Saturday, December 5, 2009

My New Best Friend

This year, as usual, my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Exactly as last year, I told him I wanted a large food processor.  He told me he couldn't get that for me because it's the same as buying me a vacuum for Christmas.  I argued again that cooking is my hobby and a food processor is an expensive toy for that hobby that I couldn't just go out and buy for myself.  Vacuuming is not a hobby, it's a chore.  He said I'd just have to buy one.  So I did.  She's beautiful!

I've only just begun playing with her.  She's so pretty.  We've sliced fruit several times, as Lil' Chef's are amazed (as am I) at how quickly she can slice a whole apple or orange.  We made cornbread batter.  We shredded potatoes for soup.  My Kitchenaid needs to watch her back.  She might be replaced on the countertop soon.  This new beauty works so quickly, and even makes dough.  I am in love.

I have a list of things I want her to try.  First, I think she needs a name.  (Turning now to ask Lil' Chef's what they think.)  We've decided on Gloria.

Gloria's List:
Cookie Dough
Ground Beef (she can grind up a steak in less than 20 seconds.)
Meatballs from freshly ground beef
Bread crumbs
Pizza dough
pie crust
cookie balls

I also told him that I wanted the Hershey's Classic Cookbook that I saw at Costco.  It has over 200 dessert recipes.  He said nothing for cooking is a gift.  I'll be buying that today.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Peanut Chicken becomes Burritos

Ok, so that would make a gross burrito.  Still, the menu said Peanut Chicken, and that's a far stretch from where we ended up.  I took too long decorating the house and mopping the kitchen floor, and didn't leave time to thaw chicken breast and make peanut chicken.  (Though I still might make it for my hubby, who won't be home for another hour.)

Our standard burrito:
Uncooked tortillas from Costco
1 lb. Ground Beef
Taco Seasoning
black or pinto beans (tonight, black)
Shredded cheese
sour cream

Brown tortillas.  Cook beef with seasoning, drain and add beans.  Assemble and enjoy.  Very easy!  Always a hit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

White Bean and Cheese Soup - Almost Just like Mom's

The house smelled good, and I really liked the soup.  It was just the comfort food I needed after a completely sleepless night with a very cranky-unless-I-held-him baby.

Hubby, not so much.  He promised he wasn't trying to choke it down, but then he almost actually choked it down.  Subtlety and nonchalance are maybe not his strongest points.  He's adorable though, and knew how my day had been, so really he couldn't have given me another response.

1 bag navy beans (my bag said Great Northern Beans)
3 small to medium potatoes, shredded or diced
about 1/3 Velveeta log (not sure how else to say that so it doesn't sound gross.)
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup diced ham

Soak beans in crock pot overnight, following package directions.  In the morning add seasonings and potatoes, then turn crock pot to high.  About an hour or two before eating, add cheese and ham.  Mine cooked for six hours and it was just right.  The beans were cooked after 4 hours.

Cornbread accompanied.  I made it with my fancy shmancy new food processor, to which I will dedicate a whole post when I have time.  First batch, not good.  Kinda brick-like.  Second batch much better.  What I learned from the first:
1 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. are two completely different measurements and make a difference when using baking powder.
Don't overmix cornbread batter.  Just get it all moist and stop messing with it.

Reicpe on the back of the cornmeal box.  I'll use another next time and probably also add honey.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Menu Wednesday

Thursday - White Bean & Cheese soup with cornbread
Friday - Thai Peanut Chicken with snap peas and carrots - GLOP for dessert
Saturday - Brown Sugar Salmon with fresh green beans
Sunday - Orange Chicken with rice and egg rolls
Monday - Pineapple Enchiladas with black beans and Apple Crisp for dessert
Tuesday - Tri-Tip sandwiches with baked beans and fruit
Wednesday - Leftovers

My menu follows a few patterns.  First, I've assigned each day of the week a food type.  Monday - Mexican, Tuesday - Comfort Foods/American, Wednesday - Leftovers/Italian, Thursday - Soup/Salad, Friday - Ethnic/New, Saturday - FREE/Fresh, Sunday - Slow Cooker/Cassarole/Frozen.  Then Wednesday Lil' Chef #1 gets to pick and help prepare, Friday Lil' Chef #2 gets to pick and prepare, and Sunday, if he cares, Hubby gets to pick.

Shopping List:
Velveeta Cheese
coconut milk
peanut sauce packet
spanish peanuts
whole carrots
fresh snap peas
green beans
orange chicken sauce
sweet sandwich rolls
orange juice
diet coke
bread crumbs
italian herb mix

Salmon Filets
egg rolls
whipped cream