Touch of Nectar











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.

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{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
butter
sour cream
paprika

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.



Meatballs are one staple thing I keep in the freezer. I often add shredded zucchini or yellow squash to them in an attempt to healthy them up.

Then I was sent this sample.

Mostly made of soy. One of the suggestions on the label said it could be mixed with ground beef for a healthier burger.  Well now. Ground turkey was on sale this week for buy one get one free and I intended to make meatballs anyway… Perfect.

It certainly doesn’t look like much right out of the package.

I added two pounds of ground turkey and one egg. It made lots of meatballs!  I put 5 packages of 10 each in the freezer. Yay me!

The meatballs turned out very nicely. You can’t tell I added anything to them and they have a nice dense texture.



{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)



{November 16, 2011}   Project 365 Update!!

I’ve been working like mad to get caught up with my numbers for project 365.

As of this morning my count sits at 304/365 with plans for two (easy!!) recipes tonight.  I put a Navy Bean Soup with Ham in the crock pot this morning (recipe from 1001 Slow Cooker). 

Thanksgiving is coming, and while I’ll be doing all of the ordinary things, I have a few great looking recipes to try out too.

Here’s a few of the latest creations…

Chuckwagon Beef and Beans from 365 One Dish (the biscuits are cooked in the liquid) Brilliant!

Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce from Asparagus to Zucchini. Wicked easy.

Oven Crisp Chicken from 365 Ways to Cook Chicken – the coating is made with stuffing mix. Soooo good. This will be going on the regular rotation!



Okay… nobody panic… As of today I have 79 recipes to go to complet project 365. Yeah. And there are less than 60 days left. AND I’ll be going to Mexico for a week in December. YIKES!!

I will get this done. I’m determined.  I’ll just have to do more baking on the weekends (hubby will hate that, I’m sure!) and more salads and stuff and dinnertime… Not going to panic. Really! Afterall Thanksgiving is coming and giftmas baking must be done, right? RIGHT??

This is another pretty low budget week. I do need a bottle of olive oil. And satsumas are on sale at QFC for $4 for a 5 pound box. Those will be my biggest expenses this week.  Hubby also requested cereal and Top Foods has some he likes for $2 a box (if you buy 4) this week. Canned tuna is on sale there too.  It may sound like I’m running all over the place, but between work and home, I’m really not going out of my way to stop at different stores.

Here is this week’s plan. Again, I may not make what is on the menu on the night it is listed.

I need one more dinner. Burgers of some sort?  Beef stew in the crock pot?  I could use a few more ideas for lunches too. I’ll take a look at the bento cookbooks tonight and update. I did roast some delicata squash last night.  Hubby will be gone on Sunday, so I might use that day to stock the freezer with soups and such.

btw, CORN stands for “Clean Out Refrigerator Night”

Sat 5: Linguini with Salmon and Lemon – 365 Pasta

Sun 6: Chicken and Black Bean Enchilladas – 365 One Dish

Mon 7: CORN – Leftovers night

Tue 8: Spaghetti with Prosciutto and Peas – 365 Pasta  and Creamy Pesto Bread – 365 BBQ

Wed 9: Oven Crisp Chicken – 365 Chicken (this one uses stuffing mix for the breading!) and Rice Acapulco – 1001 Low Fat

Thur 10: Tuna and Corn Fish Cakes – 1000 Great Recipes

Fri 11: Undetermined

Lunches: Curry Cream Stuffed Prunes – Eat Well Stay Well

Other: Pineapple Muffins – Horn of the Moon and Potato Leek Bread – The Breadmachine Cookbook



{April 19, 2011}   Ham and Pineapple Kebabs

Not only does using the grill keep the hubby happy, it gets him to help me with dinner. Both he and the kidling LOVED this recipe. I served it with steamed basmati rice and green beans.

As usual, I made a few changes. I forgot to buy the Maraschino cherries and I added some sweet onion to the skewers. I also used fresh pineapple instead of canned.  Hubby says to use both the onions AND cherries next time. This is one of those recipes that now that I’ve made it once, I can make it over and over again without the actual recipe in front of me. It’s a keeper!

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
1 1/2 lbs cooked ham, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
8 maraschino cherries, stemmed
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare a medium-hot grill.
Thread pineapple, ham, and cherries onto skewers, dividing the ingredients equally.
In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
Brush over ham skewers.
Grill kebabs until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.



The Menu this Week. April 16-22 2011

As usual, these are not in the order that I will make them. Fruit/dessert on the menu this week is pineapple, bananas, pears and oranges.  Do you see a theme with this week’s menu? Hubby brought the barbecue back from our property. It is one way I can get him to help me cook dinner. Shhh… don’t tell him I said that!

I’m super excited because the farmer’s market near my house is now open. You can expect to see lots of fresh fruit and veggies in the upcoming menus. I have asparagus to use but I haven’t decided what I want to make yet. Maybe a white bean and asparagus salad?

I bought half a ham for the kebabs, and only need a small portion of it, so I will make a ham and bean soup in the crock pot to freeze. I will also freeze a portion of diced ham for quick omelets or quiches. I love having a well-stocked freezer!

Sat – CORN/Leftovers Night

Sun – Olympic Burgers #   from 365 Grilling Recipes

Mon – Ham and Pineapple Kebabs #445833 from 365 Grilling Recipes

Tues – Chicken Sandwich with Lemon Basil Mayo #451586 from Eat Well Stay Well

Wed – Pork chops (TBD),  Dijon Parsley Potatoes from George Foreman

Thurs – Grilled Chicken Fajitas from 365 20 Minutes Meals (make double and freeze half), Salsa Fresca Mexicana from 365 Mexican Recipes, Rice

Fri – Watercress and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Tuna from George Foreman, sliced tomatoes

Breakfasts – Sunday, unless we go out to breakfast. Almond Pancakes from Beyond the Moon (didn’t get made last week) and fresh fruit
Muffins (TBD)

Lunches – (smaller portions of the recipes) Grilled Pear Salad with Parmesan from 365 Grilling Recipes
Shredded Carrot Salad # from 365 Grilling Recipes
 
Dessert – Applesauce Cake #451271 from Spices of the World (didn’t get made last week)



Rigatoni with Escarole and Sausage (link to recipe)


I love a fast dinner! This took about 20 minutes or so.

First I put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta. (correction – first pour a glass of wine to drink while cooking dinner!)

From the freezer, I pulled out a package of basil-chicken sausages. I thawed them in the microwave, then sliced them into ¼ inch slices. While those were heating in the skillet, I chopped the garlic and escarole. The head of escarole I had was huge, so I only used half.

When the pasta water was ready, I dumped in the farfalle pasta that I was using.

I added the garlic to the skillet and let that sauté for a bit. When the pasta was almost done cooking, I added the escarole to the sausages. I also added a bit of the pasta cooking water to help it wilt.

When the pasta was done cooking, I drained it and then tossed it with the escarole and sausages.

Served topped with lots of Parmesan cheese.

Dessert was fresh cantaloupe.



{April 13, 2011}   Delicious Easy Lunch

Blackeyed Pea Salad
Serves 6-8

2 cups dried blackeyed peas
¾ cup diced red onion
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 T soy sauce
¾ t salt

Soak the blackeyed peas in 6 cups water for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Drain the beans, put them in a pot with 6 cups fresh water, and bring them to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for 20-25 minutes, just until tender.

Drain the beans, and transfer them to a medium bowl. Stir in the red onion and garlic.

When the peas are cool, stir in the red pepper, scallions and parsley.

Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, tamari and salt. Stir the dressing into the salad and serve at room temperature.
____________________________________________________

This recipe comes from my Beyond the Moon cookbook.

And since I can’t ever follow directions… Here is what I did.

I used one can of blackeyed peas and one jar of red/yellow roasted bell peppers, drained and rinsed. I chopped the bell pepper and tossed it with the peas in a bowl.

I omitted the red onion and salt completely. I mixed the garlic, parsley, vinegar, olive oil and soy sauce together (eyeballing the measurements) in a small bowl before tossing with the salad.

I agree, this is best at room temperature. Yum! And healthy too.

Bell peppers and parsley are both high in vitamins A and C. Parsley also contains calcium and potassium. Green onions are high in antioxidants.

Blackeyed peas are rich in fiber and potassium. They also contain zinc and iron.



et cetera