Monthly Archives: April 2020

BBQ steak sweet potato & squash

I hope you are staying safe and healthy! We are living in such a weird time right now which none of us have ever seen before I do hope we can get back to some sort of normal before too long. I am coming up on week seven for working at home. It’s actually going really well I think having my daughter working next to me helps even though she works for a different company. Last week to break up the groundhog day feel of it we held spirit week. Animal print Monday, crazy hair Tuesday you get the picture. We had a lot of fun! We’ll have to come up with something else since we are home until at least June if not longer.

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It’s about time we start getting outside and take the cover off the grill. We have only had a few nice enough days though I will grill even when it’s not so nice. I do recall one very rainy night several years ago where my very good friend was holding an umbrella over me and I think there was a flash light as well? I know there were drinks involved and apparently whatever we were cooking HAD to be cooked out on the grill 🙂

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This isn’t out on the patio yet but I hope it will be soon!

This is a great any night meal, it comes together very quickly and doesn’t take long to cook and then you are eating within the hour. Plus clean up is just as fast and it tastes great. I am so looking forward to getting my garden in. We learned our lessen years ago to not plant until Memorial Day (the last weekend in May) we have lost too many plants to that one last frost after Mother’s Day which used to be our planting day. I have already started some seeds in the house; which I haven’t done in years. Let’s hope that works.

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As long as the raw meat doesn’t touch the tray; you can use it to take everything off the grill

For some veggies I find it easier to put on tinfoil or you can use a veggie tray made for the grill or one of those copper grill mats. I have lost a fair few potatoes or veggies through the grates over the years.

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I use a little tinfoil so I don’t lose the veggies

Steak – you cannot go wrong with Ribeyes
Squash – whichever kind you like or both
Sweet potato or whatever you have on hand
Large Onion peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

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You still get grill marks even while using tinfoil

That’s it!  Take the steaks out before you start anything else, they are best when the come to room temperature; season liberally with Salt and Pepper and put aside.
Start the grill, Slice the veggies and potatoes. Season those with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grab a sheet pan or whatever you use when you grill and head outside. I have a little plastic basket I put all the supplies I need like the plates, utensils and tinfoil etc. And I usually only have to come back in to refill my wine.

Stay safe Stay strong and Stay healthy!!!!

Ham bone soup

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Yesterdays lunch

It’s beginning to be a bit like groundhog day around here starting our 6th week working from home! At least that is what my daughter keeps saying. We both work for different companies albeit the companies share a parking lot but they couldn’t be more different. We also have different hours but I created a workstation for us both along one of the walls in the den. It is actually a really cool space but again it is kind of a little groundhog dayish. To break up the monotony a little we are having spirit week this week and there will be pictures.
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What do you usually do with your ham bone if you make ham for Easter? I usually give mine to my mother-in-law. She makes split pea soup which is probably one of the top things to do with a ham bone. But not with me; I love soup but split pea is not for me. I am sure it stems from my childhood not liking green vegetables. I do eat frozen peas on occasion but they are not my go to. So for me to add peas to any of my soups just doesn’t happen.
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My Mother-in-law is still in FL until we are able to get them home safely. Yes I could throw it in the freezer and save it for her but I wanted to try making a soup with the leftovers and make a bone broth with the ham bone. So here is what I made and I might have to fight my mother-in-law for my ham bone next year!

Ingredients

leftover ham diced
1 or 2 carrots diced
1 or 2 celery sticks diced
1 onion diced
2-3 garlic diced
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
3 tablespoon flour 
6 cups Broth
1 can Pinto beans or 2 Potatoes
1-2 cups Water
 2 tablespoons olive oil 

Instructions

In a stock pot add the olive oil over medium heat add the ham, celery, carrot and onions and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the spices cook for another minute. Add the flour and cook for 4-5 minutes. 

Add the broth and water bring to a boil. Add beans or potatoes and then lower the heat to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Take a potato masher and break up some of the beans/potatoes it will help thicken the soup.  Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

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Ham bone broth in my slow cooker – cover with water turn on low and let it go!

 

 

Scalloped Potatoes

Good morning and Happy Easter!

I hope everyone is hanging in there, I know I say that every week now but I don’t know what else to say. I am going on week 5 of working from home, I think I have left my sanctuary maybe 5 times over the last month. The last time it was for my husband he injured himself and ended up having surgery; he is fine and not taking it easy as instructed insert eye roll here. 

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You can sprinkle a little of the cheddar cheese on top – I did not in this picture. My mouth is watering as I am typing and looking at them – they are SO good!

How will you be spending your Easter this year? How much different will it be for your family? Will you be having some sort of virtual Holiday? We have been doing virtual happy hours with some friends and family and it is fun for now but it will get old soon. Though I am sure we will continue to do so with the ones who live far away. We have always done pancake breakfast with my kids and in-laws. Then everyone would disperse and come back later for Easter dinner. This year will be a little different, no plans for breakfast and dinner will just be with the kids. I am still going to set the table so it will be a little special. 

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I used a mandolin to slice my potatoes but it is not necessary

Since this is a cooking blog I should probably talk about cooking a little right? We all like ham and don’t really have it too often so we will be having ham, these scalloped potatoes, carrots and roasted asparagus for dinner. I am still thinking about what to do for dessert; it will have to be something that I have all the ingredients for since all of our stores close to us are closed today. Yeah I know I should have planned better but I can be pretty resourceful when it comes to using what I have on hand.

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preheat oven to 350’F

Ingredients

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions – making a roux

In a small sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add all of cold milk at once stirring with a whisk; season with salt and cayenne. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk and it thickens a bit. Reduce heat and stir in cheese.
Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish. Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.
repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for an hour at 350°F

chicken and rice soup with homemade stock

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you can’t tell me that won’t make an amazing stock

How are you holding up? We are doing well though this morning made me “think” a little differently than my norm. I was about to make french toast and grabbed the dozen of eggs from the fridge and immediately thought; wow that’s going to use a lot of my eggs we should have something else. I put the bacon back and looked around and had 3 English muffins left in a package, some left over hollandaise sauce from last week and a few slices of lunch meat ham. Waste not want not mode kicked in.
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this make me 8 cups of what I call liquid gold

I am sure we are all in that mode these days with trying to stay home but still maintain some semblance of normalcy. I do struggle with wanting to support my local restaurants that we used to frequent before a month ago and we do order out at least once a week. I am having a hard time finding balance with spending money as normal; dinner out, Amazon, grocery stores etc. I want to support them but I also want their staff safe and not have to go out for me. I hope that make sense!
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I am frugal by nature; I save leftovers, I will take stale bread and make breadcrumbs. I freeze Parmesan cheese rinds for later use. I will make up a dinner using whatever fresh veggie is about to expire. I will make a soup out of almost anything. If it’s good I’ll make it again.  I made risotto the other night and made extra so I can make up rice cakes because the last time I made the “extra” into arancini (Italian rice balls) and already have a bag of those in the freezer.
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I have implored you numerous times to make your own stock; now is the time to make it happen! If the stove top method freaks you out; use your slow cooker. A five pound roast will make several meals for your family. I dare you to test me!

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These trays are awesome, 2 cup portion size so each tray is 8 cups. I got them on Amazon

Sorry the recipe card wont work

5 pound roaster chicken – Bell and Evans or Misty Knolls are the best in my opinion
1 medium onion, small dice, or if you are not a fan grate the onion so they disappear but add flavor
3 carrots, peeled and diced into similar sizes
2 stalks celery, cleaned and diced into similar sizes
1/2 cup Jasmati or similar rice.
8 cups chicken stock
Stock:
chicken carcass, couple of carrots, couple of celery, sliced onion. garlic clove or two smashed, season with salt and pepper

Soup:

in a stock pot add a little olive oil and the onions, carrots and celery. saute for about 5 minutes. Add the rice and let it barely brown. It adds a little more flavor. Cover with the stock and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. remove from the heat and add the leftover chicken. I prefer to shred the chicken versus dicing it. Your choice.

If not using leftover chicken, use a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into chunks and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Saute the pieces in the stock pot before you start this recipe. set the chicken aside, add the veggies and scrape up all the bits from the pan. That will add even more flavor.  

Stock: 

After removing all of the meat from the chicken add the carcass to your slow cooker. top with roughly chopped veggies and cover with water. put on low for the night. when you wake up in the morning. I let my stock cool on the counter in a container, then I put it in the fridge overnight or until it completely cools. I want all the fat to solidify on top so I can remove it.

After having dinner with your roasted chicken, remove all of the meat and use some in leftovers or chicken salad, save some for the soup.

Stay safe –  Stay healthy and Stay home as much as you possibly can. Stay in touch using Facetime, Zoom, Skype or whatever else is available to you. We have been having virtual happy hour with some of our friends with IPhones, and last night a bunch of us used Facetime while a couple of friends played piano and the rest of us sang or listened. We are going to try zoom next week