Wednesday, January 25, 2012

today's theme- balls of food

Swedish meatballs and peas.  And continuing my run of mucking up dinner, I dumped the pasta in the sink full of soapy water instead of the colander.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

there is nothing quite as disapointing

as an unripe rock hard avocado

Dinner disaster

'splain to me please... how in the world did I manage to set the oven a whole 100 degrees higher than it  needed to be?  Luckily, I needed to put veg in with the ham for an hour- or the ham would not have been at all salvageable.  as it was, the glaze was burnt black, but the meat was edible.  *sigh* no ham gravy tonight....

planning for next week-

So this week not a lot got made that wasn't a "make ahead" item.  We spent the week trying to knock down the leftovers in the fridge- unfortunately, in this family leftovers happen because a dish isn't popular, so the leftovers aren't either.  There's a chunk of food getting packaged for the freezer today, in the hopes that in a couple of months, I'll want it again. (yeah right).  I'm also going to re-organize the freezer, so that stuff can be found.

This week's menu ( with no leftovers in sight!)
Monday : pot roast
Wednesday: curry
Thursday: hamburgers
Friday: lasagna
Saturday: Swedish meatballs

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Freezer Lasagna

Yesterday I made ahead and froze 9 individual chicken lasagnas.  I boiled up 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs in 3 qts of water with salt ad pepper.  
When they were thoroughly cooked, I transferred them to the work bowl of my Kitchen Aid, and used the paddle to "pull" them.  I added a 32 oz jar of Prego, and allowed it to cool. 
Meanwhile, I broke my lasagna noodles in half, and added them to the already boiling chicken water, along with an extra can of broth.  I allowed them to boil for 17 minutes.  While they were boiling, I prepped my mini loaf pans, spooning a liitle sauce into the bottom of each.  Once the noodles had boiled, I added one to each pan.
Then I layered in more of the red sauce/chicken mixture, and some ricotta cheese, topped that with another cooked noodle, the remainder of the red sauce, and some Mozzarella.  I covered the tray with foil, and set it in m chest freezer for several hours.  Once the lasagnas were solid, I covered each individually with foil, and marked them with sharpie- date, contents and cooking instructions (thaw, bake 60 minutes @350)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

emptying the fridge.

lots of leftovers this week- and I'm hoping to have the fridge completely eaten before we head north for the weekend.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cranberry Mustard Pork Medallions

This was the best meat I've made in a LONG time.   Seriously yummy.  My 13yo "I'm not gonna like that" son went back for seconds and complained that there were no thirds.  Served with curried roasted red potatoes, and corn.

 I fond this recipe in Taste of Home' holiday magazine.  It looked so good, i just had to try it.  We will absolutely be having it again!
 You can find the recipe for the pork at Taste of Home.

The Roasted curried new potatoes are mine.  I used Penzey's sweet curry powder.

Roasted Curried New Potatoes

1.5 lbs red potatoes, cut  into bite sized chunks
2T Penzey's sweet curry powder
2T salt (reguular table salt is fine)
1/4 c olive oil
1 Gallon zipper close bag

place salt and curry in bag,shake to mix, add oil and potatoes.  make sure bag is WELL sealed, toss to coat.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are crisp outside and fork tender inside.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

planning for the week- and the cabin

Last week went well!  Got everything that I had planned made, and it took very little shopping to do it.   This week's challenge- feeding four hungry teens for the weekend on $30 each.  (that's Friday through Monday, folks)  Gonna cut costs by baking bread this week, and eating pantry foods.  Unfortunately,  the cabin's freezers failed last month due to a power outage. so there is very little in the pantry there.  Additional challenge this week- One of the teens has decided to be a vegetarian, and does not eat meat, fish or eggs. Does eat cheese and tofu.

Sunday  pork chops

Monday soup & sandwich

Tuesday out

Wednesday Waffles, eggs, sausage,bacon
Thursday leftovers

Friday pizza bar- make your own 'zza
Saturday calico beans
Sunday mexican bar

Monday leftovers

Thursday, January 5, 2012

jumping on the bandwagon.......

Everyone whose blog I read seems to be reorganizing their kitchen and pantry spaces this month.  Time to get on the bandwagon, and see if I can make my kitchen more user friendly.  One of my big challenges is that I start projects and never finish them, so I'm going to tackle one cupboard or drawer at time- empty, clean out, re- organize, replace.  The other big challenge is not spending much if ANY money on this.  It's just not in the budget.  I also really want to try to get the kitchen painted this month... but I doubt that will actually happen.

So today, my challenge was the " pantry closet."   This space holds most of my baking supplies, many of my food storage containers, and a lot of junk.  I really need this space to work better.  Because the shelving unit in here doesn't fit snugly, lots of stuff ends up on the floor.  I also REALLY want this space to hold my recycling.  That's one task we're terrible at around here, and we need to fix that.

I took everything out of the pantry.  Unfortunately this style of rack, while "adjustable" is a serious pain to adjust, so some things needed to remain the same.  At some point, someone built a series of 2x4 shelves into the side of this closet- but they are not evenly spaced, or anything even resembling useful.  I was however, able to store a few small items and one large item on them.  I am not replacing the plastic storage containers that were housed in the second drawer. The dog is too good at  stealing and opening them, not to mention growing concerns about chemicals like BPH.  Instead, the top shelf now houses hot beverages in front, and a few large rarely used items in back, the eye level shelf has storage bags, lunch bags and plastic cups, the first basket/drawer still houses my "small" baking ingredients, like brown sugar, powdered sugar, chips , dried fruit and nuts, the second basket/drawer houses shelf stable fats, oils, vinegars and sweeteners, and overflow peanut butter and coffee.  The last shelf has flour, rice, sugar and baking mixes.
The floor has my new recycling bin for plastics and metal, and houses garbage bags and a couple of cleaning supplies.  Tomorrow: Canned goods cupboard

Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday- slow cooker calico beans, make ahead sloppy joes

Today I'm making Calico Baked Beans, and making a batch of Sloppy Joe mix ahead for lunches next week
Ingredients Italics indicate pantry items
  • 1 bag 15 bean mix
  • 3c ham stock (home made, frozen)
  • 1 can baked beans (I use Bushes with onions, the lg can)
  • 2lb browned ground beef, seasoned with onions, salt and pepper
  • 2T yellow mustard
  • 1/4 c molasses or sorghum
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 T paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 strips of bacon crumbled

Soak beans in 1-2 qt cold water overnight OR follow quick soak directions on the package.  Like bread, my beans more than doubled in size!
Rinse in clear water,and add to crockpot, add baked beans, beef,and ham stock. In a small bowl, place mustard, tomato paste, molasses, salt pepper and paprika.  Mix well, and add tocorock. Stir to combine, cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 (works best).  Serve with cornbread. I'm cheating and using a Betty Crocker mix. It always comes out better than mine.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday: Wild Rice and Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin

Serving this with leftover Carrots and cauliflower tonight.

1 3# pork loin roast
1-2 c prepared wild rice
1/2 c thawed frozen spinach
small can of mushrooms
2 eggs
 Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper.

Butterfly your pork loin.  You can have the butcher do this for you, or  follow the tutorial found HERE.
 Saute  your spinach and mushrooms together in a little butter or olive oil, with salt and peper to taste.  Add the prepared wild rice at the end, just to mix well, and coat the rice with butter.  Allow to cool,  mix in two well beaten eggs and some Parmesan cheese, then spread over the butterflied roast.  Roll the roast back up, and tie with butcher twine and rub with salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 for about 90 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 160.

Happy New Year!

Good morning! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.  I'm trying to be quiet because my guys are still asleep.  They got home between four and five this morning.

Jessica over at is having a Pantry Challenge this month, and I plan to join in.  Because my pantry is not terribly extensive at the moment, for me this means shopping the shelves at home first, working on filling the freezer with homemade "convenience" meals, planning weekly meals, and shopping sensibly (and not hungry!).

I'm also going to focus on getting pictures for the blog of our meals. That has kind of fallen by the wayside these last couple of weeks.  It's hard to remember to take pictures first when you and your family are hungry! 
Hubby finally called the home warranty people about the stove yesterday- hopefully we'll hear back from them on Tuesday, and I'll have a working oven by the end of next week.

This week's meals and shopping list  Italics are pantry items:
Sunday: Wild rice and Spinach  Stuffed Pork Loin with biscuits  and cauliflower and carrots
Monday: Calico Beans and corn bread (baked Sunday at a friend's house)
Tuesday: out
Wednesday: Spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread
Thursday: Stir fried vegetables & chicken  with rice
Friday: soup and sandwiches
Saturday: pulled pork sandwiches, chips

Make ahead meals:
Sloppy Joe mix- ground beef, condiments, veg soup
lasagna- ground beef. noodles, cheese, sauce
beef stew -stew beef, frozen veg, onion soup mix
Swedish meatballs (build and freeze sauce) milk, mushrooms, instant coffee, beef broth, flour, butter

Shopping List:
Wild Rice
Frozen veg mixes (stock up and Thursday night)
frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs (stock up and Thursday night)
frozen juice
Lunch meats
ground beef (stock up item)
taco seasoning (stock up item)
Ice cream(if there is a sale on bryers)
soy sauce
hoisin sauce
chicken yakisoba
beef bones