Friday, December 30, 2011

Rainbow Salad

A head of red cabbage, a head of romaine, matchstick carrots, a cucumber, a squash, an apple, red onion, grapes, a tomato, a celery, & an orange bell pepper.

I'll take Random Foods in Alison's Fridge for $1,000, Alex.

Pretty much anything goes in Rainbow Salad. The brighter & more diverse the colors the better!

Rainbow Salad

1/4 head red cabbage
1 small head romaine or green leaf lettuce
handful matchstick carrots
1 cucumber, diced
1 squash, diced
1/2 apple, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
handful of grapes, cut in 1/2
1/2 bunch of radishes, sliced thin
nuts, toasted
cheese (Feta, mozarella, monterey jack, or other white cheese)
vinaigrette salad dressing (I prefer a balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette)

~ Alison

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beer Bread

I've seen this recipe on a few other cooking blogs and finally tried it last weekend. 
 It is so good!  

We live near a Miller Beer Factory and Mrs. Baird's Bread Factory- they are right next to each other.  Every time I drive by I love the smell & I can't always tell if it's the yeast from the beer or the bread.  I don't even like beer, but for some reason this smell is so yummy.  This bread is perfect b/c it's a combo of the two.  If Mr. Miller and Mrs. Baird's had a baby- it would be this bread.  

I used the recipe found on this one:  Meals at the Muirs
And it's the easiest bread ever to make.  There are only 4 ingredients and like 4 steps!

Ya Need:
3 Cups Self Rising Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 bottle beer
1 stick butter

**If you don't have self rising flour- you can make it!  That's what I do.  Just add 1 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt for every cup of flour. 

What Ya Do:
1.  Preheat oven to 350

2. Mix flour, sugar, & beer 

I used Shiner, but I'm sure you could use whatever  kind you'd like.
3.  Put dough into a greased pan & bake for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove from oven and pour the stick of melted butter over the top.  Then put it back into the oven for another 10 min.
You can't get easier than that!

This was a really big hit with my family.  It is just a little bit sweet, but still savory.  It would be great with a huge steak!  We may be doing that for dinner tomorrow night!

I'm always on the lookout for easy bread recipes, so if you have one please pass it on!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Roasted Garlic

Now this is obviously not a meal, but something I use in meals or appetizers.  If you haven't roasted a head/bulb of garlic before then pay attention b/c you will definitely want to do this.  And if you have, then you will agree with me when I say it is delicious and probably go straight to your kitchen to preheat the oven.

What Ya Need:
one bulb of garlic
olive oil

What Ya Do:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut about a half inch off the top of the whole head of the garlic.  Put on to a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  

 Close up the foil, making a little "pouch" or "purse" and twist it up tight.  Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes.  

 After it's cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic until the cloves pop or squeeze out. 

At this point, I use a fork to mash it into a paste.  But you don't have to.  I used this batch to mix into mashed potatoes.  Garlic mashed potatoes are incredible!

Other uses:
spread on french bread
mix into a chicken pasta dish
on baked potato
on a grilled chicken sandwich mixed with mayo

It's so easy!  I really should make it more often!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

The BEST Cookie Recipe!

"Who are we to have stumbled upon the greatest cookie recipe in the entire world?"
I'm not kidding, but my husband and I ask each other this question every time we make these cookies.  Which is a lot.  Like every week.  
It's the best.
Just trust me, mmmkay?

They are crunchy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  I just ate two.  I have been known to eat more.  And we always have to make a double batch b/c Steven eats then entire first batch right when it comes out of the oven.  So when you make these, just go ahead and double the recipe.  You have all the stuff out anyway and you can freeze the dough.  

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Here's What Ya Need:
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (i use margarine)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
generous 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C rolled oats
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

What Ya Do:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 & grease your cookie sheets
2.  Sift together dry ingredients- flour, baking soda, powder, salt
3.  Cream butter and sugars in a separate bowl
4.  Add egg & vanilla and beat until light and fluffy
5.  Add flour mixture and beat until thoroughly blended
6.  Stir in oats and chips
7.  Plop dough balls on cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are brown and crispy.  (My oven runs hot, so 10 in mine may be 15 in yours)

Make these for the holidays!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The inspiration for my Chicken Tortilla Soup came from The Oasis restaurant in Austin. If you're ever in Austin I highly recommend visiting The Oasis. It's a Mexican restaurant set on a hillside overlooking Lake Travis. They have a monstrous patio with lots of outdoor seating. Plus, they have yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup!

My Chicken Tortilla Soup came from taking 2 random recipes & merging them & tweaking them until I had what I believe to be Really Good CTS.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Alison's own creation!

3 Chicken Breasts, boiled & shredded *
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro, stems removed & chopped, about 1/4 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cans black beans, drained & rinsed **
2 cans diced tomato w/chilis, drained ***
4 cans chicken broth
4 bay leaves
1 1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1+ tsp cumin
Crushed tortilla chips
Monterey jack cheese
1. Boil Chicken or use leftover chicken pieces.
* I prefer to boil chicken in chicken broth & add that broth into my soup. If you do it's really helpful to have a strainer to get rid of all the floating chunks & foam  
2. In a large pot sauté onion, garlic & cilantro in EVOO over med-low heat.
3. Incorporate beans & tomatoes. Add broth & spices, simmer 20 minutes.
** Empty black beans into a colander & rinse well. Unrinsed beans means muddy soup.
*** If you prefer a more tomato-based broth do not drain tomato cans.
4. Add chopped/shredded chicken. Simmer a little longer.
5. When serving add avocado slices, crushed chips, & Monterey Jack cheese to bowls.

The original recipes- proudly splattered & frequently used!

I'm not a big soup fan but I do really enjoy my Chicken Tortilla Soup. I hope you get a chance to try it or even merge my recipe with another & have your own Chicken Tortilla Soup!

~ Alison

Top 10 Most Obscure Ingredients in my Kitchen

Yes, I like weird foods; I'm okay with "different." And, fittingly, I have some unusual items in my kitchen.

Thought we'd do a Top 10 List, Johnny Carson style.

The Top 10 Most Obscure Ingredients in My Kitchen:

#10 Whaler's Vanille Rum - yes, you can drink it & it makes an amazing Spiked Vanilla Coke but it's true purpose for being in my kitchen is it's the star of the show in my Almost Tortuga Rum Cake. My "I don't like alcohol" husband LOVES my rum cake.

#9 Root Beer Concentrate - I sure wish I remember what recipe I bought this for. I've had it in my pantry for years. Guess I should check for an expiration date. 

#8 Rice Sticks - These little guys are similar to glass noodles but have a little more substance to them. They are also way long. I'm not really sure when to use rice noodles vs any other type of oriental noodle but I've got them & will use them some time.

#7  Rice Flour & other random flours - I made a cake for a friend's birthday using rice flour since she is on a special diet. The cake was DISGUSTING. Inedible. Epic Fail.
I also have Cake Flour (for the rum cake, of course!), Whole Wheat Flour, Bread Flour, and All-Purpose Flour.

#6 Coconut Oil - Not really a fan of Vegetable Oil (I actually find it rather gross) so I was very excited to find a substitute for it for baking. It is very high in Saturated Fat so it's still not an "All-The-Time Food" but it has a lot of health benefits to it too.
Information on Coconut Oil & Information on Coconut Oil #2

#5 Goat Cheese - I don't use Goat Cheese as often as I use Feta but I LOVE it on Pizza & pasta dishes. It has a distinct flavor & is very smooth & creamy. It's something you will either hate & hate with a passion (like my husband does) or you will really love it when you find the right thing to do with it.
Oh, and get it at Costco! This stuff is ridiculously expensive but is reasonably priced at Costco.

#4 Coconut Milk - Not sure what to do with it. Impulse purchase.

#3 Miso Paste - Okay, there's a story here - When I was pregnant with Eli we frequently went to Central Market for a cheap date. We'd listen to a band play & eat on the patio. Jason normally ordered something from the grill & I, every time, ordered a baked potato & miso soup. But then Central Market did some remodeling & no longer makes Miso Soup in the cafe. What's a girl with cravings to do? Find a recipe, of course! Unfortunately, my attempts at recreating CM's Miso Soup have been unsuccessful. Possibly because there are 3 different types of miso paste & I didn't know which one to try so I guessed. I even asked a guy who worked there & he called for the guy who made the miso soup but due to his accent the directions were lost in translation, literally. 

#2 Nutritional Yeast - I saw a segment on cancer fighting foods on Dr. Oz one day & bought some. They say Nutritional Yeast has a nutty, cheesy flavor & can be added to cheesy recipes like pizza or you can even substitute it for Parmesan cheese. Tried it. Not so much. It does have a nutty flavor but it's in flakes so it's more like eating nutty almost-cheesy fish food. I haven't written it off & have plans to try it in a macaroni & cheese recipe I saw once upon a time but I have a feeling it will fall into the "Recipe Fail" category.   

And the #1 Most Obscure Ingredient in my kitchen is...

Wakame! - Ah, yes, more ingredients in the search for the elusive Miso Soup. Wakame is dried seaweed. The wakame actually isn't too bad. I mean, I'm not putting it on everything & it's probably a good thing Braden didn't know I had it when he made his pizza. But it really tastes the way it's supposed to & in Miso Soup it's fantastic. 
I tried a recipe to use it since I had it & would give it a try but was not a fan. So, if you have an awesome recipe that calls for wakame please pass it along!  

That's it! Surprised by any  If you're ever at our house & are curious about one of these just ask. We'll do a taste test!
~ Alison

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fried Rice With Roast (or Chicken, or Pork)

By this point I probably had you fooled. You have seen posts using Goat Cheese, Spaghetti Squash, Wine, & other less common ingredients. You must think I'm an accomplished chef & I know what I'm doing in the kitchen.

I have you fooled!
I have a dirty little secret. 
I don't know how to cook rice if it doesn't have the word "Minute" on the box. 
I have tried & tried & have failed miserably each time. 
I didn't even know there was anything other than Minute Rice until I saw my high school boyfriend's mom cooking real rice grains. 
I seriously didn't even know that existed! 

That reminds me, and this is a little off topic, but his mom made The BEST Rice & Beans EVER. They were so good! It was an authentic Puerto Rican recipe- the pinto beans w/ the safrito & simmered with bay leaves, accompanied with real rice. Man, they were good. I wonder if I could get that recipe. She gave it to me years & years (& years!) ago but the 17yo Alison couldn't come close to her Rice & Beans yummyness and after a few disappointing attempts I gave up. 
Would it be weird to ask an old boyfriend for him mom's recipe? I'm married. He's married. It's been 15 years. 
Anyone know the Statute of Limitations on requesting recipes from old boyfreinds???

... Okay, this post is about oriental rice, not Puerto Rican rice...  

I'm making an effort to have my food be more photogenic. (fail.)

At the Westly house Fried Rice is one of those recipes that isn't written down, rarely has the same ingredients, & is never the same twice.

For me, Fried Rice is a nice way to use up vegetables I have in the fridge & need to get out. 

I listed Fried Rice in my post on Leftover Pot Roast Ideas but wanted to give a more detailed recipe.

Fried Rice with Pot Roast (or Chicken or Pork)
2 C Minute Rice 
(You can use any rice if you got the skills!) 
1C leftover cooked meat
3 eggs
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil (or vegetable oil/Olive oil)
Salt & Pepper
Vegetables- carrots, bell pepper, onion, frozen peas, green beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, etc.
green onions

1. Ideally you will use leftover rice. It's best a day or two old straight from the fridge. I usually just make fresh rice & go with it. Tip! If you make it fresh - undercook your rice! If your rice is perfect when you cook it then it'll tend to become mushy. For Minute Rice the trick is to use way more rice than the recipe on the box calls for. 
2. Chop vegetables into fairly big chunks. Frozen vegetables place in a bowl with lukewarm water to thaw.
3. Crack eggs, season with S&P, & whisk/beat with fork.
3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1T+ Sesame oil. Scramble eggs in Sesame Oil. Remove from heat. Add 1T sesame oil if needed. Saute vegetables (except green onions) in skillet, leaving them slightly raw & crunchy b/c they're going to continue to cook. 
4. Add rice to vegetables in skillet. If your vegetables are pretty tender you can remove them from the skillet. Add Soy Sauce. Stir to combine. After 2-3 minutes return egg & meat to skillet. Add chopped green onions. Stir to incorporate & warm up egg & meat. 5. Enjoy!  
Vegetables! I sauteed onion & bell peppers first. Added my frozen/thawed broccoli. Then added other vegetables. 

Sauteed Vegetables + Rice + Egg & Meat + Soy Sauce + Green Onions = Fried Rice!

~ Alison

Menu Monday-Kristie's List

Here's what's on the menu this week at the Lentz house. (in no particular order)

Apple Cider Chicken with rice & roasted sweet potatoes
Swedish Meatballs with egg noodles & sauteed squash
Chicken Stir Fry with rice
Chipotle style burritos (check link for recipe I'll be using) with cilantro lime rice & black beans
Roast Chicken with mashed potatoes & green beans
Meatloaf with mashed or roasted potatoes 

Tonight I think I'll be trying out Swedish meatballs.  A new recipe, let's hope it's a success!

Update:  Swedish meatballs were alright.  Probably won't make these again.  Boo

Pizza Roll

Seriously Kristie, pizza again?
I know!  Even with my love for it, I may be getting a little pizza'd out.  My husband was gone, we've been out of town, and the house looks like a BOMB went off.  I needed something quick and easy, and since dough was already in the fridge it seemed like a good choice.
And it was!  "Dewicious!"

Roll out your dough into the shape of a lily pad like I did.  Actually, a circle is best, but the lily pad worked. I used this dough I made about a week ago that had been frozen and thawed.  

Put on your cheese and toppings.  Don't put sauce on, it's just too messy.  You can dip it in sauce while eating.  And that it spinach, not basil in case you're wondering.   I've got to work in at least something green!

Roll it up...

... seal the ends..  and I don't have a picture of this step, but I brushed it with an egg white & milk mixture to make it brown nicely.

Then I sprinkled on some parmesan cheese and some of this heavenly goodness- Garlic Garlic.  My Mother in Law bought this for us and it is so great on many things, pizza crust especially.

Bake at 400 for about 20 or until golden brown.

 Let it sit for a few minutes and then used a bread knife to slice into it.  I think any knife with a serrated edge would be fine though.

And there she is!  Will and I enjoyed it while watching some Christmas movies.
Tonight I will make a real meal I promise!

Also, I will be posting for Menu Monday!  
I'm not good at consistency... working on it... maybe a New Year's resolution...


Friday, December 9, 2011

Leftover Pot Roast Ideas

Thank you, Allyson Haskell, Allison Cravey, Abby Boerger, Chanti Sprauve, Kristie Lentz, Teresa Tigner, Rachel Eastman, & Meghan DeHart for sharing ideas on using up my leftover  Lady & Sons Pot Roast.

We had lots (LOTS!!) of leftover pot roast & I cannot wait to try the leftovers.
Really, in my book, the leftovers may even be better than the roast alone.
My husband will beg to differ, of course.

Leftover Idea #1 (Thank you, Allyson & Abby!)

Shredded Beef Burritos

  • Shredded/diced leftover roast beef (as much as you have left, even if it would only feed one person)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion (I used purple onion because it’s what I had on hand, but yellow onion would be good too)
  • 16 ounce can refried beans
  • 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle tabasco (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortilla
  • Shredded Cheese (preferably monterey jack)
Place olive oil in a large sauce pan and turn to medium heat.  Add purple onion and sautee for 3-5 minutes.  Next, add diced green chilies, diced tomatoes, beans and beef.  Heat for about 7-10 minutes, or until mixture is warmed through and beef looks shredded.  Remove from heat and stir in chipotle tabasco and salt/pepper to taste.
Serve with warm tortillas and cheese.  Enjoy!

Pot Roast Turned Creamy Dreamy Enchiladas
  • 3 cups Prepared Beef Pot Roast Meat
  • 1 envelope (1 Oz. Packet) Taco Seasoning
  • 16 ounces, weight Your Favorite Salsa
  • 10 ounces, weight Enchilada Sauce
  • 8 ounces, weight Sour Cream
  • 1 bag Flour Or Corn Tortillas
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese For Sprinking
After serving Beef Pot Roast from the slow cooker, pull out some of the meat with a bit of its juice, and set it aside. You’ll need about 3 cups of meat.
To the meat, add taco seasoning and your favorite salsa. (I use mild, but it’s up to you!)
Cover and set to marinate in the fridge overnight or for up to 3 days.
To prepare enchiladas:
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Pour enchilada sauce into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 2.5 minutes. (Make sure when purchasing your enchilada sauce to pay attention to the choices between hot or mild. I always use mild because I am a big chicken when it comes to spicy foods, and so are my kids.)
Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Heat marinated beef in a separate microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes.
Gently whisk together sour cream with warmed enchilada sauce to create a creamy, dreamy concoction.
Set up an assembly line of warmed meat, warmed enchilada sauce, and tortillas next to the casserole dish.
Begin assembling enchiladas by dipping each tortilla in the bowl of creamy enchilada sauce until the tortilla is completely covered.
Place the drenched tortilla on a plate and spoon meat into a line down the center of the tortilla.
Fold both ends of the tortilla slightly up over the meat, then roll enchilada closed from one side to the other and place in casserole dish.
Repeat this action for all 8 enchiladas.
Set the enchiladas in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese and black olives, and set to bake for 5 more minutes.
Allow enchiladas to cool for 6 minutes before serving.

Leftover Idea #2 (Thanks you, Meghan, Kristie, & Abby!)

Beef Stroganoff 1(Very Quick & Easy)

Leftover pot roast meat
about 1/3 cup of sour cream
Leftover gravy from pot roast
Egg Noodles

Bring water to a boil for your egg noodles, cook noodles according to package instructions. Cut the pot roast meat into bit size pieces, add meat and gravy to a pan. Stir in sour cream and bring to a simmer. Done! How fast and easy is that?!

Beef Stroganoff 2 (A Little More Fancy)

1 lb leftover beef of any kind:  steak, roast, hamburger, etc.
2-3 Cups beef broth
2T. worcestershire sauce
1 pound of mushrooms (I used a mix of white button and baby portabellos), sliced in half
1/2 of a large onion, cut into a large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Pinch of dried thyme
2 T. flour
3/4 C. sour cream
9 oz of uncooked egg noodles

Cook noodles according to package directions.  
In a skillet on medium heat add 1 T. butter and 1 T. oil.  
Add the mushrooms and cook till lightly browned.  Removed from skillet into a bowl and set aside.  Add another T. of butter and T. of oil to the skillet, and cook onions till tender and starting to brown.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add the broth, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, cooked meat and browned mushrooms.  Let this get hot and bubbly. (If it looks like it could use more liquid, add more broth.  The noodles will soak up a lot of the "gravy").  
Remove 1/2 C. of the liquid from the pan into a small bowl and whisk in 2 T. flour. Pour flour mixture into skillet while stirring to thicken.  Add more flour if too thin, or add more broth if too thick.  Once you reach a nice gravy consistency, turn the heat to low and stir in the sour cream.  Give it a good seasoning with pepper and taste it to see if it needs salt - the broth can be salty sometimes.  
When the noodles are done, drain them in a colander, then put them back in the pan they cooked in.  Add 2 T. butter to the noodles to keep them from sticking.  
Serve the stroganoff on top of the hot noodles.  Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley. 

Leftover Idea #3 (Thank you, Allison & Chanti!)

Shredded Beef BBQ Sandwich
Shredded beef in a skillet.
Add BBQ sauce.
Tops w/ Cheese (if you wish)
Load onto Buns.

Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches

  • 2 hoagie buns, split
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons prepared coarse-ground mustard
  • 1 pound deli sliced roast beef
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven on broiler setting.
  2. Cut rolls in half, and toast in a bread toaster. Place on a baking sheet. Spread each half with mayonnaise and mustard. Layer with roast beef, tomato, red onion, Provolone, salt and pepper.
  3. Broil 3 to 6 inches from heat source for 2 to 4 minutes (keep a constant eye on it) until cheese is bubbly and is beginning to brown. 
Leftover Idea #4 (Thank you Chanti!)

Shepherd's Pie
from Chanti Sprauve
you can mix the roast with a can of creamed soup put meat on bottom of casserole add a layer of veggies add a layer of cheese and top with tator tots or mashed potatoes cook for about 45 mins!

From Diana Rattray at Southern U.S. Cuisine found here.

* 1 large onion, quartered and sliced
* 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 2 cups diced leftover roast beef
* 2 cups brown or beef gravy, leftover or prepared from mix
* 1/2 cup sliced or diced cooked carrots
* 1 cup frozen peas, cooked
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add onions. Sauté onions until tender; add diced beef, gravy, carrots, and peas. Heat through; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to baking dish.
Beat the egg yolk into potatoes and spoon potatoes over the shepherd's pie meat and vegetables (press potatoes through a pastry tube, if desired). Bake shepherd's pie at 400° for about 30 minutes, or until mashed potatoes are browned and gravy is bubbling.

Leftover Idea #5 (Thank you, Rachel!)

Pot Roast Soup
from Rachel Eastman
Shred the meat, add a bag of frozen mixed veggies. Sometimes I add extra water & beef bouillon cubes. And if you like it thicker, add a can of either tomato sauce or paste. The best part, if you cooked it in a crock pot, just reuse the insert the next day. 

Pot Roast Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon thyme (chopped)
8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
1/4 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
2 cups cooked roast beef (shredded)
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)

1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minute.
3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the mushrooms and thyme and saute until browned, about 12-17 minutes.
5. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.
6. Add the broth and beef and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Meanwhile melt the butter in another pan.
8. Mix in the flour and cook until golden brown.
9. Mix some of the flour mixture into the soup to thicken to the desired consistency.

Leftover Idea #6

Next time I make Fried Rice I'll write down my recipe & add it here. (Assuming I remember!)
I add as many vegetables as I can, a few eggs, rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, & leftover chicken (or pot roast!)

Other Leftover Ideas???
How do you use leftover Pot Roast? 
Or do you have an amazing recipe that you'd want to add? 
Let me know!

Lady & Sons Pot Roast

I'm sitting here trying to think of something clever. 
... nothing.

Nothing clever or smart or particularly amusing this morning.

Okay, if I don't think of something I will disappoint Kristi Ballard who may be my only friend who reads the blog other than me & Kristie. 

That's not really true- We had 75 pageviews yesterday! Woo-hoo!

This is silly but I am very interested in our page views & the various stats of the blog.

I don't know if it's the marketing major coming out, the need for validation or just the fact that I'm a nerd but I LOVE #'s! Tracking #'s, seeing a trend in #'s, etc. 
When there's a day with lower #'s I wonder WHY?. What happened that day? Did we post anything? If so, did I promote it?
And the days when we have 75+ page views- oh baby! What posts were viewed? Why did people stop by? Was it a post worthy of 75 views? What brought them to the post- was it the pics, the recipe, the cleverness of the writing?
 Now, if only we could get more comments! That's be great!

Maybe after a year we can do a Best Of post. Right now my Spaghetti Squash with Almonds is my favorite post. But who knows what cleverness (if any) may come out.

Okay, since I've been accused of writing about things that have nothing to do with cooking (Jason!) I should probably get to it.

This recipe came from Teresa Tigner. It's been adapted for the crockpot. Thank you, Teresa!

Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons Pot Roast
adapted from Food Network/Paula Deen by Teresa Tigner

·                                 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast
·                                 1 1/2 teaspoons House seasoning, recipe follows
·                                 1/4 cup vegetable oil
·                                 1 onion, thinly sliced
·                                 3 bay leaves
·                                 3 or 4 beef bouillon cubes, crushed
·                                 2 garlic cloves, crushed
·                                 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
·                                 1/2 cup Chardonnay
Sprinkle roast on all sides with house seasoning. Using a skillet over high heat, sear roast until brown in oil. Place roast in a slow cooker, and layer onions, bay leaves, crushed bouillon cubes, garlic, and cream of mushroom soup. Add the Chardonnay and cover with enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Cook on the low setting for 8 hours.
House Seasoning:
·                                 1 cup salt
·                                 1/4 cup black pepper
·                     1/4 cup garlic powder

I'll add some pics once it's done cooking, oh, about 8 hours from now. :-)

Oh, and I'm thinking that I'm going to need a few ideas on leftovers. 
Any suggestions???

~ Alison

Meal Plan at the Westly House

**this is the blog entry that BROKE the BLOG!**

I've learned something about myself: when it's COLD I don't want to be out & I definitely do NOT want to go to the store.

So, I'm making my grocery trip count & getting what I need for a week worth of meals.

I'm finding that it's a huge pain to plan out several days of meals! Y'all better be happy!!!

As of right now I'm still working out all the details but here's what I've got so far-

1. Lady & Sons Pot Roast  w/ Baked Potato Soup (12/8 & 9)

** Beef Roast: Use or Freeze by 12/10**
** Bacon **
1a. Leftovers: Steak Fried Rice 12/10

1b. Leftovers: Mediterranean Steak Pita Pocket Sandwiches12/11

2. Tomato parmesan chicken& Spaghetti w/ Broccoli Salad 12/12

** Chicken: Sell by 12/15 **
** Bacon **

3. Chicken Tortilla Soup12/13-15

3a. Chicken Quesadillas w/Leftover soup 12/14, 15 (Freeze any extra)

** Chicken: Sell by 12/15**

4. Healthy Carbonera w/ garlic bread & Salad

** Bacon ** 

5. Greek Pork w/ Spinach & Orzo w/fresh cut fruit & walnuts salad

** Pork: Use or Freeze by 12/20***

6. Cheesy Spinach Manicotti

Hey! Why not make one (OR ALL!!!) of these recipes with me?!?!
That would be so much fun!
You can make it the same day I make it or a day or two later after I get a chance to put up pics & all the details of the recipe.
Let me know if you're on board (please, please, please!)~

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thousand Island Chicken

Disclaimer:  This is not an impressive meal.

It is however super yummy.  That's an official chef's term.  Super yummy.

And at my house it's called my "Crazy Good Chicken".   It's really nothing special, but I know I always love it.  I'm weird though- I don't eat beans, tuna, or eggs.  EVER.  ick 

And somewhere along the way I acquired these horribly ugly recipe cards and used them anyway.  Note to self:  keep handwriting neater, card may appear on blog

So there's the ingredients.  Here's What Ya Do:
Coat the chicken in Thousand Island dressing and then bread crumbs & parmesan cheese (mix these together).  I used Panko, but you can use whatever you have.  Slice up onions and peppers.  *Red taste the best to me.
Toss all in a baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until juices run clear.

You can substitute any salad dressing obviously.  I don't even like thousand island normally, but on this chicken it's wonderful.

And as you can see, I served it with very sophisticated green beans.  Straight from the can. Heated in the microwave.  
Hey, give me a break.  My back is injured, I've got a two year old, and a four month old- most nights I feel satisfied just getting a hot meal made.  Sometimes opening a can of green beans is the best I can do.  

AND... we had a major recipe fail this week too. 
Balsamic Garlic Herb Chicken
I've had this recipe for about 5 years and have been meaning to make it, but just now got around to it.  It was terrible.  My husband thought it was really sick too.
Here it is:
at least the veggies were good.

So the recipe ended up in the trash with the diapers.

We have family Christmas plans this weekend, so tonight is a no cooking night!  We are using a Chili's gift card to get take out.  (thank you My Points!)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kristie's Famous Meatballs

That's what we call them here anyway.  Even though the recipe came from my mom.  So they should be "Sandy's Famous Meatballs", but it's my house and Mom hasn't made them in a bazillion years anyway.  

Anyway, they are delicious, worth the time, and great for cold weather.

What Ya Need:
1 lb ground beef
1 C. italian bread crumbs (or regular)
2 eggs
1/2 C. parmesan cheese (powdered kind)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C. milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 T. dried parsley or fresh if you have it

What Ya Do:

Mix all ingredients.  Roll into 1.5 inch balls and line them up on a baking sheet.  At this point, you can just pop them in the oven at 350 for about 20 min until done.  I always brown them in a pan first just b/c I like the crispy crust that makes.  Then I put them in the oven for a bit.  Just test one of the biggest meatballs to see if they're done.

Serve with sauce & spaghetti noodles of course!  They freeze really well and are great for leftovers.  

I'll be working on two more posts to be up soon:  Thousand Island Chicken (Success!) and Balsamic Garlic Herb Chicken Thighs (FAIL!).  

Make these meatballs and stay warm today!