Monday, March 30, 2015

Around Home

Grilled cheese sandwiches

Chunky Italian soup

New music to soothe the soul

zucchini pasta

pinto bean bread

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Who says economical can't be yummy?

I rarely pick up ingredients just to "try" a recipe and normally look for/plan for things I have on hand.  This dish was one that I really wanted to try.  Rarely do I buy chicken drumsticks.  My children haven't been crazy about them since they were little and even when they would eat them they wanted them breaded and fried. 
I bought a package of 10 legs (over 3 lbs) from Adli and a package of turkey bacon just to try a recipe from this book:

I had heard so many great reviews for this book that I went ahead and bought myself a copy.
After reading through it twice (I do love to read cookbooks) I decided to just pick a recipe to try and the recipe for bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks just kept jumping out at me.
I did in my usual fashion alter the recipe some.
For example: I used turkey bacon for reducing the fat and sodium.
I used dried seasoning because I do have them on hand, etc.
The recipe I am sharing is what I did.
skin 10 chicken drumsticks
wrap each drumstick with two slices of thin turkey bacon
By the way 10 legs and a package of bacon worked out to be perfect.
I had one extra slice of bacon left which I added to the fattest leg.
At this point, you could brown the legs in the pressure cooker,
but I wanted to do larger batches so I browned them in cast iron on the stove top.
The goal is to get the bacon nice and brown.
5 at a time worked well for me.
In the bottom of the pressure cooker, while the legs browned
(I used my Instant Pot.)
I put in 2/3 cup of chicken stock.
I set the pot to slow cook to sauté to begin warming the pot.
I put in the cooking trivet / rack
and layered the legs on top of each other
trying to alternate fat ends against small ends.
I ended up with two layers of chicken in the pot.
After one layer I sprinkled on 1 teaspoon of rosemary and garlic and then
on the second layer I added two more teaspoons of rosemary and garlic.
I poured 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over the chicken.
Switched the pot to pressure cook and put the lid on.
I cooked these on high for 15 minutes.
Let the pressure drop naturally.
The finished results were yummy!
I served them with a brown rice and quinoa blend
and some of our home canned string beans.
Each serving of two drumsticks ending up costing about $1.25.
In addition to being economical, the meat was tender and flavorful.
In fact it was delicious enough I wouldn't feel the least bit bad about serving it to guests.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Life Goes On

Life goes on around here.  I knew we would come back to a rush, but all in all it hasn't been bad.

I'm utilizing the slow cooker today to help keep meal time less stressful since the children will all be home tonight.  We're having cheese ravioli and this paleo spaghetti sauce.  Now I know the debate about tomatoes and immune issues, but truth be told I kind of feel like them about like I do about cheese.  It's going to have to make me REALLY sick before I give it

This morning I had to just let the phone ring and run errands.  Daughter had a doctor's appointment and she's scheduled for more testing the first week of May.  I had to have the car inspected.  Time is out at the end of this month and I'm not paying late fees!  Then I had a few other stops and some things to do at the college.  When we were on our way home I went ahead and stopped at Aldi for a few things.

I came home with an odd hodge podge, but this time of year I do rely more heavily on convenience foods and quick cooking things -- especially for hubby's lunches because I am not at home on the weekend to cook for him.

I bought:
3 containers of soy milk (for dh)
1 container of lactose free milk (for daughter)
graham crackers and fruit snacks (for grandson)
2 dozen eggs (1 for home and 1 for dh)
coffee creamer
red potatoes
sweet onions
mini peppers
3 packages of fruit cups (for dh for work)
1 package of thick sliced bacon
1 package of turkey bacon
1 package of deli ham (for dh for work)
beef stock
chicken stock
ground turkey
Italian (turkey) sausage
turkey kielbasa
chicken legs (family pack)
frozen waffles
loaf of French bread (for tonight's dinner)

I think other than milk, eggs and any fresh produce I need I am covered for the next two weeks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Traveling and Tea

Hubby had to do some traveling for work and things worked out where I could take off and go with him. My crazy last week ended witha sore throat, fever, etc. I am actually grateful for the few days respite.  We've walked the waterfront and found a fabulous tea shop. He bought the sweetest gift for me.

A good cup of tea makes my top 10 list of wonderful things in life and thisis an absolutely fabulous blend! I was excited to find that this tea and spice shop is only two hours from us and I'll definitely be coming back more frequently. 

Today's a bit rainy and I've spent the day in our room looking out over the water -- so very peaceful -- and reading. I can be a bit of a voracious reader and I've finished two novels this morning and I'm working my way through a new pressure cooker cookbook with 500 recipes. I'm just trying to decide what to make first.

Wednesday I will be back to my regular routine so I plan to take full advantage of today and tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Italian Beef Roast

I have had one of those weeks where I have kept going despite not feeling super great.  Yesterday I gave up and called it an easy day.  I walked 1.8 miles and opted to just stay in my sweats for the day.  I went out to the freezer and pulled out a beef roast to put on for an easier supper.

I decided to try this recipe for Italian Beef Roast.

Of course, I made some changes.  I put it in my Instant Pot and added 1/2 of the jar of pepperoncini to the pot, a bit of ranch dressing seasonings, some water and a bit of Italian dressing that I had in the fridge.  I added a tiny bit of salt and cooked it on high for 85 minutes and let the pressure drop naturally.  It wasn't quite as tender as I wanted so I decided to cook it for 20 more minutes.  It was fork tender then and I shredded it.  I used the rest of the peppers and cheese to round out sandwiches.

Three of us had sandwiches last night and then the rest went into the refrigerator.
Since I'll be on the road we'll take the leftovers and fresh bread with us for a quick meal.

Family Meal

I know I talk about the pressure cooker all the time, but we made "low fat" pork carnitas for the family and I cooked the pork in the pressure cooker with spices and a bit of broth.
In 85 minutes (from frozen) the pork was fork tender.
I drained the broth and then chopped the meat -- added some more seasonings and it was a huge hit, even with my picky extended family.

Earlier in the day I cooked a quick black bean dish to be our side -- using the pressure cooker for ease.  Some days I joke about buying a second one so I can do my main dish and a side at the same time.

We served them with the usual toppings -- cheese, tomato, lettuce, salsa and sour cream.