Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Winner and Cooking Club

First things first, as I know you are all dying to know... the winner of the MikaRose gift certificate is....
comment number 23, Bethany she said "My favorite is Alexia, but there were a lot of cute ones so I would have hard time picking!"

Congrats Bethany!! Please contact me, so I can get your info to MikaRose. And thanks so much to everyone who entered.

And now for the Cooking Club February Recipe Reviews. There were some great recipes last month, and I know several of you actually made them.

So starting with the oldest recipe: (You can click on the name to go to recipe)

1) Cooking Club: Ramen w/ Beef, Shiitakes & Spinach-Rachel's submission

Rachel: "We really liked it! I gave the kids just the Ramen by picking out the other stuff and they liked it. I thought is was really good. The flavor was nice and it was really easy to make. I learned a trick too, if you stem the mushrooms, then you can stack tons on top of each other and then you are able to cut lots at once. It made it go faster. My mushrooms were really thin and got limp and blended in with the noodles and my kids didn't even notice."

Me: "The kids ate this one, which is always nice.. though I did have to pick out the 'green things'. Eric thought it was funny that we were having Ramen for dinner but actually really liked it. Alex picked up one of the mushrooms, which were sliced so small they almost seemed like the noodles, asked what it was, ate one and then said it was really good and started picking through her pasta looking for more mushrooms :) I think we will make it again. I really do need to buy low-sodium chicken broth though, yikes!

Raelynn: The right type of mushrooms were sold out so she bought "regular, old, boring, white mushrooms. BLAH." Then she couldn't find anything "remotely close to the right kind of meat, nor could I find steaks labeled as good for skillets. So I bought some "stir fry" beef, which was some sort of beef cut into long strips." So this resulted in the "noodle dish look[ing] pretty and I LOVED the flavor. But my mushrooms were not soft (cut too thick and I was late starting dinner so I was hurrying TOO fast), the beef was EXTREMELY tough to chew (as if this had anything to do with the recipe though). Kate took one bite and proclaimed, 'THIS TASTES AWFUL!' What is wrong with me? I think I'm like Hurley when it comes to cooking. BAD LUCK. ;-) It just makes me laugh."

RECAP: 3.5/5 Stars-with the right type of meat and mushrooms-this dish is great, quick and easy. The kids mostly liked it, but make sure you use low-sodium chicken broth-or yikes!

2) Chick Pea and Artichoke Heart Stew-Vegetarian (Raelynn's submission)

Emily: I had trouble finding chickpeas--turns out they are called Garbanzo beans in my neck of the woods. Plus when I went to make it, my jar of artichoke hearts was about 1/3 of the size that was called for, opps. I was pleasantly surprised how it tasted and really liked it. I threw in my chickpeas shortly after I threw in the potatoes as Raelynn suggested and it was definitely better this way. The kids ate some of the potatoes and then we made them sandwiches. While we liked it we kept thinking, this would be super good with some ham stake or something in it.. but then it definitely would not be vegetarian.

Rachel: This "recipe turned out to be a hit with Todd. I never would have believed it if I didn't see it. He really doesn't like artichokes ever! And when he saw the recipe I printed off, he said, "do you really have to make that tonight?".... But then when he ate it, he totally liked it! He had seconds and stole all the leftovers the next day for lunch. My kids on the other hand, both cried about it and ended up eating chicken nuggets....I thought it was pretty easy too, so that was a bonus!" Todd- chose this as his favorite this month.

Melidee: "Dad doesn't care for artichoke hearts, but was pleasantly surprised how they blended in and went almost undetected. He liked it and ate two big bowls. I thought it would be better with less chick peas...I've had trouble liking those in the past, maybe one can instead of two. Both of us liked the sauce and we had fun preparing it together."

Recap: 4/5 A surprising adult pleaser, Todd's favorite of the month.. but the kids-yeah not so much. Not hard to prepare either.

3) Penne With White Beans and Pancetta- Melidee's submission

Rachel: I thought it was REALLY GOOD. I loved how easy it was. I loved how quick it was. And I thought it had a great flavor. Madeline would have nothing to do with the beans, but kept saying, "more noodles! more noodles!" And Ethan would have nothing to do with the noodles and kept saying, "more beans! more beans!" Together, those kids made a great team! I'll definitely make it again."

Me: The kids liked this one! There definitely could have been more pancetta in my opinion; Eric said "there is meat in this?" It tasted good, was easy to make and the kids ate it, they didn't even complain about the beans! I don't know if they ate too many of them but they didn't say one thing about them!"

Raelynn: "I thought it turned out quite good. Although I admit that I used bacon since that's what I already had. I honestly think that it was Kate's winning recipe since she ate 2 helpings without any prodding. Wow. And I thought it was a winner with Sam because he got out the hot sauce, but then never put any on. The lemon was definitely a good touch at the end."

And Melissa from Glamazon Mormon Mom, whom I adore and I love her blog too, made this recipe she said "Last night I made the penne...it was a total hit. We loved it. Thanks for saving my dinner"

Katelyn from The Bird's Nest also made this recipe and said "Yum". You should check out her beautiful photography!

ReCap: 5/5 Stars-fast, easy, and the kids all liked it!

4) Slow Cook Smothered Pork Chops- My submission

Me: This wasn't a throw everything in the slow cooker type recipe, it did take a little bit of work but it was SO good and my entire family loved it.

Rachel: "When I read the recipe, I thought it looked hard, but it turned out to be easier than I thought! It made the house smell really good all afternoon."

Raelynn: "I also was somewhat dreading the recipe, because for a slow cooker recipe, it sure has extra work. But it wasn't so hard, after all. I know I used the wrong kind of pork chops, though. I can never find the right kind of meat. Some of the bites were really tender and others were somewhat dry, even though the meat fell of the bones entirely. It was very yummy, though. Kate enjoyed it, gravy and all. And Sam chose it as his "winning" recipe."

Melidee: "I did a cheater version of it. I didn't want to come home right when the food needed to be finished and have lots of steps more to do. So I cooked the bacon, spooned out the excess fat then I browned the pork chops. I cooked the onion and garlic with the brown sugar, thyme, soy sauce, and vinegar. Then I stirred a bit of cornstarch in some of the broth and poured the broth into the pan. I didn't use all the cornstarch...just a bit and it wasn't extremely thick...just thickened slightly. I stirred and it thickened with the onion, garlic, thyme concoction. I had already decided I didn't care if there were chunks floating around. I skipped the water and extra oil. I poured the thickened chicken stock/onion stuff over the pork chops, threw in the bay leaf and put on the lid. When I got home, all I had to do was put on some rice and pull out the salad bag. I thought it turned out very tasty. We both really liked it. I thought the flavor of the sauce was wonderful. Thanks for this great recipe...I am sure I will be making this another time."

And another wonderful reader and my cousin-in-law Lourie of CA Girl reviewed this recipe. Here is her review: "This recipe has 5 magical words: slow, cooked, smothered, pork chops. Then when you read the ingredient list you find another one. Bacon. Bacon makes everything better.
This was a very yummy recipe and it was well received. Even my nit picky eaters were enjoying it. It has a lot of steps, so it is good to either prepare ahead or when you are not doing ten things at once.
On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best , I would give it a 5.
For difficulty-5 being the highest I would give it a 3.5. It wasn't difficult per-se it is just a bit time consuming...but well worth it."

Recap: 4.5/5 Stars-- It lost the 1/2 pt since it is a little more work for a slow cooker recipe, but definitely worth it and SO so good!

So thanks to everyone who made the recipes and reviewed them! As always check back every Saturday's for the next recipe.


  1. How fun!!! I really want to try that ramen recipe now..


  2. This is so cool!!!! I love the recaps and details about each of them!

  3. I am going to try the sausage one next.

  4. That sounds like fun. Love the reviews.

  5. I like reading the recaps since everyone has a bit of a different spin on it. Ramen for dinner would be a fun throwback meal for me, but all grownup and snazzed up ;)

  6. Man, I forgot to enter the give away. *sob* I've got to try out all these recipes! Anything new would be good around here!

  7. All of those recipes sound really good!

    I am so bummed I didn't win the dress giveaway! :(

  8. Thank you, Emmy! You're too sweet :) I love your blog and your recipes! I'm so sad I forgot to come back and enter for the dress...I totally went and looked and forgot to come back!

  9. I am excited for your winner, but totally bummed that it wasn't me. I think I may have to ivest in that brown dress.
    I love the recap of the recipes from everyone that participated.

  10. I want to try all of these...It has been nutso around here so I have not tried anything new in weeks. I love hearing the feedback and reviews...great idea.