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.



{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.



{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!



{November 12, 2011}   Marching On

Okay as of this morning Project 365 sits at 297 recipes done. Gonna have to double up quite a bit to finish on time. At least I have the holidays (I host) and Christmas baking coming up. I’ve been working on creative new ideas for bento lunches.  We’ve had enough leftovers lately, so I’ve worked in two leftovers night. I will likely run the bread machine again this week too. Both hubby and the kidling like having bread with dinner.

There are grapes and satsumas in the fridge, so those will be heavily featured in the bentos this week.

Here’s this week’s menu…

Sat 12: Navy Bean Soup with Ham – 1001 Slow Cooker, Mini Corn Muffins with Prosciutto – 365 Appetizers

Sun 13: Chuckwagon Beef and Beans – 365 One Dish

Mon 14: Ravioli in Butter and Sage Sauce – From Asparagus to Zucchini, Pickletini – Food Fest

Tue 15: Leftovers

Wed 16: Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach – Cooking Light 2004

Thurs 17: Knitting group night. Leftovers

Fri 18: Chicken Vegetable Pesto Stir Fry – 365 One Dish, Hasselback Potatoes – 300 Great Potato Recipes

Lunches: I have a variety of chicken salads picked out (using up leftover chicken),  Curried Lemon Mayo – 365 Appetizers (to be served with carrot and celery sticks), Sage Roasted Squash – From Asparagus to Zucchini

Other: Banana Oat Energy Bars – Trail Food (for the kidling’s 2nd breakfasts), Oatmeal Nut Waffles – Food Fest 365, Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cones – Food Fest 365.



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



{October 30, 2011}   Eat Well Stay Well

Eat Well Stay Well

Let me tell you about one of the books I am using for Project 365. One of my favorites.

The Project 365 recipes I have made from this book so far are Lentil Pear and Goat Cheese Salad, Swordfish Kabobs with Lemon and Garlic, Maple Pork Chops, Old Fashioned Mushroom Barley Soup, Orange Banana Breakfast Smoothie, Teriyaki Salmon,

Greek Style Romaine Salad

Strawberry Ricotta Crepes

Pork Piccata

Chunky Beef Chili

Other recipes I have tried include Cauliflower with Deviled Cheese Sauce, Fresh Fennel Salad with Lemon, Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Turkey, Baked Rolled Sole with Lemon and Oregano, Ricotta Stuffed Turkey Breast, Chicken Normandy and Blueberry Scones.

The book starts out with nutritional information on a wide variety of foods, nutrients and food components. It talks about minerals and vitamins and why each is important. 

The chapters are organized by type of food, not the type of dish; Vegetables, Dairy & Eggs, Fish & Shellfish, Lean Meats, Fruits & Berries. Then each of the chapters is organized alphabetically by ingredient. Artichokes and asparagus begin the vegetable chapter for example.  This is good if you “read” cookbooks compulsively like I do, but it may be a bit frustrating if you are simply looking something to make for dinner. The index in the back, however, is very useful.

That said, I really like this book. It is one of the first books I added to my collection. We won’t talk about how many years ago that has been.  The recipes are simple, creative and healthy. This book is so loved that it is beginning to fall apart. A good sign for a cookbook!

About half the pages have super quick recipes down the side of the page with gorgeous photos. Unlike the full page recipes, these have the ingredients incorporated right into the directions.  Not every recipe has a photo, but every page does. The photos are beautiful!



{October 26, 2011}   Emergency Bento

I’m having a hard time making both pretty lunches for the kidling AND myself for some reason. I think mostly because they need to contain different things.

Well… It’s time to get creative. I don’t want to give up my daily bentos! I’ve stocked the fridge with fresh udon noodles. Yummy hot noodle soup. Perfect for the cool fall weather we are having. And the chewy noodles are satisfying.

They run $1-2 and last in the refrigerator for a long time. Some flavors are better than others. I like the mushroom flavor of this particular brand the best.

However, I always think these types of mixes need a little *something* more. So I put together a quicky “emergency bento” this morning to be paired with my packaged noodles.

I had sauteed some mushrooms to go with our dinner last night, and this package of udon just happens to be mushroom flavored. Perfect. The broccoli is the tiny bit left over from dinner and I had boiled quail eggs for the kidling’s lunches. I’ll peel them while the soup is cooking away in the microwave. A few slices of carrot for crunch and a soda for dessert.

Basically everything just gets thrown in the soup. The broccoli is already cooked. If it wasn’t, I would just put it in with the noodles while they were cooking.

I’m happy.  And looking forward to lunch!



{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.



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.



et cetera