Eggs and Veg

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This started out with a future as an omelette, but there were so many things hanging out in the fridge that it turned into more of an “egg pizza” type thing, since folding it was impossible. It made a rather nice picture (and lunch), so I thought I’d share.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 slices ham lunch meat
  • 2 baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • peas
  • 1 scallion, cut in half slices
  • cheddar cheese
  • ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Teriyaki Miso Ramen with Nori and Bonito

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 quart ham stock
  • 1 1/2 quart water
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli
  • 3 instant ramen bricks, with bullion packets
  • 1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup miso paste
  • 1 nori sheet, torn into pieces
  • 1 handful bonito flakes

 

Method

Combine stock, water, and bullion packets in a large pot. Add teriyaki and salt and pepper. Next, add the vegetables. When everything is heated and softened to your liking, add the noodles. When ready, stir in miso paste by putting it in a ladle and slowly mixing it with the broth.

Serve into large bowls, and top with nori pieces and bonito flakes.

 

Notes

Ever since discovering how easy it is to make ramen at home with pre-made noodles, it’s become a great treat whenever we do have it, whatever we choose to put in it that day. One of the most important flavor components, however, is not relying on the bullion/flavoring packets that come with instant noodles. If you can start with about a quart of stock, it will be so much better. The reason for including at least a few of the packets is so that it tastes nice.

I especially liked the addition of bonito flakes, which I have seen on other types of Japanese dishes and decided to give it a try. The great thing? When you put these on something hot, they move around and curl up. It’s really rather cool. They also have a nice deep flavor which I enjoyed.

As with our last bowl of home-made ramen, I find I really enjoy adding a soy-based sauce. Whatever I have on hand is what I tend to use, and it’s usually tasty. This is a method I use with fried rice, as well.

Fish Pie

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This doesn’t look like much–not much color variation–but this was too delicious not to share. After talking about savory pies with internet friends yesterday, and mentioning fish pie, I was craving it. By some miracle, we had all the ingredients pretty much ready to go, so I made it for dinner.

What is fish pie? you may ask. While there are some versions with pastry, it is usually a fish version of shepard’s (lamb) or cottage (beef or pork) pie. The meat is mixed with vegetables and gravy, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven. Fish pie is made instead with fish and white sauce.

It’s something I first came across years ago when we were first married. Catfish was dirt cheap at the time, and so naturally I was looking for more ways to use it. We both love seafood and mashed potatoes, I’m a huge fan of white sauce, so why not give it a try? I’ve made it occasionally since then, and don’t use a recipe anymore. However, I’ll post one below for those who’d like to try it.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pack imitation crab meat, chopped
  • about 20 shrimp (pre-cooked), cut in pieces
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • salt, pepper, and herbs to taste
  • milk
  • 2 large spoonfuls butter
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls flour

 

Method

  1. Heat a sauce pan with the oil and brown the onions.
  2. Add peas and enough milk to come to the top of the peas. Cook until no longer frozen.
  3. Add imitation crab, and again enough milk to just come to the top.
  4. Once peas are completely thawed and hot, add the shrimp and enough milk to just come to the top. Add seasonings to taste.
  5. Cook for just a few minutes, and then strain the milk into a bowl.
  6. Put fish and pea mixture into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  7. Melt butter in sauce pan and add flour. Once combined, slowly mix the reserved milk in to make the white sauce. Season to taste.
  8. Once white sauce thickens, add to mixing bowl and combine with the seafood mixture. Pour evenly into a pie plate or baking dish.
  9. Spread mashed potatoes over the fish mixture in an even layer.
  10. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, and then 400F for 10 minutes. Place on a baking sheet to catch any sauce that comes over the sides of the baking dish.
  11. Cool slightly before serving.

 

Notes

  • Any seafood can be used in this dish; I generally use what I have on hand. Just ensure it isn’t spoiled and is properly cooked before going in the oven. The best I’ve done so far had scallops in it.
  • It’s easier to use pre-cooked or instant mashed potatoes, such as on a week night like I did here, but you can make your own if you desire or have more time.
  • Usually, I use lemon pepper in both the fish mixture and sauce, as it goes well with fish, but what herbs and spices you use are up to you.
  • The secret to the great taste of this sauce is the reserved milk from the fish. It is absolutely worth it to strain the milk for this one.
  • The potatoes I used were frozen Oprah ones from the store–great sale price. I normally don’t go for that kind of branding, but I have to say they were delicious. Would definitely buy again if significantly on sale. The package indicated it also contained cauliflower.
  • Like most of my non-baking recipes, don’t worry too much about the measurements here. Use whatever size dish your ingredients turn out to fit well in.

Fennel and Onions

A side dish I make every month or two now is fennel and onions, cooked into submission over a few hours on low heat. I tend to eat it with mac n cheese or meat, and pack some for a friend who also particularly likes this dish. Most of the ingredients are substitutable by type and I use what I have on hand. My most recent batch included tarragon, which was a good addition.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 large onions as you prefer, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp oil or butter
  • ~1 cup stock
  • ~1/3 cup white wine
  • At least 1 fresh herb, chopped fine, to taste. 2 are better.
  • Dried savory, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Method

  1. Heat oil or butter in a large pan with deep sides. Add fennel and onions and cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
  2. When reduced and softer, add herbs and seasonings. Continue on low heat.
  3. Once more liquid is needed to keep vegetable from darkening, alternately add enough stock or wine to just cover the bottom of the pan each time more liquid is needed.
  4. Cook down to desired consistency; I find the flavors meld better when extremely limp and it takes up only a fraction of the space it did at the beginning.
  5. Serve or store.

 

Notes

Wine isn’t necessary if you don’t drink. I prefer using Arbor Mist wines in this dish as it gives a lovely fruity flavor.

Originally I made this dish with more butter rather than stock, but this version is healthier. If not using wine, a bit more butter would help for flavor.

I do use different amounts of onion depending on the flavor balance I want, or how many I have.

Measurements are estimated. It’s really not a problem for this particular recipe. If you try it and make adjustments, let me know how it turns out.

Leek and Potato Soup

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Ingredients

  • 3 leeks, sliced and washed
  • Diced potatoes
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • About 2 quarts broth, as needed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Savory
  • Cream, half and half, or milk
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. Sweat onions with oil in a large pot for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add about half of the wine and then the leeks and steam until wilted.
  3. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, and savory and cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add rest of wine and 1 quart broth.
  5. Cook until potatoes break down, adding more stock as needed.
  6. Cool and blend. Add fresh parsley and dill and blend in. Add milk or cream to desired consistency.
  7. Serve or chill and reheat as needed.

 

As usual, I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished soup, so the last shot of the pot with the carrots on top will have to do.

(Not) Crab Dip

My husband and I both really enjoy seafood, although we can’t always afford it. The one knock-off we regularly use is imitation crab meat. It’s great for adding to pasta, vegetables, or eggs, and I also use it in hot and cold crab dips–though I guess here it would simply be seafood dip.

On their trip to Alaska in September, my parents brought back a selection of salmon items, and my mom made smoked salmon dip with some of it. It made us both want some dip of our own, so this weekend I planned and made a hot dip. This is based on a recipe from someone at church, and not for those watching their weight.

Unfortunately I completely forgot to get a picture of it, so I used a stock photo instead.

 

Hot Crab/Seafood Dip

Ingredients

  • 8–16 oz. seafood, cooked
  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • Dill

Method

  • Cut seafood into small pieces
  • Combine all ingredients except half of the cheddar cheese and the panko
  • Spread into casserole dish or baking pan
  • Cook at 350F for 20 minutes
  • Top with remaining cheese and panko
  • Cook for another 10 minutes
  • Cool and serve while warm

 

We tend to eat our dips with whatever’s on hand, but usually crackers. Wheat thins are our favorite.

Weekend Warriors, Kitchen Edition

After the past weekend, I feel very productive. Although most Saturdays involve both cleaning and cooking, we were also home more than usual on Sunday and cleaned out the fridge. This followed the freezer cleanout on Saturday. Both, naturally, led to other projects. Suffice it to say, I did a lot of cooking and consolidation–not all of it planned. I also made myself a nice breakfast Saturday. I could spend days doing this stuff and hardly leave the house, so I feel rather accomplished, though we’ll see how long that lasts.

Further, I’ve been on a quest to use up the entire bag of limes I bought last week. Not my usual citrus purchase, so I figured why not change it up a bit?

Saturday morning starts out with a round of dishes. Pretty normal so far. Next, a large pork roast with a marinade of soy, honey, garlic and lime juice from here. It was an 8 lbs. roast at a ridiculously low price, and has been taking up way too much room in the freezer ever since. It just fit in the crock pot. Doubled the marinade recipe. But, most of freezer problem solved. Pork is delicious.

There were two peaches left from the week, which isn’t enough to make fruit butter. However, there was a pint of blueberries in the freezer. More space in the freezer, and no wasted fruit. It made exactly 1 jar and 3 spoonfuls (guess where they went?).

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Blueberry Peach Butter

  • 2 peaches, cut into large chunks, skin on
  • 2 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey

 

Meanwhile, I’ve done a second load of dishes, started the big pot for iced tea, and seriously debate whether to make breakfast. Seduced by runny eggs and cheese, and the oil-herb cubes in the freezer, I do.

 

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Fake Eggs Benedict

  • 2 slices of toast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oil-herb cube
  • 2 slices lunch meat
  • 3 slices cheese

 

At this point, I stop to eat and work on a writing project I owe someone. Some parts still need typed, but most of it’s ready. Still working on some unfinished parts as we speak. Then shopping (this week’s haul: mushrooms, greens, parsley, onions, nectarines, strawberries, pears, lemons, cherries, eggplant). Back at home, I’m crazy enough to do more.

I decided, during the freezer cleanout in the morning, to make stock from the chicken bones and veg refuse that were in the freezer. End of freezer space issues, and that goes on the stove, as well. Pork is looking nice with basting every few hours, butter is simmering–did I mention the immersion blender is a great tool? I don’t like breaking out the food processor for small batches.

Since I can’t take a nap at this point, so veg on the movie and work on the typing project. This is what happens when you do most of your draft material by hand. Eventually the stock is done, and I can turn things off and go take a nap. Saturday napping is a must, especially when you need to get stuff done.

Ingredients for fish tacos–the first idea to get through the limes–have been building all week. So I made those for dinner. Cue more cooking, though this time it’s mostly knife work and mixing. Made two new things for them, lime crema which I took from here and an Asian slaw. By that time, we were so tired and hungry they were inhaled before any pictures could be taken.

Quick Asian Slaw

  • 3 cups cole slaw mix
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbps red wine vinegar
  • garlic
  • ginger

 

Sunday I have a major headache, and by the time I’m able to get up, church is out of the question. However, I have to put the pork in the fridge at this point, so cue fridge cleanout. There are 5 jars of pickles in there. 5. Homemade. We aren’t buying any more until  those are gone. Then, there are over 2 quarts of fruit butter, never canned. Really, no idea. Just that nebulous “stuff” was down there. And that really won’t do. Out comes the canner.

If you don’t know much about canning, it’s easy, but a timesuck. It takes forever to boil that much water. So I do the rest of the prep, wash up most of the dishes from tacofest (only then can I put the crock pot in the sink and soak it; as far as I know it’s still there), work on the typing project. At least I’m stocking stuff for Christmas.

The rest of the day was taken up with family and birthday celebrations (not mine).

 

Still have 2 lbs. of cherries to pit.

Tater Tot Casserole

This has long been a favorite dish of many people, including both my husband and me, and I make it a few times a year as a treat. Some ingredients are staple, and some change, such as vegetables. One thing that almost never goes in ours is meat–it’s usually hefty enough without it. I, particularly, like it very creamy.

However, last night we had some ham steak, so I added it, probably the only meat I’d be happy with in this dish. And yuuumm, was it good. The lunch portion leftovers disappeared in about 5 minutes, as well. Sorry, no picture (we were too busy devouring). Recipe, however, is below.

Leave notes in the comments as to how you like yours :).

 

Tater Tot Casserole with Ham

  • 1 bag frozen tater tots
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 1 large can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 ham steak, 1/4 inch thick, diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, with 1/3 of it reserved
  • pepper to taste

 

Assemble ingredients except reserved cheese in a large bowl and mix. Half everything and do it twice if you don’t have a large enough bowl for easy mixing. Pour into 9 x 13 pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes at about 400F. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top and bake 15 more minutes. Let sit until cool enough to eat.

A Quick Week Day Recipe

I’m always looking for something to make for dinner during the week. Something quick easy, and yes, most likely modified from a box. Shmancy, from scratch cooking is for weekends only when you get home from work after 6:30 most days. So last night (yes, a Sunday, I know), DH wanted to have the hotdogs he’d gotten on sale, and I was looking at pasta. So he says “What about mac and cheese with the hotdogs in it?” And that sounded good.

Now, DH will eat a hotdog cooked in various fashion, and particularly likes to boil them. I, on the other hand, am much more picky. I like them cooked in a pan with butter. Sometimes water, but always butter. And it turned out so delicious, because I used the real butter. Yum.

I’m having the last of it for lunch right now, and it’s already gone. Definitely want to make this again. Can you tell I’m the type of likes to eat something good until it’s gone? All in a day or two, that’s me. Then I find something else to fixate on. But that’s beside the point. Recipe below.

 

Ingredients

  • 6–8 hot dogs
  • 2 regular boxes of macaroni and cheese, preferably a cheap kind
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2–3 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1–2 handfuls shredded pizza cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk and butter as called for on mac n cheese box

Method

Cook pasta from mac n cheese boxes in water. Meanwhile, sweat onions in some butter in a large pan. Slice hot dogs and add to onions, along with a little more butter. Saute until cooked to desired doneness. When pasta is cooked and drained, add to onions and hotdogs. Add butter, milk, and cheese packets from boxes. Stir to combine. Add sour cream and pizza cheese, and blend in. Season with salt and pepper to taste.