Thursday, January 28, 2010

Almost a failure

Thirty-Minute Glazed Ham Patties
The Good Housekeeping Cookbook Copyright 1963

4 cups medium-ground, cooked ham
1/3 cup fine cracker crumbs
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
Dash pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup minced onion
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 ½ tablespoons flour

Start heating oven to 350 degrees F. Combine ham, crumbs, egg, milk, pepper, thyme, onion; pack into 6 greased 3” muffin-pan cups. I just formed them into patties. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, blend brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, flour; boil 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Spoon over hot baked patties; broil 2 minutes.

The glaze did not work for me - it set up before I could use it. I used the sauce from this recipe instead.

Makes 6 patties.

This wasn't pretty but it was edible, actually not bad really, which is more than I was expecting at one point. Ham loaf, ham balls, etc are something I've wanted to make for some time but when I found myself with some ham on hand, I didn't have a lot of time to find a recipe. I grabbed one of the first ones that I found. I went back on forth whether or not to use one that used ground pork too (most do) since I had some in the freezer but I opted to go straight ham.

The patties came together fine but I cooked the glaze too early and it seized up and there was no going back by reheating it. I made mustard fudge. These needed something so I decided to find another glaze that might work and I thought about the sauce from Sweet-Sour Meatballs. I've seen ham ball recipes that called for similar sauces. It worked but since I made these ahead of time, the patties absorbed all of the sauce making them kind of ugly but probably improved the flavor.

Next time I will try a recipe with ground pork since I think that would cut the saltiness of the ham. I'm glad this made a passable dinner but it wasn't exactly what I had wanted. I will keep looking for what I want, even though I'm not exactly sure what that is.

Question of the Day: Have you ever tried a recipe that used ground ham?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Something a little different

Baked Pineapple
Southern Living 2005 Annual Recipes Copyright 2005

2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks in heavy syrup
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ (8-ounce) block Cheddar cheese, shredded
38 round buttery crackers, crushed (1 sleeve)
¼ cup butter, melted

Drain pineapple chunks, reserving ½ cup syrup.

Sprinkle flour over pineapple chunks in a medium bowl, and toss to combine. Spread pineapple mixture evenly into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Drizzle with reserved ½ cup syrup. Top with cheese and cracker crumbs; drizzle with butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This recipe has been around for quite a while but I'm just now getting around to trying it. I halved the recipe since I knew only my husband and I would be eating it. It was good but hey - cheese, Ritz and butter - what wouldn't taste good underneath that combination?

I was confused about the cheese.

"½ (8-ounce) block Cheddar cheese, shredded"

Is that half of an 8-ounce block or half of a 16-ounce block? I used about 1/4 of an 8-ounce block of cheese (for the halved recipe). That seemed like enough.

There are many variations of this recipe out there. Paula Deen's version uses 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups of cheese and an entire stick of butter. This version did not induce as much guilt as her's would and we enjoyed it.

Question of the Day: Do you like pineapple? I love pineapple, especially fresh, ripe, sweet pineapple.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It looks boring but it excited me

Vinegar Chicken
American Profile Hometown Cookbook Copyright 2006

5 chicken leg quarters
¼ cup white or cider vinegar I used cider vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking pan. (!!WARNING!!The basting liquid will make a sticky mess on your pan. Use a disposable pan or line your pan with foil. Even with foil I got a sticky mess underneath but I used a ceramic-type baking dish that cleaned up with a little soaking.) Place the chicken in the pan. In a small bowl combine the vinegar, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle one-third of this mixture over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, and baste with another one-third of the vinegar mixture. Bake 15 minutes longer. Baste again with the remaining vinegar mixture. Return to the oven and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy.

This might have been the best roast chicken I've ever eaten. It looks like plain roasted chicken but the vinegar mixture gave the already flavorful dark meat a nice kick. I love roast chicken pieces and I will definitely make this again.

I found these chicken legs in the freezer. There isn't much left in there. I haven't stocked up on meat in ages. Somehow I keep managing to put together menus without a trip to Costco. I've been trying to get my grocery bill down but it's hard. It doesn't help that we are 4 people eating differently most of the time. We don't eat the same breakfasts or lunches. If I'm lucky we all eat the same dinner. It's not like I'm catering to anyone's whims (usually) but we all have different needs and it all adds up.

This cookbook has a lot of great recipes, as most reader-submitted cookbook do.

No time to think of a question today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The last Christmas cookie

South Seas Cookies
The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion Copyright 2004

4 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut I used one entire bag that said it had over 5 cups
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, at room temp.
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 2/3 (10 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup (3 oz) caramel (about 10 individual caramels) I used homemade caramel
2 Tablespoons (1 oz) milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 300'F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. In a seperate bowl, combine the egg whites, lemon juice, and salt and beat (whip) at medium speed until medium to stiff peaks form. Fold half of the beaten egg whites into the coconut mixture, then add the remainder.

Drop the batter by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.

Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan set over very low heat or in the microwave, stirring frequently. When the cookies are completely cool, dip the bottoms into the chocolate and set them on a rack upside down to let the chocolate set up. (I just put them bottoms down on wax paper and chilled them until the chocolate set.) Keep any left over chocolate warm.

In a saucepan set over low heat, melt the caramel with the milk or heavy cream. Drizzle stripes of caramel over the tops of the cookies. Repeat the stripes with any of the left over chocolate.

Yield: 32 cookies

I believe this is the only new Christmas cookie that I made this year that I didn't tell you about yet. This picture was taken after Christmas and doesn't quite do this cookie justice. I received several favorable comments about these and damn, I wish I had one right now. It's torture being reminded of these so long after they've gone.

These were quite simple to make. In the past, I've had some trouble with macaroons but not this time. I actually could have stopped right there and enjoyed these plain but if the recipe calls for chocolate and caramel, I must obey. I had some leftover homemade caramel so I used that.

I think this is sort of a Samoa Girl Scout cookie knock-off but not as authentic as many that I've seem. It's much easier though.

I wasn't even sure if I was going to make any Christmas cookies and it turned out to be one of my best years. I think that was precisely because I recognized my limits and just did as much as I could.

This year I made:
South Seas Cookies
Welsh Cookies
Christmas Tree Sprintz
Butter Horns
Pretzels and Lorna Doones dipped in caramel and chocolate
Fudge Tassies
Chocolate Chip Brownies
Candy-Cane Twists
Ruth Wakefield's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Gingerbread Men
Peppermint Patties

Question of the Day: Do you like coconut? Obviously I do!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stretching our meat budget

Pork Fried Rice
America’s Healthy Cooking Copyright 2004

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
4 ounces lean ground pork I used about a half of a pound
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced I used canned mushrooms
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
½ cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 cups cooked, cooled long grain white rice

Heat oil in a wide nonstick frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add garlic, ginger and onions; then crumble in pork. Stir-fry until pork is browned (about 5 minutes).

Add mushrooms, peas, corn, and ¼ cup of the broth to pan; stir-fry until liquid has evaporated. Add remaining ¼ cup broth; then stir in soy sauce and rice. Stir-fry until rice is heated through.

Makes 6 servings: 234 calories, 8g protein, 35g carbs, 7g fat, 14mg chol, 282 mg sodium

I picked up some ground pork which had been marked down but it still wasn't cheap. There was very little fat in it but I still don't understand why it's so much more expensive than ground beef. Fortunately this recipes stretches it a long way - rarely do I make a main dish with only a half pound of meat. The recipe only calls for a quarter of a pound but I increased it.

This wasn't spectacular but it was serviceable. I added more soy sauce and a dash of sugar since it seemed a bit bland but I probably used more rice than the recipe called for (I didn't measure it). It went over rather well so I'm definitely not saying that it wasn't good, it just didn't knock my socks off.

Why do short weeks always seem so long? I can't believe that it's not Friday yet.

Question of the Day: Do you ever buy ground pork? I rarely ever buy it. It's hard to find and when I can find it, it's expensive.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A homerun

Ron Luciano’s Easy Tomato Chicken
365 Ways To Cook Chicken Copyright 1986

½ cup flour
1 chicken (3 pounds), cut up and skinned I forgot to skin it
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese I used the stuff in a green can
1 tablespoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Place flour in a plastic bag. Add chicken pieces, several at a time, and shake to coat.
2. In a large flameproof casserole, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Do not brown.
3. Add white wine, tomatoes, carrots, celery, cheese, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well, cover and cook over low heat about 45 minutes, until chicken is tender.

Ron Luciano was a major league baseball umpire and author of several books on his umpiring career. Unfortunately he committed suicide, about 9 years after this recipe was published in this cookbook. Okay, this is weird. I just read that he died on January 18, 1995. I cooked this on January 18, 2010. And he shares a birthday with my sister - June 28th.

I really loved this. It smelled so good cooking that I kept lifting the lid to smell it. I did make one error and forgot to skin the chicken which you really want to do since with the skin, too much fat gets into the sauce. Since I cooked this a day ahead, I was able to skim the fat off the top before reheating it.

This would also be good with just skinned thighs and drumsticks or I might even try it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

I chose this recipe since I had everything but the tomatoes. I had two celery sticks left on a veggie tray we had at my son's birthday party. I had (and still have) a surplus of carrots. I keep some 'canned' grated Parmesan on hand at all times. As a side, I cooked the remains of orzo and rice pasta I found in the cupboard. Both boys love pasta and rice and pasta that looks like rice is a huge hit with them.

Question of the Day: Do you follow any professional sports? I don't anymore but I was a HUGE baseball fan in the mid-80s. I followed NASCAR briefly, about 10 years ago.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One of Rachael Ray's family faves

BBQ Sloppy Chicken Pan Pizza
Rachael Ray's Book of 10 Copyright 2009

2 boxes corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy brand, 8 1/2 ounces each
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) for the pan

2 Tablespoons EVOO (twice around the pan)
1 lb ground chicken breast
3 garlic cloves- pressed through a garlic press
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
black pepper
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup tomato sauce I used some tomato paste
3 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 sack (10 ounces) shredded Cheddar Cheese I used about 5-6 ounces of cheddar/jack
3 scallions, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro, your preference I omitted this

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the 2 packages of corn muffin mix with the eggs, melted butter and milk. Stir in the corn. Drizzle some EVOO into a large nonstick skillet with an oven safe handle and wipe it around the pan with a folded paper towel. (Wrap the hande in a double layer of foil if it has a plastic or rubber handle). Pour in the batter, place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake until the cornbread becomes light golden in color, 12 to 15 minutes.

Place a second skillet over medium-high heat and add the 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the chicken and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once the chicken has crumbled and begins to brown, add the garlic, onions, and bell peppers and season with salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin and hot sauce. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the Worchestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and brown sugar. Stire to combine and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the cornbread sets up and begins to brown. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and cover it with sloppy chicken mixture, then sprinkle with the cheese. Put the pan back in the hot oven and cook for 5 minutes longer to set the toppings and melt the cheese. Top with scallions and chopped parsley or cilantro and serve from the skillet, cutting the pizza into 8 wedges. (or some other shape)

This recipe was in the 'family favorites' section of this Rachael Ray cookbook so I knew it had good potential. I had one hiccup - I had no tomato sauce. I used tomato paste and I believe that was a good choice since it might have been too soupy with tomato sauce.

While it was very good, I think this could be made with one box of corn muffin mix. It was a bit carb-heavy. Also, I would make it in a baking dish and forgo the hassle of covering the skillet handles if I make this again. It's not like I managed to get it out of the pan in a wedge anyway (although after it cooled a bit, it was easier to extract a true wedge from this).

The recipe was a bit confusing. It doesn't give a total time for the crust except to cook until light golden (12-15 minutes) and then start the chicken mixture and when you're done with that, the crust will be brown. Well, I wasn't taking any chances that I would finish the chicken before the crust got too brown. I made the chicken mixture earlier in the day and I just heated it up while the corn 'crust' baked, which did take quite a while (another good reason to downsize to one box of corn muffin mix).

So I said I was going to plan better so I didn't have as much cooking to do on the weekend yet I spent most of yesterday (a holiday) in the kitchen. The freezer has gotten quite bare which makes meal planning a bit harder. I cobbled the week's menu together and then realized it was more work than I would have liked but it was too late. I really didn't mind it this time but I need to plan better in the future.

I will add this to my ground chicken recipe round-up.

Question of the Day: Can you name one of your own personal family favorites? It's hard to think of something that all four of us really love but Sweet-Sour Stew is one that comes to mind.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Sweet Maple Chicken
Complete Chicken Cooking Copyright 2000

12 boned chicken thighs I used 4!
5 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp superfine sugar I used regular granulated sugar
Grated peel and juice ½ orange
2 tbsp tomato catsup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Using a sharp knife, make 2-3 slashes in the flesh of the chicken. Place chicken in a shallow, nonmetallic dish. I cut the chicken into small pieces.
2. To make the marinade, mix together the maple syrup, sugar, orange peel, and juice, catsup, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.
3. Pour the marinade over the chicken, tossing the chicken to coat thoroughly. Cover and leave to chill in the refrigerator until required.
4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade for basting.
5. Transfer the chicken to the grill and cook over hot coals for 20 minutes, turning the chicken and basting with the marinade frequently. I broiled the chicken.

This simple little recipe caught my eye and I'm glad it did. I made a few changes - well, mainly I used less chicken and cut it into smaller pieces so it would cook faster. Oh yes, I broiled instead of grilled. I was pleased with the mildly sweet, slightly sticky sauce but I didn't find maple to be the predominant flavor - that would be orange. That's a huge plus for me since I love dishes like orange chicken and orange beef. Not a bad recipe and I just had to pick up an orange to make this.

I'm trying to work more recipes into the menu that don't require cooking ahead on the weekend. I was overwhelming myself on Sundays. Something like this is great because I can whip up the marinade in the morning, marinate the chicken all day, and then broil it while I'm working on the sides.

I will add this to my collection of boneless, skinless chicken thigh recipes.

Question of the Day: Any stomach bugs going around in your area? I've been hearing grumblings about one around here and I wonder if it's the season for them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No such thing as too many sandwiches

Patty Melts with Grilled Onions
Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009 Copyright 2008

8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Cooking spray
1 pound extralean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons creamy mustard blend (such as Dijonnaise)
8 (1-ounce) slices rye bread
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Jarlsberg cheese I used slices of low-fat Swiss

1. Arrange onion slices on a plate. Drizzle vinegar over onion slices. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.

2. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Divide beef into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Sprinkle patties evenly with salt and pepper. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.

3. Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard blend over 4 bread slices; layer each slice with 2 tablespoons cheese, 1 patty, 2 onion slices, and 2 tablespoons cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon mustard blend over remaining bread slices; place, mustard side down, on top of sandwiches.

4. Heat pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan. Place a cast-iron or other heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until bread is toasted (leave cast-iron skillet on sandwiches while they cook).

I used my Griddler - I cooked the onions, then the burgers, wiped off the Griddler then grilled the sandwiches.

Nutritional Information:Calories:341 (25% from fat) Fat:9.6g (sat 4.4g,mono 3.2g,poly 1g) Protein:31.5g Carbohydrate:31.1g Fiber:3.6g Cholesterol:60mg Iron:3mg Sodium:754mg Calcium:350mg

I love grilled sandwiches. Patty melts were one of the original grilled sandwiches in my life. I've had this recipe on my list for a while but it sounded a bit fiddly, calling for several pans but I just used my Griddler for each step and it worked out well.

These were a nice step up from cheeseburgers. I did double the amount of cheese (I used 1 oz slices, 2 per sandwich) but they were still on the light side. There's no butter or oil on the bread. It really isn't necessary.

I am safe serving anything on bread or a bun to my husband. I used to avoid sandwiches during the week (we seem to eat so many on the weekend) but I've been trying to make at least one per week now. I seem to be the only one in the house concerned about variety and they are easy.

I'm tired of winter and just plain tired. I can't wait until spring.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a patty melt?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

From the ashes

Butter Horns
(from the Ugly Binder, from a Christmas cookie recipe pull-out section of a magazine)

2 sticks (1 cup) regular butter or margarine (not spread) at room temperature
¾ cup sour cream, at room temperature
Yolk from 1 large egg
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cups granulated sugar
¾ cups walnuts or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped I omitted these
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Beat butter, sour cream and egg yolk in a large bowl with electric mixer until smooth.
2. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour until blended. Divide dough into fourths. Wrap each separately and chill 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.
3. Filling: Process sugar, nuts and cinnamon in food processor or blended until nuts are finely chopped.
4. Heat oven o 375 degrees F. Have ungreased cookie sheet(s) ready.
5. In lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of dough at a time (keep remaining dough refrigerated) to an 11-inch circle. Using a pizza wheel or small knife, cut circle into ...

The rest of the recipe is missing. Cut circle into 16 wedges. Sprinkle with filling. Roll each wedge up and place on cookies sheet. Bake until golden, about 18 minutes??

I haven't had too many big disasters in the kitchen but once I did start a small fire. Of course, it had to happen when I was sharing a house with a friend and I set her dishtowel on fire. Thank God I didn't burn the house down! If it weren't for the smoke detector, I make have. (Have you checked your smoke detectors lately?)

I was making these cookies at the time and the bottom of this recipe got singed off so the cooking time may not be accurate. I think I looked at a rugelach recipe and decided on 18-20 minutes.

I used to make these with hazelnuts but I don't use nuts in my cooking anymore (due to son's peanut allergy) so I tried this recipe without the nuts and it was pretty good, not as good as with nuts, but still very good. Next time I might sprinkle some of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.
I think these add visual interest to a cookie tray and they're not too sweet. There is no sugar in the dough - the sweetness comes from the filling. They aren't very difficult to make. The dough is easily managed. I definitely suggest using a good pizza cutter to cut the dough.

Question of the Day: What was your biggest kitchen disaster?

Monday, January 11, 2010

NOW things can get back to normal around here

I had one last thing to take care of after the holidays - Nick's 6th birthday party. I love planning and preparing for his birthday parties but this year we really struggled to get guests. He goes to school with an entire different group of students than he did when he was in daycare and preschool and apparently these kids aren't much into parties or RSVPing. 14 invites received absolutely no response. 5 children who's parents said they were coming didn't show up.

I don't understand the lack of interest to be honest. Those who did come had a great time. They had an entire gymnasium to themselves (at the local YMCA):

They had an assortment of balls and jump ropes to play with (and balloons!). They ran around until they were red in the face.

After an hour in the gym, we moved on to a party room. I fed them pizza, snacks, veggies and dip. We played games (well, one game - they were too keyed up to get through the second game.)

Then we had cake and cupcakes (with ice cream):

The birthday boy opened his presents then sent his friends home with goodie bags. I pity the kids who missed out on the fun.

I made my favorite chocolate cake recipe for the cake and turned to Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix for the cupcakes.

Question of the Day: What does RSVP mean to you?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One recipe, two options

Balsamic Garlic-and-Herb Chicken Thighs
Southern Living Annual Recipes 2005

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 skinned and boned chicken thighs I used about 4 and cut them into small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 (1.6-ounce) envelope garlic-and-herb sauce mix (Knorr's)
1/2 cup sliced green onions (about 4)
Hot cooked egg noodles

Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.

Brown half of chicken in 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from skillet. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and oil, reserving drippings in skillet.

Add wine and vinegar to skillet, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles and garlic-and-herb sauce mix until combined. Return chicken to skillet. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 5 minutes or until done. Stir in 1/4 cup green onions. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup green onions.

All it took was going back to work one day and I seem to be settling into the same old routine. My appetite is back to normal too.

I made this recipe on Sunday for Monday evening. I decided to go back to posting the week's menu on the refrigerator (something I stopped doing at some point) and when I started writing 'balsamic', I stopped dead in my tracks. I had forgotten to add it! That was a dilemma because I thought it looked and tasted great without the balsamic. I decided to add it when I reheated it.

Then I almost forgot to add the green onion. I plated this before I realized that so I only threw some on top of my plate.

The tomatoes and chiles (Ro-Tel) add a lot of bite to this recipe. The vinegar added even more. It's not for the meek. I'm honestly not sure which way I preferred it, with or without the balsamic. It was really good both ways. If you aren't into balsamic, by all means, try this recipe without it.

I have to say this - my older son ate this and asked for more and he has been so picky lately. For whatever reason he was hot for this from the moment he smelled it cooking on Sunday. There were no leftovers. Of course, I only used about 4 thighs cut up (about one pouch from Costco). I'm trying to stretch our food budget out a bit.

Smart Taste makes egg noodles now! I've used the whole wheat ones but often they have a stale taste to them. I'm so happy to have another healthier alternative now. Although I don't see these listed on their site. Please tell me this product hasn't come and gone already.

I almost forgot that I will add this to my boneless, skinless chicken thigh recipe round-up.

Question of the Day: Is balsamic vinegar a staple in your house?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Where am I headed?

Hawaiian Sweet-Sour Ham
Better Homes and Gardens Casserole Cook Book Copyright 1968

2 cups cooked ham cut in julienne strips
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 8 ¾-ounce can (1 cup) pineapple tidbits I used chunks in juice, I cut the chunks in half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon monosodium glutamate I left this out
3 to 4 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
¾ cup water
1 green pepper, cut into ½-inch squares
2 cups cooked rice

Brown ham in hot oil. Drain pineapple, reserving syrup. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, monosodium glutamate, vinegar and mustard; stir in reserved syrup and water; add to skillet. Cook and stir till mixture thickens and bubbles. Cover; simmer 10 minutes.

Add pineapple tidbits and green pepper; simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Makes 4 servings

My mother-in-law gave us a big chunk of ham at Christmas so I used some of it in this recipe. My appetite still wasn't back in full force when I made this. My husband scarfed it up so I can safely say it wasn't bad but I don't feel as if I was in a position to judge it fairly myself. I've made plenty of sweet and sour dishes and although this one didn't do much for me, it could very well have just been the timing.

I really crashed after Christmas this year. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing but I'm having trouble getting back into the groove, and I'm not so sure I want to get back in the same groove either. I certainly want to keep cooking and blogging but maybe not with the same intensity. Maybe I will start blogging about other things too. Maybe things will continue as they are. I haven't decided yet. In the meantime, I still have a few recipes from the past few weeks that I will catch you up on.

Question of the Day: Any changes planned in your life for this year?