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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another In-between Week (or two)

With a busy summer of out-of-town guests, vacations, and mission trips, we are still eating the remains of my June OAM cooking.  I can tell that I was rushed in June because I simply froze some of the meats without any preparation.  It's forcing some creativity, but also allowing for some flexibility to try new recipes.  I made a quick little menu to last us until I can cook again, after one more trip.  :)

To do this, I took inventory of what was in the freezer and put together some menus with what was on hand.  Now this got a bit tricky as I'm planning what our family needs for this week's dinners, taking some meals to two families, and making sure there is food on hand for my son, the house-sitter.  I think I got it figured out, and then, (shh!) my daughter "stole" the  main ingredient for a dinner to make lunch with her cousin.  Oh well!  The bottom line was that the food get eaten and that it will!

Tonight I'll be trying a new recipe I found on Facebook - Crock-pot Orange Chicken which will use up some extra frozen chicken.  That is, if my crock-pot is empty by noon.  I have two cooking meats right now, and sure wish I had a third!

Keep it simple, but plan it out!  It really works!

Filling the Stomachs of Many Guests

This has been a crazy week.  Here I am trying to clean out our freezer in preparation for another round of Once-a-Month cooking and my kids are bringing guests over.  I've had to get creative in extending some meals and this one was a winner.

The menu was to be Potstickers, Teriyaki Chicken, and Rice, but then I needed more food, so I added a salad.  It was delicious!

4 heads of Romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
1-2 shredded carrots
a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds
1-2 bunches sliced green onions
2 packages Ramen noodles, uncooked, coarsely crushed
about 16 ounces of Sesame Dressing (Feast from the East at Costco)

If I'd had it on hand, I would have added sliced almonds and mandarin oranges, or even some shredded chicken.

Toss very well.  Serve cold.

We even had some leftovers which I enjoyed for lunch the next day.

Always Make Two

I've written about quiche before and had another opportunity this week to put some of my philosophies into practice.  I prefer to use the deep dish pie crusts from the freezer section of the grocery store.  Then I fill it will whatever meats and veggies I have on hand.

This week a dear friend was down with pneumonia and I knew they like my quiche.  I had two empty pie shells in the freezer.  I pulled them out and began to fill them; one for them and one for my family.  I made two different flavors. 

  • Cheese, Spinach, diced onion, sliced mushrooms
  • Cheese, pepperoni, salami, mushrooms

I made a double batch of the egg mixture, poured it over each pie and baked them covered for about 1 hour at 325 degrees F and then an additional 30 minutes uncovered.  Delish!

Egg Mixture
8 eggs
2 C cream or half n half
1 tsp. dry, ground mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
sprinkle of pepper

Whether or not you will eat both or deliver one to a friend, I find it easiest to make both at once.  You can freeze them until baking time or bake one and freeze one.  Even frozen, it can be delivered to someone in need and they can bake it, just include the baking instructions.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bringing Honduras Cuisine to My American Table

Being newly arrived home from our mission trip to Honduras, we are eating the "leftover" freezer meals from my last once-a-month cooking menu.  I haven't been terribly inspired to

This morning I took a chance and put a frozen chicken (whole) in the crock-pot and hoped it would be cooked by dinner.  I am happy to say that yes, it was fully cooked and deliciously moist.  For seasoning, I used a Weber bar-b-que citrus seasoning packet mixed with orange juice.

When it was time for dinner, I pulled all of the meat off of the carcass (not something I typically like doing) and put it on a plate.  I warmed up a pouch of my favorite RED refried beans directly home from Honduras and served both on a flour tortilla with a generous sprinkle of cheese.  In Honduras it would have been slices of a white, mozzarella-like cheese.  These flavors together reminded me of a staple in the Honduran meal:

  • tortillas (freshly made corn tortillas)
  • frijoles rojo (refried red beans)
  • queso (cheese)

While in Honduras we ate it for breakfast one day, lunch on several occasions and also had them for dinner.  They are delicious!  And so, I sought to roughly re-create it for my family.  I expect that someday soon I'll learn to make the corn tortillas, but for now, flour is just fine with my family. 

And after this quickie meal, I still had energy to clean the kitchen!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Always Have a Standby

We all have them.  What are they?  Those days when the last thing you want to do or feel like doing is being in the kitchen cooking; days when you are most tempted to order take-out or find a drive-through for a meal.  Today I was very tempted to declare it a pizza night, but then I looked in the freezer and found a package of chicken and cheese ravioli just waiting to be cooked.  Relief.

So on this night when I didn't feel like cooking, I boiled a pot of water and cooked the ravioli.  I poured a jar of our favorite Alfredo sauce over it and gave it a good sprinkling of shredded parmesan cheese.  Watermelon cut into chunks served as a cool side dish. A simple dinner, but just perfect for this summer day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scampi in Honduras

What a month it has been!  Family visiting from far away and then a mission trip to Honduras have kept me busy cooking, but obviously not writing.  I am looking forward to sharing many of things I've done while on this "blog-vacation."

I'll start with a super simple scampi that I made in Honduras.  We had found a seafood sampler package in the fresh meat section at Price Mart (a Costco like store) in Honduras.  It contained shrimp, mussels, octopus, white fish, and imitation crab. I was told to discard the crab.  I combined the shrimp and white fish into one dish and the octopus and mussels into another.

Melt a generous amount of butter in a sauce pan.  Add a generous scoop of minced garlic.  After a short sauté, add the meat, stirring frequently so the butter and garlic do not burn.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The meat is cooked when it becomes opaque, no longer translucent.  Repeat with next batch of seafood.  Enjoy!

My son loved the octopus best as the flavors were more intense from having used the same pan to cook the second batch.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches

We returned home from a trip with an ice chest full of leftovers including some uncooked turkey burgers which needed to be cooked right away.   So on the grill they went. 

While the ice chest was full of "stuff" the refrigerator was not and so I scrounged around for something to go with the burgers.  There were no fresh veggies, but I did have some lunch meats and cheeses, and so the light bulb went off!

I placed slices of Swiss cheese on burgers until I ran out of that flavor.  Shredded Mexican cheese blend went on the others.  While the cheese was melting I put some thinly sliced ham on the griddle to warm and then moved it on top of the cheese.

Some had it served on hamburger buns and some on fresh corn-rye bread from the bakery.  Add some honey mustard or your other favorite mustard and you have a delicious dinner sandwich.  A fresh made sandwich with leftovers, but only you know that!  Enjoy!