 5/5 Even though my kids didn't eat this--it was just too too good, and really not too hard to make, so I am definitely going to be making this again and again. Just watch your chorizo and make sure check the hotness to match your taste.

I am excited to try this next month's recipes. I have them all and will be posting one each Saturday, including a vegetarian one coming up next. You can find the recipes here, or by clicking the Cooking Club tab in my nav bar.

And if you make any of the recipes, just leave your comments under the recipe or feel free to shoot me an e-mail and I would love to feature your review.


  1. Success! What a fun club. Glad it is going so well. I need to find some vegetarian friends to do th with me. It is such a great idea.

  2. All of those dishes sound yummy! I'll have to go eat some lunch now... :)
    That club sound really fun!

  3. I'm not greedy, really. You can keep the hubs, etc. etc. but I WANT the mother-in-law!

  4. What a fun idea! I love that you get multiple reviews for each recipe, especially with whether the kids liked it or not.

  5. I think y'all are just the cutest for doing this and I love that you have a photo together. Having a fab MIL does make the world a better place. We are lucky girls, for sure!

  6. I have yet to try one...I need to jump on this band wagon already!

  7. How fun!! I'm going to have to try them! You know how I suck at cooking, or at least how I always talk about sucking at it! Maybe I should join a fun cooking club! Awesome review, how special is that!! :)

  8. Cooking Club. Sounds fun.

    Love the pic. Before reading the explanation I was wondering why you didn't look at all like the other women. teehee. : )

  9. What a fun run down! It has got to be a blast having a cooking club with your family even if they are all spread out across the states! You are so very adorable and now I understand why you look a bit different from the rest ;)