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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Old Tuna, a raunchy onion, a bad peach, and an egg who rolled away

This week was a wasteful week for us. If I had noticed sooner I could have made some tuna salad with the onion and tuna, but I overlooked them.

We also lost a peach. It’s been humid here and with our windows open the life span of our peaches was shortened. This was the only one that molded up, but the rest got pretty soft overnight. Only one day old, too. So sad. I used the soft, not moldy ones to make peach cobbler cupcakes

And finally, when I was making the said cupcakes an egg made a roll for it. Sadly, it met it’s fate when it landed in our sink. Poor thing…

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Slow Cooker Potatoes

This week has been crazy. We’ve been out late every night so far. I usually think of slow cooking only in the fall and winter because it’s just so homey and we love thick, warm, cozy foods when it’s cold out. But since I didn’t have a lot of time in the afternoon I grabbed our slow cookers and put them to use.

First I made BBQ Chicken. It was nice walking into a house that smelled like summer, but without the grilling. The BBQ was sweet with just a little spicy bite. Everyone enjoyed this with some of Gram’s Coleslaw and some watermelon.

Then I made Baked Ziti in the slow cooker and served it with a salad. Not a bite of leftovers. Yay! I was worried about this one. My kids usually don’t go for baked ziti, and I thought the noodles would be mushy. It was pretty good though and even the pickiest of my kids ate everything they were served.

Tonight I was in a pickle…I need to go to the market tomorrow to restock…our fridge echoes like the grand canyon right now. But, I had some BBQ chicken from two nights ago leftover, and a bag of small red potatoes. Darn it…not much for variety! Potatoes and slow cooking have not gone well for me in the past, but I had to do something. 365 Days of Slow Cooking had a slow cooking method I had never tried before and so I gave it a go. It worked out great and was super easy to clean up!

Here is what the potatoes looked like when I got home.

I spooned them out, cut them into quarters and sprinkled with salt. A couple slices of cucumber and dinner was served.

I was nervous that the potatoes would not be cooked all the way…which was a minor worry considering I was really nervous that I was going to come home to burned potatoes stuck like concrete in the bottom of a pyrex dish inside a slow cooker. But, they were perfect! Tender all the way through, not mushy at all, and definitely not burned.

I recommend being very careful with the oven safe dish that is placed in the bottom of the slow cooker. I had a little issue with condensation from cooking getting between the pyrex dish and the slow cooker causing a slight vacuum seal. Just be easy with it, mine came out fine after a little TLC.

I’m so glad that there are so many great slow cooker recipes out there. If dinner wasn’t ready to go I would have an anarchy on my hands. What do you do for busy nights?

Tomato Pie

Our neighbor’s garden is overflowing with tomatoes, ripe tomatoes that need to be picked or they will rot. I’d start canning them, but it is REALLY hot outside and we live in a 100 year old house…with no central air conditioning. We do have window units, but not in the kitchen. So the idea of boiling water in my kitchen for an extended period of time is not on my list of things I’d like to do.

I pondered the tomatoes for a little bit, but no matter how hard I stared at them I could not will them to tell me what to do with them. Then I remembered that there was a little bakery I had gone to about two years ago that had a tomato pie as a signature menu item. Why not? I rallied the troops and presented them with several recipes I had found online. This is the one that sounded most appealing to us for the filling, but we wanted it in a pizza crust. I also only used large tomatoes given to us from our neighbor…yellow and red, but cherry tomatoes would have been a lovely addition.

I made Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) for our crust according to package directions. It’s our favorite gluten free pizza crust, but you should use your favorite pizza crust recipe.

I made the filling according to the original recipe.

What you’ll need:

– Pizza dough (homemade or uncooked store bought)
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
– 2 Tbs finely shredded fresh basil leaves
– 7 or 8 ripe tomatoes, cut in half and sliced
– 1 cup of fine bread crumbs (we used gluten free crumbs)
– 1/2 cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella
– 1/2 cup coarsely grated pecorino or Asiago cheese

1. Prepare pizza dough according to directions.
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
3. Brush a pie dish with olive oil and spread the pizza crust into it, and brush the top of the dough with olive oil.

4. Put in the oven for approximately 8 minutes, set aside and leave the oven on, but lower the temp to 400 degrees F.
5. In a separate bowl mix the tomatoes with the salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

6. Layer tomatoes, cheese, and bread crumbs in the baked pizza crust. We had enough for 3 layers.

7. Put into the 400 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until everything is browned on top.

8. Eat up!

We enjoyed this, but we decided that in the future we would make mini-pies instead of one regular sized pie. We will also add a slice of provolone cheese on top of the filling for an extra layer of cheesy goodness.

Gram’s Coleslaw

This is my Gram’s coleslaw. It was a staple at every holiday and cookout when I was growing up. In high school my friends called her the coleslaw grandma. It’s a sweet tasting, uncomplicated recipe. I hope you enjoy.

You’ll need:
1 medium head of green cabbage
2 large dollops of mayo
8 oz can of crushed pineapple
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove any cabbage leaves that are wilted and then rinse the head of cabbage. Chop off the bottom of the cabbage head to remove the stalk, and then cut into four quarters, or any size chunks that you are comfortable with shredding.

2. Shred the chunks of cabbage directly into your serving bowl.

3. Open and lazily drain an 8 oz can of crushed pineapple. You just want to remove the small amount of pineapple juice, but don’t don’t press the lid down hard.

4. Add the crushed pineapple and 2 large dollops of mayonnaise. My grandma always said that the amount of mayo depends on the consistency that you want…we like 2 large dollops.

5. Mix thoroughly.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. You can serve this right away, but I think it tastes better when prepared about 6-8 hours ahead of time, and set in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.

Enjoy!

Peach Cobbler Cupcakes

Yesterday we arrived home to a beautiful bag of fresh peaches picked at a local orchard. They are “seconds” that can be purchased at a steep discount because they just don’t cut the “beauty” standards for regular grocery stores, but they taste absolutely divine! What a wonderful gift from our friends! This week my kids also learned about Alabama for their geography lesson…and peaches are one of Alabama’s state foods. Why not end the lesson by making peach cobbler cupcakes!

I found the original recipe at Cupcake Project and then adjusted it a little bit. I doubled the recipe and made it using a combination of King Arthur’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal instead of regular all purpose flour. I also pealed the peaches before roughly chopping them. My kids are not really fans of fruit skin unless it is on a piece of fresh fruit. I’m sure that regular flour and skin on the peaches would taste great, too, though.

My little sous-chefs loved folding in the peaches!

The kids weren’t into frosting, so I didn’t make any for this cupcake. I just sprinkled some brown sugar on top of the finished cupcakes when they were still hot.

The final product was a very moist and fluffy cupcake with a mild peach flavor that was true to the natural flavor of the fruit. It was delicious!

Since I used gluten free flour and almond meal I expected to have to adjust the baking time a little as well, so I set the timer for 20 minutes and toothpick checked every minute. They were done at precisely 23 minutes.

If my kids were more patient, or we were having company these would be an incredible dessert served with fresh peaches and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

This is the recipe with my adjustments, but the original can be found here.

Yield: 32 Cupcakes

– 2c. King Arthur Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
– 1c. Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal
– 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1c unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 4 eggs
– 1 cup sour cream
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 1/2 c peaches, roughly chopped (about 4 medium sized peaches)

1. With a fork, whisk flour, baking powder, and banking soda in a bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl for 1 minute until light and fluffy.
3 Beat in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until blended.
4. Mix in flour mixture.
5. Fold in peaches.
6. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full.
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.
8. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Food Waste – Funky smelling meat and a tomato

This week I wasted some hamburg that I forgot about in the back of my fridge….it looked ok, but I don’t mess with meat…and it smelled really bad!

My husband has been traveling for work through the week and on the weekends he is home and cooks all of his meals to take for the week. He made sliders and left us some when he was away. He told me he put them in on the shelf and I thought they were already cooked, but I was wrong…and I forgot about them anyway. I don’t like wasting food, but wasting meat really bothers me.

I also woke up to a very moldy tomato. It was from my neighbor’s garden and still looked very vibrant in color, but hiding below the surface was a lot of mold. I could see it in the cracks and I don’t want to eat mold. So, I put it outside in the back corner of the yard where there is an old compost pile. I think the crazy squirrels will eat it.

I always try not to waste food, but I was inspired to put the truth out there by The Frugal Girl

What I really like is that last week I received suggestions about how I could have used the food that I considered waste. Getting ideas for better resourcefulness is very handy! Although bad meat is bad meat…I’m definitely going to keep doing this. There are always things that aren’t meat that I just don’t know what to do with.

Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Popcorn

Tonight we watched The Lorax…after waiting several LOOOOOOONNNNNNNNGGGGGGG weeks on the waiting list at the library….everyone was excited, and the critics exclaimed, “we neeeeeeeed popcorn”. So, I whipped up some special popcorn, Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Popcorn to be exact! The critics had spied my chocolate chips earlier in the day, so I had to fit them in somehow during the day’s menu…right?

Here are the critics enjoying their movie and popcorn.

I made this popcorn based on the recipe from Picky Palate. This recipe calls for roasted cinnamon and white chocolate, which sounds delightful…except for the fact that we aren’t really fans of white chocolate around these parts and I only had regular cinnamon. I’ll have to pick up some roasted cinnamon and see if it is a magic ingredient that will kick regular cinnamon out of my spice rack….but the regular cinnamon worked just great, and milk chocolate chips were a great finisher.

I followed the recipe exactly until the cinnamon sugar was on the popcorn, and then once the popcorn cooled for about 5 minutes I just tossed in chocolate chips. Very easy!

I have never poured popcorn out onto a sheet pan to mix in toppings before, I usually mix it in a bowl, but I’m definitely going to stick to the sheet pan method because it’s easier to evenly coat the popcorn in toppings.

We didn’t have any leftovers. I think next time I make this though I’m going to make extra for leftovers and then turn them into candy popcorn bites.