Category Archives: sandwiches

Time to Make the Pesto!

I only planted one basil plant this summer.  Thankfully, I put it in a pot that could by moved, since Boss, my rescue dog, thought it was a fabulous place to relieve himself.  Now it sits on a bench, well out of his range.  And I have more basil than I could possibly use, so it’s time to make pesto and freeze it for the winter.  Consider this a head-start on your homemade Christmas gifts!

pesto

  • 3 cups basil
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  1. Mix everything except lemon juice and oil in blender or food processor.
  2. Blend well.
  3. Add olive oil and lemon juice and mix to combine.
  4. Will keep in fridge for 2-3 days, can store frozen through the winter.

printable version

These are the jars I like to use for basil.  Nice wide mouth, but not such a large amount that it starts to brown before you can use all of it.

I’m linking up with The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions and Whatever Goes Wednesday.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Do your eggs come out perfect every time?  Does the shell just fall away perfectly from a perfectly-cooked, unblemished oval?  Well, then you don’t need to read this.  Move along.  Do you sometimes have perfect eggs, but sometimes (usually when you’re cooking them for a family gathering or to take to a potluck) have eggs that make you curse and end up looking like someone’s peeled them with a mini-chainsaw?  Keep reading.

I thought I knew the perfect way to hard-boil eggs.  After all, for seven years straight I made enough deviled eggs for seventy-five families each year for our Cub Scout pack’s Fall Frolic campout.  So I’m pretty experienced.  But then I started seeing articles in magazines, tips on blogs, and links on Pinterest to things like ice-water baths, the freshness of the egg, and *gasp* baking eggs in the oven.  I even got a suggestion on Facebook about cutting the eggs with a knife and scooping the contents out with a spoon instead of peeling!  So I decided to spend a day doing experiments.  Since I’m not a scientist and with my current pain level and medication schedule I have the attention span and short-term memory of the average hamster it really did take all day.  And since I kept thinking of variables to add as I went along I kept adding more eggs, which means my family is so sick of hard-boiled eggs they may riot if I try to serve deviled eggs at Easter.

Here are the variables I ended up testing: fresher eggs vs. older eggs; baking vs. boiling; plain water vs. salted water vs. water with salt and vinegar; ice bath vs. air-cooling; and peeling vs. cutting.  disclaimer: If there are any engineers who follow my blog you might as well put your pencils down and stop reading right now because my version of the scientific method will probably make your head explode.  And those of you who just want the results skip on down to the bottom, I don’t mind.

Let’s start with the freshness of the egg.  Evidently as eggs age they produce gas inside the shell which collects between the membrane and the shell (especially at the larger end of the egg).  This, in theory, should mean an older egg will be easier to peel.  But you don’t want the eggs to be too old, because then they’d be nasty.  You test the age of an egg by placing it in a glass container of water.  Fresh eggs will lie on their sides on the bottom, older eggs will sit with their point on the bottom and larger end up, and eggs that are too old will float on the top.  (Nasty. Throw those away.) I had two packages of eggs, one of which was past its sell-by date and one of which was well within its sell-by date.  I tested all the eggs to check their age, and, surprisingly, none of them were too old to use.

fresher egg
older egg

I marked each egg with a sharpie so I could keep track.  These were the ones I started with, but I ended up using a lot more because of the variables I kept coming up with.

O for older, F for fresher, you get it.

Let’s start with the baked eggs.  I baked them at 325 degrees for 30 minutes and then immediately submerged them in ice water as per Pinterest instructions.

disgusting and repulsive baked eggs

So I threw all those away and started with the boiled eggs.  When I say I added salt to the water I mean 1 tsp salt.  When I say salt and vinegar I mean 1 tsp of each.  I’ve always done eggs with salt and vinegar because I remember being told at some point that one keeps them from getting that icky green ring on the yolk and one makes them easier to peel.  I can’t remember which is which – sorry.  I brought all the eggs to a boil, covered the pot, removed them from the heat, and let them sit for fifteen minutes.  When I say “ice” I mean I submerged the eggs in ice straight from the pot.  When I say “no ice” I mean I took the eggs out of the pot and let them air-cool to a temperature where i was comfortable handling them.  The eggs you see cut open in each picture were cut straight through the shell and lifted out with a teaspoon, just like you would after pitting a nice, ripe avocado.

Cut egg: easy-peasy

Plain water eggs

plain water eggs, cut egg in front

Salt water eggs

salt water eggs. I got hungry and ate the cut egg before the picture. Sorry.

Salt and vinegar water eggs

salt and vinegar water eggs, cut eggs in front

My results (this is the part where the engineers’ heads will explode – don’t say I didn’t warn you!):  Smiley faces mean perfect eggs, frowny faces mean I was cursing when peeling them, and OK means they weren’t perfect, but I didn’t curse and they would do if I was making tuna salad.  Nasty-ass is pretty self-explanatory and is a valid scientific term.

Final egg experiment results

Results:

  • Fresh eggs performed slightly better than older eggs, but not significantly.
  • Plain water and water with both salt and vinegar performed slightly better than water with just salt, but not significantly.
  • Eggs submerged in ice immediately after cooking performed significantly better than eggs left to cool naturally.
  • Cut eggs came out consistently OK, but never looked nice enough for a pretty plate of deviled eggs for Easter. Use this method for tuna salad – it really was easy.
  • In short, just make sure you’re eggs aren’t so old they float; boil, don’t bake; and always submerge in ice immediately after cooking.

You’re welcome. I’ll be linking up to Tute TuesdaysOh, How PinterestingWorks for Me WednesdayWhatever Goes WednesdayThe Mommy Club Resources and SolutionsThe Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, and Tastetastic Thursday.

Priced at just $4.99, it is now available in every format your little heart could desire at Smashwords, or, if you prefer, it’s also for sale in a Kindle version at Amazon or a Nook version at Barnes and Noble!

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches and a Giveaway!

First, y’all need to head over to The Kennedy Adventures, where Dianna is giving away a copy of my eBook – Tight Budget, Tiny Kitchen, and No Time: How to Eat Well in Your First Apartment.  Thanks, DK!

This is an example of the type of recipe and tips in the book.  I’m all about buying things when they’re on sale and freezing them for later use, making dishes as healthy as possible, and eating things that taste delicious ;)  I sent my husband to the grocery with a list, and one of the items on the list was “chicken strips”.  I’d seen a recipe for hoagie sandwiches with buffalo sauce and chicken strips, and it just sounded good.  He came back with plain chicken tenders (EEK – not on sale) rather than the breaded variety I’d expected, but since that was a much healthier option I decided to wing it.

2 pounds chicken (buy the skinless, boneless when it’s on sale and slice it into strips)
1/2 bottle buffalo wing sauce of your choice (we use medium)
hot dog buns (cheaper than hoagie buns)
bleu cheese dressing (cheaper than bleu cheese crumbles and it goes further)
Chopped green onions
tabasco or other hot sauce if you like it spicy (I do!)

Marinate raw chicken in wing sauce for a couple of hours in the fridge.
Grill or cook in grill pan or skillet until browned lightly on both sides.

Toast buns. I like to spray ours with a non-stick spray and toast them on the griddle, but toasting them in a toaster oven would work just fine.

Assemble chicken strips on buns with bleu cheese dressing, tabasco, and green onions. Serve with a salad or vegetable if you can convince your family to eat it. Otherwise resign yourself to the fact they’ll be eating it with chips and queso.

Serves four if they’re hungry ;)

printable version

I’ll be linking up this week to Works for Me Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, and The Mommy Club Resources and Solutions.  And since it’s a recipe I’ll also link up to The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, and Tastetastic Thursday.

Priced at just $4.99, it is now available in every format your little heart could desire at Smashwords, or, if you prefer, it’s also for sale in a Kindle version at Amazon or a Nook version at Barnes and Noble!

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