This one is going to be short and sweet.
Times are tough, right? But you don’t need me to remind you of all that is transpiring in the world right now. We all know that things are cruddy in general. So instead of going on a spiel about the barren wasteland of the grocery store, I will spare you all those details. I have a little story about my dad instead.
My dad did three types of meals spectacularly: breakfasts, stews, and breads. I mean, there was a time when he made some stuff that I wouldn’t care to eat again, but he did make some beautiful chicken n dumplin’s with the fluffiest, cloud like dumplings ever. I found myself thinking about his stews and such last night in the wake of his death anniversary, which is a vast improvement to the blubbering I did the year before. I thought, “You know what? I am going to make this.”
But I don’t have leftover chicken and I certainly don’t have any chicken broth or stock on hand. Oh yeah, barren stores and such. Ugh.
I do, however, have canned chicken breast, and I do have chicken flavored stuff like bullion cubes… I can do this.
With that, I share with you:
Hard Times Chicken n Dumplins
This is a quick little recipe of comfort. It uses mostly pantry items and is a good way to fill yourself up. I hope you enjoyed this little recipe.
As you may or may not know...
I am a cabbage roll junkie... But sometimes I just don't want to spend an hour trying to get the cabbage leaves peeled without tearing them and it is this huge, long winded process that I thought I wanted to cut down. It was also in the middle of the summer that I decided to go balls to the wall and make soup. Foolhardy? Absolutely. Worth it? Absolutely. I was really craving golabki, I eat the stuff nearly all year round if I can get away with it... but didn't want to wrap stuff or peel the leaves as I said, and this really is the faster way to get these flavors.
I don't have some fantastic story about how this came to be. I know it isn't an original idea, I did see something similar on YouTube by a woman named Noreen, but that was some years ago. I wanted to come up with my own idea and even maybe a little bit of goulash flavorage or stuffed pepper to add to the dish.
So there are a few things, one of which doesn't need to be pointed out at all but I am going to own up to it anyways... It doesn't look perfect. There, I said it. But looks can certainly be deceiving, right? The fact of the matter is, I did not want to change the integrity of the meat. In the original dish, the meat is placed in the cabbage raw and cooked inside... searing off the meatballs would have completely changed the flavor profile, and I have seen it done the same way for Italian Wedding Soup where the meatballs were not seared. Now, this doesn't mean to say it would make it disgusting, it just wouldn't be the correct flavor profile. If you want to sear your meatballs for presentation, by all means, I am just saying that this way is closer to the original flavor.
Second thing is that regardless of whether you make them as rolls or soup, this dish tends to get greasy from the fat that comes off of the meat. This is one soup where i don't mind it so much, but if you want to get rid of the fat, let it cool completely and then skim it off when it is solid, but leave some for flavor. Or you can boil your meatballs in water and reduce the amount of fat, but again, it would change the flavor profile.
I promise you that this will make you very happy if you are a cabbage roll fanatic like myself. The flavors are rich and hearty, and your belly will be nice and padded by the time you eat what you've served to yourself.
Prep time shouldn't take more than 30 minutes tops between the chopping and the making of the meatballs, cook time is about an hour but is more of a set and forget type of thing (You really only have to get up three times to stir). It serves at least 10 people
This was just a quick one!
I know this was just a quick blog post, but I wanted to get something up so you all didn't think I forgot any of you. My husband just had his surgery not too long ago and I am finding it a struggle to cook for one person since I am a nurturer and like to make people happy with food. Things will even out eventually.
Until then, my friends, I just hope you enjoy the recipes I am able to bring. I have a few that I need to redo from my old blog and such, plus three or four more things already made that I completely forgot about. You'll see :)
Until then... Happy eating, happy belly, my foodies.
Hey hey foodies! I know that it has been awhile again, but you should know the deal by now if you are just coming in: I have health issues and such, sometimes I’ll be gone for months. I have some exciting news in any case in that my husband just went through the gastric sleeve surgery, and I am making efforts to stick to healthier grub for the most part. As you know, my blog is not about dieting, although I will put a special diet recipe up every now and then so as not to leave people out. I will still post, but only when the mood strikes me.
Today I have for you some Scotch eggs, super easy meal to make and so very yummy. I am doing the baked version, the traditional is deep fried.
So what are Scotch eggs?
They are boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and dredged in breadcrumbs, then deep fried (or in this case, baked). They were made somewhere in England, not Scotland, around the mid 19th century and was an easy way to carry your lunch around when working. They are now a widely popular street food and pub grub in Great Britain, and in pubs about the world.
My first encounter with these puppies was when one of my best friends showed me how her dad makes his, and it is a delicious end result you get because of the ketchup and the saltine crackers he uses in the meat. I have since learned the more traditional route of making them and I shift between two different recipes.
They are actually easier than they look and have only a few ingredients. I am going to give you my version of them in a baked state. These are hardly considered diet food but if you can get away without deep frying them, I think it'll be just fine.
That flour doesn't act as a glue, and there may or may not be cracks in the exterior when one is done baking their delicious Scotch Eggs, but that flour turns the juices into a little bit of a gravy instead, which adds to the creaminess of the egg yolk. I am just going to assume that the yolk turns out a bit runnier in the deep fried version, but I never tried making that. I absolutely recommend that you give this dish a dry, even someone else's recipe, because you are missing out if you don't!
What is really cool about just one egg is that you get meal of convenience and it's also pretty dang filling.
A little bit about Shawna
Shawna and I go way back. We met in high school and chummed it ever since. We were such good friends that we drew pictures together, we drank lots of coffee at the awesome Fourth Coast Cafe, and we love each other as sisters. She and I have been through thick and thin, along with our other friends, Lacey, Inga, Kittie, Dawn, and a few other people.
She is our resident Snow White... You know, opens the shutters and sings to the birds and into wells?
Anyways, I guess I owe Miss Pegasus for some of the recipes I have learned over the years, including the eggs. I hope my rendition brings you as much joy as hers did.
Marie Barone isn't the only one...
I have been holding onto a secret for quite some time… or rather, secret recipe.
Did you ever watch the show, Everybody Loves Raymond? Marie Barone was one of my favorite characters. I mean, she could cook some beautiful foods, though she was very secretive of this. One recipe in particular got my gears moving and my curiosity on high alert. It was steak pizzaiola, a name that I memorized and thought about quite a bit.
Carne Pizzaiola means “meat in pizza style,” and is mostly made with cheaper cuts of beef, but can be other meats such as chicken. Basically, it is a wide range of combinations that you can use. The best way to put it is that the meat is a replacement for pizza crust. I have no idea on where in Italy this dish was first made, or even when, but I thank the Italians for such lovely fare.
I decided to look a recipe up and you’re probably going to giggle at where I found it at… I hijacked Martha Stewart’s recipe for her easier version (she has both that and traditional). I made it the first time several years ago, but right away I decided to change what I saw because her recipe seemed so… well… herbless? She was using round steak, which is quite lacking of flavor to begin with, and there wasn’t much in the way of even Oregano. I don’t even remember if she used it or not.
I thought about how I like my pizza in general and went for it. My family gobbled it up, including my very picky dad who didn’t like flavor much (aka, he had a bland pallet, the poor man). Guess what? It’s actually very easy to make, and you don’t even have to tenderize the meat because it’s a slow cooked, one pot/pan meal!
Totally optional but worth it, refined method:
Serve with pasta or bread if desired!
Note: I omitted the paste because that is how I like the sauce, so it might look different on my plate than it will look on yours if you use the paste.
The best part of this recipe is that you can play with it, adding what you like on pizza. If you are so inclined to add mushrooms, or other meats, or what have you. I like to keep it simple, closer to traditional. If you use a different meat, your cooking time might change, Chicken breast is better added back into the pan close to the end of the sauce cooking so it doesn’t dry up, chicken thigh would probably work better.
Funny story about a different protein that I used once for this recipe… My dad absolutely loathed venison. He swore up and down that he would be able to tell if it was deer or not. My sister asked me to cook dinner for a Christmas gathering, perhaps a few years back, knowing that dad would throw a fit if he knew it was Bambi in the pan and not Heifer. Challenge accepted. I made one of my best batches of pizzaiola that evening, making sure I was there before everyone else so dad wouldn’t see the venison before it was cooked. It turned out so tender and delicious that dad ate seconds… I had fooled him into eating deer meat!
When I told him a year or so later that we fed him Bambi, he said, “I knew it all along,” in that tone of voice a kid gets when they find out they’ve been duped.
And I laughed and laughed. (I kid)
With that all being said, I bid you good day and:
I am one of those people that eyeball things that sound odd or off putting to me. For instance, pumpkin spice might be good in my coffee (I honestly wouldn't know) but it would not be good, at least in my mind, in my chocolate pudding or some such. When I first heard about Mac n Cheese soup, there was a big part of me that was turning my nose up, and the kid in me who liked her Kraft to be soupy even though that was not how it was supposed to be made was all like, hell yes!
So I thought about it, and I decided I would give it a try. I wanted it with more stretch, however, so I got the idea to add some burger into the mix because, why not? People make chilli-mac and cheese burger mac, why not go ahead and put some burger into my soup? So I did, and I made the right call. The soup was very delicious, and my husband liked it so much that he ate three bowls. That is a compliment because he's such a picky eater.
I had the urge to throw some broccoli in because, hello, broccoli and cheese soup... But I resisted, and that was also the right call. I wouldn't eat broccoli with a hamburger, so why would I put it in a soup based off of such? I would, however, eat it with some sauteed green peppers, so that is what I did instead.
As usual, I looked around the internet for recipes, saw a bunch, and then decided just to do my own spin which I am sharing with you. Just like in all recipes that I post, I think about the flavor profile... What can I do to make it better? For instance, I didn't really look for a Mac n Cheeseburger soup, just mac n cheese soup. I threw the burger in because I thought it would stretch it along and make it taste good. I was right.
Here is my take!
I apologize for the lack of visuals, but I hadn't actually planned to blog this one. I wanted to try it before anything, and seeing as it was delicious... Well, here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
I don't know where to begin with this blog post, as I am opening up a little on some things.
First of all, I am sorry that my posting can sometimes be sporadic, but I have some tough health issues happening. I am constantly battling with my stomach. You see all this awesome, and sometimes not so awesome, food that I make, and I can't always eat it because I am sick to my stomach. It's a bummer, but I am okay. At least I get to taste it!
Right now, I am waiting on results from a biopsy done to my gut when they found inflammation again. Signs are pointing to an inflammatory disease, which means that I will have to specialize in a completely different diet and my recipes are subject to big changes in the future. Until I know anything, I eat what I want in moderation (mostly) and in the meantime, I will post regular recipes.
I bring this up because I am thinking this means a new format for some of my recipes... Do I do two recipes, a regular one and then the specialized one like I was doing before? I don't know yet. Hopefully, I will know what is going on before too long so I can have a plan of action.
I also want to bring up that I have done several recipes in the last few weeks to try and get ahead, but I did get really ill in the last few weeks, hence me not posting. I am going to go ahead with the one freshest on my pallet.
Thank you for your support and understanding!
Chicken Fried Steak!!
This is another one of those non diet foods, you're forewarned!
I have avoided the making of chicken fried steak like the plague for the longest time. The first time I ate it, it was disgusting... There was a certain flavor to it that I found rather gross that I couldn't put my finger on. Add to that, I still had a diversion to gravy at the time. I don't remember quite how this happened, but if memory does serve me right? Well, I think my mom bought already breaded cubed steak to fry up one time for chicken fried steak, and there was a certain sour taste to it.
If I had to pin point this flavor after looking through different recipes for this food, it would probably be buttermilk. I am almost 99% positive that this is what it was! Half of the recipes that I saw had buttermilk in them, which makes sense because fried chicken sometimes has buttermilk in it that works well with chicken but I don't think it does for beef. I could be wrong, but I wasn't about to use it.
So yeah, I made it, and I dubiously tried a tiny little piece off the end of one fillet, curling my lips defiantly in the process of bringing the food to my pie hole... Then I gingerly took the piece in, chewed, and to my delight, it was delicious. I decided to plate stuff before I could devour the rest of my portion, leaving nothing to be pictured.
My husband was quite please that I made this meal, too, and he gave me a kiss for doing it because he knew that I was kind of on the fence about making it... But I owe it to you, my readers, and myself, to revisit my old foes so that I can make recipes about them. And yes, this recipe is based on ones from around the internet, but I didn't stick to them, I took liberties and it worked.
I hope you all enjoy the recipe as much as I did, but I will probably not be eating this very much at all because, well... Obvious reasons. That is not to say I am telling people not to eat this stuff, so much as to eat it in moderation!
A little history lesson, it is believed that chicken fried steak came from German influence back in the mid 1800's, I can concur that it is much like wienerschnitzel! It did remind me of that, something I had the pleasure of trying in culinary school.
The batter is nice and crispy, there was no sour taste to the steak. Overall, I enjoyed this recipe and I promised my husband that I would make it again.
When I was a little girl, my mom tried to make cabbage rolls because she wanted us to try new things. I remember watching her prepare them in a completely different manner than I do, but only because she didn't know how to do it from scratch. She used ground beef and minute rice she didn't cook, egg to bind, maybe salt and pepper, then wrapped in the cabbage leaves and poured some off brand of spaghetti sauce over them before baking, as opposed to the way I do it. Needless to say, we were a bit young to understand cabbage rolls and it wasn't very popular in our household. Mom got discouraged and never tried it again.
I was running my old blog and was looking for ideas on what to do for a post, and then I fell asleep while watching Martha Stewart. The episode I woke up to was the one where she was making cabbage rolls, and I thought back to my childhood when mom was trying to get us to eat them. So thus, I went looking for a good recipe through my family, as opposed to online, because I really wanted to pay homage to my mom and my great aunts. My grandmother ended up handing me a cookbook that had a receipt in it, and I opened it up... It was right on the page with cabbage rolls! Thanks, Grandma! It was funny because she didn't put the receipt there knowing that I wanted to do this.
I brought the cook book home, and then I took the recipe there, the methods I saw Martha doing with blanching the whole head of cabbage and peeling leaves, added seasonings I thought would work besides just paprika and parsley, and cooked it on the stove instead of in the oven (another method I saw Martha use). If you cannot tell, her shows are my guilty pleasure. Don't hate.
What ended up happening was beautiful. Not only did I make something that I used to loathe and really liked it, but I bonded with my mother over it, as well as my grandmother. It just goes to show that food isn't just about sustenance, but also the joy that it can bring and the memories. The best part of having done these that first time was the look of enjoyment on my mom's face, she ended up liking my version so much that sometimes she would go and buy the ingredients and say, "Hint, hint."
Fair warning to those of you who have never made these before, they are a labor of love. You have a lot of prep work to do just to get them from point A, to point B, but it is completely worth it in the end. Golabki (Pronounced Golumki) are made different by people in Poland, as well as those of us in the US who love to make it. The recipe I saw on a youtube channel ran by an infamous former talk show host, well... She used mushrooms in hers. I wrinkled my nose but to each their own (besides, I am allergic).
Either way you look at it, these are high on the list of comfort foods to eat and enjoyed by many.
I hope you enjoyed this reblog as much as I did with making it. Please do enjoy this comfort food, it is one of the tastiest things if you like cabbage!
Flank steak is something I rarely get to work with due to the cost. It's a really delicious cut of meat, but it can be more than $7/lb, which is more than I can afford. I was lucky enough to get a hold of a 2 lb slab of it for free, which made me very excited and delighted; I had not tasted flank steak since I was a culinary student. I remember it well, that first taste... It was the first time I tasted what a rare steak was like, and it changed my thoughts about steak in general. This was one of several things that helped to shape my pallet into what it is today.
I wasn't sure what to do with it at first, considering the many possibilities you are presented with this particular cut... I could have done Philly Cheesesteaks, or Fajitas, so many things would have worked ut I chose to do something I just came up with.
I took the steak and cut it into two across the grain, thinking I could make one more done than the other. I ended up with both of them being a little too rare even though I had cooked them on the highest temperature I could with the indoor grill (which I am sure I am ready to do a review on soon) and I do not know if if was hot enough or if I simply didn't leave it on long enough (I flipped in ten minutes). It still tasted pretty good when paired with the pasta and ala minute.
This turned out to be super flavorful. The sauce was light and just the right amount for the pasta, and the steak was juicy. They definitely complemented each other very well and I only wished that I had some fresh parmesan cheese to shred over the top, I think it would have taken it to perfection, as would adding just a tiny bit of tomato sauce to make it slightly more robust.
I hope you enjoy this brainchild of mine... Feel free to use a cheaper cut of steak, I know how it goes!
Good eating, foodies
I have already established to you all that Spaghetti is my all time favorite, or one of my favorite meals to make and eat. Sometimes, though, you have to change it up so it's not always the same thing. Sometimes I like to change how I cook the onions and the green peppers, caramelizing the one and roasting the other in order to elevate the flavor. Sometimes I like to add fennel seeds or use the sauce for a different pasta with different meals in mind. Once you have the sauce down, you have many possibilities for what you can do with it. One thing that I do upon occasion is make meatballs.
Making meatballs is an artform. If you know how to make meatballs, you pretty much know how to make a good meatloaf as they are similar in how you prepare them. The key to a great meatball is to make sure they aren't rubbery or crumbly, and that is all in how you work the mixture. It's like a good biscuit, you don't want to overwork it!
Either way you look at it, this is a good recipe to have under your belt (or any good meatball recipe) just for the sake of opening up new doors in your list of things you can do with dishes.
I wish I had some awesome story from my past I can tell you about these, but I just like Meatballs. That's all.
As I said, I wish I had some cool story to tell you about how I learned to make meatballs, but I don't, I just... like them. Although, I did dislike them as a kid. I guess tastebuds change? Anyways, I hope you enjoy this short blog post.
This is a story that started off with a broken oven, and a husband issuing the line that he doesn't know is a challenge to his wife, "My mom made it this way." That's right, my oven did not work, and somehow, I was supposed to roast a few acorn squash for supper one day, and he had to go and tell me the way his mom used to make it... Now, I don't know about how you would have felt being issued such a challenge, but I lifted my chin and accepted it because that is how I roll.
I had a hard time, naturally, trying to figure out how to do this... I had to pick the best alternative method of cooking the squash. I had a toaster oven, a Nuwave oven, and a microwave... The microwave was automatically a no, and the toaster oven, while it would have been good if there was much room in there, and the Nuwave works more like a broiler, but there was enough room for two, halved squashes.
I picked the Nuwave. It isn't necessarily my favorite method of baking things, but that Nuwave has done me many great services whenever there is an oven fail. I managed to make a delicious dinner despite the adversity I faced in the kitchen. And my husband? Well, he was all over that squash.
If you are using a normal oven...
Preheat to 175 c/350 F
In a large mixing bowl...
Combine sausage, sugar, seasoning, milk, bread crumbs, and egg. Use hands to mix well.
Brush squash halves with....
Olive Oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Form sausage into four, equal balls....
And place each into the cavities of the squash halves.
Bake for an hour or until sausage is cooked through, and squash is tender.
If using a Nu-wave - bake for 45 minutes or until the same results are achieved.
Let me tell you that when I first ate a bite of this, I was kind of shocked at how delicious is was. It has a nice, sweet and savory thing going on! I absolutely loved it, and it wasn't exactly as Bruce's mom made it, but it was still Bruce approved. If I can get the man to eat veggies, I am a happy wife.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have! I certainly had fun making this one and taking up the challenge that he issued. A word to the wise, men, telling your wife, "But my mom made it this way," is not cool, man... I say with amusement. But I digress, please do give this one a try even if you are not a fan of squash, you might be surprised!
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.