Showing posts with label Bon Appetit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bon Appetit. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Simple Family Feasts - Burgers and Fries



Today is the third of November.  The year 2014.  The Moon is asleep.  Halloween weekend was too much and she spent much of the morning crying and telling me how unhappy she is - all courtesy of me, of course.  The Sun is on the couch reading - a real grump today he is.  How dare I withhold candy from a grumpy 12-year old!  It's all water and good foods today all around and a good dose of iron for us all as we attempt throw off the sugar saturation and exhaustion from the time-change.

We have two more busy nights this week and then thankfully a couple of very slow and lazy days before our busy weekend.  I don't like being "busy" and usually will not use that word in conjunction with our lives.  But, truth be told, we have been busy and now that we are facing the holidays must guard against such "business" - AKA insanity - as we finish out the year.

That's why right now I am working on simple (and inexpensive) meals to fuel our bodies and that will not leave me exhausted and my kitchen as disaster.  I just finished cutting 4 large potatoes into french fries that are now soaking in a bowl on the stove (where, BTW, tomorrow's beans are cooking).  We love french fries.  All of us.  What we don't like is deep frying them or buying them in a bag (though if I am in a pinch I'll use Alexia or Whole Foods frozen fries).  I have seen many recipes for baked oven fries (you need a recipe?) and the one I wanted to share with you is over at Sweet C's Designs.  Her fries are wonderful and we have them at least once a week to go with various dinners.  Tonight, it's with hamburgers from local grass-fed beef.

If you have followed me this week you'll know I'm trying to get our grocery budget down.  It can be somewhat difficult when eating gluten-free.  It can throw your budget out of whack when eating something like burgers.  I could make my own buns, but.....it's so much easier to buy Udi's!  I am looking for a good way to truly estimate the cost of our meals so right now I am doing a lot of "guestimating".  I think tonight's meal is around $16 (this includes a small amount for the burger fixin's).  Okay.  $4 per person.  Not too bad.








Saturday, November 1, 2014

Simple Family Feasts - Shepherd's Pie



Halloween is behind us and today is All Saint's Day.  The shadows are growing long and after a busy week and a late night of merriment, we have lazed around the house today.  I have Celtic music playing in the background which is accompanied by carrots sauteing on the stove.  Inspired by the afternoon I spent reading the fifth book in Diana Galbadon's Outlander series, I decided to make a family favorite of Shepherd's Pie.  I've made this dish for years in many different ways.  But, it wasn't until I found a great Irish Beef Stew recipe from Lauren's Latest that I perfected it to my tastes. 

Tonight, as my own shepherd's pie simmered on the stove, I thought I would see what other bloggers were sharing for their own English inspired feasts.  After spending waaaaay too much time on Pinterest, I narrowed the SP postings down to the following promising recipes.  You might be curious what I used as my criteria?  First, I eliminated anything that used a brown gravy mix. (I have to draw the line somewhere).  Then, I looked for different recipes that would appeal to different types of cooks (including myself). And, I looked for tradition.  In an time when we all want to stand out from the crowd, there is something to be said for a good old-fashioned meal.  You can always dress it up (pay attention to Southern Boy Dishes), but sometimes (as I saw on Pinterest) it can be a little too much.


This delicious looking meal is from Dash of Savory.  My mouth is 
watering.    I love the idea of using Guiness in my next pie! 


This dish is from Iowa Girl Eats.  She always has great foods on her blog.  



Menu Musings brought a High Class Shepherd's Pie which looks gorgeous in that copper pot. 


Okay.  I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I love a crock-pot recipe that is free from  "cream of" and allows you to walk away for a day and come back to a great meal.  The recipe  from Moms with Crock Pots  itself looks wonderful.  I just have never made this in a crock-pot.   Andthis allows you to use pre-made mashed potatoes which makes this meal in the reach of any working family. 


I don't know about you, but if I saw this pie on the menu at any restaurant, 
I would order one pronto.  (from Picture Perfect Meals).


Okay.  So, this is the most beautiful shepherd's pie I've ever seen.  I will NEVER do this 
but  I'm glad Southern Boy Dishes did.   I just do not have the time to make potatoes this way. 
 But, it's beautiful and a good recipe.  


Another wonderful Guiness recipe from the Hungry Housewife Cooks.
  This is the one that makes me think I'll cheese on top next time. 


The one above, the last one, is mine.  I hoped to have a better shot of it but my 12 year
 old son -  the one who stands 6 inches above me - dug in before I could get a good shot!

So you've seen my top contenders and I'll leave you with a few words of wisdom.  If you are one of those that feel that white potatoes do not fit into your paleo diet, just substitute cauliflower.  Shepherd's pie is naturally gluten free (at least mine is), but if it calls for white flour to be used as a thickening agent, you can substitute your favorite gf flour.  If you don't like the veggies used, you can always substitute.  Shepherd's pie....good....old-fashioned....comfort.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Soul Food

I am catering a party in two weeks.  Here is the menu I came up with.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Simple Meal

March 6, 2012

So last night we had a very simple meal. Baked potatoes which cooked for 1 hour on 400.   I marinated a pound of boneless thighs in a mix soy sauce and  honey mustard dressing (no corn syrups or bad oils) which I purchased at WF.  After about an hour I cut the chicken into 1 inch size pieces and threaded them on 6 skewers.  I cooked them for the last 25 minutes that the potatoes were in.  Then I sauteed 2 coarsely chopped bell peppers and an onion that had been tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper.  They were sauteed on low as you do not want to cook olive oil at a high temp.  Also, you want the veggies cooked but crispy.  By cooking on low you will find they cook perfectly.  A healthy delicious meal!

Okay, so not the world's best instructions on dinner but sometimes it doesn't have to be hard.  Dinner can be both simple and delicious.  I know I tend to go for really hard recipes at my home - much to my own peril I have to say.  To be honest, I usually way overthink my meal planning and food plans and am in a very serious reevaluation process of how I have been doing things here at the homestead in regards to grocery shopping and meals.

So, grab a few fresh veggies, stick a whole potato in the oven and marinate some chicken and life will look much better.  Oh!  Don't forget the wine!  I am finding that wine is really such a superb way to get me through dinner prep time!

I want there to be no peasant in my kingdom so poor that he cannot have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.  -Henry IV

Chicken Korma

August 28, 2009

Last week when I was perusing the TINY organic section of our local Kroger, I came across a "new" item. It was a jar of Tikka Masala sauce by Seeds of Change.



Hmmm...I should try it. I did and we were not disappointed. Last night we had:

Basmati Rice (Lundburg - favorite)
Chicken Legs, Chickpeas and Onions simmered in the Tikka Masala sauce
Sauteed Spinach
Snowflake Rolls from Whole Foods
The "house wine of the South" - Sweet Tea.

Folks, this was such an easy dinner. In fact, the prep work was approximately 20 minutes total for the entire dinner. I did all of the preparation prior to our long and lovely walk down the Shelby Bottoms greenway. It was such a great night. After returning home all I had to do was turn on the stove, sit down with my guys to watch Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone and wait for it all to finish cooking.

So, here is how it went down:

In a large skillet, I placed 6 Trader Joe's organic chicken legs. I drained a can of chickpeas and poured them into the skillet with the chicken. I VERY coarsely chopped an onion (I used yellow) and added that as well. I then poured the jar of sauce over the entire creation. I placed a lid over the dish. To cook, turn on medium high for approximately 5 minutes to get the heat flowing. Once you hear the chicken begin to sizzle, turn it down to low and allow to cook with the lid on for approximately 25 minutes. Keeping the lid on will keep the natural juices in the the dish and tenderize the chicken.

I prepared the organic Lundberg Basmati Rice according to the directions. I usually saute the dry rice in butter for a few minutes prior to adding water, but I did not last night. So, measure your rice and water. Add them to the pot and turn on the heat.

The spinach was a last minute creation. Unfortunately for us, I am not cooking with as many fresh ingredients as I did prior to working/moving/ etc. and I am trying to get back to that, but last night I used a bag of organic cut leaf spinach. I melted a tbs of butter over low heat in a small skillet, then added the spinach. I then covered and allowed it to gently simmer. The spinach has so much natural liquid in it that adding additional water is not necessary. Once the other dishes were near completion, I added approximately half a cup of sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic and curry (all of the spices were "to taste.") Just before taking it out of the pan, I added a few cubes of mozzarella cheese. This was SO tasty.

All of the dished should be stirred once or twice during the cooking process.

I don't always want to cook fresh bread, so I keep these fab snowflake rolls on hand and they went well with dinner.

Have fun cooking and finding some simple dishes that offer a short prep/cook time for tasty, healthy dinners.

What's For Dinner?

January 8, 2009

Organic Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower and an Organic Meatloaf.

Green Beans:
2 10oz bags of frozen organic green beans
1 tbs bacon grease
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
Cover with water. Bring to boil. Turn down to medium low. Simmer for 1 hour

Meatloaf:
1 pound organic ground beef
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 tbs organic ketchup + 1/4 cup (William Sonoma is delicious)
3/4 cup cut oats
1 egg
1 tbs salt
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp paprika
black pepper
1/3 cup pureed organic sweet potatoes
Mix well. Bake in oven preheated to 350 for 30 Minutes. Take out of oven and cover top with 1/4 cup of ketchup (or more if desired).

Mashed Potatoes and Cauliflower:
1/2 Cauliflower, coarsely chopped
2 large potatoes, sliced
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1 tbs salt
Pepper to taste
Veggie broth
Cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Drain.
Okay, this is where it gets sketchy as I started talking to Noah! Mash drained vegetables to desired consistency. Add sour cream and cheddar, salt and pepper. Stir. Slowly add veggie broth, stir and do this until you get the consistency of potatoes you like.

Growing up in the South, Mashed Potatoes are a no brainer. For years I stuck to a very traditional recipe. However, as I have gotten older and my stomach issues have increased, in addition to an overall desire to be healthier, I have experimented with recipes and this is one of the best ones I have come up with.

Serve these things will a tall glass of iced sweetened decaf tea (Luzianne, of course) and enjoy.

Chicken Risotto

September 15, 2012

1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins, chopped into chunks
1 cup arborio rice 
1 large bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 32 oz. box chicken stock
2 tbs. butter
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
Up to 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese

Melt butter in large skillet.  Add chicken and pepper.  Cook on med low for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (can be allowed to brown if desired).  Add the rice.  Stir.  Pour 1/4 of the stock into the skillet.  Add salt, pepper and thyme.  Bring to boil.  Turn down to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 1/3 of the REMAINING stock or 8 oz.  Repeat previous step (turn down, cover and simmer).  Repeat this process two additional times.  When adding the remaining stock, add the cheese as well.  Keep on low or warm and stir until cheese is fully blended in dish.  After 15 minutes turn off and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes (still covered) to set dish.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings via Pioneer Woman

January 5, 2012

After years of making traditional Southern style chicken and dumplings I stumbled across the Pioneer Woman version of C/D and decided to give it a whirl.  Due to the fact that I am nearly incapable of following a recipe without taking a shortcut of some kind, I made the following changes to the recipe.
1.  I did not add the tumeric.
2.  I was out of carrots - so sans carrots.
3.  I used Pamela's Baking Mix (GF) in place of flour.
Now let me say that I was VERY nervous about these dumplings.  Not that I did not believe that delicious dumplings would be the end result - because much like my belief in faeries I did believe these would be tasty.  No, I was nervous that the hubs would complain as his favorite food in the entire world is C/D and he loves his Mother's very traditional Southern version.
Okay, deep breathe.  He LOVED them.  In fact he said "these aren't my Mother's but they may be the best I've ever had."  Wow.  I have to say that I am not a C/D fan but I also loved these as did Noah and Arwyn though they have never enjoyed them before!!!!  I'm thrilled.  Now, if only Arwyn had not nearly died during dinner resulting in a call to 9-1-1, the evening would have been perfect!

Here is a link to this fab recipe:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/12/chicken-and-dumplings/
Food for thought:

As for those grapefruit and buttermilk diets, I'll take roast chicken and dumplings.
Hattie McDaniel

Home Made

January 12, 2012

There is very little so satisfying as opening the freezer door and pulling out a jar of chicken broth that I made.  I often resort to purchasing commercial chicken broth.  My broth of choice is Kitchen Basics though I will also take Whole Foods 365 broth.  But the best broth is mine.  
Before I started the makings of a tasty, healthy, healing broth I quickly prepared home made muffins for the family.  Today's muffins are holiday ham and cheese and I used leftovers from the past few days.  Once the muffins were in the oven I turned to the real work of the broth.
A few days ago I purchased a package of whole cut up chicken which I thoroughly washed today before using.  I added 1/2 of the pack of chicken to a 5 quart dutch oven.  I very coarsely chopped a stalk of celery, a carrot and half an onion.  I added 3 turns of salt and 3 turns of pepper from my Pampered Chef grinders and filled the pot with water - leaving approximately an inch of room from the top.
I brought the pot to a boil and then turned the chicken down to simmer with the lid on.  The chicken simmered for 45 minutes.  After allowing the chicken to cool for approximately 15 minutes, I removed the chicken from the pot and set aside.  Using a mesh strainer I strained the broth into a large Pampered Chef mixing bowl with a handle.  Next I poured the broth into 4 quart jars and placed on the counter until cooled.  Once cooled, the broth went into the freezer for later use.
So...what happened to the chicken?  The chicken will be used tonight in an Asian marinade and be stuffed into rice paper for spring rolls.  Sounds like a lot of work?  It's not.  It is also a very inexpensive way to prepare stock.  Normally for that amount of stock, I would pay around $3.00.  By preparing my own stock (keep in mind I still have half of a pack of chicken remaining) I am cutting the cost of my broth by half.  How?  I will get the equivalent of at least 2 boxes of stock plus the meat from the chicken (a $16.00 value) for the $4.92 I paid for the entire pack of whole cut up chicken.  What a deal!!!!
Food for thought:

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.
-Adelle Davis

Chunky Chowder

August 11, 2011

1/2 Stick Butter
Small Onion, Coarsely Chopped
1 Celery Stalk, Finely Chopped
1 Medium Potato, Coarsely Chopped
6 oz. Kernal Corn (fresh or frozen)
1 Cup Chicken Stock (I prefer my own if I have some in the fridge - if not then I only use Kitchen Basics)
1/2 Cup Milk 
1/4 Cup Monterrey Jack Shredded Cheese
1/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese
1 Tsp Salt
Pepper to Taste

Saute the onion and celery in the butter on medium until tender, approximately 7 minutes.  Add potato.  Cover and turn to low and saute for 5 additional minutes. Add broth and milk and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and cover - allowing for steam to escape.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Puree 1/2 of the vegetables and return them to the soup.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Serve!

How Sweet It Is

June 8, 2011

I find that when I read about folks considering going gluten free, there is a resistance because they think it will be difficult to eliminate white flour from the diet.  It's not.  Tonight we had white bean chili and Mexican cornbread with green chilis and cheddar cheese.  Very filling, tasty and best of all, no gluten.  I am also working to eliminate most of the rice flours from our diet, or at least from mine.  My son needs them just for things like sandwiches, but for me, I would love to eliminate it for my diet!  So, here I am, saying, how sweet it is to be gluten free.

Cornbread Salad

May 31, 2011

Tonight I am attending a Thirty-One area training to help me continue to grow my business. (www.mythirtyone.com/danacroy).  We were asked to contribute a dish and I am taking Cornbread Salad.  This is my version based on a great Southern Living recipe (where many of my best recipes come from!)

1 pan cornbread - use your favorite recipe for an 8x8 pan or an 8 inch round cast iron skillet
1 bunch of green onions - chopped
1 head of iceburg lettuce - chopped  ( you can use a more nutritious lettuce but as I was being budget conscious, well...)
2 cups of shredded  mexican cheese or sharp cheddar
1 jar of Kalamata olives
6 ounces of Ranch dressing ( I like Brianna's)
3 tomatoes - chopped

Prepare your cornbread, bake, then cool.  In a large bowl or trifle dish  spread 1/3 of the chopped lettuce, add , 1/3 of the cheese, 1/3 of the olives, 1/3 of the tomatoes, and the top layer is 1/2 of the cornbread (crumbled) repeat one time.  After adding the second repeat the process one final time though this time there is no cornbread to add (only 2 cornbread layers).  Drizzle the ranch over the dish and chill until ready to serve.

Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage

December 10, 2010


2 Boxes Ancient Quinoa Rotini
1 Package of  Mild Italian Sausage 
1/2 Large White Onion - Coarsely Diced
1 Jar Emeril's Roasted Gaaahlic Pasta Sauce
1 Can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup Milk (I prefer whole for this recipe)
1 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
(As always, check your sauces and meats prior to cooking to ensure GF standards.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice uncooked sausage in half lengthwise.  Remove casing.  Cook in lightly oiled skillet or on griddle.  I use a cast iron griddle on my stove for this.  Cook on medium low for 10 minutes, turn, then cook an additional 10 minutes.  Saute onions until tender along with the sausage.  Meanwhile, cook pasta to box directions.  Drain.  Mix sauce, tomatoes and milk.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Transfer pasta to a 13x9 baking dish.  Pour tomato mixture over pasta.  Add cheese.  Now that the sausage has cooled cut into 1 inch pieces.  Add to dish.  Toss dish well coating all of the pasta ensuring that all ingredients are mixed well.  Bake for 20 minutes.  I usually serve this with salad and my cheesy scones.

Puffed Pancakes

September 26, 2010

3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Pamela's Baking Mix (or other GF baking mix)
1/2 Tsp Salt
Pinch of Sugar or a Couple of Drops of Agave
1/2 Cup Milk

Beat eggs until light.  Add milk and continue to beat.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve to hungry family with toppings of choice (fruit, maple syrup, honey, etc.).  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cornbread - the real Staff of Life

Last night was a Pinterest kinda night.  I've made these recipes before but thought I would share with you.  If you are like me  you are always looking for new recipes to add to your repertoire.  I give you Irish Stew with Mashed Potatoes and Firehouse Cornbread

Cornbread is a funny thing.  I grew up on beans, cornbread, mashed potatoes, traditional Southern foods.  Mama's cornbread was simple and dry.  Eggs, buttermilk, corn meal, bacon grease.  That's it.  It was mixed and poured into a cast iron skillet that was only used for that sacred bread.  I ate it each night (literally) covered with mounds of butter in an effort to moisten it.  Though my mama was an amazing cook and I rarely turned anything down she made, I longed for the sweet moist cornbread served at school.  This may explain why, as an adult, despite mastering most of what she made for us (and more), I cannot master her cornbread recipe and have been for years on the search for the perfect cornbread.  This one is close, friends.  Very close.


Oh!  If you know me, you know that I often adjust recipes to suit my needs.  With that said, the Irish Stew recipe is perfect as is.   I changed Bisquick to Pamela's Baking Mix in the Cornbread and I reduced the sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/8.  Future recipes I'll only reduce it to 1/4.  It needed just a little more sweetness! 


“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' (1852)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Back to Basics

Do you ever just want something really simple?  Or, want your life to be really simple?  I do.  A lot!  When I woke up yesterday and contemplated what I would be bringing to the dinner table for my family, simple and homestyle was what I wanted.  So, I took out my trusty crockpot and poured in two bags of dried pinto beans.   I added a little salt (to your preference) and two tablespoons of bacon grease (yes, I said it) and turned the crock pot on low for 10 hours.  When we arrived home last night I made a 8x8 pan of cornbread and voila, simple and homestyle just like that.  

"What most moved him was a certain meal on beans." - Robert Browning



Monday, June 24, 2013

Oh Panini Press!

Welcome Cuisinart Grill to the family.  Where have you been my whole life?