Sunday, October 11, 2009

Comfort Food

Hey! It snowed this weekend! I'm ecstatic to say the least. My four year old heart wants to play. But it also wants yummy comfort food. And I've been experimenting. Fried Egg Sandwiches and Black Beans and Rice? YUM!

I bought these ramekins years and years ago. I thought they were pretty. I had no idea they were specifically for certain cooking dealios. I'd been googling baked eggs for awhile. I don't do so well in the fried egg department. I break the yolks and mess them up every time, so I thought if I could soft-cook eggs in the oven, I'd give it a try. It starts with a buttered ramekin. And please, please, please note the coffee mug Gay Boyfriend bought me last month. It makes me laugh.

Then I put in two eggs and peppered it. Added some garlic salt and put it in a 350 degree oven. Some of the recipes said to put it in a water bath. That seemed way too complicated, so no. I think I'll do differently next time.

Then I cooked up some bacon. Oh, bacon. My lover.

I prepared my plate. I made cheesy garlic biscuits the night before from Bisquick. Followed the recipe, but added shredded Velveeta (cheese of the Gods) and some garlic salt. I made them in a pan and not as biscuits and cut them into wedges. That's how much I love cheesy biscuits. Then I buttered both sides (I love butter) and added yellow mustard on one side and a slice of provolone cheese on the other. That might have been a mistake. I'll explain later.

Oh Bacon. I want to marry you.

Bacon on one side. Eggs on the other. They got too done without the water bath. I wanted them over easy, but the slimy whites were too slimy and I kept cooking them until they weren't slimy and hence the medium cooked eggs. I think the water bath would cook the whites faster without sacrificing the gooey yellowness of the yolks. I'll let you know.

The provolone? When it started to melt, it looked a little too much like slimy egg whites, so even though I was convinced it was melted provolone, I couldn't look at it. I thought it might be uncooked egg and it icked me. Sorry. But this sandwich was AWESOME! I can't wait to make it again with over easy eggs and cheddar cheese.

Then on Sunday night, with the flurries coming down, I decided to make black beans and rice. It's really all I had besides fresh produce and I've been eating squash until it grows out my ears. So. I made some rice. One cup of rice. Two cups of water. Brought it to a boil and then simmered it until it was done. About 20 minutes with the lid on. In the mean time, I sauteed half an onion, a red pepper, some garlic, added some chicken stock and simmered until the vegetables were done, added a generous sprinkle of cumin and black pepper and poured in an undrained can of black beans. I simmered off most of the moisture and then added the cooked rice and cooked it until it was almost dry. Yum and good. And great for a cold or warmed up lunch next week. I gobbled down about a quarter of it for dinner.

I promised one of my friends some baked squash with brown sugar and cinnamon and that's what's going on right now. It smells great, but I like my squash savory and not sweet. When it's done, I'll let it cool and then scoop it out, mash it and put it in a tupperware, then ship it out to my car for tomorrow. I can't wait to give it to him. I want to see the smile on his face. That's what makes it so fun!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Homemade Tomato Soup

Oh! It was so exciting to harvest my tomatoes! But I gave them to cowgirl to make salsa. So I ended up making homemade tomato soup from canned tomatoes. Oh well. It was wonderful anyway! I diced a small onion and browned it with 2 tablespoons of minced garlic in olive oil.

Then I added a 28 oz. can of tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of worchestershire sauce, a sprinkle of sugar and 2 cups of chicken broth. Then I simmered it for 30 mintes and added a tablespoon of dried basil.

Cooled it, blended it and added a can of fat free evaporated milk and warmed it up again. It's so good. It's so very good.

Chicken Quesadillas!~

My homegrown peppers were put to good use tonight! They were green when I picked them. When I pulled them out of the bag tonight, they were red. What happened? So I diced them!
And added a small diced onion.
Warmed up some olive oil.
And blackened them.
Then I mixed half a can of enchilada sauce with a smooshed can of breast of chicken. It looks gross, but if it's in little pieces I can't tell there's chicken in there.
And I added it to the vegetables.
And cooked it until most of the liquid was evaporated.
See? And now it's time to put it all together. Cheese. Glorious cheese.
I washed the skillet, heated up some olive oil, put in the tortilla and added some cheese.
Put a good scoop of the crap on it.
Added some more cheese and another tortilla...
Then flipped it.
I had to take some samples upstairs. The boys gobbled it up. And so did I. I think the best part was the crispy tortillas. And the subtle spice from the enchilada sauce. Not too hot. Not too nothing. Glorious.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fried Zucchini

We were about 10 miles from Miss M's hometown when we went camping last weekend. Her dad brings the camper for us with his truck every year. This past Saturday, he stopped by for coffee and brought us produce! There were two days worth of cole slaw for my family on vacation and way too many beans. I brought the zucchini and broccoli home, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. I have read about fried green tomatoes, but I wanted to try fried zucchini. And I did it. First, I soaked it, sliced in milk.Then I coated it in crushed cheese nips (What? It's all I had. There is no bread in a single woman's house!) parsley and red pepper flakes.Fried it up in olive oil with some minced garlic.And there you have it. It was awesome! I make stuff up all the time, but this was a good one. I have one more zucchini to deal with. I may just do the same with it. I gobbled it all up!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ancient Chinese Secret

I'm hosting a luncheon this weekend and whenever I invite people over, they ask, "Are you making that beef sandwich stuff?" And I always say yes, because even though it's horribly simple, everyone loves it and there's never any leftovers. I've taken to buying an extra roast that I cook the next day, just for ME. Because I'm selfish like that. Throw in a side of my sponsor's Chinese Noodle Salad, people bring the rest and we usually have a feast. Enjoy.

Kate's Shredded Beef
This is the easiest thing in the world that I'm almost ashamed to admit it is my signature dish. I usually get Round Bottom Roast, but any sort of beef will do - whatever's on sale and whatever your fat likes and dislikes are. I usually get about a three pounder, because that's what cooks the best in my crock pot. Add a packet of onion soup mix and a packet of dry italian salad dressing mix, throw in a cup of water and cook on low for about six hours. Then you shred it with two forks and return it to the crockpot. Serve on buns and people will marry you for it.

Well, they haven't yet. But I'm waiting.

Marcia's Ancient Chinese Secret
People bring this in various forms to potlucks all the time. But just remember - don't add the ramen noodles or the dressing until you're ready to serve. This salad is no good soggy or leftover.

2 bags of coleslaw or broccoli slaw - I like the broccoli slaw
2 packages of ramen noodles - beef or original asian flavor
1/2 a red onion
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup of cunflower seeds.

Mix broccoli slaw, almonds and sunflower seeds in a bowl. Crush ramen noodles and add, saving seasoning packets. Shake oil, vinegar, sugar and seasoning packets in a tupperware and then toss into the salad. You can alter the amounts of oil, vinegar and sugar to taste, of course. And if you want more dressing - have at it. I somtimes just use one bag of slaw and the regular amount of dressing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Quinoa - The Ancient Grain

I've been reading about quinoa. It's considered a "whole food" with enough protein and carbohydrates to sustain life. Did you know there's an international seed bank that is to save society if something horrible happens? Quinoa is an ancient grain that could provide sustainability for the world should the inevitable global meltdown happen.

I got this sun dried tomato quinoa box at the funny grocery store (local food coop) about a year ago and it was so rich, I could hardly stomach it. I'm pretty sure I threw most of it away. (Please say prayers for people who are starving in the world. I mean it. I'm not being sarcastic.) But I bought some plain, ordinary quinoa grains about two months after that and have since been researching ways to cook it so it would be palatable.

I tried tonight. I was feeling adventurous. Plus, it's snowing - so I'm hunkering down for the night and good food smells make me happy.

I figured quinoa was like rice, so I put two cups of water and one cup of quinoa in a pan and brought it to a boil, then covered it and simmered it for about 20 minutes. Perfection. In the meantime, I sauteed choppped onion and garlic with italian seasonings and red pepper flakes in a tiny bit of olive oil. When it was nice and translucent and a little browned, I added the cooked quinoa and sauteed it a little, too. I tasted it and it definitely needed salt and pepper, so I added some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and I gobbled a bunch of it down. It's super yummy. And I think I'm sustainable.

Thank God.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crinkly Fingers

Baked Chicken Fingers
adapted from

Olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. skim milk
1 T. dijon mustard
1/4 cup almonds, sliced
1/4 c. rolled oats
1/2. c grated parmesan cheese
1 T. dried parsley flakes
1/2 t. ground black pepper

Preheat oven tp 350 degrees. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Trim any fat from chicken and cut into strips. Stir milk and mustard together in a bowl. In a separate container, mix together almonds, oats, parmesan, parsley and pepper. One at a time, dip chicken into milk mixture, then dridge them in oatmeal mixture, making sure each piece is coated evenly. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, turning once, or until chicken is cooked through and coating is golden brown.

The original recipe didn't call for parmesan cheese, but I wanted it, so I substituted it for whole wheat bread crumbs. You could go either way for less fat. These were easy to overcook, too. So watch it! Super yum!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baked Penne with Aspargus and Turkey

Another Clean Eating recipe from that I changed up a bit.

13.5 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
Cooking spray
1 lb lean ground turkey
3 cups organic pasta sauce - I used Muir Glen Garlic Roasted Garlic
1/2 t. dried basil
1 t. minced garlic
1 small onion, minced
1/4 t. sea salt
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook penne according to directiosn. When pasta is 1 minute from being done, add asparagus and boil for 1 minute. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook ground turkey and onions until turkey is browned, add garlic, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta sauce and simmer until heated through.

Add turkey meat sauce to penne and asparagus and stir to combine.

Coat a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray and add 1/2 the penne mixture and sprinkle with 3/4 of the mozzarella. Add remaining penne, then sprinkle remaining mozzarella and top with Parmigiano-Regianno. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. This makes six servings. And it's really good.

The original recipe did not call for onion or for fresh garlic - rather garlic powder. I thought it needed onions. And I think it was an excellent addition. The original recipe also called for just tomato sauce. I couldn't find it and replaced it with organic pasta sauce. Again, a good substitute.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


So, M and I are doing the Clean Eating diet (which is NOT a diet, but a WAY OF LIFE. Whatever. I've tried them all...) But I love to cook and this recipe tried to be labor intensive. It is a pasta dish, so I was immediately intrigued. Anything pasta makes me happy.

Chicken Rotini with Homemade Roma Tomato Pasta Sauce

6 lean chicken breasts
1 T. Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
4 cloves of garlic, passed through a garlic press (I'm using minced)
8 roma tomatoes chopped
1 medium sweet potato baked (Cut it in half, drizzle it with olive oil and place halves face down on a cookie sheet. It took an hour at 350.)
1/4 c. chicken broth
10 oz. whole grain rotini pasta

Cut chicken breasts into thin strips. (I bought the kind already cut up for stir fry and then sliced it up even more. Raw meat is GROSS!) Heat olive oil, add onion, carrot and celery until soft but not brown. Add garlic and herbs and continue cooking 2-3 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and the pulp of the sweet potato along with the chicken broth. Add chicken strips and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer for 20 minutes. Cook the pasta al dente and mix with the sauce.

Um. Super good. But you totally could use canned tomatoes. Just saying. And in the future, I'd probably pre-cook the chicken and shred it before adding it to the sauce. I didn't like the end texture of it. Plus, this would be just as tasty without the chicken and I might consider adding black beans to it instead for some protein.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fish. I Don't Hate It Anymore.

So, my girlfriend and I have started the Clean Eating "diet" which is not a diet, but a way of eating, which incorporates six small meals a day, eating protein and complex carbohydrates at each sitting. I did it all last week and frankly? I lost nothing, but I FEEL better. And that's what's most important at the end of the day.

Tonight, I took a suggestion from another friend and made this dish. It's incredible. The beans just pop in your mouth and the tomato sauce makes it zesty and the sprinkle of parmesean gives it just enough of the cheese flavor to satisfy me but keep me from eating the whole dang block of swiss that I like to do in one sitting.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Drain and rinse a can of great northern beans and dump into the casserole dish. Place two frozen fish fillets (any type that trips your trigger. I used tilapia) over the top and then pour a small can of tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parmesean cheese and cook in the oven - uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees.

I have enough for tonight and an incredibly large lunch tomorrow. Bon appetit!