Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sweet Scones

This is an adaptation of Granma's Irish Biscuits.  The technique is the same, but I've made these a little sweeter with spice and richer due to the use of cream instead of milk.


2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb. or 1/2 cup) butter or margarine, at room temperature (not melted)
raisins, to taste (about 1/2 cup is good)
1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream*
1 tsp baking spice mix**

Mix all ingredients. Batter shouldn't stick to fingers (add more flour if necessary).
Drop about 1/2-cup size balls onto floured cookie sheet, or pat into a rectangle on a floured surface, then cut into triangles. Makes about 8 round biscuits or a baker's dozen triangles, depending on how large you cut them.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350.

*The quantity of cream is variable. Granma never used a measuring cup. If you accidentally put in too much liquid, just add a little more flour. This is a "go by the feel of it" kind of recipe.

**The Baking Spice is a mix that I got at Penzeys.  It contains cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, mace and anise.  Use a teaspoon (total) of any combination of these that you might have, and you may substitute nutmeg for mace.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Lo Mein

It's not that I can never leave a recipe alone.  Well, I usually can't.  But this time I changed up a recipe because I didn't have the fresh ingredients in the house to make it the way it was originally written.  I found this recipe for Jamie's Chicken Chow Mein at Barbara's, and since I'm a big fan of lo mein, I wanted to give this one a try.  The sauce is different from the lo mein I usually make.  This had a much lighter flavor, with a little more kick from the spice.

Chicken Lo Mein
serves 4

Get the whole recipe with nutrition facts at Cook and Count!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Roll With It

There were going to be breadsticks tonight along with our Italian Veal Stew.  That was the plan, anyway, until I woke up this morning and discovered that while I was sleeping, some demolition had taken place in the powder room.  A pipe in the bathroom above that one had leaked, and the ceiling started to cave in late last night.  My husband and older son removed the damaged section of the ceiling and I called a plumber this morning to take care of the pipe.

I found this note on the bathroom door at 5:45 this morning.

And then...yeah...

So the bread didn't happen because by the time the plumber finished it was 1:30 and I had a huge mess to clean up.  At that point, bread wasn't even on my radar screen.

Except for the hole in the ceiling, the bathroom is now spotless.

It's all good until the plumber's bill gets here.

In the meantime, I've got the rest of the dinner cooking and we'll just live without the bread.  (Still hungry?  Have some raw baby carrots.)  And when we're done eating, it'll be time to deliver a plate to Middle Sister, who's started work with the stage crew on her high school's spring musical production.

Yes, I deliver a plate of dinner to her at school.  She's been there since 7:50 this morning, gone through a full school day and a track practice, and then moved on to stage crew.  When she gets home, there's homework to do.

Besides, she asked me to.

It's a win-win as far as I'm concerned.  I don't have to shell out $5 or more per day to keep her in fast food.  She's not eating fast food.  (That's reason enough right there.)  School is only a mile away, so a 15-minute round trip is worth the time and gas to give her a good meal.

And she asked.  Believe me when I tell you that I don't take that lightly.  That request says a few things to me:  she likes "home food" better than fast food, she doesn't want to waste money on junk food, and she still needs me.  She's 16.  She's not going to need me for too many things too much longer.

So for the next couple of months, I will, whenever possible, deliver Meals on Wheels to my daughter at school.  That's how I roll.

It's much more fun than cleaning up a destroyed bathroom.  I only wish I had some breadsticks to put with her dinner.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

What's for Dinner? January 2012

My New Year's Cooking Resolution is to better incorporate fresh vegetables into our meals.  I have a new Pampered Chef steamer which I plan to use for broccoli, green beans and other vegetables.  Microwavable "steam fresh" veggies are great and I will be using those on crazy days, but I'd like us to eat more fresh food when we can.

January's meal-planning challenge around here is the theatre.  Little Brother's acting in a play that opens the last weekend of this month, so there's a full week of every-night rehearsals, plus Sunday-afternoon rehearsals, to work around.  In addition, there are Middle Sister's track meets, and one week left of feeding Big Brother well so that the dorm food is extra-yucky by comparison (hey, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.)

I didn't plan meals for next weekend, which is our wedding anniversary and Big Brother's birthday.  Otherwise, this plan was based on the reality that is our schedule for this month.

Sunday 1:  Gumbo and biscuits (the gumbo was delicious but never thickened up...the next day I cooked it 2 more hours with some pearl barley and wound up with fantastic chicken-barley soup)

Monday 2:  Spaghetti, Olive-Garden breadsticks

Tuesday 3:  Homemade Chipotle with crockpot chipotle beef

Wednesday 4:  Beef paysanne with noodles

Thursday 5:  Rosemary-balsamic chicken

Friday 6:  sick day

Saturday 7:  Pizza at Grandma's

Sunday 8:  Cilantro-Lime chicken drumsticks, rice, green beans

Monday 9:  Italian veal stew with penne and breadsticks

Tuesday 10:  Enchiladas, hash-brown casserole

Wednesday 11:  Spaghetti (time to make a big new batch!)

Thursday 12:  Pho and vegetable dumplings (I have to search for a recipe for the Pho, and the dumplings are frozen)

Friday 13:  Happy Anniversary to us!  (We'd better not be eating at home!)  Takeout for the kids.

Saturday 14:  Big Brother's birthday is tomorrow but we'll probably celebrate as a family tonight.  He gets to pick what he wants.

Sunday 15:  dinner for 3, working around a late-afternoon rehearsal.  I think it might be a good night for French toast.

Monday 16:  Chicken piccata bites, rice

Tuesday 17:  Tacos

Wednesday 18:  Spaghetti

Thursday 19:  Asian chicken wraps

Friday 20:  Sweet & spicy tilapia

Saturday 21:  Hawaiian chicken

Sunday 22:  Tech rehearsal all afternoon/evening; it's Fend For Yourself day

Monday 23:  Chicken pot pie over biscuits

Tuesday 24:  Southwest chili mac with chicken, corn muffins

Wednesday 25:  Spaghetti

Thursday 26:  Spicy orange chicken, rice

Friday 27:  French bread pizza, salad

Saturday 28:  Copycat Alice Springs Chicken

Sunday 29:  Crockpot BBQ chicken (perfect for an after-matinee dinner!)

Monday 30:  Balsamic chicken with thyme

Tuesday 31:  Fajitas

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Balsamic-Rosemary Chicken

This is a very simple way to serve boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  It's a snap to adapt this recipe to any amount of servings, and since it requires only about 30 minutes (including marinating) this is an easy weeknight recipe.  Even a beginner cook won't have a problem making this one.

I got this recipe from Barbara at Bless Us, O Lord; she adapted it from a Rachael Ray recipe.  It's delicious eaten "as is" or sliced and served (warm or cold) over a green salad.

Here's the recipe along with nutrition info at Cook and Count!

I'm adding a new label:  College.  My older son, a college student, plans to live in a campus apartment next year and has told me that he'll be using this blog as his main cooking resource.  This label will make it easy for him to find dishes he can make easily.  I'm just glad he doesn't plan to subsist totally on Ramen noodles and Lucky Charms.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Frugal Gumbo for the First of the Year

Soup recipes can be forgiving in more ways than one.  When it's 2:30 PM and you just find out now that your afternoon and evening plans are cancelled, soup is a go-to dinner idea.  And when you discover that some of the raw vegetables you had prepared for a holiday platter have accidentally gotten too close to the cold spot in the fridge and become frozen vegetables, you can still use them for soup.  I freeze the chicken carcass after we've had a roast chicken for dinner so I can make soup later.

I'm making up a gumbo recipe as I go along.  To borrow a line from Pippin, it has "a little of this, a little of that, a whole lot of that..."  So that I don't forget, I'm writing down the instructions as I go.  This will be chicken-only gumbo since my husband cannot eat shellfish or pork.  I know that's not authentic, but it's healthier for him this way.


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