Friday, December 12, 2008

Check Me Out...

I'm not done with food posts, just done here. I'm merging this blog and my personal one because I just can't keep them both up.
Please visit me at:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey laid to rest

Thanksgiving is OVER!
It went off without a hitch. No crazy people showing up, no fist fights, no complaints. I call that a success. The food, oh glory, the food. It was remarkable thanks to some awesome friends.
Now its D-day. Either use or lose it, folks. Here are some ideas for that turkey that's shelf life will be over after today:
turkey chili
turkey pot pie
turkey alfredo
turkey enchiladas
turkey truffles
Ok, I was just making sure you were still paying attention on that last one.
Tonight I'm making turkey chili. Mostly because it can be made ahead and this week has been and will continue to be CRAZY.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I never thought the day would come...

I am actually happy that it's turning cold. There is something in the air when the leaves and temperatures are falling that makes me want to hunker down in the kitchen and cook. I'm thinking that today is the day I make some bread and muffins. Then, there is a chicken to be roasted and while all of this is in the oven I may try and organize the pantry.
Being a Virgo, I like things neat, orderly and uber-organized but, striving for perfection is the surest way to disappointment. I just try to keep it from being an avalanche zone most of the time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leftover Intervention

I know you've seen those books on Once A Month Cooking. Heck, I even own a few. But who has an entire day to set aside to cook? I don't. The best way I have found to stock my freezer with meals is to make double batches. This is a simple, straight forward strategy. Some important things to remember when doing this is to pull out half the pasta when it's only half cooked. This will keep it from getting mushy when it's reheated. If you are using canned vegetables in a recipe, add them at the very end and immediately divvy up what you want to freeze. Canned veggies are already cooked so if you cook them and then freeze them, when you reheat they will turn to goo. When using fresh veggies, pull out what is to be frozen half way through so that they will retain color and crunch when reheated.
Another way to stock up that is great is to reinvent leftovers. Meat sauce for pasta can be turned into stuffing for peppers or acorn squash. Roast chicken leftovers can be turned into chicken salad, enchiladas, tacos, pot pie, chili and soup. Pork chops can be made into stir fry or pork and beans. Hamburgers can be chopped up into meat sauce, converted to Salisbury steak, used for topping a pizza or made into chili. Ham can be chopped and put into freezer quiche, casseroles or ham salad.
Next time you have leftovers think about what else you make that has similar ingredients.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Canned Bread

The best (and only) thing to do with black bananas is banana bread, but who wants a whole big loaf? I like it, but not enough to eat three days in a row. That is why I can it. Huh?!
Yes, you can can bread. Just about any quick bread recipe works and will last up to a year. All you have to do is spray wide mouth, 1/2 pint canning jars with non-stick spray. Fill 1/2 full with your favorite quick bread batter and bake at 325 for about 20-30 minutes. Remove the jars one at a time, wipe the rim and screw on the top. The heat will vacuum seal the jars. Just make sure that all the lids have popped, meaning that when you press down on the middle of the lid it doesn't pop up.
The recipe I used this time is as follows:
2/3 c shortening
4 eggs
2 2/3 c sugar
2 c mashed banana
2/3 c chopped nuts (I use pecans)
3 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt

Cream the shortening and sugar, beat in the eggs and banana. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Add to the prepared jars and bake as listed above. This recipe makes 7-8 jars.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike's a b*tch

Thanks to Ike, our poor Fair Shares farmer's have been flooded out. These hard working folks don't get the government subsidies because they have chosen to forgo the feed corn and soy for more edible, nutritious and organic crops. Shame on government!
Tonight's dinner had none of the lovely produce we usually get on Wednesday's. I made steamed carrots, green beans and (burnt) pork chops. Yes, I'm not always a great cook. Everyone has their off days and apparently today was mine. A little scraping and they were good enough. We did; however, have some Companion Bread from Fair Shares. Usually by the time we get around to it, its gone fuzzy. But tonight I wanted something from Fair Shares.
We are running into the late season where fresh anything is quickly going out the window. Luckily, the wonder women that run Fair Shares have contracted with some of the Amish in our area for canned goods.
Speaking of: I bought a book on small batch canning that I may have to put to use soon. I can still pick up fresh green beans at the local farmer's market for next to nothing. I've never been much on canned green beans but why not try it out.

To freeze your own green beans all you have to do is blanch them in boiling water until they turn bright green. Remove to an ice bath, pat dry with towels and lay flat on a baking sheet. I usually line the sheet with waxed paper to prevent sticking and freeze until solid. Store in a labeled zip top bag.
To reheat, just steam until you've reached the desired texture. I like them a little crunchy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall into soup!

There's a chill in the air that can only mean fall is on its way. Yay!
Usually on a nice early fall day I will get out all my stock pots (I have a lot) and make every kind of soup I can think of. Roasted red pepper and tomato, chicken chili, steak and bean, vegetable chowder, you name it! All of these soups freeze really well, too.
Here is my Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato recipe:
1 t olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped (I use the Trader Joe's brand, but you could always roast your own)
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or a 28 oz can)
1 1/2 t dried thyme
2 t paprika
1 lg can tomato paste
6 cups broth of choice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 c fat free 1/2 & 1/2
sour cream for garnish (optional)

In a giganto, mungo pot soften onion and garlic in olive oil. Add in tomato, bell peppers, thyme and paprika. Cook over medium heat until reduced by about 1/2. Stir in tomato paste, broth and cayenne. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Puree the entire batch, then add the 1/2 & 1/2 and heat through. Serve with sour cream. It's also good with some pepperoni sprinkled in.
I want to try it with some other add-in's like: corn, rice, chicken or bacon too.
Try it and let me know what you think!

Oh, to freeze: let cool completely and pour into labeled freezer bags. Lie flat on a baking sheet and freeze solid. This will keep for about 4-6 months.
To reheat: let thaw and either heat through on stove top or in microwave.