Last Weekly Menu

Another week another menu not much new on this one. It’s more favorites than anything else.

Sunday – Turkey Noodle casserole (freezer), green beans
Monday – Sloppy Janes & sweet potato fries, salad
Tuesday – Beef and Butternut squash chili, cornbread
Wednesday – Tuff pork, polenta, and veg.
Thursday – Costco
Friday – Easy Nite
Saturday – Lasagne
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Heads Up! I do not puree anything in the food processor. I just chop it up.
Get the recipe here.

Last one of these. I started this segment knowing it was going to be a bit of work. Especially since I was a nincompoop and did it real time. In retrospect I should have used the previous weeks menu, but I didn’t.

I knew I wanted to give this segment my all and I’ve done that and it’s job is over now and it’s being retired. I’ll still be here on Wednesdays. The Cooking Coach is undergoing a lot of change and I’m not sure what is going to happen at this point in time. The goal is to bring this into alignment with where my life and other business My Queen of Wands (which is spiritual in nature.)

What that means for this business I’m not sure. That’s going to be figured out in the next three to six months. I’ve worked hard trying to get this up and going and each step has been a triumph and a learning experience.


You Gotta Have a Plan for T-Day

I am a you gotta have a plan kind of gal when it comes to creating a feast. Time is always a factor when planning any event small or large. I get a little crazy or so I’ve been told about how I go about planning food for Thanksgiving or when company is coming. See I just like to know what needs to be done. Having a plan takes care of that.
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Having a plan can save your sanity. You know what needs to be done because there is a list and the day on which you do each thing. Planning ahead and getting food prepped also gives you more time to enjoy the actual event. Thanksgiving by nature has a lot of food that can’t be cooked ahead of time. But by doing everything you can before hand, you will be much less stressed and able to hang with the family.

Before the joys of working from home I started two weeks before Thanksgiving. It gave me time to have wiggle room if I needed it and keep me from feeling like it was a cook-a-thon as I worked as a pastry chef. Now days I start about a week ahead since I set my own hours and work when I want to.

Reasons to plan are:

You know what and when you need to do something.

Allows you to do what you can ahead of time.

More time enjoying your holiday, less time trapped in a hot kitchen.

Baby steps keep you sane and avoid T-Day overwhelm.

Find time to run a Huffing for Stuffing race.

Look for next weeks T-Day planning schedule.


Weekly Menu for 10 -26

Love it when I can carry dinners over.

Sunday – Cock-leekie soup, bread
Monday- Meatloaf (freezer), gravy, mashed taters, and butternut squash
Tuesday – Steak, spoon bread, and salad
Wednesday – Freezer meal, most likely unstuffed cabbage.
Thursday – Maple Roasted Pork, Sweet Potatoes and apples, brussels
Friday – Easy Nite
Saturday – Lasagna

I save any extra onions from Onion Beef or if I have a lot of beef jus from something (like Balsamic beef) and it gets frozen. It makes an excellent base for gravies or French dip jus. I’m using a onion jus packet from the freezer. If you don’t have it use water and a high quality beef bullion. I use flour to thicken as cornstarch and I have had issues in the past.
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Easy Gravy
2 to 3 cups water or jus or any combo of both
flour mixed into water (thickener)
beef bouillon (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat your liquid until boiling turn down heat and stir in flour and water mixture. Use a whisk if you are lump opposed. I love lumpy gravy. Let simmer for at least five minutes before tasting. If it looks then add more flour and water. Make sure you give it at least 5 minutes after a flour addition to cook out the flour taste.


Cream Cheese Cookies

I found this lurking in my mom’s recipe box. I don’t think she ever made them. She doesn’t think she ever made them or who gave this to her. I doubled the recipe and am giving to you that way. This recipe while really yummy does not make very many cookies.
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These are simple to make and the cheesy yumminess of them is so good. They melt in your mouth. The cream cheese adds a nice tang and the vanilla fills in the rest. I will definitely be making these again.

Cream Cheese Cookies
1/2 pound butter (8 oz)
8 oz. Cream Cheese

Mix them together and add:

18 Tablespoons Sugar
2 cup flour
2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until well incorporated. Roll cookies into ball and flatten cookies with wet finger tips until thin. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or edges are slightly brown.


Chicken Parmesan and weekly menu

Here it is! We ended up having a leftover night because I didn’t feel like cooking and was still oddly very full from lunch. Full as in not hungry at all for the rest of the night. Weird it was. So when I checked and made sure that we had enough food to feed the other family member who were getting hungry I was happy. There was enough for all, even if I had ate.

Sunday – Turkey and rice casseroles, green beans
Monday – Hamburgers, oven fires, and salad
Tuesday – Stir Fry
Wednesday – Chicken Parmesan
Thursday – Cock-a-leekie soup (love saying that)
Friday Easy Nite, thinking brats & sweet potato fires
Saturday – Freezer meal

I never had much success with chicken parmesan and thought the breading got all soggy once you start adding pasta and sauce. So I did away with the breading which makes this a whole lot easier to make, less time, fewer dishes. Woot! I use my basic tomato sauce recipe with this. I have a bunch in the freezer so all I have to do is cook the chicken and pasta.

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken breasts or tenders
2 to 4 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Basil
1/4 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Quart of Marinara sauce
1 cup Shredded mozzarella or fresh mozzarella

Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Put olive oil in a small bowl and add the herbs, rub on chicken. Heat pan add chicken and cook until almost done and add the marinara sauce. Heat through and let chicken finish cooking. Top with mozzarella and pop under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

The last two weeks have been crazy for me. Talk about guh! I haven’t had a chance to film the cooking class for today. So I pulled up a seasonal smoothie from the archives. Enjoy!

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We all end up with that little bit of leftover pumpkin that you either find a way to eat or grows mold in the back of the refrigerator. There’s not really enough to make anything with and freezing it seems silly since half of it will get stuck in the bag. Here is one of my solutions Pumpkin and Chai Smoothie.
 photo DSCF2003.jpgThis is one of my favorite fall smoothies. It contains two things I love to combine chai and pumpkin they work together so well. This is an easy way to sneak an extra veg into your life. You know any food with that much color has to be good for you. Pumpkin has beta carotene, potassium, folate, magnesium, calcium and more. It is a powerhouse of nutrients.

Pumpkin and Chai Smoothie
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chai tea, already brewed
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Brew your chai and let cool. Toss it all into your blender and blend until smooth or you can use an immersion blender, like I did. Yes its that easy. Sometimes I turn this into a protein shake with a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Want it thicker add some ice. Want it warm use warm chai.


Meatloaf and the weekly menu

Sometimes you just don’t know what you are going to make every night of the week. This is one of those weeks. Menu came together pretty easily. I had two items left from last weeks menu so I put those on. Calzone morphed into pizza and the beef burritos never got made last week either.

For the other nights I went with two family favorites Meatloaf and the Sweet and Sour chicken. We have a good stock of freezer meals so I am using some of those up so I have room for the next round of stock making. Now I just need to figure out what’s for dinner on Thursday.

Sunday – Pizza
Monday – Meatloaf, baked taters, veg
Tuesday – Sweet and Sour Chicken, rice, veg
Wednesday – Beef Burritos, lettuce, tomatoes
Thursday – ??? ??? ???
Friday – Easy Nite
Saturday – Freezer meal

This is the basic meatloaf we have on a regular basis. I really like the texture the oatmeal gives it, thus the oats. I also really don’t like the texture of onion in this, thus the onion powder, make sure it is not onion salt which is different. In truth I do not measure anything I am putting in. When using commercial beef I use one egg, grass fed or game gets two eggs.
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Meatloaf
2 pounds ground beef
1 to 2 eggs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1-2 cups oatmeal
onion powder, to taste
garlic powder, to taste

Mush it all together and put in loaf pan or form it into a free form loaf. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half at 350. Use a thermometer if you are in doubt of what temp the middle is.


Three reasons to cook at home.

There are many reasons to cook at home. My reasons do not have to be your reasons you can have your own. In fact I encourage you to figure out why you want to cook at home. Know why you are doing it. The reasons do not need to be deep if they are not deep. Whatever your reasons are they are fine. Here are mine.
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1. I cook better than most restaurants. I get to eat high quality yummy food almost everyday. I say almost because even the most accomplished Chef has a bad day or tries a crap recipe. Eating at home frankly means really tasty food every night and it is the food I want to eat, not what someone has put on a menu.

2. Laziness. About right now you are all like this chica is crazy, how is cooking easier? I don’t have to get prettied up if I don’t want to. I can cook when I want to, my food is only as far down the line as I want it to be. Take out is cold by the time it gets to the house. No lines, no mis-ordered food, no sending back food. It is just much easier.

3. Cooking is fun for the most part. I am human and do go through phases where I am not into it. But most of the time I really like to cook. Part of that is investing in food and equipment. High quality food makes a huge difference. A nice hunk of local beef is much more enticing than some factory beef. Equipment does not mean tons of fancy gadgets for me. All you really need to start is a couple of good skillets and a good knife. Those two things will help make you happy and your cooking better.

Do you cook at home? What are your reasons? Let me know by leaving a comment.


Pastrami Burgers and Weekly Menu

I lived in Salt Lake City for a long time and a local fast food chain Crown Burger had some really great burgers. One of my favorites is the Pastrami Burger. So freaking good, fatty, messy, and they really hit the spot. Now that I live somewhere there is no Crown Burger I had to start making my own. Which is probably better for me as I do not use near the amount of pastrami, but is still really good. We’re keeping it simple this week with the recipe.

Sunday – Potato Soup, bread
Monday – Pastrami Burgers and oven fries
Tuesday – Stuffed Pork Chops and zucchini
Wednesday – Beef Burritos, lettuce, tomato
Thursday – Tasty Beef (freezer)
Friday – Easy Nite – thinking Malibu turkey burgers & Sweet potato fries
Saturday – Calzone
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Pastrami Burgers
What you will need.
Burgers
Pastrami
American cheese
buns
any other accouterments you desire.

Make and cook burgers. Heat up your broiler and place a slice or two of pastrami on the burgers and place a slice of cheese over that. Pop under the broiler and let cheese melt. You are done.

Currently making my own patties. All I do is divide my pound and half of hamburger and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook.


Easy Potato Soup

This simple soup is the most requested soup I make. Everyone loves it. The stock is essential to this soup as there is not much too it. It really does need something other than water, so use a veg stock or chicken or turkey stock it will make a big difference.
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We oddly enough tend to eat this soup as a leftover. I got this from a soup cookbook whose name I can’t remember. I think we donated the cookbook as this is the only recipe we use from it.

Easy Potato Soup
2 to 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized hunks
1 to 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 an onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove cut up
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 2 quarts of stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add potatoes, celery seed, and stock, bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Mash up a little to make soup a more creamy.

I used 4 very large russets.