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Showing posts from December, 2019

Turkey and Cranberry Panini

A new year tomorrow, already.  Where did the time go?  What a better way to round out the year than with a Turkey and Cranberry Panini. Ingredients: White Turkey, sliced thick Homemade Cranberry Sauce Swiss Cheese, sliced thick Potato Bread Butter Instructions: Butter both side of bread.  While toasting on skillet, warm turkey in microwave and let cheese and cranberry sauce come to room temperature(ish).  With one side of bread toasted, flip to toast second side and add warm turkey slices on one half and cheese to the other half.  The moisture of the turkey and cheese will slightly soften the crunchy toasted layer.  This is OK as the other half of the bread is still toasting for the crunchy layer.  When second side of bread is toasted, add a generous layer of cranberry sauce.  Combine two side, slice in half, and enjoy! Scaled for Likability: Great Technically a panini is not made on sliced bread but one has to use what one has access to at the local chain food store.  Italian bread is

Grandma's Chicken and Dumplings

Here are the end of the year and winter is still amiss.  Tonight after weeks and weeks of waiting for blistery cold days to appear,  Old Fashion Chicken and Dumplings were served.  Let me tell you the wait was highly rewarded.... Modifications Made: With most recipes, chicken shortcuts are omitted for a whole, fresh chicken boiled with accompanying seasonings to enhance recipe flavorings.  This trend to use pre-cooked chicken, just breasts, or left over rotisserie is not something I understand.  Especially on a recipe where the broth is KEY ingredient.  Tonight however, I am using the 1 quart bag of leftover chicken and veggies filling from the Barely There Chicken Stew meaning I do not have homemade broth and have to settle for five Knorr chicken cubes to create 40 oz of broth. According to the recipe, the dumplings were to be rolled into 1/4" thickness and then cooked in the broth.  On the initial test run of dumpling tasting, 1/4"dumplings were too thick and not like Gran

BBQ Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

  Not having traditional family winter breaks meals was fine.  Last week.  This week is a different story.  I unlike most people, love turkey.  Baked turkey, fried turkey, and especially BBQ turkey.  Ok, let me clarify.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE white meat turkey.  Dark meat is for making to casseroles or something else less glamorous. Not eating on a fork with gravy, not eating straight out of the leftover bag, and most certainly not for eating on cold turkey sandwiches.  White meat is the shnitz.  Having been gifted a turkey by a family member who had two whole leftover turkeys in the freezer from Turkey Day and being to big to cook in the oven, I settled on my favorite way to cook turkey.  BBQ.   Modifications Made: Turkey Normally BBQ turkey is rubbed heavily with olive oil and then coated with dry turkey flavor seasonings.  This time we used the gifted Tony Chachere's Butter Injectable Marinade that accompanied the turkey.  Tony Chacehere Original is my go to seasoning for most everyt

Barely There Chicken Stew

Still on overload of meat from the family holiday visiting, I found myself leaning towards a non meat dish when I stumbled across  Chicken and Barley Stew .  Containing loads of veggies, hearty barley, and just enough meat to satisfy the table counter parts, I had to give it a go. Modifications Made: As with most chicken recipes, I started out with a whole chicken boiled and de-boned creating a rich tasty stock for the stew.  With the stock and chicken removed, the onion, celery, and carrots were added to the pot to saute in 2 tablespoons of butter instead of wine with quantities increased to match the poundage of chicken boiled.  From there on the rest of the instructions were followed as written. Scaled for Likability: Great For whatever reason, if the recipe states it is going to be a stew, a soup, or a stoup I can never get the recipe to be turn out like the pictures.  And let me tell you, the pictures on the blog where this recipe was discovered are just beautiful.  My picture sho

Squash Stir Fry

After too many days of meat and potatoes during our winter holiday family visit, I thought about what to cook for dinner the entire 5 hour trip home.  There was only two rules: NO MEAT and LOTS of VEGGIES.  Pretty simple, right?  The problem was I did not remember what was in the fridge to eat and I was not about to venture out to the store either.  Necessity is the mother of invention and Squash Stir Fry was its result. There was no recipe to follow, many stir fry experiences using my standard go to stir fry sauce as the base. Ingredients: 1 yellow squash 1 zucchini 1 large carrot 1/2 bag of snap peas 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 green onions 1 inch grated ginger 2 teaspoons garlic 3 tablespoons soy sauce 2 teaspoon oyster sauce 1 teaspoon white sugar 1 teaspoon sriracha 1 teaspoon corn starch 1/2 cup of low sodium chicken broth 1 teaspoon sesame oil Directions: Dice veggies and fry in olive oil to al dente in skillet over medium heat.  Remove from pan.  To pan add green onions, ginger, g

Hungarian Stew-lash

Growing up I despised stews.  It wasn't the fault of the stew but the stewmaker.  Venison was used instead of beef meaning the meat was both dry and tough, hunks of meat where always too large to chew, potatoes and carrots were either over done or worse under done, if the stew contained tomatoes they were always extra large as tomatoes were never cut smaller than quarters, and the stew sauce was bland.  It wasn't until just a few short years ago I started to appreciate the wonderful, full of flavor possibilities of a good stew.  Since then I have attempted several stews but none quite so utterly fantastic as Hungarian Goulash .   Modifications Made: I am sure it has been mentioned before but in case you are new or in case you forgot, petite diced tomatoes replaced diced tomatoes as I don't like large chunks of tomatoes in anything.  Not stew, not salads, and especially not spaghetti sauce.  If there were tomatoes smaller than petite diced, they would be used instead. Both o

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie.  An all time classic American dish taken to new levels via Marie Callender.  Having never actually eaten it fresh at one of the chain restaurants, my table counter parts are frequent partakers of her frozen pot pies.  The extra large serving, that is.  In all my years of cooking, I have never once made homemade chicken pot pie.   Chicken Pot Pie  recipes are not easily reduce in serving amounts to feed only three people nor do they reheat well the second day unless they are baked again.  Baking once is time consuming enough.  Baking any meal for leftovers is not a viable option.  Visiting family was the perfect time to remedy.  As an added bonus, grandma has a full size oven large enough to cook two pie at once unlike my tiny compact oven which doesn't even hold an 8" x 12" cookie sheet! Modifications Made: This recipe was simple enough to follow, called for basic pantry staples, and the best part was the recipes used store bought pie crust.  Perfect! Onl

Leftover Steak, Potato and Egg Taco

With leftover steak still in the fridge and having such good luck at lunch yesterday, I thought I would test my luck again this morning with steak and eggs.  In a taco. Modifications Made: Thinly sliced steak was fried crispy.  Eggs were scrambled and cooked until almost set before crispy steak was added.  Like  99% of all other tacos eaten, this taco had cheese.  Cheese serves two purposes.  One it is tasty.  Two, the most important reason as these were traveling tacos, it binds the filling to the tortilla.  Binding while driving equals less mess. Scaled for Likability: Good Not a taco I would specifically make steak on the grill for but if there was leftover steak I would make it again.  Even without the cheese.

Opa's Goulash

Ah, winter holidays.  Turkey, ham, casseroles, breads, pies, and cookies.  Or in our case, none of the above.  Me and my table counterparts are visiting Opa and family for next few days and not once in the planned meals ahead does anything have to do with anything holiday-ish.  Expect maybe the cookies.  But seriously, who only eats cookies during the holidays?  To start off what maybe will become a new tradition of non holiday traditional meals, Opa's Goulash . Modifications Made: As with most meals Opa makes, if the recipe calls for any onion and/or tomato then Rotel is used.  Goulash was the same.  Giving credit where credit is due, the only other modification made to this entire recipe was venison instead of beef.  And I am not sure how much of a modification those two swaps really were in the big picture. Scaled for Likability: Great What a fabulous way to start the new non traditional holiday menu.  Maybe it was because we worked all day or maybe it was because I didn't h

Steak Quesadillas

Here it is, the time has come, lunch after a yesterdays disastrous dinner affair.  Nerves are shot as lunch is being prepared.  Will it be good?  Will be be bad?  I am telling you, if leftover Steak Quesadillas are bad, so long blog... Scaled for Likability: Great Steak for me is the rare occasion.  Steak in a quesadilla, now that is an entirely different story.  I could grill a steak just for quesadilla. This quesadilla was cheddar cheese, melt in your mouth thinly sliced steak grilled to perfection on a spinach tortilla.  Let's just say, it was so good, extras had to be made as nobody was sharing.

Buttered Steak, Potatoes, and Cobbler

Last night was a free dinner pass.  Pizza with friends.  Tonight, to make up for lost meals, three new recipes were tried: Steak with Butter, Buttery Bacon Potatoes, Cherry Butter Cake Cobbler .  Of the three new recipes, desert was the only one following a specific recipe.   Modifications Made: Buttered Steak Steak with butter did not follow any one recipe, more just the idea of a butter enhancement.  Many recipes call for butter pats flavored with lemon, garlic, and parsley to enhance the seasonings on the steak.  This just seemed like too much flavorings as we typically heavily season our steaks anyways. Modifications Made: Buttery Bacon Potatoes Buttery Bacon Potatoes was simply bacon fried extra crispy, thinly sliced potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper added to crispy bacon, and butter splats added to tops of potato slices cooked in a covered skillet until potatoes were soft.   Modifications Made: Cherry Butter Cake Cobbler Not wanting to experience ash in campfire cobbler, the

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Winter Break Holidays have begun! Two and a half weeks of the kid table counterpart being home.  This means three meals a day have to be made to sustain his growing appetite.  Not an easy chore since most meals at school are sugar laden garbage and home is not.  It is a simple as that.  Luckily for him, a friend from school is hanging out tonight so the kid table counterpart has been spared something healthy(ish).  Tonight's dinner hailed from school lunches: deep fried chicken tenders, frozen Luby's Mac and Cheese, fresh green beans, and  Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler . Modifications Made: Being December and all, fresh peaches are a wee bit difficult to come by so two large cans of sliced peaches in peach juice was used instead.  Filling honey was omitted as the peaches were sweet enough from the can and ginger was increased to 3/4 teaspoon.  Topping sugar content was reduced by 1/4 cup Scaled for Likability: Good Dutch oven cobblers remind me of my days as a girl/boy scout.  This

Cheesy Burger Casserole

I am from and married a table counterpart who is from a meat and potato dinner family.  No veggies are needed so long as there is a meat (preferably beef) and some type of starch (preferably potatoes).  Knowing I am headed to visit extended family in a few weeks, I am trying out new recipes such as this Hamburger Potato Casserole . It had all the elements of need and little of excess such as veggies and even included two bonuses: a can of condensed soup and cheese.  Perfect. Modifications Made: Condensed soups have their place in recipes, just not in mine. Other than soup, the only other modification made was to scale down the quantities to fit in a 9x9 baking dish. Scaled for Likability: No Thank You Memories of slop school lunches come to mind.  Oh sure, potatoes were flavorful and held together well on the fork.  Potato starch allowed the meat to thicken and there was not too much cheese.  Sauce was creamy and bound the ingredients well, yet, there was just something missing.  Even

Veggie Hash with Eggs

Hash.  Growing up this was something not exactly skillet hash browns and not exactly diced potatoes with veggies either.  It was gross.  There was simply not enough ketchup in the world to mask the flavor, the mush, the blandness.  As an adult, a lover of veggies, and someone who doesn't want nor need meat in every meal, I was hoping against hopes this modern version  Bean, Potato, & Veggie Vegan Hash  was better than the dratted memories of hash as a kid. Modifications Made: I really despise measuring of quantities, especially at early hours of the morning.  Instead of measurements, I used 1 potato per person, 1 whole zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper each, and 1 box of mushrooms. Canned beans were left out all and replaced with two eggs each.  Veggie pieces were cut into large chunks to retain some crunch and to help avoid mush and all were pan fried desperately in bacon grease and then tossed together at the end with fresh green onions, salt, and pepper. Scaled for Lik

Chicken Spinach Feta Garlic Pasta

Don't you just love to find a meat on sale?  It is one of my most favorite things, especially when it is something out of the ordinary.  Ground beef is on sale or reduced for freshness all the time.  Specialty meats such as steaks, grass fed meats, or farm raised chickens on the other hand, not so much.  Chicken spinach feta brats, never as they are sold in few quantities and are regularly out of stock.  So when I found these chicken spinach feta brats 25% off this morning, all other recipes went out the window as I knew just what meal I wanted: Penne Rigate with Chicken, Spinach, and Feta Cheese. Modifications Made: Obviously, the chicken breasts were replaced for the above mentioned brats which were heavily skillet fried adding a nice crunch to their skins before slicing into bite size circles. After adding one package of cremini mushrooms to saute along with the onion, the rest of the recipe was followed accordingly.   Scaled for Likability: Great Such a simple meal, yet so sati

Chicken Meatball Subs

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs were quite tasty last night.  Moist, flavorful, and easy.  Having soaked in the tomato sauce overnight really changed the meatball experience.  Taking leftover and turning them into meatball subs were something all together different.  Last night dinner was soft meatballs and soft spaghetti.  Tonight was crunchy with a hint of soft.  Having a extra toasty hoagie bun and freshly shredded mozzarella alongside a crunchy green salad was the best ever.  Subway needs to add simple salads to their menu to accompany their subs.  Not that I eat them, but the other table compatriots LOVE them.   Scaled for Likability: Great In the future, I would like to bake the meatball subs for an extra added layer of crunch with the toasted cheese.  I also would make the meatballs even smaller than the already made so the meatball and the bread easily fit when biting.  This hear is not a children's story and I would like my meatballs to not roll off the table and onto the floor

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Over the course of recipe searchings, I have discovered there is a huge obsession with meatballs.  If the dish (Korean, American, Italian) can be turned into a meatball version, it has been.  Never having been a meatball fan I decided now was the time to try again since I have total control over the ball, its flavorings, and best yet, its moisture content.  Not wanting a traditional spaghetti and meatball, I settled upon a  Chicken Parm Meatball Skillet .   Modifications Made: As with all recipes thus far, parsley was omitted.  Meatballs were allowed to simmer in the sauce longer than the stated 10 minutes and the recipe was doubled but followed as written. Scaled For Likability: Good While four large meatballs over spaghetti is visually appealing they lack the good stuff.  Obtaining the perfect moisture flavorful meatball came from the seared bite size servings. The chicken did not fall apart, was low in fat, and made for perfect individual bite size meatballs.  The picture does not s

Charro Beans

Beans are a staple in my T&T collection with favorites being black eyed peas and pinto as they require few ingredients.  When it comes to pinto beans, I refer plain-o-jane-o pinto beans as they are good the first day, even better the second day, and on the third day they can be made into refried beans or bean dip.  The family prefers charro beans for their flavor.  Charro beans however cannot be used for refried beans nor bean dip which means they can only be served as beans.  While I do enjoy a good bowl of charro beans I find their usefulness limiting.  This new recipe for Charro Beans was perfect as it was easily modifiable to a half bag of beans meaning there would be very leftover little beans. Modifications Made: All ingredients were reduced by half.  Both the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and the bay leaf were left out as a Mexican flare bean was desired.  Chipotle and bay leaf is not a South Texas Mexican food ingredient so one tablespoon of chili powder was added

King Ranch Chicken Burrito with White Queso

What to cook with leftover King Ranch Chicken stuffings?  Being it was so much work to make, it is too good to waste, and it contains all the makings of a burrito, why not make a burrito?  And what does a burrito of this caliber need?  Burrito sauce, otherwise known as cheese, queso blanco, creamy deliciousness.  You pick.   Never having made a queso blanco before but knowing what it should include based upon many, may, many bowls of experience, I found this Restaurant Style White Queso to be the closest to what I thought the burrito sauce should taste like. Modification Made: Making cheese sauce is tricky, tricky. Mix the wrong proportions, too slow, too fast, not enough heat, yadda, yadda, yadda and the cheese will separate into a crumbly crud like texture and the whole batch must be tossed.  Block cheese, cut into fine cubes, replaced deli white cheddar and pre-shredded mozzarella cheese. Nutmeg and red pepper flakes were omitted but a dash of comino was added. Scaled for L

Beef Broccoli Stir Fry

American versions of Oriental food is a slightly sweet sauce base served over deep fried meats, noodles with little to no veggies like lo mein, or served over rice with a heavy veggie based dish such as stir fry.  Deep fried meat dishes have not been eaten since I was a kid but I do have fond memories of lemon chicken, sesame chicken, and of course, sweet and sour chicken. Lo mein is a staple and there is a T&T recipe but it requires the noodles to be cooked ahead of time so it is not cooked with enough frequency.  Stir fry is altogether story.  The veggies and the meats are what they are.  It is the sauce that defines the meal.  Always looking a recipe that is easier than my current T&T, I tried  Beef and Broccoli Stir Fr y sauce a try. Modifications Made: Round steak for flank steak as it always on sale.  Cut when slightly frozen for nice thin strips and bag in desired serving size for easy prep work. Usually 1/2 pound per bag as we prefer more veggies than meat in our

Beef Enchiladas

I love, love, love cheese enchiladas.  Not beef, or chicken, vegetarian, or shrimp.  Just plain cheese with plain gravy and plain yellow cheese on top.  Stuffed tortilla perfection.  Today, after much request, I gave in to make ground beef enchiladas.  I still used the plain gravy with the plain yellow cheese on top. Meat Filling: 1 pound ground meat 1 package of taco seasoning 2 Teaspoons of chili powder 1/2 small onion diced 3 gloves of garlic diced 2 cups water Saute onions until tender. Add meat, brown, drain excess grease.  Add garlic, chili powder, seasoning packet, and water.  Cook for a minimum of 30 minutes adding water if needed.  Meat needs to be dry for enchiladas.  The longer the meat is cooked, the better the flavor. Gravy Instructions/Ingredients (minus the dried oregano) Enchiladas Ingredients: Cheese (mild/medium cheddar, or my favorite Colby jack) Corn Tortillas Instructions: When meat is ready, warm corn tortillas in a plastic bag in microwave un

Sicilian Chicken Soup

Chicken noodle soup is always the same.  Chicken, noodles, seasoning.  What is added is the really the only variant.  Wanting chicken noodle soup but not wanting the classic thin spaghetti with chicken chunks, I settled for  Sicilian Chicken Soup .  Originally found at Carrabbas Italian Restaurant, I cannot attest to the similarity in taste as I have never eaten at Carrabbas. What I can attest to is that is not your canned chicken soup.  This is a thick and chunky, adult chicken soup for the soul. Modifications Made: Flat leaf parsley was omitted during the cooking process.  Frozen carrots replaced fresh and were added to the stock to warm once the chicken was removed to debone.  R adiatore pasta replaced d italini pasta and I skipped the mashing of the potatoes all together. Scaled for Likability: Good In making of the pasta, I mistakenly added the entire 16oz box of noodles instead of 1/2 pound as the recipe stated.  This resulted in WAY too many noodles for the soup.  In m

King Ranch Chicken

Growing up, King Ranch Chicken was a staple at every party/get together/wedding/funeral/neighborhood gathering/potluck both near and far. Served in a standard 9x13 casserole dish, it came in many varietions but all included chicken and two cans of condensed soup. Chicken would vary from canned, breasts only, thigh only and soups flavors would vary from mushroom, chicken, celery, to some combination of both.  The rest of the ingredients came and went as the location changed: peppers, onions, jalapeno, cheeses, sour cream, milk, half and half, peas, pimentos, tortillas...  Every one I know has a King Ranch Chicken casserole nightmare story to tell.  Expect me as I have never had it until this past summer when I stumbled across this King Ranch Chicken casserole.  What a game changer.  Not quite a T&T recipe as it so new, it is definitely a staple which I will continue to modify until my perfection is reached. Modifications Made: Oh, lord, where to start..... Bring a 2 pound ch

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

In having leftover beans for dinner but still needing to fill my new recipe requirement, I choose Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread  as an alternative to my standard trusty T&T cornbread recipe as I was wanting something spicy not sweet. Modifications Made: Cornbread is one recipe I never vary from as the results are always disastrous.  Any change caused the cornbread to be too soft, too hard, undercooked, overcooked, etc...  Nope, all cornbread recipes are followed to the letter with one exception. Cornbread is always made in a preheated 9" cast iron skillet.  Using a preheated cast iron skillet results in a toasty crunchy bottom and sides for all six slices.  There is no center cut in a circle! Scaled for Likability: Fail Using yogurt as a replacement for oils and as an added moisture ingredient works fabulously in many, many recipes.  Cornbread in not one of them.  Yogurt undertones combined with cheese and jalapenos do not mix.  In fact, I think even if I made th

16 Bean Soup

In continuing with the meat free dinners and having perfect weather for soups, tonight was another easy dinner: 16 Bean Soup .  Unlike the previous soup dinner, tonight there was bread!  Not crunchy artisan, but soft loaf bread to soak up the wonderful bean base. Modifications Made: To soak or to not soak?  As per the instructions to soak or flash soak, neither was followed as long ago I gave up either method.  Instead bacon and onion are cooked till soft, then beans are added with seasonings (or in this case the season packet), covered with water and cooked to desired consistency.  In measuring water it is better to lean on too little as water can be added but not removed and I prefer thick bean soup. Scaled for Likability: Great What is not to like about 15 bean soup? Especially one that comes with a premeasured tasty season packet that is neither too salty or too spicy. Many years ago I am convinced this used to be a 15 bean soup but either way, one more or less bean, this

Lentil Potato Soup

Still suffering from meat overload and having such success at a meatless dinner last night, tonight I decided on a Smokey Lentil and Potato Soup .  With carrots, celery, potato, spinach, and lentils what could go wrong? Modifications Made: Originally designed for an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker and not a fan of either, this soup was cooked like all soups or stews before: low and slow in a 6qt dutch oven.  Other than two other substitutions (Hungarian Paprika for regular paprika and two cups of brown lentils in place of red and brown lentil mix), all other ingredients and their quantities were followed as written.  With exception to spinach, once the onions were thoroughly sauteed, all ingredients were tossed in at once and cooked to perfection, just slightly al dente lentil.  Spinach was added the last five minutes or so of cook time and the soup was allowed a 20 minute rest time before serving. Scaled for Likability: Great Don't really know where the "smokey"