Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Look Ma, free coffee!!!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Did you ever have to participate in those lame team-building exercises at work? Due to things beyond my control, I had to tell DH how to prepare dinner last night. HE had to follow the instructions EXACTLY. It drove us nuts.

If you don't use Bisquick impossible pie recipes, you are missing out. It's an easy way to dress up veggies, use up leftovers, and just switch things up. I had him put together a spinach souffle using chopped spinach and shredded mozzerella. I had to get him to use everything, in the simplest way possible. Ok, not too bad.

Then I had to talk him thru the best pork-chops ever.

1 pack 3-6 porkchops
salt, pepper, seasonings
cracker crumbs-about 1/4 cup per two porkchops

Heat the oven to 425 (the impossible pie is already in there....!) Find the cookie sheet, and put a wire rack on top.
Coat each of the chops with about a tablespoon of mayo, and season the chops. Roll the chops in cracker crumbs, and lay onto rack.

When all the chops have been coated, bake for about 25 minutes. Yummmmmm!

Dinner was great and no one died.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It took 50 years to come up with that dish!

Sorry, it's been stressful at Chez Leftovers. Lots has happened, and it messed up my cooking zen.

We've been on Sugarbusters for the past two weeks. I've been trying to come up with interesting things that we can eat. Which led me to acorn squash.

Acorn squash was a plague of my childhood. Lima beans, cantaloupe, and brussel sprouts were on the "heck no" list, and acorn squash wasn't far behind. I think it was because my dad wasn't a fabulous cook, and my mom didn't do all that great cooking American food. Picture, if you will, an acorn squash with a greasy lump of Jimmy Dean sausage in the cavity, cooked beyond recognition.

I bought a squash Friday, and cooked it tonight. I split it half, seeded it, and nuked it in a casserole with a dribble of water for about 5 minutes. I let that cool down, then chunked and peeled it. I wrapped the chunks in foil with 2 T of olive oil and 1 t of Penzey's Jerk Chicken seasonings. And threw it on the grill for an hour.

Yum. No, really, YUM. Notice that there's NONE left?

Speaking of Penzeys, they are offering a free jar of Cinnamon with your next order. The code is 43537C for online orders. Standard shipping rates apply, and the offer ends 30 November.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Food You Crave

I happened upon a copy of this book in my local library's sale bin. It was 1.00. I had to buy it. I was surprised that a Food Network book with a 2008 publication date was in the bin, but after exploring her website....well, I kind of get it. Apparently the book is a good deal if you sign up for the diet plan at the same time.

I sat down to glance thru it, and saw some interesting things, and some things that made no sense to me whatsoever. The sandwiches made from two portobellos (no bread) SOUND good, but would be a total pain to eat!

Generally, tho, she's trying to get people to eat more vegetables, and do it so the veggies get a reputation for deliciousness. I can get behind that idea. This book is totally worth checking out at your local library.

One of the things she advocates is a well stocked pantry. I glanced down the list-what do you know, I have almost everything on there-excepting Chipotles in adobo, buckwheat flour, and a few other things. (But I do have flaxseed-I want some points for having flaxseed!!!) I have no idea WHAT to do with tahini (besides make hummus, which I like, but come on! what do I do with the rest of the jar?) and according to the index, neither does she.

The recipe I want to try this week is cold avocado soup. That sounds deee-licious, doesn't it? Last week I made sopaipilla cheesecake-it was good and it was a snap to put together! You should bookmark THAT recipe, because it's a zero-to-hero cinch!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In which we clear up a misconception....

  All my life, I thought souffles were fancy schmancy stuff, the kind of dinner food that must be 'announced.'  I'd read the recipes.  

A few years ago, my husband, my brother-in-law and I were sitting around, and it was almost dinner time.  I peeked in the fridge, and didn't see anything I wanted to fix.  But I didn't want to go to the store, either.  It dawned on me that I could make a souffle.

It was a rousing success, and I impressed the heck  out of my 'finest restaurants' BIL.  That night, tho, I learned THE SECRET.  Souffles became popular in the '30s because of trans-atlantic travel, and radio and movie serials, and the like, and also because souffles are a good way to make something out of nothing.  Which made them GREAT food for the Depression.  And now.

So let's walk thru it-

Henry Wallace's Cheese Souffle
3 T. butter or margarine
3 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. white pepper (use regular pepper and 1/2 t. of dried chopped herbs, if you prefer)

1 c. milk
1 c. shredded American cheese (4 oz)
3 eggs, separated

In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine; blend in flour, salt, and white pepper.  When you have a smooth paste, whisk in the milk a bit at a time.  Cook and stir over medium heat until
 the mixture is thick and bubbly.  Remove from heat.
The technical name for this is bechamel sauce.  Here in the south, this is called making cream gravy.
Add cheese, stir til melted.
I thought that the American cheese was '70s kitsch, until I really thought about it.  Many recipes call for America cheeses because of the easy of melting and straightforward flavor.  Point taken.  In this recipe,
American Cheese, Co-jack, or Swiss cheese are totally appropriate.  Save the cheddar for something else, if you can.
Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored.  Slowly add the cheese mixture, stirring constantly, and cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff; fold into the cheese mixture. 
You are trying to maintain some of the volume you just beat into the eggs, so you want to mix so it's streaky, but still looks fluffy.
Bake into an ungreased 5 1/2 c. souffle dish at 325 for 25-30 minutes, then raise the heat to 350 and bake until the top is toasty.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4 as a light dinner with salad.
I used to own a souffle dish.  I have no idea where it is now, so I had to use the big 2 quart casserole instead.  It worked ok.  When you choose your pan, choose something with steep sides.  Something is nagging at the back of my mind....I think it needs the sides to 'climb' and rise, so avoid a flat pan, like a cake pan.
Recipe Source:  Better Homes and Gardens Golden Treasury of Cooking 1973

Monday, August 3, 2009

Camouflaging the leftovers-

Fried Rice-

1 egg, beaten
3 T. vegetable oil
3/4 lb leftover beef roast, sliced thin
handful of sliced mushrooms
4 cups cooled cooked rice (long grain)
1 c. frozen peas (I think I used peas and carrots)

Top with:
3 T. soy sauce mixed with 2 T. water and a dash of garlic powder
1 green onion, sliced

In a large frying pan, heat 1 T oil over medium heat until it shimmers.  Add egg (just pour it in one spot) making an egg 'pancake'.  When cooked, remove to cool.  

Add the remaining oil to the pan, and lightly fry the beef, adding in the mushrooms after about 3 minutes.  When the mushrooms are partly cooked, add the rice and peas.  While they are heating, dice up the egg into thin small strips by rolling the pancake up, and slicing off little "snails" about 1/4" thick.  Cut each snail in half.  

When the rice and peas are heated thru, add the soy sauce mix, lifting and stirring to mix well.  Garnish eggs and green onion.

Serves 4.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coffeeeeee ahhhhh!

Give 4bucks coffee the boot.  Try 2 shots of espresso, cooled*** with 2 Tbls sweetened condensed milk (plain or caramel).  Ice and stir.

***1/2 c. plain, strong cold coffee may be substituted for 2 shots of espresso.