Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 3

Day 3—Monday, lazy Monday.

Didn’t mean to torture you, but this particular Monday the Chubby Hubby and I were both off so this was our quality time day. We spent this day in our pj’s  and watched House of Cards, so what we ate were things we could grab while the show was paused.

Breakfast was coffee, turkey bacon, toast and eggs. When we’re off together we generally make a big breakfast, but since we’re out of grits, pancake makings, and most of our fruit so we keep it simple. The bad thing is, in full disclosure, we got up, showered, ate breakfast, and took a nap. 🙂 Yup, it was one of those days!

Lunch was chicken noodle soup and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. I haven’t eaten much chicken noodle soup since I got grown, but I have to tell you how much it hit the spot. Warm chicken noodle soup on a sore throat was just the ticket.

Mm-mm-mm-mm-good!

Mm-mm-mm-mm-good!

While Chubby Hubby was working on our sandwiches, I put some thought into dinner. Didn’t see anything in the actual cabinet that really struck my fancy, so I started digging through the freezer and came across some beef burritos I had stuck in the freezer a month or so ago.

I found this great blog on Pinterest called “Fun with Sharps!”, and thought that their recipe for the burritos looked good. I also liked that I could half it and use I for two meals, which we did. Shortly after I prepped them, Chubby Hubby had to go out-of-town for work for a couple of weeks. His company was generously putting him up in an extended stay type place with a kitchenette, so we fixed him up with the small slow cooker and all kinds of things to throw in there to eat when he didn’t feel like fast food.  He fixed them and talked about how good it was so I kept meaning to make them for myself but never got around to it.

I hope I’m not alone in this, but sometimes I prep for things and feel good because I’m prepared and then completely forget that they’re there. Which is why I decided to start this experiment in the first place was to clear out some of my reserves!

So we stuck the fixins in the slow cooker and went back to our show. A couple of hours go by and we start to smell the beef. Yums. It smells heavenly. When I decide its dinner time I go in and check, looks good to me! I shred the beef and make efforts to pull out the peppercorns. This part is a little rough because they’re small and the sauce is chunky. It’s worth the effort though, because I found one I missed when I was eating and it was a bit strong.  Overall, these were very good and very easy considering that all I did today was thaw them a bit in the sink, dump it in the slow cooker and shred it. Even the initial prep I remember being not too complicated. We ate them with a bit of Greek yogurt and some salsa on some whole wheat tortillas. This is definitely going on the list to make again. Recipe listed below.

Beef Burritos (from SOURCE: http://fun-with-sharps.blogspot.com/2012/10/well-you-cant-say-i-never-cook.html?m=1):
(6+ servings)

  • 1 London Broil or top round roast (about 2 lbs)

    Very, very good. A little salsa and some greek yogurt and tasty dinner complete.

    Very, very good. A little salsa and some Greek yogurt and tasty dinner complete.

  • 1 diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – Use just 1 pepper!! (It’s in a can.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder (you can adjust this according to your taste)
  1. Add all the above ingredients into a freezer bag.
  2. When you are ready to cook the meal, dump the contents of the bag into the crock pot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. When the meat is cooked, you will need to strain the juices and add the juice back to the slow cooker. (You want to remove the peppercorns and onions.) Shred the meat and add back to the juice in the slow cooker for about 30 minutes. This is one of our favorite recipes. My kids eat it as long as we have leftovers.

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    Whoops! Missed some peppercorns! Still very yummy!


Faithful readers, I do promise tomorrow to put in some very good effort and whip up something memorable from the contents of our cabinets.

In the meantime, want to share any ideas of our next Netflix show to binge on? House of Cards is very good so far!


 

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Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 2

(Formatting fixes made, prepare to be inundated!!)

Day 2 of the Cabinet challenge and boy are you going to be disappointed…

No, I didn’t break the challenge again. C’mon, I’m better than that. However, of my very few posts to the site, one of the few things I have already shown you is how I make chicken pie and guess what we made? 🙂  So this is a review in most ways.

Breakfast was cereal (exciting, no?) but that’s off the table now because I used the last of the milk. Oops.  Lunch was a turkey sandwich and chips, and a snack was a couple of handfuls of seasoned nuts (a mixture of almonds, peanuts, cashews and sunflower seeds roasted together. Yet another thing I promise to post later). So for dinner I was digging through the fridge and found some leftover rotisserie chicken that I got at Costco several days ago. It was destined to end up at that great dumpster in the sky had I not rescued it from its fate in the very back of the fridge.  I’m so charitable.

Anyway, Chubby Hubby and I picked all the meat off the bones and diced it up nicely. In retrospect, I really, really wish I had saved the bones to make stock, but I frequently make my own rotisserie chickens so it will simply have to wait and be a post for another day.

So, to review, we took the chicken, diced it up and put it in a greased casserole dish. I added a bag of mixed frozen veggies, a can of cream of mushroom soup, a cup and a half of chicken broth, and some seasonings (the classics: salt, pepper, poultry seasonings, onion and garlic powder, etc.). Once this is well mixed together I make my crust mixture and pour it on top. Bake this in a 400-425 degree oven for about an hour, or until the crust is brown and the casserole is bubbling.

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This is one of Chubby Hubby’s favorites, which I think is why he offered to help, and he ate a big helping AND took some to work for lunch. This one is always a hit and it was nice to not have to fuss with dinner.

What are some of your favorite “go-to” recipes?


 

Cooking from the Cabinets: Day 1

(Still working on some formatting for the blog, hence the delay in postings. Day 1 of the challenge actually took place on Saturday, May 17)

So I had planned for both my husband and myself to cook or eat all three meals this week from the cabinets/fridge. However, full disclosure: I wanted pancakes. I had been craving pancakes (no chubby baby in progress for the record) and nothing would satisfy that craving. So, I did let my parents take me out for blueberry pancakes this morning. Sorry. Day 1: partial failure. But there’s nothing like getting back on the horse right?

Dinnertime and the Chubby Hubby is hungry and on his way home. What to do? I scour the freezer for a protein and find the ground turkey breast I bought when it was on sale before I realized that it was ground turkey breast and therefore has zero fat. There’s nothing wrong with this except it’s easy to overcook and dry out and therefore I’ve avoided using it. Tonight’s the night!

I thaw the turkey and scour Pinterest for ideas (seriously, Pinterest. How did I ever live without you? Am I right?) I find inspiration on Laura’s Sweet Spot for Ground Turkey Stroganoff  (http://laurassweetspot.com/2012/07/16/ground-turkey-stroganoff/). She used ground turkey breast, so I figure this is a good place to start.

I know we have plenty of macaroni, which I can use in place of egg noodles. We always have greek yogurt that I can use in place of sour cream (greek yogurt is a gastric sleeve’s best friend!), and I think we have mushrooms. I look in the crisper drawer for the mushrooms only to find they’re not good anymore. It’s embarrassing how much food we waste because I forget about the stuff I stash in the crisper. I scan the canned goods to see if we have any cream of mushroom soup (I know, I know…processed). I find some Progresso Recipe Starter in Creamy Portabella Mushroom that I bought when it first came out and was on sale and promptly forgot was even in the cabinet. BINGO. This is exactly what I need.

Soup image (STOCK)

MMMMM…canned, processed goodness.

I see a peel-able recipe on the can and looking at it I decide to use that recipe instead of Laura’s (although I’m sure Laura’s is MUCH BETTER and is definitely less processed) because it has MUCH fewer ingredients and looks a lot less complicated for tonight. I peel, slice and saute two garlic cloves in a bit of canola oil while I chop an onion (a white one, as this is what I have) and throw it in with the garlic. When they are cooked super soft I add the ground turkey and brown it. The recipe says to wait and add the Worcestershire sauce once you add the can, but the turkey and the onion and the garlic are JUST.SO.WHITE…no color, carmelization, nothing. I add the Worcestershire to the turkey and it begins to smell pretty good.

Once all the turkey is cooked (this stuff is just so white when you’re used to cooking ground beef or regular ground turkey) I add the canned stuff. It’s gloppy and thinner than I thought it’d be, but it’s fine. I add more Worcestershire sauce because why not. While the soup/sauce/stuff is warming up, I put the macaroni on to boil. Once the noodles get boiling, I take the sauce off the heat and add 3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt and give it a good stir.

This actually doesn’t look to bad.

Image

About that time, Chubby Hubby comes home. He sniffs and sees what I’m cooking.

“Have you ever made stroganoff before?” he asks.

“Nope.”

“Then why are you making it now?”

“Because we had stuff to make it and we needed dinner.”

Chubby Hubby pauses, nods, and grabs a bowl. Apparently, he enjoys it because he eats two bowls. I ask him if he likes it, he nods. I ask if he’d like for me to make it again in the future, he nods (he’s a man of few words 🙂 ). I eat some and while stroganoff is not my favorite thing in the world, I agree it’s pretty good.

So, day 1 of the experiment went pretty well. On to day 2.

~~~

Any thoughts or inspirations? What do you all use Ground Turkey BREAST for?

Cooking from the Cabinets

Hello again! Did you think I had abandoned you? I guess I kind of did. Sorry. Between earning a Master’s Degree, working, interning and having bariatric surgery I kind of left you. I’m sorry. The good news is that I’m back and have LOTS more life experiences to blog about! 🙂

So, for starters, let’s talk about what this post is about: Cooking from the Cabinets.

I hope that a lot of you are better than this, but I know I’m terrible about buying groceries every week without necessarily using what we already have. I’m good about meal planning, but I only use what I need to make those meals and miscellaneous other things begin to accumulate in the cabinets. The soup I bought when it was on sale, the extra box of macaroni that I bought thinking we needed some, the cake mixes, almonds, or salad dressings that just build up and build up until I come home with groceries only to realize that we don’t have room for them.

Cabinet

I mean, come on. It’s embarrassing. This is PLENTY of food to cook from.

What a first world problem, huh? It’s horrible and I feel terribly guilty about it when I know how many people out there go hungry. So, this week I’m doing something about it. I simply decided not to buy groceries. No advance planning, no tweaking my supplies, nothing. Just roll with what we have and figure it out. As I told my husband, we have plenty of food but we get lazy and don’t want to put it the effort to figure out how to make a meal. We’re better than that! So, here we go.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this and maybe, just maybe, be inspired to be creative in using what you have. Enjoy!

Chicken on the bone. Grrr.

I hate chicken on the bone. I don’t know why, I guess because it reminds me of what I’m eating. Flesh of an animal. Hmmm. I prefer, as my sister puts it so delicately, to “buy all my meat all sanitized, cut up and put on styrofoam trays so that no animals were hurt in the process.” I know this is not very respectful to the animal, but it is what it is.

That being said, I bought a big package of chicken thighs on sale at Publix and came home to find them skinless but on the bone. What to do? I decided that I would brown them in a skillet and roast them in the oven to make sure they got done.

So, Chubby Hubby and I set about it. I rinsed the chicken and dried it well so it would crisp. Chubby Hubby seasoned it with salt and pepper, and assisted me in the searing process.  He seared and put the chicken in a roasting pan while I chopped an onion and several cloves of garlic to roast with the chicken. Make lemonade out of lemons, right? 

After this was done, we roasted the chicken, onions and garlic in a 425 degree oven for about 25 minutes (make sure the juices are running clear).  Pulled it out, looks and smells YUMMY. Hmm, maybe this will be ok.

Now, what to do with all this chicken? Our answer: De-bone it and make some Chicken Pie.  How do you make Chicken Pie? I’m glad you asked!

You need a couple of ingredients:

  • Chicken Broth
  • 1 can of vegetables
  • 2 cans of favorite “Cream of” soups
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poultry seasoning

I de-boned and cut up the chicken into small cubes.  Then, I looked at the vegetables I had. Hmm, just carrots and peas. Personally, I like some potatoes in my Chicken Pie, so I decided to cut up a couple of small white potatoes and blanch them (Note: just blanch, don’t cook completely. Remember that they will cook some more in the casserole). While they potatoes boiled, I combined the peas and carrots, chicken and cream of soups. The cream soups I used were Cream of Mushroom and Roasted Garlic and Cream of Chicken and Herbs. Stir together well in casserole dish.

Once the potatoes were  almost done…I realized I had cooked too many potatoes. Oh well, the more the merrier! I drained them and added ’em to the party. It’s now time to add the broth and it hit me. WAIT! I have all this yummy broth that roasted with the chicken, why not use that? (Seriously, how could I throw it away, look at it!)

The proper amount of broth to use is the amount equal to one of the Cream of soup cans. So I strained the broth and added it to the can, came about to be about half of what I needed, so I added the store-bought stuff till I had enough. Stirred it all together till it was combined evenly. Add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning now and stir it all together one more time.

Now, it’s crust time. Now my mom (hi mom!) gave me this awesome recipe for crust for anything that needs crust. Just take a stick of cold butter, cut it into cubes, combine with 1 cup of flour until it looks like sand.  Add 1 cup of milk and mix together. Pour this batter over the top of the casserole last thing.

(Note: I usually prefer more crust, so I mix up about 1 1/2 times the “1 to 1 to 1” recipe, but for simplicity sake, I kept the original amount for this excursion.)

Now bake the Chicken Pie at 415-420 degrees for around 45 minutes. There are 2 sure-fire ways to tell when it’s done.

1) You give the casserole a slight shake in the oven (with a pot holder. Seriously. No lawsuits.) and if it’s still more wobbly than solid, it’s not done. When it’s fairly solid, you’re golden.

2) The crust turns beautiful golden brown. If you peek in the oven and the crust isn’t brown, give it another 5-10 minutes and check it.

Voila! Yummy Chicken Pie that re-heats well for lunches and leftovers.  I guess chicken on the bone is all right after all.