A friend asked me why do you always have to saute onions and garlic before you cook with them? My answer was simple. Well...have you ever tried the same recipe WITHOUT sauteing them? Or...have you ever eaten a bit of raw onion verses eating a bit of sauted onion?
Onions are sharp and onioney before you saute them. When you saute them...it caramelizes them and "softens" the taste making them sweeter. Added to your dishes it's a MUCH different taste than if you'd added them without sauteing them. Pretty simple to me and much more of a preference kind of thing. Some folks like onioney mo' better-er.
I had a meeting in DC last week at the Dean Wood Community Center & Library. While in wait mode, I took a walk around the facility. To say I was impressed with it is the least I could say because the place truly blew me away.
I kept asking questions because I couldn't believe it was free to the public with minimal fees for use of services like the fitness center and the pool. There was a full blown senior center with a VERY active senior population, meeting rooms, quiet rooms, computer room, etc.
And it was all free.
I walked outside and walked around a bit stopping in my tracks when I saw this:
Personally I would think that this would make the chicken uber messy. Have you ever tried this?
What do YOU make in the crockpot that you'd recommend? The only things I've ever made in a crockpot that I truly enjoyed were turkey wings and a turkey chili but I know some folks who RAVE over their crockpot dishes.
A friend told me that she's pays attention to what I eat when we're together and eating. She said it was an eye opener that there are so many healthy choices that taste good and that she's been shaking up her weekly menu at home in her weight loss journey.
She made me wonder about some of the other conversations I've had with friends about how we all have regular rotation menus during busy work weeks and I thought...hmmmmm...maybe that's it. Maybe people kinda get stuck with making what they make weekly and never change up.
During the week I go for quick dishes but still healthy and flavorful. You know...fast food at home. Everything in moderation.
So I'm going to make a quick video (shooting for under two minutes) of some of the foods we eat all week.
Do you find that YOU stick with the same menu during the week? Or do you mix it up too?
This is Chicken Piccata. It takes a full 20 minutes to make and it's delicious.
Any dishes you'd like to see made into a quick video?
It's Midol Week for me and, as always, I was craving chocolate big time last night.
But we didn't have any chocolate.
I have an aversion against leaving my home at night so I sat here trying to figure out what to do.
Then I realized I had all the ingredients I needed in order to make toffee.
So...at 9:30 last night...I decided to make toffee.
Step 1: Pour a bag of slivered almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Listen up...if you've never roasted almonds you're missing out on the best.smell.ever! Gosh they smell pretty goodly! Like...I was inhaling them big time! (Note...they taste good too which is why I was missing a solid handful by the time they made it into the blender. LOL!)
Step 2: Put the almonds in the blender or food processor and chop finely.
Step 3: Spread half on a baking sheet.
Step 4: Add one stick of unsalted butter (sliced into pieces), 1-1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of light Karo corn syrup to a pot and stir bringing to boil. Once it boils, put the top on it for 1 minute (gotta evaporate all the sugar on the sides of the pot). Then let it cook for about 3 more minutes. (I don't have a candy thermometer so I just kept cooking it until it looked right.)
Phone rings. It's Shelly.
Shelly: Whatchu doing?
Me: Making toffee.
Shelly: DA HELL?????????? Who the hell makes TOFFEE??????????????????
Me: I wanted chocolate. I had all the ingredients for toffee. Midol Week.
Shelly: Oh. I understand.
Me: I gotta go...it's boiling and I gotta pay attention.
Step 5: Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix quickly. Remove from heat.
Step 6: Pour hot mixture over almonds and spread as evenly as possible.
Step 7: Pour chocolate chips over super hot mixture. They will start to melt and you can spread the chocolate over the mixture evenly.
Step 8: Spread remaining almond crumbs on the top.
Step 9: Place in fridge until chocolate hardens.
Step 10: Fall asleep before chocolate hardens so you go to bed cuz ain't nobody got time for that at 10:30pm.
Step 11: Wake up the next morning and notice that SOMEONE has already tried a piece of the toffee by breaking off a big hunk.
Step 12: Break it up and put it in a container.
Step 13: Plan to enjoy some during the day cuz really...it's too early to have toffee.
Have you ever made toffee? What's the last candy and/or dessert you've made from scratch?
I could probably eat kale every.single.day. I keep it in my fridge and it's always on my weekly grocery list. My favorite to eat it is as a warm kale salad.
I boil a pot of water and then turn off the heat. Next I dump the kale in and make sure all the kale is wet, pouring it immediately into a colander. Then I put it back in the pot and toss with a diced tomato, two cloves of garlic, pressed, fresh cracked pepper, coarse sea salt and a splash of red wine vinegar.
I could seriously eat this for every meal I love it so.
Yesterday we had a really big, late lunch around 3:30 or so. By dinner time, we weren't really that hungry so I made us a warm kale salad and we had the leftover gluten free jalapeno cornbread muffins from our lunch/dinner (linner). LOL! It was PERFECTION!
I wanted to try something different for Christmas this year so I decided to do a raw, fresh, uncured ham. It seemed to be pretty daunting but honestly...it was the easiest thing in the world to do and sooooooooooo delicious!
I ordered a 10 - 12 pound ham with the bone-in shank up on an angle. (NOTE...mine was a little over 12 pounds.)
I got 4 messages the day before Thanksgiving asking how to whip up some quick gravy and I answered.
I filmed how to make easy gravy on Turkey Day so folks could refer to the video for next year. I'll put this here in the event yall need it too. Oh...and remember...there are LOTS of different ways to do this. This is just a quick and easy version that's pretty tasty in my opinion.
There are lots of different ways to make giblet gravy, of course. This is the quickest, easier way to me. Remember to serve in a lovely gravy boat with a gravy ladle!
Drippings from turkey 1 stalk celery diced 1/2 white onion diced 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup of water
1. Add diced onions and celery to roasting pan (don't clean after removing turkey and drippings) and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). 2. Add drippings. 3. Whisk cornstarch into water and add to pan. 4. Bring to boil. 5. Allow to thicken while constantly stirring and remove from heat.
**NOTE! PUT THE GREEN ONIONS IN THE POT AT THE END WHEN YOU TURN OFF THE HEAT AND LET SIT FOR 30 MINUTES!!!!!** THE DOWNLOAD LINK HAS BEEN UPDATED AS OF 12:18 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2011.
Aiight people! Yall have been asking for a more intense gumbo recipe than the lightweight one I created for yall before: Super Simple Super Bowl Gumbo
The last time I made gumbo...I changed my family recipe up enough so I could make it work into something I was comfortable with sharing for those of you who want to try your hand at something a bit more intense.
(Mainly because I couldn't find some key ingredients that I needed for my family recipe.)
Here it is. Use it wisely. Don't make me cut yall.
I made this soup this evening after the game and we LOVE IT!
1 cup brown rice
1 cup dried lentils
1 cup dried split peas
1 cup pasta (I use gluten free pasta.)
20 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 smoked turkey wing (or other smoked meat)
2 cloves of garlic minced
Black pepper, red pepper flakes
Put everything in the pot, bring to boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. TASTE. Add salt according to taste. (You should never add salt before this when using smoked meat because you don't know how much salt has been used in the smoked meat.) Simmer for 20 more minutes stirring occasionally. Dice the meat off the bone and put everything back in the pot.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is really easy to make smaller or larger pots of it. This made a big pot so, if you'd like to make it for one or two people with a bit left over, just do simple arithmetic and you're good.
The math is simple, 1 part (same amount) of 4 dried goods then multiply the total amount of dried goods by 5 to get how much broth you'll need.
So...if you only use 1/4 cup of each ingredient that equals 1 cup of dried goods so you'll need 5 cups of broth.
You can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and not using the smoked turkey and it doesn't have to be gluten free if you don't need it to be.
The hardest thing about not having babies is probably the holidays. Not just the major ones...but the small ones too. At least...I know it is for me.
See...I was raised in a home where we did all the cool holiday stuff. ALL OF IT! From stringing popcorn garlands to baking Santa's cookies to making eggnog, popping firecrackers, Easter Egg hunts, Halloween decorating, chocolates for Valentine's Day etc. My family had a BLAST!
Our way. Just us.
And so was The Robinator.
So yeah...that's the hardest part.
Sure the pain is eased a bit getting to share some of these things with the kids we love but not really you know? Never really. It's always right under the surface. Always there able to steal the joy right out of the most perfect of days.
I've been in the middle of wrapping a gift, looking at my perfect, perfect tree and it's hit me like a truck so bad that all I could do was stretch out on the floor right where I was and give in to it letting the pain wash over me and flow violently through my body only to be picked up from where I lay by my loving husband and carried to bed. Spooning me until it was over.
No words necessary cuz his pain is mine and that pain has us so connected that the only joy we can find from it is given by the other.
Today, I decided to roast pumpkin seeds the same as my mommy showed me how decades ago. I figured the Godson would love to carve the pumpkin provided he have definitive instructions to make sure it wasn't something offensive. LOL! I put the pumpkin in the sink and washed it off well.
Next up was
to trim the stem to a height where I could put a bowl over top and trace a perfect circle to cut out the top.
Then...I cut out the top.
Remove the seeds.
Clean out pulp.
Melt two teaspoons of butter and toss seeds with the butter, Creole seasoning, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
Spead on a cookie sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes and VOILA! Roasted pumpkin seeds just like my mommy made for her babies. For me.
I served ours on the deck with a gluten free beer for my guy and a glass of organic wine for me.
Our Godson will carve the pumpkin tomorrow. His diabolical mind needs to grasp the concept of NON-OFFENSIVE in a way which will probably be BORDERLINE offensive if I know him. LOL! I will walk away shaking my head and his Unca Robby will DIE laughing.
Saute' half an onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Add 8 cups of chicken (or veggie) broth. Next add about 10 fingerling potatoes quartered, shitake and bella mushrooms. Bring to boil and simmer until potatoes are done. Then add three handfuls of kale. Quick and DEELICIOUS!
The only change I made was to use dried parsley instead of fresh because that's what I had. Oh...and I used gluten-free pasta, of course. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the meal so you can see how gorgeous it looks plated...but I didn't...so you get this pic instead. Sorry dudes. But that should speak VOLUMES as to how good it was! GO ME!
I made this salad Sunday with a few changes from her recipe, Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil. The first change was the apple cider vinegar. I recently lost all the contents of my fridge (THANKS PEPCO!!!!!) and haven't replaced everything yet. So...I used white wine vinegar. The second change was instead of using honey, I used agave. The third change was that I used heirloom tomatoes.
Oh...I also didn't add the pinch of salt
It was DELICIOUS!
Yall know I used all organic ingredients and I felt good eating it knowing it was a good source of protein with added bonuses of zinc and folate (folic acid).
The other day I whipped up something for VeggieBee to eat since she only eats fish and shrimp using these ingredients:
I put some jerk seasoning on the shrimp and baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. I got the spinach pasta ready then I drained the seasoning off the shrimp, mixed it with the pasta and the bruschetta with a bit of olive oil. The final thing I did was toss in a large handful of fresh spinach and folded it in until it was just a tad bit wilted but still good and green.
Yall...it was sooooooo delicious. I made it for VeggieBee but everybody else had a scoop or two and raved about it.
In a large skillet, heat oil (enough to cover bottom). In large bag or container, place pork chops in and season with spices. Shake to coat well. Then put some flour in and shake really well to coat both sides.
Place chops (3 - 4 at a time) in skillet. Brown on one side until you see blood seeping through top. Turn over and brown other side. Remove and place in a dish. Do the rest of the pork chops until done. All pork chops should be in dish. Saute onion and bell pepper, using a wooden spatula making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. "Scrape crust." Do this until onion is translucent.
In a nice sized skillet or pot, place chops in and pour sauted onion mix in. Add broth and bring to boil. Simmer on low/medium for about 2 hours or until meat falls off bone. Stir often to make sure nothing is sticking. If you've coated the chops well with flour....the gravy will be perfect.
Slice green onions and drop handful in pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over rice. We like brown rice.
I HATE my friends! They are always introducing me to some ish I can't go out and buy and have to order and wait before it comes in. Butta makes the best jerk chicken wings in this entire world and she can't make them for me today because she's out of the sauce. I EHAT (yes...I said EHAT) her because I had to order 4 bottles and now I gotta wait until they come in before I can get my wings.
I've had several version of this countertop grill over the years and this one is, by far, the smartest. I love that you can take the grill plates off and wash them and you can flip them over to be used as a griddle. The thingy that catches the oil which runs off the meat is under it and is a neat and clean way to capture the grease.
It's so easy to make quick and healthy meals with this whiz and it makes me happy. GO ME!
***NOTE: I have modified this recipe slightly since the last time I posted it.
18-1/2 oz. yellow cake mix 3-1/4 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix 1/2 cup Southern Comfort 4 eggs 1/2 cup cold water 1/2 cup oil 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I prefer walnuts.)
Glaze: 4 T. Butter 1/8 cup water 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup Southern Comfort
Combine cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat at a medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube or 12-cup bundt pan. Bake at 325ºF for 1 hour. Cool on rack. Invert on serving plate; prick top repeatedly with toothpick and brush with glaze coating well.
IF YOU WANT TO....after cake has cooled, reheat any left over glaze and brush over cake. Sift 1 t. of powdered sugar over cake just before serving (OPTIONAL).
To make glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Southern Comfort.
I send these to Robby's office in Plain Cake Boxes which I buy from Michael's (Remember...never, ever, EVER go to Michael's without visiting their website first for a coupon. They usually have one of those FABULOUS 40% off coupons!). I also buy the 10 inch cake rounds to put the cake on before putting it in the box. I think I get 10 in a pack for like $4. I also print recipe cards with the recipe printed on them for him to put next to the cake in the event anyone wants to make it at home. It's usually a MAJOR hit!
I always like to have the majority of my Thanksgiving shopping done early and I consider myself pretty organized in how I get it done.
I made a sample spreadsheet for yall to use. Mine is set up so that the only thing that prints is the "grocery shopping list." The other stuff gets filled in while I plan around my dinner time and dishes.
It should be pretty basic so you can add your own items, etc. to it.
We prolly need to eat straight veggie until Turkey Day cuz seriously...it's about to go DOWN-T!
Creole Cornbread Dressing
Green Bean Casserole
Roasted asparagus, portobella mushrooms and red onions
Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese
Southern Comfort Cake
Sweet Potato Pie
If yall are going to try and make ANY of these for the first time...ya better ask your questions now cuz ain't nobody gonna have time to answer questions closer up.
Oh...and yall all know my standard answer as to what to substitute for shrimp is GUMMY WORMS.
Cuz really? That ish cray...
Oh...and yall know if you ain't got anywhere to be or where you WANT to be for Turkey Day...yall are welcome at our table. Just let me know so I may plan accordingly. Our table is always filled with some amazingly fun people and we have a BLAST! LOL!
Yall getting ready? What's going to be on YOUR menu this year??????
DC Metro is cool because you can get crabs pretty much throughout the year. HOWEVER...crabs are the kinda thing you only think about eating when you can sit outside and eat them, apparently, so it's difficult to find them when it's cold out.
And it's already cold.
One thing I'm not that crazy about is not being able to find Blue Crabs frozen throughout the year as you can in Louisiana. It's just not possible in my "hood." Because of this, I've learned to stay prepared.
The place near me where you can get crabs steamed is closing up shop on November 1, so I had to get some with the quickness before I forgot and missed out. I figure I'll do two more big pots of gumbo before it's no longer "gumbo season" in my head, so I bought a dozen steamed crabs tonight.
I've since cleaned them and broken them in half and they are sitting on a cookie sheet drying. Then...I'm going to double bag freeze them, half a dozen per bag.
Oh...and I always ask for extra claws.
This way...I always have crabs for gumbo even if they aren't frozen and raw. I just learned to put them in last so they don't overcook.
If you're in the DC Metro area...check to make sure you can still get crabs in your area come the holidays. If not...you'd better get to getting! Hell...I've learned how to make this East Coast living WORK!