CSA Tuesday

This week's CSA box was full of goodies. 
The Farm was also selling grass fed beef from a recently butchered cow this week.
We ordered a mini bulk package; 15-16 lbs of beef too.

1 yellow onion
1 yellow tomato
1 Cherokee purple tomato
2 red tomatoes
A mess of banana peppers
6 Irish Potatoes
6 yellow Squash
3 cucumbers
A mess of butter beans
3 packages of ground beef 1.5 lbs each
1 roast 3 lbs
sirloin beef tips
stew meat
cube steak
2 rib eyes
2 beef tenderloin steaks

Did you get any good produce from the farmer's market or your CSA this week?
Ciao! Amy


Chicken Parmesan

It's amazing what some leftover baked mac & cheese, some bread crumbs,
a beaten egg, some chicken tender strips, mushrooms and red sauce can be made into.

This was a quick version of chicken parm.  Very tasty! 

Ciao! Amy

Menu Plan 7/29-8/4

Sunday - 7/29/12
Hamburger Steak, baked macaroni & cheese, fresh green beans & carrots,
w/ fresh baked french bread

Monday - 7/30/12
Chicken Parmesan over pasta

Tuesday - 7/31/12
Salmon patties, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus

Wednesday - 8/1/12
Oven roasted turkey panani's and pasta salad

Thursday - 8/2/12
Cheeseburgers, homemade potato wedges

Friday - 8/3/12

Saturday - 8/4/12
Meatball Hoagies, squash nibbles (recipe coming soon)

What's on your menu plan this week?
Ciao! Amy


Freezer Cooking

My Freezer Cooking day was flip flopped due to things that popped up.
I still got a few things prepared with Brad's help this morning.
My plan kind of flew out the window.  Here is what I managed to get done.

Homemade Italian sausage (I'll post the recipe soon)
Chopped sweet, vidalia and purple onions for the freezer (from our CSA)
Chopped colored peppers for the freezer
French Bread
Carrot Cake

Did you do any freezer cooking this weekend?

Ciao! Amy


Homemade Pizza

My freezer cooking plan fell to the wayside today as other things popped up.  I did manage to get a couple of pizza crusts made.  One of them was dinner and the other one was par-baked and frozen for a quick nite pizza dinner on a later day. Keeping the delivery guy at bay. I have a basic Pizza Dough Recipe that I have used for years.  It's great for calzones, stromboli, pizza, cinnamon & sugar twists, etc.  Easily doubled. I make it in the bread machine on my 15 minute cycle and then bake it.

Pizza Dough
3/4 cup luke warm water
1 T olive oil (canola oil will work too)
1 1/2 t salt
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I use a combination of red wheat and all purpose)
*making this with all wheat makes a very dense and chewy crust
1 t sugar
2.25 t yeast
(optional add ins) basil, garlic powder, parsley, oregano
cornmeal for dusting pan

1. Preheat oven to 450 degreese. Spray pizza pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.
2. Place all ingredients in bread machine in recommended order.  I use my pasta cycle (15 minutes). 3. Take dough out and work out to fit pizza pan. 
4. Load with sauce and cheese and bake in heated oven for 5-6 minutes
5. Remove from oven the load with remainder of toppings.  Bake for additional 7-8 minutes.

*If freezing.  At Step 3 do not load with toppings. Bake for 6 minutes, cool.
Wrap well with aluminum foil and freeze for later use.
When ready to use, no need to thaw.  Load with toppings and bake at 450 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Ciao! Amy


Freezer Cooking Plan

My hours at work have been all over the place lately.  I am planning on taking this weekend to do a little cooking for the week.  I am hoping to prepare a few lunch items and some dinner helpers. 
The above picture is the Asiago Cheese Bread I made last Sunday. It was heaven in a loaf of bread. 
I plan on making a couple more loaves this weekend to stick in the freezer. 

Freezer Cooking Plan for Weekend
Brown hamburger with homemade taco seasoning
 (I will post the taco seasoning recipe soon, it's great and lower in sodium than packaged brands)
Make meatballs for meatballs subs
Chop onions to freeze (we have an abundance of them)
Make pizza dough times 2
Asiago Cheese Bread times 2 loaves
Freeze fresh tomatoes for use later (this is so simple, I will post a how too soon)
Muffins (I am wavering between banana nut and orange pecan)

I will post pics as the weekend progresses on my progress and end results. 

Are you doing any freezer cooking this weekend?

Ciao! Amy


Thursdays Musings

Julia Child was one of the greatest chefs of all time. She is hilarious and I love to watch her on TV. This quote from her is so true. I am one of the people that get great pleasure from cooking.

"Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music."  Julia Child

Ciao! Amy


Homemade Breakfast Sausage


In our on going effort to eat healthier and cut back on processed foods we have created several recipes that can take the place of some of our not so healthy favs. This is one of them.

This is good for breakfast with an english muffin, biscuit or mini bagel.  It can also top a pizza or calzone and is excellent in spaghetti, lasagne or any other recipe you would use sausage in.

This recipe doubles very easily. We generally do 3-4 lbs at a time and freeze it to use later.

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

1 lb lean ground turkey (we can only get the 1.33 lb pkgs here, they work just fine)
*fresh ground pork can be subbed in for the turkey
1 1/2 t of sage
3/4 t of salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 t cayene pepper (depending on how kicked up you want the sausage to be)
1/2 t brown sugar
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t thyme

Mix everything together.  Form into patties or crumble.
Cook on inside grill or in skillet sprayed with cooking spray. 
Cook until no longer pink in middle. 

Ciao! Amy


CSA Tuesday

This week's CSA was quite the haul.  We received the following:

An Onion
Green Beans
October Beans
Japanese Cukes
Yellow Squash

I see some baked squash bites and stuffed squash and tomatoes in our near future. 

Ciao! Amy


Menu Plan 7/22-7/28

Sunday- 7/22/12

Steak Tacos and refried beans (from a previous freezer cooking session)

Monday - 7/23/12
Jumbo Beer Boiled Shrimp, baked potatoes, salad

Tuesday - 7/24/12
Chicken Parmesan, Salad

Wednesday - 7/25/12
Polish Sausage with pierogies (both from the Eurodeli in Greensboro)

Thursday - 7/26/12
Chicken Squash Casserole and homemade bread
Friday - 7/27/12
Homemade Pizza and chicken wings

What's on your menu for this week?

Ciao! Amy


Weekend Freezer Cooking

I usually do my freezer cooking on Saturday while Brad is work.  That was not the case this weekend.  The weather was very gray and I needed to make bread.  Not a good combination.  So, I put off most of my cooking for the week until today (Sunday).

Every few weeks we do a big breakfast meat cooking day. Because our time is so limited during weekday mornings. We cook in advance and freeze it, so all we have to do is pull it out and pop it in a skillet or the microwave for a short amount of time and chow down.

Freezer cooking day 7/22/12

Homemade Breakfast Sausage (I will post the recipe in a few days)

Pork Tenderloin & Country Sausage (from the local market)
Center Cut Bacon
Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup
I had some odds and ends to use up and threw everything together for a tasty homemade soup.  We will use this for lunches for a few days this week. 
 Asiago Cheese Bread
We have been sampling various cheeses lately.  Brad brought home some Asiago and it was begging to be made into a loaf of bread.  Of course, I had to oblige.  I scoured the Internet looking for a good recipe and this is the one I settled on.  I will post a picture and reviews very soon. 

Did you do any freezer cooking this weekend?

Ciao~ Amy


Rich Chocolate Pound Cake

In honor of National Junk Food Day I made a Rich Chocolate Pound Cake  .
What better way to celebrate then with Chocolate and Cake?

Brad and I both enjoyed a slice and deemed it a keeper.

Ciao! Amy


Farmhouse Bread (Bread Machine)

One of my favorite things to make is homemade bread.  I have and still make a lot of my bread by hand.  However, my bread machine is one of favorite kitchen toys.  I use it weekly.
We were out of bread today and I threw this together in the bread machine.  I am not a big fan of how bread baked in the bread machine turns out so I let the bread machine do the mixing, kneading and the rising and generally bake the bread in the oven.

Farmhouse Bread (Bread Machine)
1 loaf 1 3/4 pound

1 1/4 milk
1 egg
2 T butter (melted)
2/3 t salt
2 T honey or sugar
3 1/2 cups of bread flour (I used 3 cups of regular bread flour & 1/2 cup red wheat)
2 t of bread machine yeast
2 T sesame seeds (optional)

1. Place ingredients in bread machine in recommended order
2. Use dough cycle to mix up ingredients, mix in seeds at appropriate beep
3. After the dough cycle is complete, remove dough
4. Place dough in lightly oiled bread pan (I used cooking spray)
5. Cover dough with damp dish towel and let rise in warm area for approx 30 minutes
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped on bottom.

Ciao~ Amy


Thursday's Musings

Such a great quote.  I seldom make a recipe exactly as listed.  What about you?

I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.
Madam Benoit

Ciao! Amy


Pimento Cheese Spread (Roasted Red Pepper Spread)

Some of you may have never heard of Pimento Cheese Spread.  It is a Southern thing (don't you just love it when someone says that) *grin* It's actually a roasted red pepper spread.  We enjoy it as a topping on burgers, as a spread for sandwiches and my favorite on crackers with some fruit.  It is also good fixed like a grilled cheese sandwich.  This recipe is a culmination of several recipes that I pulled things I liked from and did my own thing.  We both thought this was the best of any other I have ever made and will become a regular. Let me know what you think...

Pimento Cheese Spread (Roasted Red Pepper Spread)
8 oz cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (this can be a combination of cheeses, but sharp gives it bite)
1/3 cup light mayo (I use Kraft light)
1 pinch of each of the following powdered garlic, onion powder, cayenne pepper
1/2 t of paprika
several grinds of fresh black pepper
4 oz of pimentos or roasted red peppers

Beat cream cheese until creamy. Stir in cheese. Add mayo, paprika, garlic, onion powder, cayenne and black peppers, stir.  Stir in pimentos/roasted red peppers.  (I made mine in the food processor)
Chill at least 1 hour for best taste.

Serve with baguette slices, crackers, etc.  Makes about 2.5 to 3 cups.

Enjoy! Ciao! Amy


CSA Tuesday

Another great box from our CSA this week.

Tomatoes, small potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, garlic, onion and greenbeans.

Ciao! Amy


Menu Plan 7/15-7/21

Here's our menu plan for this week. 
Sunday Breakfast: country sausage, biscuits, hashbrowns, sliced tomato
(our weekly sit down together breakfast)
Sunday,  7/15 Veal Ravioli, red sauce and salad
Monday, 7/16 Pork Loin, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes with home made bread
Tuesday, 7/17 Left over pork loin tacos and spanish rice
Wednesday, 7/18/12 Parmesan Baked Fish Packets
Thursday, 7/19 Spaghetti with sauce from freezer made on Freezer Cooking Saturday
Friday, 7/20 Cheeseburgers and potato salad
Saturday, 7/21 Open Day
What's on your menu for this week? 
Ciao!  Amy


Sunday Tea Time

Join me for a glass of tea and we can catch up.

I am still in recuperation mode after tearing my left calf muscle.  But, thankfully I am mending well.  I am still limited as to how much I can be on my leg with full weight.  Brad tells me I still have a waddle when I walk *smile*

Currently I am reading the Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole. If you like paranormal books this is a great series.  I am currently on the 5th in the series.  Although, I have not been able to locate the 1st in the series. 
It is on my Paperback Swap list.

I am itching to try a couple of new recipes that I found recently.
(I am thinking blueberry instead of Cranberry)

(These have that afternoon cheese & cracker snack time all over them. YUM!)

I am a huge Phantom of the Opera fan.  The second part of the show has just recently been released on DVD Love Never Dies. I had the pleasure of watching the movie the other night via Netflix.  
If you like the Phantom then you will enjoy this one. I had read the book some years ago and have anxiously awaited the play.  Fabulous!

How are you doin'?
Ciao! Amy


Freezer Cooking

Happy Saturday Everyone!

I took a little over 4 hours today to do some freezer, nibble and nosh cooking.  We had some produce from our CSA that needed to be used or preserved.  There were also some partial packages of this and that in the fridge that needed to used before they had to be wasted. 

Here's what I made today:

Pimento Cheese Spread
This is a roasted red pepper cheese spread for those that have never heard of pimento cheese spread.  It's great on burgers, prepared like a grilled cheese or one of my favorites served with some crackers and fruit.  I'll post the recipe in a few days.

Tzatziki Sauce (or Greek cucumber dressing)
This was/is an experiment.  We had a lot of cucumbers begging to be used.  We have canned quite a few pickles.  We eat gyros often and never seem to have any cucumbers to make Tzatziki sauce.  I read up on this and you are supposed to be able to freeze this for later use.  I took several recipes and created this one, which has become our favorite. 
 Once we use this I will update on how well it turned out.

1 lb of Greek yogurt
4 cups of peeled, diced cucumbers
 1 T dill
1/4 t of garlic powder
1/4 t of onion powder
2 t of lemon juice
black pepper to taste

Mix everything together and chill before serving, allowing flavors to meld.
Freeze in family portion sizes in freezer bags. (I got 4 bags out of this)
*If you are making this to use the night made, you can use sour cream in a pinch, but not for freezing.

Italian Bread x2
This was not the best day to attempt bread.  The humidity here was awful, we had rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine and yet more rain. It resulted in my bread not rising as much as it should have.
  I will post this recipe soon.  It's a great bread machine recipe.

Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookies x 4 dozen
My camera ate the picture of these.  Go figure.
I baked 1.5 dozen of them and froze the remainder of the dough for later

Homemade Spaghetti / Pizza Sauce x 2
Another my camera ate the picture of this. 
I used 4 leftover Italian Sausage Meatballs I foraged in the freezer, fresh CSA tomatoes, frozen tomatoes from last CSA season, fresh garlic, mushrooms and tomato paste,
a pinch of this, a dash of that.. 
The end result was magnificent.  I froze this in freezer bags for use later.



Thursday's Musings...

It's been a long week and very busy.  I read this quote and had to smile.  I agree with this whole heartedly. 

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
Harriet Van Horne



CSA Tuesday

Each Tuesday we pick our weekly CSA box.  Here's what we received this week.

A jar of dark organic honey.
pickling cucumbers
October beans (Brad was sweet, and shelled them)
Ciao~ Amy


Menu Plan Monday - 7/8/12-7/14/12

Each Monday I will post a copy of my menu plan for the week. I plan menus just for dinner due to our work schedules.  Please join in and post yours too.  I look forward to seeing your menus and getting some new ideas for my menus. 

Sunday -
Breakfast - Pork tenderloin, biscuits, eggs, sliced Cherokee Purple tomatoes.
Dinner - Leftovers

Monday - Fajitas and Mexican Rice

Tuesday - Veal Ravioli with red sauce (this ravioli came from a local European Deli we visited a couple of weeks ago.  We are both excited to try it.) 

Wednesday - Beer boiled shrimp, cheese cracker crusted flounder and baked potatoes

Thursday - Cheeseburgers and homemade french fries

Friday - Homemade spinach, feta cheese & Italian sausage pizza with chicken wings

Saturday - Open 

Ciao! Amy 


Homemade Dill Chips

We have a CSA membership with http://themilkandhoneyfarm.blogspot.com/.  This is our second year with them and we can't say enough great things.  It's been a fun journey for Brad and I both as we have tried many new foods. 
We made dill pickles and chips with the cucumbers and dill we received from them.  This is our second batch this year and I see some of these going out for Christmas presents.  They are delicious and fairly easy to make. 
Dill Pickles
Makes 2 quart jars of brine solution
3 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1/4 pickling salt (regular table salt works too, but can make the pickles cloudy)
Cucumbers quartered for strips or sliced for chips
Fresh Dill
pepper corns, garlic cloves, onions, peppers, jalapenos, habaneros (optional ingredients)
1. Boil the 3 ingredient above and then once boiling turn down to a simmer.  Until ready to use.
2. Place the canning jars, lids and rings in boiling water for 10 minutes
3. Remove jars from boiling water. 
4. Pack jars with cucumbers, dill and optional ingredients.
5. Pour simmering brine solution over pickles and leave 1/2 space at top of jar.
6. Wipe off jar tops to ensure good seal and place lid and ring on jar.
7. Place in hot water bath (boiling water) for 20 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  As the jars cool they will seal (make a POP noise)
Ciao~ Amy


Chicken Squash Casserole

We had some yellow squash and onions we needed to use up from our weekly CSA box.  I threw this Chicken Squash Casserole together in no time thanks to some cooked chicken breast I had prepared a couple weeks ago during a freezer cooking session. 

Chicken Squash Casserole
1 can cream of chicken soup (cream of mushroom works well too)
1 cup of sour cream (I ran out and used cottage cheese, we liked it better)
2 pounds of yellow squash sliced (give or take on the amount)
1 small onion chopped
1 cup cheese
1 1/4 cup of stuffing mix (cornbread, savory, any flavor works well)
1-2 cups of cooked chicken
small can of mushrooms (optional)
2 garlic cloves minced (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place sliced squash, onion and garlic in pot and boil until tender
3. Mix sour cream and soup in casserole dish
4. Add to sour cream mixture chicken, 1 cup of stuffing (reserve 1/4 cup) and mushrooms
5. Drain cooked squash and stir into above mixture
6. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of stuffing and cheese
7. Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.