Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to be a lazy cook and still impress your friends and family.: Toscana soup

How to be a lazy cook and still impress your friends and family.: Toscana soup

Toscana soup

Here's the original recipe:
3/4 cup onions, diced 1/8 inch
1 slice bacon, 1/4−inch diced
1 1/4 teaspoon garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce chicken bouillon
1 quart water
2 medium potatoes, cut in half length−wise,
then cut in 1/4−inch slices
2 cups cavallo greens (kale can be substituted),
cut in half, then sliced into 1/16−inch strips
1 1/2 cups sausage link − spicy, pre−cooked, cut in half
length−wise, then cut at an angle into 1/2−inch slices
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Place sausage link onto sheet pan and bake in 300 degree oven for
15 to 20 minutes or until done.
Place onions and bacon into 3 to 4 quart saucepan and cook onions
over medium heat until the onions are almost clear. Add garlic and
cook for 1 minute.
Add chicken bouillon, water and potatoes, bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients then simmer for 5 more minutes and serve.

I have to cook for 6 people so I cooked a whole package of Italian sausage (6 links) in a pan. I removed them from the pan, then cooked a whole onion chopped up, 4 big cloves of garlic chopped up, and 4 potatoes in the grease from the sausage. Then I dumped all that in a pot. I added 2 cans of chicken broth and the bullion along with some water. I let that simmer until the potatoes were done, then I added some chopped green beans (only because I didn't have greens on hand), and then I realized I forgot the bacon, so I chopped up about 6 slices of bacon & cooked those real fast, dumped them in the mix & added one can of evaporated milk. I like my soups on the thick side so I added half a cup of instant mashed potatoes. Topped it off with some shaved cheese, and we inhaled it.

This is what we ended up with:
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lentil Quinoa Stew

So, I'm sick and trying to think of something that doesn't hurt & is easy, yet comforting. I decided on my way home from work to make this. Start with your basic ingredients, you should have this type of stuff on hand if you have a well stocked pantry. Paula Deen has some good tips on what to have on hand Here's my basic ingredients:
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Along with some carrots, celery, one onion, and some garlic. I chopped one whole onion, about 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, about 5-6 celery stalks, and 2 rice bowls full of baby carrots. If you use whole maybe 3? I let those a simmer away in a little olive oil over medium low heat.
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Meanwhile in another pot I had the lentils simmering away, I let them cook for about 20 minutes, then added in half a cup of quinoa, and let that simmer for another five minutes with 3 bay leaves. Why a bay leaf? I have no clue, but if you forget it, any chef will yell at you, so just do it. They're inexpensive to have around. Once most of the water is gone add in the beef broth, 2 cans of beef roast, and either 1 can tomato paste or 2 cans tomato sauce. I also added in salt & pepper to taste, about 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning, and one tablespoon of sugar to take some of the acidity out of the tomatoes. I let that simmer for another ten minutes then added in the veggies. I served it with some corn bread on the side. It came out pretty tasty. I'm sick & my brain is a little addled, so I forgot to take a final pic, and when I remembered it was all gone. We had unexpected company (teenagers), and they inhaled it.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Melt

You drooled a little reading that title, didn't you? I did too thinking of it. This meal is soooooo easy! I took canned chicken & threw it in a pan with a tablespoon or two of dried parsley, a tablespoon of dried dill, salt, & pepper, then I let it all simmer down until the liquid evaporated. These are the main spices used in ranch dressing.
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Then I laid a tortilla in another pan with a little butter, topped it with cheese all over, spread the chicken mix on half & topped with bacon. I cooked that covered over medium low heat until the cheese was nice and melted.
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

After it was melted I drizzled a little ranch dressing over it:
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I then folded it over like a quesadilla:
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I didn't get a chance to take a picture on a plate because the family inhaled it too fast.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Vietnamese beef salad

This is a recipe from my childhood. My mom would vary how she made it, when she had time, she actually washed & trimmed the watercress, when she was rushed she used bagged salad. Sometimes she made her own dressing, sometimes she used a bottle of Italian dressing. Both were delicious.

For this recipe I used watercress, and I made my own dressing with 1/4 c sesame oil, 1/4 c olive oil, 1/2 c rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, & 1 tsp pepper. Wash & trim your watercress or pull your salad out of the bag. Toss with the dressing & let it marinate for a few minutes, while you cook a pot of rice.

Slice your beef really thin, I find it's easier to slice thin when it's slightly frozen. Slice an onion real thin & finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic. Marinate all this in soy sauce & black pepper. I use Golden Mountain brand soy sauce.

Here's the easiest way to chop garlic:

^This man is a genius^

Cook the meat mixture until the onions are wilted. Serve on top of salad, over rice. The soy sauce mixture along with the dressing makes something spectacular happen in your mouth.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cheesy chicken bake

So I recently got yelled at by a few readers. So here you go, I'm updating! Today's recipe is super tasty, yet super lazy. Here's what you'll need: Some form of chicken (raw breasts, or thighs, canned, precooked Etc.) 1 can of cream of chicken soup 1 can of cream of mushroom soup Tortilla chips (tonight I used mini snack bags 2 nacho Doritos, 2 cool ranch Doritos, 2 plain Frito's) 1/2 yellow onion Salt Pepper, & garlic powder to taste Shredded Cheese -a lot muhahahaha Start with your chicken, chop it up into chunks & dice your onion, sauté that up in a pan & season with salt, pepper & garlic powder. While that's cooking up, smash the chips into semi large chunks and put in a bowl, add the soups & cheese (I used about 1 2/3 cups), once the onions are translucent, dump the chicken & onions to the bowl & stir thoroughly to blend. Turn it out into a lightly greased casserole dish ( I spray olive oil, you can use Pam or whatever). Spread it into the pan evenly top with another 1/3 c cheese, bake at 365° for 20 minutes. I sautéed some green beans in olive oil, garlic, onion, butter, salt & pepper to serve on the side. Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App You can vary it up by adding bacon bits, green onion, roasted chili peppers, basically whatever you like. Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App My family is always a bunch of gluttons when I make this, so I don't make it too often. Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Turkey pot pie

Well, I still needed to use up that turkey so I decided to make turkey pot pies. You can use your favorite crust recipe or used a packaged crust mix, or even some nice flaky biscuits from a can. I finally discovered that making crust is really a lot easier than I thought, and I don't think I'll ever go back. I'll post that recipe later though. Let's get started!
First, brown up whatever meat you're using, I used my ground turkey of course. Once it started to brown up, I added 3 cloves of chopped garlic, and half a red onion finely chopped, Pappy's seasoning (I love this stuff!), and about 2 tbsp of fresh ground black pepper. Once that browned up I made some gravy in another pan. How lazy are you? You can use the stuff from a jar, or you can use a packet, you can add some corn starch to some canned broth, or you can make your gravy the way I do. I make my self a little rue in another pan (flour & some type of fat), stir it until it's nicely browned and add a box of broth. I just don't like how gravy turns to Jello when you use corn starch. Add your meat to the gravy, and throw in some veggies, I like to use frozen mixed veggies, but I didn't have any, so I used canned sweet corn, chopped carrots & canned green beans. You end up with something like this:
Then I divide it into individual size pans, I used some Corningware, and mini cast iron pans. Then I baked it at 350 until the crust was nice & brown about 10-15 minutes or one chapter in the book I'm reading. I ended up with this:
You can also make it into one big pie like this:
This took about 15 minutes to put together, and another 15 minutes to bake. It took about 30 minutes to eat, because gravy maintains the temperature of lava forever!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chinese Dumplings

So this week my freezer was mysteriously unplugged. Luckily I discovered it when I went out to pull something to defrost for dinner. Guess what I didn't have to do? You guessed it! But what I had to do was scramble to figure out new creative ways to eat a ton of ground turkey. My fried brain = your gain! I was going to make won ton soup, until I pulled out my wrappers and discovered they were way too thick to make won tons, so I enhanced my recipe and decided to make dumplings. I experimented with a few ways to cook them too. Trust me, just follow my directions. The experiments were ugly!
First gather up the ingredients you think you would like in your dumpling. I used 1 lb ground turkey, 1 egg, 2 cloves of smashed garlic, 2 scallions or green onions, 1tbsp fresh cracked black pepper, and a can of shrimp. Mix it all together in a bowl, and set aside. I then set up my little wrapping station, which consisted of a mini cutting board, a bowl with 1 beaten egg, a fork, and a plate.
Then I laid down a wrapper:
Put about a teaspoon of meat in them:
Brush one edge with the beaten egg:
Fold over & crimp with a fork:
Spray your frying pan with some olive oil or spread about a teaspoon of olive oil around. I like to put a drizzle of sesame oil in there for added flavor. Turn your pan on medium heat, I find a nicely seasoned cast iron pan works awesome for this. Then lay all your dumplings down:
After they've browned (about 1-2 minutes) flip them over & cook them for another 1-2 minutes:
Then add a spot of water, I think I used about 1/4 cup. Cover & let cook for another 2 minutes:
Pull the lid off, let the water evaporate away, and serve them up!
You probably want the sauce recipe too, FINE! HERE!
I used Maggi seasoning, but usually use Golden Mountain Soy sauce (about 4 tbsp), rice wine vinegar (about 3 tbsp), sesame oil (about 1 tbsp), stone ground mustard (about 1 tbsp), a touch of hoisin sauce (about 1 tsp), and hot chili oil to taste.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Italian feast

So I was wandering through the Asian market one day getting supplies to make Won Tons, egg rolls, and lumpia. I saw with the Won Ton wrappers they had a spinach wrapper. My itty bitty brain started wondering what the heck I could do with these, I threw them in the basket anyway and took them home. I had a middle of the night epiphany and decided to make raviolis. Then my mother-in-law had some car issues. While we were waiting for resolution, we decided to go shopping. I ended up at Trader Joe's and I decided I needed to make a fresh pizza. I got 3 different flavors of pizza dough, some mozzarella, a meat trio packet containing salami, prosciutto, and culatello-but you can get anything you want. I also bought some mozzarella, and cottage cheese. Total cost for this meal was $30 and I fed 12 people. Yeah, I'm cheap! But before we begin, let me tell warn you this is not a work night meal.
So my package told me I had to plop the dough out & let it rest for 20 minutes. So while my lazy dough was relaxing I mixed up the filling for my raviolis. I mixed the cottage cheese with some drained & squeezed canned spinach (hey it's all I had!), and tossed in some Parmesan & chopped garlic. It was delicious, but you can add whatever you want. So slap a dollop of your filling mixture in the middle, fold it over and put a little egg wash on the edge. Clamp it down with a fork around the edge. I then passed this job off to my 10 year old niece. She did pretty good ya think?
Next I pulled out the dough to the size I wanted and spread my sauce. I make my own at the end of summer when I harvest my garden, but you can use a jar sauce, Alfredo or marinara. I dumped my mozzarella on that and then some Colby blend, I chopped up that meat trio and spread it over the cheese, on top of that I dumped some Parmesan cheese that I freshly shredded. I hate having my meat on the top so it singes. I didn't know what any of the kids that were over would eat in the way of veggies, so I left them off. But this pizza would have been awesome with some Kalamata olives on it. I then boiled my ravioli and made some weird white sauce, it was really supposed to be a browned butter sauce. I took half a stick of butter and browned it with some garlic and added a half cup of cream, and some pepper and whipped it until all blended. It was different, but really tasty.
I did impress quite a few teenagers, I have no idea if that's a good thing. We shall see!

Lazy turnovers

So last night I decided we would have dessert. I have no idea why, but I felt like making it and this turned me into "mom is great" status.
I took some puff pastry dough and let it thaw for 40 minutes. Then I opened each square & cut it in fourths:
Next I spooned in some fruit filling, you can use some of the pie filling in a can. I personally simmered down some of the fruit I canned this summer.
Then you fold over the top and smash the edges down with a fork. (I like to imagine I'm smashing by bosses face with a fork).I've discovered I really like smashing things with a fork.
You can either brush it with an egg wash, or melted butter. I did melted butter & sprinkled sugar on top. I cooked it for 22 minutes at 400, and got this.
My neighbor stole some this morning & now I'm the queen of the court again.