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A no spend day..well, almost

October 1st, 2007 at 04:03 pm

Today was planned to be a no spend day for me. I wasn't going to leave the house and that means I don't spend money. But my mother had a 'quick' errand to run and wanted me to go along so I did. It just so happens that the place she had to go was very, very near the new Kohl's that just opened. Since neither of us had been in a Kohl's, we had to check it out. We found things we both wanted but I'm happy to say I didn't buy anything at Kohl's. Oh happy day!

However, Mom remembered another errand she needed to run and since it was going to take awhile and we were both famished we stopped at a convenience store for a snack. I spent about $3 but that's it.

We ran the other errand and went home and I will not go out again tonight. Period!

So it was almost a no spend day for me, close anyway.

Dinner tonight is Poor Man's Steak, brussels sprouts and a slice of pumpernickel with butter. I decided to try a different recipe than I usually use for Poor Man's Steak. I used this one today but cut all ingredients by half:

1 pound ground beef
1 cup milk
1 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 can mushroom soup
1 cup water or milk

Mix all together, except soup and water/milk and shape into a narrow loaf. (I flattened it on a cookie sheet instead) Let sit in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Cut loaf into slices and fry in a skillet on both sides until brown. (I skipped the frying) Put slices in baking dish. Mix 1 can mushroom soup with 1 cup of water or milk and pour over each piece. Bake at 325 1 hour.

Supper menus for the next two weeks

September 26th, 2007 at 08:24 pm

I'm stretching what I have to last through this month. Since I have Type 2 Diabetes, I try to keep the carbohydrate intake down and can't fill up on the inexpensive foods like pasta, beans, rice, and potatoes.

I have a 3 and 1/3 lb beef boneless rump roast I bought for $1.99 a lb and it's thawed and ready to go. I find that if I cook the entire roast it doesn't last very long as I'll eat it two or three times a day and snack on it, too.

So rather than cook the entire thing, I'll divide as follows: one third will be thinly sliced and used for pan frying or grilling and will be added to salads and other dishes, one third will be cut into chunks to use for soup, beef "tips", and the remaining third will be cooked as one piece with lots of carrot, potato, and onion. I should get at least 6 meals from that roast but may get 8 or more.

So, here's my basic dinner menu for the next two weeks in no particular order other than tonight's meal. I might change the meals slightly but this is the basic plan and I'll stick to it for the most part.

Wednesday - Thinly sliced boneless rump roast cooked on the George Foreman grill with a little olive oil and generously seasoned with fresh garlic and basil, served with steamed cauliflower.

***Note - I steamed the entire head tonight and thought I'd turned off the burner. I'd actually turned it to high and the pan scorched some but I think the cauliflower is fine. The house sure stinks, though! Have I mentioned how much I detest an electric oven/stove? If not, consider yourself told now. Smile***

Leftover great northern beans and tossed salad.

Tuna salad rolled in leaf lettuce, served with green beans and half a baked sweet potato.

Beef franks with chili, cheese, red bell pepper, and onions.

Sliced turkey ham cooked on the GF grill, scrambled eggs, and pumpernickel bread with butter.

Beef and cheese melt. I just recently had this at a friend's house and it was great! The overall effect is similar to Philly Cheesesteak, one of my favorite things to eat. We made it with beef labeled Carne Picada but I'm going to use thin strips of the boneless rump roast instead since that's what the beef looked and tasted like and that's what I have. Cook the beef with chopped onions and chopped green pepper. Add some garlic and other spices to taste. When the meat and veggies are cooked and tender, throw a handful or so of your choice of shredded cheese on top. Don't stir it - just cover it and let it sit until the cheese is melted. Spoon onto lightly toasted rolls or buns and enjoy! I'm going to add sliced mushrooms and eat it rolled up in a low carb tortilla with a salad on the side. I'll prepare a little extra to use later for beef quesadillas.

Chef salad with a crusty roll.

Oven baked chicken with tossed salad and half a baked sweet potato. I'll bake a whole chicken, de-bone what I don't eat and use it later.

Beef and vegetable soup with a crusty roll.

Beef and chicken quesadillas made with LC tortillas on the GF grill and served with tossed salad.

Poor Man's Steak, brussels sprouts, and pumpernickel bread with butter.

Beef tips and gravy over faux mashed potatoes and served with tossed salad.

Leftover Poor Man's Steak with leftover faux mashed potatoes.

It was supposed to be for supper tonight but..

May 3rd, 2007 at 11:08 am

my other half decided he wanted meat loaf bowls with mashed potatoes and gravy for lunch. So I went into the kitchen and whipped up a pan of 6 meat loaf bowls using the Better Baker Gourmet Bowl Maker from Cook's Choice (www.cookschoice.com). Here's the recipe I used for the meat loaf, which was awesome!

1.5 lbs ground beef
2 eggs
1 package onion soup mix
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Country Bob's sauce

I mixed up the 5 ingredients and pressed some of it into each of the bowls and baked them at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. When they were cooled just a tad, I inverted the pan over a large cookie sheet, tapped it on the bottom several times and voila, meat loaf bowls!

While the meat loaves were baking I made gravy but I cheated and did it the easy way. I used 1 package of brown gravy mix, and 1 cup water, mixed together in a saucepan. Once that was hot and starting to bubble, I added one can of cream of chicken soup. Together, they made an excellent gravy!

Each meat loaf bowl was topped with mashed potatoes and a little gravy. DH ate two of them, DSS ate three and I got one.

Here's what the finished product looked like:

I really can't say enough good things about this bowl maker. Cook's Choice makes some of the best kitchen goodies around, in my opinion, and this addition just thrills me.

If you entertain much, this is a great tool for your kitchen. Even if you don't, it's still great! I've made chocolate peanut butter goodies in it, cornbread and enchilada bowls, turkey sausage and egg bowls, and now the meat loaf.

It's all good!

This week's dinners

April 23rd, 2007 at 11:50 am

I don't normally think ahead about what to serve for breakfast or lunch. DH eats the same basic thing every morning and I rarely eat a thing before 11:30 AM or noon. When I do get hungry I either eat leftovers or whip up something quick for myself.

With those things in mind, here's this weeks night time meals in no particular order unless otherwise noted:

April 23rd - Beef and gravy (left over beef chuck roast cut into small pieces and simmered in mushroom gravy) over wild rice served with Normandy style vegetables and tossed salad that includes beet greens and green onions from the garden

Tuna salad sandwiches with chips and salsa

Egg pie with smoked beef sausage and green onions from the garden served with tossed salad and green beans

Stir fried beef over homemade noodles served with spinach and baked cabbage

You're on your own night where we eat leftovers, cereal, soup, or whatever else we can find

Veggie night where we'll have a huge salad with all kinds of vegetables and cheeses in it

Beans and hot water cornbread

Oh man, now these are wickedly good!

April 22nd, 2007 at 02:29 pm

Isn't it pretty? Tasty too!!!

It doesn't have a name. For now I'm just calling it Denise's Chocolate Delight Thingie. Wink

Gardening & playing with kitchen gadgets - My Sunday plans

April 22nd, 2007 at 09:20 am

The garden is already watered and I'm going to transplant some more iris bulbs today. I have about 50 to go but a few here and a few there will get them all done.

I'm also experimenting with one of my new kitchen toys, the Cook's Choice
Gourmet Bowl Maker found at cookschoice.com. So far I've made breakfast bowls with biscuit dough, eggs, cheese and homemade turkey sausage, enchilada bowls, and some desserts. Everything I've tried has been great but today I'm experimenting with a new dessert recipe I'm creating. Hopefully I'll have it perfected today and if I do, I'll post pictures of it.

I just love this Bowl Maker and really recommend it to anyone who loves to cook, entertains a lot, goes to church dinners, etc. And nope, I don't make a cent if you buy one - I just highly recommend it. Smile

Another no spend day for me and free fajitas!

March 18th, 2007 at 06:08 pm

Today's been another no spend day for me. DH had to do an install and needed something from the hardware store so he's spent something. I don't know how much since he isn't home yet but it shouldn't be more than a few dollars.

We have more greenies peeking out from the soil today than we did yesterday and it's great to see the growth! Especially the tomatoes since gardening is all about the tomatoes for me. We have all varieties up out of the ground now.

My son and his girlfriend went out for Mexican food and brought me back beef fajitas. They were great and they were free! So the leftovers that don't get eaten tonight by DH will be eaten tomorrow for lunch.

I'm going to bed early tonight since tomorrow is going to be a busy day at my mother's house. Relatives from Iowa are coming in so Mom and I have some things to do before they arrive. Smile

This week's dinners

March 17th, 2007 at 11:31 pm

We have a fridge full of leftovers so Sunday night is YOYO night. In the fridge are leftover purple hull peas, hamburger steak, onions and mushrooms in brown gravy and plenty of vegetables. We also have two gallon size zipper bags of cornbread. So, we'll each have whatever appeals to us. Here are the rest of the week's meals in no particular order unless otherwise stated:

Monday night - Chicken and dressing made with whatever cornbread doesn't get eaten tonight and some canned chicken in the cupboard. With it we'll have a light gravy and leftover vegetables.

Spaghetti made with a sauce from one of those huge cans of tomatoes I dealt with recently. We'll have it with green beans, salad and garlic toast.

Soup made with ground beef, any leftover vegetables languishing in the fridge, more of that sauce in the freezer, and seasonings.

What my other half calls "big ass" salads meaning they have just about everything one can think of on them.

Sloppy joes with low carb tortillas, spinach and salad.

Scrambled eggs, turkey ham and toast.

Chicken soup with homemade noodles

March 9th, 2007 at 04:45 pm

Last night's dinner was a chicken seasoned with Cook's Choice
Brisket Rub and roasted with potatoes, carrots, and onions. We also had black eyed peas with smoked turkey leg leftover from lunch. The chicken I roasted served me, DH, my mom and stepfather with plenty left.

So tonight I used some of the leftover chicken, the vegetables, and a little of the juice mixed with some broth and seasonings and made a nice chicken soup. To it I added some homemade noodles and it was great!

Here's a picture of a bowl of the soup:

DH didn't want any but I had a bowl and it was tasty and very filling. I love homemade noodles and they're so easy to make. Here's my recipe:

1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup flour

Mix egg, salt and milk; enough flour to make stiff dough. Roll thin, let stand 20 minutes. Roll up and slice 1/8" thick; spread to dry for about 2 hours. Drop in boiling broth and cook 10 minutes.

I don't worry about the noodles being perfect as long as they're savory. I love these noodles with some fresh basil and ground pepper added to the dough. They're even great with some cheese added to them.

So, if you get bored and want something different to do with your leftover chicken and veggies, try this! You won't be sorry.

My mother's coffee cake

March 8th, 2007 at 08:29 pm

My mother made the best coffee cake when I was a kid. She didn't make it often but when she made it, it was so tasty. I used to love a little piece with a small amount of coffee.

When I went to her house Tuesday to help her clean, I had a little bit of her coffee cake. She hadn't made it in many years and I didn't have the recipe so I hadn't eaten it in many years but it was just as I remembered. The stuff melts in my mouth and while it's sweet, it isn't sickly sweet. It's simply excellent. It's also frugal and easy to make!

She gave me the recipe and here it is, from her old cookbook she got when she and my dad married.


1 beaten egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted shortening
1 cup sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Combine egg, sugar, milk and shortening. Add flour sifted with baking powder and salt. Mix well and pour into paper-lined 8x8x2 inch baking pan. (Denise's note-Mom doesn't use the paper but oils and flours the pan well)
Sprinkle with mixture of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp flour, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and 1/2 cup broken nuts. Bake in moderate oven (375) 20 to 25 minutes.

The tomatoes..again

March 3rd, 2007 at 05:31 pm

Here's what I did with 1 can of the tomatoes.

I sliced two very large onions and sauted them with garlic in olive oil. Then I put one of the 6 lb 3 oz cans of tomatoes in a stock pot and added the onions and garlic, some oregano, basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and a little sugar. I let it cook all afternoon, about 6 hours, and oh man, it's good!

After it cooled I dipped it into freezer containers and it's now in the freezer, ready to be used next time I need a good pasta sauce or even sauce for Swiss Steak.

The other can still sits on the counter. Maybe I'll get to that tomorrow.

Ideas needed for using two 6 lb cans whole tomatoes

March 2nd, 2007 at 06:54 pm

I have two 6 lb 3 oz cans of whole tomatoes and I need to do something with them. I'm thinking I might make one can into spaghetti sauce for the freezer. I'm not sure what to do with the other can. I don't have to do anything with it right now, I guess, but I'd like to do something productive that would get it out of the cupboard.

My first attempt at Orange Chicken!

March 1st, 2007 at 03:49 pm

I've been craving Orange Chicken and the best place for it that I know of is about 2 hours away in Dallas. Well, we aren't going there any time soon so I decided to just try to make it. I looked over several recipes and took bits and pieces of them to create my own. I don't measure everything but this is close:

I skinned and de-boned 7 chicken breasts. Using my Better Breader, I lightly breaded the chicken chunks and baked them in the oven at 350 til done. I decided to lightly bread and bake rather than fry for carb and fat reasons. When the chicken was cooked I just put it all into a bowl and set it aside.

Into the wok I put about 1/2 serving spoon of orange marmalade I had lingering in the fridge. It's too bitter to eat on toast and I just don't like it but kept it thinking I might use it in a recipe. To that I added about 2 tsp pure orange extract, 1 tsp of minced garlic and some fresh ginger, minced. I didn't measure the ginger but it was about one thin slice. I heated all that through and mixed it well then added about 8 ounces of water with 2 tsp corn starch mixed in. I added about 1/2 cup soy sauce and stirred the concoction until it heated through and started to thicken. I tasted it, thought it needed something, so I added about 1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce and some crushed red pepper and let it heat again. Once it was thick, I added some Splenda, about 2 tsp or so and stirred some more. It needed more orange flavor so I put in a few more dashes of the extract and stirred it more. Then I dumped the chicken into the wok and mixed it all well until the chicken was well coated in the sauce. This made about 6 good sized servings.

DH thinks it needed more ginger, more orange, and a bit more sweetener but it was soooo close to Orange Chicken we get in Dallas. He suggested a bit of barbecue sauce, even, which would make it a bit sweeter and darker. Next time I'll add a few chopped green onions and a bit of shredded carrot and probably garnish it with those, also.

Anyway, it was excellent and here's a picture of some of it:

The total cost was about $16, which is a lot more than we normally spend on one meal at home! But it comes out to about $2.67 per serving which is less expensive than eating out. Smile

I put the bones with the little pieces of remaining meat on them in the soup pot and am cooking that for stock. I hate to waste!

This morning in east Texas & one of my favorite recipe sites

February 27th, 2007 at 04:27 am

It's 42 degrees this morning with a predicted high of 77. I love this weather! By late this week the overnight temperatures will drop and the daytime highs will be in the 60s with upper 30s this weekend. But Spring is almost here so the beautiful temperatures will be more plentiful.

I was awakened at 4:45 this morning by the phone ringing. It was my 22 year old son. On his way home from work his truck had broken down so DH and I threw on some clothes and drove to get him. Poor kid, he was so distraught about it. He had it in the shop when he got this new job two weeks ago and now it seems to be doing the same thing it was doing then. I know the frustration of vehicle trouble!

When we got home DH made his breakfast and I made coffee and started laundry. As soon as it's light enough outside to find my way to the clothes line, I'll hang up the wash. I've swished and swiped the bathroom and stripped the bed linens to be washed later.

If you like to cook simple but tasty dishes and haven't yet done so, peruse
Nancy's Kitchen.
It's one of my favorite cooking groups and the people are very friendly. From the Daily Newsletter Index link, you can read each day's newsletter and that's where the good stuff is.