Thursday, March 31, 2011

Comfort food... chop suey

There are somethings that I just love to make and feed my family.  Chop Suey is one of those.  It started from my Mother in Laws recipe.  I promise I didn't make that many changes.  And it's so good.  It just is warm and tasty and good.  It makes me happy to make it and to eat it.  Good stuff.

I love it because it starts with simple ingredients.

Beef.  Stew meat, a roast all cubed up.  Whatever you have
1 onion, thinly sliced
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a big pot over medium high heat.  (you'll see it's the pot I always use.)

Add the onion and cook until they start to soften.  Add the beef.  Salt ad pepper it well.  Also throw the garlic powder in there as well.  You'll want to put enough seasoning on it so that you can see it.

Brown the beef.

When your beef is brown add enough water to cover it (I use about 5 cups) and then add the celery.

Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

After you've simmered it for that long, bring it back up to a boil. Then take a cup of the broth out of the pot.  Add a couple of tbsps of flour to the cup of broth and whisk it well.  This will ensure smooth gravy.

Add the flour/broth mixture back into the big pot.  Stir well.

Serve over rice, with soy sauce.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm pretty proud of my boys... Thai lettuce cups

My boys are great.

They are smart.

They are cute.

They will try just about anything.

Tonight, they had thai food.  And they ate it.  And liked it. 

And they don't even like lettuce (or at least they thought before they had this!).

Let me say before I give you the recipe... I highly, highly recommend doubling this recipe.  The original recipe says 6 servings, but there is no way.  Plus, leftovers would be awesome!

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 TBSP olive oil
1 green pepper
1/2 package of fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp basil
1/4 c chili sauce
2 TBSP honey
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into quarters and leaves sperated to make cups
1/2 c honey roasted peanuts
Lime juice 

Salt the chicken.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken.

Cook until chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes.

Add the pepper, mushrooms, scallion and basil.  Cook 3 minutes.

Add the chili sauce and honey until it's reduced slightly.

Arrange the lettuce cups on a plate.

Spoon the chicken mixture into the cups.  Sprinkle with lime juice and top with peanuts.

Wrap it up like a taco and ENJOY!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday Special.... Roast and potatoes

Sunday special is a winter favorite around here.  I grew up with it, Husband grew up with it... my boys are growing up with it.  It especially tastes good when you don't accidently knock the button on the crock pot from high to low... just sayin.

Roast (this time I used a rolled roast)
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper

Get out the crockpot.

Salt and pepper the roast.  Give it a good sprinkling, because the veggies don't get salted in my version.

Put the roast in the crockpot.

Then surround it with the veggies (I peel everything but the potatoes and just chunk them pretty largely.)

Sprinkle the onion soup mix on top.

Pour the mushroom soup (actually, you'll more likely glob it) it on top.

Set the crockpot for 4-6 hours on high.  Leave it alone.

Eat it... enjoy it.   We were super hungry after making a stop on the way home from church, so we inhaled it.  Which means no plate pictures for you... Im so sorry!

I've done roasts a bunch of ways, but we always come back to this one... its the best!

Monday Menu Planning

Here's our menu for the week:

Monday- Thai Chicken Lettuce cups
Tuesday- Grammies Chop Suey
Wednesday- Work
Thursday- Work
Friday- Chicken Tinga tacos
Saturday- Cheeseburger Omlettes
Sunday- Pita Pizza

What's on yours?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A new family favorite! Upside down chicken tostada bake

I was surfing the net (do people still call it that?) a while back with Big Man on my lap.  We found this great new website with a ton of recipes.   And we picked a new recipe to try. 

Then, being who we are, we modified it.  And it was so good.  Super duper good.... as in... Little Guy ate it all.  even the corn.  So it's going in the "Winner winner, chicken dinner" pile.

4 chicken breasts (because we had company)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp cumin
a pinch of chipotle powder
1 tsp mexican seasoning (taco seasoning.. whatever it is you use)
2 cups chopped tomatoes (feel free to use a can of the diced ones... we just happened to have frozen)
1 can black beans
1 cup corn (we used frozen, again, canned would be fine too)
1 pkg dry ranch seasoning
1 can crescent rolls (with the seams pinched together)
sprinkle of garlic powder
spritz of olive oil
1 c cheddar cheese

Looks like alot, right?  It's not too bad.  Start by heating your oven to 350.

In a large pot, cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil. 

Add the sliced chicken breast.  Add the cumin, mexican seasoining and chipolte powder.  Cook until the chicken is done through.

Make sure you don't go crazy with the powder unless you like it spicy... I used this much and it was perfect for us.

Add the corn, beans and tomatoes.  Heat for 5 minutes until warmed through.  Add the ranch seasoning.

Spray a 9x13 pan and lay the yumminess into the pan.

At this point, I put it in the fridge and went to a birthday party.  While I'm sure my neice would appreciate all of you bringing her gifts (she's 13!!), it's not neccessary for you to go do that.

Roll the crescent rolls onto the top of the goodness.  Spray with olive oil and then sprinkle with the garlic powder.

Bake for 20 minutes, until it starts to brown.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Take it out and let it sit for 10 minutes to come back together.

Serve with sour cream and salsa.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Come on Spring... Slider burgers

Have I mentioned that I'm ready for spring/summer food?  I was looking around at summer salads and now I'm ready.  Bring it on. 

We had burgers for dinner... classic spring/summer food.  I made sliders, which are just burgers that actually fit the little buns that are in the stores. 

In this you'll notice I add bread crumbs to my meat.  It's simply because we buy a 1/4 cow and since it comes frozen, it thaws a bit wetter than fresh burger.

1 lb ground beef
1/4 c bread crumbs
2 tbsp parmesean cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
a splash of olive oil

Put all the ingredients into the mixerexcept the olive oil and turn it together on low.  (feel free to mix it with your hands if you'd rather get messy)

Seperate into 6 equal pieces and squish it into patties.  Make sure you get the edges pushed together really well and make it pretty thin.

Brush it with olive oil for easy grilling.

Cook the burgers (Husband does this step perfectly!) either on the grill or on a kitchen griddle.



Friday, March 25, 2011

It was bound to happen... smoked sausage and au gratin potatoes...

At some point, it was bound to happen.  I've known it all along.

It was just a matter of time.

I made dinner last night and it was less than spectacular. 

It wasn't nasty.

It was edible.

But it wasn't good. 

So I'm going to work on the recipe and at some point, I'll share it.

Instead of using the recipe that I did... go get a box of augratin potatoes.  They'll taste better.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let's make it easy.... Slow cooker chicken stock

I use alot of chicken stock/ boullion/ broth in a lot of my recipes.  Soup, for instance, is alot of broth.  And I cooked all that chicken last week.  So I decided to make my own.  I've done it before, so it wasn't that strange.  But I don't have a ton of time this week, it seems.  So I sat and wondered, when am I going to get this done?  And then...


the crockpot.

Why not use that and I don't have to be home, and I don't have to remember it's on the stove, and I don't have to have a big chunk of time to make the stock?

Sometimes, I suprise myself.

So I started looking around and found that adding vinegar to the stock helps draw out the calcium from the bones, making better stock.  So here's what I'm doing....

Chicken bones (and a small amount of meat left on them) from last week.
Carrots- I used three cut up to fit in the crockpot
Onions- One big one cut to fit
Garlic- Four cloves I had left in the fridge
Sage- because I like it in chicken.
Fresh ground pepper- just cranked over the top
Vinegar- a good splash (1 TBSP?) of Red wine vinegar

Stick it all in the crockpot. 

Add enough water so that the water sits about 1 inch below the top of the crock pot.

Let sit for 1 hour to start and draw the goodness from the bones.

Cook on low for 9 hours.  (after that I'll check it and make sure the flavor is deep enough.  If it isn't I'll keep it on low overnight)

Let it cool, strain it and then put it in freezer jars, about 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Freeze.

Try it out.  Can't hurt, you were just going to throw those bones out anyway. =)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday menu planning...

Monday- Vegetable beef soup (yes, the first real repeat!!)
Tuesday- Work
Wednesday- Work
Thursday- Smoked sausage and scallopped potato
Friday- Sliders and fries
Saturday- Upside down tostada bake
Sunday- Roast (sunday special!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Double Duty Dinner.... Spicy roasted chicken/ chicken bbq

Friday night was another roasted chicken night.  And it's not that different from the one I made before.  Instead of those spices, I used the chipotle rub from Pampered Chef and some onion powder.  I baked it the same.  But this time, I made two chickens.

Not so much because we wanted to eat two chickens, but because I wanted leftovers.  And there aren't many leftovers with one roasted chicken.

This way I make it a double duty dinner.  The first night was a whole chicken, with stuffing and corn.

The second meal was chicken bbqs with chips and tamales (because they're good and a friend gave them to us at church this morning!).

As for the roasted chicken, this is what it looked like out of the oven.

This is what it looked like when I was done.

And then, to make it stretch even further, I'll boil the chicken bone with some spices (garlic, onion, thyme and sage) and make chicken stock for soup next week.

Gotta love it when your chicken makes dinner three nights in a week!

And here's the easy peasy leftover chicken recipe.

Chicken picked from a  roaster
1/2 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce.

Heat them together in a pan and then put it on a good roll.

See how easy it was!   Enjoy!!! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Trust me, you want to see this post.... Chocolate chip cookie PIE

This is what I'm making tonight.   And I'm sure it will be amazing.  everything I've tried from her has been.   

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you how the chicken I made last night has become a double duty dinner.   But for now, I'm looking forward to dessert.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A post without pictures... Kale chips.

I made kale chips last week. And of course, I forgot to take pictures.  But I promised Ramona that I'd post the recipe.  So today, you get a post without pictures. 

One bunch Kale
olive oil (in a mister like the one from Pampered Chef, or a misto)
Garlic powder

Remove the stems from the kale.  By doing this, you will also be cutting the kale into smaller pieces.

Arrange it in a single layer on a cookie sheet. 

Spray the kale with olive oil.

Sprinkle a good pinch of salt over the kale, follow that with a good pinch of garlic powder.

Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, flipping it over half way through.  Mine took longer than that, so make sure you keep an eye on it and if it's not crispy, then keep flipping it until it's all crispy and good. 

It makes a great vehicle for all those yummy dips out there!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back to making meals.... lemony shrimp and grits

I love eating out.  I love going to new places that I haven't tried before.  I love finding little places that use local food and going there. 

But it's only good for so long before I'm ready to eat at home again.  Last night I made Lemony Shrimp and Grits.

3/4  c grits
3 c water
1/4 c parmesean cheese
3 TBSP butter
1 1/4 c shrimp
2 cloves garlic
pinch cayanne pepper
juice of half a lemon

Bring the water to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat, whisk in grits and stir, with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir until they are cooked, 5 minutes.  Add parmesean and 1 TBSP butter.   remove from heat, cover to keep warm.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium high heat.  

Season shrimp with salt, pepper and cayanne. 

Add the garlic and seasoned shrimp to the butter and toss until the shrimp are cooked through, 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and add 3 TBSP of water to the butter/garlic yumminess.  Add the lemon juice and stir to coat the shrimp.

Serve the shrimp over the grits. 


A huge thanks if you stopped by from Eat at Home!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wishing it was summer... oven fries

Tonight it was one of those nights that I was ready for summer.  Ready to grill, ready to eat outside, ready to be warm and sit in the sun.  So we had grilled chicken sausages, done up like hotdogs with feta, mustard, onions (on mine and the Big Guy's) and celery salt.  And to go with those we had our new favorite side dish, oven fries. 

They're pretty simple, but they taste good and they're so much better for you than the fries you'd get at the burger joint down the street.

Three big potatoes
olive oil (in a spray bottle like a misto or the one by Pampered Chef)

Take the potato and slice off one of the sides so you have a flat surface to work on.  Then cut the rest of the sides, leaving only a little skin on the top.

Slice the potato into 1/2 inch slices.

Then turn it and cut it into sticks.

Put them on a cookie sheet and spray them well with the olive oil.  Sprinkle them with salt.

Put them in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.   Then stick them on a high broil for another 10 minutes or until they start to look brown.  (These did not get very brown, we were hungry!)

Serve with burgers, or sausage, or hot dogs... or just about anything else.


Monday Menu planning

It was a crazy week.  Husband was out of town on business.  We got away (without kids!!) for the weekend.  Had some great food, learned some good concepts at the conference we went to... it was a good weekend.  But it made for a lazy blog week.

I apologize and I'm getting back to it this week.

This weeks menu plan:
Monday- chicken sausage and oven fries
Tuesday- Lemony shrimp and grits
Wednesday- work
Thursday- work
Friday- Oven roasted chicken (lemon pepper this time!)
Saturday- Chop Suey
Sunday- BBQ chicken sandwiches

Have a great week!  Hope to see you around here!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Forgetful... Gnocchi with tomato sauce

So I completely forgot to take pictures for this blog.  How in the world do I do that?  I make the meal, I dream up the post that I'll write, and yet I still forget to take the pictures.  duh.

Oh well, the meal was fantastic.  You'll just have to believe me that it looked pretty too.

1 package gnocchi
1/2 c green pepper, diced
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp red pesto sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomato
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp parmasean cheese

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute the green peppers for just a couple minutes, until they start to soften.

Add the red pesto (I'm sure that regular pesto would be fine too, but this red stuff was really good!) and warm through.

Add the diced tomato and cook until it starts to not taste so "fresh."  About 5 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, paste and garlic powder.

Add the parmesean cheese.  

Cook the gnocchi according to packge directions.  Mine took about 2 minutes to cook. 

Add the gnocchi to the sauce and serve.

We added some leftover italian sausage to ours and it was really good!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Sorry it's been so long... Overnight oats

My computer died.  Well, the power cord did anyway.  And the computer was dying... it had been stepped on, taped, and was on it's last leg.  So I've neglected the blog.  I'm sorry. 

Today I was having coffee with my dad and telling him about the steel cut oats I made last week.  So this recipe is for him.  And my Auntie.  Now go make them!

This recipe makes two servings of Overnight Oats.  It is pretty good warmed up (or so I hear since I don't care for any kind of oatmeal!).  Husband says it's as good as McD's.... with less sugar.  And there aren't pictures because I wasn't sure how they would turn out! =)  But I'll make them again this week... maybe I'll add the pictures then.

1/2 c Steel Cut Oats
2 c Water
1/4 c Milk or half and half
1/2 c Raisins
1 tsp butter
pinch of salt and pich of sugar

First, in a non-stick pan, melt the butter.  Toast the oats, stirring constantly, in the butter.  Add the pinch of salt and sugar to the oats after they've toasted.

Then in a small crock pot, mix the oats, milk, and water.  Set the crockpot to warm (not low but warm!) and cook overnight, about 8 hours.

The result is creamy, sweet and pretty stinking healthy!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The family that plays together... Wario Meatball Sandwiches with caramelized onions

We play together. 
We play Mario Kart.
We play alot.
Even the 3 year old.
He usually "wooses."  But he's good with that.  In fact he likes it.
So when I told the boys we were having meatball sandwiches, Little Guy decided they would be "Wario" sandwiches.  Wario is my favorite guy to race with.

1 TBSP Olive oil
1 Onion, sliced thin
Meatballs, homemade or frozen
2 cans tomato sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
Sub buns
Provolone cheese slices

Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil.
Add onions.  Stir every 5 minutes.

When they start to brown, turn the heat down to low.  Continue to cook on low, stirring every 5 minutes until they reached the level of brown that looks good.   Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.

In a medium pan, warm the meatballs in the tomato sauce with the spices.

When everything is good and warm, hollow out the sub buns. 
Place the onions in the hollowed out bun. 
Add the meatballs to the sub buns. 
Cover with the cheese.
Broil on high until the cheese is bubbly.