Monday, March 26, 2007

Dinner...brought to you by butter.

Let's play the imagine game for a sec. Imagine you're rushing home from work but have to stop by the grocery store for a quick dinner. You glance and see Side Dishes by Country Crock. The people who make margarine and butter spreads. If you're thinking you want convenience but healthy choices--do you reach for a side dish made by the people who sell butter? Then there's the fact that the tubs look very similar to their spread tubs. I have a sneaking suspicion that the crowd they are going for with their side dishes of Macaroni and Cheese,Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Rice and Herbs and Home-style Mashed Potatoes, would spring for foods made by Country Crock. If you're interested in calorie count, click here

Tried and true recipes
In other food news, I made the Magnolia Bakery's Banana pudding on Friday. The last time we were able to get into the Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich (the last time we were in NYC we stopped by 3 times during our trip--each time the line was around the block) I had the pudding and Kell had a cupcake. Although, I adore their cupcakes--the pudding may be my favorite. This is definitely a "special occasion" dessert item, but if you want to bring the wow factor to a potluck or a dinner--this is a good choice.

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding Recipe
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
4 cups sliced ripe bananas
In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.
To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours - or up to 8 hours, but no longer! - before serving.
Adapted from the "More from Magnolia" Cookbook.

For dinner we had Chicken and sweet potato stew. Luckily, no one at dinner had an aversion to sweet potatoes. Even my "picky" roommate ate with us. Super easy recipe, and fairly economical--especially you live in an area where sweet potatoes are super cheap. I added about three times the amount of rosemary the recipe called for and it didn't overpower the other flavors. I thought about taking pictures and throwing them up with this post--maybe I will another time.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of fat
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into spears
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 large shallots, peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Cooking Directions
Place chicken, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, wine, rosemary, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the potatoes are tender, about 5 hours. Before serving, remove bones from the chicken, if desired, and stir in vinegar.
Yield: 6 servings
Note--I omitted the white wine vinegar. If you have an aversion to cooking with wine--cooking stock would be a adequate substitution.


amelia said...

that pudding sounds yummy. i think i'll have to try it sometime.

Steve said...

I didn't know Country Crock makes sides. But they don't seem any better, or worse, than any other store bought sides. And they make "margarine", not butter.

Why do you have an aversion to cooking with wine? If it is the Morm thing, then that is irrelavent b/c when you cook with anything with alcohol in it, rum cake even, the alcohol is one of the first things to escape in the cooking process through steam. That is why wine is such a great thing to make sauces with b/c you can get great 'earthy' flavors that aren't available in other concoctions.

Sherpa said...

amelia- Its great.

Steve-I don't have an aversion for cooking with wine. I just didn't add the white wine vinegar at the end, because the white cooking wine gave it a great flavor. I adore cooking with wine.

Steve--I know they make "margarine" but they tout using butter in their "spreads." butter is just a generic term for margarine and vegetable spreads.

Sherpa said...

Just because I'm feeling feisty---

Steve, this post is for you.

Steve said...

Danke schon!

And I didn't mean anything by the "butter"/"margarine" comment, just clarifying just in case. I guess as a hobbyist cook too, and you are definitely as and probably more experienced as I am and probably a better one, there is a clear distinction between the two.

Glad I could get you "feisty", haha.

Sherpa said...

well, what's funny about the butter/margarine comment is that I clarified it in the original post. So for you to call me out on that took me aback a little.

Yeah, the cooking wine thing is a little nebulous. I didn't really clarify I did in fact use wine in the recipe. I actually bought a bottle of cooking wine the night before but couldn't find it when I was ready to cook. I really wanted to use wine so I went back to the store to grab another bottle of cooking wine.

Janell said...

The type of people who eat side side dishes by country crock are those of the single variety who had a coupon for said product on a sale day =)

In other words, I would!

Your recipes look delicous =) I'm adding them to my ever growing collection of "recipes I will someday try." =) Thank you for sharing them!