Baked Ziti

This was the Baked Ziti by Budget Bytes. I love Budget Bytes. It’s probably my favorite food blog. I’ve never had one of her recipes fail, which is why I was little disappointed with this one. Do not get me wrong. It was a decent recipe. It just didn’t blow me away like the rest of hers have.

We like lasagna. However, my husband is very picky about lasagna. The only lasagna I think he truly likes is the one from Olive Garden. He doesn’t like lots of sauce and he doesn’t like lots of onions (actually, if onions ceased to exist, he would be very pleased). The problem is that I’ve never found a satisfying recipe. I was really hopeful for this one though and, even better, it used ziti pasta instead of lasagna noodles, which is great for Bear, who is baby led weaned (ziti noodles are easier to pick up, bite, and eat).

My problem with this recipe is twofold. The first is the flavor was weak. Now that I say that though, I wonder if it was the marinara. It is the same marinara I used on the Parmesan Chicken Wraps earlier in the week. I had the very same complaint about those, that they were weak on flavor. I think, just because of that, I will try both recipes again with a different sauce and update on whether that was the problem. The second issue is that it was quite dry. It definitely needed more sauce. Both problems are fixable, I think. It could also use more mushrooms, but I am of the opinion that pretty much everything could use more mushrooms.

I definitely consider this a success, even if it wasn’t perfect. I really think both problems are easily fixed so I will definitely be trying this one again. Bear adored it, by the way. She packed away nearly an entire serving.

As a final note, I have no idea how she was able to cut hers so perfectly. Mine fell apart simply pressing on it.


Chicken and Noodles

For this post, I made Ree Drummond’s Homemade Chicken and Noodles. Chicken and noodle soup is my favorite food in the world. I could literally eat it every day (and did for a while in middle and high school). I am pretty critical of chicken noodle soups. If I say a chicken and noodle soup recipe is delicious, trust me, it’s good. This is one of those recipes. The only thing I would change would be to add just a hair more salt. That’s it and that’s totally a personal preference thing.

I cut this recipe in half, expecting it to last several days. Yeah right. I nearly ate the whole pot in one sitting. It is seriously at that level of awesome. I somehow managed to save about 2/3 of a serving for lunch the next day and I was sad when my bowl was empty. This was so, so, so easy to make too. I didn’t have to touch the chicken, which is always a plus because raw chicken is gross. The veggies were basic and didn’t require extra prep. I didn’t have to have chicken broth, which is a huge benefit because it’s expensive and I go through way too much as it is. The broth was delicious all on its own. I also already had all of the herbs and spices on hand.

This recipe has also opened my eyes to how delicious fresh pasta can be and this pasta wasn’t even technically fresh since it’s been frozen. I used the Ream’s frozen egg noodles, as suggested in the recipe and they were amazing. It was my first introduction to Ream’s and oh goodness, they were awesome.

Bear thought this was amazing as well. She ate about half a serving herself and went crazy for the noodles. She was eating so fast I couldn’t even keep up with her.

This was definitely a success and I will be making it again, many, many times in the future.

Chicken Parmesan Wraps

Since I still had an entire pack of egg roll wrappers, I decided to make another one of Can You Stay for Dinner’s recipes. This time, it was her Chicken Parmesan Wraps. I’m going to make this short and sweet. These were very good, but there were two things I wasn’t fond of. The first is that the flavor was a little bland. I think some salt would have helped, but I’m honestly just not sure if that was it.

The second is the way they were wrapped. I could not get the triangle shape to work at all. They were difficult to keep closed and they were difficult to flip on the cutting board when I sprayed them with oil and they were difficult to move from the cutting board to the baking pan. After two of them, I gave up with the triangle and switched back to the super easy traditional egg roll wrap from my previous post on her Buffalo Chicken Wraps. I’m very glad I did too because the two triangles were inedible. They were hard and starting to burn where there was no filling and, where there was filling, it was mushy and gooey. The ones traditionally wrapped were fantastic.

One other thing, not the fault of the recipe, was that I baked them spinach side down and laid them on the plate spinach side down. The moisture in the spinach leaves kind of left the wrapper mushy. Had it been flipped, the moisture would have just moved into the chicken, rather than the wrapper. If you decide to make them, make sure the spinach leaves go up.

Overall, these were definitely a success. I will probably make them again and, indeed, I think they would make a great party food or appetizer. I will definitely add salt though and forgo the triangle wrapping. Bear was quite pleased with them as well and ate a whole one all by herself.

Cheater Buffalo Chicken Rolls

This is a cheater post. Whenever I make something from Pinterest, but don’t follow the directions, I will very clearly label it a cheater post. I won’t label it as failure, success, or meh either because that’s not fair. So, this is a cheater post.

I made these buffalo chicken rolls from Can You Stay for Dinner. While I like super processed blue cheese dressing, actually eating cheese with mold on it freaks me out. I just can’t do it. So I swapped the bleu cheese with shredded mozzarella. I also used 2oz more shredded chicken and 2oz less buffalo sauce (I also added butter, per the classic Frank’s recipe). I also omitted the veggies. Yes, I cheated. Everywhere. The only thing that remained true to the recipe was the egg roll wrapper itself.

First off, even if I ever make this according to the directions or ever make it again (both of which are unlikely), no way on earth would I ever use that much buffalo sauce. Holy cow. There was too much in this. I absolutely can not fathom how awful this would have been had I used less chicken and more sauce. It also needed way more cheese. I liked the method of preparation and it was easy to make, it just didn’t work well.

Overall, this did not curb my hot wing craving. We did like the flavor of the sauce though (there was just too much of it) so I think we will be using it for real wings in the future.

Butterbeer Latte

My first post is in honor of my 2000th pin, the butterbeer latte.

Harry Potter and I go way back. I started reading the Harry Potter books when Harry started going to Hogwarts. I literally grew up with him. If you’ve read even one of the books, you’ve heard of butterbeer. I’m not sure what a butterbeer actually is, but it sounds delicious and they drink it all the time. Supposedly it is similar to butterscotch, but less sweet.

This latte is definitely not a butterbeer. It is tasty, but it does not have any sort of butterscotch flavor. It is your basic vanilla steamer (steamer, not a latte, because it has no espresso, or coffee for that matter) with some caramel and a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can order it at any Starbucks.

Those are the ingredients. Easy peasy and I already had them all on hand. For most recipes, I will actually measure everything out for recipes so you can see the prep work required. I’m not sure what a “mug” is, but I figured it meant your typical coffee mug so I went with that. I’m also not sure what vanilla “essence” is, but I assumed it to mean vanilla extract. It also didn’t specify between light and dark brown sugar. I hate it when recipes do that.

Final product. Like I said, it was tasty. It could have definitely done without the cinnamon. As much as I like cinnamon, in this, it just sort of floated on the top and created this weird layer. I kept having to blow it out of the way before taking a sip, otherwise I would end up with a mouth full of it and that is not good. It was a little cloying and it totally dried my mouth. I needed a full glass of water after finally finishing this. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t great either, which is a pretty big disappointment.

2000 Pins

I’ve been toying around with the idea of a Pinterest-related blog for about a year now. My original plan was to simply test the recipes, but as I kept putting off the blog, I kept accumulating more and more pins and not really doing anything with them. It was like a digital version of an episode of Hoarders. Now that I am nearing a collection of 2000 pins, I have decided to start a blog with a corresponding name, 2000 Pins.

The goal of this blog is to simply work my way through my pins to see what works and what doesn’t, testing them. I will make an entry for each pin and I will try to have photos in each entry. I do not have a requirement in which to complete this and, indeed, it is a project with an indefinite time frame because I fully intend to continue pinning. Even if, by some miracle, I finish the first 2000, there will probably be another 1000 or more in their place.

My pins tend to revolve around food, drinks, activities for babies/children, homemaking, crafting, and fitness. I have some other pins in various categories, but the bulk of them are in those.