Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce!!!!

Okay, this is my families favorite!   Seriously...they actually beg for it.  It is the best when we pull everything fresh from the garden.  So this would be the winter version.  We will cover the summer version...well...in summer!   Enjoy!

Winter ingredients.   I use a small jar of spaghetti sauce to get a base going.  In the summer, we make it from scratch.  This also kick starts it for a faster dinner.
Brown ground beef. 
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of garlic.

Add fresh veggies to garlic and butter.  We use yellow squash, purple onion, zucchini, mushrooms and red and yellow bell pepper,.

Add fresh parmesan cheese and a little merlot.

Let simmer.  I prefer to simmer for a few hours and if I really plan ahead, in the crock pot the night before. 
Time to serve it up!

Just to busy eating to smile!   Gotta love it!

Nothing speaks louder than a picky 3 year old!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Goin KooKoo!

Frittata has become a more popular dish in the last 10 years.  At least with me it has.  Here is a little bit of trivia on the Frittata!

(Thanks to Wikipedia, the follow information was not extracted from my brain...)
"In Western cuisine, the frittata is usually associated with Italy.
Frittata is equivalent to an Iranian dish called kookoo. There are different types of kookoo such as kookoo sabzi (Herb frittata) and Kookoo sibzamini (Potato frittata)

A frittata may be baked, or it may be started in a cast iron pan. When started on a stove top the frittata can be finished in an oven, under a broiler, or it may be flipped and finished in the pan.
Frittata preparation differs from omelette preparation in that the eggs are beaten to incorporate air where the eggs for omelettes usually are stirred with less air incorporated. The additional air in the frittata mixture allows for a deeper filling and a fluffier result. Ingredients to be incorporated into a fritatta are added to the pan after the egg mixture and before the egg is done in the cast iron pan (in a French omelette they are added before).
A frittata is usually divided into slices. It may also be accompanied with fresh salads, bread, beans, olives etc. "             
You may use any ingredients you prefer...this is what I used for tonight!  You will need oil for the bottom of the pan, so you may use olive oil, bacon grease, butter...I recommend using olive oil if you don't use bacon grease.
Chop veggies and add to the pan.  I used bell peppers, onions, and asparagus.
I then added potatoes and fried them all up together.  Just enough to make the veggies tender and the potatoes hot.
I would recommend using about 10 eggs for a 10" pan with a little milk.  Beating them gently for about 5 minutes adds plenty of air to them and makes for some nice eggs!
Let the eggs cook to where they are holding shape a little bit but still have some runny eggs throughout.
This is the second pan that I made with not potatoes and no bacon grease.  A little less calories!   I added mushrooms and a little bit of bacon.  
Cover in cheese and put in the oven until the cheese bubbles and barely turns golden brown on top.  I usually bake  it for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. 

THEN  I turn the broiler on and broil it for just a few minutes to get the cheese golden brown!  ***Tip...NEVER walk away from food under a broiler, you will most likely have a charcoal cheese! 
I cut it in pie pieces and add garnishes...there are apples and cinnamon sprinkled around the plate.  It really was tasty!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seriously yummy Tacoritos!!

This is another family favorite.  It requires a little more effort and time, but is a real winner!
Ingredients: ground beef, onion, green chiles, tomatos, chili powder, sage, cumin, flour tortillas, salt, garlic, cheese, lettuce, flour, milk. 
While the ground beef, garlic and onion are cooking. In another pan, melt butter, this will be for the white sauce that you will season for everything.  

Add flour to the butter and cook for 1-2 minutes.  
Add milk until it is the constancy of gravy.  Add Cheese, Cumin, Salt, Sage and Green Chilis.
Add enough sauce to the ground beef.  The consistency should be similar to pudding.  Thick not runny.  Save the rest of the sauce for later. 
Add 1 ladle (about 3/4 cup) of meat mixture to tortilla.  Hint: warm tortilla a little to keep it from tearing when you fold it!
Line up each wrap but make sure you don't stack them.  It makes it much harder to get out later.
Bake in over at 350 until cheese bubbles all over....incase you are wondering, your mouth should be watering at this point and your house smells amazing!
Finale!   Add Sour Cream, cheese, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro...whatever you want!  Enjoy!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

TacOle' Soup!!

 Here is a quick soup that is yummy at the same time.   Easy easy easy and tasty tasty tasty!

Ground beef
Diced tomatoes 
Tomato sauce
Tomato paste
Rotel tomatoes
Black beans
Taco seasoning

Cook ground beef, drain, add all other ingredients let simmer for 30-60 minutes to allow flavors to sit.  

Great soup for the crock pot!

Add garnish to your liking...and Voila!   You are done!

Sour cream
Corn tortillas

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Holy Cow Mashed Taters!

Something so simple can be so hard.  Mashed potatoes have a tendency to become very starchy.  That is when they are thick and sticky.  Not to good to the taste buds!  I will give you some tips that were passed down to me...that made an amazing difference in them....
Russet potatoes, scrub with a veggie brush to remove any dirt.  
Peel potatoes.  I love to leave the skin on and have old fashion potatoes too they are awesome and easier when I don't have as much time to peel them.    Cut them in half, not into small pieces.  If you cook them whole or in halves it reduces the starch factor.  

Drain and add to your mixer.  ** Note** Don't ever run water over them it creates sticky starchy yuck!

Add milk and butter.  **Note** always warm the milk and butter, this makes a perfect potato every time.    

Mix until smooth.  You may add all sorts of  additional ingredients here are a few  I suggest!
Bacon and cheese, sour cream, chives, ranch dressing, peas, garlic.  Really anything that you like is fun to try.  Be creative and have fun with it.  


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homemade Country Fried Steak...Mmmmmm!

Well here it is...the very first recipe!   I am soooo excited to share this with you.  Here is a little background on what it is and where it came from.

My Grandma Maurine is a mother of 7 children.  She raised her family on a farm in Nebraska.  She always cooked in a cast iron skillet and let me tell you it makes a world of difference!!!   I believe cast iron is a staple in cookware and each person should have 3 pieces.  Two skillets and a dutch oven.  You can find them at Walmart, Army Surplus, Bed Bath and Beyond...even Emeril has a set you can chose from!  It does require some maintenance but once they are seasoned well, it is very easy to maintain.
This is a very well seasoned cast iron skillet.  The more black it becomes the better.  The pores seal with  the oils and grease and make the surface a dream to cook on.  You need to know it takes time to season, so don't lose patience you have to age it in order for it to really be at it's best.

Back to my Grandma, she is one of the most amazing women God created.  She could make a shopping mall out of a Q-tip and a ! (yes, I borrowed that line from the movie 6 days and 7 nights, good flick!)  She is very resourceful, frugal and fun!   She never let anything hold her back and still doesn't.  She is going to be 98 this year!  She has taught me so much, cooking is only one thing and I treasure all I learned from her.  I will be sharing lot's of tips and recipes that I learned from her.
Here are the main ingredients you will need.  A cast iron skillet is a must!   Cubed beef steak, flour, Potatoes, Salt, and Pepper...Are you ready?   Here we go!!

Take about 1 cup of flour (per 4 cube steaks) and mix in Salt and Pepper.  We will be using a LOT of  salt and pepper so be ready.  I would recommend about 2 tsp of each to start.   Take the cube steak one at a time and in the bowl, use your fist to imbed the flour, flip and do the other side the same way.  It does not need to be thick just covered well.

While you are covering the steak with flour, heat your skillet and oil.  It needs to be hot before you sear the meat.  Add the steak.  Salt and Pepper it again, yes I said again.  Once it is very brown you will flip it.  Continue to flip it until there is no blood coming to the surface of the meat.

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Once the steak has been cooked thoroughly.  I add it to a skillet that holds the cooked steak.  Here is the secret!!!   Pay attention, it is what makes the world of difference.  At this point you want to pour a good portion of water, say half a cup and cover.  Let it sit and steam for at least 30 minutes.  I also put it in the oven at about 275 for an hour or two when I have time.    You may need to add additional water.  I also take the steak from the bottom and move it to the top of the stack in order to keep it all even.  This makes it soooo yummy!

The pan that you used to fry the steak in has all sorts of really yummy seasonings and steak pieces.  Don't take them out. Add flour instead, about half a cup and cook the flour for a minute or two.  Then slowly add milk and let it cook.  It will start to thicken.  Add milk until the gravy is the consistency you prefer.    CLUE:  the more flour you use the more milk it will require, and the more gravy it will produce.

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Completed Gravy!   Looks good...yeah...it tastes better...such a bummer this isn't a scratch n' sniff!

Country Fried Steak like you have never had before!   Tender and so tasty!  Enjoy!!! 

Tomorrow we will make the potatoes that accompany this.  I will introduce you to some creative ways to make them as well...see you then!