Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sara Jane: Test Kitchen

It seems I have been spending most of my days in the kitchen lately.  It always happens this time of year and....I LOVE IT!

Last week, I had my 6th annual Cookie Swap!  It was a blast.  If you have never been to or heard of a Cookie Swap, you really must find one to go to.  At my cookie swap, we each brought 6 dozen cookies and a dish to share.  Then, for a few hours, we ate, gabbed and exchanged cookies.  Always a highlight of the season for me!  I am already planning next year's event (too early???).

For today's post, I am being your test kitchen.  There are so many recipes on Pinterest that look too good to be true so I am testing them out for you.  Some worked marvelously....others not so much.  I will share the link to where the recipe is originally posted and then share with you any changes I made to the recipe and/or my review of the recipe.  Here we go....


I discovered PJ Chang Lettuce Wraps a few months ago thanks to my beautiful friend, Amy.  I am in love with them.  I would eat them daily if I didn't live so stinkin' far away from our PF Chang.  I have, however, been known to crave them and drive the 1.5 hour round trip just to be able to fulfill that craving.  Worth every mile, I tell you!

I always see recipes on Pinterest claiming to taste exactly like the original PF Chang recipe.  I found one yesterday that made my mouth water so today, I tried it.  The recipe can be found here.  I really didn't change the recipe at all other than I used ground chicken instead of whole pieces.  Does it taste exactly like the original  Is it good....yes!  I can't quite figure out what is different so I think I will go grab an order of Lettuce Wraps at PF Chang and try to figure that one out.  Do you see how much I love all you blogger friends :)


This next recipe I saw just a few days ago.  You've probably seen it, too.  Check it out here if you haven't.  You take one boxed brownie mix and add one can of pumpkin to it and bake it as you would normal brownies.

I didn't love this recipe.  In fact, I REALLY didn't like it.  Here are my thoughts.

1.  I love batter.  This batter was not good.  I mean, REALLY NOT GOOD!  That should have been my first clue :)

2.  The original recipe says to bake it for 25 to 30 took me an hour and ten minutes to get the thing to set!  Even then, it was super gooey (and not the good kind of gooey).

3.  The taste just isn't quite right.  I love pumpkin and chocolate together but you couldn't taste the pumpkin.

Bottom line...I will not do this recipe again.  I would rather continue to make my brownies from scratch or, if I do use a boxed brownie mix, do it how they recommend on the back :)


I try not to eat many sweets so we usually don't have many sugary items in our house.  However, sometimes I get crazy cravings, usually involving chocolate, and when I do, I always go to this next recipe.  

Some people call it chocolate chip cookies in a mug but this blog has the best version I have seen of the single serve chocolate chip cookie (and believe me, I have tried several versions).  Does it taste exactly how a chocolate chip cookie SHOULD taste?  Not so much but it is really yummy and always fulfills my craving for chocolate.  I would change nothing about her recipe.  I only should warn you that you may want to have a glass of milk next to you with this dessert.


I don't remember loving broccoli as a child.  If my memory is correct, it was Allison who liked it.  As an adult however, I LOVE broccoli.  I actually have a post ready about my (and my children's) three favorite ways to cook broccoli...another day.  I really could eat broccoli for every meal.  Yum! So, when this recipe popped up, I tried it right away. 

The only thing I changed about this recipe is that after the meat was mostly cooked, I added 2 to 3 Tablespoons (I can't remember exactly but I think it was 3 T) of brown sugar to the meat and let it create a glaze on the meat.  It makes it have more of the Mongolian Beef flavor but I like the sweetness.  Other than that, I changed nothing!  Make sure not to let your broccoli cook for too long otherwise it becomes super soggy.  Serve over rice and maybe with this salad (which is also a fav of mine).

If you guys can't tell, baking/cooking brings so much happiness into my life.  I know there are so many people out there who really don't understand that but it is 100% true.  Just remember, like I have said several times before, its OKAY to mess up and order your favorite pizza instead.  That's how we learn and how we figure out what we like and don't like.  I will continue testing out recipes and get back to you with another Test Kitchen Post beginning of next year.  

QUESTION:  Are there any recipes out there that you're wondering if they really work?  Let me know and I'll try them out for you :)

Sara Jane


  1. I've been wanting to try this recipe, but I have this fear that I'll be disappointed. It has all of my favorite things in it, so I'm sure it would be good. But my expectations are really high :)

    1. Holy deliciousness! I might have to go into detox after I make these but I guess I'll try it for you :)

  2. I made something similar last year around Christmas, and it was dangerous! I had to get them out of the house as soon as possible.

  3. This is a great idea! I see so many recipes that people claim are the best things ever. But I know I can trust your taste!! I'm looking forward to your next test kitchen review.