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Potato and hot dog soup

20 Nov

Today I made a crock pot of soup. I wanted something warm and hearty. Most importantly, something that was soft enough to eat but filling.

I took 1 softball size onion, finely chopped (I should have blended it), 5 medium potatoes, peeled and small dice, a pound of carrots, peeled and small dice,  and put it all in the crock pot on high. I added some chopped broccoli that was hanging out in the bottom of the fridge, a can of corn, a can of great northern beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a can of evaporated milk. I then added 2 soup cans of water and stirred well. Seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, sriracha, and Italian seasoning and stirred again. And let it go. About an hour into it I added 4 all beef hot dogs that I halved and sliced.

I started it about noon and we finally ate around 6pm. Remember me saying I should have blended the onions? Well the picky child has decided he doesn’t like the soup because he found onions that are too big. Maybe I should have blended everything and then he wouldn’t be able to recognize anything. And he’s mad at me because I won’t get up and fix him something else either. I’m a mean mom again. If he’s really hungry, he can eat the soup or go make himself something else.

  • I’m grateful I decided to make ME something for dinner this time. I usually make what HE likes all the time. I’m grateful that I’ll have leftovers for a few days. Ask me Tuesday if I’m grateful to have them hanging around still. I’m grateful that my child is 16 and perfectly able to fend for himself when I’m not feeling peachy.

Night all. LOVES

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Leftover pot roast

31 Oct

My son’s father, stepmother, little brother and baby sister are here for Halloween. It’s easier and cheaper for them to stay here for a few days than pick him up on Friday night, drive 4 hours one way, and drive 4 hours to bring him back on Sunday. Besides, they can take all the kids trick or treating. I stay home and answer the door.

Because there were so many of us here last night, I made a pot roast in the crock pot. 1 softball size onion, quartered. 5 medium potatoes, quartered. 3/4 of a pound of carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into largish chunks. Salt, pepper, garlic powder over the vegetables. Placed a 3-4 pound roast on the vegetables. I didn’t look at the package to see how much or what kind other than beef. It came in a food box. Turned the crock pot on low and left for church. We ate dinner around 6pm, so it was in almost 8 hours. I made some instant mashed potatoes and some gravy to stretch the vegetables a bit and because I didn’t peel the potatoes in the crock pot. My picky child won’t eat them that way.

After dinner, everything was separated and went into the fridge. Then tonight for dinner I cut all the leftover vegetables and the meat into chunks and put them into a greased 9×13 pan. Then I took the little bit of broth from the roast the night before and added it to the mashed potatoes with a cube of butter, an egg, and a big handful of sprinkle cheese. Then poured that mixture over the pieces in the pan. Baked for about 40 minutes at 350. Cut it into squares and it was delicious. There’s enough for lunch tomorrow. My picky child had freezer burritos. SIGH!

  • I’m grateful to be able to make leftovers taste wonderful. I’m grateful to have leftovers of the leftovers. Makes feeding my guests easier at the end of the month. I’m grateful tomorrow night is Halloween. They’re leaving Wednesday morning.

Night all. LOVES

Teaching an old dog new tricks

26 Oct

Last night I learned how to make delicious tofu. I still haven’t figured out if I liked the actual tofu or the sauce I made to go with it.

I started with a package of firm tofu and sliced it into 8 pieces. After heating about 2 tablespoons of butter until it was foamy in my electric skillet, I put the tofu in and started to saute it. I kept the temperature about 300 degrees.

Then I made the teriyaki sauce. I put 2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar in a little bowl. I added enough soy sauce to make it start to melt, about 1-2 tablespoons. I added a squirt of  sriracha, a dash of garlic powder, and 3 tablespoons of warm water. Mix well and set aside.

Continue to saute the tofu, flipping occasionally, until it is the desired brownness. Reduce the heat to 200, and pour the sauce over the tofu. Getting some on each piece. Continue to heat a few moments, flipping at least once. When sauce thickens, dinner is done. Serve over rice.

I also served it with broccoli and carrots that I cut into pieces and microwaved for 3 minutes.

I plan on making this again. And I’m definitely going to be using the sauce quite frequently.

  • I’m grateful to be willing to try unfamiliar ingredients in my cooking. I’m grateful to have a leftover tofu sandwich for breakfast this morning. I’m grateful to my friend for coaching me every step of the way.

Night all. LOVES

Kitchen experiments

15 Oct

Cooking and baking are some of my coping techniques when I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed. That’s usually when I come up with some of my best recipes. Is that transferable skills from getting the munchies?

Have you heard of the dump cake? You know the one where you pour cake mix and butter over a can of fruit. I made one with pears yesterday. It’s my son’s favorite thing ever. In fact, that’s what he wanted for his birthday cake.

But he spent the night with a friend last night and I ate half the pan. So I figured I better not eat the rest of it because he knew I made it. That’s the bad thing about using the kitchen as a coping skill. You eat what you create.

I was hungry this morning, but I didn’t want cereal. I really wanted his half of the cake. So I decided to scrounge through the cupboards to see what I could come up with.

I found one of those single serve things of pears. And the light bulb went off! Make a little one just for one. I don’t have measurements for this one today. It was a some of this, some of that kind of morning.

I mixed some granola with a little pancake mix, I didn’t want to drag out the big flour jug. Added some brown sugar, I used a table spoon, like a soup spoon, rounded over. Some vanilla. The bottle was almost empty so it all went in. Mixed it all together and sprinkled it over my pears in a small pan that I had sprayed with pan spray. Poured some melted butter over it all and stuck it in a 350 oven for 25 minutes. Just like the big one. When it was done the whole house smelled of butter and brown sugar. They really need to make that a Scentsy flavor.

The funny thing is, by the time it was done, my craving was gone. Maybe the smell was what the craving was for. So I only ate part of it. I’ll have the rest as dessert after dinner.

  • I’m grateful I can make something out of nothing when I’m in the kitchen. And that 90% of the time, it ends up being delicious. I’m grateful my cravings are short lived. I’m grateful my house smells so yummy today. Brown sugar, butter and vanilla baking in the oven is heavenly.

Night all. LOVES

Easy hot breakfasts

9 Oct

Today I decided to share some more quick and easy recipes I’ve come up with lately.

I love waffles, but making waffles for one has been an interesting adventure for a while now. I say for one because if you follow a normal recipe, you’re up with many, many extra waffles. I know you can freeze them and reheat them later, but my toaster isn’t the best at that. So I figured out how much mix to use to make 1-2 waffles. I use pancake mix because it usually comes from the food bank. Mix 1/2 cup mix in a small bowl with 1 egg and 1/2 cup milk. Sometimes I’ll add a dash or two of cinnamon. Pour into your preheated favorite waffle maker. My waffle maker makes 2 waffles squares at a time and this amount makes about 3 squares.

Another breakfast I’ve come up with came from wanting oatmeal because it’s cold out. I’ll  take a cup of granola and add a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a squeeze of syrup in a microwave safe cereal bowl. Heat on high for 90 seconds and stir.

Both of these are amazing breakfasts. Especially as it gets cooler in the mornings. Although I have been known to eat them for lunch and dinner too.

  • I’m grateful I can find new and different ways to use the stuff I get from the food banks. I’m grateful I have perseverance to keep trying new things. I’m grateful cool mornings so I can have hot breakfast.

Night all. LOVES

Feeling yucky & stone soup

1 Oct

I feel yucky today. Actually started last night. I had to get up in the middle of the night to get something for a headache. And I still woke up this morning with the same headache.

I decided I needed some chicken soup to help me feel better. But it’s the end of the month and the cupboards are nearly bare. So what to do? You go with it and see what happens.

I started by having Carson start the process. He put 2 frozen chicken breasts in the electric skillet with two 32 oz. cups of water, turn it on to 350 and put the lid on.

I went in about 15 minutes later and added salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and sriracha. After another 15 minutes, I cut up the chicken into little pieces and put them back into the pan. Then I cannibalized the meals on wheels TV dinner things for all the frozen veggies. Added a can of black beans for more protein and a package of egg noodles. Stirred everything and let it go for another 10 minutes.

Then a scrounged some more and found a forgotten ramen seasoning packet and threw that in with some soy sauce and some fish sauce. After tasting, I decided it needed a bit more garlic, salt, and sriracha.

I’ve had 2 bowls already and there’s still lots left. Carson had his in a mug. The only thing that’s not perfect is all the noodles have soaked up the broth. Carson isn’t thrilled about that. He would rather have broth than anything else. Ever! I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

  • I’m grateful that all those lean years gave me the knowledge to make “stone soup” as my mother called it. I’m grateful that the soup has finally helped me feel warmer. I’m grateful that I have leftovers when I wasn’t sure I would have firsts.

Night all. LOVES

Basic stir fry

10 Sep

Today I’m going to try to write about my basic stir fry recipe. It’s actually more of a method because I’m really not into measuring precisely.

First, I start the rice cooker because that takes the longest. You put your amount of rice, I usually do 2 cups so we have leftovers, in the bowl of the machine. Cover with water and scrub the dirt and stuff from the rice. Then run the water over it until it runs mostly clear. Then drain. Put the cleaned rice and the amount of water to cook the rice, 2 parts water to 1 part rice, in the cooker. Turn it to the cook setting and plug it in, or follow the manufacturer directions for your particular machine.

I usually use chicken because I usually always have a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer. I don’t even thaw them. I stick a couple in my electric skillet in medium heat with a half cup of water and cover while I do the rest of the prep.

This is the hardest part, honest. In a small bowl or mug, depending on what is closest, I put 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, about a teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and a squeeze of sriracha. Mix well and set aside.

Take the chicken out if the pan because now it should be done enough to cut into pieces, but still pink in the middle. Put a dash of oil in the skillet, and throw in your veggies. I use whatever I have handy, but I mostly use a couple of those frozen stir fry vegetables packages. I use 2 because I like lots of veggies! Add a splash or two of water and cover. Cook until mostly done. The package usually says 5-7 minutes, so at 2 minutes, I add the chicken so it can finish in the time the veggies are done. After 5 minutes, I stir the sauce in the mug, and pour over everything and put the lid back on. Dinner is ready when everything is cooked through. Serve over the rice.

*Sometimes if the chicken breasts were really big, I put them back in the pan, right after I cut it up, and before the vegetables, so it cooks through. If you are using fresh vegetables, it will take longer to cook them and you will need to adjust the times accordingly.*

When we have this at my house, I give my picky eater, a few pieces of the chicken, some rice with some if the sauce on it, and some raw broccoli and baby carrots with ranch. He doesn’t like cooked veggies. We also like to make sweet rice for dessert. Cooked rice, a little butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cover with milk. Delicious.

  • I’m grateful I’m going out and about tomorrow. I’m going shopping. Writing this made me hungry. I’m grateful my son is going out to dinner with his foster mom tonight. Day before grocery day has slim pickings around here. I’m grateful to get some laundry done. Clean clothes are awesome.

Night all. LOVES