Last Week’s Menu: Beer Cheese Soup, Bacon Brussels Sprouts & More!

In an effort to not only catalog previously attempted recipes, but also give a few hints, tips and anecdotes, here’s last week’s menu revisited!

beer cheese soupSlow-Cooker Meaty Tomato Sauce With Pork
Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Kitchen Third Edition page 465

In last week’s post, I mentioned that I made a kielbasa soup because another meal didn’t work out. That was my first attempt to make Slow-Cooker Meaty Tomato Sauce With Pork. I did all the leg work and placed the modified ingredients into the slow cooker, but nothing happened! I was all over the place and didn’t realize the dial was just a titch closer to “Warm” instead of “High.”

But, I got it back together the next day and we had a delightful pork sauce on pasta that I forgot to snap a picture of apparently. I did have to make some changes though because I didn’t have two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes. To keep the recipe alive, I emptied out the first 28 oz can and then filled it up with 50% vegetable stock, 50% Dundee’s Porter beer and about three tablespoons of tomato paste. I really enjoyed the way this dish came out even with all the audibles and a change in venue. It actually makes a lot of sauce, so I was able to freeze a container and look forward to thawing it out in a week or two for round two!

Verdict: I’d try this again both in my modified version and the original to see how that works out.

Beer Mac ‘n Cheese Soup
Source: Closet Cooking

At the top of this post you can see an image of one of the best dishes I’ve ever made, Closet Cooking’s Beer Mac ‘n Cheese Soup. This was probably the third or fourth time I’ve put this beer, cheese, bacon and pasta dish together and it’s always great. How could it not be? Did you see that list of ingredients? Those are basically four of the greatest things on the planet. The only changes I made were ditching the jalapeno and swapping out milk for heavy cream. That’s it. Follow this one to the letter and you’ll have a hearty, stick to your ribs soup that tastes as good as those key ingredients should when combined. Try different kinds of beer and you’ll get a variety of different flavors too! As with the previous recipe, I used the Dundee Porter this time around.

Verdict: I’d eat this once a week if possible.

steak, pesto, brussels and bacon

Steak With Worcestershire & Butter Sauce Plus Skillet-Braised Brussels Sprouts With Bacon & Shallots
Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Kitchen Third Edition pages 369, 370 and 158

Every now and then I impress myself with how good a plate looks. I don’t usually care that much about such things, but looking at this picture is making me hungry all over again. Unfortunately, I’m not sure exactly what kind of beef I picked up, but it was fairly thick and took a lot more cooking time than the recipe on page 369 states. It was also cold from defrosting, so take that into account.

While that was in a pan cooking in olive oil, I got a pot of water going for a simple pesto pasta salad. I felt like this dinner could use some carbs and I just so happened to have 3/4 of a bag of pasta and a jar of pesto in the fridge, so those two made friends and became a nice side dish.

I also worked on the Brussels sprouts and bacon which I thought turned out phenomenally. This was a very simple recipe that uses the salty fattiness of the bacon to enhance the flavor of the sprouts which I think have a bad rap. I actually ate these leftovers the next day for lunch all on their own and had no complaints.

Anyway, once the steak finally finished cooking I made the Worcestershire and butter sauce which had a nice rich tanginess thanks to the main ingredients as well as the mustard. This made a lot of sauce that I’m not quite sure what to do with. I wonder if it will freeze and defrost well?

Verdict: Yeses all around together and on their own. A great way to use up some extra bacon and snaz-up Brussels sprouts.

honey sesame chickenHoney Sesame Chicken
Source: Chef Mickey page 107

I’ve had a great deal of success with recipes coming from the Chef Mickey cookbook which offers a variety of recipes made at various Disney theme parks. This one for Honey Sesame Chicken happens to come from Nine Dragons Restaurant which is located in the China pavilion at Epcot. I’ve made this a few times now and each has been successful.

You start with creating a batter, a sauce, slicing up chicken and then frying the chicken up. Sure, this process takes a little bit of time, so it might not be the best recipe to make on a busy evening, but does get great results. I mixed in some brown rice as well as some broccoli that I steamed for about 10 minutes. I also used some Coors Light beer in the batter instead of water. I didn’t notice the admittedly light flavor in there, but my wife did.

I also realized after the fact that you can basically use this batter and frying technique for any kind of chicken nuggets or strips. I’d add a little more salt to the recipe in that case, but overall this is an incredibly versatile method that I’ll use even more once we get the deep frier we got as a wedding present from my in-laws’ house to our new place!

Verdict: Oh yeah. More, more, more!

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