long-term food, Recipe Challenge, Thrive

Recipe Challenge #7: Sour Cream & Cheese Potatoes

I decided to grill Filet Mignon for dinner tonight, so I wanted to make a recipe that would go well as a side.  The THRIVE Sour Cream & Cheese Potatoes looked like the perfect solution.

As I was making this recipe, there were a couple of things that stood out:  First, I’m SO glad that I bought 3 sets of mixing bowls.  There is no way that I could easily make most of these recipes without them.  I’m sure that is typical with most recipes, I just never cooked much before now.  

Second, the recommended soaking (i.e., rehydration) times are WAY off.  The cookbook recommended soaking the THRIVE Potato Chunks in very hot (or pour in boiling) water for 15 minutes.  Based on previous experience with rehydrating some of the THRIVE foods, I decided to add 10 more minutes to the time.  I should have added about 30 minutes. I have no doubt that the food would be perfect with the appropriate soaking time though. 

Ok, back to recipe…this one was relatively simple, just took alot of bowls & utensils.  Basically, all I had to do was soak the THRIVE Cheddar Cheese, THRIVE Potato Chunks, & THRIVE Chopped Onions in hot water until rehydrated.  Then I whipped up some THRIVE Sour Cream, which was pretty good.  I love sour cream, so I’m going to make some more and try it once it’s cooled in the fridge. 

The recipe called for cream of chicken soup but I was out, so I used some cream of onion soup instead.  I didn’t want to have an overwhelming onion taste, so I cut the THRIVE Chopped Onions from 1 cup to 3/4 of a cup. 

The next step was to mix the onions, sour cream, soup, 2 tbs butter & 1 1/2 c of the cheese in a sauce pan & warm it on med-high.  The cheese was sort of clumped together and there was no way I was going to be able to “top with remaining cheese”, so I used the full 2 cups of the cheese in the sauce pan and then sprinkled some of my “regular” shredded cheese on top.  I know that was sort of cheating but the point of trying these recipes is to see how they work in real life, not just in an emergency situation.  It also saved me from using all of my $6.00 Whole Foods bag of shredded cheese, so I saved money by just using a small handful on top of the dish.

From there, I combined the potatoes with the mix from the sauce pan and then spread it out in a 9×9 cake pan, sprinkled with a little shredded cheese and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

It was really very good but more like a slightly firm potato cheese casserole than cheesy mashed potatoes, which is what I was expecting.  I think if I had let the potatoes soak a while longer, it would have turned out closer to my expectations.  I’m taking it to work tomorrow so it will “marinate” overnight in the fridge, which might soften the potatoes a bit more. 

Overall, it went very well with my steak and tomato and I plan on making the potatoes for our upcoming family dinner this weekend… I’ll just be sure to start the potato soaking early.  🙂

On another note, I’m making some crockpot chili to take for lunch tomorrow and used the THRIVE Red Kidney Beans in it.  I also decided to try the THRIVE Fudge Brownies again, but this time adding an egg for a “more cake like” brownie.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.

As always, stay safe & may you & yours be Blessed,

Product testing, Recipe Challenge, Thrive

Recipe Challenge #5 & 6: Two VERY Different Recipes, One Very Entertaining Evening!

I started out the evening with the intention of only tackling one THRIVE recipe tonight, but I ended up making two recipes that are definitely polar opposites:  Beef Enchillada Bake and 6-Grain Pancakes with Blackberry Compote.  I know what you’re thinking and no, we didn’t eat them together.

Deciding on the Beef Enchillada Bake was an easy choice since the recipe looked really yum, I was in the mood for cheesy & beefy, and I had all the ingredients I needed to complete the dish. 

The recipe called for THRIVE Freeze Dried Ground Beef, THRIVE Corn, THRIVE Shredded Cheddar Cheese, salsa, condensed tomato soup and soft corn tortillas.  I’m not big on corn mixed with other food, so I left that out and replaced it with 1/2 cup of THRIVE Chopped Onions.

I was also about 1/4c short of the THRIVE Freeze Dried Ground Beef, so I added THRIVE Beef TPV to make up the difference.  After soaking the onion for 5 minutes and the beef & cheese in water for 15 minutes, it was time to put everything in a skillet.

It took about 7 minutes to heat everything up in the skillet and then I transferred it to the stoneware for baking at 350 degrees.  I think my oven must not bake as hot as the test kitchen at THRIVE, because I’ve had to add approximately 10 extra minutes to every recipe so far.  So, 25 minutes later and Voila!, dinner (well, the first one) was served.

Brandon got home just in time and was “STARVING”, so I added a little sour cream, quickly took the last pic for this post (with his thumbs up) and took my first bite.

I thought it was delicious, Brandon thought it was too sweet.  While cooking in the skillet, the onions carmelized, making them sweet tasting.  I thought it was just right, especially with the side of sour cream.  Brandon suggested I use corn or rice instead of the onions, so I headed back to the kitchen to try another “batch”.  I thought any leftovers would be a good comparison for work tomorrow.

This is where the 6-Grain Pancakes with Blackberry Compote came onto the scene.  Instead of a second go-around of the Beef Enchillada Bake, Brandon decided he would prefer pancakes.  I had unpacked my recent THRIVE delivery and had 2 pantry cans of THRIVE 6-Grain Pancake Mix sitting on the counter.  There was a recipe for blueberry (all I had on hand were the THRIVE Blackberries) pancakes in the THRIVE Cookbook, so I decided to accept TWO challenges in one night… I don’t know what I was thinking.

I’m sure those that are gifted in the culinary arts could have whipped up the pancakes in no time and they would have been perfectly fluffy & round.  I am not one of those people.  This did not happen to me.  

The initial “whipping up” part wasn’t so bad.  I mixed up the THRIVE Non Fat Milk (which actually tasted like milk – no powder taste at all!), whipped the THRIVE Eggs into perfect consistency and gently whisked the blackberries into the final mix.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly, and then I tried to cook them.  That’s when things went wrong.  Of course, having a sense of humor about it made it fun, not stressful.  Brandon was there the whole time, encouraging me (“they look floppy”), helping me (laughing with me at my sad pancakes), and offering advise on the recipes (“don’t use sugar in the compote, it’s going to be too sweet” – I used the sugar. He was right). 

After three failed attempts, we agreed that the batter needed more THRIVE 6-Grain Pancake Mix.  I added in a little at a time, about 1/2c, until it reached a thicker consistency.

This helped alot – sort of.  We ended up with “Well Done” pancakes, the very last one turning out just right.  
Brandon was right about the compote, it was really sweet.  I put it in a jar and into the fridge.  I’m sure I’ll find something to put with it, maybe with some peanut butter on toast. 

I was already full from the Beef Enchillada Bake, so I only tasted a bite of the pancakes.  I thought they were really good and so did Brandon.  He decided that next time we would try using raspberries or blueberries.  There’s a recipe for THRIVE Oat Pancakes too – might have to try that.

Even with the mess-ups and huge mess the pancakes made, I wouldn’t trade the laughs, the time spent and the wonderful experience with my son tonight. 🙂  I am truly Blessed.

Goodnight, stay warm & safe.  Until next time,