Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving part duex

We had 2 Thanksgivings this year, check out part one here.

Friday morning I wasn't too rushed. I knew I had plenty of time since were weren't eating until 6pm or so.
That doesn't mean I didn't have about 4 panic attacks, mainly about the turkey...
First - I had placed it in the brining solution Thursday after we got home from Palestine...
My first thought after placing it in the bag was... AM I SURE ABOUT THIS?
So the turkey sat in the bag for about 12 hours or so, and I turned it shortly after I got out of bed.
I had never eaten a brined turkey and I had never brined one, so this was all news to me. I opened the oven... took a deep breath and shoved the turkey inside. Then left it alone and didn't even look at it for about 3.5 hours.
Then he looked like this:I basted it every 20 mins with butter until the meat thermometer told me it was cooked through - then basted it again. Shhhhhhh!
In the end - it was GORGEOUS, juicy, and proved to me that brining a turkey is well worth it.
I almost forgot to take a photo at all! So this is the non-hacked up side.
Then we ate. All 8 of us shoved in my kitchen. I need a bigger house..
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean cassarole, rolls and croissants, and gravy. Something I learned this year - holy hell the gravy from a brined turkey is salty. I will have to use a gravy base next year.
Don went a little crazy and made 4 pies!

Pecan (with Kahlua!)
Apple!After all that, we somehow had the energy to play games for like 4 hours...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Long weekends are nice

I have started cooking a nice breakfast on Saturdays since I am off on Friday and have that whole day to rest (kind of...) and grocery shop and all that. This weekend I made eggs benedict with hashbrowns! It was super delicious! Lee really really liked it alot.That is hashbrowns on the bottom, canadian bacon in the middle, and then the poached egg with green onions on top.
The down side to this dish is - the dishes.Then later in the day I treated Lee and made his favorite holiday treat - chex mix!Um...A LOT of chex mix! I don't put in the pretzels - but i put in plain goldfish this time and it's great! Those little suckers soak up all the spices and .... butter.

So anyway, then Sunday I made a spin on Beef Bourguinon. This is a crock pot version with beef short ribs instead of beef tips. It was SO TENDER and yummy...
I also steamed some new potatoes on the side and made fresh french bread in the breadmaker. Wonderful meal with Don and Donald to witness it. Lee can't always be the only one witnessing my culinary masterpieces!
I am posting a link to one of my favorite Beef Bourguignon recipes from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and it is what introduced me to this dish. I have a quickie version from Real Simple that is great in a pinch when you want this meal but just don't have like 2+ hours to mess with it. I will post that as well.

Barefoot Contessa Beef Bourguignon

Real Simple's Quick Beef Bourguignon


Olive oil

1.5 pounds sirloin steak cut into 1 inch cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 10 ounce package sliced mushrooms

1 16 ounce package frozen pearl onions

2 cups red wine (Chianti is a good one, but anything will really work) If not using, beef stock is ok. but just use the wine! it is so good with it!

1 can Campbell’s golden mushroom soup ( do NOT substitute with regular mushroom soup!)

Thin baby carrots

Flat leaf parsley

In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, cook steak until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer steak to a bowl, set aside.

Add the mushrooms and onions and carrots to the pan and cook until any liquid has evaporated. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the soup and ¼ cup water and bring to a boil. Add the steak and simmer, 2 minutes.

Divide into bowls and sprinkle with parsley, if using.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lick the bowl...

You know you want to!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Single Life

This week, I was "Single." Lee was in NYC from Tuesday - Friday (11pm tonight..) so I didn't really cook much.
Monday, when Donald came over (Lee had a client dinner) - I made him my favorite salad (spinach, bacon, boiled egg, shallots, and mushrooms).

Tuesday - French Onion Soup and it was GREAT!I made the soup on Sunday so that I would have it to eat later in the week.

Wednesday - Long story but I had a huge lunch and then worked until 7. So around 8 I was a little hungry. I made a bowl of sesame noodles, had about 6 bites, and then threw the rest out. I just wasn't hungry and I wasn't really hungry for THAT.I had cut up an apple for the dogs and added a few slices to my water. That was refreshing!

Thursday - I had dinner with Donald and Don and he made a yummy dinner of stuff chicken (cheese, peppers, etc) over a bed of rice. It had an asian kick to it!

Tonight - I had to get creative because i really wanted Mexican. I know Lee will too tomorrow night so I dug around and found short pasta, a jar of sauce (for emergencies such as this) and I had a bag of frozen chicken breasts. Whala!Not anything like homemade sauce, but I am full and now going to rest and nap while waiting on Lee's plane to come in so I can go get him. I am tired of the single life!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Healthy Dinners - week one...

Verdicts -

Chicken and veggies and rolls - a total hit, but that one is one i make all the time
Brussell sprouts meal - was SALTY because of the proscuitto, and there wasn't any kind of sauce to help coat the pasta so it was dry. Oh well.
Salmon - this was really good. The green beans got a little too done because Lee was later than anticipated getting home - but the meal was still yummy!

When I go out to lunch at Grand Lux Cafe, I always get their Simply Grilled Salmon. It is served over horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes and green beans, with a creamy, buttery, lemony sauce kind of drizzled over. It's just enough that you taste it but you don't really see anything on the plate.
I tried to copy that meal and it came out pretty well. I cheated and used packaged mashed potatoes and I could have kicked myself. Would it have been so hard to boil 3 potatoes and mash them with some butter?
I also baked the salmon (not broiled) because Lee wasn't home to grill and it still came out really yummy, not fishy.
So it looks like I can add salmon to some meals!
I didn't end up cooking the rest of the week, it was a hectic one!

Lee is traveling this week so I am making my favorite bacon, egg, shallot, mushroom salad tomorrow night for Donald, and then I made a big batch of french onion soup to eat for dinner this week. My pants are a little snug so I am taking Lee out of town as an opportunity to really eat small this week. I am also planning on smoothie king for lunch at least 3 days this week.

While making the french onion soup today, I was crying!
Here's why!This is 5 large sweet onions.
My house smelled good!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back on healthy

So after a not so healthy week of:
Chicken N Dumplings (mainly because of the amount of butter I use in the base...)
Stir Fry with Sesame Noodles (not too unhealthy right?)
and Enchiladas (no comment)
I got a comment from Lee - "Can we start eating healthy again?"

So now we are on a healthy bandwagon. Mind you, I am not going over the top with this, but at least trying.

We will ignore the food he requested for lunch today to watch football (*coughs* wings *coughs*)

This week's menu:
Sunday - Roasted Chicken and Veggies with rosemary rolls
Monday - Proscuitto and Brussell sprouts with whole wheat pasta and parmesean
Tuesday - Grilled Salmon with a lemon butter drizzle (not sauce) with green beans, tomatoes, and mashed potatoes (small portion)
Wednesday - Chicken and steamed veggies, possible side of rice
Thursday - Grilled whole wheat pizza

See? not super duper but better than enchiladas... i guess.

Last Thursday, the weather was awful and I couldn't make it to the store so it was time to raid the pantry.
I had frozen chicken, frozen green beans, and some rice. I moved forward with that.

I thawed the chicken in luke warm water for about an hour, then pounded then a little thicker with my meat tenderizer mallet. That was kind of nice for stress actually...
Then I put them in my cast iron skillet with non-stick spray, salt and pepper, a little Tony's and cooked them through.
In the meantime, I made some rice and boiled the greenbeans for a few minutes.

I tossed the greenbeans with salt and pepper and a little parmesean cheese before serving.
We really enjoyed this on-the-fly healthy meal.
And for anyone reading this that doesn't know what I meant by Tony's - I'm sorry. Maybe this will help:
This is a staple among many many households in Texas, right next to the salt and pepper. Best stuff ever!

Our pitiful fall garden finally produced something - enough green beans for one!
I am starting to think I should go back to only one blog, but I don't want to give up either one.
Decisions, decisions.