Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beef Stew

My little Nesco is the perfect size for this stew. This recipe is actually a modified version of the one that come in the booklet with the roaster. I bought mine used, and the booklet was already marked up. This one was marked "good." The previous owner was right! With a few tweaks, here is the stew my family enjoys:

2 tbl butter
1 lb beef cubes for stew
2 small onions, quartered
handful of baby carrots
2 cans (15 oz each) whole new potatoes, drained
1 packet onion soup mix
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbl EACH cornstarch and cold water, mixed

Set roaster on 425 and melt butter. Add beef, stir, and cover to roast for 10 minutes. Add vegetables, soup, broth and pepper. Turn down to 250 and cook 3 hours. If you want to add a cup of cut green beans, do that when there's about 1/2 hour to go--just add the frozen beans right in.
When ready to serve, add cornstarch mixture and stir. Turn the roaster up until the gravy thickens.

Menu Plan Week of February 24

SUNDAY: Beef fajitas, Brazilian rice, vegetable platter

MONDAY: Ranch breaded chicken tenders, tater tots, green beans

TUESDAY: Beef stew in my little Nesco, bread, salad

WEDNESDAY: Hawaiian Chicken with pineapple, jasmine rice, broccoli

THURSDAY: Spaghetti

FRIDAY: Frozen pizza (it's just me, Middle Sister and Little Brother tonight!)

SATURDAY: Happy Birthday to Grandpop! We're going there for dinner.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Homemade Mac & Cheese

1/2 lb. macaroni, cooked al dente
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup milk
5 oz shredded Cheddar
1 tsp dried minced onion
3 tbl seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Mix soup, milk, cheddar and onion in saucepan over slow heat until well blended and smooth. Pour over pasta in a casserole dish. Top with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake at 350, 30 to 40 minutes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dinner Rolls

Rich and Tender American Dinner Rolls

This recipe appeared in Cook's Illustrated.

Makes about 2 dozen triangular rolls.
1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed in microwave but not hot
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package rapid-rise yeast
1 large egg, beaten lightly
3 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, plus extra for work surface and dusting rolls
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened

Put all ingredients in bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer (in mine, liquids, salt and sugar first, then flour and yeast last.)
Use dough cycle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface and work dough into a cylinder until it measures about 36 inches long and about 2 1/2 inches wide. Cut the dough into triangles. Transfer rolls to cookie sheet, then cover with clean kitchen towels and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

I brushed the tops with melted butter after I took them out of the oven.

These will make nice rolls for the kids' lunches if they are sized and shaped right.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Chicken & Noodle Casserole

This is a spin-off of Amish Chicken and Noodles.

1 pound Rotelle pasta
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
seasonings: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, dried minced onion
2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs for topping

Cook pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Stir in flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, broth and seasonings; cook and stir sauce constantly until thickened.

Combined sauce, noodles, vegetables and chicken. Adjust seasonings to taste. Sprinkle top with bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot.

Menu Plan for February 17-23

SUNDAY: Maple Glazed Pork, vegetable rice, corn, cornbread

MONDAY: Chicken & Noodle Casserole

TUESDAY: Steak fajitas or steak & cheese quesadillas, rice, salad

WEDNESDAY: Meatball sandwiches, salad

THURSDAY: Sweet & sour pork, rice

FRIDAY: homemade macaroni & cheese, vegetable platter, bread

SATURDAY: spaghetti

SUNDAY: Taco Skillet (I might use shredded cooked chicken in this dish instead of beef)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Maple-Glazed Pork

From Cooks Illustrated Website:

1/2 cup maple syrup , preferably grade B
1/8 teaspoonground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch cayenne pepper
1 boneless pork loin roast, preferably blade-end, (about 2 1/2 pounds), tied at even intervals along length with 5 pieces butcher's twine
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in measuring cup or small bowl; set aside. Pat roast dry with paper towels, then sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed ovenproof 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke, about 3 minutes. Place roast fat-side down in skillet and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, rotate roast one-quarter turn and cook until well browned, about 2 1/2 minutes; repeat until roast is well browned on all sides. Transfer roast to large plate. Reduce heat to medium and pour off fat from skillet; add maple syrup mixture and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds (syrup will bubble immediately). Off heat, return roast to skillet; using tongs, roll to coat roast with glaze on all sides. Place skillet in oven and roast until center of roast registers about 135 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 35 to 45 minutes, using tongs to roll and spin roast to coat with glaze twice during roasting time. Transfer roast to carving board; set skillet aside to cool slightly to thicken glaze, about 5 minutes. Pour glaze over roast and let rest 15 minutes longer (center of loin should register about 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer). Snip twine off roast, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and serve immediately.

I will probably try this in the Nesco 6-qt with convection fan next time. But it worked great in my Cooks hard-anodized nonstick skillet. This was absolutely delicious and smelled amazing while it cooked. The meat was juicy and the glaze was so sweet.

Sweet and Sour Pork

Originally posted by Lizzie-boo at Family Corner.

1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into thin strips or cubes*
2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 cup water
20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained, reserving juice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin diagonal slices
1/2 medium onion, cut into chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into squares
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into squares

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Brown pork in hot oil. Add water; cover and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. At the half-hour point, add carrots and onions on top of pork to steam. At the 3/4 hour point, add peppers and pineapple.

Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add reserved pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring occasionally. Pour over hot pork mixture, stir to combine, and heat gently for 10 minutes or longer.

Serve over rice.

*Boneless pork loin or pork chops, cut in strips or cubes, can also be used.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Saffron Risotto with Shrimp

The original recipe was posted by The Humble Housewife. I had to do a little "metric-to-English" conversions, and a few substitutions to accommodate what's in my pantry. So I blogged the recipe as I went along.

Pinch of saffron
2 ounces boiling water
olive oil for the pan
1 small onion, chopped really fine
1 tsp minced garlic (from a jar)
2 1/4 cups arborio rice (a 14-oz pkg)
1/2 cup dry white wine
Up to 8 cups stock (I used chicken stock; original recipe called for fish stock)
2 cups cooked, frozen shrimp (thawed and tails removed)
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbl grated parmesan
2 tbl butter
1 tbl fresh parsley, snipped (or 2 tbl dried parsley)
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Add saffron to the boiling water. Press with a spoon to release the color and flavor. Set aside.
Saute onion in the olive oil until almost translucent. Stir in garlic.
Stir in the rice until coated.
Add white wine and stir a minute.
Add stock, a cup or so at a time, stirring, and allow to simmer until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add more stock until the rice becomes creamy.
Add saffron (and water), shrimp and peas. Stir and cook until everything is hot.
Stir in butter, parmesan and parsley.
Season to taste with fresh ground pepper.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Menu Plan for February 10-16

SUNDAY: Cashew Chicken, rice

MONDAY: Steak on the grill, roasted potatoes, vegetable, Portuguese Easter Bread and gingerbread for dessert. We've got friends visiting, so the bread is a "must-do." Their daughters would be terribly sad if I didn't make their favorite bread.

TUESDAY: Roast Chicken, boiled potatoes, rutabagas, Danielle's Beer Rolls

WEDNESDAY: Scarborough Fair Chicken Soup, KM's Buttermilk Cheese Bread

THURSDAY: Spaghetti and meatballs

FRIDAY: Saffron & Pea Risotto with Tiger Prawns (ok, with medium-size shrimp because that's what was on sale this week), salad-in-a-bag, bread

SATURDAY: Pot-luck dinner at our church. My section of the alphabet was assigned to bring vegetable dishes. We're bringing a small Nesco roaster full of Dr. Pepper Baked Beans.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Menu Plan for February 3 - 9

SUNDAY: Super Bowl Food: Pepperoni Bread and Chili Cheese Dip. I think this is the first time ever that the pepperoni bread did not "explode" all over the place. It was gorgeous!

MONDAY: Pork teriyaki, rice, peas

TUESDAY: The Big Batch of spaghetti and meatballs

WEDNESDAY: Our traditional Ash Wednesday dinner: clam chowder and grilled-cheese sandwiches

THURSDAY: Chicken Marsala


SATURDAY: Chicken Chili


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