Tuesday, February 23, 2010
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
4 carrots, julienned (I normally just buy a bag of matchstick carrots and do about 1 small handful per carrot)
1 medium sweet onion, julienned (see my note on How to Cut an Onion Without Crying)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Hot, cooked rice (I use Boil in a Bag)
sesame seeds (optional)
green onions (optional)
In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in 2 tablespoons oil for 6-8 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove chicken and set aside.
In the same skillet, stir-fry carrots in remaining oil for 2 minutes. Add onion; stir-fry about 2-4 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
Combine soy sauce and brown sugar; add to skillet. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet. Boil for 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Serve over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions if desired.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
In a bowl, put lettuce, a handful of cranberries, a handful of nut pieces, a handful of cheese and top with dressing. Voila! A quick and easy side dish!
For simplicity, I cook mine in the crockpot, but you don't have to! Either way is quick and easy! I'll provide steps for both. Oh, and no pictures yet on this one...you'll just have to make it to see it!
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp butter
32 oz box beef broth
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 lb thinly sliced roast beef (I buy it from my grocery store's deli counter...don't ask for it shaved, or they will give you a dirty look! Roast beef is messy to slice, but it is EXTREMELY messy to shave!)
6 deli rolls, split
6 slices provolone cheese
In crockpot, add all ingredients except rolls and cheese. Cook on low for 4 hours. Proceed to Assembling Rolls.
Stove Top directions:
Melt butter and add garlic. Stir in broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Add beef. Return to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 more minutes or until hot.
Butter top and bottom of rolls and place under broiler until brown. Arrange beef on bottom rolls. Slice cheese in half and arrange both halves on top of beef. Place bottom rolls, with beef and cheese, back under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Remove from broiler and place the top roll on top of the cheese. Cut in half at an angle.
Ladle broth into individual bowls. Dip sandwich into broth and enjoy!
A few notes:
* If you like, you can add a small onion, sliced and separated into rings. If you are using the crockpot, add it in with the rest of the ingredients. If you are using the stove top, add it in with the butter and garlic and saute them until they are tender.
* There is ALWAYS more broth than beef, so I usually buy some extra beef and use it for leftovers.
* Side ideas: fried potatoes, fried okra, fried squash (I see a theme developing here), your favorite potato chip, salad.
Tuesday ~ French Dips with Au Jus and Fall Salad
Wednesday ~ Teriyaki Chicken and White Rice
Thursday ~ Frito Chili Pie
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Let me start by saying, that my kid is not the most athletic kid out there...not even close! He started playing soccer a couple of years ago and got lucky to get on a really good team! They kept him around, cuz, well, his dad was the coach! He'd make an occassional goal, but was never one to get in there and "fight for the ball." Not that we cared much, I just wanted him to try his best. I put him in sports for several reasons: 1.) Exercise!!! 2.) To learn how to follow the rules of a game. 3.) To give him the experience of being a part of a team and to learn how what he does affects the team as a whole. Here is a picture of him in his first season of soccer:
After soccer, we moved onto basketball. He played on a junior league (3-on-3). They didn't keep score, they didn't play defense (except inside the box), and the referee was very lenient about things such as dribbling, out of bounds, etc. It is designed as a way to start learning the game.
I noticed right away a big difference in his confidence level. He was able to control the ball, dribble, play defense and even stealing the ball. He would make basket after basket during practice, but the baskets eluded him during the game. Here's a picture of him playing defense:
Then, we moved onto T-ball. Long story, short...it was not the best situation, but we survived. He was able to hit the ball most of the time and mosey to the bases, scored a run here and there, but I didn't really think it was something he was enjoying. This year, we got him on a team that we hope will be a better situation...less stress for him and he has friends on his team...but I digress...here is a picture of him from T-ball...he is leaving 3rd base, headed home (and he made it!):So, I'm telling you all of this because out of the three sports he's played, basketball is definitely where his talent and his confidence seem to lie. He is playing basketball again this year on the junior league and he is doing awesome! He has scored at least one goal in every game, he dribbles well, plays good defense, etc. He needed some "encouragement" on rebounding, so I offered him a quarter for every rebound...since then, he has been more agressive. And Saturday, he did awesome!!! He made 6 baskets and 3 rebounds! I'm so proud and I'm so glad that he has found something that he enjoys and he thinks that he is good at! It is so fun to watch him play with confidence!!! Here are some pictures of him playing basketball this year. The pictures aren't of great quality...hoping to take some more soon!
Stealing the ball
Shooting...love his form!
Okay, just had to get all that off my chest! Back to the recipes!
Also, I halved the recipe, but am writing the recipe as is. It halved well, so feel free to do that if you have a small family, like mine.
The recipe is broken down into 2 parts...the pie and the potatoes...we'll start with the pie:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 carrot, grated
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups beef stock or broth
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (10-oz) package frozen peas
1. Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a 3-qt casserole dish.
2. Brown the beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain and remove from pan. In same pan, saute carrot and onion for 4-5 minutes. Feel free to add a little butter to the pan, if needed.
3. Remove the carrots and onions and melt the butter. Whisk flour into butter...making a roux.
4. Add beef and vegetables to the roux and stir everything together. Add stock, ketchup and Worcestershire and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add peas.
4. Spoon meat mixture into casserole dish.
Okay, now for the potatoes:
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the potatoes start to brown.
5. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Mollie's recipe is for serving large groups, but I wanted to try it as a side dish, so I cut the recipe in third. It was deelish and we will definitely be having it again...who wants to wait for family gatherings or office parties to have it? NOT ME!!!
16 ounce cans of whole Green beans
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 lb. bacon (Mollie uses pepper bacon, I prefer Wright's)
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut Bacon strips in half (or thirds if you use Wright's). Wrap around a bundle of green beans (3 or 4) and place seam down in a square baking dish. Bring sugar, garlic, salt & pepper to boil. Pour over beans. Cover & Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and broil until bacon is done. Here is Mollie's pic...I stole that, too! THANKS, MOLLIE!
Before you begin to devein your shrimp, start by keeping them in a bowl of ice water. This will keep the shrimp fresh while you are working on the others.
If you will be using shrimp that have already been shelled, the only thing you will need is a small, thin, sharp knife. A common paring knife will do. Start by holding the shrimp, backside up, and run your knife down the length of the shrimp. This will expose the vein. To remove the vein you can use your finger, or the tip of your knife to pull it out of the shrimp. You may also run the shrimp under a stream of cold water which, in some case, the vein will simply wash away. When finished, replace the shrimp into the ice water to keep it fresh until you are finished deveining and ready to cook.
Monday, February 15, 2010
This was my NEW recipe of the week to try and boy, was I glad I did! It will definitely be added to my menu list! It's always nice to find something other than beef, chicken or pasta! I was so excited about it, that I forgot to take pictures! Sorry! I will next time I make it!
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (see Note on How to Devein Shrimp)
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce (see picture below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 to 5 cloves garlic, pressed
Here's a couple of pics of Sriracha hot chili sauce, so you know what you are looking for. You can get it anywhere, in the Asian food aisle. I got mine at Target (and it wasn't even a Super Target!)
Mix chili sauce, olive oil, salt, sugar and garlic in a bowl. Put shrimp in a ziploc bag and pour the sauce in. Seal the bag and work the shrimp around to evenly distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for an hour.
Put shrimp on skewers, 5-6 per skewer.
If it is nice and warm outside, feel free to fire up the grill and keep an eye on the shrimp, they will cook quickly!
Since I made them in the dead of winter, I used a grill pan.
Drizzle olive oil into the grill pan and use a paper towel to make sure the surface is covered. Heat the grill pan. When it is hot, lay the skewers. I used a Grill Press to press them down. Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp gets nice and brown. Then flip them over and brown the other side. NOTE: Cooking time on an outdoor grill will be much shorter!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
As you are cutting up the onion, breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.
As simple as it sounds, it has worked wonders for me! Try it and let me know if it works for you, too!
Friday, February 12, 2010
1. Plan ahead! If possible, get an hard, unripened avocado and let it ripen at home! Put it in a paper bag and leave it at room temperature. To quicken the ripening process, add an apple to the bag.
2. A ripe avocado yields to gentle pressure, but is still firm.
3. If it ripens before you are ready to use it, put it in the refrigerator to slow the ripening process.
4. Every time someone presses on an avocado, it bruises the inside of the avocado. If you buy an already ripe avocado and get it home only to find lots of black spots on it, you know it has been handled by many hands...hence the reason for buying a hard, unripened one, if possible!
5. Feel free to ask the produce person if there are any unripened avocados in the back...chances are, there is! They just don't bring them out, because they are trying to get rid of the ripened avocado's first!
6. If you have no choice but to buy a ripe avocado, pick at the stem...if it is loose or comes off easily, it is ripe.
First, here's a funny little story: When I was little, my parents took me to a mexican restaurant and ordered guacamole. When it was served, I wanted NO part of it...I must have thought it looked gross, as most kids do (including mine). My parents told me it was "green ice cream" and convinced me to try it. Well, little did they know what they were getting themselves into! Every time I went to a mexican restaurant after that, I ordered "green ice cream!"
Avocados (see my note on How to Pick an Avocado)
1. Cut avocado in half lengthwise and remove pit. Use spoon to scoop out avocado into a bowl. Mash with fork to your desired consistency. Some people like it chunky, some like to smooth and creamy!
2. Dice red onion (see my note on How to Cut an Onion Without Crying) to your size preference.
3. Dice tomatoes to your size preference. Mix all ingredients together.
4. Sprinkle on a little chili powder and garlic powder. Mix and then taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Don't make it too salty, especially if you are eating it with chips.
You can eat it right away or store it for a short period of time. If you are storing it, cover it with saran wrap. As you put the saran wrap on, press down on it so that it touches the guacamole...this will prevent air from getting to it. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Guacamole is definitely a "make and eat" in one day...it goes bad fast!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
When grating cheese, it is easiest to grate when it is hard, so don't take it out of the refrigerator until you are ready to grate it. Or, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes before you grate it. That way it won't gum up on you.
1 - 1 1/2 lbs chicken
1 small bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
vegetable oil or butter
1 small onion
1 small green bell pepper
fajita or taco sized flour tortillas
guacamole (click on link for my recipe)
cheddar cheese (see my Note about Cheese)
Cut fat from chicken and slice chicken into strips. Put in a container and cover with Zesty Italian Dressing. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour.
I use a grill pan to cook these inside, but you could also use a wok or skillet. In the grill pan, pour a little bit of veggie oil and use a paper towel to make sure the surface is covered in oil. When using butter, I use a couple of tablespoons and melt it in the grill pan...once melted, I swirl it around until the surface is covered.
Slice up bell pepper and add it to the pan. [When slicing bell peppers, I slice from top to bottom. Leaving the core of the pepper intact will help preserve it if you are not using it all at once.]
Slice up onion and add it to the pan. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Scoot pepper and onion to the edge and lay chicken in the pan in a single layer. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then flip to other side. Remove chicken as it cooks. When all chicken has been cooked, add it back to the pan and mix in with peppers and onions.
Heat tortillas according to package. I layer mine with sour cream, guacamole, chicken mixture, cheese and salsa (in that order!):
1 yellow squash (feeds 2 people, adjust accordingly for more)
In another container, put some flour. Take a few pieces of squash at a time, and dredge through flour.Once floured, lay squash to the side.
Once all squash has been floured, check the oil to see if it is hot enough. Throw a little flour on the oil...if it sizzles, it's ready!
Lay squash in oil in a single layer:
and cook until the edges start to turn brown. Then flip squash and let it cook on the other side...
Take a cookie sheet and line with paper towels. As squash finishes, remove to paper towels:
Spoon meat mixture onto buns.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I have grocery shopped in every way possible...day to day, every 2 weeks, as needed, once a month, etc. What I have found works best for me is to plan a week at a time and to do my grocery shopping on Monday. That way there is not enough time for meat and produce to go bad. Now, I have to tell you, that I only cook 4 nights a week (Mon - Thurs). Weekend nights are either out to eat or fend for yourself (or as Cameron likes to call it..."free choices")! So, on Sunday night, I sit down and make up my menu for the next week. I look at my calendar for the next week and see what nights need to be super easy...for example, the nights that Cameron has practice or if I am at his school all afternoon, the last thing I want to do is come home and cook a big meal. Then I make my menu accordingly. Now, call me anal if you wish, but I keep a list of meals that my family likes written down and I also keep a calendar of what I fix when...that way, I space out my meals so that my family doesn't get sick of anything. I can go 2 months without having to cook the same meal twice! As time consuming as this might all sound, I can have my menu and my list done in 30 minutes or less!
I also make it a point to try one, and no more than one, new recipe a week. I like to continually expand my menu, but my husband gets tired of being a guinea pig, so I try not to subject him to new things more than once a week! ha! I look for new recipes in cookbooks, blogs, websites or recommendations from friends. I am constantly looking for new stuff. That is one reason I started this blog, in hopes that you would share your favorite recipes with me!
I strongly recommend making a list when you go to the grocery store...that way you can get everything you need in one trip...no forgetting anything! For me, multiple trips to the grocery store means more money spent! I wouldn't even know where to start without my list! Last but not least, I stick to my list! Not to say I don't occassionally buy something not on the list, but I try to keep to it, the best I can! It has taken many years for me to get this system down, but I have been using it for about the last 5 years or so and it works for me!!!
Now on to this weeks menu:
Monday - BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Fried Squash
Tuesday - Chicken Fajitas, Guacamole and Rice
Wednesday - Firecracker Shrimp and Green Bean Bundles
Thursday - Shepherd's Pie
I'll post the recipes each day...
Happy Meal Planning!