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.



{December 26, 2011}   Down to the Wire! Last Menu of 2011

Whew!! Project 365 really has been a project! I’ve learned a lot. And we’ve eaten a ton of great food this year. I’m a little tired of my cookbooks though… And there’s a few that are not going to be staying on the shelves.  And I’ve discovered a handful of new books that I’ll be adding to the collection in 2012. Yes, I have a problem. lol. 

I am looking forward to being able to cook whatever I want, without the pressure of having it “count” toward the project.  We’ve found a lot of new favorites. I think about half or more of the recipes that we tried I will be making again.

I did a RIDICULOUS amount of cooking for Christmas… I was at 21 recipes and 9 days to go. Panic!!  Now I’m at 354/365, so 11 to go and 6 days to to it. I can DO IT.  Problem is… I have a refrigerator full of yummy leftovers!

So this week’s menu is things that can be stored for awhile (salad dressings) and some things that can be frozen. AND recipes that use up leftovers in creative ways.  As usual, these are in no particular order.  There’s more than 11 recipes here to finish, but I predict that I will not get to all of them.

There’s a Lichi Martini recipe I want to try and I bought vodka for xmas. I need to find which book it is in. Yum!

Rounding the dinners out are leftover vegetables and crackers with a big variety of dips and cheeses. It will be fun to have “appetizers” before dinner every night.

Mon 26: Shrimp with Green Beans, Tomato and Feta – 365 One Dish

Tue 27: Polish Noodles and Cabbage – Frugal Gourmet Ancient Ancestors
Leftover Prime Rib, SunDried Tomato and Goat Cheese Dressing – 1001 Low Fat

Wed 28: CORN/Leftovers night

Thurs 29: Beef (leftover) with Red Wine Tarragon Sauce – Cooking Light 2003
leftover twice baked potatoes, salad

Fri 30: Parmesan Vinaigrette (salad) – 1001 More Low Fat
Leftovers

Sat 31: Happy New Year!  Cioppino – 1001 More Low Fat
Maple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – Xmas Kitchen

Sun 1: I ain’t cooking nothin! 

Lunches: Orange Cabbage Salad – Bento Boxes
Crunchy Cabbage and Carrots – Bento Boxes
Orzo with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms – 1001 More Low Fat

Other: Beef and Barley Soup (leftover beef) – 365 One Dish (eat one for lunch, freeze rest)
Carrot Raisin Nut Bread – Xmas Kitchen (freeze in small portions for lunches)
Korean Style Honey Marinade – Xmas Kitchen (freeze)



{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!



{November 10, 2011}   The Delicata Cycle

I mentioned the other day about roasted delicata squash. Sooo delicious!

Delicious Delicata. Say it with me. It’s fun!

1. Get yourself some lovely delicata squash.

2. Wash the outside of the squash. These things grow in the dirt ya know. You don’t want dirt in your bentos.

3. Slice off the stem and blossom ends and cut in half.

4. Remove the seeds. I suppose you could roast these like pumpkin seeds, but they’re kinda little so I never bother.

5. Slice the squash into 1/2 inch (or so) half moons. Meanwhile, turn the oven on to about 350 and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

6. As you slice the rings, arrange them on a cookie sheet. When you are done slicing, spray the tops of the rings with cooking spray and sprinkle them with grill seasoning. I like the 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joes.

7. Stick the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 1/2 hour or until the squash is done to your liking. I don’t like mine too mushy, but I like the edges just a bit caramelized.

These fit nicely into bentos and they are good hot or cold. You can eat the rind even. It is soft enough. Most of the time, I just scrape the flesh off with my teeth and toss the rind.



{November 8, 2011}   Bad News, Good News, Good News

Okay, first the bad news… Our house got broken into on Friday. They literally kicked in the door. So hard that they broke the pin on the deadbolt. Scary stuff.

The good news is… our neighbors saw them, called the coppers and got a license plate number. They not only caught the bad guys, we got almost all of our stuff back the same day! And we have a new door now. I’m a little sad that our front door is no longer going to be purple.

So that is why I haven’t been blogging the last few days. I’ve been dealing with all that stuff. Weee…

But onto my other good news… I have lots of bentos to share!

I roasted some delicata squash last week. My favorite! I’ll blog about that later today if I get a chance.

This bento uses some fridge and freezer stash… boiled quails eggs, salad, edamame, cheese sticks, turkey meatballs, pickled green beans, mushrooms, carrots and squash. I forgot dressing for the salad! Bah!

And hers. Quails eggs, cheese, deli turkey, Halloween candy, pretzels and mango.

Another for me. Pickled green beans, roast beef, cheese, edamame, squash, stir fried bok choy and carrots, mushrooms.

Hers. Bagel with peanut butter and jelly, mango, grapes, pretzels and edamame.



{November 2, 2011}   Summer is Over

I’m using up the very last of the summer fruit now…  I always miss the variety of fruit I can get in the summertime. This year was not a very good year for us weatherwise, so while we got strawberries (barely), I missed out on blueberries and raspberries. Very soon it will be on to bananas, apples, pears and oranges for bento fruit. Thankfully satsumas are beginning to make an appearance in the grocery stores. Persimmons too, but I have no idea how to choose a perfect persimmon. Any suggestions?

The kidling got mango in her box today. These were not pretty and did not ripen well (on the windowsill like I always d0). I doubt that I will be buying more.

Also in her box is a mini bagel with strawberry cream cheese, grapes, quails egg, cheese and dry roasted peanuts. Needs something green, don’t you think?

And my “bento” today, if you want to call it that was another emergency bento. I did chores this morning like a good girl instead of messing with my lunch. It was still delicious though. I loves me a noodle bowl. Especially on a cold rainy day like today. Yeah, welcome to Seattle.

I put the carrots and dried shiitakes in with the noodles and water when I heated them up in the microwave. This works perfectly. After the soup was hot, I added everything else. Not the prettiest lunch, but it was very satisfying.



{September 8, 2011}   Deconstructed Salad Nicoise Bento

I got the Just Bento cookbook last year for Christmas and this is one of the bentos featured in it. Also one of my favorites.

The box that I’m using today was a gift from my friend’s kids. They brought it back special for me from Japan. 🙂  And it is PERFECT for this style of bento.

This doesn’t follow Maki’s recipe 100%, but her’s is a great jumping off point. On the left are salad greens and my Zydeco green beans.

On the right is olives (I didn’t have Nicoise olives. Sad), tuna tossed with vinegar and Dijon mustard, a few capers. 

In the larger compartment is boiled egg, cornichon pickles, cherry tomatoes and boiled potatoes (from a can – a new bento staple!).

Sprinkled over everything for a touch of color is parsley.

When lunchtime arrives I’ll top the salad with the tuna as a sort of dressing.Not too shabby for just cleaning out the fridge! And it’s pretty! 🙂

For dessert I have a few fresh figs. That seems appropriate to go with this bento for some reason.



{September 1, 2011}   12 Minute Bento – Step by Step

Yeah, yeah. It’s been awhile. I know.

 I am getting very excited because the kidling starts “real” school in about a week and she’s decided that she wants me to make her a bento for lunch each day too. So now I’m all inspired and I decided to take photos and time myself while making today’s bento.

Get out the food.

Get out the tools

Make onigiri. I used a pouch of salmon to stuff them this time. 1/2 a pouch for 2 fairly large rice balls.

Add stuff. Here I’m filling in with cherry tomatoes and a cucumber salad. The salad is tucked into a silicone lined paper cup. There’s a bit of fried, seasoned tofu tucked in the box too. I also topped the rice with a vegetable furikake (seaweed sprinkles). We’re half done! 7 minutes on the clock…  Yes those are picked onions (delicious!) but they didn’t make it into today’s box. Back into the fridge they went.

The rest of the bento.  More fried tofu and a silicone cup to hold a wet salad.

And finish it off.  Beet and orange salad. Pickled daikon and carrot. And I tucked a couple more cherry tomatoes in there too.

I’m having a cut up peach for dessert. Not sure if this counts as a bento, but it IS in a bento box. 🙂    12 minutes start to finish. Another minute or so to put everything away. Easy peasy!



The Menu this Week. April 9-15 2011

As usual, these are not in the order that I will make them. Fruit/dessert on the menu this week is pineapple and cantaloupe. I’ve already messed up the menu, but tonight will be the Rigatoni. And I have some watercress to use… I’ll have to find a recipe for that.

Sat – Going hiking with the kidling, so I need a fast and easy dinner.

Sun – Chicken Athenos #330056 from 1001 More Low Fat

Mon – Pizza Burgers #445820 from 365 Grill (make double and freeze?)

Tues – Pineapple Rum Turkey Kabobs #231845 from Low Carb, Rice and Snow Peas

Wed – Lemon Herb Swordfish Steaks #452353 from Low Carb

Thurs – Rigatoni with Escarole and Italian Sausage (sausage from freezer) #334597 from 1001 Low Fat

Fri – PCT Movie night. Leftovers or pizza.

Breakfasts – Sunday, unless we go out to breakfast. Almond Pancakes from Beyond the Moon

Lunches – Blackeyed Pea Salad from Beyond the Moon

Dessert – Applesauce Cake #451271 from Spices of the World



No time to pack a pretty bento lunch this morning, I just grabbed something from the well stocked freezer.

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup. I rounded out the rest of my lunch with some cheese and crackers. Easy peasy. And very tasty!

This soup has a nice little zing to it from the curry powder and just a hint of sweetness from the pears. Just the thing for a gray day like today.



et cetera