Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicken Dumpling Soup

I used a new recipe, which posted a link to on my Menu post Wednesday.  Really I only used the recipe for the dumplings, and made my own soup.  I rate it 2.5 out of 5.  The dumplings were gross and soggy.  Sorry Bobby Flay, but in this throw down, I win. My usual dumplings are much better.  Although the addition of nutmeg to the batter was surprisingly good.  I thought it would taste funny but I liked it.  I'll add that to mine next time.

To make the soup, I first did what I said I would, and roasted a chicken in the crock pot for about 5 1/2 hours.  This made a very tasty chicken.  I found a major problem with this method though.  The chicken was so "fall off the bone" cooked, that I spent nearly twenty-five minutes searching through the colander (where I had poured the chicken so the stock would go in the pot, but the bones would not) for bones.  I didn't get them all, I just gave up when my husband got home and dinner wasn't ready and my idea for a quick and simple meal had flown itself out of the window.  I took some of the stock from the crock-potted chicken, added a little more water and spices, and assembled a soup.  The dumplings were easy enough to make, but I'll say again, I don't recommend them.

I usually make dumplings by using a homemade biscuit dough, sans the kneading, and drop it in by the large spoonful.  Much tastier.

There's a small fat man sitting on my lap and screaming in a most unpleasant way, so now I'll retire for the evening and see how the Hawaiian Haystacks turn out.  The gravy is slow cooking downstairs...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Menu

Thursday - Chicken & Dumpling Soup (trying this new recipe)
Friday - Hawaiian Haystacks
Saturday - Manicotti
Sunday - BBQ Pork Roast on buns
Monday - Restaurant style taco salad w/ shredded pork
Tuesday - Hamburgers
Wednesday - Pizza

Here's how it all goes together - a whole chicken is $.99/lb at Costco.  I'll buy the two pack and freeze one for later.  I'll crock-pot the other one tomorrow morning so it's ready for soup in the evening.  The rest of the soup takes about 10 minutes to toss together and the roasted chicken tastes a lot better than just a quick few pieces of grilled chicken breast.  I'll use the extra chicken for the hawaiian haystacks on Friday, and just toss it back in the crock pot with a can of cream of chicken soup for a few hours to make the gravy.  Saturday's Manicotti is just a fun one to make with the kids.  They love squirting the filling into the shells.  I will be buying buns for Sunday's pork roast, but we'll only use four.  So the other buns will go for the hamburgers on Tuesday.  That way we'll finish a whole package of buns.  We'll use the extra pork for the meal on Monday.  Tuesday's burgers are fast, perfect for our arrival home at 6pm after gymnastics.  Wednesday pizza is super easy.  Dough made in the am, brought out of the fridge at 3:30, ready to cook by 5:00pm. Voila!

Now if only I can stick to it.

I want to report back here every night and detail how it worked out so I know what to do better or what to keep for next time.

Also, since this blog is about validating me, you should know that I'm working with a broken toe, which I'm blaming on my husband.  I also made two couch pillows last week, including the button holes which my machine does like magic (it just took me several hours to figure out how.)  Plus, I actually finished my Monday chores by Tuesday night.  Seven loads of laundry washed, folded, and put away.  I'm a rock star.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today I made Mince & Totties.  That's Scottish for mashed potatoes and ground beef gravy, with a side of peas.  It got me to thinking.  Somewhere, on some unknown afternoon a long time ago a Scottish woman had three things left in her pantry, and decided to make dinner out of them.  She used up those potatoes and maybe overboiled them and decided to mash them.  Added a little starch to her minced meat, and some color with the peas.  Now it's traditional Scottish comfort food.  Her kids made it for their kids, and now no one is left who could tell you where it started.

I wonder if there will be any legacy I leave that touches that many people.  I wonder if my legacy might be a little more noteworthy than an inexpensive dinner combo.  Will there be something I do or say that my kids pass on and credit to me because I was just always that cool?

What do you remember from your Mom?  My mom made grits.  My mom can sew anything.  My mom's food always tastes better than anyone else's mom's food.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Six Pack Abs

Before long folks, I'm going to have a six pack like that lady in the bowflex commercials.  I know this because I always get what I want --- (sorry, just choked myself with laughter.) ---  I've been challenged by this amazingly handsome man I know, to beat him to a six pack.  I believe that the odds are stacked against him already.  You see, I have the upperhand here, I have already stretched my abs to the extent that they can be stretched, shrunken them down to where my mid-section looks like a giant-previously-full-now-deflated-balloon, and done it again, two more times.  I've got definition on my abs no man can match.  My only goal really is to change the pattern from resembling an abstract Sun, to a washboard.  Shouldn't be too hard, I've actually washed clothes on a washboard, so I know what it's meant to look like.  Plus, he's only been going to the gym five days a week for the last several years.  I've been running up and down the stairs several times ALL day, and chasing toddlers for at least 6 years.  I win.

How does this fit into my food blog?  Well, I've heard it said that a lot of looking physically fit, actually has to do with your diet.  Go figure.  Something about consuming fewer calories than you expend, replacing fat with protein and complete carbohydrates, etc.  I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT!  I like to eat food that tastes good.  Finding anything to eat during my day is challenging enough.  Finding food to eat, at regular intervals, feeling full, and eliminating all cra* from my fridge is going to be really hard.  After only one day of making a real effort, I feel hungry, cranky and unfulfilled.  Any advice?  Is this even possible?  Should I just say I'm nearly thirty (yes, I'm incredibly young) and my time has passed?

I did, however, work out for an hour today and I feel rather pleased with that.  Now I'm starved!

Help!  I have to make a new dinner menu tomorrow and I have no ideas besides salad without dressing, fish and lemon juice, and celery sticks.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February's First Menu

Here goes:

Thursday: Santa Fe Salad with Cilantro Ranch dressing
Friday: Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani) with homemade Naan bread
Saturday: Biscuits and Country Gravy w/ Sausage
Sunday: Slow cooked bbq chicken wings, butter rolls and potato salad
Monday: Fajitas with steak strips
Tuesday: Baked sweet potatoes
Wednesday: Spaghetti w/ meatballs

Already made the Salad.  Tasty!  Next time I'll make more dressing.  It would have gone well with lots of things.  1/2 c. ranch dressing, 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, 1 tsp. mild taco sauce (from Taco bell.) Salad was just romaine hearts from a bag, roasted corn niblets and black beans, grilled chicken - chopped, cheese, diced tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips.

Going to start tomorrows dinner tonight by marinating the cubed chicken in tomato based butter sauce, with spices, and plain yogurt overnight.

Should be a tasty week.

Goal: make these favorite dishes a little healthier.  Less butter, lower fat ingredients, etc.  Gotta keep my arterial walls in mind.

Last week went well.  Made most dishes as planned, although the order was mixed up a few days because I didn't go shopping when I thought I would.  Didn't get around to soaking my own beans for chili.  Next time I really want to try that.  Plus using my own dry beans would save a lot of money over buying all the different types of beans in a can.  I think I'll buy the varieties I like in my chili, and put together bags of the different combined beans to just dump and go on chili nights.  Crock pot usage would save time and several pots.  We'll see.

See ya!