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Dinner Tonight

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 turkey breast or 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
10 white mushrooms, cut to your preferred size slices
1 large white onion, minced
1 Braeburn or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 3.5 ounce Golden Curry packet, broken into pieces.  Use whatever spice level you prefer.  Medium was flavorful, but not spicy.
1 pound frozen peas, steamed
2 cups dry white rice
3 cups water

Prepare rice according to your tastes.

In a wok or large saute pan, heat oil, then add meat, onions, and mushrooms (If this is leftover meat, it can be added after the water later in the recipe).  Once onion has softened and become translucent, add curry and water.  Heat, stirring often, until the curry dissolves completely.  Add apples, peas, and meat, if it is already cooked.  Heat throughly and let simmer for several minutes.  Serve over rice.

Pork Roast with Potatoes and Apple Gravy

It’s officially chilly out there, and it’s time to make something that will warm us all up.

Ingredients:

1 3 to 5 pound pork roast
1 bell pepper, with stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
1 large white onion, chopped fine
1 granny smith apple, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes (skin on or off depending on your tastes)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound potatoes, whole if they are small, coined if they aren’t.
2 cups cooking bourbon (No need to use the good stuff here)
1 can cream of mushroom soup, or 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms and milk or cream if you’re better at this than I am and want to make better gravy
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the bell pepper and onion in the bottom of a crock pot.  Sprinkle the apple and garlic on top of the onions.  If you’re making real mushroom gravy, add the mushrooms to this layer.  Arrange the potatoes in a layer above the apples. Place the pork roast on top of the potatoes.  Pour the bourbon over the top of the pork roast.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook in the crock pot on medium heat for 6 to 8 hours.

When the pork roast is done to your desired tenderness, remove, along with the potatoes.  Use a potato masher to break up any remaining chunks in the drippings left in the crock pot.  Transfer drippings to a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  If you’re making real gravy, stir in the milk or cream and simmer until you get the consistency you want.  If you’re like me, stir in the can of cream of mushroom soup and simmer until the lumps are dissolved and the gravy comes to the desired consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste, although if you used canned soup, you shouldn’t need to add any salt.

To serve, place several of the roasted potatoes on a plate, mash with a fork, top with the pork, then ladle on as much gravy as you like.  Serve with a good vegetable or a salad, and your favorite crusty bread.  Recipe feeds four with leftovers.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients:

Carcass of a turkey or chicken, with the juices from roasting it (Hooray for leftovers!).  If you don’t have juices, a quart of chicken broth will be a good substitute.
1 large white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Chili powder, to taste (I used about a tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups dry rice
2 cups water
Chili peppers (I used 2 pablano, 2 Serrano, and 2 jalapeno).  You can either seed or not seed, depending on the amount of heat you want in the soup.
1 cup stewed tomatoes
Juice of 2 lemons and 2 limes
Salt, to taste

 

Put the chicken/turkey carcass and its juices into a crock pot, along with enough water to submerge the bones.  Add onion, garlic, peppers, and chili powder.  Set on medium heat for at least 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Shut off and allow rice to absorb the water.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the bones and skin from the broth.  Once the rice has absorbed all of the water in the saucepan, transfer to the crock pot.  Allow to soak in the broth for one hour.

30 minutes before serving, heat the tomatoes in the microwave for approximately 1 minute.  Add to crock pot and mix with rice / broth mixture.  Just prior to serving, add the lemon and lime juice and salt to taste.

I served it with fresh fruit, quesadillas, and chips and salsa.

 

Pear Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 soft pears, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup lime infused vodka (or your favorite flavor)
  • Ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1 angel food or yellow cake mix, batter made according to recipe (If you prefer, you can make cake batter from scratch, but this is quicker and easier)

In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter.  Add in the brown sugar and pears, stirring until the brown sugar is completely dissolved.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add the vodka and cinnamon.  Simmer until mix reduces between by 1/3 to 1/2, stirring occasionally.  If your pan is big enough, pour the cake mix evenly over the top of the fruit sauce.  If not, carefully transfer the fruit sauce to a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, then pour cake batter evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until just warm before serving.  Goes well with whipped cream or ice cream.

Dinner Tonight

This is a twist on my stew recipe.  It’s a cold, snowy, blowy day, and I needed something to bring up everyone’s core temperature.

Beef Stew with Chilis and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup seasoned flour, either homemade or commercial
Bacon grease or your favorite pan lubricant
2 large white onions
3 to 4 carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into coins
4 celery stalks, washed, split in two, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 12 ounce bottle of your favorite beer.  Anything with a lot of flavor will work. This might also work well with a good strong red wine.
2 12 ounce cans of beef broth
2 12 ounce cans of Rotel or 1 quart of home-canned tomatoes with chilis and lime
1 pound fresh potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper

In a large bowl, combine the seasoned flour and the beef until the beef is evenly coated.

In a large soup kettle, melt enough bacon grease over medium heat to thickly cover the bottom of the kettle.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until the onion softens and starts to become transparent.  Add the meat and flour.  Brown the meat thoroughly, stirring almost constantly.  The flour will want to stick to the bottom of the kettle, so scrape a lot.  If necessary, melt in a little more bacon grease.  Once the meat is browned, add the beer, broth, tomatoes, and potatoes.  Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the kettle to get all of the cooked flour out into the sauce.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes or until the beef and potatoes are thoroughly cooked.  Season with the Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.

Goes well with biscuits or fresh-baked bread.

Recipe – Hillbilly Schnitzel

Irish Woman bought what she thought was half a boneless pork loin the other day, but it turned out that it had been cut into chops.  Those would have been tasty, but putting them in the crock pot with the package of fresh sauerkraut that she also bought would not have worked.  So, I tried my hand at making schnitzel.

Ingredients

Pork loin chops, 1 inch thick.
3 to 6 eggs, beaten.  Number of eggs will depend on the number of chops
4 cups of seasoned flour, either store bought or homemade.  I used Kentucky Kernel
4 tablespoons of seasoned flour
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms
Bacon grease or butter
1 quart of beef broth

Using a meat hammer, pound each chop until it triples in diameter and is between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch thick.

Heat up a large skillet.  Melt enough of the bacon grease or butter to cover the bottom of the pan.  Equally divide the seasoned flour into two shallow dishes large enough to hold one of the flattened chops.  Coat a chop in one dish of flour, then dip it into the egg, then coat it in the other dish of flour.  Pan fry in the grease until both sides are browned and the chop is barely cooked through.  I was able to do two chops at once in my pan, but your mileage may vary.  Put cooked chops into a covered baking dish and place in a warm oven to keep hot.  Melt more butter or bacon grease in the pan prior to cooking each round of chops.

Once all of the chops are cooked, melt more grease in the pan, then add the onions and mushrooms.  Saute until the mushrooms are cooked and the onions are soft and translucent.  Sprinkle in the four tablespoons of seasoned flour, and stir to allow it to soak up all of the fluid in the pan.  If you like, you can allow this mixture to brown a bit in the pan.  Deglaze the pan with the beef broth, and stir until the flour is dissolved into the broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the gravy is just about as thick as you like.  It will thicken a bit more after you shut off the heat, so don’t overcook it.  Season to taste, but make sure you taste.  The flour will add a lot of salt and other flavors.

Serve your schnitzel with the mushroom and onion gravy, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut, along with your favorite vegetable, a good crusty bread, and your favorite beverage.

Dinner Tonight

Ingredients

4 to 6 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large white onion, peeled and coarse chopped
2 large stocks of celery, chopped
2 quarts homemade chicken or turkey broth, or four cans of store-bought chicken broth
1 pint white mushrooms, thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
Preferred spices (salt, pepper, whatever)
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables
4 to 6 cups uncooked egg noodles or frozen dumplings.  If you’re feeling luxurious and decadent, use cheese-filled tortellini or ravioli.

Combine chicken, onion, broth, mushrooms, and garlic in crock pot.  Add spices to taste.  Set on low heat in crock pot and allow to cook for 8 to 10 hours while you’re at work.

Put vegetables into a pot of cold water and heat until they are thawed.  Drain thoroughly and put into crock pot.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for one hour.

Prepare pasta in a pot of boiling water until they are just short of al dente.  They should still be quite chewy and not ready for consumption yet.  Drain thoroughly and add to crock pot.  Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for half an hour.

Season soup to taste.  Serve with fresh bread or biscuits.  Makes enough for several meals, and freezes well.

Variant – Substitute one quart of tomatoes and peppers (either homemade or Rotel) for one quart of broth, substitute 2 cups of cooked rice for the pasta, and garnish with corn tortilla chips and avocado.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

Ingredients

4 cups leftover plain white rice, cold
2 cups coconut milk (Look in the organic foods cold case at the grocery store.  I didn’t know they sold it by the half gallon either.)
2 large eggs, beaten
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup white sugar, depending on how sweet you want the pudding to be
1/3 to 1/2 cup amaretto or bourbon, depending on your tastes

Combine all ingredients but the rice in a 6×6 baking dish.  Add the rice and mix thoroughly.  Make sure you break up any clumps of rice as much as you can.  Place dish in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until the top browns and the rice absorbs most of the liquid.  Allow to cool and serve.

Possible additions – Raisins and/or toasted coconut.

Tomato Jalapeno Jelly

The garden is winding down, and while a few things are still producing, we’re coming to the end.  I took a swing through and picked a bunch of things last night, and found this to match what I got.  Here is my variation on the recipe.  I was looking for something a little tarter and more savory, but didn’t want to make homemade Vegamite.

————————-

Ingredients:

16 cups of quartered tomatoes
5 to 10 cups sugar, depending on how sweet you want this to be
20 to 25 jalapeno, cerrano, and thai chilis, or whatever you like and get from the garden or market, with the stems taken off and cut into 1/4 to 3/8 inch slices
1 large sweet white onion, quartered
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
8 whole cloves of garlic
2 limes, cut into quarters, peel and all
Salt to taste. I used about 1/4 cup for the batch.
12 tablespoons classic pectin

Prepare jars and lids according to directions for a water bath.  This recipe made two pints and 10 half pints.

Combine all ingredients but the pectin in a large soup kettle.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain first through a course collender into a large bowl, then through a find sieve back into the large soup kettle.  Bring back to a rolling boil, then measure off two cups of the juice.  Mix the pectin with this juice, then mix back into the rest of the juice.  Continue to boil for three minutes.

Ladle into your prepared jar, leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top of the jar.  Use a hot, wet towel to wipe the rim and threads of each jar, then close hand tight.  Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Recipe – Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients

1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cups cold water
10 pounds or so of fresh, firm apples, whichever variety you prefer.  We used the kind-of granny smith’s off of our neighbor’s apple tree, which just ripened this week.
4 cups of sugar (you probably won’t use all of it)
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Put the lemon juice and water into an 8 quart kettle.  Peel, core, and slice the apples, and put them into the kettle.  Make sure they get a coating of the water-lemon mixture.  This will prevent browning.  Once the kettle is just about full of apples, put the kettle onto the stove.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes while stirring regularly, or until the apples start to fall apart.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Using a potato masher or similar instrument, mash the apple mixture to your desired level of smooth versus chunky.  Stir in 2 cups of the sugar, then taste.  It will probably be quite tart, depending on the variety of apple you used.  Sweet apples will require less sugar than tart apples.  Add the rest of the sugar in 1/2 cup increments, tasting after each addition, until the apple sauce is at your preferred level of sweetness.  Season to taste with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Put the kettle back onto low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

This recipe made 8 pint jars and 2 quart jars of apple sauce, which were canned in a water bath.  Total time was approximately 2 hours, including the time it took prepare the jars for canning and can the applesauce.

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