Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feeding the freezer

Prior to having Evan, I was doing "once a month cooking" (OAMC). If you haven't heard, the idea here is to do one massive cooking event, and you freeze food ahead of time, so on your busiest days you can just thaw it and finish putting it together. The effort put forth on those cooking days is worth the pay off later for sure! Since our lives are getting busier and busier, I have decided it's time to reinstitute OAMC. Besides, it's the first time all year I've HAD time to do it.

Sunday, I got a head start. I made Pork with peach sauce in the crock pot (which we ate yesterday, the busiest day of the week), Baked Ziti and put the fixings for hawaiian chicken in the freezer. Keith also made about 5 bags of Cincinnatti chili and that's in the freezer too. Not bad for an hours work!

Today, once that ol fire gets lit, I have plans for more meals. Not only will I precook or preassmble meals, I will do parts of them too. I will prebrown some ground beef to grab for tacos. I will pre cook potatoes for mashing, make pizza dough and pre chop a bunch of onions. I hope to get 10 meals done today and tomorrow. That should hold me for a month or two anyway!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Enchiladas Gringa

These enchilada's are not hot in the least.

1 lb gr beef
taco seasoning
1/2 C water
1 can enchilada sauce
1/2 jar cheddar sauce
mild salsa
mexican blend cheese
sour cream
Corn or wheat tortillas

Brown and drain the gr. beef. Add the taco seasoning and 1/2 C water. Add some salsa--I like mild. I would guess maybe 1/2 C or so. Add in the cheddar sauce and stir it all together. Mine was a little watery, so I let it cook down some. Meanwhile, pour half the can of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

Fill tortilla with meat mixture, and roll up burrito style. place them in the baking dish. My dish was only big enough for 6 overlapped, but I had meat for more, so you can probably do 8 or 10 if you have a dish big enough. Cover with the other half of the ench sauce, sprinkle liberally with shredded Mexican cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 for 20-25 min. Serve with sour cream.

Hubby said it's in his top 5! However, low calorie, it's not.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Macerate, Masticate

As you may remember, I have peaches galore around here. We have processed 5 bushels so far!

So, as I wished my mother in law a Happy Birthday, my next question was: Would you like a peach pie?

Canned or frozen? I went with frozen since the canned were in syrup. But, in my search for a recipe or three, I see that frozen peach pie has a tendency for soupiness. But, I also read that I can let it "macerate" in sugar, and then reduce the juice down to a caramelly syrup. Now that sounds like something fun!

So, peaches are doing just that. In addition, for tonights "linner" (forced early meal because of scheduling conflicts) we are having grilled, rubbed pork chops and home fries.

Rub for pork chops (or any meat)\
Some brown sugar
some white sugar
some paprika
some ground mustard
any other combination of dried spices that smells good.

You cant mess it up, really! Sprinkle heavily on thawed meat and let it set however long it takes untl you are ready to throw it on the grill.

Homefries, much the same way!
clean and slice potatoes. add paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and olive oil. Put it all in a ziploc (or start with it there) and shake to death. Bake at 350 until done.

I know, these were even more directionless then normal..but i have stuff on the stove!

off and running!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cake! It's almost health food!

This week, I made the only thing I've ever liked that included zuchini..Chocolate Cake! That's really saying something, because I don't even like regular chocolate cake all that much. THis recipe, from allrecipes.com was my starting point. (Sorry Mom, I couldn't find your recipe)

Zucchini Chocolate Cake III

To make it even MORE healthy (sneaking the good stuff in to the kids) I replaced half of the oil with applesauce. (That makes 3/4 C applesauce and 3/4 C oil instead of 1.5 C oil)

The result is very sweet, very fudgy, almost to a cakelike brownie! As a kid, mom always had chocolate frosting. It's hard to get good non-dairy chocolate frosting, so I dusted it with powdered sugar, which looked fancy and was tasty too.

If you haven't eaten your veggies for dessert, it's time you try it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Garden Flounder

I have just a few of everything from the garden. Not enough to make a whole side dish out of, but more then I care to throw away. Since I am not able to enjoy my normal recipe for Easy Cheesy Flounder, I began to look around at recipes on Supercook.com. This is a great resource where you put in what you have and you can highlight what you want as the main ingredient and it spits out recipes.

I used several recipes together to come up with tonights dish.

I layed 8 flounder fillets in a baking dish. I chopped up a couple small tomatoes, an onion, two small summer squash, one small eggplant, one turnip, half a cucumber, and some fresh basil and parsley (the only herb surviving the heat). On top of the flounder, I drizzled some lime juice (it was supposed to be lemon, but whoops! Grabbed the wrong bottle) and dabbed on some pats of butter (fake butter for me, but you should use real). I sprinkled the chopped veg over the fish, and the herbs over that. I drizzled olive oil over the whole thing and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. I covered the dish tightly in foil and placed in a 400 degree oven.

It's not done yet. I'll let you know.

Also, I have some peaches from the neighbors tree. They aren't very good quality, so I sliced out the good parts and juiced em. I mixed them with some frozen lemonade concentrate and made peach lemonade as a treat for the kids.

Update: Veg lovers, this one is for you! My husband, a bona fide veg lover raved over it. The kids, while more veg adventurous then some, scraped all the veg off and ate only the fish. Myself, I fall somewhere in between. I did my best to eat all of the veg, but it was only to get to the moist fish underneath. Keith plans to take all the leftover veg in the pan, and the drippings and save them for tomorrow. He wants to have it over pasta for lunch. All in all, a very low calorie dish with a Mediterranean feel.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Savory Pork

This one doesn't really have a name, but my family fights over the last piece.

Take equal amounts of Ketchup, Soy Sauce and Honey and mix well. Place pork chops (I prefer boneless) in a baking dish and cover in sauce. Cover dish in foil and bake 30 min. Uncover and cook until done. (times will vary depending on how thick the chops are) As usual..EASY!

Last time I made this, I had green beans and couscous from a box mix as sides.

It's not exciting, but it's tasty!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peaches and Corn and Turnips Oh MY!

Well, summer is here and so is the bounty of vegetables! I have spent my morning putting up a couple dozen ears of the BEST sweet corn in the county (if I do say so myself). Ok, so that sounds like I am patting myself on the back (or rather, Farmer, since it's his corn) but honestly--it is delicious cold with no salt or butter even. Tastes like candy!

Since this is a cooking blog, I will tell you that I used the instructions for niblet corn from the website pickyourown.org. This is a GREAT website. In addition to the instructions for the corn, I made use of the instructions for "sun" dried tomatoes. Since there were so many vendors at market last night with tomatoes, many of them came back home. I am not really a tomato lover (I'm working on it) but I do like sun-dried tomatoes, so in about 8 more hours, I should have a bunch of those to do something with too!

*I lay slices out on racks, drizzel with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, oregano and crushed rosemary. Bake in a 200 degree oven FOREVER. or until they are totally dry but not crispy.

We did not have a great market yesterday. It rained, and people didn't come out. So I had a lot of produce come home! We put up turnips for future use in mashed turnips (calls for butter and cheese, so a few more months waiting until I can enjoy them) We chopped up radishes, a beet, an onion and a few carrots for a "stone soup" packet, and then we rewarded ourselves with fancy sandwiches--and the last two ears of corn that were supposed to be put up and instead were put in our bellies.

Farmer's fancy sandwich was: Two slices of GVA (Grandview Acres-that's us) Dill Rye
melted monteray jack cheese
Two slices of GVA tomatoes (not sundried)
Deli sliced ham

My fancy sandwich was much simpler (although I drooled over his, it just wouldn't be the same without the cheese)
Two slices of GVA dill rye
Store bought chicken saladj
Like I said, much simpler, but I cut it fancy and it was delicious all the same!

The title mentions peaches, doesn't it? Well, a fellow vendor gifts us with peaches galore! They are tiny but very tasty. The boys each ate about 6 for lunch today! This week, I have used them to make jam, and I still had a bag full. So, last night, i decided to make a "cobbler" of sorts. I need to mention, I don't know that I've HAD a cobbler since childhood, nor do I have any clue how to make one. I went to Allrecipes.com, and all the cobblers there looked more like cake, and I wanted something considerably more crumbly. So, true to form, I winged it!

Wingin it Peach "Cobbler"

I sliced up a bunch of ripe peaches. I'd say I had about 3 cups or so.
I mixed together
3/4 C of AP flour
1/2 C of sugar
1/2 ish tbsp of salt
1/2 C Smart Balance not quite melted
some vanilla and lemon juice for consistency. I wanted it to be "crumbly"

I put a bit of the crumb stuff in a baking dish, put in the peaches, put the rest of the topping in. Afterwards, i realized that the crumb stuff probably needed some cinnamon and nutmeg, so I sprinkled that on top.
Then I baked it. I don't know how long..I just kept looking at it. When it got bubbly, dinner was over and we all were waiting on it, so out it came. Don't overthink it!

The verdict: For wingin it, it was pretty darn good. But it needed improvement. If I make it again, I will use brown sugar, add the cinnamon and nutmeg in greater amount and mix it in to the crumb topping. I will probably use just a tad less vanilla, and I am thinking that oats would be really nice in it--as well as some of our hickory nuts if we get ambitious about harvesting them this year. (probably you could use almonds or walnuts or whatever kind of tree nut you like)

That's my post for today! It's 2:00, soon I have to start figuring out dinner!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chicken again, plus July 4th bonus recipe

We eat a lot of chicken around here. We eat other things occasionally too, but we cooked meals are often chicken based. Perhaps I should change the name to 101 ways to cook yardbird.

It's been a while since I posted about Crockpot chicken. I was still eating leftovers for lunch today! The next evening, I did go with a new recipe, from a friend, wherein I made BBQ Chicken pizza. Shred up that crock cooked bird, mix in some store bought BBQ sauce, spread over a crust (Ready or home made, your choice) and cover it in mozzerella--or not, if you are dairy free like me. Easy peasy!

We have had other meals in between I promise, but nothing too exciting. Spaghetti, hamburgers, and one night of "fend for yourself, you had fast food for lunch!" last Friday when I'd been in the kitchen all day baking for market. (Count that day was: 10 full size sourdough, 5 mini-sourdough, 4 rye, and 12 cheddar-garlic.)

And here we are, a new week, and it's chicken again! We scored some free peaches from a fellow market vendor and even though we sliced some into a fruit salad for the 4th of July*, I have several left. So, Peach Chicken it is!

Fresh peaches
Brown Sugar
Chicken Breasts
Peach babyfood puree 2-3 jars (optional)

I have been making this for a couple years now, and only recently have I added the peach puree--simply because I have way more baby food then my little guy can eat, so I have gotten creative with it's use! You can absolutely leave it out.

Preheat oven to 350. Place thawed chicken breasts in a cassarole dish. Cover in peaches (or puree, or both). Cover that in Brown sugar. Do you have any more peaches sliced or needing to be used up? Do another couple layers of peaches and brown sugar. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg if you want---no worries if you don't.

Bake it, uncovered, until it's done. Probably about 30 min or so.

*Fourth of July menu:
Hamburgers or Hotdogs
Fried summer squash and zucchini!!!**
Fruit salad
Corn on the cob
onion rings

I never did get to the hamburgers, I was so busy eating the other stuff :)

Fried Summer Squash:
About a cup of cornmeal
About a cup of flour
some salt
some pepper,
some paprika

Slice and rinse several yellow squash and zuchini
dredge them in the breading
pan fry until brown
drain on paper towels
salt to taste

I have eaten them two days in a row and still want more just writing about them!

Monday, June 28, 2010

About this Blog

Getting the hang of Blogger--it is my intention to have this as my home page. If I can make that change I will, if you know how to do it, let me know! This is only a temporary venture, and possibly a temporary home.

I like to talk about food. I like to cook, and I like to tell people what I cook and how I fixed it. I like to get creative with it, and I often make up recipes as I go along. I call this "winging it". It's fun, and usually delicious, but not recreatable. It will be difficult for anyone else to make things just the way I do, because I don't measure.

So why am I telling you about it then? Maybe you'll be inspired to get a little creative too! I usually look for a recipe, and then using that as a guide, I tweak it as I go along--because 9x out of 10 I don't have every ingredient listed anyway.

Everything I make is as easy and as fast as possible. I don't cook with wine, i don't cook with hard to find items, just regular everyday things that most people have in their pantry. KISS! right? (Keep it simple, sweetie)

I have already posted one of the most basic of my recipes. Crock Pot Chicken is my dad's very favorite meal, and as a child, my mom would fix it at least once a month.

This website is likely to evolve in much the same way. If people are interested, I'll write more. If they want pictures, I may post some (but likely not every time). If no one cares, I'll close the whole thing down.

Crock Pot Chicken

You don't get any simpler then Crock Pot Chicken. You just don't. ANYONE can do it, if they have a crockpot and a whole bird fryer.

Put the frozen bird in the crockpot. Add as much water as you can without overflowing it. At minimum, this will work and still be good. Cook it all day, or until it falls off the bone.

See? Even a chimp (or your teenage son) could do it!

Wanna get a little fancy on it?? Add in any variety of seasonings. I usually add salt and pepper, some dried minced onion, some minced garlic (but you could do dried if you want), a bay leaf or two, some rosemary... Pretty much whatever you want. I tend to add it more to the water then to the top of the bird.

If you think of it, and are around, you could turn the bird over once--my crockpot won't hold enough water to cover the bird.

Days 2-?

Your options are limitless with leftovers! Depending on your level of cooking skills you can do:

Shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches
BBQ chicken pizza
Chicken Spaghetti
Chicken & Noodles (or dumplings)
Chicken Salad for sandwiches
Chicken tacos

Not sure which I'll do with the leftovers. I'll have to let you know! I am thinking some pizza sounds good though!