Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shutting down this blog

I've decided to shut down this blog and move back over to my other blog, Living the Life

I have a few reasons for this - first of all, I'm not posting on either often enough to justify having two blogs going.  Second, my work schedule has changed and I now only have to do make-ahead two nights a week, instead of five (yee haw!).  So, instead of coming up with creative dishes that can be made in the morning and cooked in the evening, I'm scrambling to reacquaint myself with skillet meals, grilling, and other wonderful methods of food preparation that I've been missing for the last two and a half years!

I'll slowly be transferring the recipes here over to Living the Life, and then I will delete this blog.  Please drop by for a visit over there!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Menu Plan October 3 - 7

It's been a while since I've had my act together enough to post a menu.  Doesn't mean I haven't had one (though I haven't always, to be sure!), I just haven't posted.  Since last I posted, my work schedule has changed a bit, and I now get home at 5:30 two to three days a week, which means I now have to work both quick meals and make-ahead into my schedule.  Tricky business!

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: lasagna (half beef, half eggplant from the CSA box)
Tuesday:  broccoli cheese soup, salad, bread
Wednesday:  Ham and broccoli calzones
Thursday: leftovers
Friday:  potstickers

Make it a great one, everybody!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black Bean Soup

Friend of mine was telling me a story about her hubby's misadventures with some black bean soup the other day.  A few days later it was raining, and I didn't feel like cooking, so I decided to make some of my own.  This is the recipe I started with, then tweaked it based on personal taste and what I keep in my pantry.  You know, I honestly don't know why I bother buying cookbooks, since the food we eat never resembles the original recipe!  Inspiration, I suppose...

I often will cook a bag of dried beans, then freeze it in two-cup portions with some of the cooking water ladled over the top to prevent freezer burn.  Super easy, and super cheap.  This recipe is based on that.  You could use canned beans just as easily, as called for in the original recipe.

4 cups cooked black beans, with cooking water
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. ground black pepper
2 t. salt, more to taste if needed
2 cups chicken broth
2 T. taco sauce (as suggested in the original recipe, I used two packets of mild Taco Bell sauce.  Probably wasn't quite two tablespoons, I could have used one or two more.)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 broccoli stalk, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped

Put all ingredients into a 4- or 5-quart crock pot.  Cook on low 8 - 10 hours.  Before serving, ladle half of the soup out into a blender.  Put the lid on, COVER WITH A TOWEL (this is very important to keep you from getting burned), and blend until smooth.  Pour back into the crock pot and stir. 

Serve with cornbread on the side.

Makes 4 servings (three if you're feeding this to a bean-loving toddler like mine!).

Menu Plan July 18 - 21

I haven't posted a menu in a long, long time.  Truth be told, I lost all inspiration and I'm not exactly sure what we've been eating for the last couple of months!  I've just finished cleaning and reorganizing the pantry, however, so it's time to get back on track (now that I know what's actually in there).

Here's what's on tap for this week:

  • Monday:  meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes, green beans from our CSA box
  • Tuesday:  manicotti (I use this recipe from the back of the Ronzoni manicotti box and add some cooked ground beef), green salad, and cheesecake (happy 8th anniversary to us!)
  • Wednesday:  Baked chicken with roasted broccoli and cauliflower
  • Thursday:  Kielbasa and kidney beans
Friday we're eating dinner out.

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

CSA Adventures, week 4 and 5

For some reason, I wasn't into dealing with fresh produce last week, so some of it is still sitting in my fridge (which also explains why I haven't blogged about it)!  Here's what I got...

Broccoli:  went into a DELICIOUS pot of black bean soup (I started with this recipe, but made quite a few changes along the way).

Zucchini:  went into some gorgeous looking sausage and cheese calzones, which we couldn't eat because hubby accidentally baked them with the plastic wrap still on (one of the hazards of make-ahead dinner, LOL!).

Green onion:  I remember chopping these, but can I remember what I put them in?  Of course not...

Snow peas:  Still in the fridge

Radishes:  Still in the fridge

Cherries:  Almost all eaten.

This week, my CSA buddy is out of town, so I got the whole box to myself.  I got:

Broccoli and cauliflower:  I'm going to try roasting this.

Zucchini:  I'll probably grill it, but the zucchini in my garden is finally starting to come on, so at some point I'm going to start shredding and freezing it (for bread, muffins, etc).

Green beans:  Steamed all the way, baby!

Sugar Daddy Peas:  I thought these were sugar SNAP peas, so I sat down this morning to shell them.  Well, the peas were DINKY, and the pods wouldn't budge since there weren't any strings!  I finally looked at the list again, saw what they actually are, and googled them since I've never heard of them before.  We'll most likely be steaming them and eating them whole.

Raspberries:  I absolutely LOVE the flavor of raspberries, but I have issues with my teeth and the seeds, so I don't eat them very often.  So I decided to make puree and freeze it, for sauces or Italian sodas or whatever.  Did that this morning.  Then I ran across this recipe, and now I'm kicking myself for pureeing them all because those sound AMAZING!  I've bookmarked it so, come this fall when my own raspberries come on (we have a few but not enough to cook with right now), I can give it a try.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CSA adventures, week 3

This week's box had asparagus, zucchini, green onions, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, and cherries.  My friend took the cabbage, since she needed to make coleslaw for a crowd, as well as the lettuce because my garden is more than covering our needs right now. 

I bought extra asparagus and pickled it all last night.  I've never made pickles of any kind before, let alone something as exotic as asparagus, so we'll see how it goes.  I have to let it sit at least a month before I can try it, so I'll keep you posted!

The trimmings of the asparagus and the spinach went into a delightful pasta dinner last night which also included, among other ingredients, fresh basil, Italian sausage, fontina cheese, garlic, and cream.  It was EXCELLENT. 

The green onions have gone into many things, including spinach dip and bean dip for our 4th of July gathering. 

I sauteed the zucchini in olive oil and served it as a side dish.  Normally I like my zucchini grilled, but since both of our propane cans are empty and we haven't taken the time to get them filled, that was not an option. 

We're still eating the cherries. Love them! 

So far, our boxes have been pretty mainstream, and haven't really had any "out there" ingredients that I've had to wrangle with.  In a way, this is good, because it helps to ensure that we actually eat what we're buying.  On the other hand, I haven't done much experimenting, either, which I definitely think would be a great deal of fun.  We'll see what the rest of the season holds...

Monday, June 27, 2011

CSA adventures, week 2

This week's CSA box had:

Bok choy
Green onion

Haven't used the asparagus yet.  I keep thinking I should buy more and pickle it, but I haven't followed through.  I'd love to start experimenting with pickling - there is such a fabulous range of flavors with different pickled vegetables.  I just haven't had the time or the produce!

The bok choy and cabbage went into a delicious stir fry side dish tonight, along with an organic zucchini from the grocery store, some garlic scapes from my garden, a bit of fresh ginger, and some salt and pepper.  We had that along with our bulgogi and sesame rice.  One of my favorite meals, and hubby even said the vegetables were good - a rare compliment for a veggie side!

I've been using the green onions here and there.  Some went in the bulgogi, some have gone in a salad.  Usually at this time of year I'm putting chives in everything while I wait for the green onions in my garden to grow enough to use (why buy produce when I can improvise with something from the yard, right?), so it's nice to have a change! 

I haven't used the beets yet - I only got a couple once my friend and I split the bunch, so I need to pull some from my garden and then I'm planning to roast them.  Love roasted beets! 

We're eating the cherries.  LOVE that it's cherry season again!

My daughter ate the strawberries with her breakfast over the last few days.  She can't get enough!

We find out on Thursday what our box will have on Friday.  Can't wait to see what's on tap for next week!  I'll try to start taking some pictures, too - everything has been picked within two days, and they clean it up nicely for us, so it's all bright, crisp and GORGEOUS.