Posts Tagged ‘Dinner’

Danny Boome’s Shepherds Pie

Mmmmm. Just thinking about this dish makes my mouth water. I could have it once every ten days I think. I’m positive. Let’s begin with a story before the recipe :) You know how sometimes you have to pretend to be a plane, train, or other form of transportation in order to get your kid to eat? Example: “Come on Bobby Junior, open the hanger and let the airplane fly in!” Well at my house we make the sound of the animal we’re eating. Sounds kind of wild, but it works, unless we’re having squash and then I have to get creative. On Shepherds Pie night A asked “What does this say Mommy?” to which I naturally replied, “Baa Baa.” As you’ll see in the recipe, it does not include sheep (or lamb). Ooops :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or lamb
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 1/2 cups garden peas Note: Omitted

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered Note: I use about 3 Russet or Idaho Potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated mature white Cheddar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

This is one of those recipes that requires a lot of prep (to me at least) so if you have the opportunity to get it done before the cyclone that is dinnertime hits, get it done! In order to prevent the potatoes from browning just put them in a bowl of ice water and keep it in the fridge.

not brown potatoes!

Cooking is pretty straightforward. My only tip is that when you’re taking the meat and vegetable mixture from the pan, use a slotted spoon! I didn’t the last time I made this and kind of just dumped everything into the baking dish and it was suuuuper greasy and soggy :( boo! Or you could just drain it, either way.

Husband Rating: 7.5 He said the vegetables seemed crunchy. Boo. What does he know?! Make sure you give them plenty of time to soften!

Would I make this for someone else? Yes!

Chicken Pot Pie 2 Ways

    C (husband) loves my chicken pot pie. I decided to be a rebel and make it different way though to see if he noticed! :) The only/main difference is in how the filling is made. In one recipe, you simply use cream of chicken soup and in the other you make your own cream of chicken-like mixture. I kind of prefer the do-it-yourself way, but C prefers the easy way, which is nice sometimes too :)
The more involved, rebel recipe can be found here.
Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots Note: I put in one can of drained peas and carrots for all veggies.
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup sliced celery Note: Omitted.
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1¾ cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

    The recipe says to cube and then boil the chicken. I’ve boiled and pan fried the chicken in a little olive oil and I don’t really have a preference. If you do decided to boil the chicken though, throw some bouillon cubes in the water and use that as your chicken broth ingredient :) The advantage to starting out with cubed meat is that you don’t have to burn your hands trying to cut it into cubes once it’s cooked. The trickiest part with this one is making enough filling and getting it to the right consistency. The reviewers at Allrecipes suggest doubling the sauce ingredients, with which I agree. There’s nothing worse than a dry pot pie! They’re supposed to gooey and creamy, not pasty, so I definitely suggest making more filling. You make this kind of like you make the roux discussed in the Cheeseburger Soup post, except you’re adding chicken broth and milk as well.

Thankfully, it tastes better than it looks. The sauce.

    The sauce looks disgusting, kind of like um..well, I won’t go there for those of you with a weak stomach. Trying to increase readership you know, so I don’t need to turn the five of you who aren’t my momma away ;) ha! But really, it’s good. Very flavorful. However, C doesn’t like the onions in it! I guess you could just omit those if your family isn’t big on onions, but I think it gives it a lot of flavor. The recipe says to put the chicken in the bottom and pour the sauce on top. Why? We don’t know. I mix it all together and then put it in the crust.
    Popping the second pie crust from it’s tin is tricky and I destroyed many a crust before getting the hang of it. This could be totally in my head, but I find that the Walmart brand deep dish frozen crusts work best. Keep the second crust in the freezer until about five minutes before you’re ready to use it. Place it on top of the other crust with the pot pie in it and use your fingernails to pull the tin away from the crust, moving around the tin freeing little areas as you go. It usually pops out before you even make it all the way around. Make sure to gently poke some holes in the top with a knife! Place the pie on a cookie sheet to prevent drips from making you have to clean your oven!

Before


After

   Beautiful! Aesthetically, it’s kind of hit or miss. Sometimes they come out pretty like this one did, but sometimes I’ve got explosions and glops of pie falling onto the cookie sheet below.


    Pot Pie numero dos is here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1 carrot, chopped Note: I just use one can of drained peas and carrots.
  • 1 head fresh broccoli, chopped Note: Omitted.
  • 2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped Note: 1lb.
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup Note: I use 98% fat free.
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt

    The only changes I make to this except for the ingredients noted above is the cooking time and temperature. If I need to make this in a hurry, I stick with the 425° and 30 minutes. However, if I have time, I lower the temp to about 350° and cook it for 45 minutes to an hour. Either way is ok, I just prefer the second option if I have time :) Hope you enjoy! C LOVES the second version of pot pie.

Would I make this for someone else?: Yes! Either one of them depending on how much time I had. The first one takes a little longer to make.

Cheeseburger Soup

    Let me be honest: this review/how-to/whatever you want to call this is completely biased because I LOVE Cheeseburger Soup. A Bible study friend of mine introduced me to it and now I’m pretty sure we eat at least every 10 days. It’s probably not all that healthy, but you can sneak a lot of vegetables in if you so choose!
Cheeseburger Soup
Ingredients:

  • ½ pound ground beef Note: 1lb for me.
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots Note: I use two lg carrots, chopped.
  • ¾ cup chopped celery Note: 3 lg stalks for me.
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons butter Note: I eyeball this…
  • 3 cups chicken broth Note: Eyeball for the roux.
  • 4 cups cubed potatoes Note: 2 Russet’s for me
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flourNote: 1/8 for me.
  • 2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese Note: 1 block (8oz) sharp cheddar.
  • 1½ cups milk Note: Eyeball for the roux, but no more than half this.
  • ¼ cup sour cream

    There is one thing I dislike about this recipe: the prep time! There are a lot of things to chop and peel and at the close of my day (the hour or so before daddy comes home! Thank the Lord!), it’s just a lot of stuff to do. A is tired and ready to see someone else, I’m tired and ready to not be the only adult in the house, etc. So, during the day, if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll chop and peel everything beforehand and stick it in the fridge. The day I made this, A was playing so nicely by herself that I seized the moment and got everything done (I forgot the potatoes though) in about 10 minutes! I highly recommend doing all the prep work before hand. To prevent the potatoes from turning brown, keep them in a water+ice bath in the fridge; works perfectly :)

Large carrot

Prepped :)

Yummy vegetables

    As for making the roux, I half the flour, butter, and milk because I don’t like my soup to be too thick. Roux’s are tricky, but they’re basically just butter and flour blended together. Start by first melting the butter on low heat and then add the flour, whisking all the while. It will thicken. Let it cook a few minutes to get rid of the flour flavor; when it’s thickened and you’re happy with the taste, whisk it into your soup! My first few times were pretty horrible and I was totally turned off from even trying it again, but you get the hang of it eventually :)

Not thickened

Finito!

    I use less cheese than it calls for, but I’ve never missed it. I just cube up a block of cheese of my choosing. I also add a dollop of mascarpone cheese as a nod to my favorite cheftess, Giada! hah :) And because I buy it for a handful of recipes and it usually just sits in my fridge going bad unless I invent ways to use it, but it’s totally optional. With or without, this soup is beyond delicious!

Husband rating: 8.5

Would I make this for someone else?: Absolutely!

Amazing.

    I did the best I could with this little nutritional information chart. Can’t be too horribly off, but don’t be your diet on it!

Nutrition Facts



User Entered Recipe

6 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 348.9
Total Fat 19.0 g
Saturated Fat 9.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 74.3 mg
Sodium 668.3 mg
Potassium 505.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 22.3 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Chili & Cookies

*I wrote this last night at work, so my use of ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’ might be confusing?
    Has all this snow gotten anyone else’s mood in funk? Is it just me? Maybe today was just an off day for me, but A (easier than daughter. A, that’s her!) and I had a movie day today–which is rare for us because I’m usually pretty strict about time spent watching the boob tube; you know what they say, garbage in, garbage out. Anywho, I was just over the snow today. Maybe it was the fact that I was facing a double at work today. I sure hope so, because there is so much snow in our front yard just begging for some foot/paw prints! :) I hope tomorrow is better than today! Random: 1 in 4 women misread pregnancy tests? Really?! That’s serious.

   Alright, alright, on to the juicy stuff! What’s for dinner?! Actually, I must confess that on the previous dinner (Giada’s whole chicken), I was so sketched out about whether or not it was good (I was two days past on my “Sell by” date!) that I made another dinner while the chicken was roasting :p The second dinner that night was an old, easy, kind of no brainer dinner. No one loves it, but it’ll do the trick, and it’s good for you!
Abs Diet Chili
Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast Note: Lean ground beef works great too.
  • 1 14 ½ oz can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 1 10 ½ oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 10 ½ oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 10 ½ oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 10 ½ oz can low-soduim chicken broth Note: Bouillon cube it!
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne Note: I never have this, so I don’t use it. Am I missing out?

    It’s pretty straightforward. I like to start the turkey browning first, then get the beans drained and the onion chopped. I just had the thought that corn would probably be good in this, but I’ve never actually tried it before. It’s filling and healthy, straightforward and simple. For some reason,
C (that’s husband!) doesn’t like this anymore. We went on the Abs Diet a few years ago and had this chili at least once every ten days; maybe that’s what did him in? :) I think it was just fine, but C has actually requested I not make it again! Boo! Oooooh well, maybe your families will enjoy it more since hopefully its something new for them.

Husband rating: 3! He’s just over it. Don’t be scared, it really is good! :)

Would I make this for someone else? No. There are other recipes above this in my ‘send out’ list, but if this was all I had, I suppose I would… :)

   Now for the cookies! Since I made two dinners in one night, I had some free time to do a little recipe experimenting :)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:

    1 cup shortening Note: I substituted butter as did many people who reviewed this recipe on allrecipes.
    ¾ cup packed brown sugar Note: 98% of the time I use Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
    ¾ cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups rolled oats
    2 cups semisweet chocolate chips Note: All I had were mini morsels, and only 1½ cups, so I’m sure that would’ve helped make these cookies a 8 or 9 as opposed to a 6 or 7.

        As with most baking that requires butter, it needs softened. It seems to take forever for butter to soften just by sitting out (like hours?!), so I had to microwave it. I did it for 45 seconds on 50% power and voila–softened butter.

    Softened butter :)

       I’ve also heard that it’s important not to overmix; I don’t recall why (should I know these things since I’m writing about them? :p), so I just made sure everything was blended well and then I used a spatula to fold in the oats and chips. I like my cookies crispy crisp, so mine took 15-16 minutes, but probably would’ve been ok around 10-13 too, depending on how you like your cookie.

    Mmmm

       They came out ok. Nothing life changing, and I probably won’t make them again, unless that’s just all I happen to be able to make and want cookies. I prefer oatmeal raisin.I think this recipe could’ve been ok with some added spices (cinammon, all spice, something), but the lack of a ‘wow factor’ sure didn’t stop me from eating about 23 :) Don’t get me wrong, they certainly weren’t bad and they require items that one ususally has on hand at all times, so if you want to try something new, give them a try! :) Daughter had a fabulous time just playing in the water, so that made the whole thing worth it anyway.

    Content


    Husband rating: 6.5 at first, but as the evening wore on, they grew on him to a 7 :)
    Would I make this for someone else? No. There are other cookie recipes that I prefer and would make for others.


       Friday is grocery day (who’s with me!?) so I will pick up some raisins and try an oatmeal raisin recipe. I also want to try that whole apple substitution method so I can let you know how that
    goes. I’m going to try some new shopping techniqes on Friday too. Gonna hit Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aide (boy, that’s pretty ambitious seeing it all written out). I want to be a better, smarter,
    thriftier shopper! C and I decided that I could take a Friday or Saturday evening and go alone in order to hit more than one place (and sneak in some mommy alone time! woop woop). I’ve been scouring the
    sale papers online and have a little notebook comparing prices of the things I need <—- hello time consumption! But that's the beauty of working doubles and having your relief for evening shift show up two hours early, giving you an hour and a half before midnight shift to head on over to the library for some internet time! I mean, come on, Rite Aide has 9 Quilted Northern rolls on sale for $3.99!! WILD right?! :) I mean, it ain't Charmin, but it won't kill you. That's my motto.

Garlic & Citrus Chicken–Giada style

    Oh boy, another Giada recipe! I guess I use a lot of these because daughter-bug and I watch her show every day at 12:30p as her wind down show before nap. I mean, much rather this than most cartoons, no? The original recipe can be found here. There is also a video that goes along with it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5 to 6-pound) whole roasting chicken, neck and giblets discarded Note: The one’s with the thermometer that pops out when finished are the easiest, but they’re hard to find this time of year.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth Note: I made my own of course :)
  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Note: Mine was not fresh!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves Note: I never use/have fresh herbs, always dried.
  • Kitchen string or butcher twine Note: My WalMart didnt have any. I used white string/yarn/thread stuff. Also found you could use unwaxed dental floss.

    I chopped everything up pretty small because my chicken was only a little over 3lbs and I read reviews that people had a hard time fitting everything. I also peeled my garlic, but in Giada’s video I noticed that she didnt, bummer! Stuff that chicken! I fit all but about three pieces of orange in there, mostly by inadvertently juicing the things inside :p

Chop Chop

All stuffed up!

I also salt and peppered the top of the bird. Had some help :)

Many hands make light work

   Tying the legs together was tricky, but doable. Just make sure that you cut off a length of twine or string before you start. I must’ve washed my hands 768 times because I would touch the chicken and then need to touch something else. I could’ve saved some soap and water had I planned things out a little better! This was also my first experience with a meat thermometer. It made me kind of crazy! Mine reached 180° within the first 30 minutes! So I moved it around a few times to make sure it was 180° everywhere. Here’s where it’s supposed to go.The juice that you’re supposed to make is fairly straight forward and sounds delicious :) I basted mine about every fifteen minutes or so. My skin started to brown right away, so I covered it with foil and that stopped it from burning. Finished product:

Half-carved

Husband Rating: 6. He ate it, but that’s about it.

Would I make this for someone else? No. In fact, I probably won’t make it again. It wasn’t so much that it was bad as there was nothing special about it. It turned out very moist, but I thought it was very bland; husband however, said it tasted like he was eating an orange peel lol. Eh. So so. Healthy! And with all that stuff crammed in there, I thought for sure it would be delicious, but it wasn’t :( Let me know if it turns out better for you!

Crock-pot Chicken Noodle Soup



Yay dinner! This is the second time I have attempted to make chicken noodle soup in the crock-pot. The first time, it came out just fine and tasted like chicken noodle soup, but kind of bland. The consistency was fine for me, soupy. The first time I did not remove the skin from the chicken prior to cooking it and then waited too long and had to fish skin out of the soup <-- gross. So this time, I removed the skin beforehand! It was harder and easier than I thought it would be. I got all that I could, but it got tricky around the wings. Verrrry messy, but not as messy as trying to find the skin that has fallen off after a few hours of cooking. Yikes.



		
		



  I used this basic blueprint to begin with: 

8 cups water or canned chicken broth

1 cup carrot, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

4 teaspoons salt (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1 (3 1/2 lb) roasting chickens

3 cups egg noodles, uncooked

The original recipe and directions can be found here .
I used 2 large, peeled carrots, about 1/2 an onion and 3 stalks of celery. I placed the skinned chicken on top of the vegetables. Since I thought my last soup was bland, I threw the kitchen sink at this one. I used the above seasonings and added a shake or four of the following, poultry seasoning, rosemary, oregano, and parsley. I used 5 bouillon cubes and 7 (8? sorry!) cups of water. Set the crock-pot on high and let it work its magic!

Another problem I ran into the first time was cooking the chicken too long before pulling it out to pull the meat off the bones; I picked the chicken up and the whole thing just kind of disintegrated in between my spoony things, leaving me diving for bones this time. Momma didn't raise no foo' so this time I pulled it out after about 5 hours (instead of the 7 before) of cooking. The meat was still falling off the bones, but things went much better than last time. The chicken is extremely hot, but it's easiest to use your fingers to just pull everything apart. This is also a very disgusting part of the job, but the chicken is definitely tasty :) I just use whatever meat looks good, mostly chicken leg and breast meat because the other stuff looks gross (new word suggestion, anyone?). 
 
Just toss what you want back into the pot and what you don't want into the trash, or feed it to your dog, like I did :) Turn the crock-pot on low at this point to avoid scorching things. 
 
I let it cook for 2ish more hours, shorter if you're in a hurry, longer if you're not. I added 4 cups of noodles (half wheat, half not because I ran out of wheat) about 30 minutes prior to serving. Topped it off with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Overall this was a good meal. The prep time is a little lengthy, chopping the vegetables, skinning the chicken, but that could be because daughter wants to help every step of the way :) Once you get everything in the cooker though it's easy breezy and recommended. Nutritionally, I'm happy. Daughter and husband get veggies, good protein and carbs. I'm working on a way to get decent nutrition information about homemade recipes that don't come from allrecipes.com(which usually have it included). 
  

Husband rating: 7 (meaning he would eat it again and it can be put into my dinner list)


Would I make this for someone else? (potlucks, shut-ins, new mommies, friends over for dinner) Yes!



Anniversary

One of my favorite days (there’s a lot actually) to remember God’s goodness: husband and my (is that grammatically correct? Husband and mine’s?) anniversary. Three years. Yeow. It’s been fun. Hard. Ugly. Boring, exciting, comfortable, miserable, peaceful, kind, harsh, loving. We’ve run the gamut, as I’m sure everyone else has. No need to go into all the gory details of the past year, but it’s been something. Fo’rilla. The most important thing I’m coming away with over this year is to not take my marriage for granted. When I got married, I just assumed it’d be for life. There wasn’t an alternative. I did not want to raise a child in a broken home. Not an option. How little do I know? Having come back from the brink of my ‘not an option,’ I’m met with a profound gratefulness and understanding about what it means when we say “our God is mighty to save.”

He truly showed Himself mighty and faithful in my marriage, and He will continue to do so. I’m not a perfect wife by any means and I still do my part in hurting my marriage and husband, but without the months during this past year that were clearly disastrous, maybe both of us would’ve missed out on some very valuable lessons. I’m not one to say that things always have to be done the difficult way in order for lessons to be learned, because I don’t believe that, but I am saying that I have decided to take what we did/what happened and better myself by learning from it.

I love my mighty Lord and His precious gift to me, husband. My hope for the next year is that I will see my husband like God does: His precious son He sent His Son to die for. Someone to be cherished and respected, loved in spite of himself, just like God loves me.

No good segue’s into dinner from here, my bad.  Dinner on date night was from Outback. I highly recommend the chicken something-or-other. It was a chicken breast with bacon and cheese on it--how can you go wrong?! And the cheese fries, I don’t even need to explain those. Heaven on an artery clogging, ranch and melted cheese covered, deep fried plate. Whoo! :)And then we saw the Book of Eli, previously reviewed.