Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday Night Recap: Root Beer Pulled Pork

After a snowy weekend filled with cuddling up on the couch wrapped up in my bathrobe and a blanket and binge watching Game of Thrones, I'm struggling to be productive this Monday. Miracles abound and the kitchen table has been almost completely decluttered and wiped down. Then it will be time to slay the dishes beast again and what ever else pops up.

The pork last night turned out really well. The Comfort of Cooking provided my recipe. My roast was 4 pounds so I used two cans of root beer, and I didn't measure out the barbeque sauce 'cause I like to live dangerously in that way. We used cornmeal dusted Kaiser Rolls and had the potato and deviled egg salad on the side.
Root Beer Pulled Pork with Potato and Deviled Egg Salad
Don't be alarmed if you see layout changed going on here. I've been getting a little bored with how things look around here and I want the blog to be a little more organized and prettier. While I'm working on things though, it's going to be bare and simple because the "just right" images haven't been found yet. This morning I spent about an hour going through old posts and labeling them for future changes. There are still many more archived posts which should be labeled too, but I shouldn't be spending too much more time with that today. Yesterday the blog template pages sucked me in for almost two hours but nothing really looked good!

Time to get bundled up, go outside, and shovel out my Pilot so I can buzz off to my appointment and then I need to stop by Target to get a new small notebook for my daily to do lists. The previous one has gone MIA and it's driving me crazy not having it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snowy Sunday

Well, I'm not usually one to blog in the afternoon these days but I don't want to wait until evening. I'm really excited for dinner. Unusually so. More excited than I was about the Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. If that's possible. And, I don't know if I'm actually going to blog about tonight's dinner tonight. I think I might be getting too caught up in playing an internet Cards Against Humanity knock-off with some of our grown up online buddies (not that we have child online buddies but, you know...) not to mention eating and shooting the kitchen yumminess in progress right now. I promise there's going to be some pictures. Patience, Grasshopper.

It's snowing here today. Not as bad as it is in the North Eastern USA but still, a decent storm is blowing through the Rockies right now. But you wouldn't know that by looking at how Tai-Grr was situated a little while ago.
Mo-om, you woke me up!
Look at all that lovely light on him! One would think it was 80 degrees and sunny out! Nope!

I was standing in the bathtub, dry as a bone, to take this shot.
That is what our yard looks like right now. There's no point in sharing the badly composed shot I took out of my front window showing some of the sky because it's the same color as the ground anyway. Which prompted me to put this together early this afternoon for dinner tonight.....

It's Root Beer Slow Roasted Pork in the Crock Pot! We're going to slather that stuff on those corn meal dusted Kaiser rolls after it's been fork-pulled and doused with that scrumptious barbeque sauce. My Marshmallow Girl picked out the potato and deviled egg salad. I'm debating on if I want to put forth the effort to cook up some peas or corn on the side too. You will just have to check back later to see!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

These home made Philly Cheese sandwiches were really, really good. At the market, we were debating on if we should have gotten more of the meat even though it wasn't a great deal and I thought we should have. I was right.

I looked up a recipe for making the sandwiches because it isn't something I usually make, and I stink when it comes to guessing how much seasoning to put in things. But I'm getting better at it! We used to get the Raybern's Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches almost every time I went to Costco but our local warehouse stopped carrying them. When I got that confirmed, I almost cried. But, as I was reading The Pioneer Woman's recipe the chuckles which ensued made up for that! I have about as much authority to make cheese steak sandwiches as Ree does but this still turned out really well. I also wish Ree was my adopted sister, or aunt or something. I am starting to really love her, as much as one can love a celebrity.

As usual, I didn't stick with the recipe very well. I never do. So there! I cooked the beef like regular with some butter in the pan. I wish it would have broken up easier but it still got eaten up just fine! It was only a pound's worth and we all were wishing there was two pounds of it. We're not huge on peppers and onions here so I only sliced up half of a small red pepper, and half of a small red onion. I sauteed those with butter and garlic. My man had light onion and peppers on his but I decided to kind of pile mine on, as seen below. The kiddo had no veggies on hers. We don't do Velveeta type cheese stuff here so I improvised and melted some cream cheese with milk, and seasoned it with a ground red and black pepper blend. It wasn't as gooey and melty as I was hoping it would be but it still tasted OK. The rolls were toasted in a sauce pan on the stove top with guess what? More butter!

We didn't have a side dish with it. I kind of counted the peppers as a veggie and the sandwiches are pretty hearty. Next time I might do some sort of salad or something else, good and greasy like tater tots or home made fries.

And here's the yumminess. Definitely a repeat, hands down all around the table. Next time there will be more meat, and more tweaking with the cheese sauce. Maybe more garlic. And if more butter sneaks in too, I won't call my kitchen bouncer to lay the smack down.
Home made Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, open-faced for the money shot.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sort Of Midwestern USA?

Tonight's dinner was inspired by the Midwestern USA. I baked the chicken with dabs of butter on top and sprinkled spices on top: sage, dill, parsley, and mustard. Couldn't really taste the mustard very well and am thinking that BBQ sauce on the chicken might have been better but it seemed too heavy for the wild rice side I made. The grains didn't cook long enough but they were tasty with the chopped Craisins and oregano. We also had corn with butter and black pepper.
Wild Rice with Craisins and Oregano, Buttery Baked Chicken with Herbs, and Black Pepper Buttered Corn
While using the mini food processor to chop the Craisins (because after chopping a little bit by hand I realized that would take forEVER) I decided I need to get another Handy Chopper, like what Pampered Chef sells. The mini food processor is indeed great for things like salsas and sauces (yum, fresh pesto!) but those blades are just too high up to do any good with the tiny things like Craisins or garlic cloves.

And I just gotta say, goodness my back has been achy all day! If I breathe in too deep, there's sharp pains. About halfway through my short shift today, some muscle relaxers or a couple good strong cocktails sounded like a really good idea. So I think I'm going up to soak in the tub for a bit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Some Salmon and Cleverness

Last night we had Japanese inspired salmon with Salted Edamame and Rice with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Seasoned Rice Vinegar. I remembered to take pictures!

The flavors of the salmon sauce were nice but I was not impressed with the fish itself. It seemed much more fishy than salmon usually is. Not sure if it's because it was a thin cut, or what. I think I will be sticking with the thicker, more steak like cuts in the future.

Our base recipe came from Real and I tweaked it a tad. What chef worth her salt doesn't tweak recipes? I substituted dried ginger because I didn't have any fresh. After taste testing I added one more tablespoon of honey and 1/8th a teaspoon more of the dried ginger. I was concerned that since the cut of salmon was so thin, broiling would dry it out too much so it got baked in the oven. As it was cooking, the leftover sauce was slowly boiled on the stove top to spoon on top

For the rice I just prepared it as usual, then stirred in some toasted sesame seeds and drizzled with the seasoned rice vinegar.

The edamame were simply boiled in water with a couple teaspoons of salt, but so simple it was delicious!

Japanese inspired Salmon with Salted Edamame and Rice with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
Nothing bugs me more than pawing through drawers looking for measuring cups and spoons! This morning I was hit with a little inspiration. A while ago I bought a set of steel measuring cups and they were gathered together on a ring, which I loved because it seems like measuring cups always get lost one by one and these are kept together so nicely! This morning I saw an extra ring and carabiner clip in my tea cupboard so I took the cups off their ring and transferred them to the clip. Then my beloved Pampered Chef Adjustable Measuring Spoons got put on the rings and added onto the clip. Let me tell you, that sure made my morning! I feel so clever! When I bragged about it to my Precious he dubbed me the "Commando Cook". I love it!

Commando Cook Cleverness!
 A week ago I made a delicious Guinness Slow Roasted Pork and veggies in the Crock Pot and am driving myself nuts trying to find the recipe I used! I really want to make it again sometime soon because it was good, but a little too much onion for my taste.

Now I'm sitting here trying to think if there's anything good hiding in the kitchen to make for dinner. I'm thinking that we'll need to sneak in a quick grocery trip after work if we're going to eat tonight. There is some Tuna Helper Fettuccine Alfredo in the cupboard but I'm turning up my nose at that and only want to use it as a last resort. Sorry little Helper Hand!
Copyright General Mills, Inc.
Well, time for me to get going on my other stuff for the day. Stay tuned for more kitchen adventures with the Commando Cook! =)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Food Fun

Today I got "The Flavor Bible" because it looked like a unique addition for my cook books and food magazines. I have been missing the good ol' days of a couple years ago when I would live to cook and eat rather than the ho-hum cooking and eating just to live like what has been happening lately.

After flipping through "The Flavor Bible" for an hour or so, I decided to do a simple Swedish Meatballs and baked sliced potatoes for dinner tonight. I contemplated roasting some peas in butter on the stove top too but that didn't happen.

Sorry I don't have any pictures, but here is the tale of this evening's culinary adventure...

For the meatballs I took two cans of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup with two cans of water. Next time I'm just going to do one can of water because it ended up being too thin. It was more soupy than saucy. But there was around two teaspoons of coarse ground black pepper and half of a small onion diced and added in which gave a good flavor. I stuck all that in the little crock pot on high heat with some frozen meatballs, since I was starting this at 2 or 3pm. The Campbell's soups seem pretty bland to me, but maybe that is how they are designed to be, for cooking with and fun with spices in the soup on their own?

Our potatoes were a small bunch of red new potatoes sliced 1/16th inch thick or thereabouts. I plan on using a mandolin slicer next time because I nearly took off my fingernails a couple times! Once all sliced up, the potatoes were seasoned with a couple teaspoons of dill weed, the other half of the small onion sliced thin, and some vegetable oil.  The potatoes were laid out slightly overlapping in a casserole dish and baked at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes. The recipes I found online said that the potatoes only had to cook for 30 minutes but we're high altitude here. The potatoes didn't get quite as brown as I would have liked so next time they might go under the broiler for a couple minutes after cooking.

This stuff smelled wonderful as it was cooking! I was pleased that the onion wasn't overpowering. We had no leftover potatoes, and just a few meatballs. There is enough of the 'sauce' leftover to heat up for a light soup lunch with a nice big chunk of bread with butter and perhaps a salad.

Yesterday I made a nice tuna salad lunch for the hubby and I. It was two cans of tuna, a few sliced up Baby Gherkin pickles, a packet of Ranch dressing mix, and mayonnaise. Not bad for throwing it together spur of the moment. We both had ours on it's own in a bowl because it was getting a little late for lunch.

Thinking about future dinners, I think the hubby and girl will probably have a Stouffer's lasagna because I have to work until 7:30 tomorrow. But Monday I am going to play with fish. Probably accompanied by pasta and I'm not sure what sort of veggie. Hopefully I will remember to take pictures next time. It's more fun to see the food with the information about it, isn't it?