What’S Been Cookin’ In Lissa’S Kitchen #4, The February Holiday Edition - Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 268663

Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen

What’s Been Cookin’ in Lissa’s Kitchen #4, the February Holiday Edition 
 
Feb. 26, 2012 4:40 pm 
Updated: May 2, 2012 6:01 pm


So February is full of holidays, apparently every month is full of holidays, special weeks or the whole month is devoted to something.  Or several somethings.  Every day is an excuse to celebrate something! This is a link to a useful website regarding holidays.  Who knew?  I like to be festive, so here’s how I’ve acknowledged some of February’s holidays:

Of course there is Valentine's Day.  Hubby and I usually skip the gifts, overpriced flowers and ridiculous stuffed animals.  We usually exchange cards, I make a nice meal, and we spend time together.  Sometimes I ask for chocolates (because, well, it's chocolate!).  Since I’m the cook of the house and I’m always in the kitchen, I thought for this Valentine’s Day I’d like a nice dinner I didn’t have to cook or clean up after.  Having DH cook may not have led to the most romantic of meals (think taco salad or chili cheese fries), so I suggested we go out.  We went to the restaurant at the golf course down the street, literally 3 minutes away.  We had some lovely crab cakes (Love, love, love crab cakes!), DH had a honking piece of pricey steak, and I had chicken with prosciutto and a cream sauce.  All the food was tasty, and we got our first round of drinks for free because we waited 12 minutes before we first saw our waitress.  The place was reservation only and it was packed!  It was still a lovely time. 


Since I wasn’t going to cook for V-day, I made a special meal the Sunday before.  I made Romantic Chicken with Artichokes Hearts and Mushrooms, which was good.  I would suggest not adding the artichoke liquid to help this dish out.  Worth making, but needs a few tweaks.  I served it with Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mozzarella, which was really good, though the recipe calls for far too much cheese.  Very worth making, just cut back on the cheese by about half (trust me, I love cheese and I mean it).  Also made Tarragon Green Beans.  I recommend lightly steaming the beans and adding more seasonings, as they were a tad on the lackluster side, but have great potential with a few personalizations.   Sometimes a recipe is just 3 stars average when you follow it as is, but a few personal touches to tickle your palette and it’s a dish to remember!



    

I also made a few treats in honor of V-Day.  Several of the Allstar activities this month were sponsored by Fiber One, so I made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Haystacks, a spin off the classic chow mein noodle haystack.  They weren’t bad, but I find the cereal to have an odd texture.  Added a touch more peanut butter and they were eaten without complaint!  I also tried out Dark Chocolate Truffles.  These were a hit!  I gave some to MIL for her B-day and they went over well!  They were a slight hassle to make, but I think longer chilling times would be beneficial.  I think next time I will coat them in tempered chocolate to make them even fancier.  Tasty and addictive, yum!



Another recipe I made with the Fiber One cereal was some cereal bars.  I made this recipe myself and it turned out pretty good, except the bars come out kind of thick, so maybe a 9x13 dish would be better, just melt more chocolate for the bottom.  These are good for grab-n-go when busy lifestyles get the best of you.



Did you know February is National Bird Feeders Month?  I made our feathered friends some homemade treats to enjoy.  I searched the good ol’ internet for homemade bird treats and I saw one recipe repeatedly, so I’m not going to give credit to any one source, Google ‘bird feeder recipes’ and this will pop up, no doubt about it.  Mix the following in a large bowl: ¾ C flour, ½ C water, 3 T corn syrup, 4 C birdseed, 1 envelope plain gelatin.  Press the mix into cookie cutters, using cut drinking straws to create holes for hanging.  Let dry over night, then unmold.  Now instead of cookie cutters, I took a couple of plastic cups and cut them into rings.  After they treats were dry, I just cut the rings off.  I hung a few of them up with hemp string on different trees around our yard.  Our resident rascal squirrel already stole one, leaving the chewed string behind!  That’s the same squirrel that stole the stuffing out of my cushions, so now the cushions are only out when we plan on sitting on them!  I rename it: “National Bird Feeders (and the squirrels luck out too) Month!”



I had a small get together for a little dinner party in celebration of Mardis Gras.  We had my FIL, MIL and her friend over and had mojitos while the guys sampled some micro-brews in cold glasses.  I served Lori’s Famous Crab Cakes as an appetizer and they were well received!  I’m making them again this weekend!  As I said earlier, I LOVE crab cakes!  I did use panko bread crumbs.  I don’t know what else to say, other than if you like crab cakes, you MUST make this recipe!  Served with Garlic Aioli, which came out just perfect, and a red pepper coulis I whipped up in the food processor with a jar of roasted red peppers, some garlic, shallot, a pinch of salt, and a little EVOO, by a bed of mixed greens lightly dressed with olive oil and rice vinegar.  YUM!



This was the main meal, Easy Cajun Jambalaya, and it came out good!  Warmed everyone’s belly!  I added a can of diced tomatoes, a can of kidney beans and a heaping tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. I would cut back on the rice just a tad next time.  Served with warm French bread.  It wasn’t the most attractive looking main dish, but it was warming, filling, and came out rather tasty.  The mix of smoked sausage and chicken is tasty-if I liked shrimp I would’ve added some of those too!  Good stuff!



Holy deliciousness!  I usually don’t make things like the Mardis Gras King Cake, but this was gooooooood!  People were cutting themselves seconds and thirds of this tasty cake!  I admit, I did not hide a plastic toy, but I did hand out masks and beads at my get together!  This cake is so good I don’t think I’ll be waiting until next Mardis gras to make it again!  I did add cream cheese to the filling and it was just superb!  I also cheated by making the dough in the KA, but can you blame me?  Have KA, will use dough hook!  Worth the dough rising times, but good luck waiting to eat it once the icing is on!


Well that’s about all I’ve got this time.  Hope February served you up some tasty morsels too!



[I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Adventures in Lissa's Kitchen! The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of *~Lissa~*.]

 

 

Dark Chocolate Truffles
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Fiber One Cereal Bars with Chocolate Bottoms
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Crab Cakes
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Mardis Gras King Cake
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Sun-dried tomato and mozzarella risotto
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Easy Cajun Jambalaya
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Fiber One Chocolate-PB Haystacks
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Homemade Bird Feeder
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Comments
Feb. 26, 2012 7:13 pm
Seems you have been busy celebrating! I love the Homemade bird feeder and I know all about those squirrels! That King Cake looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. :)
 
Feb. 28, 2012 1:09 pm
Thanks Baking Nana! Glad you stopped on by!
 
Feb. 28, 2012 1:29 pm
Everything looks fantastic! Love the bird feeder. can't wait to make those with my 5 year old. Thanks for the idea and recipe! Your pictures are great by the way!
 
Feb. 28, 2012 2:11 pm
Everything looks so good! great job!
 
Feb. 28, 2012 3:14 pm
MATTSBELLY, glad to inspire a creative activity between parent and child! Thanks for reading!
 
Feb. 28, 2012 3:14 pm
Thank you Nurse Ellen! :)
 
Feb. 29, 2012 11:51 am
I am so lucky to have such an amazing wife. I love trying out new dishes that you whip up. Keep up the awesome cooking. Like I said before, "If the way to a mans heart is through his stomach... you had me a mac and cheese." :)
 
Feb. 29, 2012 4:02 pm
Hey honey! I'll be putting that mac & cheese from the other night in the next installment...that was gooOOood! Thanks for visiting my blog!
 
 
 
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*~Lissa~*

Home Town
Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA
Living In
Cobb, California, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2004

Cooking Level
Intermediate

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy

Hobbies
Scrapbooking, Gardening, Camping, Walking, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I live in beautiful wine country, Northern California, on the edge of state forest. My husband and I are in our 30s and have the most amazing little 1 year old girl. I haven't had as much time in the kitchen since becoming a mom, but I love that she is getting old enough to enjoy my cooking! I enjoy riding my motorcycle and snowboarding, camping, classic and hard rock music, tattoos, singing, and *of course* fiddling in my kitchen! I love trying new recipes and have had fun as an Allrecipes Allstar in the Brand Ambassador program!
My favorite things to cook
Skillet dinners, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, cookies, brownies, quick breads, Italian, Asian, mac & cheese, mushroom or broccoli Alfredo, pie-especially apple, pear and chicken pot pie, pork in the crock pot for carnitas or BBQ pulled pork.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents have always had lots of food at family get-togethers! Such a selection of food that there's hardly room for plates at the table: nuts, cheeses, wings, beans, meats, veggies and many other side dishes, cakes, cookies, pies, etc-there's something for everyone! There's no excuse if you go hungry at one of our family functions. There's always good food, drinks, people and laughs :D
My cooking triumphs
It's nice to be able to throw things together on the fly without having to make a trip to the grocery store. Learning the methods of cooking have made it easier and my food tastes better. I never have dry chicken breasts, pork chops or burgers anymore! Dec 2012: I finally made fudge that set properly!
My cooking tragedies
Trying out new recipes that don't taste right or I don't care for. Or turning my back to do 10 things at once and burning something. Mistakes = lessons learned. Sometimes you have to do a little trial-and-error to get something how you like it. I'm still trying to perfect French loaf.
 
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