Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meal 135 - Sloppy Joes & butternut two ways

Tonight I made sloppy joes from scratch & butternut squash in two different ways. 

#1 - I chopped up half a butternut squash & one large sweet potato - tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper & baked them at 450 for 10 minutes.  Remove them from the oven & toss with two tablespoons of maple syrup.  Return to oven for another 20 minutes.  This was FABULOUS!!

#2 - With the remaining butternut I chopped it up into fry sized pieces, sprayed with cooking oil & lightly salted.  I placed these on a baking sheet in the same oven & baked until they were lightly browned.

#3 - I chopped two small heads of cabbage, one green pepper, tossed with melted butter & popped that in the oven too.

#4 - For the sloppy joes I just browned the hamburger, added one chopped green pepper & one onion - lots of ketchup, some mustard, garlic powder & brown sugar.  I used to try the cans of manwich - but they don't have enough flavor so I was always "doctoring" them up.  I finally just stopped spending the money on them!!

Meal 133 - leftovers & frozen pizza

Monday night was leftover lasagna & frozen pizza!!
After soccer games this was wonderful.

Meal 132 - Lasagna

Sunday night Jamilyn & I cooked together & made the same basic lasagna that we always make.  The only difference was that we were out of lasagna noodles so we used layers of rotini instead.  It was great to cook with Jamilyn & help her "problem solve" in the kitchen.  That's what so much of cooking comes down to!!

Meal 131 - Mexican!!

Meal 131 was Mexican Lasagna with eggplant, Mexican rice & Mexican cornbread!

Here's the link to the Mexican Lasagna Recipe that I kinda' used:

Here's the link to Paula Deen's cornbread recipe that I went by completely:

And the rice is the Dora Rice that I've talked about making before.  Dora is a woman from Mexico that I got to cook with one afternoon while on a mission trip.  Helping her cook these HUGE pots of food was amazing.  Really, it was just a blessing to get to be with her. 

For the rice she started by heating olive oil in a large skillet, then she added the white rice & basically sauteed that uncooked rice until it had almost toasted in the oil.  At that point she added water, tomato bouillon, diced carrots & cilantro.  Covered & let the rice finish cooking.

Cooking with her that day was the first time I had seen tomato bouillon & it was hard to find at first, but most larger grocery stores carry it.  Saturday night this was the my favorite thing. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Meal 130 - same as before

Meal 130 was Saturday's lunch.  We had just finished hauling in tobacco so I came home a few minutes before everyone else & fixed the same pork and cabbage that we had eaten the night before on our date night.  The kids loved it too.  I do feel blessed to have kids who will actually eat a variety of foods.

Meal 129 - Date night

I don't know if this technically counts, but meal 129 was mostly cooked by Tony.  I was just his sous chef.  When I got home at the very end of the day, he had already started marinating some pork loin for our meal.  He used his standard red wine, olive oil and fajita steak seasoning for the marinade.  Then we just chopped up some cabbage, pepper & onion and sauteed those in some olive oil.

It was perfect.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meal 128 - Stuffed Mini-bells

I'm so excited about tonight's meal, even though I haven't even officially cooked it yet.  I've just spent about 30 minutes doing the prep work & have the entire plan in motion so I'm blogging now.

Check these out:

These little adorable creations are mini-bells.  Little bitty bell peppers!!  I am selling them at our local farmer's market this year & I have fallen in love with them.  I've cooked with them many times & have waited patiently to find the time to stuff them because in my mind, they would make the cutest addition to any meal.  Just look at them all lined up!!

So anyway, I just did a simple hamburger stuffing.  Mixed my hamburger up with a little garlic salt & pepper - and that's it.  I was surprised at how much hamburger a pint of these held.  And I was surprised with the number of them when they were all lined out.  I never thought one pint would make an entire meal - so we will be adding some hamburgers or mini-meatloaves to our plates as well.  I would just stuff up another pint to go with them, but I don't have any left.

I thought about topping them with lots of different things - but have finally decided that I'm going to make a warm dipping sauce for them out of our green pepper jelly.  In my mind (again) these are going to be amazing flavor combinations - so I'll let you know later if I was right!

I'll probably add some baked cabbage to this meal & call it complete.  Maybe some rice??  Not totally sure on the sides needed.  Will post final decisions later.

Meal 127 - just for two

Monday night was NOT a date night, but we I ended up only cooking supper for Tony & I because my mom picked up McD's for all the kids.  Tony had three meetings.  The girls had a soccer game & Wayne had football practice.  So, my mom ended up staying at the game with our girls while I picked Wayne up for practice & when they called & said, "Is it okay for Granny to just take us to McDonald's?"  I said sure.  I did have a plan - but at 8:30 p.m. I quickly yielded to the fast & easy.

When Tony got home he wasn't even that hungry because he had eaten leftover tomato grits for a late lunch.  So I just fixed us a couple of quick sandwiches, some fresh cheese grits & we called it a night.  But, I'm also calling it a meal!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meal 126 - Paula Deen's Tomato Grits

Tonight I made Paula Deen's Tomato Grits.  As always, her recipe did not disappoint!  The link below includes a recipe for Shrimp Florentine, which I did not try tonight (even though it sounds wonderful too.)

I made just a few changes because of what ingredients I did and did not have.  I didn't use any onions, but instead sauteed fresh garlic which I did have.  I didn't have the garlic cheese or cheddar cheese - so I used our old favorite Velveeta.  I also used fresh garden tomatoes & a banana pepper.

I also baked up some yeast rolls from scratch.

LOVED meal 126 - of course I love grits.

Meal 125 - Meatloaf & baked cabbage

Saturday night I was so excited about baking some cabbage!!  Since I was firing up the oven anyway, I just chose a meatloaf to go along with the cabbage.  I don't know if I've ever described how a friend taught me to bake the cabbage.  But I basically chop it up, add onion & pepper and toss it in melted butter & seasoned salt.  Pour into a greased casserole dish & bake at 350 for about an hour.  It is so wonderful!!

Dara put together the meatloaf Saturday night.  Hamburger, egg, quick oats, chopped onion & peppers, worcheshire sauce and some of mom's homemade tomato ketchup from this year's tomatoes!  I baked this for about an hour & then topped with some more homemade tomato ketchup - mixed up with a little brown sugar.  This makes it fabulous.

We also had some cornbread and leftovers from our Thursday night meal - which mom had made for us.  She made us pinto beans, corn, mashed potatoes & cole slaw.  That was a great meal too.

Meal 124 - Roast Beast sandwiches

Meal 124 was a date night meal with just the two of us.  We "splurged" and purchased Doritos & Funyuns to eat with our leftover roast sandwiches.  This is by far my all time favorite sandwich.  When I bought the roasts the other day I made sure I purchased real KRAFT mayo just for the sandwiches I was already planning for later!!

I know that this is not a luxurious date night meal, but it was perfect for us!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meal 122 & 123 - Ratatouille & Lasagna

When I came home from Farmer's Market yesterday I had some key ingredients that I wanted to cook with...tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and eggplant.  So Wayne & I both worked hard to prepare Ratatouille & Lasagna.  Both recipes for these dishes have been previously posted.

Wayne helped me every step of the Wayne, including chopping the vegetables & grating the fresh parmesan cheese.  He completely assembled the lasagna on his own.

I'm counting it as two meals because Tony said I should & because by making both dishes, we actually had enough leftovers for tonight's meal as well.

Meal 121 - Meatloaf & acorn squash

Monday night was quickly made meatloaf, fried cornbread & baked acorn squash.  The meatloaf was wonderful & I totally contribute the flavor to the fresh green peppers I added from our garden.  It just really made all the flavors pop.

I cut the acorn squash in half.  Baked them along with the meatloaf.  However, this time when they were done, I scooped out the squash from it's shell & added a little butter, brown sugar & salt.  The squash was Tony's favorite part of the meal.  The way I made it last time he wasn't really crazy about it.  This time he loved it.  I think this proves that you really have to play with your food & recipes to find what works best for each individual family.

The cornbread Wayne mixed up himself & Tony actually fried it up for all of us while I was picking the girls up from soccer practice.  The greatest meals are the ones where we all pitch in or at least together during the process.

Meal 120 - Roast Beast

One of my favorite literary moments comes when Dr. Seuss narrates the passage where the Grinch steals Christmas from the Who's...even their 'roast beast.'  And later, with the love of Christmas filling his heart, the Grinch himself carves that very roast beast in the Whoville Christmas Celebration!  We love Dr. Seuss.

Anyway, meal 120 was "roast beast" that I actually had to purchase from the store.  We've been out of roasts for awhile & we're so spoiled to having our own beef in the freezer that I honestly don't remember ever purchasing a roast.  But Dara & I were craving roast so badly that I broke down & bought a couple of roasts.

Dara actually got the roasts started in the crock pot for me.  2 sirloin roasts with just a little water to cover the bottom of the crock.  Later I tossed in some fresh garlic, salt & pepper & we let it cook for at least 7 hours on low.  As supper time drew closer I whipped up some mashed potatoes & made some brown gravy from the roast juices. 

For the gravy I just ladeled several scoops over roast juice into a small simmering pot & turned that to medium-high.  I slowly added some corn starch with a small strainer (to eliminate lumps).  The juices eventually thickened to a WONDERFUL gravy. 

And, those three things along with some sandwich bread turned into wonderful Manhattens!  Meal 120 done.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Meal 119 - Greek Moussaka

I just tempered eggs for the first time in my life!
And, I felt very successful when I didn't end up with any scrambled pieces in my sauce!!
And the end of farmer's market today I brought home two eggplants & some fresh garlic, thanks to Athyleon!  I also had some onions & tomatoes left.  So all of that, plus some ground beef, milk, eggs & cheese became our supper. 

It was one of those nights where I just decided to search the internet until I found a recipe that fit what I had available & I ended up choosing a Greek Moussaka recipe. 

The link to the recipe I used is here:,166,143186-240198,00.html

And the link to the wonderful little greek woman that I watched make this on youtube is here:

Here's a picture of the final product.  It took 2.5 hours to prepare.  Not sure it had enough flavor for me.  If I do it again, I'll probably add more seasoning.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Meal 118

Bowls of heaven.  Pretty sure I've posted this recipe before.  It's actually a pampered chef recipe...totally not called that by Pampered Chef.  The name came from Wayne.  The first time he ate it he said triumphantly, "THIS is a bowl of heaven!"

Here's the link.

As you can see from the skillet below I also added some roma tomatoes & did everything in a saute pan.  And, we used leftover rotisserie chicken from our meal last night.
It's the tomato, basil, garlic combination.  We love it.

Meal 117

Bruschetta, rotisserie chicken (totally from the store!) & left over pizza.