Tidbits

DSC03038 (1600x1060)It’s never a bad idea to lead off a post like this with kittehs!  These came available to adopt today, three boys and a girl.  The girl has been spoken for already.  I have no idea which of them is the sister kitty.DSC_1498 (1600x1060)The dirty dishes from this dinner are still on the table as I type this.  I can’t take much credit for anything here, the tater tots and the breaded shrimp came frozen in plastic bags.  I can say that I mixed the batter for the broccoli, adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.  I used a lemon-lime soda instead of the beer and made it a bit thinner so that you could see it was broccoli you were eating rather than an anonymous fried lump.  Oh!  I almost forgot – the cocktail sauce was made with my homemade ketchup!  Mine on the left in the emptied Heinz bottle, the new bottle of the Heinz product for comparison:DSC_1503 (1600x1060)I saw someone on one of my TV cooking shows make chipotle flavored ketchup that looked good so I stopped and started the DVR while scribbling down the ingredients.  No real info on the quantities so this is a best guess as to ratios, I used: 4-15oz cans of tomato puree, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 big onion, 1 small can of chipotles in adobo sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, ground allspice, ground cloves, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Chop the onion and sweat it down in oil, then add everything else. You are going to have to wing it, too!  Let’s just say, add those additional spices “to taste”.  I used a stick blender to break down the onions and the chipotles and simmered the sauce for a half hour or so.  Great Success!DSC_1441 (1600x1060)We made some banana bread and added some frozen blueberries.  Worked fine but nothing to shout about.  The cinnamon crunch topping was pretty good.  Cut 2 tablespoons of cold butter into 1/4 cup each of flour and sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.  I made the first batch and used way too many blueberries, Mrs J made the bread pictured above using 1/2 cup of berries.  Mine tasted good but wasn’t, ah, photogenic.DSC_1491 (1600x1060)We had waffles, sausage and eggs for supper the other day.  Great any hour of the day.DSC_1497 (1600x1060)Mmm… pastrami for lunch today.  We made everything here but the bread and the thousand island dressing.  That’s the last of the pastrami, I hope they have another sale on beef roasts, I’ll snag a big one and and get the brine going.IMG_20151201_115053755[1]_Snapseed (1600x1200)Time for another kitteh!  This is Maisy, she’s five months old and was adopted Tuesday.  Yay!DSC_1407 (1600x1060)I’m going to call this a quesadilla – it has roast pork, some leftover beans and corn, a ton of cheese, a dab a the last batch of chili, a few chopped peppers, and a nice squeeze of my sweet habanero sauce.

Dinner Menu: Cranberry Grilled Chicken

Cranberry Chicken 3_Snapseed2

Continuing  my week of highlighting recipes that have low salt content. This homemade sauce is tangy and sweet, plenty of flavor without added salt. To reduce salt even more, use low-sodium ketchup (or homemade ketchup) and a dash of red wine vinegar. Hoping to get a Bixby update later today.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cranberry Chicken
  2. Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower
  3. Steamed Rice (I like Jasmine with this menu)
  4. Ice Cream Sundaes

Cranberry Chicken

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*

9×9 glass baking dish, greased and skillet

Heat butter in skillet, sauté onions until golden brown. Arrange breasts in one layer in baking dish. Mix together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard & onions. In a blender, coarsely chop cranberries and add to sauce mixture. Spoon over chicken. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, until chicken is 180° in center.

*As anyone who reads the blog knows,  I keep cranberries in the freezer, having stocked up during the holidays. If you can’t find whole cranberries, use whole, canned and omit the brown sugar.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt- or substitute 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings & cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.   The lemon in this really brightens the flavor.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*
  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz milk
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon
  • rice
  • 1 quart favorite ice cream
  • Sundae toppings

Also: butter, flour, curry, salt, red wine vinegar

Too Hot To Cook: Polynesian Ribs Dinner Menu

Polynesian Ribs 3a

It’s been much too hot to cook over the last two weeks and with the fairly consistent afternoon showers, grilling is out. So I pulled out the slow-cooker and have been making some nice main courses. I had a craving for a roasted chicken (can you imagine?! It’s 101 degrees out and I want to roast something!), so I put thighs (bone-in, skin on) in the slow-cooker, on high, with some seasoning and in 4 hours had nicely ‘roasted’ chicken. Served with a fresh salad and tomato slices.

After that, I decided that a slow-cooker meal would be a nice idea for this week’s dinner menu. This one is full of exotic flavors and fresh vegetables. I put green beans on the menu, but whatever catches your eye in the garden or farm stand would do just as well.

And if you have peaches available, use them instead of tropical fruit cocktail.

On the board tonight:

  1. Island Ribs
  2.  Marinate overnight, Slow-Cooker
  3. Pineapple Pilaf
  4. Green Beans
  5. Tropical Fruit w/coconut and ginger ale 

Island Ribs

Slow-Cooker

  • 5-6 lbs pork ribs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 to 3 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes (opt)

Slow-Cooker

Night before, rub salt and sugar on pork ribs and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, put ½ cup water in slow-cooker along with ribs.  Mix together remaining ingredients and pour onto ribs.  Cook according to manufacturer’s directions (usually 8-10 hours on low) until meat is tender and pulls from the bone.

Note: Depending on your slow-cooker size, you may have to cut the ribs into sections that fit.

Pineapple Pilaf

  • 1 cup rice
  • drained pineapple juice and enough water to make 2 cups
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks, drained

saucepan, skillet

Add rice and liquid to saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until all water is absorbed.

Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, walnuts, raisins, salt & ginger; cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes or until onions are tender. Add rice and pineapple; stir and heat thoroughly. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Tropical Fruit w/coconut and ginger ale – drain fruit then toss with ginger ale and coconut.

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Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

Dinner Menu: Cranberry Chicken and Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

We saw Gravity yesterday in IMAX 3D, which was my first IMAX 3D experience. It was quite the ride. I’m not a fan of 3D (I find it distracting) but i think in this case, it was a must. Also went out to explore the recently reopened trails around the city. There are only a few open and there is lots of damage still, I’ll post photos later.  The rest of the city is getting back to normal and I hope it’s the same for the other towns that were hit even harder than we were.

Fall is in the air and now I want pumpkin and cranberry, so I thought it was time to bring out the roasted cranberry chicken recipe. I love chicken and cranberry together and this recipe creates a tangy cranberry barbecue sauce.  I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but this version can get me to eat it and it makes a perfect side to the chicken. And to finish it up, a nice treat, ice cream sundaes. If you really want to complete the fall theme, try some pumpkin ice cream, or maybe go with some vanilla served over hot apple crisp.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cranberry Chicken
  2. Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower
  3. Ice Cream Sundaes

Cranberry Chicken 3_Snapseed2

Cranberry Chicken

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*

9×9 glass baking dish, greased and skillet

Heat butter in skillet, sauté onions until golden brown. Arrange breasts in one layer in baking dish. Mix together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard & onions. In a blender, coarsely chop cranberries and add to sauce mixture. Spoon over chicken. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, until chicken is 180° in center.

*As anyone who reads the blog knows,  I keep cranberries in the freezer, having stocked up during the holidays. If you can’t find whole cranberries, use whole, canned and cut the sugar.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings & cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.   The lemon in this really brightens the flavor.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*
  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz milk
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart favorite ice cream
  • Sundae toppings

Also: butter, flour, curry, salt, red wine vinegar

Tidbits

DSC_6900 [1600x1060]We have lots of Awesome Sauce put back, and a fair amount of plainer tomato sauce so the last batch of tomatoes from the garden went into ketchup.  I juiced the crop with the machine and then boiled the juice down to the same concentration as in a can of tomato puree.  While that was going on some spices were simmering in cider vinegar.  I used allspice berries, fennel seed, celery seed, red pepper flakes, coriander seed, black peppercorns, a cinnamon stick, crushed cloves of garlic, dried basil, oregano, several slices of fresh ginger root, and a couple of bay leaves, all in about 3 cups of apple cider vinegar.  By the time it had simmered for a half hour and the solids discarded there were 2 cups left.  These spices were what I had on hand, and I should have added a couple of whole cloves and maybe an anise star. I strained everything to remove the solid material but wrapping it all in cheesecloth will work fine.

I started with 20 cups of the puree, added the 2 cups of the seasoned vinegar, and one cup of sugar.  We debated using Splenda but went with granulated cane sugar.  It still needed reducing to get thick and it was getting late so I put everything into a crockpot and left it on low overnight.  Worked out well enough.DSC_6899 [1600x1060]Mrs J’s Famous Banana Bread.  She pulled out all the stops for this one, adding raisins, chocolate chips, and pecans.  The spread of Nutella was the perfect finishing touch.IMG_2933 [1600x1060]These Siamese mixes came into St Francis the other day.  Mrs J was told they were part of a feral colony that was swept with a respiratory illness.  The person who watches out for them noticed they were all feeling puny and brought in several for treatment.  Cats generally respond well to antibiotics so these will probably be fine.  Not sure if the newspaper caption was placed intentionally but it does make for a cute picture.DSC_6898 [1600x1060]Chili cheese fries!  This is a chorizo/ground beef chili with beans on top of a batch of twice fried potatoes with minced onions and peppers for garnishes.DSC_6890 [1600x1060]And a couple of tostadas – one with chorizo sausage cooked with sliced peppers, the other is pinto bean and cheddar.

Cranberry Roasted Chicken

I was reorganizing the freezer today and found two bags of cranberries. Not possible! By this time I’m usually out and anxiously waiting for the season to begin again. But last year they were really inexpensive and I stocked up..then the bags got buried under vegetables. I took one out and thawed it, along with some chicken thighs. I used the recipe below, which is an adaptation of my original Cranberry Grilled Chicken from July 2010, but did a bit of experimentation. I lifted the skin on the thigh, seasoned and added the sauce between the meat and the skin. I replaced the skin, brushed it with olive oil and roasted at 400 degrees. The skin was crisp and flavorful and the meat was moist, tender and had cranberry infused through it.

No secret for anyone who reads the blog with any frequency that I love cranberries.  This cranberry chicken is tangy with a sweet and tangy crust.  Great with rice and a salad. I left out the marinade of cranberry juice and wine with this adaptation.

Cranberry Roasted Chicken

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 8 oz whole berry cranberry sauce (I made my own from fresh cranberries)
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ground dried mustard
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

bowl, saucepan, baking dish

In saucepan, mix together all ingredients except chicken, bring to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Loosen skin from chicken thighs, season meat, add 2-3 tbsp of cranberry mixture between skin and meat (I pulled the skin most of the way off, covered the meat with cranberries and folded the skin back over it). Brush the skin with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees until cooked through.

Mmm…Onion Rings

Mrs J and I went to the grocery store after dealing with the downed trees, I was needing a refill from the in store pharmacy and Mrs J was just wanting to get out of the house.  In the produce aisle I noticed they had some sweet onions bagged up.  Alas, they weren’t the famous Vidalias-some Texas brand I haven’t seen before but we bought a bag.  They are just Ok, the rings were not as fat as with Vidalias but the flavor was fine.  In the way that supermarkets have they also displayed some batter mix for frying the rings and I bought a packet.  We fried up one of the onions to have with the steaks and potatoes.  The rings were good, very good, actually.  I wanted to have rings again soon so I went to the Google and first up on the page was this recipe.  I noticed right away the five stars, and also took note of the huge number of reviews and the even larger number of people who had saved the recipe to their own files.  I gave it a whirl this morning, Mrs J having gone in to the shelter and it being just a bit too cool to enjoy any outside work.  And I’m lazy.

I’m going to declare right now that those five stars were well earned, this is the best batch of onion rings I have ever cooked and I can’t recall any better rings anywhere.

I tossed some stale white bread into the food processor and reduced it to fine crumbs.  The recipe doesn’t call for any seasoning beyond the teaspoon of salt, and I stayed true to the text this time but I imagine some cayenne would work in this, and certainly fresh ground black pepper would.

[Edit] I notice upon a reread that the recipe calls for the fried rings to be sprinkled with seasoned salt-an excellent idea.  They were good with just some ground kosher salt.

Enjoy!

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Buns ‘n Stuff

Checking back in.  The hamburger and fries meal came off as planned, albeit a bit later than I had imagined.  I got distracted and before I really knew what was happening I was mounting a spiked roller onto the little Deere.  Don’t ask.

I made another batch of sesame seeded buns, using a different recipe. As before, I let the machine do the mixing and the first knead.  I put the dough into a covered bowl for the first rise, and then portioned the dough into eighths on a tray for a second rise.  This is where I took the dogs on a run to the new pond, where some grass was starting to grow, but there were a lot of spots that needed some additional work or the grass wasn’t going to grow there.  I remembered the roller thingy I had in the shed.  I dragged it out and greased the bearings and filled it with water for the extra weight and then trundled it over to the site of the new pond and ran a few circles around to see how well the spikes broke the crust. Looked like it was just the thing so I told Mrs J we were going to have fun tomorrow sowing grass.  Decided I had best get supper on.

Where was I?  Ah..  So the second batch of buns had time to really rise before I stuck them into the oven to bake.

I did roughly the same thing, 375 oven, misting with water, turned the tray, etc.  I let these brown just a bit more than the last batch.  They look good, still cooling on the rack.  I expect they’ll be fine.