Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creative Cooking

I made a new recipe for dinner.

And I guess I mean that literally, because I didn't have several of the ingedients it called for and I made a few substitutions.

The question is, When does it stop being a "subsitution" and start being a whole new recipe? I mean, out of the eleven ingredients I used.... three of them as directed.

It still tasted pretty good. Here's a photo--unfortunately, it's of the leftovers.

Yeah, it looked better last night.

If you're looking for great pictures of food, this is not the blog for you.

Here's a link to the real recipe, if you're interested:

Here's what I did:

Instead of "1 medium onion, chopped" I used some dried onion flakes.
Instead of "3 garlic cloves, pressed" I used some garlic powder.

(Can I just point out that I think pampered-chef includes both of these just to get you to buy the food chopper and the garlic press?)

"2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil" This one I actually had on hand. Hooray!
But that wasn't very much. I added 2 Tbsp of butter just to be safe.

"(1) Finely chop onion using Food Chopper. Combine onion, garlic pressed with, Garlic Press and oil in Deep Covered Baker. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 2 minutes."

(You see what I mean? In step ONE of the directions, no fewer than THREE pampered-chef products are mentioned.)

"1 1/2 cups (375 mL) uncooked orzo pasta" Check!
"3 1/4 cups (800 mL) chicken broth" Check!
"3/4 cup (175 mL) dry white wine such as Chardonnay" Um....I didn't have this. I threw in some more chicken broth.

"(2) Stir in orzo, broth and wine. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 14–16 minutes or until orzo is tender."

By the way, I used a ceramic dish I have that has a glass lid. It worked just as well as the $70 covered baker they used at the pampered-chef party I went to.

Using the microwave for a whole dinner was pretty cool, I have to say.

Real Bacon Bits, 3-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 12)Okay. Here's where I veered way off course from the recipe.

"1 jar (8 oz or 210 mL) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and patted dry" I didn't have that, and the jar costs like nine bucks. I threw in some bacon bits instead. They're also red, right?

"1 head broccoli (about 2 cups/500 mL florets)" I steamed some frozen broccoli on the stove.
"2 oz (60 g) Parmesan cheese" I didn't have this at all. Not even the icky powdered kind in the can. So I skipped it.

"(3) Meanwhile, thinly slice tomatoes using Santoku Knife; set aside. Cut broccoli into small florets. Grate Parmesan cheese using Microplane® Adjustable Grater; set aside. Carefully remove baker from microwave using Oven Mitts. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli. Cover; let stand 5 minutes."
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Recipe Collection in 3-Ring Binder
"6 oz (175 g) mascarpone cheese" Again, I did not have this fancy-schmantsy chesse, and it costs like ten bucks a pound. I used Philadelphia cream cheese, which is good in pretty much anything.

"Chopped fresh parsley (optional)" As if! I threw some more bacon bits and some shredded cheese on top.

"(4) Add cheeses to baker; mix well. Let stand, covered, 2–3 minutes or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired."

This was an easy meal. It was all in one dish and I heated up some garlic bread to go along.

Everyone liked it, and as you can see, there was still some left over for later.

(all images from


  1. Two dishes. You should have thawed the broccoli in the microwave too! :-)

    1. Oh MAN! You caught me! Technically though you could just pull the frozen broccoli form the freezer a few hours before and thaw it instead. Or microwave it in the bag...