Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shrimp Asparagus and Penne For Two

Content contributed by: Jane Ong

Shrimp Asparagus and Penne

I used to order Pasta dishes very often in restaurants.  Now, eating out everyday is banned by my husband because he wants to save for the down payment to purchase our own home.  He told me to learn how to make pasta at home.  But I'm too afraid to learn to cook anything that involves raw meat or raw seafood. When I was at the meat and seafood sections at the grocery store, I felt somewhat phobic and somewhat overwhelmed.  These feelings reminded me why I couldn't go to medical school like my dad always wanted me to....  Anyway, I went to get a bag of  Bertrolli  Frozen Shrimp, Asparagus & Penne Dinner instead.  While it doesn't taste as good as the one that I had in Italian restaurants, it's  pretty close and it's the best tasting frozen dinner that I ever had so far that is  close to a "real" meal. It's unlike the pitiful TV dinners that taste fake to me. One bag provides a satisfying meal for my husband and I at 450 calories each.  It's only $6.49 a bag,  and it may be cheaper than cooking from scratch? I won't know since I don't cook much. I will definitely buy this again.

Shrimp Asparagus and Penne
The actual dinner itself of course doesn't look like the photo on the bag. But it tastes good enough for me to like it  when  dining at an Italian restaurant is not an option. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Buttery Apple Biscuits

Content contributed by Jane Ong

When I first met my mother-in-law before I married my husband, she offered me biscuits at a breakfast she made.  I remember how I was taken by surprise when I saw them.  All my life, I had  biscuits that looked very different and then I later found out Americans call the biscuits I had learnt in my English class back home  "cookies" or "crackers".   One bite into my MIL's American biscuit, I decided that I didn't like it.  It was too salty for me and then it had that  hint of bitterness that turned me off. I remember how I used to fight with my sister over the "biscuits" back home when I was little.  I was shocked to find out that there would actually be a kind of "biscuits" in the world that I dislike.  My mother-in-law later told me proudly that those biscuits were really easy to make and they were from her favorite Pillsbury's biscuits from the tube...

I had stayed away from all biscuits ever since, until I found  this recipe.  I was determined  to learn to bake something simple and easy.  After browsing through ton loads of recipes online, I finally found this recipe that is short, that doesn't seem to take too much time, that doesn't seem to need a mixer, a blender, a food processor, a mold, or other gadgets.  I was initially skeptical about it because it was a recipe for making biscuits and I thought I didn't like biscuits.  I decided to risk a second try at it though.

But no matter how short and simple a recipe is, a dumb cook in training like me can still encounter complications.  The recipe instructs me to cut in butter. But I absolutely have no idea what it really means.  Cut with what? How to cut?  My butter was already cut into pieces when I dumped them into the bowl... I just didn't get it.  Anyway, I just mixed everything together with my own two hands since I didn't know what to do next after I had the flour, sugar, salt and butter in the bowl...

Since I don't own a rolling pin, I used my hands to pat down the dough.  I also don't own any biscuits cutter so I used my glass to cut the biscuits.  Regardless of everything I lack of as a new cook, I'm very happy that I gave this biscuit recipe a try.  These biscuits are so delicious and buttery.  The apples and the molasses made the biscuits super tasty.  It's amazing how my perception about food can change if only I keep an open mind and give it a second chance.

Anyway, my husband and I love these biscuits so much we ate them all already.  Thank god that the recipe only makes six so I'm not feeling as guilty.  (Click here for the recipe.)