Touch of Nectar

{September 26, 2021}   Corn and Potato Chowder

It’s soup season! I had some lovely Quincy corn in the fridge that I needed to use and a recipe I wanted to try, so Corn and Potato Chowder was on the menu for dinner last night. The ingredients. These are things I almost always have on hand. The only thing I had to buy was whipping cream.

This took about 45 minutes start to finish (not including cooking the bacon). I think I can get this down to a 30 minute meal with a few tweaks. The original recipe does not call for bacon, but everything is better with bacon, right?! This was a totally filling comfort food dinner. If you sub vegetable broth for the chicken broth, the chowder is vegetarian.

This makes about 4 main dish servings. It will not freeze well due to the corn and potatoes.

2 cups corn
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

Sauté corn, onion and garlic in a large saucepan until the onion is tender. Process half of the vegetables in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Return to saucepan.

Add broth, potatoes and thyme. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve topped with crumbled bacon.

Variations: try adding diced ham instead of the bacon.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese and/or chives.

I had leftover pork tenderloin. And leftover rice.  And there is always a variety of veggies in the fridge and freezer.  Not liking to have the same meal twice in one week, I tend to get creative…

Bring on the fried rice!  Easy.

Here’s what I did.

I sauteed 1/2 an onion and 2 carrots in some vegetable oil until tender. Then I added the rice. Make sure your (nonstick!) skillet is nice and hot.  When the rice started to brown, I adde the leftover pork tenderloin (diced) and some peas from the freezer.

When the whole thing was heated through, I added soy sauce.  Meanwhile, while everything was cooking, I beat 2 eggs with a little bit of water. I stirred this in, trying to get chunks of scrambled egg throughout the rice.

I served this with some steamed broccoli. Delicious! And easy.

{January 20, 2012}   That’s Nuts!

I made these for Project 365.  It is one of those super simple recipes that I am going to make over and over again.  It’s not even really a recipe.

Buy a can of spanish peanuts. You know, the red skinned ones that are uber salty… Now chop up an equal amount of candied ginger. I happened to find some on sale, but the bulk bins are your friend. 

Now mix the two together and put in an airtight container.  Eat by the handfuls.  This is salty, sweet and has a nice little bit of kickin spice from the ginger. Lovely.

{January 19, 2012}   Some for now. Some for later.

Sometimes it is nice to channel your roots. My family’s history can be traced back to Poland. I’m the 4th or 5th generation to be born in the US. I don’t even really consider myself Polish. I’m a mutt. 

This is one of those recipes that should have been handed down from my grandmother or great grandmother… Total comfort food.

If you are going to make them to freeze. Freeze them individually on a tray or baking sheet before boiling them. Then package them in zip lock bags. Don’t forget to lable and date the bags.  You can drop them into the boiling water right from the freezer. No need to thaw. I love that.

I always seem to have WAY more filling so I double the amount of dough. Freeze half and eat the other half for dinner. Delicious!

Potato Cheese Pierogies

3 1/2 quarts water
2 cups chopped unpeeled potatoes (I peel mine)
1 cup ricotta cheese (Jack works too)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I use more)
1 teaspoon dill (I used more here too)
1 dash black pepper
1 1/2 cups white flour (do NOT try and use whole wheat.  It won’t work. Ask me how I know.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg  (use more if you like this flavor – I love it)
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs , beaten
sour cream

Bring water to boil and cook the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and mash in a medium bowl.

Add the cheeses and lemon juice, mustard, dill and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Combine flour, salt and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the flour until well blended.

Add eggs and knead until smooth. Divide into 16 balls. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil.

Roll out each ball into a circle. Place 1 ½ tablespoons filling on one side, leaving a ¼ “ border.

Fold in half and press edges with a fork to seal. Cook in the boiling water until they rise to the top. Serve with sour cream, butter and paprika.

So I stumbled on this idea on pinterest (yeah yeah. I know) and knew immediately that I had to try it.

Cinnamon rolls on the grocery list. STAT!

These are the ones that come with orange frosting, which I love.  I was pleasantly surprised how well this worked!  The kidling is already asking for me to make them again.

Just stick the cinnamon rolls in the waffle maker, close the lid, and the machine does the rest.  And it is faster and easier than waiting for the oven to preheat. Brilliant!

Hubby had his drizzled with real maple syrup. The kidling and I had ours with the ooey gooey frosting.


{January 13, 2012}   What’s in your fridge?

So there’s this thread over on the backpacking forums that I visit about what is in your fridge. I love seeing what people have. 

Mine usually isn’t this bare, but we are in the process of re-stocking after getting the new fridge. The freezer’s crammed full though!

Lots and lots of condiments, yeast, salad dressing, pickles…

Top shelf has a tray with syrups and jelly (no more sticky fridge!), milk, creamer, some bento supplies.  Second shelf has CAKE and salad. Bottom shelf has meats. Drawers contain veggies and cheese.

And the freezer… I need a new system. :/  Anyone got some good suggestions for organizing a small freezer? 

Bottom trays have veggies. The ziplocks are ready-to-eat meals, soups and cooked turkey/chicken. In the tupperware is meats in marinade and twice baked potatoes (waiting for their 2nd baking).

And in the door… more frozen veggies, bananas, bento stash, ginger.

{January 12, 2012}   Dinner and a Leftovers Idea

I found this recipe on Pinterest (shut up. I do not have a problem.) the other day and realized I had most of the ingredients to make it. I omitted the pastry sheet didn’t really follow the recipe at all. The idea is a good one though, and there are lots of different things you could put in the mix.

Chicken stuffed with Cream Cheese, Bacon and Green Onions.  YUM!!!!


I served it with Hasselback Taters and a green salad. For the taters I just used olive oil and Johnny’s Seasoning salt.

There’s leftover chicken.  I think it will be awesome cut up and tossed with some hot pasta for dinner tonight. The gooey cheese will make a nice sauce.  I also had a little extra of the cheese mix that didn’t fit into the chicken breasts. I am saving this to serve on bruschetta.

I am now out of bacon.  Sad, right?

{January 11, 2012}   Revamped Leftovers. SOUP!

I had made a delicious sausage-onion-sundried tomato pizza the other night and had a bit of sausage and onion leftover (there’s only so much sausage you can cram on a pizza).  Then yesterday, I was reading up on all the bento blogs I follow and found the perfect recipe to revamp my leftovers.

Zuppa Toscana from Bentobloggy. 

I didn’t follow her recipe exactly, since I was starting with already cooked meat, but here’s what I did…

Sauteed one onion, two carrots and two celery sticks in olive oil. I added about 1/4 (maybe a little less?) pound of bacon, chopped coarsely. When the bacon was almost done, I added the leftover sausage, 2 russet potatoes (peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes) and a can of chicken broth and some water.  I let this simmer until the potatoes were tender and the broth had reduced down to a thick soup.  I omitted the greens since I didn’t have any handy. I was winging the recipe afterall, doncha know.  I also didn’t have the heavy cream she calls for in her recipe, so I used 2% milk. It worked just fine.

Dinner took about 40 minutes, start to finish. I served the hearty soup with cheesey breadsticks and a mixed green salad. Nom nom nom!  Perfect comfort food for cold winter days.

Sorry, I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo!

{January 9, 2012}   New Fridge! New Menu

If you follow the blog on Face Book, you’ll know that our fridge went out last week.  After multiple calls to the landlord (oops! Their out of town?! Arg!) and hubby going to buy a fridge himself, we have the new one coming today.  I’ll have to rush home and get all the freezer stuff loaded into coolers, but I’m happy to have a new fridge.

Thankfully the freezer didn’t go out too, but it sickens me to have to throw out as much food as I did.  As a result, last week’s menu got more or less thrown out the window and I was working with what we had.  Add another $26 to the budget last week for dinners.

This week’s menu isn’t 100% complete, but it’s getting there. I want to see what’s on sale at the market this week.  Unlike 2011’s challenge, this year’s lets me have a lot of wiggle room.

So here’s this week’s menu. I haven’t done the grocery shopping yet, so I don’t have the price breakdown. It will be a little higher this week since I have to replace a lot of basics like milk, eggs and mayo.  

As usual, in no particular order…

Mon 9: winging it. Whatever I can find in the freezer/pantry

Tue 10: Cheeseburger Casserole (from 101 ways to use pancake mix), Salad

Wed 11: CORN/Leftovers

Thur 12: Sundried Tomato, Sausage and Fontina Pizza, salad, orange slices

Fri 13: Beef Burgundy or Beef Stew (in the crock pot), salad and noodles

Sat 14: Feta and Sundried Tomato Ravioli (from 1001 Vegetarian) with a prosciutto and browned butter sauce

Sun 15: No plan yet.

Lunches: Barley Lentil Salad (from Beyond the Moon)

Other: Chocolate Stripe Cake (Hershey’s)

I had a lot of fun with Project 365 in 2011, so I decided that I would like to do another food related challenge in 2012.  365 recipes was really just too many, so this year I am focusing on our budget.

The goal for 2012 is to spend $100 or less on groceries each week.  This is breakfast-lunch-dinner for me and the kidling and dinner-snacks for the hubby.

This first week, the budget is slightly skewed because the refrigerator and freezer are bulging from Project 365 leftovers. This week is leftovers and clean out the refrigerator/freezer week, but I still put together a delicious sounding menu.  I can’t seem to get out of the (new?) habit of looking through my cookbooks for recipes, so most of the planned dinners are from my 1001 More Low Fat Recipes book. This is a fantastic book, btw. I have four from this series and intend to add at least two more. What? I don’t have a problem… I just need more bookshelves.

I spent $60.81 for this week’s groceries.   This will not likely be the norm
I found juice boxes on clearance, so I stocked up. I only need two slices of bacon for this week’s menu, but the deli didn’t have bacon. I had to buy a full pound, but when I went to go get it, I discovered that one brand was on sale for buy one get one free! The second will go in the freezer and the extras will be served for breakfasts.

The grocery store didn’t have large pasta shells, so I substituted manicotti shells. I’m hoping this works okay with the recipe I have saved.

The small packages of chicken were wicked expensive and there wasn’t much to choose from. I found a HUGE package of chicken in the clearance bin for less than half the price of the small packages. The extras will be frozen in marinade.

My big splurge this week was prepared meatballs at $5.99 for one bag. Hubby and the kidling requested spaghetti and meatballs on the menu this week.  Normally this is something I make myself (when meat is on sale! And I sneak extra veggies into them too) and keep in the freezer.

Okay, enough babbling… Here’s the menu!  As usual, in no particular order.

Mon 2: Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Pesto

Tues 3: Chicken Fajitas

Wed 4: New England Clam Chowder, salad, crescent rolls

Thur 5: Chicken (leftover turkey in freezer) and Fettuccini Alfredo, salad

Fri 6: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sat 7: Ham and Potato Casserole Au Gratin

Sun 8: CORN/Leftovers night

Lunches: cheese and crackers, salami, leftovers, boiled eggs, celery black pepper kinpira

et cetera