Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's been a while since I've posted, I haven't been able to type because of this... *sings* Dun Dun Dun
I broke my arm! I wish I could say that I was doing something cool like water skiing but in reality I was putting sunscreen on my legs, fell backwards, tried to catch myself with my right hand, and snap! I broke my RIGHT arm... I'm right handed! So it's been darn near impossible to cook, do my hair, fold laundry, etc. It's been terrible :-(
On a positive note, I found the cutest purple purse and wallet at Target last week, I really think it compliments my cast... and for only $30 ($20 for the purse and $10 wallet), I feel just a little bit better about the purple clunky cast on my arm, lol. We've broken our July challenge and eaten out a few times but we're trying to eat homemade as much as possible. Our wonderful son Andrew has stepped in and made a few easy dinners for the family.... mostly all Mexican food because that's what he likes, lol. These Enchiritos were fairly easy for Andrew to make and they hit the spot!

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 can Enchilada Sauce
1 can (28 Ounce) Refried Beans
1/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
12 Burrito-sized Flour Tortillas
Extra Grated Cheese, For Sprinkling
Extra Enchilada Sauce, For Drizzling

Spicy Beef Directions
Brown the ground beef and diced onions in a large skillet. Drain off excess fat and add the taco seasoning. Stir in 3/4 of the can of enchilada sauce (around a cup of sauce) and set the pan aside.
Cheesy Beans Directions
Stir the shredded cheese and beans together and warm the in the microwave... Andrew is a pro microwave nuke'er ,-)
Enchirito Directions
Nuke some burrito-size flour tortillas for about a minute or so. You want them to be soft and pliable. Spread on some warm cheesy beans And some of the spicy meat Roll it over Fold over the ends And roll it over again
Put a couple of the burritos on a plate Drizzle on the leftover enchilada sauce
Sprinkle on some shredded cheese And nuke it for about a minute (or until the cheese is melted)! Did I mention that Andrew is an excellent nuke'er? Thanks for dinner Andrew, I love you buddy!

Pot Roast

Monday, July 12, 2010

We ate a lot of pot roast growing up and I remember it being dry and chewy... I would sip water with it just so I could swallow it down! It was one of my least favorite dinners so I usually gorged myself on the braised celery and carrots... I LOVE braised celery and carrots!
Well, this isn't a dry chewy pot roast! This pot roast is AMAZING! The meat was falling apart it was so tender and juicy! The boys got seconds and couldn't quit talking about it... I chose seconds of meat instead of getting more celery and carrots... and even Justin (the non-beef eater) loved it! We are all stuffed but we're super excited to eat the leftovers tomorrow!!!

Pot Roast Ingredients
3 1/2 pound pot roast (I get arm chuck pot roast)
1/2 cup flour
Sprinkling of Pepper
1/4 cup butter
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup white cooking wine (it's next to the vinegar at the grocery store)
Carrots and Celery- Optional

Gravy Ingredients
Pot Roast Drippings
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

In a large bowl or plate, combine the flour and black pepper to taste. Dredge the rump roast in the flour and cover evenly. Shake off excess. Heat a large pot/dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the butter and then set the floured roast into the hot pan and sear it on one side, about 3 minutes. When that side is nice and brown (the browner the better), flip it over to the other side. When you’ve browned it all over the place, remove the roast to a plate. Oh, and see that brown stuff in the pan? That’s good. That’s real, real good.
Now, with the burner on medium-high, we’re going to deglaze the pan...we’re gonna scrape the heck out of the pan and git all that gooooood stuuuuuuff off the bottom. Pour 1/2 cup of white cooking wine in the pan.
Use your whisk to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan. Now add the onion soup mix and mushroom soup. Stir together Now add the browned meat to the pan and spoon some of the sauce on top of the roast. Cover and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 hours. After 2 hours I add the chopped celery and carrots (so the veggies slow cook themselves in the sauce... it's heaven)! If your roast is bigger than 3 pounds you'll probably need to cook it for another hour. When it's done you move the meat to a cutting board and test it with a fork. See how easily it splits apart? You can literally see the melted connective tissue between the meat. When it easily “falls apart,” it’s definitely ready.
But don’t stop there! Because you’d never want to miss out on all that flavor, we need to take make some gravy from the drippings in the pan! Set the roasting pan over medium-low heat, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour in the pan. Whisk the flour into the drippings until the flour is incorporated. Now, whisk in 1 cup of milk while whisking and scraping off the encrusted bits on the bottom of the pan. Now’s a good time to have Abbott's favorite creamy mashed potatoes handy. Which reminds me, I never addressed The Potato Issue at the beginning of this post. I do NOT like to put potatoes into the pot with the meat. While it’s a handy, convenient way to cook the spuds, I think the potatoes turn out kind of dry and grainy. Instead, I think mashed potatoes really make a pot roast special. Spoon some vegetables onto the plate, with the pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy... Mmm! You won't want to stop eating!

Broccoli Salad

Monday, July 5, 2010

This broccoli salad is great for potlucks! I wanted to make it yesterday for the 4th of July but decided that watermelon and cantaloupe was good enough... I love my cooking logic when I get too tired to cook anymore ,-)
Justin hasn't ever had this salad and blew me away by eating a couple helpings! He usually hates broccoli! He said that he didn't hate this salad, but he didn't like it either... the sweet, salty, and earthy vegetable tastes confused his taste buds. So he ate bite after bite staring it down like he was trying to figure it out. It was funny!

During the summer there's not too much on TV so we've been watching Oprah's debt diet... mostly because it's entertaining to gawk at the people in debt, but it also got us thinking about our spending habits. We do pretty good, we hate shopping so we don't have the debt that Oprah talks about. We spend too much money on eating out though. So, for July we're challenging ourselves, we made 3 rules...
1. No eating out- no fast food, no desserts, nothing!
2. We must have a fruit or vegetable with every meal!
3. Corn and potatoes don't count as vegetables!
We're on day 5 of our July challenge and we're doing great! We haven't wanted to eat out once... I get tired cooking every meal though, it would be nice to have a break :-(

1 head fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup red grapes, cut into fourths
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup mayonnaise

In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli and grapes. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and mayonnaise. Little by little, pour the dressing over broccoli mixture... you won't need all of the dressing, it depends on the size of your broccoli head and how much dressing you like on salads. So just pour a little, toss, and then pour some more if you like. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Before serving, toss salad with crumbled bacon.

Parmesan Potatoes

Friday, July 2, 2010

These potatoes were tasty and easy to make (a GREAT substitution to use instead of the frozen tator-tots I have been guilty of buying lately)! My boys also love helping me shake foods up in a Ziploc, so that’s an extra bonus for this recipe :-)

So, I’m a teacher but I also manage the school’s student information systems… so I don’t get my summers completely off. I work from home almost every day and am on call as issues arise throughout the summer. That’s the back-story you need to know for the following conversation…

We’re in the car, we had just finished up a doctor’s appointment and were on our way to another appointment and I said “Hey boys, I’m going to run by home real fast to check something and send an email. I’ll just be five minutes.”

Andrew says “you are addicted to working mom, we don’t need to go home so you can send an email”.

I say “Well, my boss says that I do… you see I get paid to help answer questions during the summer so if someone asks a question I have to quickly answer it”.

Andrew and Abbott break out into uncontrollable laughter.

I say “What! You don’t believe me? I actually have the answers when no one else does.”

Abbott’s still uncontrollably laughing and between Andrew’s giggles he laughs out a mocking “O.K. mom…. “

I say, “It’s true, your mom is actually smart when it comes to this stuff”

Andrew says “Mom you don’t even know directions like north, east, south, west”… then both boys bust out into another round of laughter.

I sigh and don’t say anything else… I’ve lost them… to them I’ll always be their idiot mom who can’t figure out if I’m going north or south, who can’t fry on the stove because she starts grease fires, who can’t carry in the water jugs because she isn’t strong enough, and who can’t figure out their complicated math homework.

6 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)

Clean the potatoes- a trick I learned working at the hospital cafeteria was to run the potatoes through the dishwasher without any soap, the heat and water spray gets them very clean!
Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes, leaving skins on. In a large ziploc baggie, mix together oil, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. Add the potatoes to the bag, seal, and shake the potatoes to coat them with the seasoning. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.