Cravings Cookbook - Butter Lettuce with Blue Cheese and Cayenne-Candied Walnuts

For an easy dinner we bought a roasted chicken from the supermarket and a potato salad.  I bought most of the ingredients for the Cravings Cookbook Butter Lettuce with Blue Cheese and Cayenne-Candied Walnuts, okay, I didn't buy blue cheese because I didn't want to pay $6 for a block of blue cheese when I only needed a few crumbles.  I substituted feta cheese that I already had at home instead.  When I got home I also realized that I didn't have cayenne pepper so instead I used paprika to spice up the walnuts.

This salad gave our dinner some colour and it was a beautiful addition to the chicken dinner.  It was easy just like all of the other recipes I've tried so far in the Chrissy Teigen's Cravings Cookbook.

I just washed the lettuce, sliced half an apple, crumbled a bit of feta, and then tended to the main attraction, the candied walnuts.  The candied walnuts makes this salad stand out.  The combination of candied walnuts and apples with fresh leafy greens is perfect!  My husband kept asking me if I made the walnuts, I guess, this salad looks so gourmet that no one would believe that it is possible to whip it up in your kitchen.  

Seriously I just followed Chrissy's simple instructions which was to heat up a pan with 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 cup walnut halves.  Stir until the walnuts are roasted on medium heat.  What happens is that the sugar and butter carmelize the walnuts.  Then you add the secret ingredient of paprika (which should be cayenne) to spice it up.  Toss it on top of the butter lettuce salad.  WOW!  This is the star of the meal!  




Cravings Cookbook - Rotochick Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

The one thing I hate about getting a rotissierre chicken for only two people is that if we don't plan well, too often I find that I throw away chicken at the end of the week.  The first night is always the easiest as a quick meal but as the busy work week continues, the chicken starts to get old pretty fast.  
Rotochick Chicken Noodle Soup

Well after seeing Chrissy Teigen's recipe that asked for a rotissiere chicken I no longer had to cringe or think that my chicken would go to waste.  It is Chicken Noodle Soup that asks for the meat from a rotissiere chicken.  Yay! 

I had "Better than Bouillion" Chicken soup paste that I used as the chicken stock base.  Everything was super easy.  Saute 1 onion and 4 garlic cloves (minced) in a soup pot.  Add 5 chopped carrots, 6 chopped celery sticks, 1 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf, 10 cups of chicken stock and let simmer on the stove for 45 minutes.  The last addition is 2 cups of broad noodles and the shredded chicken (approximately 2.5 cups) - in my case it was essentially both chicken breasts and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  

The outcome is an amazingly easy chicken noodle soup.  It makes a large stock pot full.  I will be giving some to a friend at work, she made me Hong Kong style soup before so it is a nice way to return her mason jar.  We also have plenty left over for lunches and dinner.  

In the Cravings Cookbook Chrissy Teigen says she will eat this all week long.  I'd rather pass along the good stuff while it's freshly made and then move on to another recipe in the Cravings Cookbook.  I have this cookbook for 4 weeks from the library and am motivated to try as many recipes as I can.  The Chrissy Teigen Cravings Cookbook journey continues.  I'm loving every minute.



Cravings Cookbook - Roasted Cauliflower, Feta and Orzo Salad

The recipe I choose for the Cravings Cookbook Club was the Roasted Cauliflower, Feta and Orzo Salad.  I wanted to bring something light and healthy.  This salad fills the bill.  It is refreshing and lightly dressed with a lovely olive oil, lemon, dijon mustard dressing.  

In the summer, when you may not want to turn on the over, this recipe is the best fit because you can roast the cauliflower first thing in the morning when it is still cool.  That is what I did.  The surprising thing is that roasted cauliflower actually shrinks.  It is easy to do.  I chopped up 5 cups of cauliflower and tossed it with pepper, salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and baked it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Voila, roasted cauliflower that is perfect for your salad.  I forgot the garlic, but you don't have to.  Either way, it is still quite tasty.  
Cravings Cookbook - Roasted Cauliflower

After the cauliflower cooled, and when it was closer to our afternoon cravings cookbook meeting time, I put together the rest of the ingredients in a salad bowl.  Roasted cauliflower, cooked and cooled orzo, feta cheese, red onion, and fresh baby spinach.  At first without the spinach, the salad looks white, but then you add the fresh greens which gives the salad the boost of colour.   I never knew that fresh spinach could wilt nicely with the weight of the orzo and cauliflower.  I thought it only wilted when cooked.  I learn new things every time I cook.  Even though I did not include the dried cherries, everything else I more or less followed according to Chrissy Teigan's instructions.  And I was impressed.  A lovely summer salad that would be perfect for lunches!  Great healthy salad to share with others.  Thanks to Chrissy Teigen's Cravings Cookbook.  

Cravings Cookbook - Roasted Cauliflower, Feta and Orzo Salad

This has been so much fun exploring the recipes of the Cravings Cookbook.  The hardest decision is deciding what to cook next.  

Cravings Cookbook - Pull-Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

The first recipe I decided to try from Chrissy Teigen's Cravings Cookbook was the Pull-Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy fro breakfast.  I haven't baked any type of bread in so long but this recipe for buttermilk biscuits didn't require any yeast or rising time.  It was a simple recipe that even I could make.

That being said, I did mess it up.  Chrissy Teigen's Cravings Cookbook is nicely laid out with the instructions on how to make the buttermilk biscuits, sausage gravy and maple cream.  However I got a bit foolish by mixing ingredients and not reading properly.  I accidentally added 2 cups of buttermilk to the biscuit mix instead of 1 and a half.  No worries, I just added extra flour when I needed it and it worked.  The biscuits still baked beautifully.  Phew!

Instead of making maple cream, I just brushed straight maple syrup on the tops of the biscuits before baking them.  This gave them a nice golden glow on top.  

When I started making this breakfast, my husband was skeptical reminding me of a time when we in the USA and ordered biscuits and gravy and wondered about it all.  I have a poor memory and forgot all about that incident.  All I knew was that this was a true down south American breakfast that I wanted to try at home.  He commented on the white gravy and how it wasn't delicious so these were the words I heard before I made Chrissy Teigen's Cravings recipe.

What did I do?  I decided to make less gravy so the sausage gravy had more sausage instead of sauce.  Instead of 3 cups of milk, I only used 2 cups of milk for a thicker sausage gravy.  And the end result, it worked!  

What did I learn?  Cravings cookbook recipes are hard to screw up even for a lazy gourmet and beginner homechef like me.  My hubby ended up eating two full biscuits with sausage and gravy.  It was more delicious that his memory and gobbled up this American classic.

Will I make this again?  I feel that this breakfast is quite hearty and sinfully delicious.  I feel a bit guilty since I didn't serve it with a fruit salad or anything colourful. I feel I need a green smoothie to make up for it.  

Cravings Cookbook - Pull-Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Cravings Cookbook - Pull-Apart Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy

Cookbook Club - Chrissy Teigen's Cravings Cookbook

What is a cookbook club?  

It's where a small or large group of friends gather together and share their dishes that each have cooked from the same recipe book.  Cool idea, eh?  (Note:  introverts will want to keep it to a few friends, but extroverts can go crazy and turn it into a big potluck party).

How to choose a cookbook?

It was easy.  We looked at the bestsellers to see which cookbook was going to be practical with simple recipes for cooks of all levels (including lazy beginners like me).  Actually I didn't really have a say, someone said Chrissy Teigen and we were all in.  That's Hollywood for you.

Chrissy Teigen's Cravings Cookbook was on the top of the list because it was recently released this year in February 2016.  Chrissy Teigen is the former supermodel and current co-host of Lip Synch battle.  Who knew she was also a home chef?  I sure didn't.

I was pleasantly surprised upon my first look at Cravings.  It is a not a health conscious cook book, instead, it has recipes that we drool over.  The topics cover breakfast/brunch, salads, vegetables, pasta, thai dishes, party stuff, and dinners.  What a wide range!  It should be interesting on Sunday when cookbook club comes together and share the Chrissy Teigen Cravings dishes.  

Come back to see more about the Chrissy Teigen Cravings Cookbook Club.

Summer Salad Recipe

During the hot summer days it's great to just take a look in your fridge and create a summer salad for lunch.  I served this summer salad with one hard boiled egg as my protein.  

bowlful of romaine lettuce - washed and torn 
1/4 orange pepper - chopped
2 strawberry tomatoes - chopped

Toss everything together and drizzle balsamic glaze on top and you have a healthy summer salad for lunch.  

Of course you can add spinach, cucumber, carrot, or whatever is in your crisper.  I love the colours of summer.  

Baking - Blueberry Banana Bread Recipe

Initially we bought a few bananas for smoothies, but as the busy work week came and went, every day the bananas were neglected.  Then it comes a point when the bananas become too ripe that they start to spread their banana spores throughout the kitchen where you have to pay attention and do something.  You can throw them away, freeze them for a rainy day, or bake banana blueberry bread.  That's exactly what I did!  


I found a recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread on Allrecipes.com and followed the instructions. Now I didn't have three small loaf pans so instead I put all the batter into one loaf pan.  This definitely increased my baking time and it almost tripled the baking time.  Instead of 30 minutes, my banana blueberry loaf took about one hour and fifteen minutes to bake.  It was worth the wait to have nice loaf with lots of juicy blueberries in middle.  My husband cut up the loaf into bite sized pieces and warmed it up in the microwave before putting ice cream on top for a banana blueberry bread dessert. 


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 3 small loaf pans.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add 1 egg and allow to blend into the butter mixture before adding the second egg along with vanilla extract. Beat mashed bananas thoroughly into the mixture. Add flour mixture in small increments while beating until just combined into a thick batter. Fold blueberries into the batter; pour into prepared loaf pans.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.