Monthly Archives: May 2020

Look What I Found!

 

Say what?!

16 ounces of Commercially made Soup for $4.99 + local taxes, I think anyways, is pretty dawg-gone steep!  That’s about 2 servings of Soup – a cup a piece.

 

 

I make my own broth …

 

 

… and then I make my own pot of Soup for pennies per serving.  Also, when you cook from scratch, you know exactly what’s in your dish.  Store bought or prepared foods, have SOOOOOO much sodium in it that’s not  good for you!  Whatever is leftover, I freeze for later in portion sizes.

Cook for your family!

 

 

Chicken and Mushroom Hot Dish

My husband and I have been in the SIP Mode now for just about TEN WEEKS! And it’s getting harder and harder to dream up dinner ideas. 

I stand there in front of the open `fridge or stare at the Deep Freeze Inventory Dry Erase Board and try to think of interesting, tasty, not-what-we-ate-last-night dishes.

I had de-frosted two boneless-skinless Chicken Thighs, had a handful of fresh Cremini Mushrooms that needed to get used up, 2 or 3 cups of Homemade Chicken Stock that should really go into the freezer, the ever present pot of steamed White Rice and of course my well stocked pantry with Onions and Garlic

Let’s throw this all together and call it a Hot Dish!

Chicken & Mushroom Hot Dish
Serves Two

2 B/S Chicken Thighs (or Breast Meat, whatever you have), diced
1 C. fresh Mushrooms, diced (Button, Cremini, even canned if you must, just heat those through)
1/2 C. Sweet White Onion, diced
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
2 Tbsp. Oil (Olive, Vegetable, Canola, what’s in your pantry)
1 Tbsp. fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, minced or 1 tsp. dried Parsley
2 C. Chicken Gravy **
S&P to taste

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the Oil over medium-high, once you see wisps of smoke, add the Mushrooms and sauté them to light golden.
Next add the Onion and cook til translucent; stir in the Garlic until it’s just fragrant. Transfer everything to a plate and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of Oil to the pan and heat until it shimmers; sauté the Chicken until cooked through, set aside with the Mushroom mixture.

** At this point, you can make your own Gravy in a snap.
Add 1 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth/Stock and scrape up any bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pan; bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium heat.
In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of Broth/Stock with 1/4 cup of Flour, whisk until there’s no more lumps. Slowly whisk this into the hot Broth/Stock and simmer until thickened. Taste of S&P.

OR

Add just a little water to the pan to de-glaze it, scraping up those lovely bits and add in a store bought Gravy and bring it to a simmer.

Either way, now we add back into the pan that Chicken and Mushroom mixture, give it a really good stir and bring it all to a simmer. Add in the Parsley and check for seasoning.


Serve warm over cooked Rice or Noodles.

And remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.

A Taste of Home, Kalbi Rib Dinner

Oh my gravy all over my two scoop rice, that’s OMG!  in my world if you’re just joining in
Recently, I discovered our local Carniceria and what a find!  It’s a Butcher’s Shop and man oh man, am I a happy camper.
Back home in Hawaii, we would have take-out from this small Korean restaurant and they made the best Kalbi or Galbi Ribs. This particular dish requires a specific cut of Beef Short Rib, it’s called Flanken and I had yet to find that here! 

WELL!
Look what I found 

AND I just so happen to have brought back from Hawaii on this last trip, Noh Foods Korean Barbecue MixDOUBLE YAY!!
 

I got to work pretty quickly on this dish.

Super simple, I made a bag with my FoodSaver, chopped up a bunch of Green Onions, mixed the contents of that dry mix with Water and Vegetable Oil and some toasted Sesame Seeds, chucked everything into that bag and sealed it. I parked the Ribs in the `fridge on a rimmed baking sheet over night.

The next evening, I fired up my grill and it was almost time for grind!
Earlier that day, I went over to our favorite Sushi take-out joint and collected two trays of different Sushi to go with our local-style feast.

I also put together My Quick Cucumber Kim Chee and a fresh pot of Rice.

*BELCH*  excuse me 

THAT was ONO!!

Keeping Freezer Inventory

There was a discussion about this on one of the Food Forums that I belong to. Now-a-days, it’s a good idea to have a secondary Freezer somewhere in your home; mine lives out in the finished garage. I have it on a separate circuit, so that if something else in the house “trips”, we won’t lose the entire load. 

For years now, even back when we lived in Hawaii, I had a small Chest Freezer.
This latest one is 5 cubic feet and works just fine for the two of us.

Something I’ve also done all these years is keep an inventory of what’s in there on a Dry Erase Board. I’ve found recently that I needed a second board.
With being in lock-down for the past NINE WEEKS  I’ve managed to fill both my Chest Freezer AND the `Fridge-Freezer in the kitchen. Whenever I put something new in, I write it down and of course when I take something out, it gets erased. Oh, and I mark all packages with the content and date that it was purchased.

Speaking of packages, I use a FoodSaver to divide up all of the Meats that I get on sale or at Costco in bulk. There are several different models available, I have the basic one that I found at Walmart for less than $100. I also buy the rolls of make-to-size bags there too.
For my homemade Soups, Stocks and basically anything liquid, I use freezer Zip-Top baggies, lay them flat on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, until they’re solid. Then I stack them up like books on a shelf to save space.

How do you freeze?

Don’t ever, ever, I MEAN EVER buy this yeast!!

 

I went on the hunt yesterday at our local markets,
to find yeast so that I could make Pizza.
I found Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast,
sounded okay, it’s for Pizza, right?
I bought 2 three packs.

After a long day of cleaning out the garage,
I had really thought of driving 40 minutes
up the road to get Pizza/Calzone take-away,
but in the end I thought that was foolish and
made homemade Pizza instead.

I followed the recipe on the envelope to the letter,
baked it as described for 12 minutes at 425°,
until the Cheese bubbled and the crust was browned.

 

 

It came out like a biscuit, NOT PIZZA!

 

 

I made two and we only ate about a 1/4
of one of them. We gave it the old college try,
but that was TERRIBLE!

I NEVER throw out food, but this is not fit for Man nor Beast.

I looked it up online to search for reviews on this Yeast,
and found one put out my Cook’s Illustrated :

“According to the package, Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast allows you to mix, stretch, top, and bake pizza all in one go, with just a few minutes of kneading and no rising time at all. In addition to active dry yeast, the product contains a cocktail of chemicals and enzymes designed to relax the dough. Dough relaxers partially inhibit the formation of strong gluten networks, keeping the dough pliable and easy to stretch and making it quick to rise in the oven.

Given that the structure and flavor of a top-notch pizza crust come from ample fermentation, we were skeptical that dough made in so little time would be any good. When we mixed up a batch, our suspicions were confirmed. Although the dough was incredibly well behaved, stretching without snapping back and rising quickly during baking, its texture and flavor were unimpressive. The crust was leathery, not crisp, on the exterior and spongy and soft on the interior. What’s more, it was bland and devoid of the aromatic complexity that is produced in fermented dough. So we’ll pass on this turbo-charged yeast, preferring to take our time and make pizza dough the old-fashioned way.”

I couldn’t agree more with ATK/CI! I only wish that I had
seen this prior to investing $3

Oh well, I’ll put it into the Food Bank Donation box,
maybe someone else will enjoy it.

In the meantime, I’m still hunger, I suppose I could
scratch up a sandwich later,
that’s if I get the gumption up 

Dipped and Embellished Wafer Cookies

I’m going to another BYOB Cocktail Party with the Neighborhood Gals and wanted to share a snack.

 

I saw this basic idea on Social Media and thought
this would make for a fun Party Dessert.

I went over to the Dollar Store, bought a package each of inexpensive Vanilla and Chocolate Wafer Cookies.

I already had in the house Vanilla flavored Candy Melts® and Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers® for dipping.
As well, I have quite the assortment of Sprinkles, even crushed Peppermint Candies

Of course I made more than what you see here, and they were all GONE real quick!

Where Have You Been and Started To Sing … ?

In the Summer of 2011, DH and I took a road trip and one
of the places that we went, that was SOOOOOOOO amazing,
was Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.
We took the Cog Railway to the top, over 14,000 feet above sea level…

 

And yes, I did stand there, looking out over this gorgeous vista,
and sang America The Beautiful.
albeit was a little hard, being so out of breath,
but I did it, out loud!
I can see why Ms. Bates wrote this, WOW!!!
I think I just might turn this into a running series, because there have been so many places that we’ve traveled and I’ve started to sing songs that were inspired by that locale.
Where have you been?

Basic Mini Cheese Balls And Beyond!

During this time of Social Distancing, my next door neighbor has been hosting BYOB Cocktail Hour Parties on her rather large front patio.  We’re all comfortable within our own six foot area and we arrange a table in the middle with shared snacks.  It works really well for us.

I’ve been trying to take over Finger Foods that would be appropriate, you know, everyone being able to maintain their personal space.  Here’s an idea:

Basic Mini Cheese Balls

8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. Butter, room temp
2 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
dash Worcestershire Sauce
dash of Hot Sauce (I didn’t have any, so I used a pinch of Cayenne Pepper)
1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Chuck it all into a mixer, Stand or Handheld, and blend until smooth

That’s the basic part, now comes the different flavors …

Divide the Cream Cheese mixture evenly between three bowls

Bacon & Ranch – stir in 2 oz. shredded Swiss Cheese and 1/3 Tbsp. dry Ranch Dressing Mix to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl, mix approx. 5 oz. finely crumbled Bacon (I bought pre-made Bacon Bites in the Salad Dressing Aisle) along with 1/3 Tbsp. dried Parsley, set aside

Garlic & Herb – stir in 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix, 1 Garlic Clove finely minced, 3/4 tsp. dried Oregano, 1/3 tsp. dried Parsley, a good pinch each of dried Thyme, Dill Weed, Basil and fresh ground Black Pepper; in a separate bowl add about 1/3 C. dried Chopped Chives (fresh is fine too, whichever you have), set aside

Toasted Pecan & Dried Cranberry – stir in 2 oz. Sharp White Cheddar Cheese to the Cream Cheese mix; in a separate bowl mix 1/3 C. each finely Chopped Pecans & Dried Cranberries, set aside

NOW,
line a rimmed sheet pan with some foil; using a teaspoon disher aka cookie scoop; scoop out equal amounts of the Cream Cheese Mixture from each bowl in to their accompanying “dip”, coating each cheese ball well.

 

 

Shape/roll each in your hand to fairly uniform balls. Place them all on the sheet pan, and cover tightly with another sheet of foil. Stash in the `fridge for at least one hour, longer is best and serve with either a Pretzel Stick stuck in each Mini Cheese Ball or on a neutral flavored Cracker.  I went with the Pretzel Sticks for my final service presentation, it just makes it less stressful with a group of folks.  The plate with the Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers was for my taste-test, MMM YUM!  I’m going to make this again!

 

 

I just love this plate!  My Mother gave me a set of three of these for Christmas and I knew it would make a great Pupu Platter!

 

 

Remember now, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  Try different combinations, maybe some Dried Fruit or Seeds… My personal favorite is the BACON!!!!

 

 

 

Meatball Parmesan

I kept seeing this on different Social Media platforms and finally gave it a try,
They’re not bad.
DH and I don’t care for loads of Marinara on our Pasta, so this works for us.

 

Meatball Parmesan

1 lb. each Ground Beef and Veal

1 lb. bulk Hot (or mild) Italian Sausage

1 C. Breadcrumbs

2-4 Tbsp. Milk, just enough to moisten the breadcrumbs

2-4 cloves of Garlic, minced

¼ C. Parmesan Cheese, grated

2-4 Tbsp. fresh Flat Leaf or Italian Parsley, chopped

1 Egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. each, dried Oregano and Basil

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, mix well and portion out your meatballs, evenly.  I use this scoop and get about 50 or so Meatballs. Cook as desired, freeze or even refrigerate for later use.

 

 

I like to bake the Meatballs (three per diner) on a lined sheet pan at 400° for about 20-30 minutes, depending on their size, but do use a thermometer for doneness – 165° internal temp.

Once the Meatballs are cooked, transfer them onto a oven-proof rimmed Baking Dish, top with warmed Marinara Sauce of your choice and add some grated Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, as much as your family likes.
Put the dish back into that still hot oven to melt the Cheese and enjoy!

*Remember, a recipe is just someone else’s idea. Run with it and make it your own.

Meal Kits In Grocery Stores

In Hawaii, we have a big chain supermarket called Foodland.
Recently, they started carrying prepared meal kits in their Foodland Farms store at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

We went here several times, and I gotta tell you guys,
I’m so glad that we do not live on Oahu any longer,
because I would be here all the time, and spend a fortune!
What a fabulous store! (take a look at the website)
I love Foodland in general, they are my grocery store of choice
when we’re back home.

 

Their Poke Bar is the best on the Island, for sure!!
(we went every day, and I’m not kidding, to buy fresh Poke)

Anywhos, here’s some of what I found:

 

 

These just some of the Main Dishes offered at Foodland, and they change them up from time to time.  The price runs between $14.99 all the way up to $21.99.

 

 

Let’s not forget about a Side Dish.  And again, they change periodically… you can se the prices of these 😉

 

Having taken a look the ingredients, I’m thinking I just might make some of these myself.