Monday, September 29, 2008
5 medium tomatoes (any variety, use 6-7 if they're smaller Romas)
1 large carrot
olive oil (to drizzle or spray)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock (or 2 tsp/cubes bullion + 2 cups water)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Quarter tomatoes. Arrange cut side up on baking tray. Peel carrot, cut into large pieces and add to tray. Spray with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 45 min at 375*F.
2. Dump veggies into blender or food processor. Add garlic, basil, vinegar, and 1 cup stock. Blend well. Taste, add more stock to thin to desired consistency. Serve either hot or chilled, ideally with a cheddar grilled cheese sandwich.
This soup will freeze well, and is a great way to preserve some of those wonderful summer tomatoes. I wanted to add a sprinkle of chipotle powder... but I seem to have misplaced it. It was yummy the way it was.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
1 cup shortening (Crisco, lard, butter, or marg)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 egg (beat and discard 1/2)
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1. Beat egg w/ fork in measuring cup. Leave 1/2 egg in cup. Add vinegar to egg and then add enough liquid to make 100 ml (scant 1/2 cup) liquid.
2. Measure dry ingredients into bowl. Stir. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender or 2 knives until the size of peas. Add liquids. Stir lightly with a fork, then mix into a ball with your hands.
3. Divide pastry in half. Roll between waxed paper. Ease one portion into pie pan. Remaining portion is for top crust.
5-6 apples, peeled cored and sliced
2/3 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter/margarine
1. Preheat oven to 425*F.
2. Combine apples, flour, cinnamon, and sugar. Put into crust. Dot with butter.
3. Add top crust. Be sure to cut a few vents (holes), and seal the crusts together.
4. Bake 15 min. Reduce oven heat to 350*F and bake until crust is lightly browned - about 35 more minutes.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Chicken Souvlaki was great - I will make it again, just the same. Big pieces are the key, as they get very well marinaded. To leave a bit of chicken taste, the pieces should be about twice as big as they would be if you were eating them the day they were made. 5/5
Chicken in Enchilada Sauce - also great. The sauce definitely thins upon thawing, but it's still very tasty. Served with Black Bean and Corn Salad and tortillas. A nice, easy meal for after we got back from our weekend road trip. 5/5
I really feel like I'm getting better at choosing recipes that freeze well. I have my doubts about the Pineapple Chicken Curry, but time will tell.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Then I read all the reviews and modified it kind of a lot. So I present to you:
Uncanny's Chewy Granola Bars
3 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup rice crispies
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter/margarine
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (mini if you've got 'em)
1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or other nuts)
1. Preheat oven to 325*. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.
2. In large bowl, mix everything except the chocolate raisins and nuts. Add those after the oatmeal mixture is well mixed. Mix it up so everything is well distributed.
3. Press into pan. Bake for 18-22 min, until golden brown. Cool 10 min, slice. Cool completely before removing from pan.
There is lots of room to change this recipe to your liking - add more fruit and less chocolate, more chocolate and less nuts. Use whatever strikes your fancy. Add some puffed wheat. Take out the rice crispies. As long as the general proportions are right, it'll be fine.
And my oh my, is it fine. About a hundred times better than anything that comes in a wrapper.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The recipe I used was from the Looneyspoons cookbook. I can't find it online anywhere, but I'm off today so you're lucky enough to get it typed:
The Rice is Right (Fried Rice)
1/2 cup eggs (2)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp canola oil
1 c chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c each chopped carrots and celery
1/2 c chopped green onions
1 tsp grated ginger root
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
4 cups cooked brown rice
1. Whisk eggs and sesame oil. Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet or wok. Pour in eggs, cook until set (about 3 min). Remove from pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
2. Spray skillet with a little more oil/nonstick spray. Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, green onions, and ginger. Stir fry over medium heat for about 5 min, until veggies are softened. Add soy sauce, honey, egg, rice. Mix well, cook 2-3 min until heated through.
Modifications I made last time:
Subbed chicken for egg (about 2 breasts, we like it chickeny)
Used half white/half brown rice
Used only carrots and snow peas, as DH doesn't like onions, celery, or green onions. I do add a lot of onion powder to replace the flavour.It's a yummy, really easy recipe.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I've read every Once A Month or freezer cookbook my library has to offer. One wonderful thing I picked up from one of them was how to strategize a shopping list. You're probably thinking "I've been shopping for years. How hard can it be?" Harder than you think. It's condensing a few weeks of random meals into one trip. It's also kind of hard to keep track of what you need to buy vs. what's already in the house.
So I present to you the Once A Month Cooking Shopping List . It makes it easy to record what each recipe requires, sum it all up, subtract what you've got, and then move it over to a printable, easy to follow in the store list. Considering the fact that half the published cookbooks seem to screw up the shopping list, using a method like this is a godsend. If you're the type of person that just menu plans every week, or if you're just learning to cook and slowly getting a full pantry going, this would also be useful. It makes it much easier to buy exactly what you need - no more, no less.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Mission accomplished! Today's mega-menu included:
1. Simple Lasagna
2. Sloppy Joes
3. Grilled Fish
4. Sweet n Hot Pasta Sauce
5. Ham and Swiss Quiche
6. Chicken Fried Rice
7. Chicken Enchilada filling
8. Chicken Curry with pineapple
9. Chicken Souvlaki
I used the usual plan of attack. I put the meat into the fridge last night to thaw. It didn't quite make it to "thawed", but the chicken just went into the oven anyway. The hamburger spent a couple minutes in the microwave and turned out fine. As soon as the chicken was roasting, I put on the rice. I like to cook my rice like pasta - lots of water, drain when the time's up. It works better for me that way, and it's impossible to burn.
I did the beef dishes first. Lasagna was a little fiddly for a Big Cook day. It will be good, but I'm not sure I'll try to do it in with everything else again. I lined the pan with foil before filling it, so the plan is to reclaim my pan after the lasagna is a nicely frozen brick. Sloppy Joes went much quicker and again smelled so good I can't wait to eat them.
Chicken came second. I avoided vinegar-based sauces this time. The fried rice looks fabulous, and the enchilada sauce is always great. I will admit: I don't even really know what an enchilada is supposed to be. I live a loooong way from Mexico. I do know that this sauce + chicken = delicious.
Last but not least, I did the other stuff. Mixing a marinade for the fish, whipping up some pasta sauce, and assembling two quiche. Quiche is currently on my shit-list, as it's impossible to get frozen without making a mess. I think I give up, and I doubt I'll make them again. Which kills me, as they are so, so tastey. I guess I'll have to suck it up and just make one the day I want it.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Well, while looking for recipes for this round of cooking in this book, I realized it was time to get the turkey out of the freezer... and probably, back into the freezer. I managed to remember to throw it in the fridge to thaw on Thursday, and yesterday, I cooked my very first turkey all by myself. I wish I had taken a picture. I didn't. We were in a hurry to eat and get to church, so I'll just pretend this is my turkey:
Ginger Beef: 4/5 as prepared... could be a 5/5 dish if the brocolli wasn't totally cooked to mush. Next time I would just barely blanch the veggies. Cooking the beef ahead worked well, and premaking the sauce sped up the whole meal a lot. And I just love that sauce.