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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

I got sqaut for interesting blog fodder today so you get random bullets of cooking 🙂

I cooked quite a bit over the weekend.

  • The Lemon-Garlic Chicken in the crock pot lost all the lemony flavor by the time it was done. I’ll try it again someday on the grill.
  • The Cheesecake Brownies had some crust “issues” – basically the brownie layer under the cheesecake layer cooked too long. I’ll try them again cooking for a shorter time.
  • I made really yummy pancakes.
    • Take your standard box of buttermilk pancake mix and mix it up according to the box directions for the “10-12 pancakes” amount. Add 1 mashed banana (bordering on over-ripe), 1/2 c. mashed strawberries (also bordering on over-ripe), 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 Tbs sugar. Cook according to box directions. Yummy with or without syrup.
  • I also made really good and easy dinner which turned into yummy pasta salad.
    • Marinade boneless, skinless chicken thighs in Italian dressing and grill
    • Sauté sliced fresh zucchini, fresh asparagus cut into around 2″ lengths, chopped garlic, chopped onion, and sliced mushrooms in olive oil with some salt and black pepper.
    • Cook a bag of Parmesan filled dry tortellini (I used the Trader Joe’s), drain and add 1/2 a can of Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and about 1/3 of a bottle of Trader Joe’s Italian dressing.
    • Eat warm and seperately for dinner then dice up any remaining chicken and toss it along with all the other leftovers into a big bowl and stick in the refrigerator for pasta salad.

I did finish the first River Rapids sock but do I have pictures? Nope. I should just wait and show you both of them when I finish the second one. That means I probably ought to start the second one doesn’t it?

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Another Roast Recipe

I made pot roast last night because I found a nice one on sale at the grocery. It went in the crock pot as usual but with some different-than-normal accompaniments. This is based on a recipe that I found in one of those checkout aisle books but I didn’t have some of the ingredients it called for so I substituted and here is what I came up with.

Onion Pot Roast

about a 1.5 lb beef roast (I had a 2.5+ lb roast, trimmed it down to fit in my 4 qt crock pot and cut the extra roast up into stew meat)

2 large sweet yellow onions sliced into rings and the individual rings separated
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-2″ lengths
1 c. low sodium beef broth
1 c dark beer
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Place onions in crock pot.

Heat up a skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sear the roast on both sides for less than 1 minute per side.  Place roast on top of onions.

Place carrots around roast.

Mix remaining ingredients together until brown sugar dissolves and pour over roast.

Cook on low for 6-10 hours.

When you are ready to eat, drain off the liquid and place in a sauce pan. Add a slurry of 1 tbs corn starch mixed with a bit of cold water. Stir well and keep stirring as you bring the liquid up to a boil.  Let it boil for just a minute to thicken the gravy then turn the heat off.  The gravy will be slightly sweet from the brown sugar.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

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More comfort food

This is what is in my crock pot right now. Things aren’t going well with my dad.

Crock Pot Comfort Spaghetti

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 regular cans Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste (I use low sodium)
  • 1/2 c. beef broth or red wine
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms (regular or portabello but not the mushroom sauce stuff) OR 1 package fresh sliced mushrooms cooked down in butter or olive oil (regular or baby bellos)
  • 1 package dry Italian salad dressing mix OR 1 tsp each dried Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, and Oregano, and 1 Tbs white sugar
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • A dash of fresh grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb ground pork (if you can find the Italian seasoned kind all the better), browned and drained
  • 1 lb ground chuck (or in our case, venison), browned and drained
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped red, green and yellow peppers (I use the frozen mixed peppers)
  • Optional: 1-2 c. shredded cheese (Velveeta if you really want comfort food, otherwise Mozzarella, Mozz/Parmesan mix, Mozz/Parm/Asiago mix, whatever works for you.)
  • Cooked spaghetti

Place the tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, broth/wine and seasonings in a 6 quart crock pot.

Brown the meats in a large skillet making sure you don’t have any big chunks. Drain. You could even put the browned meat in a food chopper for a few seconds to make sure the pieces are small. Add to crock pot.

Wipe out your skillet a bit and heat your olive oil. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are clear and the garlic starts to brown a bit. Add to crock pot. Mix well.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Stir and taste. If you used dried herbs instead of the Italian dressing mix you may want to add more herbs at this point and/or more salt and pepper and/or more garlic (especially if you have the roasted garlic in the little jar or some of the individually frozen cubes of minced garlic or garlic paste from roasting garlic cloves yourself). I also added about 1-2 tsps of Red Hot at the end to kick it up a bit.
Cook for another couple of hours.

Find and remove the bay leaf.

Stir in the cheese if you want it and give it a few minutes to completely melt. You’re not adding it on top but incorporating it into the sauce. You could probably add 1/2 cup cream instead if you really wanted an even creamier texture but I’ve never done that.

Serve over cooked spaghetti. Preferably with garlic cheese bread and a nice sangria.

Yes, this makes a ton but it will freeze. If you’re planning to freeze it I’d recommend starting with fresh meat as opposed to thawing frozen meat, cooking it, and re-freezing it.

* If you want to fit it into a 4 quart crock pot just use 1 lb of meat total, omit one of the regular sized cans of Italian tomatoes and use less of the seasoning mix.

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Warm Food

It’s been darned cold around here for a while now. This had led to more cooking and I finally made something new. It’s a pork stew with beans that I modified from a Bush’s recipe.

Spicy Pork Stew

3 medium sweet potatoes (baked until they are *almost but not quite done*, cooled, peeled, and cubed)
1 tbs olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped mixed bell peppers (I use the frozen ones from Trader Joes)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 lb cubed pork (I used pork steak but you could use loin too)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can chicken broth (I use low fat)

Heat olive oil in large stockpot or dutch oven and saute garlic for a minute or two. Add celery, peppers and onion and continue cooking until the garlic just starts to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes.

Season the pork with cumin, ginger, salt, and pepper. Push the vegetables to one side of the pot and add the pork. Brown pork on all sides. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, broth and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pork is tender.

DH said he could do without the corn but I liked it. If you like it hotter, add some Red Hot. I mashed up some of the sweet potato cubes to thicken it up a bit more. I also had some extra plain mashed sweet potatoes (because they are one of ChaosGirl’s favorite things) and put a couple of spoonfulls of them in the bowl and ladled the stew over top.

You could probably do this in the crock pot too. I’ll try that next time and report back.

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Happy Thanksgiving

If you’re still deciding what to take for dinner tomorrow (if you’re lucky enough not to have the masses descending on you) I recommend one of my standard take-alongs – Cranberry Orange Bread.

I just use the recipe on the back of the bag of Ocean Spray Cranberries

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A recipe reminder

I noticed that someone had found my blog with the search term “caramel apple upside down cake” yesterday. I had completely forgotten about that one. It’s the right season for it so as soon I may have to make that this weekend.

Here’s the link-> Carmel Apple Upside-down Cake

I made pumpkin cookies with butterscotch chips last weekend and three loaves of pumpkin bread. I cobbled together a few different recipes to make them so once I go back and figure out what I did I’ll post the recipes.

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Anniversary Clam Chowder

It’s our wedding anniversary this month and I never know what to get DH – especially with money being tight. He has a pretty easy time of it since I love exotic colored roses. A bouquet of roses like these and I’m a happy camper. Roses2007

My solution this year is food. There are things he likes that I don’t and therefore very rarely make. I made him Garbanzo Nuts last week which fall into that category. For his anniversary present I made a pot of from-scratch clam chowder. This is a very creamy, mild flavored chowder. It reminds me of a bisque.

I’m not sure what this would do in the crock pot but I’ll play with it over the winter and see what I come up with.   Dairy products don’t tend to do too well cooked for extended times.  I can tell you that this took about an hour and a half to make with a 3 year old “supervising” 🙂

Clam Chowder

4-5 strips of smoky bacon
1 c. chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. diced carrots
3 c. diced potatoes
3 (6.5 oz) cans whole or diced clams
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 can fat-free evaporated milk
2 cups half-and-half
1 tsp Red Hot
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. Old Bay or thyme (optional)

Cook the bacon until crisp in large skillet. Remove bacon and set aside. Sauté onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and potatoes until tender in the bacon grease

Open the cans of clams and drain the juice into a measuring cup. Add water if needed to make 1 cup.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until smooth. Keep stirring and let it cook for another minute or two until it becomes golden brown and has a nutty aroma to it. It won’t look like it’s getting thick but it will work. Add clam juice to the pan stirring constantly.

Add the evaporated milk, half-and-half, potatoes, sautéed vegetables, Red Hot, salt and pepper and Old Bay and bring to a low simmer. If you prefer a thicker soup, add a 1/4 c. mashed potato flakes and stir. If you like it thinner, add more half-and-half. Once you have the soup to your preferred consistency, turn the heat off your burner and add the clams and crumbled bacon. The heat from the soup will heat the clams without causing them to cook and become tough.

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