My Labor Day Weekend was pretty chill with lots of relaxing, but I did get in quite a bit of cooking. (All photos are from the blogs the recipes came from.)
First I made Skinny Veggie Lasagna from Pinch of Yum. I always find lasagna a bit daunting because I remember my mom slaving over it, and worrying about breaking the lasagna noodles as they came out of the water. This one uses oven ready noodles which are genius (no boiling), so most of the time preparing was spent chopping veggies. I think I used way more veggies than the recipe called for, but it was delicious.
The next recipe was Autumn Chicken Stew from Gimme Some Oven. It may have been a tad bit hot outside for stew, but this was so tasty and really got me in the mood for fall and all my favorite soup recipes. Nate was helping chop veggies for this and I went to throw in the apples and he said “Apples?!?” Fruit in a chicken and vegetable stew is a little weird, but I think when he ate it he didn’t mind too much. I will say if you’re not a fan of hot or cooked fruit this one probably isn’t for you.
And finally the crockpot whipped up an old favorite, Pioneer Woman’s Drip Beef. We made drip beef tacos with flour tortillas rather than making sandwiches, but as expected they were fantastic.
Did you try any new recipes over the long weekend?
Do you have a food or meal that’s a go-to when you don’t know what to cook or eat? One of mine is things in tortillas. I’ll often throw some chicken in a skillet with some salsa and whatever else I have on hand, and then wrap my skillet contents up in a tortilla.
Last night I threw together some black beans, mushrooms, and red bell pepper. Once that was all heated up and cooked a bit I spread some goat cheese on the tortilla and topped it off with some avocado. It’s not always the case when experimenting, but I thought this one turned out pretty tasty.
This other tortilla is an old camping dessert favorite from Girl Scouts. I believe the original recipe was called Smackos (probably because they’re lip smacking good!), but someone in my troop misunderstood and we giggled like junior high girls and called them Spankos. It’s basically a dessert quesadilla, and the possibilities are endless (marshmallows, butterscotch chips, bananas…..). Mine has peanut butter, Nutella, apples, coconut, and peanut butter chocolate swirl chips.
Do you have any big weekend plans? I’ve got a few things going on and some other exciting tidbits.
Some people get very excited about Easter candy hitting the store shelves. I do enjoy picking up a bag of Starburst jelly beans which you can find this time of year, but this has been the first year I’ve hunted down a specific Easter candy. I discovered Cadbury’s Royal Dark Mini Eggs last year and have been checking shelves for them all month. My dad finally found some in Kansas, and when I went for a visit last weekend I stocked up on a few bags. A friend said she found some at Target in OKC, so I’ll have to check there the day after Easter and see if I find any on clearance. Do you have a favorite Easter candy?
I purchased my first DSLR camera today! My little point and shoot camera stopped working a while back and I’ve been getting by borrowing from friends when necessary. My Nikon will take a week or so to arrive, and I cannot wait!
One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, is coming to OKC this weekend and we’re going to see him. I think there are still tickets left, so if you need something to do Sunday night it should be a good show!
I am super close to finishing the t-shirt quilt I’m making for my friend Elyse. Eight more seams.
I’m making Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas for dinner tonight.
Some friends are getting married this weekend at IAO. I think an art gallery would be a cool venue to get married at, so I’m looking forward to seeing how everything looks, and the fun time celebrating with friends!
Source: IAOgallery.org via Flickr
My grandma was telling me about her garden and a book she got, Lasagna Gardening. So I’m going to pick up a copy from the library on the way home for some light weekend reading.
Have a good one!
I’ve been cooking a ton lately and trying to be healthier. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a diet of any kind because I’m not a dieting person, but just an effort to eat balanced meals. All the cooking has also helped with packing lunches because I have tasty leftovers ready to go!
I’ve been trying to use up things in my pantry that have been around for a while, so generally I find a recipe which I have most of the ingredients for and then just make it work. Since I haven’t been following the directions my meals may not have turned out anything like they were supposed to, but I feel like these are recipes that can be modified and still turn out ok! Plus these were all pretty fast to make. (All images are linked to the blogs they came from.)
What have you been cooking to kick off your new year?
When I studied abroad in Japan I arrived probably never having had curry, and after trying it the first time I don’t think it was something I was head over heels crazy for. But there was a group of ladies at the school we attended that would prepare a free curry lunch on Wednesdays. Being a poor college student I was not one to turn down a free lunch, so every Wednesday for a month I’d eat curry. It must have grown on me because when I returned home at the end of the semester it was a meal I craved.
A couple years later a good friend of mine who’d taught English in Japan recommended S&B Golden Curry mix. It’s a curry base that she’d bought and made in Japan and then later found at grocery stores in the States. I prefer the mild or medium hot sauces, but it comes in hotter versions too.
This curry is really easy to make, and it’s hearty and perfect for cool weather. I follow the directions on the box, and it comes out perfect every time. The box offers some meat and vegetable suggestions and amounts; the ones below are my favorites. The nice thing is you can really use as much or as little of each vegetable as you’d like. I have a 12″ frying pan, and I just fill it up.
Curry Mix (the smaller 3.5 oz box) (if you get the 8 oz box just use half of the cubes)
1-1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
carrots (baby carrots work great and you don’t have to peel and chop them)
- Cut 1 to 1-1/2 lbs of chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Dice onion and garlic.
- While your curry cooks prepare your rice.
- In a large skillet, stir-fry chicken, onion and garlic in oil until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, potato, and bell pepper (all chopped to bite size pieces).
- Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken, potatoes and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Break Golden Curry Sauce Mix into small pieces and add to pot stirring until sauce is completely melted.
- Add frozen peas.
- Simmer for another 5 minutes or so stirring constantly. (If sauce becomes too thick, just add water)
- Pour over freshly cooked rice.
It got legitimately cold this past Sunday, and I was in the mood for soup. I’ve made a couple of pots of Chicken Tortilla in the past month, so I changed it up and made this meaty one instead. For me soup is a perfect lazy evening meal because it can be thrown together with already cooked portions of meat from the freezer and multiple cans of veggies out of the cabinet.
Black Bean Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 can black beans rinsed
1 can black bean or lentil soup
1/2 c. picante sauce (or more)
1. Brown the beef and drain off the grease.
2. Add meat, beans, soup, and picante to a pot and heat on stove until bubbly.
I think my favorite dish at thanksgiving is the cranberry sauce. I do love how it tastes, but I also enjoy my family’s tradition of making it each year. My mom has a glass pot that we cook the cranberries in, and when my brother and I were little we’d stand and watch the cranberries pop while they cooked. (If you’ve never cooked cranberries when they heat up their skin splits making a popping noise.)
I probably didn’t try (or know it existed) canned cranberry sauce until I was in high school. I haven’t had the canned enough times to know if homemade is any better or tastes any different, but it’s crazy easy to make so you might as well try it out!
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 c. Sugar
1 c. Water
Wash the berries in water and sort out any that are mushy or have bad spots.
Heat water and sugar on the stove until they boil.
Add berries and cook for 5-10 min until berries have all burst.
Remove pot from heat and cool.
Refrigerate sauce until time to serve.
I’ve always considered bread making hard. My first experience as an adult making bread on my own was a quick bread. I didn’t let it cool long enough before putting it away, and when I came back to have some a few days later it was all moldy. So for several years I didn’t make bread.
Last year I got the guts and made wheat bread. Yes it was time consuming, but not so hard. So this year I tried out some Thanksgiving rolls.
Last night a group of friends got together for a Friendsgiving and it was my job to bring rolls and cranberry sauce. I was nervous about trying a new yeast bread recipe, but I think these rolls were even easier than the wheat bread!
The recipe is my grandma’s go to roll recipe, but I’ll have to get back to you on where she got it from.
2 pkgs. dry yeast
2 c. Warm water
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Oil
5 1/2 c. Flour
- Add 2 pkgs dry yeast (I used rapid rise) to 2 c. Warm water (follow the temp recommendations on the pkg)
- Add: 1/2 c. Sugar, 1tsp. Salt, 1/2 c. Oil
- Add 3 c. of flour, mix well, and add 2 1/2 more cups of flour and mix.
- Put dough on floured board and knead well. (I did mine 5-10 min. Until it was smooth and elastic).
- Make dough into small golf ball sized balls and place in greased pan. Be sure to leave a little room for the rolls to expand.
- Let the rolls rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hrs.
- Bake 450 degrees for 15-20 min. (Mine baked pretty fast so I ended up taking the first batch out after 10 minutes and turning the temp down on the 2nd batch. Just keep an eye on them.)
- Butter the tops of the rolls while they’re still hot.
Makes around 2 dozen.
The weather here for the past few weeks has been fluctuating between not quite fall and near winter temperatures. But despite the too warm or too cold temperatures I’m in an Autumn mindset. This past week I picked up pumpkins, planted pansies, baked apple crisp, and made this veggie stew.
This is my mom’s stew recipe that I’ve been enjoying on chilly evenings for as long as I can remember. It’s simple and easy. I enjoy it as is, but any vegetable or spice you like could easily be added. The recipe calls for beef, but I’ve eaten it plenty of times without – you could even swap beef bullion for vegetable and have a vegetarian stew.
package of beef stew meat
3 beef bullion cubes
onion if on hand
1 can corn, drained
1 can green beans, drained
1. Brown stew meat in stew pot (don’t drain grease).
2. Add enough water to cover the meat plus a little more and the 3 beef bullion cubes.
3. Simmer the meat for 30 minutes (add more water as necessary).
4. Cut up as many potatoes, carrots and onion as you’d like and add to the pot.
5. Simmer the meat and vegetables until tender (approximately another hour) add water as necessary, but not too much (keep just enough liquid as needed for cooking).
6. Add corn and green beans a few minutes before serving.
I started growing basil last year after my grandma gave me some plants from her out of control basil plant. I didn’t have a plan for it, but I rarely turn down a free plant! We soon realized how easy it was to grow and how easy pesto is to make. I found this pesto recipe and just very slightly adapted it to the one below (mine just leaves out parsley because I never have fresh parsley on hand).
Very slightly adapted from Baked Bree
3/4 cup basil leaves
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese grated
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
Off the same blog I got the Pesto recipe from we’ve made this yummy Corn, Pesto and Tomato Pizza several times. This year making the pizza was extra exciting because the basil, garlic, corn, and tomatoes for the recipe all came out of the garden. We also made a second pizza that night with tomatoes and zucchini. So it was pretty close to a garden feast!
It’s been pretty hot lately, so rather than turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen Nate fired up his grill and heated the two pizzas up there. They turned out just perfect!