Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Last week we had a tennis team dinner and one girl on the team requested spinach artichoke dip because Chloe always brought that to the dinners last year. So naturally, (since she graduated and I'm trying to learn how to cook) I volunteered to make it. I used this recipe:

1 14 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 1/2 shredded monterey jack cheese

I added a little salt to it too to give it more flavor. I would have added garlic too but I didn't have any. It still turned out very good and it's a perfect appetizer.


For breakfast a few Sunday's ago, I made crepes for my family. They're perfect for breakfast but also very good as a snack or dessert. For a breakfast crepe, add jam, fruit, or make a breakfast sandwhich with egg ham and cheese. Dessert crepes can be apple cinnamon, mousse filled, cream filled with raspberries or nutella and fruit. Here's the recipe I followed:

1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup millk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter

Crepes are supposed to be very thin so I used a 1/4 cup to measure out and pour the batter into the pan.
This recipe makes about 8 crepes, which sounds like a lot but isn't! I doubled the recipe when I made them and kept the left overs in the fridge. It's a very simple and delicious recipe and I highly recommend it! But they're easy to over cook so watch them carefully. I overcooked the first couple but after a few it gets easier.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Success and Failure

I don't believe there's one correct definition for success; it depends on the person and the given situation. To me personally, success as what you've accomplished in life, no matter how big, small or challenging it may be. If you set a goal and achieve it, then you're successful. I'm somewhat of a competitive person, but to me this is a good thing because it motivates me to always do my best. This applies mostly in sports and academics. Even though I'm not a valedictorian or got 5's on every AP test, I'm still successful in school because I do the best that I can do. The same thing goes for tennis. I'm not a state champ but I always give 100% and work hard to be better. No matter what your skill level is, always trying hard and giving 100% is success.
"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." -Bill Cosby

Success is reached by hard work, determination and motivation. Someone who tries their hardest to achieve their goal but doesn't accomplish it is not necessarily considered a failure, but it could be. Failure usually results from not giving any effort or caring about what you're doing, but if someone doesn't care or try to do well, then is it really failing? Some may consider this as just someone who's unmotivated or lazy, but others may view this as failure. I personally think failure is when you don't perform as well as you wanted to or don't reach your set goal. I think this quote from Michael Jordan describes my view on failure too, "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." One thing I could consider both a success and a failure was the first time I took the ACT. I studied and tried my hardest, which could count as a success, but at the same time I didn't reach my desired result, which also counts as a failure.

Previous successes gives me the motivation I need to continue to strive for the best. Being competitive about my goals also pushes me to do my best and reach success. I think failure influences ,me more than successes because failing at something only makes me want to try again until I reach success.

I've been successful in my genius hour so far because I've learned a lot and have tried a lot of new things with my anticipated results. I can improve by trying out more challenging recipes and cooking more often. I will know if I have succeeded or failed by reviewing all of my results. If I tried a new recipe and it actually turns out how it is supposed to, then it's a success.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snack time

This project has encouraged me to look up different recipes for every meal, not just dinner. I've found lots of new and healthier ways to make breakfast dishes, snacks, and lunches too. I have a list of meals that I want to cook and I'm still looking up more!
When I don't make a main dish, I look up new healthier ways to make snacks. I try something different every day before I leave for practice. They're all very simple but perfect for before a practice because you get enough energy to last through the workout. Some recipes that are protein enriched are good for after a workout too because protein builds muscle. 
These are some different snacks I've made: whole grain toast with peanut butter with sliced bananas and granola mix on top; egg, ham, cheese sandwich; apple slices with peanut butter and granola mix; yogurt and fruit parfait; trail mix and berries. 
Again, they're all very simple but to get the full benefit of a workout you have to eat the right foods before and afterwards. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chicken bacon Alfredo pasta

For dinner last week I made chicken bacon Alfredo, and I must say it was delicious. I also added broccoli to it. If you don't like vegetables, this is a great way to get your serving of broccoli because the other ingredients make it hard to taste. This is the recipe I found online that I followed: 

1 lb thick cut bacon
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper 
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz fresh Parmesan cheese
8 oz dried fettuccine 
2 cups frozen broccoli florets

1. Preheat a 12" skillet over high heat
2. Fill a large stock pot with water and add pasta when water boils. Cover pot and brings to a boil over high heat. Once the pasta is no longer pliable add the broccoli and cook until the pasta is almost all the way done. 
3. Meanwhile, grate cheese and set aside. 
4. Once the skillet is hot, use kitchen scissors to cut bite size pieces of bacon j to the skillet. Cook and stir occasionally until the bacon is cooked through. 
5. Meanwhile, wash and chop chicken into bite size pieces. 
6. Once the bacon is done, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain bacon grease from skillet but not all. Add the chicken bites and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until through. (About 5 minutes) then remove chicken. 
7. Drain drippings and return skillet to stove over medium heat. Cut butter I to 8 pieces and melt on the pan. Once to almost all the way melted add the cream and whisk until combined. Add cheese and whisk until your Alfredo sauce is smooth. 
8. Use tongs and remove pasta and broccoli from the pot and put it straight into the Alfredo sauce, stir. Add the chicken and bacon and heat for about 5 minutes so the sauce is absorbed. 

I swear I can't cook anything without something going wrong, which may or may not be a good thing that I chose cooking for my genius hour. During this meal, I managed to set off the smoke detector while I was cooking the bacon. Therefore I recommend cooking it on medium heat rather than high heat. But this may not have been a problem for anyone but me. Or cook it in the microwave, which I ended up doing for the last half of it. Either way it tastes good. 
Also, Instead of grating the cheese myself, I bought already grated Parmesan cheese instead. Other than these two things, I did everything else the recipe said. 

This is a great meal for before a sport competition or a workout because there is a lot of protein and carbs, which is necessary to get the full benefit of a cardio workout. I highly recommend this recipe! Here's my final product. I promise it was good, even though it may not look all that pretty. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

Instead of making another dessert, I decided to try a meal, so I made chicken Parmesan for my family for dinners at night. There are many ways to make it, some are very complex but being new to making something I took the simpler recipe which still turned out great. 

I breaded then cooked two chicken breasts at 350 for about 25 minutes. 5 minutes before they were done I out cheese on top of the chicken and sprinkles it with Parmesan cheese after they were done cooking. You can also add spaghetti sauce to the chicken with the cheese but I added that after everything was cooked. 
This is just a simplified version of chicken Parmesan but there are many other ways to make it that create more flavor. That's my goal for next time I cook this!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's day desserts

Whether you're giving or receiving, everyone loves candy or desserts on valentine's day, so I decided to made red velvet cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries. 
Red velvet cupcakes are a go to recipe for valentines day because they're red, of course. Most recipes suggest cream cheese frosting, but I went with vanilla frosting instead. I decorated the cupcakes accordingly to make them more fun and to fit with the valentines day theme. 
Chocolate covered srawberries are super easy to make, but who doesn't love them? 
I brought the cupcakes I made to school and they were gone very quickly! I recommend this dessert to anyone because it's easy, and it tastes delicious!