Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's for Dinner?

I take time each weekend to plan meals for the next week, but sometimes, things don't work out as planned. That would be the case today. Mr. B usually gets off work at 2 pm, but this week he has started working 10 hours a day with Friday off (lucky man). My meal plans for the week were dependent on his arriving home in the early afternoon, so the plans have changed. Because things change quickly at my house, I always try to have something I can prepare in minimal time for days like today. Dessert will once again be provided by my good friends at the end of our weekly Bible study. As always, the facts will follow.

Tuesday Meal
Hot dogs with Chili
Pasta salad (leftover)

Coleslaw (leftover)
Chips (for The Hoss)

Food Facts: This was a quick meal that filled empty tummies and got us out of the house on time. It's always good to have something in the pantry or freezer that will work on busy days! Dessert was Fruity Pastries at our weekly Bible study.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dumplin' Monday

My friend, Lisha, made chicken and dumplin's last week. This week it's my turn to prepare this family favorite. I cooked the chicken on Sunday and placed the broth and chicken in containers in the frig. I also prepared my dill coleslaw this morning. Food Facts will follow later.

Monday Menu
Chicken and Dumplin's
Dill Coleslaw

1 whole chicken
2 whole carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces (include leaves)
1/2 onion, cut in quarters
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
*water to cover chicken in crockpot
chicken broth, if needed
salt and pepper, to taste
Wash and clean out the inside of your whole chicken and place in a crockpot, along with the celery, carrot and onion, with enough water to just barely cover the chicken. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8 hours. When it is finished, remove the chicken, strain the liquid, and dispose of the vegetables. Place resulting broth in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add additional chicken broth, if needed. Separate the chicken from the bones, shred chicken and set it aside. Make dumplings while broth heats. Add dumplings, one at a time while broth is boiling. After the dumplings are ready add the can of soup and mix well. Add shredded chicken and cook on low for a 5-10 minutes to warm throughout. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
ice water (to the right consistency)
Cut shortening into flour, add ice water to form a stiff dough. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into one inch wide strips. Pick up strips and pinch about two inch lengths into boiling liquid.

Dill Coleslaw
6 cups of shredded cabbage (bagged will work)
1 tbsp. dried dill
3/4 cup mayo
black pepper
Combine all the ingredients and keep in the refrigerator until needed.

Food Facts: Shortening will go rancid if you don't use it. Instead of the Crisco I planned to use in my dumplings, I opted for 1 stick of butter. This substitution actually made the dumpling better (IMHO). They were light but held together during the simmer process. Mr. B & The Hoss ate two bowls each and both were happy to see leftovers for later in the week. The coleslaw with its sour taste complemented the chicken & dumplin's nicely. I love fall because the weather lends itself to a lot of our favorite dishes. Until tomorrow, keep cooking.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

So I didn't cook today either!

After spending much of the day coordinating the wedding of a lovely couple in our church, I arrived home about 5:30 pm. It was at that point I made my mistake. I took off my shoes and sat down. It only took minor encouragement from Mr. B to decide to seek sustenance outside the home (that and the fact I had not been grocery shopping). The Hoss and his buddy went along for the ride and the food. Our destination was a new sports grill in our town, Coach's Corner. Here's how the orders stacked up:

Mr. B - Mighty Burger with onion rings
Barb - Chicago Dog with onion rings
The Hoss - Stuffed Mighty Burger with curly fries
The Buddy - Mighty Burger with curly fries
Appetizers - Mozzarella sticks with marinara & Jalapeno poppers with ranch dressing

Food Facts: This restaurant/bar is great for the sports lover! Big screen TVs are everywhere! We arrived right before the kickoff of the AL-GA game to a not so crowded room. Soon there wasn't a free table to be seen. A big plus for me is the fact that we were perfectly comfortable taking our teenagers into this establishment. The bar area is screened from the tables and the crowd in both areas was definitely well-behaved. It's also smoke-free! Now to the big test....our server was on her toes and very friendly. She kept our (very large) glasses filled with water for the adults and soft drinks for the guys and the food arrived in a timely manner. The burgers were handmade and cooked to order, the fries and homemade onion rings were hot & crisp, and the Chicago Dog was one of the best hotdogs I've ever eaten. The appetizers were nothing spectacular but well prepared and worth the price we paid. Most of the menu items are moderately priced. If you haven't yet, give this new eating establishment (60 Village Loop) a try if you are in the Wetumpka, AL area. We'll be going back for sure!

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Friday!

If it's Friday, it's football! Mr. B and The Hoss will go to the game without me. There's a wedding at the church this weekend, so I'll be working. I do plan to join them at half-time for the rest of the game. Dinner for the boys will be Wendy's and dinner for me will be Weight Watcher's Smart Ones.

Food Fact: It's perfectly okay to skip cooking every now and then!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Asian Thursday

My Thursdays are usually full so it was a pleasant surprise to find that this evening I am free from committments! That means I will be able to prepare dinner tonight and enjoy the company of my guys. The recipe I'm using is a conglomeration of several I found in cookbooks and online. Hopefully, Mr. B, will do the prep work before I arrive home. As always the facts will follow.

Thursday's Meal
Shrimp Fried Rice
Apple Blueberry Crisp

Shrimp Fried Rice
1 pound raw shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails removed - frozen works just fine)
2 cups frozen stir fry veggies (thawed)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 egg (beaten)
2 cups rice (cooked)

1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients for sauce and set aside. Beat egg in a seperate bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add shrimp, cook until pink and remove. Coarsely chop shrimp. Add garlic and onion to skillet, cook for one minute, then add veggies and cook until all are tender. Pour in egg and rice and cook until the egg is done. Add sauce and cook until slightly thickened. Stri in shrimp and cook until heated through.

Apple Blueberry Crisp
2 cups blueberries
2 cups apples, peeled and cored
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons coconut, shredded
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons honey

Combine the berries, and apples in a small bowl and sprinkle with one tablespoon flour; toss to coat. Spoon into an 8 X 8 baking dish. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons flour, and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the coconut, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside. Spoon honey over fruit, then sprinkle with the flour mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes then serve warm.

Food Facts: 1. Fried Rice - Cook the egg in a separate pan, then add to fried rice at the very end. Also, you will need to double the sauce recipe except for the red pepper flakes. All in all this dish was very good and easy to assemble once the prep work was done. 2. Crisp - Mr. B. declared this dessert "just about perfect". It was just sweet enough with addition of some whipped topping (out of the can...you know the ones teenagers grab from the frig and eat straight from the can as a snack). I would like more veggies, but The Hoss said there were plenty in the dish already. I believe this one may show up again on the dinner table.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Front Porch Sittin' Wednesday

I don't cook on Wednesdays....at least not for the majority of them in the last seven years! Wednesdays, I step back and let Ms. J work her wonders in our church kitchen, then I sit down and enjoy a time of food and fellowship with my church family. It reminds me of the times we spent as children on the porch (front or back) visiting with friends, family and neighbors. Those visits inevitably involved food in one form or another. Wednesdays at Mulder give me the feelings I felt back then, feelings of being surrounded by people who truly love and care for one another.

Wednesday Meal
Chicken Pot Pie

Food Fact: Sometimes it's not all about the food, it's about the people we share the food with..........

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Twisted Tuesday

Tonight my family will join several others for Bible study. This means, once again, the meal must be quick and easy. Our main course tonight is courtesy of 101 Things to Do with a Crockpot, as was Monday's entree. The recipe actually calls for crushed pineapple, but my pantry yielded chunks, so that's what I used. The crescent rolls are Pillsbury. Mr. B will prepare the rice and be the salad chef for the meal.

Tuesday's Meal
Polynesian Pork Chops
Rice (Make extra for Thursday)
Tossed Salad
Crescent Rolls

Polynesian Pork Chops
4 or 5 lean pork chops
1 cup Barbeque Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
8 ounces crushed pineapple

Season chops with salt and pepper. Place in bottom of crockpot that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Combine barbeque sauce and undrained pineapple and pour over chops. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. This is another new recipe, so the outcome is unknown. I'll post the Food Facts later!

Food Facts: This recipe really needs the crushed pineapple. I'm thinking it would melt into the sauce while the chunks just had a decidedly different taste. Other than the weird chunks, this meal is a success. Mr. B did an excellent job on the rice, salad and rolls, too! He also polished off the food on his plate and packed a lunch from the remaining chop. The Hoss ate his but it's hard to tell if he liked the food or was in one of his 'eat everything that doesn't eat me first' modes. I was pleased with the results for the most part. The taste of the meat and sauce was yummy (minus the weird chunks, of course), the rice was perfect and the salad and rolls rounded out the meal nicely. Now off to Bible study where my good friend supplies dessert. Check out her food blog, too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Mania

It's Monday and that means football in our home. So a 6 pm game means dinner has to be quick or prepared in advance (love those crock pots). Since the beginning of school, I've tried to plan our meals, both as a cost-saving idea but a time-saving one as well. Today's menu is a twist on a recipe I found in 101 Things to Do with a Crockpot. While I love to cook, I'm not averse to a little help from prepackaged foods, hence the stuffing for tonight's meal. I'm also blessed to have a husband who doesn't mind finishing the meal for me. This is an untried recipe so I'll let you know later how it turns out!

Monday's Meal
Crock Pot Chicken Bake
Cornbread Stuffing (from a box)
Green Beans
Cranberry Sauce

Crock-Pot Chicken Bake

5 or 6 boneless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 ounces of evaporated milk
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. cracked black pepper

Spray crock pot with non-stick spray. Place chicken in bottom of pot. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Food Fact: This definitely needs to cook only 8 hours on low and no more. The chicken was a bit dry, but Mr. B who loves his chicken fried, ate it without complaint and even packed leftovers for his lunch. The Hoss ate with the football team tonight. I, however, loved the meal with all the flavors of fall melded together. The only thing missing was the apple pie!