Monday, March 25, 2013

Grocery Shopping

I think it is funny when I talk about my system for grocery shopping and mostly cooking from scratch; people are amazed by it.  For me there is no other way to do it and it just seems like common sense.  Well I was pretty lucky (although it didn't seem like it at the time) I had no choice but to go grocery shopping with my parents and along the way I learned a few things.  I did not grow up in a house with a set menu like every Monday we had meatloaf or anything, we ate a varied menu that included Polish food, American food and Asian foods.  This week a mom at school asked me to make a copy of what I do and to please share it with her so she could also learn how to shop efficiently.

We started with the ad papers for the local grocery stores what is the least expensive protein this week?  Eggs are unless you want to buy a whole ham (which I don't).  I also felt good about the assumption we would be bringing home left over ham from Easter dinner on Sunday.  So this is our menu this week:  Thursday-Baked Pasta, Friday-Fish and Chips, Saturday-BBQ Chicken, Sunday-we are bringing a veggie and appetizer to Easter dinner, Monday-Quiche, Tuesday-English Muffin Pizzas, Wednesday-Ham Strata

I made her a grocery list of the ingredients for every dinner and showed her how I doubled up on a lot of stuff, like the Ham Strata has English Muffins and we are already buying some for the Pizzas etc.  I told her to cross off some of the stuff she already had like onions or noodles and to add breakfast items and lunch stuff.  The next thing I included was a quick list of how to make each dish.  It was surprising how much interest this got while waiting to pick up the kids.  I would love to hear how you guys shop and if there are any favorite dishes that everyone just raves about I'm always looking for something new to add to the repertoire.
Aren't these jars just the most beautiful thing ever?!!!!!   My dear sweet wonderful husband bought them for me as soon as I told him they were available.  I had no idea he had done it until he walked in with them (he had them sent to his mom's house).  They are a much deeper blue than the real vintage jars and there isn't any green to them.  They are an absolutely gorgeous Robin's egg blue I think I'm going to buy my self some daffodils to put in them until canning season starts.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pi Day

This week I was in charge of the teacher's luncheon something our school parent group does during every conference week.  We figure that since they are at the school all day and well into the evening we can at least make sure they have things to eat.  Some people brought in pasta salads, veggie/fruit trays, macaroni and cheese, cookies and other assorted nibbles.  In honor of National Pi Day I made an apple pie for the teachers to enjoy.  I adapted the recipe from Taste and See.

Apple PIe

Single Pie Crust (I love the one from Pioneer Woman's cookbook)
4 large granny smith apples (about 2 pounds)
1/2 C. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cardamom
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cornstarch

topping:  1C. flour
1/2C. brown sugar
3 TBSP. butter
1/4C. rolled oats

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and dice your apples, place them into a large sauce pan with the honey and spices.  Simmer so the apples are slightly soft add the cornstarch to help thicken up the sauce.  Roll out your pie crust and add the apples.  In a bowl cut the butter into the flour and brown sugar until it is well incorporated mix in the oats.  Top the apples with the crumble.  Bake for 40 minutes  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Going Crazy

I'm going crazy at home!  A week and a half ago I had an accident at karate (completely my own fault) and I sprained my knee.  I spent a week in this big immobilizer brace and on crutches.  It is the first time in my life I've been on crutches.  Now I'm in a much smaller compression brace so I have some movement.  It is so hard to give over all the jobs around the house to Jeff.  There are so many things that I want to be doing but I can't well I can but I pay dearly for it.  This is my wake up call to be more grateful for all the things that I don't enjoy but would give anything to do now.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

One of the first dinners I made after the whole I'm not cooking for anyone thing was a fantastic stuffed chicken breast.  I have never tried to do stuffed anything before and it was a lot of fun to do.

I started by butterflying my chicken breasts I wish that I had a meat mallet to thin out the breasts.  Unfortunately it got lost in a move and I never remember I need to buy a new one until I actually go to use it.    
Put in a smear of spinach pesto and fresh mozzarella balls cut into half in each breast.   Then I coated the breasts in flour, then eggs, and finally panko bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese.


I fried the chicken breasts until each side was beautiful golden brown.  Then we baked them on a rack to make sure they were cooked all the way through.  Keeping them lifted made sure that they didn't get soggy.  The final touches for dinner was a cheesy orzo and sauteed spinach and garlic. 
Hello yummy!!!  Everyone enjoyed dinner that night and begged me to make it again soon.  I think it will become a part of our regular rotation of meals.

 Stuffed Chicken Breasts

4 Chicken Breasts, fresh mozzarella balls (or sliced mozzarella), pesto
3 Eggs
1 C. Flour
1 C. Panko Bread Crumbs mixed with 1/4 C. Parmesan Cheese Grated

Butterfly the chicken breasts so they are uniform on each side.  Inside gets a spread of pesto and mozzarella (keep it away from the edges).  Cover in flour, dip into the eggs and then coat in Panko Bread Crumbs.  Fry until golden on each side.  If the temperature of the meat doesn't come up to 180 degrees bake until  safe.  Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chinese New Year

     Ah so welcome to the year of the snake my friends.  As you can tell we are running about a month behind here.  To all of you who cook for your families every night have you ever just gotten to the point you want to scream?  I LOVE cooking for my family I enjoy figuring out the weekly menus for us and watching everyone smile when they see what's put down in front of them.  This year I am babysitting for a few picky eaters and for some reason in February they rubbed off on my very good eaters.  I was making meal after meal that no one would eat, comments were made about it being yucky and more.  If you have been with this blog for awhile you know that Chinese New Year is something that we celebrate everyone year.  This year it was my final straw I spent forever getting ready for the dinner then spent forever cooking it and the kids ate part of it and then threw it away.  I just went on strike after that.  After a very quiet week and a lot of grilled cheese for dinner here I finally decided that I would make dinners I enjoy and that Jeff enjoys and not try to cater to everyone in the house. 
Anyway here is the Ramen Bowl that broke the camel's back.  It isn't anything special Veggie Stock, Ramen noodles, Bamboo Shoots, Corn, Spinach, BBQ spare ribs from the local Chinese Restaurant and Hard Boiled eggs.  A quick easy dinner the only thing that took forever was frying the Sesame Balls they were very good.  I wish I still had the recipe but it was from a library borrowed cookbook.  Have a great week everyone!!!!