Category Archives: cooking

Messes and successes…

Today has been a lazy day in my house.  We had lunch and goofed off, the Electrician has watched Basketball and football most of the day.  I decided earlier today, I would make something out of stuff I had in my kitchen.  The Electrician and I have not been to the grocery store in a while so, I wanted to make a “pantry” dinner.

I did a little research on that thing called “google” after I had scanned all of my cookbooks.  I took stock of the ingredients I had on hand and this is what I came up with.  I am taking you on a picture journey with me….

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Yes, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Artichoke hearts, mushrooms, an onion, garlic, roasted red peppers, penne pasta, chicken base. and because I am a dork, I forgot the parmesan cheese in the photo.

 

I had looked up recipes for  Chicken Artichoke mushroom dishes, and I found a couple I liked, so, being me, I combined them, to make it my own.

First, I smashed the chicken, and then sliced it…..

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Then, I sliced and diced my way through the rest of the stuff…

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I’m pretty good with my knife skills, at least, I haven’t sliced and diced any fingers lately, so that must be a plus….

 

 

 

 

The recipe I was sorta of following said to brown my chicken, so I browned my chicken in my favorite pan of the moment which is a handy-dandy cast iron frying pan, also good if you need to smack someone over the head with it…just sayin….

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I decided to brown it in 2 batches because I wanted it to brown and sizzle and not steam and become limp….

 

I do have to say though, I really, really try not to make a mess out of my stove….uhm…head held down, I did though, my stove was truly messed up when I finished this one and I kind of felt bad when the Electrician had to scrub it to make it shiny and new again.

Next was this…  after taking the chicken out, I threw some more butter in the pan and then the onions, roasted red peppers  garlic and mushrooms.  I stirred them around for about 5 minutes, until everything was sizzling and soft

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Then it was time to throw the artichoke hearts in to the mix…

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I sizzled these all together for about  8 minutes, and then got busy putting the rest of the stuff in the pan.  That’s when it hit me….oops, should have used a bigger skillet….

 

 

 

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I threw in the chicken, and some chicken stock with some butter and flour mixed together, it was supposed to thicken it up…Although this recipe was originally supposed to go in the oven, the Electrician HATES baked chicken, fry it, grill it, broil it but DO NOT bake it.  Yea, he’s a little strange about that.

So I think that’s where it got a little bit messed up.  I went ahead and boiled the penne regate pasta and then drained it and put some butter (yea, well I love butter) and some parsley on the pasta, and then served it up…

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We sprinkled parmesan cheese all over it and ate dinner.  I will be truthful here, I only ate half of my plate, simply because I got full fast. Especially after the Electrician asked me, “do you think this is the Olive Garden or something?”  After much discussion, the Electrician and I have come to the conclusion while it was good, we know how to make it better.  We strained out all of the “juice” so to speak and will put the remainder of the chicken concoction in some Alfredo sauce and then I think I will have achieved a master piece.

This was my adventure of today, I hope y’all enjoyed it as much as I did, and by the way, I never really realized how hard it was to cook AND take pictures at the same time, so my hat is tipped to all of y’all that are food bloggers and do this, cuz I have figured out, I really am not that coordinated….

A day in the kitchen….

So, after spending all day yesterday in my p.j’s, and doing absolutely nothing all day, I had to get busy today.

Friday, I borrowed the Farmer’s Kitchen Aide Mixer, with all the attachments.  I had plans to make some cookies, and some home-made bread.   Seeing as how I did not get around to it yesterday, I got busy today. I got up and drank some coffee and chatted with the Electrician, then disappeared into my kitchen.

First thing on the agenda was to make some chocolate/butterscotch cookies.  I got all my ingredients out and had to do a face palm to the forehead.  So, I went back downstairs and asked the Electrician if he would do me a really big favor.  After getting “the look”, he asked me what the favor was.  “Uhm…could you run to the store for me?”   The Electrician said he would go after he had taken his shower. “Whew” is what I was thinking.  After he had his shower, he asked me what I needed.  Apparently this is where the mix-up came into play.  He thought I meant run up the street to our local IGA, when in fact, I meant run into Town, to our local Aldi‘s.  I told him I needed eggs, flour, and butter, oh yea some Diet coke too.    I’m not sure if he ended up going, simply because he loves me or my cookies more, but he went for me.

Now I could get busy.  Seriously though, who plans to make 6 loaves of bread and a couple batches of cookies, and does not realize they have no butter, not enough eggs, and definitely not enough flour?  Yea, you guessed it, me.

With the cookies all made and sitting on the cookie sheets,( I am lucky I have about 8 of the Industrial size cookie sheets), waiting to take their turn in the oven, I washed all the dishes, and then shredded the Zucchini, and the apples for the flavored breads I was making.

First up was the zucchini/apple bread.  It might sound like a crazy combination, but it is actually really good.   After getting it all made and sticking it in line with the last of the cookies, I washed dishes again, and got busy with the pumpkin bread.  I almost had a disaster with that one, because I forgot to mix the oil into the dough, and then looked in my lazy Susan (where all my canned stuff is, along with my cooking oils), I only found a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil.  Uhm, nope that was not going to work, then I opened up the cabinet under my sink and remembered I had bought 2 great big bottles of canola oil, so I could change the oil in my fryer (uhm, yes, I am a procrastinater and have not done that either).  Problem solved.  Mixed it all together and then put it into the loaf pans.

With all the cookies being done, I stuck the bread in the oven.  Then realized something.  ANOTHER face palm to the forehead……I had planned to make Beer butt chicken, with roasted broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms, and roasted potato’s, uhm…in my oven.  It was going on about 12:00 when I stuck the bread in the oven, and that would take about an hour.  Now on Sunday’s around here, we usually have dinner about 1:30 or 2.  Not going to happen today.

So, I warmed up the Electrician a leftover green chili cheeseburger from last night, and brought it down to him.  I don’t think he minded, as he was in pretty good humor, something about THE BEARS blowing up the Tennessee Titans.

Meanwhile, I got everything ready to stick in the oven when the bread was done.    I still had 2 more loaves of bread that I wanted to make, and these were the one’s that were going to take some time.  It’s called Amish Country Bread, and it uses yeast.

I have only just started working with yeast, because I used to be scared of it.    But the recipe I found is easy.  The mixer does most of the work, and I like that. There is the punching down of the dough, and letting it rise, but there is not much kneading, and no rolling.  I really like that.  The loaves are rustic looking, and I did something different this time.  Last time I made it, I topped the loaf with sea salt, fresh rosemary(from my plant) and Parmesan cheese.   One batch makes 2 loaves, this time, I did the rosemary one, but the second one I did with fresh Thyme (from my plant), kosher salt, and pecorino romano cheese.

Well….it is now about 5:30pm, dinner has been eaten, my kitchen is back to being squeaky clean.  I do have confess, the Electrician asked how come I made such a mess.  My kitchen kind of looked like a “flour zone”.  That’s when I told him, the Best cooks, make the biggest mess, and the food is yummy.

My breads have all been cooled, wrapped, and placed in the freezer, although I did send 1/2 a loaf of pumpkin bread to my neighbor.  I did have a bunch of fun cooking most of the day, and folks, my house smells amazing.

I did call the Farmer though and we did some negotiations over the phone, I still have 2-4 more breads I want to make, so I asked if I could keep his mixer one more day.  The price we negotiated was a small bag of cookies, and the mixer could inhabit my kitchen one more day.

So, tomorrow afternoon when I return from the Farmer’s house, I will finish up my bread making, and also some pie crusts.  Now some of you are probably asking yourself, why am I making so much bread and other stuff.  Hey call me Mrs. Ready, holidays are coming up and I am NOT waiting till the last-minute.

It was a cooking day…..

Today, was a cooking day.  I decided today, I was going to play in my kitchen for most of the day.  It really feels like fall is here.  The weather is cooler, and yes, I broke out the sweat pants this morning.

I started by making a million mini blueberry muffins for the Electrician, for his lunches during the week.

I have to digress here for a minute, so bear with me ok?  Yesterday, while I was at the Farmer’s I did a mini inventory of stuff he had in the freezer.  Along my journey, I found about a 8 lb pork tenderloin, not the skinny one’s but the big one’s you use to make center cut pork chops. (Sort of).  So, I wheeled and dealed with him.  With the deal signed, and hand shaked on, I grabbed it and left with it firmly tucked under my arms.  It’s been in my fridge since yesterday, thawing out.

The Farmer agreed I could take it and cut it in half, I could do whatever I wanted to with my half, but his half had to come back to his house on Monday.  On Monday, I am to butterfly his half of this tenderloin, fill it with stuffing, and wrap it in bacon, and roast it in the oven, with extra stuffing, roast potato‘s and some of the corn, that I so diligently froze this summer.

My half, I had some plans for.  Whenever we go out to eat, which is VERY rare,  we sometimes go the Mexican Restaurant in town.  I always order the same thing, it never fails.  I always order Carnitas.  While I am not saying the restaurant is bad, it’s just that I can usually cook anything like that at home and it comes out 10 times better.  (Ok, yes, I am a good cook)  In all of the years I have been cooking, Carnitas scared me to cook it.

For those of you who don’t know what Carnitas are, I looked it up and this is from Wikipedia

Carnitas, literally “little meats,” are a type of braised or roasted (often after first being fried) pork in Mexican cuisine.

The carnitas of SahuayoMichoacán, are internationally well-known; they are served accompanied with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and diced onion,salsaguacamoletortillasrefried beans (frijoles refritos), lime and radishes

I researched on the internet and finally found a recipe for them, that I thought I could do.  Most Mexican cooking is not really labor intensive, it is time-consuming.  

My first dilemma was I did not have any cheesecloth, nor butcher’s twine.  So, I used a coffee filter, and a bread tie.    I changed some of the ingredients, for what I had on hand, and what I liked.  If I would have had my thinking cap on I would have taken pictures and then posted the recipe.   But well, I was a little scared.

I prepped everything and then started cooking.  3 hours later, WOW.  Now, I did have another dilemma as in the Electrician does not usually like rice.    But I made a cheesy, green chili, tomato rice, that he loved.

Tonite’s dinner was a big SCORE!!!!  No more Mexican restaurants for me.  The Electrician loved it so much, he even posted on Facebook, he loved it.  This is what he said and I quote

” Had a Fantastic meal today by my lovely wife, thanks Hon! She made Carnitas and a taste explosion of flavor of lime and spice in my mouth! Really did enjoy this:)”

In fact, there are probably not enough left-overs for 2 people, so he will eat that on Tuesday night while I am sitting with Momma.

Now that I have conquered it, I promise to do a photo recipe of it in the near future.  Because now, that I know I can make it, it’s on.

Playing with Green chili today

Remember this?

Well, today was the day, my wonderful husband, The Electrician, and I were going to roast all 25 pounds, and then bag it up.

Here the Electrician is playing with the fire.  (Actually, he likes to fire up the grill.)  It is actually about 9 am this morning.

We had everything lined up, the box of chili, and then a trash can with a garbage bag in it.  Now that the fire was ready, let the roasting begin…

I started throwing the chili on the grill, and the object of roasting is to get the chili charred, and limp.  Now, I will let you know, sometimes, the chili will pop and split, and you can get hit by some seeds. Yes, this happened.

The Electrician and I took turns turning the chili’s, and then when they were ready, tossing them into the plastic bag.

This is how it looked, about 40 different times, by the way….25 pounds is a LOT of chili.

It seemed like I would never get to the bottom of the box.  I really don’t know how many times, I filled up the grill, took them off the grill, filled up , well, I think you get the picture.

It was  a family affair, with Ms. Baby sitting outside and supervising.  Although at one point, I asked the Electrician where the cat was, and apparently since both of us were distracted, she thought she would go exploring.    She got sent inside.

When the last chili came off the grill, we closed all the vents, and put the lid on the grill, and tried to save some of our charcoal for dinner.  We wrapped up the bag, and then set the garbage can in the garage, to let it steam for about 5 hours.

Meanwhile, I’ve whipped up a batch of chocolate chip/butterscotch cookies, and also made our Sunday Supper.

Usually on Sunday’s we eat at about 2 pm, and today, we had a salad, with mushrooms on the grill, Brussel sprouts, on the grill, grilled potato’s and the main star, smoked pork chops on the grill.  I figured since we had already fired up the grill once today, we might as well  keep it going.  Dinner was fantastic (burp)  (uhm, excuse me).

Now it was time to bag up the chili.  Now, I will warn you, like we found out the other night, folk’s this chili is hot.  I’m not a weenie, but it was in my best interest to wear a glove while I was bagging up the chili.  Since it has steamed for about 6 hours,  it renders a juice, which can be harmful, with repeated contact.  I have enough experience with it to know.  In the past, I’ve had my hands tingle for hours, and for goodness sake DO NOT RUB your eyes.

So, the Electrician found me some gloves, and I got to bagging.

I bagged the chili, and the Electrician was in charge of sealing the bags.

Last one whew!  We ended up with 30 quarts of fresh roasted New Mexico Hatch, Hot (Sandia) chili.

Yummo…..the things I am going to make with this stuff. On the top  shelf of the freezer, is all the corn-on-the-cob, I put up.  The second shelf would be the green chili, the third shelf is a mixture of seafood, the Electrician and I brought back from Biloxi, MS.  The fourth shelf is my made ahead dinners.  The bottom shelf, which you really cannot see, is chicken stock, I’ve made and saved.  Oh yea, I do have 2 other freezers, full of this summer’s bounty too.

Plus, the aroma from the roasted chili has filled up my house and my freezer.  Now mind you, this will last me all year, until next August, when I will probably order another 25 pounds.  I am one happy girl right now.

As a side note, I do need to mention that I got this chili from “The Hatch Chili Farm” which is actually Berridge Farms.  Here is a link to them in case you are interested….   http://hatchnmgreenchile.com  They have kept me informed with e-mails, and the like, and I would highly recommend them to anyone!  And the chili is FANTASTIC!!!

Camsgranny is making Green chili Stew….

 

The cast of characters… This would be Green chili, a pork sirloin roast (although, pork chops, pork roast or any type of pork works),  A couple of potatoes, onion, Chicken broth, frozen corn mine was from the freezer from some of the corn the Farmer picked and I froze.  diced tomato’s, (I didn’t have any canned, so I used some from my freezer from my garden)  a couple of cloves of garlic, then some oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and ground coriander, salt and pepper, I’m not quite sure how the Tony Chatere’s ended up in the photo other than, this spice is usually on my counter most of the time.

First, I roasted the green chili…and peeled it and chopped it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also cut the potato’s and onions then  peeled the tomato’s.  I did not have canned, so I used the one’s in my freezer than I had harvested out of my garden,  I spiced them up too.  I used Salt and pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder…

 

Then, I threw the potato’s, onions and garlic into a hot pan that had olive oil heating up.  I got a semi crust on the potato’s and the onions had softened, then I threw in the cubed pork.  I let it get all white, and let the moisture cook out of it for a bit.  Then I threw in the flavored tomatoes, and the green chili and some more spices,  I usually spice things up a couple of times.  When it was all together, I threw in about a palmful of oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, ground coriander, ground garlic, ground onion powder,  the frozen corn, the green chili, and covered it in chicken broth…then I just let it simmer for about an hour…

 

 

 

About this time my camera dies, and I had to wait to take the after picture…  This is what the stew looked like when I was done(actually this is what was left after the Electrician and I had dived into it.)  The Electrician eats his different from me.  He gets a tortilla and lines it up with cheese and then makes a burrito.  Me?  I warm a tortilla and slather it in butter and then use my tortilla as a spoon.  I am here to tell you though, this is heaven in a bowl.

 

Folks, I lived for 13 years in New Mexico, I learned a lot of different cooking skills.  I learned a lot about different flavors.  Chili is one that I embraced.    There is mild chili, and then there is medium hot chili, and then there is in your face chili…

I guess for me, when times were lean, and we ate beans and chili and tortillas for weeks on end,  the flavor was there.

It’s amazing sometimes what a food can make you remember, Point in fact….When the Electrician ate his stew tonite, he smiled at me, and said “I must be used to it, but I swear, the first time you fed this to me, I thought I was going to die, but now, I actually enjoy the flavor, even though my nose is running, BUT, if my butt burns tomorrow, I’m going to get you”.

Hehehe…some things never change huh?

 

 

 

 

It’s HERE!!!!

This my friends, is a box of 25 pounds of New Mexico Hatch “Sandia” chili.  This is a box of spicy, smells delicious, goodness.

I could not believe when the Electrician called me today, (it’s been a very stormy day here, and he had a rain out), to tell me “It’s here, and honey, it smells good, but it might be a little spicy, because I could smell it when I opened the box.”.  I squealed, and said “really, it’s here?”  “yes, babe it is.”  to which my brain started going into over drive and I blurted out ” We are having green chili stew for dinner ok?”

Now mind you I have fed this man chili the past few days, and I think he may have cringed when I said I was making green chili stew.

When I arrived home, Yes, to the Farmer, I made it with no hail damage to the Rav4.  Although I did drive through town, and some of the streets were flooded.  By the time, I got to my little town, it had basically stopped storming and the sun was out.

I stopped at the local I.G.A. (we call it Igga here), I went in a got a gallon of ice cream for the Electrician and then I happened to look at pork roasts, now mind you I only had a certain amount of $$ on me, so I calculated, I grabbed the pork roast and ice cream, and hit the road.

I actually came home and sniffed the chili (ok, that sounds a little weird) but if you have ever smelled green chili it has an aroma all to itself. I then grabbed one out of the box and chowed down, I got about all of it gone when WHAMMO, the heat hit the back of my throat, and WOW, it was good.   Fresh, is okay, but when you roast it, well.  Let’s just say I drooled.  It brings back a lot of memories for me, some good, some bad.  But most of all it awakens my taste buds.

I made the green chili stew, and it was good.  The Electrician even enjoyed it, and commented on how the house smelled good, while I had roasted the chili’s.  Mind you, we both got our sinus’ cleaned out, (it is a little spicy).  It was worth it.

Come Saturday, I will be roasting the 24 1/2 pounds of chili on the grill outside, and I promise to take pictures.  Roasted chili means fall, fall means cooler weather, and hoodies, and bonfires, and jumping into the leaves, football games, tailgating, and a BUNCH of other good stuff.

I really like fall.