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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Saturday, March 03, 2012
She Lives!
It's obvious that this blog has gone inactive. Most, if not all, of you who followed along have become my Facebook friends. Facebook really took away my blogging mojo.

I have been thinking of a new blog for about a year now, so I'm going to give it a shot.  Feel free to follow me there...


and to quote Bob Hope, thanks for the memories!

Thursday, November 18, 2010
A Week Late
Tonight was another day coming home late.  I think this may be our new normal.  I'd pulled out the tilapia last night to thaw and planned to finally make those fish tacos I was supposed to make last week.  The fish wasn't quite finished thawing, so Sera & Jim got a snack.  They loaded up on Triscuits and spinach dip while I started dinner.  I was slightly delayed waiting for the fish to finish thawing, so Sera went looking for another snack.  I told her that dinner was coming soon so no more snacks.  She groaned and said, "but I don't like dinner, Mommy."  I told her she didn't even know what we were having.  She replied with a distinct sneer, "Yes, I do.  Healthy food." 

Healthy food or not.  She wanted to help.  I called her after I fried the fish to help assemble the tacos.  I put her on shredded cabbage detail.  She loves helping in the kitchen, and she loved the fish tacos. 

Baja Fish Tacos

1 c flour
1 t salt
½ t ground pepper
1 ¾ lbs tilapia, cut into strips
1 c water, club soda, or beer (I used water since that’s what I had)
¼ c mayonnaise
¼ c ketchup
1 lime, halved crosswise
vegetable oil
shredded cabbage
additional lime wedges
hot pepper sauce

Whisk flour, salt, and pepper in bowl; pour in water or club soda, whisking until batter is smooth. Let stand 15 minutes.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lime juice over each strip. Let stand 15 minutes.

Mix mayonnaise and ketchup. Refrigerate until tacos are ready to assemble.

Mix fish into batter.

Pour oil into medium skillet and pre-heat. Slide fish strips into oil. Fry until golden.

Fill warm tortilla with 2 fish strips. Top with sauce, cabbage, squeeze of lime, and dash of hot pepper sauce.


Sunday, November 14, 2010
Comfort Foods-Updated
It almost didn't happen today, but I pulled out week 3.  Didn't make it to the grocery store to make two of the recipes I had planned, so I went with what I had on hand.

Menu for this week:

Still plan on having those fish tacos.  Can't let the ingredients rot on me.  I'm thinking Tuesday night dinner this week before I run out of steam.

Shepard's Pie

Chicken and Noodles

Roasted Carrots

Cauliflower Puree

My recipes this week are more empty out the frig and pantry types. The shepard's pie isn't traditional.  It's the kid-friendly version.

First, I peeled and cut the carrots.  Tossed them with olive oil and salt and roasted at 450 for 30 minutes, stirring once.  I was planning to add them to both the ground beef and chicken dishes, but only had enough for one.

I also started steaming the cauliflower I had in the frig in chicken broth until it was soft.  I then pureed it and added salt & butter.

Shepard's Pie
2 lbs ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced
3 T flour
1 box beef broth
1 can mushrooms
1 can peas
1 can corn
1 can cream of mushroom soup
cauliflower puree

Brown ground beef and onions until cooked through.  Sprinkle with flour and cook, while stirring, for a few minutes.  Add beef broth.  When it begins to boil, reduce to simmer and add mushrooms, peas, and corn. 

I served this mixture over the cauliflower puree for Sera.  She enjoyed it.

When I went to pour this into the casserole dishes, it seemed too dry to me, so I added the remaining puree and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I was trying to avoid the soup, but I needed it this time.

The night we eat it, I will cover the top of the casserole with mashed potatoes and some shredded cheese.

Chicken and Noodles

2 lbs chicken tenders, poached & cut into chunks
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/2 lg onion, diced
2 T flour
2 boxes chicken broth, low sodium
6 carrots, roasted
2 cans mushrooms
1 can peas
1 bag Amish-style frozen noodles

Heat Dutch oven over high/med-high heat.  Add olive oil and butter.  When butter has melted, add onions and saute until translucent.  Sprinkle flour and cook, while stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Don't let the roux get too brown, but cook enough to get out the flavor of raw flour.  Whisk in one box of broth.  Add chicken and vegetables.  Add more broth as needed, and bring to boil.  Add noodles and return to boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook until noodles are done.  Add broth as needed.  The noodles will continue to absorb and thicken broth, so you may  need to add more broth when reheating.

I hope to avoid having two such similar style recipes for the same week, but I was limited by the emptiness of my refrigerator veggie drawer and reduced to pantry back ups.  With that in mind, I was impressed with what I got done.  These are two old stand by recipes that Jim and Sera both love, so we're good for another week.  Even better, I actually used all the produce I've purchased over the last two weeks instead of throwing out bags of rotting vegetables.

Update - I decided to take a quick photo when I heated up the chicken & noodles for tonight's dinner.  Forgive the quality.  My kitchen lighting stinks, and I used my phone camera.


Saturday, November 13, 2010
Sunday Cooking, Take Two
For my second week of Sunday afternoon cooking, I decided on the following menu:

beef stew
macaroni & cheese
fish tacos
prep cauliflower

The macaroni and cheese recipe comes from an old friend.  She posted it on Facebook, and I was intrigued.  It's a recipe that is made in a crock pot.  It only takes 2 1/2 hours, so it's not a good one to leave going when you're heading out for a day at work.  It did sound interesting though to bring to a carry-in.  I could lug all the ingredients with me to work.  Toss it together, plug it in, and it would be ready by lunch.

For the beef stew, I wanted to try a new recipe.  I love beef stew, but I've never really loved it when I made it.  I always made it the way I remembered my mother making it.  I remember loving hers, but I never loved mine.  I saw a recipe on a blog that was an adaptation of a Cook's Illustrated recipe that looked interesting.

The meatballs were from another blog.  The blog writer called them "Yummy Balls", and said her family loved them. 

And the fish tacos were in my recipe archive.  I think I got them from a cooking board years ago.

Results first, and then recipes.

Macaroni and cheese was very good.  Surprisingly, it developed a crispy topping.  Sera did not care for it because it wasn't creamy like the box stuff.

The beef stew was just amazing.

The meatballs were a little garlic heavy and the rice did not cook in the stated time.  I baked them for an additional 1/2 hour, but they were still crunchy.  I would make them again, but I'd double the sauce.  I think they need to be completely submerged.

And the fish tacos never got made.  I saved it for the end of the week.  They were to be Thursday's dinner, but they didn't the fish didn't thaw fast enough.  In fact, they were still frozen when I checked them Friday morning.  On Friday, we decided to go out for dinner and by Saturday, the fish had turned.  Poor planning on my part.  I'll add the recipe after I try it.

The cauliflower didn't get used either.  I haven't checked it, but I'm hoping it's still okay.  I plan to either roast it or puree it.

I neglected to mention in my previous post that I froze half of the chili and roasted vegetable soup.  I also froze half of the beef stew.  My goal is to get to the point that I only do this batch cooking 1-2 Sundays a month.

Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz. elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place cooked macaroni in slow cooker that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Reserve 1 cup cheese; add rest of cheese and the other ingredients to the macaroni. Mix well. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cook on HIGH at least 2-1/2 hours. Do not remove cover or stir until ready to serve.

To bake in a conventional oven: spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour in macaroni mixture and top with additional cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until set and the top is golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Mr. Food.
Via Pat Barnes

Hearty Beef Stew

recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated via Joelen's Culinary Adventures

5 pounds boneless beef chuck eye roast, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 onions, minced (about 4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour, seasoned
2 cups red wine
2 cups low sodium chicken or beef broth (I used beef)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound baby carrots (I just peeled & sliced my own)
1 cup button mushrooms, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (I was planning to use dried & that is when I learned I was out)
2 bay leaves
2 cups frozen peas (I'm a LeSeur girl myself)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke or fond begins to burn. Transfer beef to large plate. Repeat with remaining beef and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.

Reduce heat to medium and return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion to Dutch oven and stir to combine with beef. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.

Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Increase heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, bay leaves, thyme, and soy sauce. Bring to simmer, cover, transfer to preheated oven, and cook for 1½ hours.

Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves. At this point, I removed half to a freezer container.  To the rest, add carrots and potatoes, cover, return to oven, and cook until vegetables are almost tender, about 45 minutes.

Using large spoon, skim any excess fat from surface of stew. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over medium heat on the stovetop until meat offers little resistance when poked with fork (meat should not be falling apart), about 15 minutes. Stir in frozen peas, and allow to warm through. Check for seasoning and serve.

Yummy Balls
via Foodmomiac

1 pound ground beef 
½ pound ground pork
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup uncooked rice 
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 can tomato soup 
1 can water

Combine all ingredients except soup and water. Form into golf ball-sized balls and place into a greased 9 x 13 pan. In a small bowl mix soup with water then pour mixture over meatballs. Bake in a 375º oven for one hour. (Next time, I'd make the meatballs smaller and increase the soup/water mix.  After one hour, the rice was still crunchy.  I think it's because the top half of the meatballs were not in the sauce.  I covered the pan with foil and cooked them for another half hour to get the rice less crunchy.)


Helloooo looo looo
I'm not foolish enough to think anyone is out there, but it's time to revive the ole blog.  It started as my way of keeping a record, and so it shall continue. 

Cooking has always been something I enjoy and hate.  I love cooking when I'm in a clean, well-equipped kitchen with ideas and ingredients on hand.  I hate coming home with no clue what to serve for dinner and less than two hours before Sera should be in bed.

I take on short term projects here and there, but I've wanted to get into a better routine for feeding my family.  Over the summer, I started making my own Greek yogurt and canned up some cherry preserves, but didn't get into day-to-day like I wanted.

I've been wanting to do this particular project for some time, and finally started it two weeks ago.  So far, I really like it.  What is it,  you ask?

Cooking on Sunday for the week.

I'm going to use the blog to record what I've made and if it was successful.  I'm also going to include recipes because it makes a handy way of remembering what version I've tried.  If I ever get the lighting figured out in my kitchen, I might even add photos.

One of the big things I'm doing is prepping vegetables for the week.  Fresh vegetables cook fairly quickly, but the prep can be very time consuming.

My first Sunday afternoon was mainly one of chopping.  I prepped butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.  I also made chili.  I did my standard chili this time.  Next time, I plan to use my sister's recipe. 

Our menu for that first week was chili for two nights.  Once with fritos and cheese, and once as the filling for omelets.  The vegetables were roasted and served with grilled chicken.  I made the leftover veggies into a roasted vegetable soup for another night's dinner with sandwiches.

Chili - this isn't a "real" recipe.  It's just what I tend to throw together after I see what the pantry has.  It changes slightly each time. The seasonings are to taste.

4 lbs ground beef
2 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 cans chili beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes with chili seasonings
garlic powder
chile powder
ancho chile powder
salt & pepper

Brown ground beef and drain.  Saute onions and peppers until softened in large Dutch oven.  Add ground beef and remaining ingredients.  Use seasonings to taste.  Bring to simmer and let cook on low for approximately two hours.

Roasted Vegetables

1 butternut squash
2 large sweet potatoes
6 med carrots
2 large parsnips
olive oil
kosher salt

Peel and chop all veggies to approximately the same size.  Place on baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Roast at 425 for one hour or until vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. I only roasted them for about 40 minutes, and that was not long enough.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

Place leftover vegetables into blender and add chicken broth. Puree until smooth and pour into Dutch oven.  Do this in batches so you don't over fill the blender. Add chicken broth as needed to thin out the puree to proper soup consistency.  Add herbs such as dill, rosemary, parsley, etc...  I sauteed some diced onion in the Dutch oven before adding puree.  Next time, I'll add onions and garlic to the baking sheet before roasting vegetables.  Also add spices to taste such as garlic, salt, pepper, etc...


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