What is it about having a new baby that makes me want to cook? It’s certainly not always practical!
Two new recipes made it through my kitchen this week — plus a third version of German pumpkin seed bread that isn’t worth writing about.
First was a pan of new granola bars from a recipe that Christine sent along. The blogger posted a slight variation of Nutty Granola Bars from the book The Homemade Pantry. The book sounds fantastic, by the way. My library has ordered it and I’m eagerly waiting on the reservation list.
Like apparently many others out there, I’m hunting for a good recipe for granola bars. I’m looking for something chewy, including chocolate, and not crumbly. I don’t want to worry about making a mess when I eat one.
Short story, I think this recipe was almost there. Or, it might have actually been “there” and I just didn’t make it. They were yummy but still a little crumbly. I had to make some slight adjustments that might have made the difference: I had slivered almonds on hand instead of sliced; I used the butter instead of coconut oil; I used sweetened coconut instead of unsweetened; and I used the sunflower seed substitute. And I might have underbaked them.
What I failed to think about with these was that if you mix chocolate chips into a warm mixture, they’ll melt. So the resulting bars taste an awful lot like no-bake chocolate cookies — really good, just not what I was expecting.
I think I will give this recipe another shot, but I’ll plan some variations: I’m going to try to let the wet ingredients cool before I mix in the chocolate chips — if they melt again, so be it; I’m going to try to up the liquid level just slightly to try and relieve the crumbliness; I’m going to leave out the cinnamon; and I’m going to bake them longer. The edges of this last batch really stuck together better than the middle of the pan. (It was hard to tell if the edges had browned as I’d used dark chocolate chips and the edges were brown to start with!)
Last night I tried out the Baked Chicken Meatballs recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Like most commenters, I’d never bought ground chicken before — and having bought it, I think I’d look for it to go on sale before I bought it again.
But they were pretty yummy. They really do taste like there is a little cheese in them, even though there isn’t. (I put a little Parmesan on top, though.) I’ll probably try them again. My husband ate a couple before he went to bed last night, so I’ll call that a meal that at least tasted decent!
I did have a slight variation, of course — the recipe calls for Italian bread pieces, and I wasn’t about to buy Italian bread just to make meatballs, so I used the multi-grain sandwich bread I had on hand, just two pieces. I figured multi-grain would soak up more milk than Italian bread, but I may have been wrong. My meatballs, when raw, were not very ball-y. And I got 18 decent-sized meatballs, not 12. Again, probably a bread issue.
Now to plan next week’s menu! Too bad the coupon previews are showing pretty lousy inserts this weekend.