Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sweater gone, Meatloaf for Dinner

 The sweater went to my sister-in-law.  Fit her perfectly.  I know it is going to a happy home.

This is my riff on the Meatloaf 101 recipe from Martha Stewart.  It is perfect because the onions are precooked, therefore NO INDIGESTION!  It also has bacon.  It is less complicated than it looks.

I keep fresh breadcrumbs in my freezer because I am just too tightfisted to throw out stale bread - especially if it was home made or artisan bread.  Sometimes I dry the crumbs out and then keep them in a jar in the cabinet.   Or if it is nice chewy french bread we make croutons with garlic oil.               

Meatloaf Inspired by Martha

1  cup      fresh bread crumbs
1/2           cup  milk
2 carrots -- grated
 2     large  eggs
 1         tablespoon  salt
1/2    tablespoon  pepper
2        tablespoons  Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2        tablespoons  oil
1        large   onion -- finely chopped
1-2 ribs  celery -- finely chopped (shoot for about 1/2 the amount of onion)
2             cloves  garlic -- minced
1              pound  ground beef
1        pound  ground pork
1/2         pound  bacon -- thinly sliced
1/2           cup  light brown sugar
 1         tablespoon  mustard powder
 1           teaspoon  tomato paste

Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl.  Pour the milk over the bread. Grate in the carrots. Add the egg, Dijon, salt, pepper and Worcestershire.  Whip everything up with a fork. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes.

Add cooled onion mixture to the milk-and-bread mixture, stirring again with the fork. Add the ground meats, stirring with the fork, fluffing the mixture, until well combined.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place mixture in a large ungreased baking dish or roasting pan. Shape into a 5-by-12-inch loaf. Overlap bacon slices across the top, covering meat.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ground mustard, and 2 tablespoons water. Stir in tomato paste, making a glaze. Brush the meat loaf all over with the glaze.

Bake until juices run clear when loaf is pierced, 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The sweater is done!

 The hoodie sweater in all its glory - well, all except the buttons.  I am going to drag this up to Joann's this morning and try to find something I like.  Because of the natural colors and tweed I thought wood or leather.
 While I made this with my grandson in mind I have been informed that it's not the kind of cool kids wear.  So I have a unisex sweater, adult medium, going begging.


I think I'll put a tassel on the back of the hood. 

I'm starting a circular shrug.

and a pair of handwarmers/handsweaters (2/3 done)

and some little girl leg warmers (not started)

Didn't do much cooking this weekend.  Put a ham in the oven Sunday but I don't think trowing a ham half in a cooking bag counts for much.  We did have cheese grits, which are right up on the list with mac & cheese, fondue and quiche as some of the great cheese foods. And roasted Brussels sprouts.  I now have lots of ham.

Which we won't be having for dinner tonight because I thawed a roasting chicken over the weekend.  Feeling   fat and sluggish and lethargic so it is obviously time to make chicken and dumplings.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oven smoked Pork

Sunday we had a family dinner.  The weather seemed to be breaking - the ice was half-way to being gone.  We had a birthday to celebrate and a holiday as well. 

  • Menu: 
  • Oven Smoked Pork
  • Red Bliss potato salad
  • Almost Southern baked beans
  • Coleslaw with poppy seed dressing
  • Lemon-Blueberry pound cake
Oven Smoked Pork is one of those no-brainer recipes.  I put the shoulder roast in a roasting pan, scored the fat/skin, rubbed it with liquid smoke then sprinkled it liberally with a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder (which I mix up in bulk and use for a lot of things).  Pour 1/2-1 cup of water in the pan, cover tightly with foil and cook for 5-6 hours at 325.  Remove, cool slightly, pour off the liquid (but save this) then shred with two forks, removing any extra fat, skin, bones or other things you don't want to eat.  Add back some of the cooking liquid after removing fat from it, recover and put back in the oven to stay warm until serving.

Almost Southern baked beans are almost as easy.  This starts with bacon so you know it's good.
  • 4 slices  bacon, diced
  • 1 medium  onion, fine dice
  • 1/2 medium  green pepper, fine dice
  • 4 cans  pork and beans -- (14 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup  barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup  brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup  cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons  dry mustard
Heat oven to 325 degrees.  If you made the pork it's already there.   Fry bacon in pan or  skillet that will hold everything and can go into the oven.   The bacon won't get crispy because the onions and peppers get added to the bacon and the bacon fat, cooking until tender. Add (dump in) the beans, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and dry mustard, stirring and bringing to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and bake about 1 hour or until the beans thicken up.  I like to serve these at room temperature.

                        Blueberry-Lemon Pound Cake

This recipe is a compilation of the Bundt cake recipe found on the Martha Stewart website and the Lemon-Blueberry pound cake from Cooking Light.  I left out the light part.  But I did use the yogurt.
  •   2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour -- plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
  •   2 teaspoons  baking powder
  •   1/2 teaspoon  salt
  •   1 cup  unsalted butter -- (2 sticks) room temperature
  •   1 cup  packed light-brown sugar
  •   1 cup  granulated sugar
  •   1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  •   4  large  eggs
  •   1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  •   1  cup  sour cream or 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  •   2  cups  blueberries
  •   2  tablespoons  grated lemon zest
 Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk  or sift 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder, lemon zest and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla and lemon extract. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream, sour cream/yogurt.

Toss the blueberries with a teaspoon of flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up. Glaze with confectioners sugar thinned with lemon juice.

I think everything went well, the food certainly did.  We had cold Rolling Rocks with it but Sweet Tea would definately fit the bill as well.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sweater To-date and a recipe

Sleeves, fronts and back are all together and the hood is started.  I added 1/2 inch of ribbing at the neck to make the hood roll better.  The pattern is confusing because the hood is knit on smaller needles than the body but it still seems to be rolling along.

Now, the recipe.

I guess that bacon is currently the most popular food in the foodie universe.  There are a lot of reasons why.  Tonight's dinner was one example of the ability of bacon to elevate the barely palatable to the really good.

We have been trying to eat more fish.  Unfortunately our favorite way is beer battered and fried.  With french fries and tartar sauce.  But that is not the healthiest way.  I am sure this recipe isn't either but it does have bacon!

Bacon Wrapped Cod Fillets

Preheat the oven to 425.  Heat a skillet on the stove top (cast-iron works really well here).
Per cod fillet use one slice of thick-cut bacon
Season each fillet with seasoning - I used Penzeys Smokey Seasoned Salt.
Fold the fillet in half - tail end to head end.  This is easier with the cut side to the inside.
Stretch each slice of bacon on a cutting board with the flat of your knife.  It will get to be about twice as long.
Wrap the folded fillet with the bacon.  Overlap the beginning and tuck in the end. 
Place the fillets in the skillet, browning the top and bottom.
Place skillet with fish in the oven for 15 minutes.


Okay, I know, bacon.  It is for dinner.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My easy version of buffalo chicken dip

 The only excuse I had for making this was the Superbowl.  And we hadn't had any veggies all day.  So dinner was this dip, some baked chicken strips and a lot of cut up raw vegetables.  All in front of the TV with a cold beverage that was not Bud Lite - those were the dumbest commercials I had seen to date. 
                           Buffalo Chicken Dip
  •    8  ounces  cream cheese -- room temperature
  •   1   cup  cooked chicken -- Use canned, drained 
  •   1/2  cup  RedHot Sauce -- Prefer Aldi or Franks
  •   1/2  cup  bleu cheese salad dressing -- Kraft Roka Bleu
  •   1/2  cup  bleu cheese, crumbled (comes in a little plastic container, use half)
Smoosh it all together, bake for 30 minutes at 350
Serve with carrot, celery, cucumber, zucchini, etc.
Leftover dip can be used as a spread to make a nice wrap

Knitting Update -
Still working on the sleeves - just 2 inches to go in the raglan.

Left and Right sides - back is off to the right.
Last subject change - the completion of the Superbowl and the associated snacking festivities marks, for me, the beginning of spring.  And cleaning up my act.  So more exercise, fruits, veggies and lean proteins and less butter, cheese and cream will now be the order of the day.  And lots of green tea.  In that spirit dinner tonight will be:
Frisee salad with mandarin oranges
Flounder Picatta (well, a little butter won't hurt)
Broccoli with garlic and red pepper
                               Fish Piccata
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 Flounder fillets, defrost if rozen and dry
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 T. flour for dusting (Wondra is really good for this)
  • 1/4  cup  white wine
  • 2  T.  lemon Juice (I use EasyLemon)
  • 1  T. capers
  • 1  T. butter
Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Season the dried fish filets with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Add the oil to thehot pan and saute the fish, turning once. Remove the fish to a warmed platter. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, reduce for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and capers, warming through. Remove from the heat and add the butter, whisking it in. Pour the sauce over the fish, garnish with lemon slices or parslet or not at all and serve.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Time flies when you are stuck indoors

Knitting update - the right side is done and the sleeves are both done up to the armpit.   And I have not left the house since Monday, January 31st, 2011.

Tuesday, the day of the "big Storm" I started cooking.  Oatmeal leftover from breakfast became dinner rolls in case we needed more bread when the power failed.  Or I should say "As if I needed more bread".  Then I started the beef and mushroom bolognese.  It was done, simmering, when the power failed.  Thankfully it was in my new cast iron ceramic braising pan so it stayed warm with the lid on.  Unfortunately the spaghetti was not cooked yet.  So dinner was a salad and the sauce with those fresh oatmeal rolls.  Not bad at all.

The kids came over because, of course, their furnace quit working before the power went out and wasn't coming on when the power returned.  So next day we had a big breakfast of "Nonni's best pancakes in the world" and syrup for pancakes that isn't maple syrup.  I am so glad that I have kept supplies up all winter "just in case".  Later in the day everyone left and I put on a pot of red beans.

Red Beans and Rice, or any bean and rice, is my favorite semi-vegetarian meal.  Since I discovered ham base I've lost the vegetarian bit, but even without the ham base smoky paprika gives everything a nice hamlike aroma.  Since I have about 10 pounds of rice in the food stores I made extra because I had an ulterior motive.

Thursday dawned, the crock pot came out and thanks to Carnation and Pet milk products I made a huge pot of rice pudding.  With raisins.  For lunch - Rice pudding.  For snack - Rice pudding.  Then breakfast on Friday -Rice pudding.  I skipped lunch.

Tonight leftover bolognese, this time with the spaghetti.  And a salad.

Rice Pudding

2-3 cups cooked rice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 evapo milk can of water
Raisins to taste, or not

Cook on high 1 1/2 hours or until thick and creamy.
Eat warm, cold, and with whipped cream.