Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm a broken record
--London Broil

London Broil
The Complete Family Cookbook Copyright 1969

1 2-pound flank steak or 1 ½-inch thick round steak
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sherry
1 finely minced garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger
Salt and pepper

Combine sauces, oil, sherry, garlic and ginger. Coat both sides of steak with mixture. Let stand at least ½ hour before broiling. Pre-heat broiler. Place steak on rack with surface of meat 3-inches from the heat. (Recipe refers to a timetable for broiling meat – I broiled about 7 minutes per side.) Season with salt and pepper. Carve diagonally across the grain in very thin slices.

How many ways can a person combine soy sauce, Worcestershire, oil, sherry, garlic and ginger into a marinade? We may find out! I've done it here many, many times. I can't help it. We like marinated meat and I always have all of these ingredients on hand. I'm drawn to these recipes but maybe it's time to give them a rest as far as blogging about them.

But it's all I've got for you today. I didn't get around to making some of the recipes I had planned on making.

I bought this piece of 'natural' beef on clearance. As much as I'm trying to keep my grocery bill down, I am trying to choose healthier options when I can.

I spent over $100 this week but my grocery bill was still much lower than it's been. It's not easy keeping it down.

Question of the Day: Have you given up anything at the grocery store? Last night I switched from the drawstring garbage bags to the flap bags. You get twice as many for the same price. I love the drawsting bags but that's a huge difference.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More grilled chicken
--Bottle o’ Beer Chicken Thighs

Bottle o’ Beer Chicken Thighs
Weber’s Real Grilling Copyright 2005

1 bottle (12 oz) beer, preferably lager
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
8 chicken thighs (with bone and skin), 5 to 6 ounces each

1. To make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients.
2. Trim the thighs of any excess skin and fat. Place in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
3. Remove the thighs from the bag and discard marinade. Pat dry with paper towels then grill over Direct Medium heat, skin side down first, until the meat next to the bone is opaque, about 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

This was another grilled chicken recipe I tried but I preferred the Sweet and Sour version (which isn't really very sweet and sour).

I bought a case of beer since I had some recipes that I wanted to try that used beer but I only made this and the Hearty Carbonnade before the beer disappeared. Thank God my husband is too cheap to buy his own beer or he might be an alcoholic. We only have it in the house a couple of times a year.

I went to buy corn yesterday and the corn stand wasn't there. I swear they were there on Monday but maybe I was wrong. The season is over I guess. My son loves corn on the cob. We did eat more of it than in previous years but I wish we had eaten even more of it. I feel that way every year when the corn season ends.

Question of the Day: Do you drink beer at home? Which brand?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why not call it pork souvlaki?
--Pork in Pita Pockets

Pork in Pita Pockets
Better Homes and Gardens New Grilling Book Copyright 2005

2 pounds lean boneless pork
¼ cup cooking oil
¼ cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
4 to 5 large pita rounds, halved crosswise
1 recipe Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce

1. Trim fat from pork. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes in self-sealing plastic bag set in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a bowl combine oil, onion, lemon juice, parsley, marjoram, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Pour over pork; seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.
2. Drain pork, discarding marinade. On 8 to 10 long metal skewers, thread pork cubes, leaving ¼-inch space in between cubes.
3. For a charcoal grill, grill kabobs on the rack of an uncovered grill, directly over medium coals for 12 to 15 minutes or until pork is no longer pink and juices run clear, turning once halfway through grilling. (For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place kabobs on grill rack over heat. Cover, grill as above.)
4. Serve pork cubes in pita bread. Top with some of the Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce. If desired, top each with tomato and lettuce.

Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce: In a medium bowl stir together one 8-ounce carton plain yogurt, ½ cup finely chopped cucumber, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt. Cover and chill up to 24 hours.

Makes 8 to 10 servings. Per serving: 303 cal, 11 g fat, 64mg chol, 310 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 29 g protein

I found a pork tenderloin in the freezer and this recipe caught my eye since my main grocery store has started carrying Fage yogurt! I was surprised since they're the least exotic out of all of my local grocery store options. I can get Greek yogurt in Wal-Mart now too but it's not Fage.

I can't stand regular plain yogurt but Greek yogurt is excellent. I didn't have to doctor up this sauce, unlike last time I made it. I debated adding a clove of garlic, which I think would have made it better but I'm trying to avoid too much garlic for the baby's sake.

I prefer chicken souvlaki and I prefer the pocketless pitas (grilled with butter) but this was good too. It was kind of a pain to thread all that pork though. If I did this again, I'd toss the cubes on the Griddler or use a grill rack so I didn't have to use the skewers.

Last week, my grocery bill was under $100. That hasn't happened in I don't know how long. I really controlled myself and my total was $99.56. It's time to get strict, since we'll have two kids in daycare in less than two weeks.

I've got more to catch up on but there's just too much to do around here.

Question of the Day: Have you tried Greek yogurt? What do you think of it? I prefer it when I need plain yogurt. I've only tried one flavored Greek yogurt and I actually prefer several non-Greek varieties when it comes to flavored yogurt, so far.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Enjoying the fruits of my labor

I started this blog to motivate me to use my cookbook collection. The ultimate goal being that I would find some great recipes that I could add to my repertoire. I got caught up in constantly making new recipes so I don't really have a 'repertoire' right now or not one that I've made use of anyway. I feel like making a repeat recipe is a lost opportunity to make something new to blog about and things I've already made are forgotten.

But with the new baby, I just don't have the time and energy to search out new recipes all of the time so I've been making a lot things that I've made before and it's been nice, very nice to revisit these recipes.

Some of the recipes I'm made again lately are:

Beef Kabobs With Oriental Sauce:

Creamier and Chewier Oat Cookies (from last week but my son really wanted more and so did I):

Oat-Fashioned Strawberry Dessert:

Asian Pork Ribs: (using peach preserves I still had from canning last year):

Hawaiian Franks (I was able to update it with a better picture):

After I go back to work, I'll be even more pressed for time and effort so I'll probably be making even more 'reruns' and I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My worst picture ever
--Quick Baked Chicken

Quick Baked Chicken
Greatest Ever Potato Copyright 2002

1 lb. 2 oz. ground chicken
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, chopped finely
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 ¼ cups chicken bouillon
Pinch of fresh thyme I left this out
Generous 3 ½ cups mashed potatoes, creamed with butter and milk and well seasoned
¾ cup grated semihard white cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Brown the ground chicken, onion, and carrots in a nonstick pan for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Sprinkle the chicken with the flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes more.
3. Gradually blend in the tomato paste and chicken bouillon, then simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a pinch of fresh thyme.
4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetable mixture to a casserole and let cool.
5. Spoon the mashed potato over the chicken mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in preheated oven, 400 degrees, for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden, then serve, straight from the casserole.

Yeah, yeah the picture is horrible (I purposely chose one that was dark!). No comments from the peanut gallery. Trust me, it was tasty. More importantly, I had everything in the house to make this. It's basically Shepherd's Pie, although I think Shepherd's Pie is with lamb and Cottage Pie is with ground beef. I'm not sure what you would call it with ground chicken. Apparently the authors of this cookbook didn't know either - Quick Baked Chicken is a really bad name for this recipe if you ask me.

Unfortunately the guys don't enjoy mashed potatoes as much as I do so I don't think it thrilled them although there were no complaints. I don't understand not liking mashed potatoes.

Question of the Day: Do you like mashed potatoes?

Monday, August 18, 2008

No more thyme
--Hearty Carbonnade

Hearty Carbonnade
The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes Copyright 2001

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 oz. chunk of bacon or salt pork belly, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 lbs. stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beer

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add bacon or salt pork and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Set aside. Drain off all but 1 tbsp. fat in pan.
2. Over medium-high heat, brown meat in batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker.
3. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan and cook until soft. Add garlic, thyme, celery seeds, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle sugar over mixture and stir well. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add bacon and beer and cook until mixture thickens.
4. Pour mixture over beef. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, until meat is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve immediately.

A stew like this is an odd choice for August but it worked out well. I was able to put it together, leave for a late doctor's appointment and then come home to a cooked dinner. When I'm working, I'm gone to long to leave something cook in the crockpot all day, even on low.

I've made similar recipes and I'd have to say this was one of the better versions of carbonnade I've tried. I just have to face the fact that I don't like dried thyme though and leave it out next time.

So much to do, so little energy. I should probably decide what I'm making for dinner tonight soon. I did a good job planning my menus this week, I just forgot to finalize the schedule.

Question of the Day: Are there any spices or seasoning you don't like?

I love cauliflower but it's doesn't love my son
--Elbows with Cauliflower, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Garlic Oil

Elbows with Cauliflower, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Garlic Oil
365 Ways To Cook Pasta Copyright 1988

2 cups elbow macaroni
1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 ½ pounds), trimmed and broken into florets (about 4 cups)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
½ teaspoon crushed dried red pepper (or less to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or fresh basil leaves

1. Cook macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, or firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Using a ladle, remove ½ cup of the macaroni cooking liquid; reserve. Drain macaroni.
2. Meanwhile, steam cauliflower on a rack set over gently boiling water in a covered saucepan until tender, about 8 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a small skillet; add garlic. Sauté over low heat until garlic is softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste to blend. Remove from heat.
4. In a large bowl, stir the macaroni and reserved ½ cup macaroni cooking liquid together. Add the cauliflower and garlic oil mixture; sprinkle with parsley.

This recipe is from before I started watching my diet for my son. Although I think he could handle the small amount of tomatoes in this (I've started eating small amounts again), I don't think he liked the effects of the cauliflower and garlic. Even though I've tried avoiding anything remotely gassy, the kid is still one gassy baby. I think my older son is jealous - he wishes he could make those noises come out of his butt but unfortunately he inherited my quieter tendencies.

I really liked this but I think the reason was mainly that I happen to love cauliflower. Otherwise, it wasn't anything extra-special, just a few nice flavors blended together, rather garlicky. I used Smart Taste pasta so it was a healthy side dish.

I'll try to get back on track this week. I'm cooking a lot but lots of reruns.

Question of the Day: What vegetables do you like cooked with pasta? I think the possibilities are endless but I often tend to forget the option of mixing the vegetable and pasta together as a side dish.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Times flies

I'm feeling too lazy to transcribe a recipe today so you'll have to settle for a picture. My baby's over 6 weeks old already!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Damn good cookies
--Creamier and Chewier Oat Cookies

Creamier and Chewier Oat Cookies
Home Cooking 2005 Recipe Annual Copyright 2005

1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 package (4 serving size) Jello instant vanilla pudding
2 eggs
3 1/2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 c. raisins (optional) I used chocolate chips

Mix flour with baking soda. Combine butter, the sugars and pudding mix in large mixer bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs. Gradually add flour mixture, then stir in oats and the raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 min.

Makes about 5 dozen.

Damn these cookies were good. I don't even want to think about how many of these I've eaten since I made them yesterday. They're very addictive. They're a very soft and chewy cookie so if you're into crisp cookies, this recipe isn't for you.

I should have waited until tomorrow to make these. I have to get on the scale at the doctor's office today.

Question of the Day: Do you prefer raisins or chocolate chips in oatmeal cookies?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Something different with chuck
--Rosemary Chuck

Rosemary Chuck
The Complete Family Cookbook Copyright 1969

1 3-pound, 1 ½-inch thick chuck steak
2 tablespoons crumbled rosemary I used about 1 tbsp
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter

At room temperature, slash fatty edge of steak to keep meat from curling. Place in a deep platter. In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, garlic salt and pepper. Place holes in steak with a fork. Sprinkle rosemary evenly on steak. Brush with marinade. Let stand 1 hour. Brush hot grill with oil to prevent sticking. Pour marinade in a cup. Place steak on grill 6 inches from hot coals. Brush with marinade; turn. Grill until steak is done as desired. Place on a platter. Top with melted butter. I didn't use the butter. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6.

I never thought about grilling chuck before now. I've really only used it for stew. I actually bought this meat to use for stew when I couldn't find stew meat but I decided to try this recipe with it.

Personally, I loved this. It was tangy and salty and flavorful. It was actually quite tender when cooked medium rare. It was relatively cheap too, although there was more waste with this cut of meat (fat and whatnot) than most other steaks. I would definitely do this again sometime.

This is a great old cookbook. It's in great shape, in a sturdy metal-ringed binder. I'm not sure if it was one of those books that was collected section by section but it's all there.

The funniest thing was an ad for another book by the same publisher - The Promise of Beauty, the book about TOTAL WOMANHOOD (they capitalized it so I did too). The ad says:

  • How to guide your daughter to womanhood
  • What men find most attractive in women
  • Understanding your emotions and nervous tension
  • Tested techniques for weight control
  • How your marriage can become more rewarding
  • The uniqueness of your own personality

I'd love to see that book! 480 pages - I'm sure it's very interesting.

Question of the Day: Have you ever collected anything, like recipe cards, encyclopedias, etc? When I grew up, I had to do reports on topics that started with the first few letters of the alphabet since our encyclopedia set stopped at about 'H' I think.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I sort of made this
--Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Wilted Baby Spinach

Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs with Wilted Baby Spinach
Weber’s Real Grilling Copyright 2005

¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons hot chili garlic sauce

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 4 ounces each I used chicken with skin and bones
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped I didn't use this
4 large handfuls baby spinach leaves, about 12 ounces total I didn't use this

1. To make the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients.
2. Place the thighs in a large, plastic resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
3. Remove the thighs from the bag, reserving the marinade. Pour the marinade into a very large skillet and set is aside. Grill the thighs over Direct High heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice.
4. Meanwhile, bring the marinade to a boil over high heat and allow to boil for 1 full minute. Add the tomato and spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve the warm spinach mixture under the chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Well my son's skin has cleared up but I'm still watching dairy, eggs and tomatoes. I'm going to start rotating foods back in and see what happens. I never gave up dairy completely so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to continue with minimal dairy.

Basically, I just used the marinade from this recipe. I used chicken that still had both skin and bones and skipped the spinach and tomato.

I really liked this recipe, although the way I made it, it didn't end up tasting sweet and sour. The vinegar tenderized the chicken but it didn't linger. The sugar and soy sauce allowed it to caramelize nicely. The chili-garlic sauce gave it a little kick. This is the first time I've grilled chicken pieces like this and they turned out exactly like I wanted them to turn out. I would definitely make this again.

I don't even know what I'm making for dinner tonight. I'm off my game. As much as I love blogging, there are other things taking priority right now.

Question of the Day: Are you avoiding any foods right now? Due to allergies, health reasons, other reasons?

Monday, August 04, 2008


I had a week of recipes planned and then the baby decided to develop a roaring case of baby eczema. My first son had this but I was ignorant about eczema and food allergies back then and even the pediatrician really didn't have anything to say about it except to suggest some creams.

Now I know that it's most likely something I'm eating, the most common cause being dairy but I'm also cutting out tomatoes since it really seemed to take off when I started eating tomato sauce everyday (it was helping my milk supply).

So, I had to put aside this week's recipes which included plenty of cheese and tomatoes and I'll be making simple dinners this week until I can hopefully get the baby's skin under control. I was hoping we wouldn't be dealing with any food allergies this time around but I gave birth to my older's son clone so I'm not surprised.

I'll be back when I have something to blog about.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Flat sandwiches
--Chicken Philly Sandwiches

Chicken Philly Sandwiches
All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook Copyright 2006

2 teaspoons olive oil
¾ pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into (1-inch thick) strips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1 cup green bell pepper strips
1 cup vertically sliced onion
1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 (3-ounce) submarine rolls
4 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese

1. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, Add chicken to pan; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan. Add red bell pepper and next 5 ingredients to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken and pepper sauce; remove from heat.
2. Slice each roll in half horizontally, cutting to, but not through, the other side. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each roll and gently press roll halves together.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add two sandwiches. Place a cast iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 4 minutes each side or until cheese melts and bread is toasted (leave skillet on sandwiches while they cook). Repeat with remaining sandwiches. (I used my Cuisinart Griddler.)

Yield 4 servings. Per serving: 490 cal, 15.4 g fat, 35.2 g pro, 51.3 g carbs, 4.2 g fiber, 69 mg chol, 945 mg sodium

This recipe turned out sort of flat - not in flavor but in structure. When I went to buy rolls at the grocery store, the only sub rolls they had were just white bread shaped as rolls and the Griddler squished them right down. These sandwiches were still pretty tasty - just flat.

It's so hard to find good sub rolls around here. They were carrying a decent brand for a while but it looks like they stopped. Every other brand they carry is like I said, just white Wonder Bread-type bread, shaped like a sub roll. Sometimes the in-store bakery has something better but they were wiped out and didn't have any sort of rolls.

Question of the Day: Do you have many bakeries in your area? We had one (besides the in-store bakeries) and it went out of business.