Hard-Boiled Eggs – Baked vs. MY way

Tonight we are going to dye our Easter eggs, which means that we need more hard-boiled eggs in our house. I already posted on an easy, no-frills way to make perfect hard-boiled eggs earlier this week, but saw an idea on Pinterest from The Burlap Bag that looked easy too – baking them. Since I needed to make a lot of eggs, I thought this would be the perfect time to test the two out together and see which one I liked better.

For the oven method: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the eggs into the compartments of a muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes.

As I was filling the remaining compartments up with water, I decided to fill one of the compartments with an egg in it with water as well to see if it changed the outcome.

Meanwhile: I boiled the water for my method. After it came to boiling, I put the eggs in. Since I knew for sure that my way would work, I did more of the eggs that way.

Worked again – not a single broken egg.

I started boiling the water when I put the other eggs in the oven. I finished with the stove-top eggs nine minutes before the oven ones were done. So, my way was faster, but the oven way is definitely easier: preheat, cook, forget about them until the timer is done.

Round 1 (cooking): My way – 4 points (faster, but more steps); Oven way – 5 points (slower, but one-step)

After cooking the eggs, I let them sit in a cold water bath. I’d check on the water every bit to make sure the water hadn’t warmed up. If it had, I just dumped out the warm water and filled it up again with cold water. When moving the eggs from the muffin tin to the water, tongs is the easiest way to go.

After they sat in the water, it was time to judge the appearance of the eggs. On the outside, they all looked the same. No spotting, just like normal eggs.

Then I peeled each of them to see how easy they were to peel, and judge how well they had cooked.

Yikes! The oven eggs were a little tougher to peel (some of the egg came off with the shell), and had some internal brown spotting. The oven way with the water inside actually browned more (but less concentrated), and some of the egg still came off with the shell. The other egg peeled fine, and looked normal.

Appearance: My way – 5 points (all looked normal); Oven way – 3 points (outside looked normal, inside had a couple of brown spots and some bits of egg peeled off as well as the shell)

Now came time to judge the internal appearance, texture and taste of the eggs. Here’s how they sliced up:

All three of the eggs had a similar, very nice texture. They were easy to slice through, and all well-cooked. The oven eggs both had a little grayish ring around the outside of their yolks, but it wasn’t bad. The stove egg had no ring.

Internal Appearance/Texture: My way – 5 points (perfect); Oven way – 4.5 points (slight docking for grayish ring)

As far as the taste was concerned, they all tasted pretty good. The oven-baked eggs seemed to have a more “eggy” taste to them (even in the whites), where the stove-top egg did not have that taste. If it hadn’t been for the contrast of the stove egg, I probably would not have thought much of it.

Taste Rating: My way – 5 points; Oven way – 4.5 points (slight docking for taste)

Overall Score: My way – 19 points; Oven way – 17 points

Depending on what you’re going for, either of these would be fine. If you need an egg to dye and don’t mind the brown spotting on the inside of the egg, the oven way is a bit easier and the finished egg still has a great texture, is fairly easy to peel, and tastes good. My way is an all-around good way to do the egg, takes slightly more work in the prep (carefully dropping the eggs in the water), but still gets done faster, and has a great texture, taste and appearance.

Happy Egging!

LT 6

Lasagna Toss

This is a recipe that I found from Kraft Foods back when they would send their magazine to you for free in the mail. It is one of my favorite lasagna recipes: not only is it tasty, but it is very easy. As in dump-a-bunch-of-stuff-into-a-pot easy.

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef

1 jar spaghetti sauce (around 24 oz.)

1 2/3 c. water

1/4 c. Italian dressing

2 green peppers, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

12 oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken into pieces

1 c. Mozzarella cheese (or other, if desired)

 

Step 1: Brown the beef. Or, usually I will cook up a bunch of beef ahead of time and freeze it in baggies in one pound portions. Then I microwave to defrost and it makes dinner prep all that much faster.

Step 2: Add the spaghetti sauce, water, Italian dressing, green peppers and garlic. Bring to a boil. I actually typically leave out the green peppers out of personal preference, but added about a half of a green pepper this time because we had one in the fridge. The original recipe calls for 2 whole green peppers.

Step 3: Stir in the noodles and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat or until noodles are tender. Stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Remove from heat and add cheese to the top. Recover and allow cheese to melt, about 5 minutes. I used sharp cheddar cheese because that is what we had on hand; both are delicious. I also tend to use maybe 1/2 to 3/4 c. cheese instead. Again, personal preference. The original recipe calls for 1 cup.

Serve up and enjoy! This recipe is a family-pleaser. All three of my kids had seconds. Even my very picky 2-year old.

Happy Eatings!

HBE 9

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

With Easter coming up in just over a week, I thought I would share my tip on how to get the perfect hard-boiled eggs. I had tried various ways to get them “perfect” – no grayish rings; easy to peel; etc. But I could not find something that consistently worked. I tried adding salt, adding vinegar, adding whatever – it did not work for me. So in total frustration one day, I just boiled some water, plopped the eggs in it, boiled, ran in cold water – and to my shock and amazement….they turned out perfectly.

This almost feels like cheating because it is easy, but it works. The shells come off in large pieces instead of in tiny bits; there is no graying; they turn out just right.

Step 1: Boil Water

Step 2: Carefully plop eggs into the water. The only time I have had eggs crack on me is when they crash to the bottom when I first put them in. If I carefully lower them in, they have never broken for me. They may just be well-trained over at our house, though. :)

Step 3: Boil for 13 minutes. This time may vary depending on your altitude. For us, this gets the yolks cooked, but not dried out.

Step 4: Dump out the boiling water and run cold water over the eggs. Do this until the eggs are consistently cool to the touch. You can also just keep the eggs sitting in cold water.

Step 5: Peel your eggs. See the large chunks coming off? That has been my result every time. Easy peasy. No screaming at your eggs because you have to pick off little tiny pieces. Nope. Love it.

There you have it. Nice and straight-forward. Easy. Yummy. Awesome.

SSC 6

Awesome Sweet & Sour Chicken

I found this recipe on pinterest, and decided to try it – it claimed to be “baked” and “impossible to stop eating”. Well, who could resist that?

First, a point of clarification – yes, it is baked, but you FRY it first. In oil. Enough oil to add 56 grams of fat if all of that ends up in your final dish. And some – if not all – of it will. Therefore it is not technically “baked” like a baked homemade french fry that is not covered in oil and therefore is healthier than a true french fry. This recipe is still fried, even with the baking afterward.

HOWEVER, it was AMAZING. Seriously. We even messed up the recipe a bit, and it still was hands down some of the best sweet and sour chicken we have ever tried.

 

Ingredients:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt & pepper

1 c. cornstarch

2 eggs (beaten)

1/4 c. canola oil

3/4 c. sugar

4 T. ketchup

1/2 c. vinegar

1 T. soy sauce

1 tsp. garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Heat your oil in a large skillet. Rinse your chicken breasts in water, then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Dip the chicken first into the cornstarch to coat, then into the eggs. Cook your chicken until browned, but not cooked through (this is where we messed it up).

While you are browning your chicken, mix the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic salt in a small bowl – this is your rockin’ sauce.

When chicken is browned, dump the chicken into a GREASED 9×13 baking dish and dump your sauce over the top. Bake for an hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes. When you are done, you will get this deliciousness:

Here is where we messed up, which may not have been a bad thing. Both my husband and I worked on this one together. Here goes: one of us had put the oil on a mediumish heat initially, and the other one suggested that we turn it down to low. So down to low it went. So the breaded chicken never really “fried” properly, the chicken was definitely cooked through before we put it in the oven, and a good amount of the breading was in the sauce. Because the chicken was cooked through, we only kept it in the oven for 30 minutes or so, turning it halfway through. Still, it was fantabulous. Next time, though, we will keep the oil temperature up.

Initially the sauce tasted kind of like the Polynesian sauce from Chick-Fil-A (which I love), but it settled down to more of a sweet and sour flavor within a couple of minutes. The next time we make this, I will probably toss some drained pineapple and chunkily chopped green peppers and I think it would then be absolutely perfect.

This one is a keeper!

TBP 11

Best Soup EVER. Pretty much.

We made this soup last night. And we have made it three times since we found it two months ago. I think we like it a little bit……possibly. I found it over at 365 Days of Slow Cooking (the link will actually take you to where the recipe lives now). It is so creamy and delicious, and yet feels light too and has a fantastic subtle crunch from the veggies. It’s awesome. We have made it both in the crock pot and on the stove – it is great either way.

Here is the recipe – I organized it a little differently than on the original site so it’s a little easier to follow:

Ingredients

2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz. each)

1 cup carrots (finely diced)

1 cup celery (finely diced)

1 cup onions (finely diced)

4 cups chicken broth (or 4 chicken bullion cubes and 4 cups water)

1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 T fresh)

1 T dried basil (or 1/4 c. fresh)

1/2 bay leaf

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. flour

1 c. parmesan cheese (freshly grated, if possible)

2 c. warmed half and half (or milk – will give you lighter flavor and will be a little bit healthier)

1 tsp. salt

 

How to:

1. Combine first eight ingredients (through bay leaf) in large pot. Start simmering. OR you could dump all of it into a crock pot and leave it on low for 5-7 hours. Yummy! :)

2. In another pot, melt the butter. When it is melted, whisk in the flour. Wisk continually for 5-7 minutes. Congratulations – you’ve now made a “roux”. If the rest of the soup is in the crock pot, you’ll do this step at the end of the 5-7 hours.

3. At the end of the 5-7 minutes, slowly stir in 1 cup of the hot soup. I like to move the “roux” pot over to the simmering veggies for this part. It will thicken up immediately. Then add 3 more cups of the hot soup. At this point you will have used a good deal of the soup mixture, and it will still be thick at the end.

4. Dump the “roux” mixture into what is left of the soup. Simmer and stir constantly until the soup thickens. Then wisk your parmesan. I actually prefer less than the 1 cup, but it’s up to you. Then add your warmed half and half (or milk) and salt. Simmer this over low heat for 15-20 min.

5. Serve up, and enjoy!!

 

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