Monday, November 30, 2009

Peach Cobbler

Every year Uncle Rick graciously hosts Thanksgiving.  Said Uncle Rick is my husband's aunts ex-husband.  (Follow along please people!)  No only does he invite my family of 5 but also includes my mother and stepfather.  So when he said he would like something peach for Thanksgiving dessert I was happy to oblige.

What to make though?  Obviously fresh peaches are not in season , and I sometimes find the store bought canned stuff to be too sweet,  so I decided on a Peach Cobbler.  I used some frozen peach slices and tried out this recipe from Paula Deen.

Paula Deen's Peach Cobbler

4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Optional Ground Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 3 quart baking dish and place in the oven to melt.*

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour and milk slowly to prevent clumping.  Poor mixture over melted butter.  Do not stir.  Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup.  Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon if using.**  Batter will rise to the top during baking.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. (Took a full 45 minutes in my oven)

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream - Yummy! 
(Note to self:  Can some peaches when they are in season next year!)

*I made this again a few days later with apple instead.  I sprayed the baking dish with Pam and reduced the butter in half.

**I also added some freshly ground nutmeg.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Product Shout Out - The Foodsaver

If you have ever debated getting a Foodsaver?  Well, I LOVE mine!  I actually got a new one about three months ago.  I got it at Sam's Club for under $100.  My old one unfortunately died but it has served faithfully for 9 years so I definitely got my money's worth out of it.  I have one of the most basic models but even so it is an improvement from my previous one.  This one seals hands free (which is the best!!) and does better with sealing bags with moist food.  

If you don't store foods for long periods of time, a freezer bag will probably do the trick just fine, but if like me, you find a bag of something at the bottom of the deep freeze, the Foodsaver is a must have.  It really does keep things fresh for what seems like forever and there is never any freezer burn.  

It really can help you save money by buying in bulk and separating it into smaller portions.  A few days ago I bought a bunch of meat at Sam's to replenish Old Mother Hubbards Freezer.  

A 5 1/2 pound beef brisket which I divided into two.

Huge Boneless Pork loins were on sale.  I bought one that weighed about 7 lbs.  I divided this into:1 lb cubed boneless pork
6 boneless chops (approx 1 lb)
1 1b unsliced
2 - 1 lb 15 oz portions (I will use these to roast, or use in the crockpot.  I can make one just for our family, or two together if we are feeding guests)

Boneless, Skinless chicken was less than $2 a pound.  
2 - 1 lb bags of cubed chicken
2 - 1 lb 5 oz bags of chicken breasts (2 very large chicken breast in each bag)

Ground Beef (90% lean) was $12.27 for 4 1/2 lbs.
3 - 1 lb portions
2 - 8 oz portions (to use in spaghetti)
1 - 10 oz portion (just happened to be what was leftover)

So not only do I save money but I have perfectly portioned bags of food all labeled and ready to go.

Bacon and Chicken Farfalle

One time when I was sick, my dear friend Lynzee brought us some delicious pasta for dinner.  Everyone gobbled it up!  I asked her for the recipe and being the good friend that she is, she emailed it right over.  It's one of our favorites now.

I did adapt it a litte from the original recipe.  Originally it called for the chicken to be cooked in a mesquite marinade.  My kids thought the chicken tasted a "little weird."  The other thing I did is double the amount of sauce, cause around here a certain someone likes his pasta super saucy!  Also just for fun for the kids, I use the Piccolini Farfalle, which is basically just a mini bowtie pasta.  You could really use any pasta you have in your pantry.

Chicken and Bacon Farfalle

1 Box Farfalle Pasta
1 pound cubed cooked chicken
1 package bacon

2 tablespoon's flour
4  tablespoon's butter
3 cloves garlic finely minced
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesean cheese 

Cook the bacon - We like it crispy and cut into bite size pieces.  You could even use cubed ham if you had leftovers you wanted to use.  Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.  While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Over low heat, melt the butter.  Sprinkle in flour and stir continously with a whisk.  You want the butter and flour to make a smooth paste.  Add in the garlic and then the heavy cream.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat.  Add in the parmesean and stir until melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a dash of nutmeg.  Simmer for a few minutes.

At this point, I have to make a plate for my little one.  She likes chicken, bacon and pasta but doesn't like them all mixed up together.  

Drain the pasta, add in the cooked chicken and the bacon and pour in the sauce.  Mix it all up,  add a side of garlic bread and dinner is served!

This makes quite a lot of pasta.  Four of us all had generous portions, followed by seconds for the hubby and son.  There is probably still enough for two people to have lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mini Office Space

I have an Office in our basement.  It has proper desks and office chairs and what not.  However, I find myself working upstairs a lot right out of the kitchen.  I'm a multi tasker you see, you can often find me monitoring something in the oven while on my laptop and chatting with my three year old while she plays playdough.

I use a small counter space in the kitchen as my mini office.  It can often become a catchall and look kinda messy.  The wall was also wallpapered.  In the rest of the kitchen I had put up tile but the tile didn't seem right for this area.

This is what it looked like:

As you can see it was a mess.  Wires running everywhere from routers and modems and phone lines.  I am a post it freak and I would just stick them to the wall.

During a quick trip to Michaels Craft Store, I found some Contact Brand Cork Paper.   It came on a roll and has a self adhesive backing.  Love the self adhesive part and it looked like it would be thin enough for me to cut without much hassle.  In fact I was able to cut it with my rotary fabric cutter.  

First I meausured and cut the main rectangular shape.  Then I measured the cut outs for the phone jack and outlets.  Then I simply pulled off the paper backing and pressed it to the wall.  An instant cork wall!

Not only does my mini office look so much better, but this is my kind of project.  The kind where you get instant gratification.  (Did I mention I'm not a patient person?)

Quick and Easy Spanish Rice

Dinner tonight was tacos.  My kids love tacos cause you pretty much get to build your own plate, definitely a bonus when you have three kids that like completely different things to eat!

I often make rice as a side for tacos or fajitas, and I have to admit I usually just make the boxed kind.  But I didn't have any on hand today and little time to go to the store so I decided to just make some.  It was so quick and easy, and I had all the ingredients right in my pantry so I think I will ditch the boxed stuff from now on.

(Could you just imagine Gordon Ramsey telling me to wipe the sides of that bowl?)

Quick and Easy Spanish Rice

2 tablespoons Oil
3 cloves Minced Garlic
1 1/2 cups White Rice
2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
8oz can Tomato Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin

In a large skillet, lighty saute the garlic.  (If you want to use diced onion instead of onion powder, throw in about 1/4 of one here)  Add in the rice and saute until light golden brown.  (About 5 minutes)  Remove from the heat and add in the tomato sauce and the chicken broth as well as your spices.  (If I was making this just for adults I would have thrown in some cayenne pepper)  Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 mins.   Top with some Chopped Parsley, Cilantro or some Shredded Cheese.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Yummy "Borrowed" Dinner

I had a plan to go to grocery store today, our larders are practically bare!  But for several reasons that didn't happen.  We ordered pizza yesterday, and my son had scouts tonight so I really needed to get something on the table.  I had some turkey Kielbasa  in the fridge and I remembered a recipe I had seen on my frined Jenny's Blog.  I remembered it because it had black beans in it which I love.

She calls it 3 Can Creole Dinner and it is something she created sorta by accident.  Well her mistake made what could have been a "bowl of cereal for dinner" into a yummy meal.

1 Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa
1 can green beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can black beans
Cajun Seasoning to taste
2 cups white rice

Slice the Kielbasa into bite size pieces and saute in some olive oil.  (At this point I removed a little of the kielbasa for my son who is super picky)  Add in the canned goods and mix.  Add in some Cajun seasoning (I didn't measure, just added and tasted till it was to my liking.)  Bring to a boil and then simmer about 15 minutes.  I made some white rice in the steamer because it is always cooked to perfection that way.  I think this would be good on top of egg noodles too.

This made plenty for our family.  My son had plain Kielbasa and Rice, our toddler had plain rice LOL!  However, the rest of us (two adults and 1 child that eats like an adult) were very full and we even had leftovers.
Thanks Jenny - Hope you don't mind that I borrowed your recipe!