[FHCx254] National TV Dinner Day

IT’S NATIONAL TV DINNER DAY!

Sure, frozen foods have been around for a while. But in 1950s USA, the TV Dinner was essential in every home. It was fast and cheap, kept the kids happy… And you could multitask! When people yell at Millenials about how they use their phones during dinner, you can certainly guess where they learned that kind of behavior. Not that we’re knocking TV Dinners. These things are classic. SP and AK both grew up with Kid Cuisines and, like every other person ever, enjoyed the Kid Cuisine brownies best.

Over the years, frozen entrees have only gotten better. Hungry Man and Banquet are still around, which is just great. But now we also have foods from the likes of Saffron Road, Lean Cuisine, and WW Smart Ones. The science of the TV Dinner has also improved. For example, our dinners tonight have a science-y crisping tray that makes french fries that aren’t completely soggy microwaved messes!

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We recommend these.

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With some homemade BBQ sauce of course.

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If you’re going to have a TV Dinner, at least honor the time by watching something from the early ’60s.

Tomorrow is National Hot Cross Buns Day! For some reason they put it in September, about as far away as you can get from when they’re normally eaten.

-SPAK

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[FHCx158] National Applesauce Cake Day

Applesauce… cake? Yes!

IT’S NATIONAL APPLESAUCE CAKE DAY!

When you get into cooking at home, and you’ve started to get a hang of it, the first real way to branch out is to look at what to substitute. If you’ve watched Chopped, you’ll know what we’re talking about. In baking, you have a hell of a lot of options. One of the more common, but still intriguing, ones is using applesauce. It creates a lot of moisture and cooks well, so you can use significantly less butter and oil and eggs. Here’s our recipe for Applesauce Cake:

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Cream together 1/3 cup light butter, 2/3 cup sugar

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1 cup of applesauce and beat it in!

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Add 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract. You can also add nuts/raisins if you like.

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Put it into a greased/sprayed pan

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Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes

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Yummy!

It turned out pretty well! As SPiel said, the smell was even better than the taste. It has a comforting apple-cinnamon scent and flavor. The inside is really fluffy because the moisture from the applesauce kept the cake from falling flat and dense in the process of baking. It’s very simple, very light, and very tasty!

Tomorrow is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! (Yesssssssss!)

-SPAK

[FHCx155] National Doughnut Day/National Egg Day/National Chocolate Macaroon Day

Sweet!

IT’S NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY AND NATIONAL EGG DAY AND NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MACAROON DAY!

Let’s start this in order of our day. Breakfast!

SPAK are big fans of eggs. For the most part, we tend toward the “gooeyer-the-better” team. We like over-easy eggs that just ooze when you stab them. That’s really the best way to do it. Occasionally, when AK reeeeally likes SP, she’ll make Eggtoast in the morning. Eggs on toast. It’s the best.

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Oops, one broke.

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Eggtoast!

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Gooooooeyyyyyy

Next up! Midmorning snack. Donuts. Doughnuts. D’oh-nuts.

Everyone and their mother is talking about National Donut Day. It seems to be the most popular food holiday so far this year. But SPAK has been doing this before it was cool, and today is no exception. Why Donut Day? Started in 1938, created by the Salvation Army that would supply donuts to those who served in World War I. We don’t have many of those people left anymore, but we can still eat this sugary confection in honor of them. Whether you like cake-type (you’re wrong), yeast, glazed, long john, bear claws, apple fritter…

Happy Doughnut Day!

(^Video is also appropriate; Cousin SParles just named his new baby Nathaniel. Next one will be Superfly?)

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Lastly, we revisit the macaroon. And this time we are going full-on coconuts. This recipe, introduced by cousin SPamy, comes from SkinnyTasteSPamy makes these for Passover at the yearly gathering, and they are addictive, to say the least. You have to be very careful that you don’t end up eating the whole batch!

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What a sweet day.

Tomorrow is National Cheese Day and National Cognac Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx137] National Coquilles St. Jacques Day

Pardon our French…

TODAY IS NATIONAL COQUILLES ST. JACQUES DAY!

So St. James/Jacques apparently was associated with the scallop shell symbol. He saved some dude who was covered in scallops (right?) and the legend made the association happen. Of course, we can leave it to the French to take something Catholic and something seafood and make a dish out of it.

Today we used Ina Garten’s recipe to make this dish. And, honestly, days like today we are very glad to have started on this FHC journey. Despite the price of the scallops and time investment to cook, it had us making something we would have never made at home otherwise, and likely would have never had the opportunity to eat when not at home. So thanks, barefoot lady!

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LOOK AT ALL DIS STUFF.

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Chopped parsley and large shallots. As AK says, shallots are onions that are also garlic. (They burn your eyes extra…)

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3 oz of grated gruyere in a 1 lb bowl. Don’t fool yourself.

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Mise-en-place, except disorganized and lazy. You know, the American way.

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Butter in a fry pan and a sauce pan.

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Add some flour to make a roux in the sauce pan.

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After it cooks for a few minutes, add 1.5 cups of seafood stock.

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Then this is where we changed the original recipe from 1 cup of heavy cream to 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup skim milk. Also add curry powder, salt, pepper. Bring it to a boil.

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Meanwhile, cook the shallots until they turn clear.

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Add the mushbooms.

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It’s so steamy because of some cognac added in that evaporates. Now this part puts the “mush” in “mushroom.”

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Add the mushrooms/shallots stuff to the cream sauce

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Butter up one casserole pan. The recipe called for baking this in 6 individual 1.5-cup gratin dishes for entertaining guests. We baked it all in one big pan and it was still awesome.

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LOOK AT DEEZ GIANT SCALLOPS!! Thanks, Kowalski’s.

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Cover with the mushroom/shallot/cream stuff.

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Bread crumb mixture that we altered from the recipe. 1 cup bread crumbs, parsley, grated gruyere, and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Put that on the top!

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In she goes! We allowed for extra baking time because it was in one big dish.

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Ughhhhhhhhh

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HNGGGGGGG

Our house smells like scallops.

This thing was SO GOOD. We really toned down the richness from the recipe and it was still phenomenal. It’s cheesy and goopy, and you get that bread crumb topping that hits the right notes of crispiness… And when you’re lucky enough to nab one of the giant scallops, your mouth starts singing and your body starts dancing. Magical. We had some for ourselves, set aside some for leftovers (both for us, and to share with SPom and SPad), and shared some with SP‘s friends. They all loved it, too.

Gonna go dream of scallops now.

Tomorrow is National Cherry Cobbler Day and National Walnut Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx136] National Chocolate Chip Day

Chocolate holidays are the best!

TODAY IS NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CHIP DAY!

Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip banana bread, chocolate chip brownies and pancakes, and on and on. Where do these majesties come from? Awesome story.

In 1937, this woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield, proprietor of the Toll House Inn (see where we’re going with this?), added chunks of chocolate to cookies. The cookies completely blew up out of the stratosphere and in 1939 Nestle added her recipe to their chocolate’s packaging. What did Ruth get out of this? Money? No. A lifetime supply of chocolate. Oh the envy is enormous!

Except that the whole Nestle slave-trade puts a damper on that. Oh well.

We decided to make Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes!

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Kodiak now has a Dark Chocolate protein cake. Boom.

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Wookiee?

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Pile o’ Pancakes

They were super chocolatey and super good! Kodiak delivers again!

Tomorrow is National Coquilles St. Jacques Day. Yeah, one of those…

-SPAK

[FHCx134] National Apple Pie Day/National Crouton Day/National Fruit Cocktail Day/International Hummus Day

That’s too long a title.

TODAY IS NATIONAL APPLE PIE DAY AND NATIONAL CROUTON DAY AND NATIONAL FRUIT COCKTAIL DAY AND INTERNATIONAL HUMMUS DAY!

My goodness. Look at all that. We did it. And thankfully we didn’t stuff ourselves!

First up: Hummus.

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Hummus is a gem of the middle-east. One of the things that could easily be overeaten and overeaten and overeaten. Whether you dip with carrots or pita or anything else, there is something very addictive about that chickpea and sesame flavor. What’s the difference between a chickpea and a garbanzo bean? I would be okay to have a garbanzo bean on my face.

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Phoenician makes a great hummus, as does the local Kowalski’s. Really good stuff.

That was our appetizer for dinner at SPamily’s house tonight. Next up was our salad course, with croutons! Not able to let bread go to waste, someone thought, “let’s just keep eating this until it breaks our teeth.” And so we did, and the delicious crouton was born! Now, we may have preferred our croutons in French Onion Soup form, but we wanted to stay modest with our calorie consumption.

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Slad!

After our wonderful dinner of Chipotle Chicken (a Weight Watchers recipe), we had some dessert of Fruit Cocktail and Apple Pie. Fruit Cocktail is an interesting food, considering the strict stipulations set by the USDA (All hail USDA overlords!):

  • 30% to 50% diced peaches, any yellow variety
  • 25% to 45% diced pears, any variety
  • 6% to 16% diced pineapple, any variety
  • 6% to 20% whole grapes, any seedless variety
  • Few to no cherry halves, any light sweet or artificial red variety

Who decided that we should limit the cherries? Probably communists.

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Dibs on the nibs.

And, of course, some apple pie that was heated from a Sara Lee container SPom baked (All hail SPom overlord!)

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No better way to feel American than to eat Apple Pie when most apples aren’t even close to being in season!

And that brings our quadholiday (qualiday? quaaludes?) to a close. Great work, everyone! Pat yourselves on the back.

Tomorrow is National Buttermilk Biscuit Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx126] National Enchilada Day/National Hoagie Day/Totally Chipotle Day

IT’S CINCO DE MAYO NATIONAL ENCHILADA DAY AND NATIONAL HOAGIE DAY AND TOTALLY CHIPOTLE DAY!

Whether you’re of the mindset of Cinco de Mayo,

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or Cinco de Cuatro,

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we’ve got you covered. After all, what better way to celebrate an inauthentically Mexican “holiday” with inauthentically Mexican food?

Today we mashed up all three holidays into one, and we’ve made something truly beautiful. It’s also very low calorie, and VERY tasty. So have at it!

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First up, the enchilada sauce. This puppy is 5 calories for 2 Tbsp. That’s reeeeally low for sauces like this. Plus, it’s got the Chipotle we need for Totally Chipotle Day!

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Next: The “tortillas.” These 60 calorie wraps are amazing. They are really the only ones we’ve tasted that are even worthwhile substituting for regular tortillas.

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Brush very lightly with olive oil, and bake at 300F for about 3 minutes.

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This is some Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken, shredded up and mixed with a bit of the sauce.

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A little bit of Sargento 2%-milk 4-cheese Mexican Blend…

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About 1/4 cup of chicken…

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Roll it up and place it in a 9×9 pan that has 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce at the bottom.

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Cover with the rest of the sauce and the cheese.

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Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes! Enchiladas are done!

Okay. So you’re gonna think we’re crazy, but stick with us. This is about to get seriously amazing. As if those enchiladas weren’t super tasty enough…

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Fry up some onions and peppers with some salt, pepper, and cayenne first. We’ll need them.

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Toast a hoagie roll. We used Pepperidge Farms.

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These little guacs are terrific. Very tasty, preportioned, and low calorie!

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Spread some of dat on dere.

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Shredduce.

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Onions and peppers.

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Enchilada – this is one enchilada out of the 8, cut in half.

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A totally chipotle enchilada hoagie!

My god it was amazing. And we have leftovers! Enchiladas make for great leftovers. AK‘s favorite part was the chicken and cheese inside of the enchiladas. SP loved picking the whole thing up and stuffing it in his face.

Here at SPAK, we say, “You’re welcome.” Go out and enjoy your enchiladas!

Tomorrow is Crepes Suzette Day, Beverage Day, and International No Diet Day.

-SPAK