Tag Archives: Eating At Home

Taco Tuesday, At Home

I think that I’ve talked about Taco Tuesday out and about with friends a coupla times now, but we like Tacos for dinner at home too.

Tacos can be made with just about anything, shredded Beef, Chicken prepared how you like, Seafood of any manner or even Vegetarian.  The one common denominator to all of these different Tacos is the seasoning.

But wait, did I hear you say that you still purchase those seasoning packets, why? Making your own seasoning blends are simple; you’ve probably got the ingredients in your cupboard, AND  you’ll know what’s in it, no preservatives, no artificial this or that.

It’s is so easy to make, here’s all you need:

 Auntie Doni’s Taco Seansoning Mix

1 Tbsp. Chili Powder (any style and degree of heat that your family likes)

¼ Tsp. each, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder and Dried Oregano

½ tsp. each Smoked Paprika, Dried Cilantro and Ground Cumin

1 tsp. each Salt and Black Pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and store in a Spice Jar or any air tight container.

Why buy it when you can make it!

Why buy it when you can make it!

Tacos are a personal type of dish.  When I was growing up, my Dad was the Taco maker and he made “hard shell” tacos with corn tortillas.  They were topped with spiced Ground Beef (because back then it was less than a dollar per pound), grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese, diced Tomatoes, Onions, sliced Black Olives, Sour Cream and Salsa… What we all referred to as elbow drippers.

For my non-mexican-food-loving Husband, I stick to pretty simple tacos.

Let’s assemble:

Brown your choice of meat on medium heat; drain off any excess grease.

Lower the flame.

Sprinkle 1-3 Tablespoons of Auntie’s Taco Seasoning Mix (depending upon how hot you like your Tacos) and combine well.

Dust your meat mixture with ½ tablespoon of flour; stir well and cook for about 1 minute to get that raw flour taste off.

Add 2/3 – 3/4 cup water, broth, stock, beer, whatever liquid you like and allow to perk away until it’s thick (make your Taco filling as soupy or as dry as you want).

Serve your now beautiful Taco filling in the vessel of your choice, lettuce cup, hard corn taco shell, warmed flour or corn tortilla, or what about a Taco Salad, MMM!

Lean Ground Turkey Tacos on warmed Flour Tortillas

Tonight’s Tacos are on warmed Flour Tortillas with seasoned Ground Lean Turkey (ssshhh, don’t tell DH that this was kinda sorta healthy, he thought he had Beef), leftover Green Salad (you know the kind that comes in a bag) from lunch out, sliced Radishes (hard to see, but they’re there alright, gives a nice crunch), and some Salsa.

Mighty tasty grub, AND  my husband asked for MORE!

Remember, recipes are just someone else’s ideas, run with them and as always …

ENJOY!
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Hors d’oeuvres Anyone?

This past weekend, my husband and I invited my Mother to our home so that we could do her taxes for her. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and my fantastic DH  is just a wiz with numbers, well maybe with just a little help from Turbo Tax.

I was rummaging through our deep freeze, looking for something to turn into an appetizer for us all while we worked. We had planned on going out to dinner, seeing as the weather was suppose to be nasty and I wouldn’t be able to grill anything (mom’s fav is my teriyaki chicken and assorted Asian veggies).

I totally forgot that I had bought these at Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks back just for this purpose. Sometimes you need to have a late afternoon snack or maybe folks drop by. I honestly thought that this Camembert cheese with cranberry sauce wrapped in fillo would be super, meh. As you can see, the cheese mostly melted out, bummer!

Now, the Arancini bites stuffed with fontina cheese were a big  hit with both mom and I, the Mister not so much. I had some leftover marinara sauce in the `fridge for a dipping sauce, add a glass of wine…YUM!

(btw, we aren’t going to talk about our dinner out, it wasn’t very good)

ALOHA!

Hope You Had A Happy Thanksgiving

Some years back, I would watch FoodNetwork every holiday season to get ideas for our family’s table.  I saw Ted Allen make a De-constructed Turkey and wow, the bells and whistles went off in my head.  I’ve struggled with whole birds for many, many years.  Dry white meat, under cooked dark meat, crummey gravy… Do I really need to go on?  You know!  This is how I make a whole turkey.deconstructed turkey

Deconstructed Turkey and Gravy

• 10-12 lbs. Whole, fresh, natural Turkey (read the labeling, make sure it does NOT say enhanced with sodium soultion)

Butcher the bird yourself (or purchase it in parts), leaving breast whole and reserve the carcass for homemade stock, much better!

Brine: (I do this part the day before I’m going to serve the turkey)

• ½ C Kosher Salt

• 1/3 C Brown Sugar

• 1 Onion, sliced

• 1 Carrot, sliced

• Peel (no white pith) from 2 Oranges

• Whole head of garlic, cut in half horizontally

• 1 tsp each, dried Thyme, Rosemary, Rubbed Sage

• 3-4 large Bay leaves

In my 12qt. stock pot, I add the salt and sugar, dissolve in 2 cups of hot tap water; add remaining ingredients, along with 3 quarts of Ice Water, stir well. Add the turkey parts (make sure that the water covers all parts of the bird), cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Pour off all of the brine, leaving turkey parts in stock pot. Cover and put back into the `fridge until ready to roast.

Roast:

Pat turkey parts dry with paper towels, arrange on the half sheet pan, fitted with a cooling rack. Try to give as much space between pieces. Schmear with soft butter; sprinkle with S&P. Pour about 1 cup of turkey broth or stock in the bottom of the pan.

Roast at 425⁰ for 30 minutes, until just starting to brown; lower the temp to 400⁰ and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the breast reaches 165⁰ and the thighs are 175⁰.

Tent with tin foil until ready to serve.

Make the gravy by pouring all of the juices left on the bottom of the pan into a cup.

In a saucepan melt 4 tbsp of butter; add 4 tbsp of flour whisking for a few minutes. Slowly stream in 2 cups of the broth/juices and bring to a boil to thicken. For richer gravy, use some dry white wine and milk with the broth/juices.

Happy Thanksgiving

Let’s Try This Again

I’ve tried to replicate the cake pop that I had a few months back in Scottsdale, but…

This time I had a Rum Cake in the freezer, why not give it another shot. I had a package of vanilla flavored Candy Melts and more sprinkles.

DH loved these, me, not so much. WAY  too sweet for me.

Oh well.

Turkey Day Is Coming, Are You Ready?

In my X number of years in the kitchen, believe it or not, I have never brined anything. Well, let me say that I did once, unfortunately I brined a turkey that already had 8% salt solution enhancement, ACK!  It was a Thanksgiving of side dishes only that year, so I never tried it again, until now.

All of the turkeys or parts thereof, that I have prepared I’ve just chucked into the oven and said a pray, oh please kitchen gods, let my meal be good this once? Recently, I have been buying Jenny-O turkey breast tenderloins that are already flavored. It took me till now to look at more than the calorie count. MAN!

So back to the basics.

I searched the `Net, looking for a brine recipe that I,

a) had all/most of the ingredients for, and

b) sounded tasty

I settled on my own twist of a Bon Appétit recipe, with a few changes due to the lack of certain items.

I left out the Allspice, Juniper berries and fennel seeds, didn’t have `em; I used dried thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, 4 smashed garlic cloves and a palm-full of whole black pepper corns. In addition, rather than using fennel bulbs, I added the peel (with no pith) from a fresh orange, subbed the white sugar for brown and boy howdy! Let me tell ya’ friends and neighbors, that solution smelled mighty fine!

I had a fresh bone-in half turkey breast weighing a little more than 2 pounds. I gave that puppy a good wash and dunked him into my largest dutch oven containing the brine, covered it and stashed the lot into the ice box.

After reviewing the procedure yet again, I started to second guess myself, how long is ‘leave overnight’? 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours? When I Goggled that, the consensus was 8 hours.  I pulled my turkey from its bath, gave it a rinse, patted it dry, discarded the now used brine solution, wiped out the pot and put the birdie back in and covered it back up… Into the chillbox until morning.

In the am, after my usual cuppa Joe, I preheated the oven and prepared the turkey for roasting.

homemade polutry seasoning

I brushed it all over with melted butter and put together my own poultry seasoning in my mortar and pestle. Dried parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme… hey, isn’t that a song? … and savory.

Not having a rack small enough for such a meager amout of protein, I placed three ribs of celery in my quarter sheet pan and the bird atop those. Finally some Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper and into the oven with him!

Oh My GAWD!

Juicy, moist, savory, just gosh darn delicious if I do say so myself.

This was lunch as well as dinner for the two of us, well and lunch again the next day all for less than $5

Turkey isn’t just for the holidays or big family events. This can be an economical meal anyday.

Man, That Was Some Trip!

this is going to take all day!

I’d say I had some laundry to do! No really, we did laundry along the way on our month long adventure, this is just what we had when we finally rolled back home.

Mostly, I’m just itchin’ to get in the kitchen and cook something tasty. On the bottom of the deep freeze I found this huge steak and I remembered a dish that my SIL made for us once and it was so good.

steak pizzaiola

Steak Pizzaiola

I don’t have a written recipe for this, it’s a simple steak in a beautiful tomato, garlic and anchovy, yes I said anchovy, sauce. I am not a fan of little fish on my pizza, but in a sauce, YUM!

I used a 28 ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes that I crushed by hand in a bowl. Next, in a large skillet, heat olive oil til it smokes; brown the steak and set that aside. Sauté a small onion and as much sliced garlic as you like (we like a lot, I think I used 5 or 6 cloves). Add 4 or 5 anchovy fillets to the pan, adding more oil if needed, and the fish will MELT, really! Add the crushed tomatoes, along with about a teaspoon of dried oregano; give a good stir and add back the steak. Bring to a simmer and cover; cook for about 30 minutes (this was a pretty thick cut of meat), or until the steak is cooked to your tables preference.

I’ve seen other recipes that add wine, peppers and mushrooms. If that’s something that you think that your family would enjoy, by all means make this dish your own.

steak pizzaiola and pasta

 ENJOY!  We did

BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON!

Love it! Can’t get enough of it! GIMME!

Not so long ago, our two nephews came to visit during their Spring Break. Jack, the younger of the boys, asked me when we picked them up at the airport, “so Aunt Doni, I hear you’re a good cook. Is that true?” Well, Jack, this one’s for you.

The first morning’s menu was BACON! I made two trays of that glorious meat and it was gone in a flash. I had been thinking that we’d make sandwiches with the leftovers, yeah right!

A few days ago, I was on the phone with the boys Mom and she said that she got a great compliment on her bacon from Jack, “Mom that was Aunt-Doni-worthy bacon.”