Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2020

White Rice and Black Beans

Yesterday, brisket tacos were served for breakfast.  Again.  They are so good and when brisket freezes and reheats just as good when served fresh, why not?  Not having enough brisket for just tacos again today and needing a new recipe, I decided to get fancy and serve  Cilantro Lime Rice with Black Beans  as a side.  Cilantro to accent the cilantro on the tacos, black beans for extra nutrient power, and rice as the filler.  Apparently this is a deal in big cities where a Chipoltle can be found. Now I have had a Chipolte burrito once about twenty years ago.  Seriously.  It was way, way before the teen counterpart was even the radar and I was just out of college.  So yeah, some twenty years ago, at least.  If I had their Cilantro Lime Rice in the burrito then I guess I can say that I have had it.  I don't remember it from then but I wanted to try it now, twenty years later.  Again.  Not wanting to drive to the closest Chipolte three hours away, I decided the home version would have t

Lionhead Soup

Cooking new and exciting recipes is hard when limited by the heat and ingredients that may or may not be available at the store.  Throw in a small town store and the limits become even higher.  Sure, everything can be ordered off the internet but at what cost?  When a new recipe is found the first thing reviewed is the list of ingredients, especially Asian foods.  Fish sauce, dark soy, bean paste, rice vinegar, shoaxing wine, anise, various fresh peppers.  Luckily enough, Asian ingredients can easily be substituted so when  Chicken Lionhead Meatball Soup  was discovered and only need one substitution it had to be added to the list of new recipes.  Even better that while it was a soup and it is hot outside, the prep time and cooking over the heat was minimal and quick. Modifications Made: Panko crumbs were not needed to keep meatballs together therefore were omitted.  Black pepper was added to the meatballs for some spice as there was none elsewhere. Scaled for Likability: Great In read

Lemony Tricolor Pasta with Broccoli and Chard

Soups, spaghetti, side dishes, stew, smoothies, and skillets.  Just a few of the many recipes using fresh chard, spinach, or greens from the garden.  I can chardly wait for another dish containing chard, can you?  Needing a quick dinner as chicken hatching day was upon, this quick and easy  20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta  was the dish of champions.  In the time it took the pasta to cook, the dish was done.  Bam. Modifications Made:  To the salty boiling pasta, the finely cut chard was added instead of the broccoli.  Broccoli was cooked in the microwave instead.  Parmesan cheese was not added into the pasta but was just served on top along with extra fresh ground pepper.  Scaled for Likability: Great Not to pat myself on the back or anything but I have to say the usage of tri-colored pasta instead of plain white pasta made all the difference in appearance.  Having already made and loved Eat Your Greens , I figured a little splash of color would be great.  If sun dried tomatoes had been

Citrus Chipolte Chicken Tacos

Ah cranberries, how we love thee so.  If strawberries, as picky as they are to grow, can be found year round I demand cranberries to be available year around, too.  This way fresh warm saucy cranberries can used instead of dry cranberries when making  Cranberry Chipotle Chicken Tacos . Modifications Made: Whole extra small chicken was boiled with onion, garlic, salt and pepper in just enough water to cover pieces.  With chicken removed, stock was boiled down by half to create rich broth for dinner.  To broth, shredded chicken, two tablespoons of orange juice concentrate, zest and juice of one lime, one chipolte pepper in adobo sauce was added.  Mixture was allowed to simmer on low for 30 minutes checking for seasoning and broth level every 10 minutes. Chicken was served over corn/flour mix tortilla along with red cabbage, feta, cilantro, and an extra hint of lime juice.  Scaled for Likability: Great Amazing!  My picture does very little to the visual senses as compared to the original

Sauceless Sausage Spaghetti with Lemon Chard & Cherry Tomatoes

Searching for and finding a spaghetti recipe not based in a tomato/cream/pesto sauce is quite the challenge.  Breakfast Spaghetti was tried a few weeks back and while not a complete failure, it will not be eaten again at this table or any other table.  Not to be deterred, tonight  Spaghetti with Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Cherry Tomatoes  was given a go. Modifications Made: Sausage, as always, was half regular and half spicy.  Chard and tomato halves were cooked at the same time.  As pinch of nutmeg was added to the chard, tomato, lemon zest mixture before the sausage and noodles were returned. Scaled for Likability: Great Understanding the need for color, the cherry tomatoes could have been omitted all together and this dish would have tasted just as fabulous.  If one really wanted a tomato taste, a sun dried tomato would have offered more substantial flavoring without the mush of the cherry tomato.  The dish was simple, easy, and tasty without a typical red/white/green sauce.  It was

Refrigerator Pea Soup

Split pea soup is the bane of every child's dinner at some point in their life.  Maybe even the bane of some teen's dinner at another point in their life.  Grandma loves it, maybe even mom loves it, no child ever has loved it.  EVER EVER.   Really what is there to love?  Split peas cooked to a thick green mush served with; if your lucky; chunks of tender ham, if your not so lucky no ham or worse grizzly gross tough ham bits off the ham bone.  Mush and gristle.  Yuk.  Split pea soup; closely resembling the back end of infants or chickens, take your pick served at dinner tables all across the nation.  Split pea soup that never once looked like  Everyday Split Pea Soup  because if it did children would complain about the veggies but they would eat it and maybe even ask for seconds. Modifications Made: Petite diced tomatoes replaced diced tomatoes, chicken stock replaced vegetable stock, chard replaced spinach.  Chard was added the same time the rest of the ingredients were cooked

Lentil Salad

Nothing like a cold filling salad on a hot summer's day.  Instead of a cold pasta salad, I made a cold  Lentil Salad  served over a bed of bitter greens.  It was cold and refreshing and a nice change to the routine of lunch meals. Modifications Made: Half bag of heavily salted brown lentils were cooked last night, drained, and left in the fridge to chill overnight.  Directly before lunch,  one cup cucumber, half cup red onion, one small red bell pepper, and two celery sticks were finely diced and tossed with lentils.  In a small bowl, quarter cup of vegetable oil, quarter cup of white vinegar, teaspoon of white sugar, half teaspoon of pepper, fourth teaspoon of mustard powder were vigorously whisked until frothy.  Mixture was tossed with lentil/vegetable mix and served immediately with crackers.  Almonds/raisins were omitted Scaled for Likability: Great Pasta salads are good but always disproportionate in vegetables.  Broccoli too big as compared to noodles, onions always in excess

Asian Chicken Salad

Living in a small town has its good and bad.  Depending upon who you ask, the bad is not always bad.  Bad is perspective, see.  This small town has most major fast food chains and not a single dine chain.  Fine by me! Mom and Pop local eateries are the only place one here is going to get a salad, not a salad bar, a pre-formed grilled burger, not a robin burger, and dinner will be at home.  I can not think of a single Mom and Pop that serves dinner.  Breakfast starting at 4, lunch until 2, and home by 3.  There are a couple of super fancy (serving to the out of town high end clientele) restaurants but none of the locals eat there. No TGIF wings except in the frozen section at Walmart, no PF Chang's egg rolls except in the frozen section at the local grocer, no  Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad .   Modifications Made: Salad: Even with all the time in the world right now, using pre-made salads are the best.  No waste with leftover unused heads of cabbage or lettuce, no shredding

Sourdough Wheat Pizza

Almost two months into this stay at home pandemic order and I am finally coming into a new routine.  One I am starting to love more than at first.  Being at home has allowed for more experimental cooking.  Cooking that requires more than weeknight dinners allow in modern America.  Cooking our grandmothers or great grandmothers did when all they did was stay at home, raise kids, and cook time consuming pastas, stews, roasts, and breads.  Maybe not pizza breads, but I would like to think there were homemakers making pizzas like  Cast Iron Whole Wheat & Herb Sourdough Pizza  with homemade Thick and Rich Homemade Pizza Sauce . Modifications Made: Dough: Fresh herbs are hard to find, hard to keep in the fridge, and hard to incorporate before they spoil.  Therefore, dry herbs are always substituted unless fresh is absolutley required, such as in pesto.  For the pizza dough, garlic and onion powder and a little dry marjoram was used.  Not wanting too crispy of a dough, the dough was under

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

Fear.  Fear is not passed from genetic line.  Fear is passed along thru nuture.  The teen table counterpart as a young child had no fear of the dark, the woods, the unknown.  Camping outside at grandmas in a tent all alone at three years of age, not an issue.  Walking from the garage to the house in the dark city night at thirteen, not so much.  What changed?  Other peoples conceptions and fear (all irrational, of course).  It's not safe to camp outside at three by yourself, it's not safe to sail a boat at seven by yourself, it's not, it's not, it's not.  This it's not culture is not right.  From fears of the dark to fears of cooking.  It is all the same fear.   Fear has lead many of curious chefs to restrict their cooking ideas.  Forcing myself to try new recipes has opened up a whole range of meals I no longer fear cooking. Non-beef burgers, non-sweet Asian stir fry, meat substitutes, and meatballs.  Oh, how I used to fear meatballs.  Meatballs as a kid were a

Simply Sweet Potato, Kale, Chicken Skillet

The garden while not producing a bumper crop of green beans, tomatoes, okra, spinach, or zucchini, the chard and mustard greens are growing faster than can be eaten.  What is not being eaten fresh has been frozen for future usage.  Yes, mustard greens.  At this table mustard greens, chard, kale, and spinach are used interchangeably.  Scouring the food sources, one quickly realizes other tables do not agree with this methodology.  Spinach is for this, chard is for that, kale is for health conscience, and greens are for the desperate. Sad. Eaters today are limiting their creative cooking by sticking to the safe veggies such as baby spinach, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, iceberg lettuce, and roma tomatoes.  There is a world of vegetables to cook, just give them a try.  Cabbage, brussel sprouts, pablano peppers, butternut squash, endive, arugula.  Will the first recipe be the best cooking method for that particular vegetable, maybe not.  But try again.  The biggest key to success, an ope

Cantonese Fried Noodles

This table and its older two counterparts really love Asian foods.  I love them because they are usually super easy to make, Moo Shu Porken AKA Chinese Pancakes aside, and are usually loaded in vegetables.  Soups, stir fry, potstickers, noodles, rice.  They are all good.  Potstickers are cooked almost monthly, stir fry weekly, and lo mein no longer requires a recipe.  When  Cantonese Fried Noodles  appeared onto the food feed last week it was immediately added to the menu.  That is, of course, if bean sprouts could be found.  Never has this table had a dish with fried noodles and I super excited to try something different. Modifications Made: Dark soy sauce cannot be found locally and was substituted with tamari instead.  Shoaxing rice wine was substituted with mirin and quarter teaspoon of sugar was omitted as mirin is already sweet.  White pepper was replaced with black pepper.  Green onions replaced scallions. While a wok is owned has been used enough times it has a beautiful patin


When one travels to a new destination one always eats as many regional foods as possible.  Be it across the state, across the country, across the globe.  Trying new foods is the best part of the traveling experiences.  Even if it us just a new take on a meal such as chopped bbq sandwiches with slaw on top vs chopped bbq sandwiches with only pickles and onions.  There is a difference between the two. Of course, one never goes to a new location and only eats main courses.  Never, ever.  One must always try a local regional dessert.  Puerto Rican chicken and rice for dinner must be followed up by Puerto Rican  Quesitos  for dessert.   Modifications Made: If this treat was similar to a German cream cheese pastry, the addition of corn syrup or honey at the final would take away from the simplicity of the dish.  Once the pastry was cooked, they were moved to a wire rack to cool. Scaled For Likability: Great If I have said it once, I have said it a dozen times. Simplicity can result in the mo

Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice

Ever in my quest to venture outside the cooking box, tonight the table counterparts were treated with Asopao De Pollo , a traditional Puerto Rican chicken stew. Very similar to a T&T staple, Chicken and Rice, this recipe was seasoned with a Mexican flare, and wait for it, green olives.  Yes, green olives.  Peppers, tomatoes, onions, chicken, green olives.  Let's go, Modifications Made: When discovering this recipe, I originally was attempting to follow this Asopao de Pollo recipe.  There was just not enough pictures to follow along and my Spanish only extends to the basic words not full complete, detailed cooking instructions.  The recipe did not seem complicated but I did not want to miss a crucial step so another version was sought out. A whole chicken was boiled with onions, garlic, jalapeno, three pollo do tomate cubes, and enough water to leave at least five cups of chicken broth remain. In a dutch oven, onions, bell peppers, garlic, and canned tomatoes were cooked in oil

Milk Pizza Dough

  Ahh, the weekend.  What better way to spend the weekend than by cooking up a personalized pizza made with your very own homemade pizza dough.  If nothing else goods from this here pandemic, having the time to cook elaborate meals and attempt many new recipes will have been worth the stress and frustration.  Maybe.  Frustrations are quite high today. With time on my hands and still having a craving for yummy pizza another homemade pizza dough was tempted.  The Best Pizza Dough Recipe was more along the line of an original pizza dough as it requires yeast and proof times.  It did not contain garlic sadly, but it did contain milk, oddly enough.  Since my favorite tortilla recipe, another T&T staple, contains milk oddly enough, I decided this recipe had to be tried straight away. Modifications Made: Salt was increased to one full tablespoon and dough was cooked following the traditional pizza crust cooking method.   Scaled for Likability: Great Yes, it took time to prepare but most

Sweet Potato Chicken Bites

Need to eat healthier, that is the mantra around here right now.  Everyday I wake up and tell myself healthy meals, healthy life. Yesterday was good with my ration succotash, this morning was oatmeal, and dinner is  Sweet Potato Chicken Poppers . Three meals in a row.  Repeating the mantra seems to help, if only for a little while.  One meal at a time.   Modifications Made: Found on wellness blog site, one can assume the ingredients in the original recipe would be the most healthiest options available.  Not having access to nor desire to fill my pantry with expensive specialty products, coconut oil was replaced with standard run of the mill vegetable oil and coconut flour was replaced with all purpose white flour.   Chicken mixture was combined, poppers were rolled, and set in the fridge to chill.  Once ready to cook, each popper was rolled in garlic panko crumbs and fried in a thin layer of vegetable oil until outside was brown and crispy.   Scaled for Likability: Great Not quite a T&

Sweet Garlic Buns

Garlic bread.  Who does not love garlic bread?  Garlic butter bread loaf with or without cheese.  Garlic butter toast with or without cheese.  Garlic butter knots.  Garlic butter sticks.  Garlic bread rolls.  Garlic bread loaf.  Garlic bread pizza dough.  Garlic bread cinnamon rolls, not so much. Scaled for Likability: FAIL Here's what happened.  I wanted cheese pizza with a garlic butter crust.  Cheese pizza using the simple Yeastless Pizza Dough from a last week.  So simple and easy to make was the pizza crust, I figured the addition of garlic powder in the pizza dough itself would be wonderful.  The oven was warmed, the dough rolled out, and the pasta sauce was bad.  Not even a week old in the fridge and it was science experiment to be impressed by.  Multiple shades of green and white mold covered the inside of the lid and the rim of the jar.  The sauce itself was a vibrant red with not a speck of discoloring.  Boo, no pizza dinner. Being bummed by the lack of pizza for dinner

Suffering Succotash, A Staple

"...But they got this depression on...." Such a great line from a great movie.  One of my all time favorite broke college meals was Margaret Holmes Tomatoes, Okra, Corn served over plain white rice. A cup of rice + two cans of succotash = dinner for a week.  If I was feeling extra hungry, it was two cups of rice + three cans of succotash = dinner for a week.  Nothing has changed with my love of this meal except in the findings of the canned succotash.  After having a rough week with all the ups and downs of this here pandemic, I thought it would be fitting to have both T&T recipes as well as a cheap depression error meal that makes the heart happy.  Well, at least my heart! Modifications Made: Alas, not one can of Margaret Holmes can be located.  Not even the tomato and okra only version which is not as good but would have worked in a pinch.  Instead, the entire dish was made from scratch. Ingredients: One can petite diced tomatoes, undrained (ones flavored with peppers

Creamy Garlic Chicken Bites

Who knew it could be so difficult to use up an entire carton of heavy whipping cream without resorting to Grammy's Fruit Salad.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact the table counterpart does not care for creamy or milky dinner dishes.  Cream kinda has to be snuck in and done creatively like in the Ukrainian Beef Stew .  There are so many creamy chicken rice/barley/risotto/lemon dishes/soups I would love to try.  Alfredo sauce is about the exception to the creamy dish.  Basing my searching on the idea of a modified Alfredo sauce, One Pan Creamy Garlic Chicken Breasts was served.  Modifications Made: Hungarian paprika replaced standard paprika.  Added four ounces of sliced fresh mushrooms to shallots and garlic to soften.  Italian seasoning was omitted.  Two cups of water were added to stock and chicken was allowed to simmer in cream stock until thickness level desired.  Parmesan cheese was added directly before serving to retain some of its coarseness. Scaled for Likability

Cranberry Toast

Hark, dost my eyes deceive me?  What luck, cranberry sauce!  Shoved to the back of the fridge and lost to time was the bottom of a small mason jar of homemade cranberry sauce.  Oh, the shame of being forgotten.  Oh, the joy of eating cranberry sauce on homemade Artisan bread. Ingredients: Homemade cranberry sauce Thin sliced Artisan bread Faux butter of choice Instructions: Heavily butter thinly sliced bread and cook on low heat is a heavy bottom skillet until both sides are the perfect crunchy layer.  If cooked high, the bread obtains a crunchy outside layer but retains moist insides.  For this toast to work with cranberry sauce, the toast must be dried through and through.  Think over sized cracker.  Hence the reasoning for the heavily buttered sides. Once desired crunch is achieved, slather on cranberry sauce.  Restrain oneself as the sauce will soggy the bread if not careful.  This is toast and preserves, not bread pudding. Hmm..cranberry bread pudding.... Scaled for Likability: Gr

Korean Ground Beef with Korean Spinach

Ever in my attempts to try global meals, I have narrowed my searches to specific titles such as Brazilian desserts , Australian breakfasts , Vietnamese Noodle Soup ,  Peruvian dinners .  Narrowing to a specific region with a specific ingredient is how  Ground Beef Bulgogi  was discovered.  Not wanting just a meat and carb dinner, Sigeumchi Namul was a top result when searching Korean vegetables. Modifications Made: Ground Beef Bulgogi - Fearing a repeat of BLAH sweet dish, sugar was reduced to one tablespoon and one teaspoon of hoisin sauce replaced one tablespoon of plum sauce. Sigeumchi Namul - What was really cooked was geundae namul. Geundae is Korean for chard and Namul is Korean for seasoned vegetable dish. Per the recipe suggestion s, the chard was " simply seasoned with salt along with some minced garlic, sesame oil and sesame seeds." Scaled for Likability:  Bulgogi - No, Thank You Good grief, another sweet meal.  The only reason this was not scratched to the chicken

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs

Don't you love the feeling you get when a recipe is stumbled across and you know immediately it will be a winner of a dinner?  Last night, while scrolling image searches for a totally unrelated recipe,  Chicken Fried Steak Breakfast Sandwich  was found and my breath hitched.  Who would have thought the sight of a new meal would cause my stomach to growl after just having eaten the most lovely Ukrainian Beef Stew.  Immediately my brain was racing to see if all ingredients were on hand for breakfast this morning.  Luckily they were! Modifications Made: The site this lovely idea came from was a fast food service selling their products therefore all items were pre-made from the industrial food factory.  Homemade, no matter how crappy, would be better than anything they could make. Homemade slices of Easy Artisan Bread replaced, frozen biscuits.  Chicken fried deer steaks replaced chicken fried steaks.   Homemade white gravy made from the dredges of the fried deer steak replaced the pow

Ukrainian Beef Stew

One of my very first non traditional American meals served was  Hungarian Goulash .  It was immediate love.  Served it to both sets of meat eaters in-laws.  One review was as expected because it did not fit their 60+ year preconceived notions of goulash or stew.  Appreciation of culinary cuisine does not exist there.  The other immediately asked for the recipe and has since made it several times.  What was there not to love?  Meat, potatoes, carrots, all swimming in a savory gravy. When Ukrainian Stewed Beef and Potatoes  was discovered a few weeks back, my initial reaction was another version of Hungarian goulash.  Upon closer inspection, one sees the differences.  Vast difference.  Differences similar to American stew vs pot roast.  Both stew and pot roast contain beef, carrots, and potatoes yet no one would classify these two dishes as the same.  I found myself becoming excited for a hearty soul filling dish. Modifications Made: Hungarian paprika replaced smoked paprika.  Russet pot

Simply Egg Rolls

In my quest to conquer all my favorite Asian foods, this morning for breakfast  Awesome Egg Rolls  were attempted.  Yes, for breakfast!  Luckily by the time they were actually completed it was closer to an early lunch so it was fine.  Really. Modifications Made: Ingredients - Bean sprouts are one the hardest veggies to find at my local grocer.  The label is always there, directly between the wonton/egg roll wrappers and jars of kimchi.  Yellow bags filled with crisp mung beans sprouts that are never available when I wish to buy.  So instead, thinly sliced red pepper replaced the crisp bean sprouts.  Wanting veggie egg rolls, eggs and shrimp were omitted with no replacements. Scaled for Likability: Great Good grief, what a mess.  For my birthday, I purchased a food processor and this was my first meal using it.  I played with both shredding disks, shredded cabbage in multiple different directions to compare shred results, double shredded long strands of cabbage, sliced carrots, shredded

Orange Beef Stir Fry

Looking for an Asian recipe low in sugar turned out to be more of a challenge than planned.  It seems the basis of stir fry sauces are equal parts soy to sugar to heat.  And while plenty of the new recipes tried are not extremely sweet, others were candied meat and veggies.  I find it difficult that native Asian dishes have so much sugar in their recipes.  Only Americans need sugar in their eggs in order to consume them.  After searching and searching, I finally did find a recipe low in sugar and was very excited to try  Orange Beef Stir Fry Modifications Made: With exception to the lack of sesame seeds, the recipe was too simple to make any modifications.  In fact the only thing I was unsure was the sizes of the oranges and the omission of green onions as there was none to be had at the local store.   The recipe did not state a quantity of orange slices, just a quantity of whole oranges themselves.  There is a difference between navel oranges (size of softballs) and a mandarin oranges

Easy Artisan Bread

Like so many other people all across the globe, being stuck at home gives one plenty of time to try new things.  Guitar, yoga, sewing, bread making.  My mom could make the worlds best bread, then she bought a bread maker and so long homemade bread.  Bread maker bread is not the same as homemade bread.  My whole life I have never been able to master homemade bread.  With nothing but time on my hands for the last few weeks a dozen different recipes have been tried.  Sourdough, yeast, yeast-less, whole wheat, Artisan.  Today, attempt number too many to keep count was the  World's Easiest Yeast Bread . Modifications Made: Yeast, any brand, variety, or cooking fashion cannot be had currently.  And while I do have three sachets in the pantry they are being saved for break glass emergencies.  Sourdough starter replaced the two teaspoons of rapid rise yeast using this conversion method  requiring 50 grams less water.  Once the bread dough was mixed, the bread was allowed to rise on the cou

Three C's Cookies

Three years ago a "monster cookie" recipe was stumbled across on one of my recipe feeds.  The cookie was loved by all!  Even the table counterpart who treats any cookie as a take it or leave it situation would request them.  Request them!  Oh, they were so fabulous.  A monster cookie with oatmeal, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, coconut, walnuts, and NO M&M candies.  Candy belongs in candy bars, not cookies. Somewhere along the way, the recipe was lost.  Oh, the humanity!  Always on the lookout for THE monster cookie recipe (or a close replacement), these  White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Coconut Cookies  were given a go.  Knowing ahead of time these were not the cookies as the title of the lost recipe really was monster cookies, I was holding out that they were close.   Modifications Made: The recipe was followed as written except the batter was left to chill in the fridge before cooking.  Room temperature butter in April will result in melted butter.   Scaled for Lik

Yeastless Pizza

Ugh, pandemic 2020 is turning into a real deal.  This table has not had fast food since the second week of March.  A whole five weeks free of fast food, junk food, bad food.  The cravings are real, the withdrawal is worse, and the mental draw is exhausting.  Needing a fix for fast bad food, a  15 Minute Pizza Dough  was located and toppings were based upon availability at the store. Modifications Made: Not having a food processor to make the homemade five minute pizza sauce, a store bought brand was used.  Wanting a thicker pizza sauce, the sauce was simmered until desired thickness was reached.  Simmering also develops the flavors more and if needed, additional seasonings can be added to create your own flavors. Scaled for Likability: Good This is not high quality pizza but it better than many of the frozen pies in a box.  The dough itself could have used a little more salt (something I NEVER say) however, the final result was warm and soft with a nice crust on the bottom.  Slathered

Smashed Chicken Surprise

Even when trying new recipes almost every day, it is hard to cook outside the box.  I tend to see recipe feeds with the same cuisines over and over again.  The goal of this adventure was to cook new and exciting meals, meals not every having been served on the dinner plate before, meals having never ordered at a specialty restaurant before. Meals and recipes from around the globe! As it turns out, recipes from around the globe is difficult as ingredients are regional.  Not gonna find a lamb rump in this neck of the woods, banana leaves at the local ethnic market, or anything other than ham, turkey, salami, or roast beef, Havarti, Swiss, or cheddar at the deli.  Ethnic meals are therefore limited in selections.  Tonight, in my never ending efforts to be global, was a Russian (possibly?)  Squashed Chicken Surprise . Modifications Made: Ten gold potatoes replaced baby potatoes.  They were boiled as instructed, cut in half width wise, and smashed with the palm of my hand.  Bacon was double

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi

Over the Spring Break someone asked me if I had ever made gnocchi.  No, never have made fresh or cooked with pre-made either.  I would love to make fresh gnocchi but I just cannot muster the energy to make fresh pasta of any variety.  Of course having discussed gnocchi now I wanted it so I made Creamy Chicken Gnocchi with Spinach  using store bought found in the same the isle with dried pastas. Modifications Made: In making the sauce, the Italian seasoning was substituted with oregano, rosemary, basil, and fennel to equal half teaspoon, and only one cup of Parmesan cheese instead of two. A whole chicken about four pounds was boiled with onion, garlic, salt and pepper, de-boned, shredded, and contents divided in half.  One half for dinner tonight, the other for tomorrow, broth (minus one cup for tonight) frozen for another day with onions and garlic and all. Fresh chard roughly chopped replaced the spinach as was added the same time the chicken was to allow time to fully soften in the

Tofu Garlic Sesame Stir Fry

For years I have wanted to try tofu.  Years!  What stopped me, bad friends.  Friends who, as it turns out, are not willing to step outside their fried food, fast food, pasta and meat laden meals.  After reading too many blogs to count and watching cooking videos until my eyes hurt, I settled upon Pan Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu . Modifications Made: Tofu - For the cooking instructions I followed the Pan Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu recipe.  Extra firm tofu was chosen, drained on paper towels for an hour, changing towels as they became soaked.  Pieces were cut approximately into 1" cubes, tossed with cornstarch, and fried in single layer in small batches ensuring tofu did not touch against itself. Sauce -  instead of the sauce included in the Pan Fried Sesame Garlic recipe, I used my favorite stir fry sauce from  Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry Scaled for Likability: Great Giving my friends a break, I could see how bad tofu is bad.  Not using the correct firmness, not draining enough, or no

Soggy Pork and Cranberry Stuffing

Stuffing.  I have a love hate relationship with stuffing.  Homemade stuffing rocks but it way to much effort to make, even at Turkey day.  Homemade stuffing placed inside a turkey is a no go but will be eaten if the texture is right and dry enough.  Meat stuffing is a never.  The table counterparts love the stuffing in a box.  Love it as they could just eat for dinner with a salad.  So when Sausage and Apple Dressing with Cranberries was found, I just had to make it.  It was chunky, filled with apples, celery, and cranberries, and had just enough meat to make it more than just bread.   Modifications Made: Bread cubes were roasted in oven until dry and crunchy to help eliminate any potential to soggy bread.   In reading the instructions, I found the order of operations to be backwards.  For my stuffing, the sausage was browned, the set aside to drain of fat.  The onions and celery were cooked till soft.  Apples, dried cranberries, sausage crumbles, and all seasonings, and chicken broth

Kale Fajita Salad, A Staple

Somethings in life are worth the additional costs such as pre-made salad kits.   Dole Chopped Salad Kits  are made with kale, red and green cabbage, carrots, and green onions.  Change out the toppings bag and a whole new salad is created.  Our local grocer offers a house brand knock off in different flavors than offered by Dole.  I absolutely loves these kits as they are more than just lettuce salads, are the perfect amount for the table with no leftovers or for one person as an entire meal, and best of all don't require the purchasing of additional toppings/condiments that will just spoil in the fridge.  Nothing irks me more than a fridge door full of partially used salad dressings gone bad. Among the dozen and half flavors offered between the two brands this table is partial to about seven or eight flavors.  Just enough to have a different salad every day of the week, if they weren't so expensive that is.  Having scored two bags of chipotle cheddar ranch on sale at half price

Great Grandma's Green Beans and Potatos

Bacon makes everything better.  Both mentally and physically.  You know it must be true as bacon goes with everything.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  There is bacon flavored everything.  Cookies, chips, tortillas, cheese, candy, breads, etc... Bacon can be found in every ethnic group.  Asian, Indian, Russian, etc.. Bacon comes in every flavor under the sun.  Sweet, Savory, and Peppery.  Bacon is so good even vegans won't give it up as there are numerous bacon flavoring packets.  So yeah, bacon. Still in the midst of happy food over stomach food, a traditional home cooked meal was attempted.  Pork chops with gravy and Great Grandma's Green Beans and Potatoes.  Pork chops are fried in bacon grease, gravy is made with bacon grease, and green beans and potatoes are cooked with bacon with extra grease added for richness. Ingredients: 1 bag fresh green beans (12oz or so) 1 small yellow onion, diced 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced small 4 slices bacon, diced 1 cup chicken broth 1

Easy Garlic Lo Mein

Stress eating.  Times are hard right now and all anybody at this table wants is junk food, fast food, and sugar.  Until three weeks ago, I would have considered this table to be fairly healthy eaters.  Fast food three to four times a week, junk foods every other month or so, and sought out sugar (ice cream, brownies, candy bars) once a week or so.  Who knew eating would be hard during a pandemic? Who knew kicking these bad habits would be so hard?  Junk food (frozen pizzas, pot pies, hot dogs from the convenience store) as it turns out were the easiest.  These were back up, spur of the moment meals.  Not something anyone really wanted but it filled a void.  Fast food is more of a routine than a true desire.  It is an hour away from the house where a meal can be had and enjoyed in the company of family and friends with no cooking, no dishes, no demands.  Sugar, on the other hand should be classified as the new crack, the new heroine, the new legal drug of choice.  Sugar as it turns out,