Monday, April 14, 2014

Long time no post!

Hello out there!! I've been away a long long time!  So much going on all the time, and I just never seem to sit down and blog anymore.  And it's a problem because this is where I kept track of all the yummy things I was cooking.  When I don't keep track of yummy new ideas, I forget about them, and then go back to the same 10 dishes all the time.  This must stop! LOL  So yet again I'm gonna try to give this blog another go..  I'm pretty sure there aren't any readers other than the few recipes that ended up on Pinterest, but that is okay, because this has always been more about a place for me to keep track of my ideas.. if others show up along the way and like what I'm cooking and writing about, well the more the merrier! If there is someone out there in the blogosphere reading this, I hope you'll stop in and say "Hi" sometime, especially if you try and like any of the recipes I post. :)

I've got some good ideas planned for this week.. Tonight I'm going to make a Beef Stroganoff over noodles.  I'm using one of these new Kraft Recipe Makers box kit things that comes with a simmering sauce and a finishing sauce.. The kit is actually for a New England Pot Roast, but I don't really feel like pot roast this week, and stew meat was on sale.. and since the side of the box said another recipe idea for the kit was a beef stroganoff, I thought "what the heck, lets give this a try."  I'm excited to try it out.. I really like the sweet and sour chicken kit they make, and I'm looking forward to seeing what this one tastes like.

  Tomorrow night I'm thinking about a Drunken Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Gravy over rice.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and it looks pretty dang easy and good.  After cooking the pork tenderloins in red wine, you combine the red wine drippings with a packet of brown gravy mix to make a red wine gravy.  That just sounds yummy to me, so I'm giving it a go. Still trying to think of one more idea before I go to the grocery store and trying to get inspired on Pinterest, but all I'm really finding is stuff I'd like to make for Easter. haha 

That's all for now, hopefully I'll remember to report back this evening with pictures of my Beef Stroganoff! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ham and Swiss Sliders

I made these great little sliders for New Years Eve.. I got the idea off of Freaking LOVE that site. I tried the recipe the way I found it.. but I really didn't care for their version of the onion mixture.. which cooked the onions with mustard, from raw.. instead of caramelizing them first. It made them very bitter and spicy in my opinion. So I dumped them out and started over, doing my own thing. The sliders were such a big hit.. The husband asked me to make them again tonight. So that's what I did.. and this time I took pictures *and* made a kid friendly, no onion, version! :) Didn't get pics of the kid friendly, except for the final product, but it was really quite simple and not worth the photo.

Here's what you're gonna need:
1 small onion, minced
1 stick of softened butter, divided
heavy pinch of salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp Dijonnaise
1-2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls(12 rolls)
8 slices of thin sliced ham, I like Virginia baked ham
4 slices swiss cheese (I use Kraft "big" slices.. it may take more of the smaller slices to completely cover the rolls and ham)

I started with some onion. Pretty much how all my good ideas start out.. slow cooking onion in butter. For this recipe I minced up a smallish one and cooked it over med-low heat in half a stick of butter with a heavy pinch of salt for about 10 minutes until it was nice and sweet.

Next you're gonna need these things: some ground mustard, garlic powder, worcestershire sauce, and some of this hellmans dijonnaise along with 2 tablespoons of that butter you see there in the back.. Now if you don't have the dijonnaise and you don't feel like buying it.. you could just use dijon mustard. Or regular mustard. You could even be crazy and put honey mustard in it. Or you could do no mustard if mustard isn't your thing.. but I don't recommend that. Because mustard IS my thing. Anywhoo.. once your onions are nice and caramelized, your gonna add in these ingredients, and give it a good stir and let it cook for just a minute then take it off the heat.

Next you're gonna take your rolls and slice them in half horizontally, leaving them intact with one another. Like this.. so you have a top and bottom bun.
And then you're gonna put the bottom half of your rolls into a foil lined baking dish and spread about 3/4's of the onion mixture onto it..
Then you're gonna take the remaining two tablespoons of softened butter and spread it on top of the onions.

Now just layer the ham on like this

Top it with the cheese

Then top it with the tops of the buns. Now just spread the remaining 1/4th of the onion mixture and whatever melted butter is left in the pan all over the tops of the buns. You're making homemade onion buns!! I love onion buns, so this just tickles my fancy to no end.
Now just cover it with some foil and stick it in the oven at 325 for about 15-20 minutes, until the cheese startes getting melty.. then pull the foil off the top and let them brown for an additional 3-5 minutes. Once they are done, just use a sharp knife to cut the sliders apart along the lines of the buns.

I didn't even serve them on a tray.. I just popped the baking pans on the table and let everyone go for it. LOL

As for the kid friendly version. I just omitted the onion mixture completely.. I took a stick of softened butter and mixed in a tablespoon or two of the dijonnaise stuff. and spread that on the bottoms of the buns, then melted what was left to brush across the tops. Worked great and the kids all loved it! Oh I should mention, I cook for a brood.. so that whole stick of butter was spread between two packs of rolls. One was the hawaiian bread and the other was a regular white dinner roll, for the pickiest eater in all the land.. who doesn't like hawaiian rolls. Turned out good. Because this time I had to get the "honey wheat" version of the hawaiian rolls instead of the regular hawaiian sweet bread.. And they got too dark on the bottoms. Didn't have that problem on New Years Even, or with the regular white dinner rolls I made tonight.. Just the honey wheat version.. even cooked a batch of each kind of bread in the same pan, so I know it wasn't the pan or the oven.. it was the wheat bread. So I honestly don't recommend it, even though it's healthier, unless you REALLY watch it or turn the oven down.

I confess this picture is of the ones from New Years Eve.. they were prettier. haha


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year Ravioli!

So the husband finally got me a pasta maker for Christmas this year. I'm *beyond* myself with excitement. We finally broke it in for some New Years Day Ravioli.. We've decided it's to be our new tradition. :)

I'm sorry I have no photos of when I was mixing the dough together or kneading it in the KitchenAid with the dough hook. I didn't think to get the camera out until I was sauteing onions for the sauce. Whoops. I usually only do one photo of the finished product of a recipe, but this time I wanted to do it a little more like most of the food bloggers and get some photos of various steps.. I'm new at that, so I didn't get everything, but I got most of the steps. I hope whoever stumbles upon this enjoys. :)

Here's what you need for the pasta dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 tsp olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons water

Plus an egg wash when filling and sealing the raviolis:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1tsp water

To start making the pasta, I measured out 2 cups of AP flour and the salt into a large mixing bowl and created a large well in the center of the flour. I cracked two eggs into a small bowl and poured a couple teaspoons of olive oil into them, and gave them a whisk with a fork and the poured them into the well. (Gosh I wish I had photos of this part.. Next time, I promise!! I am planning to do some fettucini or linguini this week because I want to try out the cutters) Anywhooo.. Once I poured the eggs into the well, I whisked them in a circular motion, just barely bringing some of the flour into the eggs each time I stirred around the bowl with the fork. Once the mixture started coming together, I added a couple tablespoons of water and worked the dough into a ball. I kneaded it by hand a few times to make sure it was all together nicely.. then I tossed it into my KitchenAid with the dough hook and turned it onto 2 for about 5 minutes. After doing that I had a nice smooth pliable dough. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge while I set about making the sauce and the filling.. that's where I remember the camera and started taking pictures.

For the Sauce you need:
1/2 small onion, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 large can tomato puree
large stem of basil leaves, intact
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
handfull of chopped fresh basil

For the sauce I minced up half a smallish onion and sauteed it in a tablespoon or so of olive oil with a pinch of salt.

Once the onions became translucent I added in the minced garlic and the tomato paste and gave it a stir.

Then I poured in a can of crushed tomatoes.. apparently I bought the Italian herbs kind, I didn't realize I had done that. LOL

And then a can of tomato puree.. I like this SO much better than tomato sauce.

Then I add in a big stem full of basil. I like to keep it whole and let it simmer with the sauce, then fish it out after the sauce is done.. and stir in some fresh basil. I think it gives the sauce a nice cooked in basil flavor as well as the brightness of the fresh chopped kind at the end.

Then I clap a lid on it and set the burned to the lowest heat and it's pretty much ready to go, aside from a pinch of sugar and some salt and pepper adjustments at the end, as well as the handful of fresh chopped basil. (which I don't think I got a pic of, sorry LOL)

And so while that simmered on the back of the stove, I got started on the mushroom filling.

Here's what you need for the mushroom filling:
1lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
the other half of the small onion, minced
1 stick of butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
small handfull of basil leaves, minced
1 Tbs half and half
1-2 cups shredded Asagio cheese
salt and pepper to taste

I started by slicing up a pound of cremini mushrooms. My absolute favorite mushroom int he whole universe. Love em.
And I sauteed them in a whole stick of butter and the other half of my onion, minced up.. but with no salt yet.

While those cooked (which took about 8 to 10 minutes on super high heat), I minced up some garlic and basil. Which I added in once the mushrooms were nice and brown.
Then I deglazed the pan with a splash of half and half and it looked like this.. mmmmmm yummy

I forgot to take pics of what I did next.. But I poured the mushrooms into the food processor and pulsed it 5 or 6 times until I had a nice mince on the mushrooms, but not total mush. I poured them into a bowl and let them cool down while The Husband and I rolled out the dough with my new pasta roller. Once the we were ready to start filling, I mixed the minced mushroom and onion mixture with the shredded asagio cheese and adjusted the seasonings.

So.. As for rolling the dough. We had such a good time doing this. I REALLY love my new present. It's so freakin awesome.

So we start by cutting off about 1/4th of the dough and passing it through the machine on the largest setting a couple times.. folding it in half and repeating on the largest setting two or three times.

Until it starts streching out and getting longer.. then start closing the rollers up, one setting at a time.. and passing the dough through once or twice on each setting.

Keep on going till it gets nice and long and thin enough to read the paper through it (heard that on tv yesterday so decided that's what I needed LOL)

This is definitely a two person job. The husband turned the hand crank and held the machine steady on the table while I fed the dough in and out of the machine. We made a good team :)

Then I started filling each sheet, with a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture every few inches. Then brushed all around each little mound with egg wash (just 1 egg beaten lightly with a teaspoon of water)
Then I folded the dough over in half on itself and pressed very closely to each little mound of mushrooms, making sure to squeeze out all of the air and sealing the pasta together around the filling

Then I used the fluted side of my smallest biscuit cutter to cut each ravioli out
and tossed them on a baking sheet that had been dusted with flour
I popped them into the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes while I got some salted water boiling and finished off my sauce by fishing out the stem of basil and adding the handful of chopped basil and some salt and pepper.. then I tossed the raviolis into the water and boiled them for about 4 or 5 minutes, until the pasta was al dente

I fished them out with my big spider thing and put them in my pasta bowl.. which happens to be decorated with raviolis. :)

Then I served it up in some matching bowls with my yummy sauce and a slice of buttered french bread..

And my second baby smiled at me like this when he finished his bowl
He happens to be a connoisseur of tomato sauce. And this is the smile he gets when I do NOT open a jar of Prego, and when I make it all from scratch for him, with fresh basil. I think he approved tonight. Even if he wouldn't try the mushroom ravioli and opted for the storebought cheese ones we got because we knew we had picky kids that wouldn't touch a mushroom to save their life. haha Oh well, more for me and dad. :)

Hope you guys enjoyed my photos.. big thanks to my son Andy, and The Husband for taking most of them.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I know I've been a bad blogger.. but I'm just gonna breeze in here with a quick thanksgiving post.. This year it was epic. Totally freakin EPIC. 2 appitizers, a 21 lb turkey, 8 side dishes, and 5 desserts. And 12 people to eat and enjoy it with me. Having my dad and his wife with us for the first time in many years was really great and I had to put out a big fantastic spread for him. I think he hurt himself eating so much. haha

First, I brined my turkey.. I did a combo of Alton Brown's brine, with Pioneer womans brine.. and threw in a few Me things as well.. Was good. Had Water and a couple cups of apple cider, a cup and a half of salt, a cup of brown sugar, a half a cup of white sugar, candied ginger, whole allspice, peppercorns and cloves; fresh poultry herbs: parsley rosemary sage and thyme.. the peel of 2 oranges and one lemon, a cinnamon stick... and.. Umm I think that's all. Aside from the ice LOL Basically everything including the kitchen sink. Brined it for about 24 hours then rinsed it off and let it sit on the roasting rack, lightly covered with foil in the fridge for about 10 hours, to dry the skin out a bit..

In the morning I took it out and let it come up to room temp a bit.. then stuffed garlic herb butter (poultry hers, grated garlic, salt and butter.. made a ton of it and put it in lots of stuff LOL) under the skin all over the bird, and inside the cavity.. then shoved some quartered apples, onions, and oranges a split head of garlic, and a bundle of fresh herbsa bundle of fresh herbs into the cavity and in the roasting pan around the bird. I poured melted herb butter all over the turkey and rubbed it around and splashed some apple cider into the bottom of the roasting pan and put it in the oven at 500 for about 15 minutes, then reduced the oven to 325 and let it roast for about 4 hours.. had a PERFECTLY cooked turkey. God it was amazing. I think next year I might give a covering the bird with a buttered cheesecloth a try. I saw Michael Symon do that on TV the other day and it sounds like a smart idea.

My dressing was pretty much the same as the one I made in my "Rogue Thanksgiving" a few years ago..which I am SO doing again next year.. already forewarned everyone. This one wore me out.. especially after the party we had 2 and a half weeks ago that I'll hopefully blog about another time... Because the food for that party was beyond epic. Let me put it this way.. there was a slider station AND a pasta station. Among numerous other things.

Anyway.. back to turkey day. I'm easily distracted.

I made the husbands favorite green beans.. With the addition of some half & half to the marsala wine.. WAY yummy. For real. My dad and my brother were most impressed. Must be a very manly green bean. LOL

I made my grandmothers corn casserole.. which is basically everybody elses grandma's corn casserole.. Cream corn, whole kernal corn (I chose frozen varieties of both and was extremely pleased with the results).. crushed up saltines (gonna use ritz crackers next time), some half and half (though grandma and mom use evaporated milk.. I just like and had half&half)... mixed up with crushed crackers and butter all over the top. Good stuff. Reminded me of my mom. I miss my mom. I hope she visits soon.

I made my new favorite version of mashed potatoes.. cream cheese and butter!!! YUM. So much better than sour cream and cheddar. There was supposed to be half&half (you're seeing a trend here, huh? I also used a whole quart of heavy cream in various parts of this meal too :P) but the husband was finishing up the mashed potatoes while I carved turkey and he put a spoonfull into my mouth and I didn't really look at them and realize there was no cream in them.. and they tasted good, so I said "they're good, put em in the bowl".. then looked at the half&half as I was setting the rest of the food out and said "whoops, oh well, all that butter and cream cheese, they be fine!" lol prolly gonna need a little cream on the reheat, but otherwise they were good. LOL

I did my usual apple pie.. but made it super pretty with a full top crust and made little leaf cut outs of the pastry to decorate it turned out good.. but I don't think I put enough flour or maybe didn't bake it quite long enough, because it was very liquidy today, after sitting in the fridge all night. Oh well... for a pie made at 1am during complete and utter exhaustion after a baking marathon AND a last minute 2 hour shopping spree... it was pretty dang good. And looked gorgeous.

And I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.. OMG. I swear, pumpkin pie is dead to me. Pumpkin cheesecake has stolen my heart for ever and ever. Especially with a layer of spiced fresh sweetened whipped cream. Yeah. You drooled a little, didn't you?

And for my oldest baby, who turned 14 on this most Thankful of all days... I made some vanilla cupcakes with andes mint candies chips inside them.. and let him spread chocolate frosting and sprinkle with more andes chips over the top.

My sis in law made the candied sweet potatoes, the green bean casserole, brought the cranberry sauce and gravy.. and my dad's wife made cornbread salad.

It was a feast of epic proportions and very widely recevied.

Oh and those 2 appetizers for nibbles during the day.. Sweet and Sour meatballs.. chili sauce, grape jam, frozen meatballs... voila, every man and child thinks you are a genious. LOL And Asagio ham pinwheels.. puff pastry spread with a mixture of apricot jam and dijon mustard.. then layered with several slices of Virginia baked ham. On top of that, a sprinkling of grated asagio cheese and then a handfull of dried cherries, roughly chopped thrown on top.. roll it up longways, jelly roll style and slice it.. bake at 350 till the puff up and brown. YUMMY stuff. :D My sis in law made those as I talked her through the recipe while I was making the corn. LOL

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone that still reads or has stumbled upon my little corner of the blog world!!! I hope your meal was spectacular and your tummy doesn't hurt too bad. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger lately. Partly because I've been distracted by reading, homeschooling Jason, etc... and partly because I haven't really made anything new lately. It seems I only post when I have a new recipe to write out.. I should really get back into posting more regularly..and I probably will. I made a butternut squash mac n cheese a few weeks ago that was really good.. I never did write about it.. infact I'd totally forgotten that I'd even made it until Sunday when we were cleaning out the fridge cuz I needed my red and white polka dot 9x13... and it had the mac n cheese still in it, turning into a science experiment. oops. LOL But I am still alive, just busy as usual. I'll get back to blogging and cooking new things to blog about soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pepper Steak in the crockpot

I made this yesterday.. it was the first day of school and I knew I was gonna have a ton of paperwork to fill out when the kids got home.. so I wanted dinner already prepared and cooking. All I had to do when it was close to time to eat was make some rice and garlic bread to go with it. It was yummy, Jason even ate the peppers in it! :)

Here's the recipe:

2lbs thin cut milanese style top round steak, cut into thin strips
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (to season steak, as much or as little as you like)
Olive oil (enough for browning steak and cooking onions)
2 medium onions, sliced thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
2 cans stewed sliced tomatoes
1/4 cup hot water
1 beef bouillon cube (dissolved in the 1/4 cup water above)
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced

Start by heating up a skillet (I prefer cast iron for stuff like this) while you slice and season your steak. Pour in a tad of oil, just enough for browning up the steak. Throw in the steak and let it sit there for a couple mins before messing with it, so it has a chance to get nice and brown. Then use some tongs and toss it around so it gets nicely browned on both sides. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your cast iron.. you definitely don't want to overcrowd the pan. I had to do mine in about 3 batches, and I was using a 14inch cast iron skillet. Once the steak is browned, toss it into the crockpot. Then saute the onions in the skillet with a bit of oil.. when they are slightly translucent, add the minced garlic. Then throw all of this into the crockpot with the steak. Turn the crockpot on to low and add in everything else, except the bell peppers. If you add the peppers in right now, they will be complete mush by the time the steak is done.. and idk about you, but I can't stand mushy peppers. So I like to wait till the last hour of cooking to add those in. You're gonna cook this on low in your crockpot for 6 to 8 hours, until the meat is so tender its falling apart.

Serve this over some cooked rice.. and a little garlic bread on the side to sop up the wonderful sauce.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School Craziness

Yep... it's that time of year. It's pure insanity. It took 3 hours and $231 at walmart last night getting school supplies.. And that was just for 4 of the kids... Jason is homeschooling this year, and I still gotta get a full curriculum once I figure out what I am going to go with. And I still have to get everyone new shoes..and clothes.. and Andy still needs a backpack.. and Justin and the twins still needs hair cuts. Aiy yi yi...This time of year is almost worse than Christmas. Almost. LOL

I do have something good planned for dinner tonight.. Balsamic Braised Chicken Breasts, and I'm gonna throw a jar of parmesan alfredo sauce on some thin spaghetti to go along with it. I think it'll be yummy. :)