aelfie: (She who cooks)
Previous Weeks
6 loaves Pumpkin Bread

This week
Monday
7 dozen chocolate Chip Cookies
4 dozen gingerbread people

Tuesday
3.5 dozen Chocolate Crinkles (via Paula Deen's Frozen cookie dough. I bought it from the neighbor kid who was selling it as a fundraiser for school)
5.5 dozen Gluten Free Snickerdoodles (via Bob's Red Mill Shortbread mix. I altered the recipe by adding another egg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a couple of tablespoons of water)

Wednesday
5.5 dozen Gluten Free Chocolate Chip and Walnut cookies
1 batch plain fudge
aelfie: (She who cooks)
I got something I've wanted for a long time from Amazon today! I got the dead tree version of the crockpot365 blog! W00t! Now I don't have to boot my computer when I want to look up a recipe! Yea!
aelfie: (She who cooks)
After we had our Thanksgiving dinner last fall, not only did I freeze several packages of cooked turkey, I made turkey stock to make soup. It is traditional to make soup with the leftovers after all. I knew that I would need quick and easy meals later in the year.

For tonight's dinner I made Turkey Tortilla Soup.

And oh my god it was amazing.

I don't know if it was the combo of fresh cheese and fresh salsa from the farmers market. But it was truly amazing...

And you all missed it.

I bet the leftovers will be even better.

I can't wait.

Okay...

Jan. 13th, 2009 12:52 pm
aelfie: (She who cooks)
According to this article...my pantry is in pretty damn good shape.

I could still change a few things...but I'm pretty happy with all the stuff I keep on hand.

 

Full Text of Article Under Cut )
aelfie: (She who cooks)
Freshly boiled spaghetti, leftover homemade pesto, chunked up cooked chicken, parm, fresh pepper.

Yum!

Elli at least likes it.

And there's enough for Joe to eat when he gets home.
aelfie: (She who cooks)
Since I also indulged in the sugar fest this afternoon, I wanted something fairly simple for dinner. Leftovers!

Spaghetti, chopped greens, lots of homemade pesto, sprinkle of parm, fresh ground pepper.

Lovely.
aelfie: (Wheat is my enemy)
First, Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Rice Pasta and Cheese (better known as GF Mac and Cheese). So, in keeping with their ever expanding line of proprietary GF foods, Trader Joe's recently released their version of GF M&C. I've tried about 4 other brands of GF M&C and they all sucked. Or more specifically, the pasta of those box meals sucked, the cheese sauces all tasted good, but the pasta it was put over was just HORRIBLE. (Annie's was the first I tried and I spit it out into the sink it was so bad) And I admit, I'm not the biggest fan of boxed Mac & Cheese, but I did appreciate having one in the pantry so if I was starving, I'd have something decent tasting to eat. So I was a little reluctant to try TJ's Mac & Cheese. I didn't want another disappointing experience. But I took into account that all the other TJ's GF stuff was, if not good, but excellent, I'd invest the dough to try a box. I was not disappointed. I cooked it up the other day for lunch, it made exactly one bowl, perfect for a mid day repast. The sauce was a bit thin, and I need to cook the pasta just a hair longer next time, but it was really, really good. I won't make a steady diet of the stuff, but the next time I pop into TJ's, I'll buy a couple of boxes, assuming I find any, my local TJ's has a hell of a time keeping GF stuff on the shelves, it just flies out the door.

Second, one product, two different preparations. I tried Gluten Free Pantry's Quick Mix, made into bisquits and dumplings.

I finally made Chicken and Dumplings for dinner tonight, and pulled a box of the Quick Mix out of my pantry. I've been told that when I make Chicken and Dumplings, my dumplings are odd. Joe grew up with a rolled out and cut dumpling. Me? I use a baking powder drop bisquit recipe, and just drop it into the boiling chicken soup by the tablespoon. It cooks in about 15 minutes, it not only makes dumplings, but thickens up the soup beautifully. From previous experiences, even before going gluten-free, I found that a full batch of bisquits was waaaaay too many for the soup. Dumplings left in overnight in leftovers become sodden lumps of dough. Not appetizing. So I mixed up the Quick Mix using the instructions for bisquits, put about half of the dough in the oven (about 6 good sized ones) and put the rest in the soup.

The Bisquits are very good. Warning! They crumble when hot, so let them sit a bit if you can stand the lovely smell.  After cooling they hold up under the weight of honey very well. These are a bit sweet tasting without any adjustments. Next time I might add some more salt to savor it up a bit. And they will be perfect for pouring hot leftovers on.

The Dumplings were also very good. My last few attempts of making GF Dumplings have been abject failures. Not fluffy on the inside, just a nasty, gluey, inedible lump. These cooked up beautiful with fluffy centers. Yea! The only problem I have with them is one I just mentioned. This mix is a bit on the sweet side. It was just a bit too sweet for my taste for a savory soup. Next time I'll add a bit of salt and herbs to the dough before dropping them in.

I'll definitely be buying more...I can't find it in a 5 lb size, which is annoying, I'd prefer to buy in bulk. Much cheaper!

Three (okay, two) new products, and three thumbs up!

EDIT: Oh yea.The Quick Mix calls for 1 1/2 cups of butter. Next time I'm going to try 1/2 & 1/2 butter and shortening...the biscuits might not spread so much. The butter flavor was good, but a bit much.
aelfie: (She who cooks)
I'm already prepping for Thanksgiving. For dinner tonight I roasted 6 turkey legs (they came 3 per package, and I wasn't sure how much meat the kids would eat, so I got 2. Pretty cheap too, for turkey parts).  I scraped the drippings in the roasting pan into a container and stuck it in the fridge so I can make gravy Thanksgiving afternoon. The kids and I ate about 2 legs. I deboned the other 4 legs and roasted all the leg bones and various leftover non-meat bits in the oven for about 45 minutes. Right now they are sitting in my smallest stockpot and I'm making turkey stock for soup and gravy.

Am I a geek or what?
aelfie: (She who cooks)
So awhile ago [livejournal.com profile] hitchhiker  gave [livejournal.com profile] cjsmith  a recipe for Palak Paneer. Which I made...I thought it was very good, but I wasn't successful in treating the ricotta cheese sufficiently so that it wouldn't fall apart when I went to fry it.

I don't remember where I saw the instructions but someone said that you can put the ricotta in a pan and bake it for about a half an hour, which would firm it up enough to use in the recipe. I tried that. It didn't work.

Last week I got 3 bunches of cooking greens in my CSA box. One being spinach. Time for Palak Paneer!

So this time I baked the ricotta in a glass bread pan, for about an hour at 350, (basically I let it sit there until the moisture wasn't bubbling out anymore), then turned off the heat and left it there for another couple of hours until I could deal with it. It was perfect. Sliced up beautifully, it was already a golden brown on the exposed edges, so I didn't bother frying it. I just cubed it up and tossed it in the recipe. Worked great! W00T I get to skip a step and it makes the recipe that much faster.

I also used a mix of spinach (wasn't enough in the package) and dinosaur kale sliced fine.  Also worked great. The kids ate the greens as long as it was covered in the sauce from the Tikka Masala, and none of them liked the baked ricotta. I give props to Elli, who actually put it in her mouth and chewed (unlike the other two). She spit it out...but at least she tried it.

Also, I found that using bacon grease does nothing to improve the flavor of the dish. (My mom made bacon in my cast iron pan this weekend and since it was sitting around, I decided to try it rather than get another pan dirty)
 


aelfie: (She who cooks)
My Gram just called me to say that she doesn't think she should host Thanksgiving this year and wanted to take me up on my demand offer to cook and host this year instead. I've been bugging her for the last month that she should rest and let me take over. I'm very glad we came to an agreement on this. =)
aelfie: (She who cooks)
So, this morning I found out I've got strep throat. Whee! No wonder I've been feeling so crappy. I spent most of tuesday afternoon and early evening at the hospital trying to IV fluids. Once I got them (after 4 sticks!) I felt much better and my stomach stopped cramping. I could eat! Well. At least a banana.

Yesterday's diet included: a couple of bananas, ginger ale, ice water, and jello. And for dinner a mediumish bowl of homemade beef stew. Yummm.

Today, I wanted Chicken Soup. Lucky me, I can't just open a can of Campbells whenever I want chicken noodle soup. Due to the Celiac's I've got to make it myself. I came up with this.

It took about 20 minutes from conception to feeding my face. I'm sure it could be multiplied, I just made enough for a couple of bowls for me.

Thai Inspired Chicken Soup
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 small onion, small dice
Pinch of salt
2 small carrots, small dice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 can chicken breast, water drained into soup, half of chicken smushed and dumped into soup
3-4 fresh ginger pennies (just cut off a couple of slices about a 1/4 of an inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon thai red curry paste
1 Tablespoon fish sauce.
Tea kettle of boiling water.
Small rice sticks in the amount you want to eat.

In soup pot put oil, onions and salt. When onions are soft and are just beginning to brown add carrots. When carrots begin to soften, add stock, water, canned chicken and water, ginger pennies, and curry paste. Gently boil until carrots are cooked as soft as you like

For rice sticks: (This can be done while waiting for onions to cook)
Get out your serving bowl. Put in how much/many noodles as you want to eat. Pour water from tea kettle over noodles. Let them sit in the hot water until you are ready to assemble.

Assembly:
Add the fish sauce to soup. Stir. Drain noodles, and put them back into your bowl. Ladle soup over noodles. Eat.

If I had cilantro, I probably would have thrown in a couple of leaves and a squeeze of lemon or lime would be good too. It was divine and the girls came over and ate some too.
aelfie: (She who cooks)
In my kitchen I have going: the dishwasher, a crock pot with dinner, and a bread machine with a loaf of bread I can't eat in it.

How cool is that?

I think I'll go fold laundry...they haven't figured out a machine for that yet.
aelfie: (animal bothering show)
Today was the first time in a LONG time when, upon opening the dirty dish filled dishwasher, I remarked, to no one specifically, "man that smells good!"

I love the smell of garlic, what can I say?
aelfie: (She who cooks)
So I'm spending, what seems, an inordinate amount of money this summer on food, just to stuff it into my freezer. I'm doing lots of cooking and prepping now and am hoping that my food bill goes down considerably this winter. We will be eating very good this winter.

It ought to get even more interesting after my MIL ships out Grandma's pressure canner. My mom is doing the jams and things like that...but I want to can stock as soon as I get it. I have nearly an entire shelf in my freezer of various stocks (beef, chicken and ham), and I want that space for fruit, veggies, and meat*. I also have half of another shelf of bones that need to be cooked into stock.

As [personal profile] allanh pointed out a few weeks ago...I'm getting scary.

So what did I do tonight? I made and stuck in the freezer fresh basil pesto. About 3 cups total, split into half-cup servings in small baggies. The basil is out at the farmers markets and quite fresh and lovely...and fairly cheap at about a buck a bunch...and a bunch translates as about a cup of packed leaves. I may get some more this weekend to make a bit more...but I'm not sure we'll eat much more than 6 servings of pesto in the next year. But it will be nice to have around waiting for inspiration.

I've got an inventory sheet going on my freezer. One sheet for meat, one sheet for veggies & fruits.  My freezer is getting stuffed...I'm running out of room and its not even August yet.

I think I'll can tomatoes too. We eat a lot of 'em in winter. And maybe pasta sauce...that will use up some of the meat in the freezer, and free up more space for veggies (I hate canned veggies). Hrmmm.

Ooo...maybe some chili too?

Oh yea. I also rolled another three with dinner tonight. Pasta with Fresh Tomato sauce (with a bit of paste and a splash of red wine to improve flavor) with fresh garlic and basil. And sauteed greens with garlic and lemon on the side. The kids kinda looked at it and went Yuck! But after I was able to convince Ike to take a taste...all three ate most of what I gave them saying how good it was. She shoots! She scores!

*Why meat do you ask? Well, I'm in the process of switching us to pastured, free range meat. Summer is slaughter time. So if I want chicken, pork, beef or lamb this winter...I need to buy it now. I currently have about 70 lbs of beef and 17 lbs of chicken (four whole). And I want to free up some space so I can buy more chicken. I'll break up the next batch of 5-6 chickens into parts (leg quarters, and boneless, skinless breasts) and cook the bones into stock, which I'll then can. Its lots of work, but we are eating healthier food. I will not be having my daughters hit menarche at age 8.
aelfie: (Sucks to be you)
So I'm starting dinner. Veal Piccata. I've been looking forward to this for about 2 weeks. I'm putting my ingredients together and I pull the capers out of my fridge and discover they've gone bad. =\

I'm sticking to making candy I swear. At least the peanut brittle came out right!

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