I’ve been making candied carrots for years. I learned to make them from my mom and she learned to make them from her dad. And they are so good. People who generally don’t like carrots like them. But today I saw Pioneer Woman’s version and decided to give them a try. All I can say is that from now on I’m making them her way. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that coating the carrots in butter, brown sugar and whiskey would turn a mere vegetable into something worthy of a blog post. You can read the recipe and see photos of the process here.
One of my readers asked for this recipe and darn if I can’t find it. I hope whoever asked (anonymous) is one of those *wing it* cooks like I am and can figure this out.
Hawaiian Meatballs over Rice:
1 pound ground beef
handful of cracker crumbs or bread crumbs
1 beaten egg
seasonings to taste (I always include garlic and a bit of ginger)
Mix above ingredients and form into small meatballs. Cook in skillet or bake in oven until done. Set aside and keep warm while making sauce.
1/2 chopped onion
approx. 3/4 to 1 cup rough chopped green and red bell peppers (can just use green but I like the taste and color of red peppers in this)
garlic (a clove or two, chopped, or garlic powder in a pinch)
Sauté the above ingredients in a bit of olive oil until veggies are lightly browned and softened.
Here’s where it gets tricky to explain. You can just add a jar of sweet and sour sauce along with pineapple chunks or tidbits and call it good but if you want to make the sauce from scratch here’s what I do:
Dump in a can of pineapple chunks or tidbits with the juice. Add a good splash of vinegar, perhaps a tablespoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of ground ginger, and a splash of soy sauce. Mix about a teaspoon of cornstarch in a little water and add to sauce to thicken. Taste. If too sweet, add more vinegar. If not salty enough, add soy. If too tart, add more brown sugar. Adjust cornstarch quantity to proper thickness of sauce.
Add the cooked meatballs and simmer a couple of minutes until everything is hot and the sauce is nicely thickened. Serve over hot rice. Last night I served it with egg drop soup and homemade egg rolls. You can top the meatballs with crunchy Chinese noodles which I forgot to do last night. Shhh…don’t tell David – he thinks I’m perfect.
“Stoup…thicker than a soup, thinner than a stew”, as Rachael Ray says.
Tonight I made *stoup* in part because I had several items that I wanted to use up. First I sautéed a thinly sliced onion in a bit of olive oil. When softened I added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to help carmelize the onions. I then added:
-a double handful of baby carrots cut in chunks
-some finely chopped celery tops
-about 2/3 of a large red bell pepper (I had used part of it earlier this week)
-a zucchini cut in chunks
-a yellow squash cut in chunks
-clove of garlic, thinly sliced
various seasonings (pepper, Creole seasoning, basil, thyme, lemon pepper, worchestershire sauce, pick-a-peppa sauce)
I added about 1/2 a cup of leftover red wine to deglaze the pan then started adding more leftovers:
-about a cup of tomato sauce
-approx. 1.5 cups of cooked ground beef
-about 2/3 cup of leftover curried veggies I cooked a couple of days ago
-the last few tablespoons of salsa from the jar
I simmered this concoction for about half an hour and then served it with grated cheese, dollops of sour cream (it turned our rather spicy so the sour cream was a nice contrast), and toasted homemade sourdough bread.
My soups are rarely the same twice, in part because they are great repositories for leftovers. However, they somehow always turn out to be really tasty. This one was no exception, if I do say so myself.
I made chicken enchiladas this afternoon so I could send a pan with my parents who are going to see my brother and his family tomorrow (I actually made two pans so Chris is eating some tonight while David and I go out on our *date night*). It was his birthday yesterday and he loves his sister’s enchiladas. There are several ways I could have cooked the chicken breasts for this dish but today I decided to boil them along with some celery tops I had saved, the last of a package of baby carrots and part of an onion I had used earlier this week. Not only did this flavor the chicken a little bit but it allowed me to put three jars of broth in the freezer, plus provided some veggies for the chicken and the dogs. In fact, I added a couple of other leftover items from this past week and that will provide the dogs’ dinner tonight (along with a bit of dry) instead of their usual canned food.
I now have several jars of homemade broth in the freezer rather than the rather expensive organic broth I usually buy.
I also picked up four large red bell peppers at the store today which were on sale for 67 cents a piece…an excellent price. I’ll be planning meals to use these in the next few days and will probably chop one or two to put in the freezer.
Ham in Cream Sauce
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in skillet. Add about a tablespoon of finely diced onion, season with garlic salt, pepper, lemon pepper, and Creole seasoning. Stir over med. heat until onions are softened. Slowly add about 2 cups of half and half, milk and/or cream (at least part of it needs to be half and half or cream). Simmer until mixture starts to thicken, stirring frequently. Add cooked, chopped ham and a couple of slices of cooked and crumbled bacon. When hot and thickened, add a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and continue simmering about 3 or 4 minutes. Serve over hot, cooked pasta.
This is what we had last night along with a green salad and French bread.
Last night I went out to dinner with friends but made a pot of soup for Chris before I left (David had a class and wasn’t home for dinner, either). I had some for lunch today and Chris can have some tonight (David is in Enid and won’t be home until late; I have choir rehearsal). Here is how I made it:
I started by sauté-ing half a chopped onion in some coconut oil. I added a chopped bell pepper and half a bag of sliced baby carrots. When the onion was just starting to carmelize, I then added some leftover white wine. I would have ordinarily added some broth as well but didn’t have any. I opened up cans of corn, green beans and diced tomatoes, dumping all three (including liquid) into the pot.
I then chopped up the remaining ham from the package I had thawed Monday and added it to the pot. Earlier in the day I had cleaned out the refrigerator and found a couple of bottles with just a tiny bit left in them. One was a vidalia onion and tomato salad dressing; the other was a sweet red chili sauce. There was less than a tablespoon in each of these…not enough for anything really but I figured they might add a little zing to the soup. I also seasoned the soup with garlic, black pepper, Creole seasoning, basil, thyme, Pick-a-peppa sauce, and worchestershire sauce.
I then let it simmer slowly for half an hour or so until Chris came home ready to eat. Easy, tasty and it allowed me to use up things on hand.
…in my self-imposed challenge to avoid the grocery store and use up what we have. I had quite a bit of leftover ham at Thanksgiving which I packaged up in small amounts and vacuum-sealed with my Food Saver then froze. For dinner tonight I thawed one of those packages and chopped about half of it into small cubes. I combined this with one can of cream of chicken soup and about 1/2 of a 16 oz. container of sour cream. It really needed more sour cream but that was all I had. Instead, I added a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise (last of the jar) and a couple of tablespoons of the homemade remoulade sauce I made a few days ago. I then added a splash of half and half, black pepper and Creole seasoning and mixed well. I mixed this concoction into a large package of frozen, diced potatoes, poured it into a greased baking dish, topped with some grated sharp cheddar cheese and baked at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
I served this with frozen broccoli, corn and red peppers (well, I cooked it so it wasn’t frozen anymore). David and Chris both gave this potato/ham casserole rave reviews. I’m glad they liked it because they are getting the leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
As I said, I still have another half package of ham left from the one I opened tonight so tomorrow’s meal will no doubt include that. I’m going out to dinner with my sister-in-law and a friend while our husbands all attend a First Responders course (all three serve on the Happyland Volunteer Fire Department — yes, that really is the name of the department!). I don’t know if David will make it home between work and class but I’ll have something made up in case. Plus, Chris will most likely be here for dinner.
I do need to pick up milk and some fresh produce soon but otherwise I haven’t had any trouble feeding us from what we have on hand. In fact, it’s sort of a fun challenge.
It’s a common enough game around here. I throw some ingredients in a pot, it turns out rather tasty and then we try to decide what to name it. We also take bets on whether we’ll ever have it again.
I started out with the intention of making a simple vegetable soup tonight. I put some olive oil in the pan and then added some chopped onion and bell pepper. David came into the kitchen at that point and asked if I was going to add some celery in order to complete the *holy trinity*. I said “sure” and asked him to get some from the fridge. That made me think that perhaps I would make something sort of Cajun and remembered that I had some shrimp in the freezer. While David ran cold water over the large, pre-cooked shrimp to thaw them, I removed the sautéed veggies from the pan, added more olive oil and a bit of butter, then sprinkled in some flour in order to make a roux. I then added the veggies back to the pot, poured in some white wine from an open bottle in the refrigerator, some seasonings (pepper, garlic salt and the ubiquitous Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning), and then some 1/2 and 1/2, and later a bit of milk to achieve the right consistency.
Meanwhile I’d started a pot of Zatarain’s rice cooking. Back to the “whatever you want to call it”, I start tasting and trying to decide what it needed. It was a little bland so I added some Pick-a-peppa sauce, worchestershire sauce, and (on David’s suggestion) about a tablespoon of Brandy. Better, but still needed…something. Then David had a brilliant suggestion. Mustard. Not just any mustard but Zatarain’s Creole mustard. I added a dollop, we tasted, and then declared it just right. I then added the shrimp and simmered until heated through. Oh, I also had about 3/4 cup of leftover corn with peppers and onion in it which I added to the pot.
I served it over the hot rice with a glass of white wine and it was a very nice meal. Chris and I happen to like our food a bit spicier than David does so the two of us each added a few drops of Chrystal hot sauce to our portions.
It was hot and filling. Plus, it used ingredients we had on hand. Now, any suggestions for a name?
I’ve got a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight so needed something I could put in the crockpot for everyone to serve themselves when it fits their schedule. I had a roast in the freezer so that is what I decided to cook. I had about 1/2 cup of Merlot which was past its drinking prime but okay for cooking so I poured that over the seasoned roast. I also had half an onion in the refrigerator which I cut up and placed on top, along with half a package of baby carrots. I haven’t decided yet whether to make mashed potatoes or just cut some up and add to the crockpot. I’ve got some frozen rolls thawing and rising which I will bake in awhile. I’ll also serve some frozen green beans with all this.
We are supposed to get yucky, icy weather tomorrow. I think that might be a good time to do some baking. I ought to bake some bread and the guys would be delighted if I made some chocolate chip cookies. I have all the ingredients I need for either/both of these.
I still haven’t been to the store but I might stop at Braums tonight after my meeting for some milk and eggs. Chris will be on his own food-wise this weekend and he often likes to make himself an omelet if Mommy isn’t here to feed him. After a couple of years of having chickens it seems so odd to have to purchase eggs. Not to mention they aren’t nearly as good. We have decided to get more chicks this spring but until they start laying I think I need to talk to my next-door neighbor about buying some eggs from him. We are now totally spoiled by fresh eggs!
In accordance with my plan to avoid the grocery store and use up what we have, I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner tonight. I had part of a large bag of meatballs in the freezer, enough for tonight and still enough left in the freezer for another dinner. I sautéed a handful of frozen peppers and onions left in a freezer bag then added the defrosted meatballs (pre-cooked). I then added a jar of Bertolli’s pasta sauce. I have lots of various types of pasta in the pantry so I am starting with the opened packages. I had about 1/2 a package of linguini which was plenty for the three of us, plus enough for David’s lunch tomorrow. I also opened a can of organic corn (not my favorite veggie but David likes it and I had seven cans of corn), and served these with green salad and garlic bread made from a partial loaf of French bread from the freezer.
After dinner I put leftovers in a divided/covered plate for David’s lunch tomorrow. Chris didn’t eat the lunch I sent today because one of the guys brought deer chili and he had that instead. And I still had more than enough meatballs in sauce for my lunch tomorrow — I’ll probably make a meatball sandwich out of it.
I haven’t been to the store but David ran out of the Raisin Bran he eats every morning and picked some up at Braums last night after his class. While he was there he also bought a half gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.
I haven’t decided what to make for dinner tomorrow yet but since it’s the night I have choir rehearsal and am not here for dinner, I’ll try to come up with something easy for the guys to do or something in the crockpot. Stay tuned…
And now I think I might take a short nap. We are meeting friends at 10 p.m. at the bowling alley for “Rock and Bowl”. They turn the lights off (the alleys are lit so you can see to bowl) and play rock music. We will no doubt be the only *old* people there.
Oh, btw, last night David wasn’t here so I just sautéed some frozen tilapia filets for Chris and myself, and served these with baked potatoes and a green salad.