3.28.2008

Potatoes, Chicken & Asparagus

So, my brain doesn't think incredibly well after a long and stressful day at work. More or less, I rarely have time to cook a meal that takes more than an hour. When I get home I hear this:

"I'm so hungry - when are we going to eat? What's for dinner? I want a beer and then I have to study!"

Last night was Heaven:

"I had a late lunch, so I can wait awhile before we eat."

Thank the Lord above! The stars must've been aligned because I REALLY wanted to roast some chicken, potatoes and asparagus.

Roasted Potatoes, Chicken & Asparagus

1 lb chicken - uncooked, thighs, drumsticks, whatever comes in the chicken package
1 onion, roughly chopped in LARGE pieces
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 4 - 6 pieces each
OR
8 small to medium red potatoes, halved
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 tsp paprika, sweet or smoked, whatever you have on hand. I happen to like the color.
2 tsp Herbes de Provence (I've been into this lately, love the smell of lavender)

So, the cooking times are different, you'll just have to bear with me because I wanted to do this all in one pot and didn't want the asparagus or chicken to be overcooked.

(Ok, so I haven't done dishes in about 3 days...)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Or 400, or 375 depending on how much time you have. Add 10 minutes for each 25 degrees you drop the temperature.

Mix all the herbs & spices together, add a LITTLE salt, lots of pepper.

Toss the potatoes and onions in 1 - 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp spice mix. Pour into a large casserole dish and shove into the oven for 25 - 30 minutes.

While those are cooking, toss the chicken in 1 tbsp olive oil and the rest of the spice mix. After the 30 minutes are up - take the casserole out, shove the potatoes around the pan and make a little nest for the chicken in the middle. Put the chicken in the middle and shove the pan back into the oven for about 15 minutes.

(I use the word shove here, because I was in a mood after my DH drank the last cold beer, but that's ok, I was rewarded with my fab cooking skills)

While that's cooking, toss the asparagus with the olive oil, pull the casserole out of the oven after the 15 minutes and just put the asparagus on the top.

After another 10 minutes, everything should be done!

Voila!

3.22.2008

Byerly's Wild Rice Soup

Being from Minnesota, wild rice was a staple in my diet growing. There's nothing like the wild rice you get from the North Woods. And there's nothing else like Byerly's Wild Rice Soup. I made a double batch of this last night - being away from Minnesota for two years has take a toll on our eating habits and I'm starting to miss hot dish, wild rice and finnish pancakes along with lefse.

I didn't make any changes in the recipe - although now I wish I would've added two cloves of mashed garlic and 1 - 2 cups of good white wine. Oh, well! Next time!

You find the original recipe here along with so many more favorites from this "upscale" grocery store and restaurant. I'll definitely list it here too (copy and pasting yes, because I'm totally admitting that I stole it - and for good cause!) - And the next time I defrost some, I swear I'll take a picture!

Byerly's Wild Rice Soup


Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/3 cup minced ham
  • 3 tablespoons chopped slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry, (optional)
  • snipped fresh parsley or chives
Directions
In large saucepan, melt margarine; saute onion until tender. Blend in flour; gradually add broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in rice, carrots, ham, almonds and salt; simmer about 5 minutes. Blend in half and half and sherry; heat to serving temperature. Garnish with snipped parsley or chives.

Amount: 6 cups.

Tip:
One-half cup uncooked wild rice=1 1/2 to 2 cups, cooked.

PSH

3.19.2008

I'm Addicted

So I get bored at work every once in awhile and so now I'm a fiend for wealth wars. It's slow moving, yet so addicting. I have to admit, that I peruse the Money Matters board on The Nest and click on people's money blogs. I'm a snoop. I whole-heartedly admit it! I think that's why I like blogging so much, because people can get a peek into my life and I can get a peek into other people's lives.

Moral of the story:

I like blogs.

Try out Wealth Wars HERE.

PSH

3.15.2008

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

We've had two overripe bananas sitting on the counter for two days - it was time to take action.

McTatty's Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, or just one cup is fine too - if you're feeling sugary, add more
2 LARGE eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (yes, secret ingredient, smells awesome in the oven!)
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips, just tossed in a little flour

Cream eggs, sugar and butter until light and fluffy. I didn't do that last night, but it still turned out good - even just whisking the eggs, sugar and melted butter together works just fine!

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the dry to the egg-sugar-butter mixture. Add the oil, the vanilla, and the chocolate chips. Combine by folding together. Pour into a 9x4 or 9x5 bread pan and bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes. Just until toothpick comes out clean.

The outside will be brown and crusty while the inside will be nice and fluffy!

PSH

3.14.2008

Turkey Meatballs.... And Spaghetti

I'm in love with ground turkey. The only thing I haven't made so far is turkey tacos. I'm a little bit afraid that my husband will be able to tell the difference. But with meatballs, I don't think he really cared all that much!

Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, or 1 whole shallot
2 tsp worchestershire sauce
2 large eggs, yolks & all
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried basil or LOTS of fresh basil - however much you're feelin' the herbs
3 LARGE cloves garlic, finely chopped & mashed to a pulp
1/4 cup olive oil

So I started with my mom's regular swedish meatball recipe, but decided that I wanted spaghetti instead. Meatballs are easily modified, but if you're afraid of not sticking to the recipe, don't worry, it's not that hard!

Dump all ingredients except for olive oil into a large mixing bowl. TAKE YOUR RINGS OFF. Then start to combine. Don't over mix - it's just right when you can form a small golf ball size meatball in your hands. If it's too sticky, add 1 - 2 tbsp more bread crumbs, if it's not sticky enough, add another egg OR 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil.

Heat a LARGE frying pan to hot with the olive oil, and I mean get it screaming hot so it smokes. Be careful - drop the meatballs in and fry until golden brown on all sides. It should only take about 45 seconds for color to begin, then roll 'em around to another side. Once brown on all sides, remove from pan.

Then:

If you're making homemade spaghetti sauce, here's my recipe:

1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sugar
Handful of fresh basil, if on hand
Pinch of thyme, or maybe more than a pinch if needed
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all in the same pan used to make the meatballs - if using an already made sauce, just pour in and bring to a simmer.

Drop the meatballs in and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook spaghetti like normal.

Enjoy!

I LOVE spaghetti and meatballs - it's one of my favorite meals and now turkey has made it even better!

PSH

3.05.2008

Kitchen Gardens

Oh, how I wish I didn't live in an apartment.

As I read this article from The Simple Dollar, I realized that next year I'll be able to do this, woo hoo! Planning a kitchen garden is something that my family has done every year since I am able to remember.

Tomatoes, lettuce, squash, green peppers, potatoes, carrots, green onions, marigolds, cucumbers, zucchini - almost all vegetables I think I've helped plant and grow. My favorite is still the sweat peas, but of course the rabbits like those as much as I do!

Every day this week I've been making myself an omelet for lunch. Protein is what I've been craving lately - and calcium. Omelets are easy to make, and even more fun to eat when you have a variety of vegetables - from your own garden. My goal is to do this next year in our cute little bungalow and just have 3 - 4 large planters with everything we eat. We'll see if that happens!

McTatty's Lunch Omelets

2 - 3 eggs
1 tbsp milk
2 - 3 slices of deli turkey
1/4 cup mozzarella or Italian cheese blend
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved & kinda juiced (so that the omelet isn't too runny)

My usual array of toppings:
Mushrooms
Green onions
Turkey
Cheese
Chili powder & cumin

I like to pile everything up - I'm in love with omelets.

Creating the perfect omelet:
1. Beat the eggs with the milk.
2. Spray a 7 - 8 inch skillet with Pam and heat over medium - low. Toss in the turkey.
3. Wait until turkey is sizzling, then pour in the egg mixture. Add the salt & pepper. And wait. like 30 - 45 seconds.
4. Pull up a little piece of one side, let runny egg go under the cooked part - keep doing this all around the pan, the egg will cook evenly.
5. Add the toppings to one side, fold the omelet over the otherside and let cook for another 35 - 45 seconds.

C'etait parfait! Voila!

PSH

3.02.2008

Slow Cooked Chicken Noodle Soup

I have a small passion for my little 3 quart crock pot. If my husband knew how to cook with it... holy buckets, would I be the happiest wife ever!

A woman at work is VERY pregnant and we had her baby shower on Friday - since it's still kinda chilly in south central Indiana, I decided to make home made chicken noodle soup.

I chopped everything up and then brought it all to work to throw in the crock pot at 8 am. Blech, to early!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

1 lb organic chicken UNCOOKED (sorry, my environmental tendencies have come out MUCH more)
1/2 bag baby carrots, chopped in half
2 - 3 celery stems, chopped
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
5 -6 cups of water
1 - 2 cans of chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp greek seasoning (don't ask, just do)
1 tsp oregano (I used the dried Mediterranean oregano)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 package egg noodles or something with a similar shape

Chop the chicken into bite size pieces, throw into a glass bowl or plastic bag. Add the lemon juice, greek seasoning, about 3 tbsp olive oil and paprika. Let sit in refrigerator overnight.

The next morning - throw everything into the crockpot except the noodles.

Put the noodles in about 45 minutes to 1 hour before you serve.

Yep, easy. VERY easy.

In fact, I almost didn't want to post this because this is the type of recipe that I've been making for the past 3 weeks!

PSH