Ginger and Licorice

Ginger and Licorice
Our cats and Labrador

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Don't Care What the Calendar Says

I don't care what the calendar says.  The first day of winter for ME is the day that it is 35 degrees F or below outside at 3 in the afternoon.  To warm myself up on my first day of  my winter I made myself a cup of Ghiradelli®Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa plus a teaspoon of Medaglia D'Oro® Instant Espresso Coffee.  Add a dash of cinnamon and it's the perfect chocolatey afternoon pick-me-up.

Monday, November 4, 2013

All Prepped and Ready to Go!

BGS didn't seem to mind Meatless Monday's meatless factor.  Aside from the fact that it was late and the salad dressing I went with was just plain *blech*, he enjoyed it, I believe.    That said, the slicing for the fruit salad took WAY too much time.  I actually timed it.  40 minutes start to finish for chopping 2 apples and 2 pears into slices.  Looking back at the recipe it DID say half-moons so I probably made more work for myself by slicing them top-to-bottom.

A friend asked for pictures next time so I will try to take pictures tomorrow as I make the Burgundy Pot Roast (I think that's what it's called)

I started tonight by pre-chopping the carrots and celery so all I have to do is add them to the slow cooker when I start it up around ...oh heck the book is downstairs and I'm not going to go get it after the day I had....I'll tell everyone tomorrow....

GNight :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ooooh baby it's getting cold outside - mostly

As it gets a bit colder and half the leaves are gone from the trees in our yards I think most of us start thinking of stews and soups and pot roast and welll...the list goes on. I am no exception.  As a lot of you are aware, I ALWAYS feel cold.  So this week is a week to keep warm.

Both the walnuts and salad dressing for this menu can be done ahead of time.

Starting with a #Meatless Monday of Cheddar Broccoli Fritatta based on Alton Brown's Asparagus Fritatta, Jamie Oliver's Pear and Apple Salad, a squash soup (from a box) with a rice added by me.  I did a similar frittata this past Friday and BGS was still hungry even though I had added cubed ham and cheddar to the version I made Friday.  Here's hoping that adding some soup and salad will fill him up :)

Meatless Monday includes a Cheddar, Broccoli Fritatta, Apple-Pear Salad, and Squash soup (with rice)

Meatless Monday ingredient list
Fritatta: 6 eggs, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/2 - 3/4 cup green veggie of your choice( I'll be using broccoli this time), and 3 oz of greek yogurt (to make the frittata a bit lighter).

Apple and Pear Salad (i'm adding walnuts to mine and removing the endive)
2 apples, 2 pears, a handful of herbs roughly chopped, 2 oz blue cheese, 1/4 cup creme friche, 4 tbsp cider vinegar, 5 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 cup maple syrup for the optional walnuts. (I got the recipe for my walnuts from Vegan Chef cause it just sounds tasty hehe)

1.  Earlier in the day if you can or on the weekend if you don't work from home - toast 1 cup of walnuts in a pan about 4-5 minutes until fragrant and toasted,  Drizzle the 1/4 cup maple syrup over the walnuts and stir.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until the syrup begins to harden on the nuts.  Transfer the walnuts to parchment-lined cookie sheet and separate them.  Set them aside to cool.

2.  Core your apples and pears and cut them into half-moon slices.  Place them in a bowl and toss with your selection of chopped herbage.

3.  Dressing for your salad: blend the blue cheese, creme fraiche, olive oil, vinegar, and 6 tbsp water into a blender until it comes out smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Toss the salad with half of the dressing and then sprinkle the walnuts on top.

Start the frittata by turning your oven broiler on.  Melt some butter in an OVEN-SAFE skillet/frying pan.
 Then start mixing your eggs like you would for scrambled eggs or a quiche.  Stir in some salt and pepper and the Greek yogurt.  Pour the mixture into the skillet and add your mix-ins (except the cheese).  Stir the eggs a little with a rubber spatula over medium heat until the eggs are set on the bottom and just starting to set on the top.  Sprinkle the cheese on top and put the pan on the top rack of your oven for 3 to 4 minutes until just brown on top.   Pull the pan from your oven and the frittata should just slide right out of the pan...if not, get  clean spatula and loosen the frittata and slide it out onto your cutting board and cut into 6 or 8 slices.

Serve immediately.

The soup is a squash soup of your choice with a cup or two or instant rice mixed in for some added carry-over starches :)

Take-it-Easy-Tuesday will be Burgundy Stew with Herbed Dumplings from my Betty Crocker's Slow Cooker Cookbook and Wednesday will have another crock-pot meal of Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice.




Friday, October 11, 2013

A week in REview - One word...DISAPPOINTED

I had planned on doing a Mostly Meatless Monday with Curried Potatoes and Chick Peas, but by the time I got home from the store with a prescription I was too pooped to want to do anything...thank goodness I had purchased a rotisserie chicken!

 Maybe I was setting my expectations too high, but I didn't think a meal based on a recipe from that is actually VERY similar to the McCormick Recipe Inspirations Roasted Rosemary Chicken & Potatoes I have used previously and a recipe from Rachael Ray (yes I had to go back and fix her name after typing it my way 3 times in a row) could disappoint.

Take It Easy Tuesday - I was wrong.  The chicken was delicious.  A little on the greasy side for my taste, but very tender and very flavorful.  The disappointment comes in that the recipe said it would feed 4....It fed 2.....with lots of extra potatoes.  Granted, maybe BGS could have eaten less the night I made it,  but to have no leftovers?  BOOOOO!

The second and most egregious disappointment of the week was the recipe from Rachael Ray's show.  It took me 4 HOURS to prep the meal!  FOUR HOURS!  WITH A MANDOLIN!  Then when all was said and done we could't eat it that night because it came out of the oven at 9pm.  We had to order take-out in the mean time.  So we tried it last night instead....BONE DRY.  So that wrecks my plans for the leftovers with the butternut squash and risotto *sob*

Mom suggested cubing the meat and soaking it in a combo of red wine and beef broth and then making stew.....BGS is convinced the beef is beyond repair.

Time to start from scratch and find recipes for next week

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A week in PREview

Since groceries will be delivered tomorrow by Peapod.com, I went through my cookbooks (old and new) and recipes I've seen during the week to see what sounds good (and easy) since I'm trying to get more work done for my new "job" at www.redstitchniche.com.  Tomorrow (Monday) is still undecided but Tuesday will be (to take inspiration from a site I found while looking for a recipe today) Crockpot Tuesday with Italian Herb Chicken and Potatoes ....since no days start with C I'll have to come up with something clever.  Wednesday and Friday will be recipes I saw on Rachael Ray's show last week.  Wednesday will be Rachael's Grandpa's Braised Beef.  Thursday will be well...I'm not sure yet, but it will probably involve my leftover chicken from Tuesday.  Friday will be Josh Capon's Risotto with Braised Beef using leftovers from the Braised Beef on Wednesday.

At some point this week I will be making a Apple and Pear Cobbler - Gluten-free version by using  gluten-free oats and a cobbler "flour" mix I put together last year for the Nectarine-Blueberry cobbler.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Even longer absence this time...

I broke my arm...on my birthday no less ....last year....then I found in the fall out my cat had lymphoma . We lost the battle in June of this year and he is now romping with my cat from my folks house who passed in May.  Needless to say I have been injured, busy, and very very distracted from all things blog-related.

I apologize. I made chicken-rice SOUP today.  I emphasize the word soup because last year when I went looking for gluten-free chicken rice soup recipes, it was difficult to find one that was appealing.  I ended up making chicken bacon corn chowder instead.  Not today.....today I made SOUP!

I will post the picture, recipe and the taste-test/rating by my in-house critic tomorrow.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mushroom and Burgundy Stew - Hearty and Tasty

Another tasty meal from Rachael Ray's "Week in a Day" show.  I bookmarked this a WHILE ago and just got around to making it.  It was cold this week, so I decided to give it a shot.  The original recipe
Mushroom and Burgundy Stew, didn't have any protein in it, so I decided to try it with beef tenderloin tips - they were on sale this week - YEAH!  Don't get me wrong, the ratio of mushrooms to beef cubes was 2 mushroom : 1 beef cube, plus I used baby bellas (aka cremini), so the mushroom mouth-feel was a bit meatier.

My start time: 4pm; My end time 7:30pm

Rachael Ray's Prep Time: 20-30 mins; Cook time: 45 mins

1.  I started by cutting 4 oz pancetta slices into pieces appx 3/4 inch squares - hrmmm wonder where I can get the pancetta in chunks like I see on Giada's show - it was a little difficult to separate the pieces after I had stacked and sliced them.  Add 1/4 cup olive oil to your dutch oven and warm to medium-high heat and add the pancetta pieces.
2.  After the pancetta was browned and had rendered some fat into my Lodge Color 3-Quart Dutch Oven, I added appx 8 oz beef tips and browned them on all sides.
3.  While the beef tips were browning, I wiped 16 oz baby bellas, and then halved them. Some of the beef tips were a little larger than "bite size", so I pulled them out after they were par-cooked and cut them into 2-3 pieces.
Switch cutting boards.
4.  Add the mushrooms to the pot and let cook until until brown and tender - about 15 minutes or so.
5.  Add the carrots, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, marjoram, and thyme.
The mushroom-beef stew players
6. Cover and cook/simmer until vegetables are tender - about 10 minutes
7. Stir in 3 tbsp flour for 1 minute to incorporate.
8.  Add 2 tbsp tomato paste and 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
9.  Add 2 1/2 cups dry red wine (always use wine you would drink - none of that "cooking wine" you buy in the grocery store) and reduce by half - this took me maybe 20 minutes
10.  Add 4 cups beef stock.  BGS purchased Mushroom Base for me to use with this recipe, so I added 4 tsp of the base to the beef stock and dissolved it the best I could before adding it to the pot.  Simmer to thicken.
11.  Cool completely on the stove and then store in the fridge for your make ahead-meal.

As you can see by my start and end times, I was in the kitchen longer than my tv counterpart.  I chock that up to me not chopping often and not having a great deal of counter space.  *shakes fist at the horrible kitchen arrangement*

12.  On the day you want to serve your stew, take it out of the fridge and bring it to a simmer in the dutch oven while you boil water for your noodles.  I chose whole wheat egg noodles.  Cook your chosen noodles according to the directions on the package and then drain.  Put the noodles back in the pot; add 2 tbsp butter and a handful of fresh parsley, chopped.

To serve, dish noodles into a soup plate or shallow dish and then ladle stew over the noodles.

All in all I LOVE this meal!  BGS said it was too rich, so he only ate it twice.  That's fine.  More for me :)
We got four servings from this meal - so he ate it once and I ate it 3 times.  YUM!!  BGS also said it was "ruined" by the whole wheat noodles hehe - I wasn't phased by them.