Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25: Hot Broccoli Cheese Dip

I made this dip for dinner tonight, but it was one of those days where I forgot to start it until dinner time. I fed my hubby the leftover salmon from lunch, and gave my kids bologna sandwiches. We ate this after the kids went to bed. I started gathering the ingredients at about 5:30PM.

I melted a stick of butter in a skillet while I chopped 6 stalks of celery and 2 onions. I added them and 2 drained cans of mushrooms to the skillet:

That cooked until the onions were translucent, then I stirred in 6 tbsp of flour and cooked it for 3 more minutes. I transferred it to the crockpot and stirred in 2 cans of cream of celery soup, 6 oz of cubed garlic cheese, and 2 bags of frozen broccoli florets. I cooked it on high, stirring every 15 minutes until the cheese was melted. I was supposed to switch it to low, but I was getting hungry, so I kept it on high and cooked it for another hour.

I served it with sliced French bread, bell pepper strips, and grape tomatoes:

I can imagine that this dip, although chock full of vegetables, is not very good for you, what with all the butter, creamy soup, and cheese. But man it sure did taste good! It really hit the spot.

March 24: Salmon with Beer

This was yesterday's recipe, but I made it for lunch today. Here are the ingredients. I started gathering them at about 10am.

I seasoned 4 salmon fillets with salt and pepper, put them in a baking dish, and poured a cup of Italian dressing over them. I let that marinate for about a half hour:

I poured 3 tbsp olive oil in the bottom of the crockpot and put the salmon fillets on top. On top of that I put 3 sliced bell peppers, a sliced onion, 1/2 tsp of dried basil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a tsp lemon peel, and 2 cups of spinach leaves. Then I poured 3/4 cup of beer over top:

I cooked that on high for 1 1/2 hours, then served it up with a lemon wedge:

This fish was very tasty. The only thing I didn't like was that the onions were still mostly raw and I couldn't eat them. The vegetables should have been allowed more time to cook.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 23: Apple-Cinnamon Breakfast Risotto

I made this for breakfast this morning, but it took longer than the recipe called for, so we ended up eating it for lunch. I put it in at about 7:30am. Here are the ingredients:

The recipe called for Granny Smith apples, but my favorite kind, Gala, were on sale this week, so I just went with them. I melted 1/2 stick butter in a skillet, then added 4 peeled and chopped apples, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice, and 1/4 tsp salt.

I cooked that for 3-5 minutes, then transferred it to the crockpot. I added 1 1/2 cups arborio rice and stirred it up:

I sprinkled on 1/2 cup brown sugar, then added 4 cups apple juice and 1 tsp vanilla. The recipe said to cook it for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. After 1 1/2 hours, the liquid wasn't even half way absorbed, so I left it to cook on high for 4 hours while we went to church. When we got home it still wasn't all the way absorbed, but we ate it. We sprinkled almonds, raisins, and milk on top:

This risotto was very good, but I would consider it more a dessert than a meal. It was very sweet. The almonds really added a nice crunch to it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 22: Turkey Vegetable Chili Mac

I am finally caught up with my cooking and blogging, yay! I made this chili mac for dinner tonight. It's Friday night. Hubby likes comfort food on Fridays, and I was in luck because he really liked this. Praise the Lord! I put it in at about noon. Here are the ingredients:

I browned up a pound of ground turkey in a skillet:

I transferred the turkey to the crockpot, then added a can of drained and rinsed black beans, a can of Mexican diced tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, a cup of frozen corn, 1/2 chopped onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and a tsp of Mexican seasoning.

I let that cook on low for 5 hours, then I stirred in 1/2 cup of macaroni. It cooked for 10 minutes, I gave it a quick stir, then I cooked it for 20 minutes more.

I served it with a dollop of sour cream:

This chili mac was really good. The turkey has a great flavor. It was very balanced and filling. It could have used a little more seasoning though. That's probably because the recipe called for 1 tsp of Mexican seasoning. I couldn't find any of that, but I bought a package of taco seasoning. I should have probably used the whole packet. I have a feeling they're not the same thing.

March 21: East Indian Curried Chicken with Capers and Brown Rice

I made this recipe for dinner last night. It is from the "meaty main dishes" portion of the cookbook in the Winter section. It was about 4PM when I started gathering the ingredients. I was very tired from a long day of grocery shopping and babysitting, plus still getting over my sickness, AND the baby kept us up crying ALL night (literally), so it took me a while to get everything prepared.

In the crockpot I combined 2 diced plum tomatoes, a can of chopped artichoke hearts, a cup of chicken broth, a chopped red onion, 1/3 cup white wine, and 1/4 cup capers.

In a bowl, I combined 2 tbsp instant tapioca, 2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp ground thyme, 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Then I stirred that into the crockpot. I added 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, and spooned the sauce over the chicken to coat:

I let that cook on high for 3 hours (or you could cook it on low for 7 to 9 hours), and served it over brown rice. It was 7:30 before we ate dinner.

This meal had an interesting flavor. Not bad, but it lacked a needed sweetness. I think it was too sour, with the capers and tomatoes. I think I usually add coconut milk or something sweet to curry, so this could have been better. I don't think the kids liked it much, except DD6. DH didn't like it because he's sick with a sickness where nothing tastes good, not even his favorite foods. I was there last week, so I know what it's like. If I ever try this again, I might try adding a spoonful of sugar to sweeten it just a tad.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 20: Golden Harvest Pork Stew

I'm skipping this one to, but I should resume tomorrow.

March 19: Turkey with Chunky Cherry Relish

I'm skipping this recipe because I'm sick.

March 18: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

I am still sick, so I'm taking a break.

March 17: Russian Borscht

I made this recipe on St. Patrick's Day. It was very red, so not so appropriate. I was still sick, but I wanted to be able to eat. Here are the ingredients:

In the crockpot I put 4 cups sliced green cabbage, 1 1/2 pounds shredded beets, 5 cut-up carrots, a cut-up turnip (it calls for a parsnip, but I can't buy just one parsnip, and I had some turnips left over, so I used what I had), a chopped onion, 4 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 pound of beef stew meat, a can of diced tomatoes, 3 cans of beef broth, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp pepper:

I cooked it on low for about 8 hours and served it:

This meal was not very good and nobody liked it. I tried it again the next day with a dollop of sour cream, like the recipe suggests and it was much better. I'm still eating it because it made a lot, but my family won't eat any more of it.

March 16: Soluthwestern Corn and Beans

I am still taking a break from cooking. Tomorrow's recipe will be Russian Borscht, and I will post the results of that recipe.

March 15: Golden Pork with Cinnamon-Sugar Apples

I am taking a short break from cooking due to being ill.

March 14: Best Beef Brisket Sandwich Ever

I am taking a little break from making these recipes because I am sick. I will resume on March 21, but I will still publish the daily posts.

March 13: Sweet and Sour Shrimp

I haven't made this recipe yet because I was sick, but I plan on making it today. Watch for an update.

ETA 3/22/13

I did make this recipe on Wednesday. Here are the ingredients:

I put a can of peaches, 1/2 cup sliced green onions, a chopped bell pepper, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/3 cup vegetable broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sesame oil, and a shake of red pepper flakes in the crockpot.

I cooked that on high for about 3 hours, then stirred it up. In a bowl I mixed up 2 tbsp cornstarch with 1/4 cup water, then I mixed that into the crockpot. I added 6 oz of snow peas and cooked on high for 15 minutes:

Then I added a pound of shrimp, a cup of halved cherry tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of walnut pieces and cooked it on high for about 5 minutes:

I served it over hot cooked rice:

This meal was actually very tasty. I liked it, and I think everyone else liked it too. The flavors were very well balanced, not too sweet, not to salty, etc. Overall, a winner!

March 12: Ham and Cheddar Brunch Strata

This recipe is from the "brunch and breakfast" section of the cookbook. I made it for dinner. First I gathered the ingredients:
I layered 8 oz of torn French bread and 1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar:
On top of that I layered 1 1/2 cups diced ham and 1/3 cup sliced green onions. Then I mixed up 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and a pinch of ground red pepper:
I poured that over top and cooked it for 3 1/2 hours (it was supposed to be on low, but I put it on high on accident):
I melted 1/2 cup more cheese on top and sprinkled 2 more tbsp green onions, then I served it up:

This strata was good, but I was sick with sinus trouble, so I couldn't taste it that well. It pretty much tasted like salt to me. But DH liked it. The girls didn't like it, one because it had onions in it, and I don't know why the other one didn't like it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11: Spinach Risotto

I didn't make this recipe today. I wasn't feeling good today after such a long hard day yesterday. I came down with a cold in my chest and I'm coughing up phlegm. I'm sure you wanted to know that. Anyway, watch for an update tomorrow. Maybe I'll make it for lunch. Good night.

ETA 3/20/13

I made the spinach risotto for lunch on Tuesday. Here are the ingredients:

I melted 2 tsp butter in a skillet and added 2 tsp olive oil. I cooked a chopped shallot and added 1 1/4 cups arborio rice. I cooked that for about 3 minutes, then stirred in 1/2 cup white wine and reduced by half:

I transferred that to the crockpot and stirred in 3 cups chicken broth and 1/2 tsp salt:

I cooked it on high for 2 1/2 hours, but I should have done only 2 maybe, because it came out really mushy. I stirred in 2 cups fresh spinach and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. My pine nuts had gone bad, so I had to throw them away:

I served it for lunch:

The recipe says: "Cover and cook on HIGH 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until rice is almost cooked but still contains a little liquid. Stir in spinach. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until spinach is cooked and rice is tender and creamy. Gently stir in Parmesan cheese and pine nuts just before serving." I cooked it too long, so I didn't cook it that last 15 minutes. It had a good flavor, but the texture was just too mushy, kind of like eating thick oatmeal. The kids liked it well enough. I wonder if I could get it right next time. It might be worth a try, but it might just be better to cook it like real risotto on the stove.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10: Shepherd's Pie

Well, today is my husband's birthday. We went out for lunch at Tastebud's after church and we got their salad bar. I started this dinner when we got home. Here are the ingredients:

I cooked 2 pounds of ground beef in a skillet. It was supposed to be a pound each of beef and lamb, but I couldn't find any lamb, so I used beef:

To the skillet I added a package of frozen onions and 2 tsp minced garlic and cooked it until the onions softened:

I put all that in the crockpot with the beef, then added a drained can of diced tomatoes, 3 tbsp of minute tapioca, a bag of frozen peas and carrots, 2 tsp dried oregano, and some salt and pepper:

It said to cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, but I didn't have that long, so I cooked it on high for about 4 hours. Instead of the called-for packages of premade mashed potatoes, I boiled and mashed 3 pounds of potatoes. It was much cheaper. I had DH spread the potatoes over the beef, and cook on low while we were at evening church. I forgot to take a picture. We had friends over to eat with us, so I was distracted and didn't take a picture of the final food. But here is my lovely husband blowing out his candles:

We liked the shepherd's pie. It is good old fashioned comfort food. Now I have to go to bed.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March 9: Three-Bean Chipotle Chili

I'm finally caught up, yay! Tonight's meal was a "hearty stews and chilies" meal. I started it at about 3PM (when my open house was over, after no one showed up). I gathered all the ingredients:

I heated up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet, then added a chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, and 2 cloves of minced garlic:

I transferred that to the crockpot, then added 1 chopped chipotle pepper in adobo, a can of tomato paste, and a cup of water:

To that I stirred in a large can of pinto beans rinsed and drained, a can of white beans rinsed and drained, a can of drained garbanzo beans, and a cup of canned corn. I cooked it on low for 3 1/2 hours:

I served it with sour cream and shredded Cheddar:

I really thought I would hate this dinner because it looks so bland. On the contrary, the chipotle peppers give it such a depth of flavor, and the garbanzo beans really add a meatiness that the other beans don't have. My husband didn't even complain that there was no meat in it - like he usually does. I loved the chunks of veggies in it too. This is a really great vegetarian soup, so great if you are on a tight budget.

March 8: Lemon Mint Red Potatoes

This recipe is from the "holiday entertaining" section of the cookbook. It was yesterday's recipe, but DH wanted pizza, so I decided to make these for the Mary Kay open house I had this afternoon. Too bad no one came, because no one got to try these delicious potatoes! Here are the ingredients:

I put 2 pounds of new red potatoes in the crockpot, drizzled 2 tbsp olive oil on top and stirred it up. I sprinkled them with 3/4 tsp Greek seasoning, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp pepper. I covered it and cooked it on high for 4 hours. You could also cook it on low for 7 hours.

When they were cooked, I stirred in 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon peel, 2 tbsp butter, and 2 tbsp fresh mint. I stirred until the butter was melted, then sprinkled it with 2 more tbsp of the mint.

The potatoes were so delicious. The Greek seasoning, mint, and lemon all worked to give it a nice spring-like feel. It was a rainy day, on top of 6-foot piles of snow, so you could tell that spring was in the air. Man, I can't wait for the snow to melt!