Sunday, October 30, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches (Slow Cooker)

This is a perfect busy-day recipe. You put it together in just a few minutes, then let it cook all day. 

1 bottom-round roast, about 3 pounds
2 cups beef broth or consomme
Seasoning: freshly-ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt

Season the meat on all sides. Place in slow cooker and pour broth over it. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour, then turn down to LOW for about 7 to 8 hours.

Trim fat off the meat and cut into a few chunks, then shred with 2 forks OR if you have a stand mixer, try this really easy way: Put chunks of meat into the mixer. Using the paddle attachment, spin it a few times on LOW. Rearrange the contents of the bowl and spin a few more times. Watch carefully as there's a fine line between shredded and pureed.

(Hat tip to Gluten Free Homemaker for the stand-mixer idea! It really works!)

Serve on Italian rolls with the juice from the crockpot for dipping.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Menu Plan most of October 2011

Big Brother came home from college for a few hours yesterday, to grab a winter jacket and reload on homemade cookies and Easy Mac.

For the record, Ranger Cookies still work if you forget to add the Rice Krispies.  (I was wondering why the dough seemed a little different this time.)

When he and his girlfriend showed up, there was much rummaging in the refrigerator for lunch.  That's when they got a look at the calendar on the front of the fridge.  It's where I've been keeping my menu plan.

"Maybe we could eat our dinners here every night," Big Brother's girlfriend sighed.  Best compliment EVER!

There's nothing like Dorm Food to make your kids appreciate Mom's Home Cooking.

Beginning of the month menu plan is here.

Sat 8:  visited my parents & had dinner there

Sun 9:  diner

Mon 10:  Italian veal stew (which is apparently on my college student's Dinner Wish List for next time he comes home!)

Tues 11:  Chicken enchiladas

Wed 12:  Chicken & noodle skillet

Thurs 13:  Spaghetti

Fri 14:  Pizza

Sat 15:  Fajitas (thanks, Father Leo!)

Sun 16:  Roast chicken, baked potatoes

Mon 17:  ate at the Irish Pub (if you're local, don't miss the Guinness Beef Stew over mashed potatoes)

Tues 18:  Chicken Swiss Melt

Wed 19:  Taco Skillet

Thurs 20:  Spaghetti

Fri 21:  Crab & corn soup (I'm not posting this recipe, as it was only so-so.  I'll try again sometime)

Sat 22:  Chicken on the grill, sauteed asparagus, yellow rice

Sun 23:  Chicken parmesan

Mon 24:  Slowcooker orange chicken, brown rice, Asian green beans

Tues 25:  Maple-Hoisin Salmon (now with pictures!)

Wed 26:  ate at the diner

Thurs 27:  Lemon Mushroom Herb Chicken, rice, mixed vegetables

Fri 28:  Spaghetti

Sat 29:  Enchilada Soup

Sun 30:  Italian Beef Sandwiches (With back-to-back rehearsals from 1 to 7 PM, I needed a trusty slow-cooker recipe for Sunday and this is perfect)

The plan for Halloween is still up in the air.  A lot depends on what time trick-or-treat is going to start.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Care Package Time!

Otherwise known as:  how much can YOU fit into a Priority Mail Flat-Rate box?

I just boxed up a Halloween-treat package for Big Brother, who's in college.  I used a small-size Priority Mail Flat-Rate box, which is about the size of a trade paperback book (approximately 5X8X1.5)

That is one STUFFED box.  There are 2 15-packs of Extra gum, an entire bag of fun-size Snickers Peanut Butter Squared, and nearly an entire bag of fun-size standard Snickers.  Only 3 candy bars wouldn't fit in the box.  I'll consider those my tip.

It would probably be cheaper for me to just drive over and drop off a bag of treats, but there's nothing like getting a package in the mail.

Happy Halloween, Big Brother!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sauteed Asparagus

I cannot believe how easy this is!  3 ingredients and 5 minutes are all you need for a delicious side dish.

1 bunch asparagus spears (thin ones cook faster)
2 TBL minced garlic or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
3 TBL olive oil

Carefully rinse your fresh asparagus spears earlier in the day and leave them in a colander to dry, or gently pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet, then add asparagus and garlic.  Toss to coat, and stir fry for 5 minutes until asparagus is done.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Honey-Oat Bread (Secret Recipe Club)

Sometimes things just don't go as planned.  Fortunately, this bread was goof-proof at a time when I really needed it to be!

I was assigned Dinners, Dishes and Desserts as my Secret Recipe Club blog for October.  Oh, the desserts!  I think I gained 5 pounds just looking at the pictures.  A few recipes are bookmarked for future taste-testing, like Cinnamon Roll Muffins--wouldn't those be a delicious breakfast treat?  Erin has recipes for all sorts of tasty treats, as well as some main-dish recipes too.

It was hard to choose, but my decision was made when I saw the recipe for Honey-Oat Bread.  I've got a toast eater in this house, and I was hoping to find a good bread recipe that would make great breakfast toast--to get him off the store-brand white bread he usually eats.  This bread has a healthy dose of oatmeal, plus a touch of sweetness from the honey.  We all liked it so much, there was barely any left for toast the next morning after we ate most of one loaf with dinner and shared the other with a neighbor.

This is some beautiful bread!

Here's the part where things didn't go as planned:  I made the dough in the bread machine, and I was really distracted when I put it all together.  (So distracted, in fact, that I dumped the yeast in with the water and other liquids--usually bread machine recipes call for the yeast to go in last, on top of the dry ingredients!)  I was also so distracted that I didn't pay attention to the part where the beaten egg is used as a wash for the tops of the loaves.  I tossed that right in to the bread machine as well.  Then I realized what I'd done, but I figured, what the heck--I'll bake it and see what I get.

2 hours later the dough cycle was done and the dough was JUST at the top of the pan.  It looked and felt just like bread dough is supposed to; slightly tacky, a little lumpy from the oatmeal (I only had old-fashioned oats).  I divided it into 2 loaves, rolled up the dough and put in greased loaf pans.

So here's the recipe as I made it (the original recipe can be found here):
Honey-Oat Bread (makes two loaves)
Printable Recipe

1 ¾ cup warm water
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup honey
3 Tbl Canola Oil
2 ½ tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
¾ cups oats (I used old-fashioned but the original called for quick oats)
1 Tbl Active Dry Yeast

Add ingredients to your bread machine pan in order recommended by the manufacturer.  Select the dough cycle.  When the cycle is done, remove bread to a floured surface and divide into two portions.  Pat or roll into a rectangle, then roll tightly and place in two greased loaf pans.  Allow to rise 1 hour.  Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Thanks, Erin, for this recipe for a delicious bread that went as well with dinner as it did with breakfast!  This one is a keeper for sure.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Menu Plan October 1-7, 2011

Sat 1:  Honey mustard chicken, hash brown casserole, broccoli, oatmeal bread

Sun 2:  leftovers

Mon 3:  ate at the new Golden Corral buffet

Tues 4:  Chicken piccata

Wed 5:  Spaghetti

Thurs 6:  went to a pasta party for Middle Sister's soccer team

Fri 7:  Crab mac 'n cheese

September 2011 menu

September was a crazy month!  Big Brother was back at school and I was still getting used to cooking for only 4 again.  Both kids are busy with soccer, and they were also both involved in a musical at the community theatre.  It was rare that all 4 of us still at home got to eat all together--and I didn't want to have to resort to dining out too often.  I wound up doing that more than I cared to, but we did manage to eat at home MOST nights.

Thurs 1:  BBQ chicken in the crockpot, potatoes

Fri 2:  pizza

Sat 3:  leftovers

Sun 4:  ate at the diner

Mon 5:  picnic with friends.  We brought Dr. Pepper baked beans and Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes Tues 6:  taco skillet

Wed 7:  Hawaiian Chicken, rice

Thurs 8:  Roast chicken

Fri 9:  Shrimp tacos

Sat 10:  Chicken francese

Sun 11:  potluck at the theatre.  We brought baked ziti with meat.

Mon 12:  BBQ chicken calzones

Tues 13:  Spaghetti

Wed 14:  Beef & noodle skillet

Thurs 15:  ate out

Fri 16:  ate out

Sat 17:  Tandoori chicken

Sun 18:  Spanish rice with pork

Mon 19:  Chili honey chicken

Tues 20:  Roast chicken cooked in gravy over noodles

Wed 21:  Spanish garlic shrimp

Thurs 22:  Chicken Caroline

Fri 23:  Pasta with shrimp marinara

Sat 24:  ate out

Sun 25:  burgers

Mon 26:  honey & garlic chicken

Tues 27:  garlic & cheddar chicken

Wed 28:  spaghetti

Thurs 29:  combo tacos

Fri 30:  French bread pizza

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Quiche for One: It's What's for Lunch

Real men might not eat quiche, but I love it as a quick, high-protein lunch.  This recipe is NOT low in fat, but it sure is delicious.  It's a twist on a full-size quiche recipe that my mom's been making since quiche (quiches?) were fashionable in the '80s.

Quiche for One
Get the recipe and nutrition facts at Cook and Count!


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