Daily Archives: January 30, 2010

double dog dare ya

Needed something to eat, had some hot dogs.  Yay!  But should they be slaw dogs or chili dogs?  I cheated.

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Cast Iron Skillet Update

This is the skillet I purchased

Just got back with my new skillet.  I ended up buying the 10-1/4 inch skillet, mostly because I could barely lift the 12 inch one.  I think this one will serve most of my needs.  The skillet is in the oven, baking off whatever horrible stuff they seasoned it with, and I will then re-season it with vegetable oil.

My shopping trip also yielded a great find.  My Oster blender, which has served me for 14 years with no trouble, including making almost daily fruit smoothies, was unable to blend the last batch of smoothies I tried to make.  The problem was the blade was stripped (the grooves on the bottom had smoothed out) so it no longer turned.  I was looking at a new Oster, but didn’t really want to replace the whole thing – especially since the new one has a glass jar and I really like my plastic one, it’s lightweight and I don’t have to worry about dropping, breaking or chipping it.

A new blade would have been $10 + shipping, which I would have done, gladly.  But while shopping, I found a 7-piece smoothie kit for Oster blenders, which included a blending cup with lid, a new blade, two sealing rings and a blender bottom.  All for $13.  I was psyched. 

I felt like it was  great deal, even if I didn’t use the cup – until I realized if I used the cup, it was one less thing I had to wash!  Woo-hoo.

Now I just have to decide what to cook first in the skillet.  Until then….

Pretty birds

Mmm…hambeans

for those days you can't be bothered to think about it

I’ve been in a bit of a funk, and Mrs J said “I’ve named the entree for the last two days, it’s your turn”.  These I can make on auto pilot and don’t need to watch them very close, a bit of a stir now and again.Of course, you really have to make cornbread to go with beans.  This is the basic mix with some chopped green onions and some bacon bits.  Used the bacon fat in the mix to replace the oil the recipe called for.

A Well Stocked Pantry

The key to making dinner preparation easy, even on the most hectic day, is having a well stocked pantry.  And by pantry, I really mean pantry, cupboard, freezer and refrigerator.  From this you can create dinner out of ‘nothing’.

The items I always have on hand are pretty extensive.  In the pantry, I have several types of pasta,  a couple of different types of rice, bread crumbs, whole oats, instant potatoes (I almost always use fresh, but having instant on hand has saved me several times), brown sugar, ground flax,  2 types of honey, a variety of nuts, a variety of dried and canned beans, a variety of canned tomatoes, sauce and paste.  There is also a can of pineapple, a bag of dried fruit, a box of corn bread mix and a huge jar of toasted sesame seeds.  And of course the basics: unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, etc.

The cupboard is filled with as many spices as I can think of, in the smallest containers I can find, so they aren’t years old when I decide to use them.  I have dried chilis and a bulb of fresh garlic – though I always keep dried powder on hand and a jar of fresh in the refrigerator – can’t have too much garlic and each has a use.  I also have a few marinade mixes and shake-on rubs, though I usually make my own, having a few ready-made on hand is helpful.

In the freezer there are always boneless chicken breasts and boneless thighs, a least a pound of hamburger, a variety of frozen vegetables and frozen fruits, including a bag of cranberries.  Cranberries freeze very well and are a great addition to many dishes, without having to resort to the heavily sugared canned versions.   If I make fish, I prefer to use fresh, but tilapia freezes well and is pretty good if marinated and grilled.

The refrigerator door is a great stash of items that can help in a pinch.  There is soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, 2 or 3 marinades, orange sauce (a favorite of mine), barbecue sauce (my favorite these days being Sweet Baby Rays Sweet & Spicy), a couple of mustards (I don’t like Dijon – yuck – but a friend reminded me of spicy brown mustard, so I have that on hand), I have several types of wine vinegars and an organic apple cider vinegar, that tastes more like cider than vinegar, lemon juice, limejuice, chocolate sauce, grated parmesan, pickled jalapenos, and a jar salsa that has no sugar or HFC and tastes pretty close to fresh.

So at anytime, with these ingredients, I can make quick beans and rice, any number of pasta dishes, including angel hair tossed with olive oil and parmesan or bowties tossed with spicy crushed tomatoes, Spanish rice or any number of stir-fried dishes.  And the best part is that most of these items will be good for months before they have to be used.

What’s in your pantry?

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