Simply Laura Episode Review
Episode Synopsis: During this episode, Laura demonstrates how to prepare one-pot meals.
The Recipes: Veggie Macaroni and Cheese; Spanish Chicken and Rice; and Cannoli Bundt Cake.
The Process and My Thoughts: This episode is dedicated to Laura’s cousin, Kate. Kate has a new baby, so she doesn’t have a lot of free time to cook, so being able create a fantastic meal by throwing a bunch of ingredients into one pot could be a lifesaver for Kate and a bunch of other moms. It can also work for people who, like myself, prefer simple, quick and easy meals.
We start of with Laura chopping some veggies for the mac and cheese. She took a large pot and filled it with salt and water to get it ready for her pasta (Laura used corkscrew pasta). She added the pasta to the boiling water, then she added her chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the water, as well.
Now it’s time to prepare the creamy sauce. Laura starts off with a roux. Then, she shredded a couple carrots using a grater and added three cups of milk to the roux to create the cream sauce. After that, she let that cook for a couple minutes. While the pasta is boiling and the sauce is cooking, Laura throws a couple sticks of butter into another pan, so that, later, she can coat her breadcrumbs in it. She decided which three cheeses she’d add to the mac and cheese (parmesan, mild mozzarella and some gorgonzola). Then, she added her shredded carrots to the boiling water that the broccoli and cauliflower were still in.
From here, she butters the casserole pan that she bought, for Kate, at the beginning of the episode. She adds some mustard powder, fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper to that cream sauce, gives it a stir and leaves it to continue to cook. Next, after draining the pot of veggies and pasta, Laura pours the veggies and pasta on top of the creamy sauce. Then, she adds some of all three of the cheeses that I mentioned above. She, then, stirs everything together and pours it into the buttered casserole dish. She added the last little bit of the three cheeses on top and some fresh breadcrumbs. But, before she sprinkled on the breadcrumbs, she took the butter that she melted in the pan earlier and mixed it with the breadcrumbs in a bowl, first. After all that’s done, she placed it into the oven so that it can cook for about 20-25 minutes.
After the break, Laura takes the mac and cheese out of the oven and it looks yummy! I agree with Laura when she said that she adores the corner pieces. Those are the best parts of any baked dish. They always have this specific, satisfying crunch. I love it! The veggie mac and cheese wasn’t as creamy as a regular oven mac and cheese, but it still looked delicious and I would fall in love with the crunchy texture.
Next up, is the Spanish chicken and rice and, according to Laura, she had Kate’s husband, Nick, in mind when she came up with this one. Laura starts off by pouring some flavorless oil into a pot and added a couple slices of Spanish-style chorizo. She likes using this type of chorizo because, in her opinion, it gives better texture and the perfect blend of flavor. After letting the chorizo cook for a couple minutes, she takes them out (leaving the fat/oils that they created while cooking behind) and starts slicing her chicken thighs. Then, she adds the chicken in the pot and adds some salt and pepper. She, then, started dicing some veggies.
From here, she took the chicken out of the pot and replaced them with the diced veggies. After letting the veggies cook for a minutes or so, she added some long-grained white rice and paprika into the pan. She stirred that up and let it cook for a couple seconds. Then, she added some stock and the chicken and chorizo that she cooked earlier into the pot. Let it come to boil. Once it’s at a boil, let it go for 5 minutes. Cover it with a lid and turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, Laura added some peas and some pimento stuffed olives to the pot. She also added some parsley on top because “it’s a bit more mild and it doesn’t take away from the flavor of the chorizo.”
This dish looks good as well. I would have gladly enjoyed it, but there is something that’s stopping me. In a previous post, I told you guys that I don’t like olives. There are olives in this dish, so I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this, but like I said before: just because I won’t enjoy it doesn’t mean that others won’t. It still looks yummy, I just can’t stomach the taste of olives.
The final dish is the desert: the cannoli bundt cake. First, Laura made the batter. She mixed a stick of unsalted butter and granulated sugar to a mixer and let them get well combined. This is the beginning of the wet ingredients. Then, she added some all purpose flour (DO NOT use self rising flour), baking powder, fine salt, baking soda, cinnamon, mini chocolate chips, candied lemon peel and candied orange peel to a bowl. This is the dry ingredients. She gave the dry ingredients a stir and add some grated orange and lemon zest, two eggs and some vanilla extract to the wet ingredients. She, then, added some whole milk and ricotta cheese as well. Then, she let that mix for a few seconds and then added the bowl of dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and let those two throughly mix.
**Try not to over mix your batter because if you do your cake will be too dense.
From here, she sprayed her bundt cake pan with non stick spray and poured the batter into the prepared pan. Then, she popped it into the oven for about an hour. After it was done, she took it out of the oven and let it cool. Then, Laura made her marsala glaze. She added some marsala wine into a pot and then she added some granulated sugar. Then, she turned on the heat and cooked it long enough for the sugar to melt. While that’s cooking, Laura took a toothpick and poked some holes all over her cake. She took a pastry brush and brushed that glaze all over her cake.
Conclusion: I enjoyed this episode. Of course the dishes looked yummy, but, besides that, I thought that it was so sweet of Laura to prepare all of these dishes for Kate and her family. I don’t have any kids, but just from observing (from friends and family) how busy a small child keeps you, having some easy dishes on hand would be extremely helpful. I will definitely be trying these dishes out.
What did you all think about this episode? Will you be trying or have you tried any of these dishes before? Let me know in the comments and please follow my blog so that you can automatically receive an email that lets you know when I’ve posted something new.
Simply Laura airs on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on the Cooking Channel.
A Little Extra: Don’t forget, if you would like the written recipes, from this post, previous posts and future posts, click here and it’ll take you to the Cooking Channel’s website, which is where you can find them all.