Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: September Planning

J calls this time of year bittersweet:  he misses the warm weather, but it's now football season.  I don't really think that way: I'm going back to school, and I'm not always sure that I want to be.  Summer is a time of sleeping in, cooking and getting things done sssllllllooooooowwwwllllyyyy.  But the structure of getting up and going to work is probably just as well.  I'm sure J's just as happy that I'm going back too.  He and the cat can get back into their routine that doesn't include me.
The September issue of Everyday Food is full of "family favourites" which is kind of back to school-y.  There are a few things that can be frozen, and as always a couple of desserts that I'm more than ready to enjoy.  Here's to back to school!  Here's to seasonal weather and pumpkin spice lattes!  Here's to what I want to make from the September 2006 issue of Everyday Food!

  • Spice Grilled Chicken
  • Buttermilk Baked Chicken with Spinach Salad
  • Pork Tenderloin with Apple and Onion
  • Wilted Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes
  • Shredded Pork Tacos
  • Cranberry Oat Cereal Bars
  • Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, August 29, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Cheddar-Beef Pastry Pockets

I have been loving the Taste of Home magazine I bought.  I'm starting to think that I should batch cook once a month and then eat the fruits of my labour over the following month.  Or, batch cook over a week, doing what I've done this month making half and eating half.  I'm going to need to look through the magazine for what else I need to try.
I have a habit of making a roast and usually end up freezing the heel, figuring that I'll come up with something to do with it eventually.  I finally emptied all the ziploc bags out of the top of my freezer to figure out what exactly I'd been saving for "eventually".  Leftover grilled pork tenderloin becomes pork fried rice.  Leftover ham goes into frittatas.  But leftover roast beef?  I've never been sure what to do with it.
Enter this recipe.  Leftover roast makes so much more sense than buying a refrigerated roast au jus, discarding/finding another use for the jus, and chopping up the roast.  I also switched out the cheese for one I buy more often, and changed the vegetables for ones I eat.  Let's say that the inspiration came from Taste of Home.
Either way, we enjoyed these.  I present to you now Cheddar-Beef Pastry Pockets:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Glazed Cheese Croissants

J says I need to go back to work.  I'm not sure I agree, but I do know these things:
  1. I am starting to bake things in the morning for breakfast, just because
  2. I am starting to become a recluse in the house because I can
  3. I probably need more to do with my time than cook, pin things on Pinterest, and play on Facebook
  4. I cramp the style and routine of my husband and the cat
As a result, J is talking more and more about my going back full time.  I don't think he realizes what happens when I'm not here to do dishes and make interesting things for lunch.  But time will tell.
I have been intrigued by these croissants for a while, and just hadn't gotten around to making them.  They're interesting because of their limited ingredients, their lack of leavening, and the fact that when rolled out and rolled up they remind me of the crescent rolls my mom made when I was little.
So on the last Friday of my vacation, I made these for breakfast, and they were yummy.  I hope you like them too.  
From the April 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I present to you now Glazed Cheese Croissants:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Salisbury Steak Meatballs

You know what I'm finding with the things that I've been making for my freezer?  They all smell amazing.  This recipe is no exception.  I made this one morning this week, when I had a meeting in the afternoon, and I figured that if this was freezer-friendly, I could make this, refrigerate, and reheat for dinner.  By the time I finished making this, I was sorry that it wasn't for lunch.  It smelled amazing.
As I've said before, J loves meatloaf.  He's already requested that I make it "sometime this fall".  I'm not huge on it, but will make it from time to time, eat it the first night, and then leave it for J to eat for lunch for a couple of days.  He wanted to know today if maybe next time I could make a meatloaf recipe for the meatballs.  Frankly, this is essentially a meatloaf recipe sans Onion Soup Mix.  That would be okay too.
And the reason I'm not fond of meatloaf after night one?  It never reheats well, and I always get the cold spot.  Ew.  Reheated meatballs in gravy?  Much less likely to happen.  Huzzah.
I always enjoy reading the Pioneer Woman, but I've never really made her recipes before.  This was easy and delicious.  My meatballs didn't look quite so great as hers - but that wouldn't affect the taste.  Or, you know, I think mine were as good as how the picture probably tasted.  If the food was screaming hot.
I present to you now the Pioneer Woman's Salisbury Steak Meatballs:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Planning: August 24-29, 2014

I start work full-time again tomorrow.  While I realize that it sounds like I'm whining, I do like my job.  I just find that being home is so much more appealing.  Especially when I still get paid every two weeks.  To that end, this is the last week of making freezer food before we start eating freezer food as a complement to some fresh things.  Football weekends also start next Friday.  Plans get shorter as we're away 7 weekends between now and the end of November.
This week is a bit of an odd clean out the freezer week.  I found a recipe that makes something for the freezer that uses leftover roast beef.  I knew that there was leftover roast in the freezer...and I found some.  Along with the end of a grilled pork tenderloin and a single slice of ham.  I'm planning to use up all 3 this week.  Here's how:
Sunday:  Beef Pastry Pockets.  I told J that these are essentially savory pop tarts.  I hope they're as good as pop tarts.  They're freezable for a quick dinner.
Monday:  Bacon Chicken Ranch Taquitos.  Bacon and Ranch.  How could these be bad?  A new recipe, also freezable.
Tuesday: Pork Fried Rice.
Wednesday:  Grilled steak and potatoes.  I have guitar lesson, so we need something simple.
Thursday:  Buffalo Chicken pizza.  So yummy, nice and simple. 
For the last lunch plans I will write for a while, we're having leftovers, frittata, and leftover pizza.
For dessert, I want to make zucchini bread this week.  I may also make a batch of cookies one evening if there's time.
Looks like a great week.  Let's see what happens!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Baked Spaghetti

It's been nice to have some unseasonable weather the past couple of weeks.  It's not good pool weather, but we've been out in the hot tub in the evening, and I seem to be making a variety of heavier foods that I can freeze.  Heavier food and hot weather don't really mix.
On the nights in between my freezer forays, I've been grilling and making things that are a little lighter.  But this week, the push is on before I return to work full time.  Bring on the unseasonably cold!  Then warm up on Friday for the BBQ Saturday!  One day, I will be able to control the weather, even if it's not today.
J and I both like spaghetti, and I've talked about making a batch of sauce for the freezer.  It's one of my go-to desperation meals around here...I always have pasta and a bottle or 2 of sauce in the house.  We also buy garlic bread at Costco so it's hiding in the freezer when we want some too.  When I got the Taste of Home freezer magazine, this recipe caught my eye because it looked like it made a ton and was so easy looking.  I also figured I could make it in 8" pans instead of a 9x13".  One to eat now, one to save in the freezer for a busy night.
I present to you now from Betty Rabe of Mahtomedi, MN via Taste of Home Baked Spaghetti:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Magazine Challenge: Mini Cherry-Pecan Loaves

I like to bake.  That shouldn't be much of a surprise.  I think the thing about baking is that it's therapeutic.  There's a precision and exactness about baking that requires a concentration that isn't always a part of life.  I'm not sure what exactly I'm in therapy for at the moment, but I still love to spend time in the kitchen baking.
I marked this recipe at the end of last year as something I wanted to make.  I'm not sure why exactly I waited this long to make it, other than there were so many other things to make.  It's an easy enough recipe, with things that I often find around here to bake with.  Kind of like a coffee cake batter made into mini loaves.  My mini loaf pan is small enough that a loaf will give 2 nice sized slices for J and I for dessert.  With a cup of tea, it's a perfect afternoon snack.
I present to you now from the December 2005 issue of Everyday Food Mini Cherry-Pecan Loaves:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Rustic Plum Tart

I am happy to announce that this is the first month that I have completed 6 recipes from the corresponding Everyday Food issue since I started the Magazine Challenge!  Mind you, this is a 2 month issue, but by the same token it's exciting to think that 18 months into the project I've managed to complete my goal.
My mother has been here for a few days, and needed to make a dessert to take with her to a cousin reunion.  I was excited to suggest this, seeing as J isn't a big fan of plums and I thought it looked pretty.  I had another reason to suggest making this with my mother:  she is the queen of pastry.
When my parents got married, my mother said she would make a pie on the 7th of each month - their anniversary.  She's made a pie on the 7th of the month for more than 40 years.  As opposed to my own pastry, hers is flaky and tender.  While this isn't the pastry from the box like my mom makes, or even a traditional lard pastry, I figured she'd know what she was doing.  Plus, with the rustic look of this we couldn't screw it up too much.
Or so I thought.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food Rustic Plum Tart:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Planning: August 17-22, 2014

I'm starting back to work this week.  With the weather as it has been for the past little bit, I'm not sure how sad I am about this.  It means that I will cook less, but we'll start eating out of the freezer soon!  When I came home from the grocery store, J informed me that we aren't allowed to move any time soon because there's no way we'd be able to eat to the bottom of the freezer quickly!
To that end, you'd think I wouldn't be making freezer-friendly food this week, and yet I am.  We are having a pool party and BBQ next Saturday, and there's a box of burgers and a couple of Costco-sized bags of buns in the freezer right now.  Removing those will make space for the things I'm making this week to put into the freezer.
So here's what we're planning to eat on the Mountain this week:
Sunday:  Garlic-Marinated Chicken, grilled potatoes and vegetables
Monday:  Baked Spaghetti - this is a freezer recipe, so make one to eat and one to freeze
Tuesday:  Bacon Chicken Ranch Taquitos (from Pinterest) - also a freezer recipe
Wednesday:  Salisbury Steak Meatballs, buttered noodles and broccoli - also a freezer recipe
Thursday:  Beef Pastry Pockets - also for the freezer
Friday:  Pizza
Lunches are leftovers, sandwiches, frittata, and soup.
Dessert:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Raspberry Cream Sandwich cookies, Cherry-Pecan Loaf

Looks like a good week!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Freezer Friendly: Chicken Spinach Dip Bread Bowls

I'm still working on stocking the freezer.  We went to Costco last week in preparation for a couple of pool parties that we're hosting over the month, and so I have some big bags of hamburger and bot dog buns in the freezer, along with boxes of burgers.  They're taking up space I would like to be filling with food for the fall.  Things are looking fairly full at the moment.  But that hasn't deterred me from making something new to freeze.
I went back to Walmart and bought the Taste of Home Ultimate Meals from the Freezer.  They have a section on how/what to freeze, and lots of recipes that are not all baked pasta dishes to try.  I've marked a few things for the next little bit that look yummy, and are all freezer friendly.  I've also taken their suggestion to heart and started an inventory of my freezer.  Perhaps then I won't end up with 3 pork tenderloins on the bottom as I have right now.
J and I both enjoy appetizers.  When we're here for a Saturday during football season, we often will have a few weeks where I put out veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, some sort of snack mix and we graze as we watch TV.  The focal point usually is a hot baked dip and tortilla chips.  While I have never made a baked spinach and artichoke dip, we have enjoyed it elsewhere.
I looked at this recipe, and it looked delicious.  With the vegetables that are included, it's almost a complete meal in one dish.  We agreed that if serving for company, we would probably add a green salad, but this will stand up on its own.  As a bonus, it makes 2 bowls that will make 8-10 servings.  1 for now, 1 for the freezer.  Because it smells amazing.  There's no way you'd want to freeze both of these at once and just enjoy the aromas in the present.
I present to you now from Taste of Home, Merry Graham's Chicken Spinach Dip Bread Bowls:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Chocolate-Ricotta Icebox Cake

We had people over last weekend for a BBQ and a swim.  When I say "people", that should really be synonymous with "guinea pigs to help us eat things that I won't make for just 2 people."  Luckily, my best friend from elementary school, her husband and kids and my mom are all well aware of the fact that coming to my house means trying things that are new and may not work out.
Part of the fun in trying new recipes is that you never know exactly how things are going to work out.  The pictures always look fantastic, but between home execution, differences in ingredients and weather, and general poor writing of instructions things don't always turn out as planned.  If you come to my house for a meal, more likely than not you're going to be eating something that hasn't been made here on the mountain before.  A sense of adventure can be important.
It was with this sense of adventure that I started reading the comments on Martha's website for this cake.  "A bite of banality" was one review, and there were a bunch more for how tasteless and horrible the cake was.  I took none of the suggestions for improving the cake and soldiered on.  There were going to be 5 extra people to help eat a 10 serving cake that I could check off as a part of the Magazine Challenge.  How bad could it be?
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Chocolate-Ricotta Icebox Cake:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

When I told J today that dinner would be meatless, he got really quiet.  My husband is a meat eater, if nothing else. He asked me if we'd need something else to go with the pasta, and I told him no.  With garlic bread and a salad, this was a nice, quick dinner.
I didn't do exactly what the recipe said.  I couldn't find sundried tomatoes that weren't in oil, so I started improvising.  I also halved the recipe to serve 2.  I don't regret my decisions.  We both enjoyed dinner...and were satisfied.  Go figure.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Pasta:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Planning: August 9 - 14, 2014

J and I are staying on the eating at home kick.  It's been good so far.  The challenge is to keep it good after I return to work.  Luckily, there's another week before I start easing myself back in.  I haven't been sleeping well (I am having trouble falling asleep), so I'm hoping that getting back into a schedule can help with that too.
Yesterday, we went to Walmart after other things, and I got myself a fun new magazine to play with from Taste of Home.  It's all things for the freezer!  We're up to enchiladas and burritos in there right now for the fall, and I've made an frozen an experiment to see what I think that will be coming up soon if it worked out.  I spent a good deal of time poring over the magazine and looking for things that we might like and would work for us.  I've incorporated 2 into this week's plan.
My mother is also coming this week, and we're planning a BBQ with friends for Saturday night.  That amounts to extra dessert and some new recipes with people to help eat them up.  Here's the plan for this week:
SaturdayDinner:  BBQ with friends - Burgers, Hot Dogs, Vegetables and dip, Chips, Lemonade, Ice Cream Cones and Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake.
We're going to the ballgame with my mom.  We're eating the frozen experiment for breakfast with fruit salad, and I don't know what dinner will be.  Lunch is a sausage from a vendor outside the Rogers Centre.
Lunch  Mom is staying with us, so macaroni and cheese for lunch with leftover vegetables from Saturday night, and a dessert of some description.  I don't know...cookies?
Dinner:  Chicken Spinach Dip Bread Bowl (from the frozen dinner magazine), salad, and leftover Icebox Cake
Lunch:  Leftover Bread Bowl.
Dinner:  Steak and Potato Salad
Lunch:  Frittata.  I didn't make one this past week.  With the other vegetables I need for this week, this will use up the odds and ends from the fridge.
Dinner:  Provolone Beef Pastry Pockets.  This is also from the frozen dinner magazine.  They look interesting.  I'm hoping J thinks they're worth it.
Lunch:  Not sure...that's not a good sign.
Dinner:  Grilled Sausage on a bun, salad.
DessertI've thought about Peach Cobbler, I still haven't made the Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, I'd like to make and freeze some of the Cherry Pecan Streusel Loaves, and perhaps a batch of cookies that I haven't decided on yet.
Looks good!  Let's see what happens.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Raspberry Buckle

It's fruit season.  While J enjoys some fruit out of hand, there's not a whole lot of it.  He likes blueberries and blackberries.  Um, he might eat a couple of strawberries.  That's about it.  Whereas I like most summer fruits.
The raspberries right now are spectacular.  J commented today that this is the wettest summer that he remembers in a long time.  As a result, there's been lots of good looking produce.  With how the raspberries are looking, we needed to give them a try.  When the buckle came out of the oven, the only question was whether or not I was planning to serve whipped cream with this dessert.  The answer was a resounding yes.
I spent a little bit of time looking for the origins of the name buckle, and while I discovered that it is a seasonal dessert with rich yellow cake and fresh fruit that is popular in New England, that's about all the wisdom of the interwebs taught me.  All I know is that it's yummy.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food Raspberry Buckle:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Tex Mex Beef Enchiladas

I organized our freezer today.  Somehow, I have managed to accumulate 3 whole pork tenderloins.  I mean, there are a lot of things I can do with pork tenderloin, but I don't always think when I see them on sale.  I actually didn't have as many surprises in the bottom as I was afraid of.  But I do see some tortellini and ravioli dishes in our future.
Now that things down there are organized, it's time to start filling it with things that will be ready for fall when I don't feel like cooking.  J and I were talking today about when the last time was that we went out for dinner.  We think it was the night we came home from Seattle.  That's a good thing.  I keep reminding myself about how I will be grateful when football season is here and there's money for a hotel room...or tailgate supplies from Zingerman's.
Here is the first thing that I've made to fill the freezer.  I made a double batch (numbers reflected in the recipe below) so we could eat and see how they were, and freeze half.  I don't know why I decided to try a new enchilada sauce when the last from Budget Bytes was so successful, but I did.  It's okay (J really liked it), but I like Beth's better.  To each their own.
What I do know is that I'll be happy to pull this out and have dinner that we both like in a reasonably short amount of time.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas:

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Tandoori-Style Chicken Burgers

I'm a little sad as I write this.  Today is Reveal Day for my group over at the Secret Recipe Club.  I opted out for this month, thinking I would be away in July and not around to make and blog a recipe.  By the time I realized I was wrong, the sign up was closed and I was signing up for September's reveal.  So, next month we'll return to cooking yummy things from new and different blogs.  In the meantime, I still am making new things.
Of the 8 things I listed that I want to make from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I have now made 3 things, and the 2 months that I have before I fall behind are half over.  One of the articles in this issue was burgers - and not just beef, but turkey and chicken and pork.  With the success of the Cheddar Horseradish burgers of a few weeks ago, I had high hopes for these.  I'm not sure J was quite so sure.
J came into the kitchen while I was sitting at a TV tray that I had appropriated for using my meat grinder and asked what I was doing.  When I explained, he didn't look too sure about what we were doing for dinner.  But he likes tzatziki and my homemade pitas, so it was really all about whether or not he would like the chicken.  When they were done grilling, they smelled amazing.  After the first one, I was told I could make these again.  I'd call that a win.
I present to you now from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food Tandoori-Style Chicken Burgers:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Planning: August 3-8, 2014

Now that we're back and doing stuff again, it's time to start cooking again.  My mother and I traded produce this weekend:  I bought her sour cherries for making pies (there weren't any in her part of the world, but I got them in a 10 lb pail at the grocery store), and she bought me my dill pickle making supplies.  I brought the dill home, put it in a juice jug of water and put it up on the top of the china cabinet so the cat can't nibble on it.  She now stands in the dining room on the table, looking at the top of the china cabinet and crying.  She's not spoiled in the slightest.
I'm also planning to start the freezing plan this week, so we're making some extra to freeze.  Here are the plans here on the mountain this week about what we'll be eating:


  • Lunch - Leftover Tandoori-Style Chicken burgers (recipe tomorrow.  They're stunning!) and lime cheesecake bars
  • Dinner - We were commenting the other day that we hadn't had chili dogs in a while, so we're having Rudy's 
  • Lunch - Easy, because I'm making pickles this morning. I'm thinking sandwiches.  Although when I look at this, that's 3 meals in a row of sandwiches.
  • Dinner - Garlic Marinated Chicken with grilled potatoes and asparagus
  • Lunch - Bean burritos, seeing as I'm making them for the freezer
  • Dinner - Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Pasta and Garlic bread
  • Lunch - Frittata.  It's amazing what I unearthed while cleaning out the top of the fridge.  I have a couple of single slices of ham that I think will be best chopped and use in this way.
  • Dinner - Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas.   I'm making a double batch to freeze
  • Lunch - Wonton Soup.  I keep threatening to make this.  I might actually get that far this week.
  • Dinner - Leftover Enchiladas
  • Lunch - Leftover Soup
  • Dinner - Chicken Fajita Salad and Garlic Bread
I want to make Cherry Pecan Streusel mini loaves, Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream, Raspberry Buckle, and Chocolate Ricotta Icebox Cake. The loaves are for freezing for later, but the rest is for eating.

I think it will be a great week if we can stay on track.  We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fall Planning: Stocking the Freezer

It is a month today that I return to work.  A.  Month.  Today.  I'm working on not being sad.  Frankly, I return to work before then.  September 2 is the date that students return for classes and we start the next academic year.  I am already starting to panic.
J and I have been discussing how much we spend on eating out.  It's frightening.  In an average week, we probably spend $120.  How crazy is that?  That would be an average week.  In a week where I'm going mach 9 with my hair on fire and I'm so exhausted that I can't think straight, it would be way worse.  This is a trend that needs to stop.
Football season is almost upon us.  Starting at the end of August, we will be away 7 weekends.  Think of how far the restaurant money could take us in terms of hotels, parking and food.  We have resolved to do better in terms of stocking the freezer with items that will keep us from putting on our shoes, picking up the car keys and heading out for dinner.
When we were at Walmart last week, I saw a Taste of Home magazine of freezer-friendly foods.  I need to go back and pick it up for some more ideas, but I've been perusing past recipes here on the blog as well as on Pinterest of things that I want to make this coming month to prepare for the fall.  We've continued to work on eating to the bottom of the freezer, and so we're now ready for the restock.
Here are some of the things I've come up with that I've made in the past to freeze for easy meals that we enjoy:

I've also been busy pinning on Pinterest.  Here's what I've come up with that I'd like to try:
  • Homemade Egg McMuffins
  • Salisbury Steak Meatballs
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos
  • Tex-Mex Enchiladas (this is Magazine Challenge material!)
  • Prosciutto and Cheddar Hot Pockets
I would also like to freeze some muffins and cookies so there's something else around for breakfast or dessert.  

What do you like to hide in the freezer for nights of desperation?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bride of Magazine Challenge: Lime Cheesecake Squares

J and I are back from Seattle.  It was a wonderful trip, visiting with his cousins, seeing the sights, eating and drinking too much, and getting sunburned.  In Seattle.  I KNOW.
But we are back for a short stay before heading off overnight to a baseball game in Detroit.  We may not have gone far for long, but we're going away a little more than usual.  That's okay.  It's not been warm enough to swim, and the pool is currently undergoing a treatment for algae.  We might as well be on the road.
It's no surprise that I love dessert.  I don't have quite the sweet tooth of my mother, but we eat dessert here most nights. It gives me more of a chance to bake.  When I saw this recipe in the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food, I figured it was worth a look.
The ingredients are basic.  I went to buy a lemon at the grocery store today, and they were looking pretty sad.  Like, shriveled and not worth it sad.  So I bought a lime.   Greek yogurt cream cheese was on sale, so that's what went in.  Eggs, sugar, butter and graham crackers?  All things from the cupboard.  All desserts should be this easy.
Well, maybe not.  Fussy desserts are fun to make and eat too.  But you know, if you have a craving on a Tuesday, these would work.
I present to you now from the June 2006 issue of Everyday Food Lime Cheesecake Squares: