Lemon Dill Cream Sauce

Unsurprisingly,  this recipe is the first one to come up in a search for a sauce with the search terms lemon, dill, and cream sauce.  I used a bit of this roasted garlic broth mix to take care of the garlic component.  (This is good stuff and I find myself using the various “Better Than Bouillon” products routinely in my cooking.)
The sauce was good on both the pan-seared fish filets and the steamed veggies.  I used a bit of thickener in my sauce and it set up nicely in the fridge.  I think it would be a killer veggie dip served cold.

Chicken Ramen

Ramen has a rap about it being a cheap as dirt staple of starving students.  While absolutely true, it makes a very tasty base for more upscale dinners.  I like poaching an egg or two in the broth.  I put a daub of sambal in mine.You could leave the egg in the simmering broth long enough to get beyond the runny yolk phase but that is not something I would do.  The yolk adds a richness to the broth that is hard to beat.

Mmm… Fresh Hot Rolls

20160916_1149031600x1200That King Arthur bun recipe is so versatile.  It’s been my go-to recipe for all of my soft bun needs for a while now.  Great for hamburger or hot dog buns and these cloverleaf buns are no different.20160916_1119281600x1200I dump the ingredients into my bread machine and run the quick dough cycle, it gives the dough one rise and beeps to let me know it’s my turn.  Roll small pinches of dough between your palms and tuck them into a muffin pan.  These have risen again and have been brushed with butter prior to baking.  I set my convection oven at 375 and give them 6 minutes, then turn them.  I let the color at the 6 minute mark inform the timing, these were starting to brown so I gave them just 3 more minutes and peeked, then added a another minute for 10 minutes total.20160916_1134151600x1200

Pie Pr0n

DSC_2008(1600x1200)I had a couple of pre-made pie crusts I bought on a whim.  We went with a beef filling that included carrots, onions, potatoes, and mushrooms.  The beef was from an all day simmer in the crockpot, the mushrooms, onions, and celery were sauteed in olive oil, and the potatoes and carrots were both boiled until tender before being combined with Bisto gravy made with the water the veggies were boiled in.20160801_122645(1600x1200)I like an egg wash on these savory pies, and a good sprinkle of kosher salt.  I baked this deep dish pie for what seemed like hours in a 350 oven and the crust just would not brown for me until I placed it into my toaster oven set to broil.  I gave it a good brushing with butter before it went under.DSC_2010(1600x1200)

Mmm… Mini Pot Pies

DSC_9487 (1600x1060)Mrs J makes a killer pie crust using the smittenkitchen.com butter recipe.  We like these with crusts on the bottom, too.  I bought some 6″ anodized aluminum pie pans a while ago and these pies came right out of them without greasing the pan,  Lots of butter in the crust.DSC_9481 (1600x1060)Sometimes I mix the fillings with the white sauce, these were assembled in layers – veggies then meat then sauce, then the same again.DSC_9482 (1600x1060)I cooked a white sauce with a little nutmeg and a teaspoon of dry mustard.  It seemed lacking so I turned it into a mornay sauce by grating in a few ounces of Parmesan.  It would have been a little better with more half and half, these came out a bit drier than I like.DSC_9483 (1600x1060)Top them with another crust and seal the rims with a fork, trim the excess dough, then give them an egg wash.  This wash was a whole egg beaten with a dollop of dairy.DSC_9484 (1600x1060)Pop them into a 350 oven until they get some nice color, about 30 minutes.

Noodles!

DSC_7372 (1600x1060)We picked up these wide noodles at the Amish store the other day, Mrs J saw them and insisted we bring home a bag.  I pulled a bag of pork from the freezer and thawed it in a pot while cooking the carrots, celery, and onions down with chicken broth to get them caught up.  Those were stirred into the pork along with frozen corn and peas while the noodles boiled.  It all folded together into a tasty mix that seemed right for a bowl.  I ate mine with a fork, it being not quite a soup.

Fresh vs. Frozen

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Garden Bounty from JeffreyW

We’ve had this discussion before, but as the summer growing season comes to an end and we’re faced in many regions with the long winter dilemma of fresh vs. frozen from the grocers, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the debate. I thought this article from ABC News summed it up pretty nicely. And it confirms what I had been told over the years:

They’re just as nutritious (or even more so) than fresh

The differences above may be why frozen produce has been shown to be just as nutrient-rich, or even superior to fresh, a fact supported by two new independent studies. Scientists from Leatherhead Food Research and University of Chester, carried out 40 tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in a fridge for three days, compared to frozen equivalents. They found more beneficial nutrients overall in the frozen samples, in everything from broccoli to blueberries. In fact, in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and veggies packed higher levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, lutein, and beta-carotene. This conclusion supports previous research, which found that freezing produce does not destroy its nutrients. In one report, the vitamin C content in fresh broccoli plummet by more than 50% with a week, but dipped by just 10% over an entire year when frozen.

They’re mature – in a good way!

The minute a fruit or veggie is picked, it begins to lose nutrients, so exactly when it’s plucked, and how long after harvesting you eat it impacts its nutritional value. Because most frozen fruits and veggies are frozen shortly after they’re harvested, they’re allowed to fully ripen, which means they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and freezing “locks in” many of their nutrients. On the flip side, much of the fresh produce in your supermarket was reaped over 1,500 miles away, and had to travel by truck to get there. As a result, it may have been harvested before it reached its nutritional peak, then artificially ripened during transport.

They’re additive-free

Because freezing preserves food, no unwanted additives are needed in bags of frozen goodies, like spinach and strawberries. In addition, “naked” produce (e.g. no added salt or sugar) is the norm, so it’s incredibly easy to find fruits and veggies with single word ingredient lists–simply the fruit or veggie itself. To be sure, always check the ingredients, but I bet you’ll find at least a dozen varieties in the freezer aisle with absolutely nothing added.

And I think this is my favorite reason they’re better – less prep. I almost always choose frozen fruits for my smoothies because, hey, no washing, peeling or slicing, just open the freezer bag and toss a handful in:

They’re super healthy shortcuts

I frequently visit my local farmers markets, and I’m a huge fan of fresh, in-season produce. But to be honest, after a long day, I sometimes look at my bounty, sigh, and think, “Ugh, I wish it would magically prep itself.” One of my favorite things about keeping frozen options on hand is that they don’t require any washing, peeling, or chopping. And for many of my clients, that benefit is the sole reason veggies wind up on their plates. One study found that working women spend, on average, less than one hour a day preparing, serving, eating, and cleaning up after meals. That’s not under an hour for each meal – it’s less than one hour for all daily meals! Because frozen produce is prep-free, reaching for it can save you a ton of time, allowing you to make healthy dishes at home, rather than opting for takeout.

There’s more at the link if you’re interested:  ABCNews.com

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Mmm… Smoked Chicken

DSC_6421 [1600x1200]Mac & cheese made with smoked gouda and buttermilk, sauteed green beans with sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms with a sesame/soy sauce dressing.  I did the chicken and Mrs J put together the rest of the menu.  I had to do the dishes.IMG_2387 [1600x1200]This is a little Shih Tzu that came in with three more siblings.  The momma dog ran off is the story from the folks who brought them in.  They are four weeks old and everyone is eating wet food except this young lady.  Mrs J says they are fine with bottle feeding her but another week is all they will go.  No problems are expected.