Monday, February 28, 2011

Pizza Sauce, from your pantry

I like to do it myself, most of the time anyway. However I like being able to do it myself, even more. I don't care to get caught up in reliance upon others (things or people) for everyday living.There is a lot of "hurry up and wait" with that option. This is especially true in the kitchen. A few basic skills and a sense of wonder, coupled with my desire to be independent, is how I like things to roll. And I can usually produce what we want, or at least what is acceptable.

We had homemade pizza for our dinner on Sunday. When I went to the pantry cupboard there was no tomato sauce. Around here tomato sauce is usually purchased as part of a recipe that is planned for, except for that lone can in wait for "those times" and apparently I had already used it! Not wanting to send Honey back to the store a third time (yes He did go twice, short story, I forgot the pizza cheese on the supplies list, for Pete's sake!), I improvised.

And as luck would have it, this is now our pizza sauce. Worth the little bit of extra time, and the bonus? I always have cans of diced tomatoes, I could not get along without them. This sauce is flavorful with just the right touch of tomato goodness.

Pantry Pizza sauce
by the seat of my pants

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes - do not drain
1 T sugar
1/2 t oregano leaves
1T basil leaves
1/4 t garlic salt
1 T olive oil

Empty tomatoes into a medium sized saucepan.

Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher, to break up.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, 30-45 minutes.

 This is at the 15 minute mark. Just beginning to thicken.

This is done, 30 minutes. Thick enough to stay
where the spoon pushes it! The smell is so good!

Now your pizza is ready to be made, choose your favorite flavors and bake! Pizza is fun, easy to personalize and then all you have to do is enjoy!

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your visits, and your comments!

This post is shared with:
Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life
Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Simple Lives Thursday @ GNOWFGLINS
food on friday @ carol's chatter

A Gallery of Favorites December 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Chili Burritos

I few days ago I made a small roast in the crockpot. It was good for a roast that was cooked with almost no preparation. Frozen meat in the crockpot, dry seasoning over the top, add lid and cook. That evening we had pot roast and potatoes for dinner. A couple of nights later, we had a re-run of the roast and potatoes dinner. That left about 2 cups of mostly beef and gravy. A perfect opportunity to try out my idea of an Encore meal. I had noticed this delicious looking plate of food at Sheila's blog, and I knew I wanted to try a baked burrito that was not tomato based.

Roast beef and green chili burritos
by the seat of my pants
350 oven
2 cup roast beef and gravy - more beef than gravy
1 can black beans, drained
1 c green chili salsa, purchased or homemade your choice
6-8 tortillas - depending upon size
1 c grated cheddar

Warm the beef and gravy, gently separating the beef into shredded meat.

Add the beans and 1/2 c of the salsa. Stir gently to combine.

Fill your tortillas, leaving about 3/4 - 1 cup of the meat mixture in the pan. Add remaining salsa to the meat mixture, stir to mix. Spoon over the rolled burritos in your baking pan.

Sprinkle with the cheese, bake 30 minutes.
Serves 4-6 

Serve with additional salsa, sour cream. olives etc as your family prefers. I enjoyed mine as baked with nothing more. These were delicious and I will make these again.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by.
I appreciate your visits and your comments.

This post is shared with:
Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollum

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Corn Bread with Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese

I have been a bit absent here, yet so very busy at work with a web-based software conversion that turned out to be a train wreck. Two years lost at conversion upload. I needed to discharge past tenants, admit the current tenants and rebuild all the financial records in order to bill for services. I have been a bit busy, oh and yes I also needed to run the building while learning the new software and rebuilding the files.Whew!

However, I am glad the project is far enough along for there to be a point of sanity and I can resume some sort of normal life, and just to clarify, normal is very underrated! Needless to say, during this time we ate what ever the hand touched. It might have been leftovers, or if I was lucky, something I threw into the crock-pot before going to work for the day.

This smelled so good baking! 
Now I get to dig right in!

Today I found some broccoli in the vegetable drawer that still needed to be used. For me the term "needing to be used" indicates this is still fresh enough to be edible, and should be used up right away. Broccoli does tend to stay fresh for a longer time when refrigerated than many other vegetables. And I found this recipe over at Claudia's blog and wanted to give it a try with our favorite cornbread recipe as my starting point.

Corn bread with Broccoli and Cheddar
inspired and adapted from:  Claudia @ What's Cookin Italian Style Cuisine
425 degree oven

1 c corn meal
1 c flour
1/3 c sugar
3 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t granulated garlic
1/2 t oregano
1 t basil
2 T dried parsley

3 eggs
1/3 c oil or melted butter or bacon drippings (use your preference)
1 c milk

heaping 2 c chopped broccoli, steamed until tender - I used 1 large crown.
1 c grated cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, stir well to combine. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat the eggs, beat in milk and oil. Stir in broccoli.

Add milk mixture and grated cheese to dry ingredients and stir together quickly, lumps may/will remain.  Scrape mixture into a 7X11 baking pan. Bake 25-35 minutes or until tests done in your oven.

Serve hot with plenty of butter.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

As always thanks so much for stopping by!
I appreciate your time and your comments especially.

This post is shared with:

Make it with cornmeal @ Couscous and Consciousness
Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life
Sunday's at one @ Cocina Diary
Potluck Sunday @ Mommy's Kitchen

Monday, February 14, 2011

Parsley, Garlic and Almond Pesto

A simple salad of quartered tomatoes, sliced cucumber and croutons, tossed with 
Parsley, Garlic and Almond Pesto.

I like parsley, and have spotlighted it in a few previous posts. If you would like you may see the posts for Parsley pizza dough, or a Parsley Cucumber salad and Parsley Yeast bread, by visiting the links provided.

Is it not surprising that I would use parsley in this Make it with.......Monday post, actually requiring almonds! I guess that is how I roll here in Vancouver USA!

This pesto is different than standard basil, yet fresh and delicious. It would make a great spread on a sandwich instead mayo or mayo on one side and pesto on the other! Add some turkey or ham, sliced tomatoes and anything else you might require in your sandwich, then enjoy! It is also delicious in the usual pesto places, over pasta, stirred into soup, folded into cooked rice for a shockingly good dish.

Parsley Garlic and Almond Pesto
by the seat of my pants

3 bunches parsley - I used 2 curly leaf and 1 flat leaf

4 large cloves garlic - minced

 I make minced garlic logs and freeze them. When I need garlic, I slice off what I need and return the remainder to the freezer. These are very handy, and save peeling fresh garlic each time garlic is needed.
2 t salt
1 1/2 c sliced almonds - spread out on a sheet and toasted until fragrant and beginning to turn golden

1 c Parmesan cheese - yes I really do use the green cardboard can kind
1 - 1 1/4 c olive oil
1/4 - 1/3 c water

Wash, shake and pluck leaves from parsley. Lay out on a towel, roll up and twist in opposite directions and fold in half, you want to dry the leaves as completely as possible.

You should have enough leaves to fill your processor bowl.

Add salt, garlic and almonds. Add 1 c olive oil and begin processing.

Stop motor, scrape down sides, add remaining 1/4 c oil and the cheese. Process until all ingredients are mixed and a paste has formed.

Add water slowly while running processor motor, and when a creamy texture is achieved, stop adding water and stop the motor.

Scrape down sides of bowl and package for keeping.
Males approximately 3 cups

I prefer to keep my pesto in the freezer, I have found a sharp knife easily cuts a slice of pesto to use. Laid on hot pasta or in a bowl of soup it melts almost immediately. Keeping the pesto in the freezer keeps it bright green in color and fresh in flavor.

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello.
I appreciate your time and your comments.

This post is shared with:

Make it with almonds Monday @ Couscous and Consciousness

Tuesday Night Supper Club @ fudge ripple

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Pennywise Platter  Thursday @ the nourishing gourmet

Foodie Wednesday @ daily organized chaos

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Encore, encore!

 Encore: Meaning and Definition (interpreted)

  1. (adv. / interj.) Once more; again; -- used by cooks everywhere to increase the servings eaten from food already purchased.
  2. (v. t.) To call for a repetition or reappearance of; as, to encore a favored recipe or food.
  3. (n.) A call or demand (as, by request) for a repetition; as, that  was great, lets have it again.
The world may in fact be a stage, but for practical purposes, an encore in my kitchen means used again in a different way or presentation as well as made again because everyone enjoyed it. 

Leftovers sounds so mundane, encore on the other hand is exciting and worthy of, shall I say it, some applause.

I/we waste too much food in this household.

There I said it, and now that I have, I intend to do something about it. I knew it before, and thought I would do something about it, but thinking like that, only gets you to tomorrow, not a solution. Don't misunderstand, I do employ frugal ways in the kitchen, most are tried and true like:

scrap bags in the freezer, one for vegetable trimmings, another for chicken bones and possible a third for beef scraps. These are used for stock and then soup making.

dry bread is turned into crumbs, croutons and when sliced thin homemade toast crackers. Leftover bread is also (like most folks) turned into bread puddings and the occasional strata.

slices of leftover meatloaf make a great spaghetti sauce, just crumble the meatloaf and add during the simmering time. You can do the same with leftover meat, (a chicken thigh, a leftover sausage, pork chop etc) and each family member can enjoy their favorite one.

You know the standard stuff, but I want to do more than that, because wasted food is not cool and it is really wasted money.  Ouch, why work hard and throw it away? See what I mean, now we are talking, I mean really talking, cold hard facts. WASTED MONEY.

Speaking for myself, I have plenty of resources to make any food put on the table desirable to eat. In my dining hutch I have place mats, cloth napkins of various themes, serving ware and whimsical things to decorate with.

So honestly even if we were eating boxed macaroni with magic cheese sauce, there would be no excuse to serve it plainly. It would be plain mac and magic cheese but it would not be serve in a plain style. And you know what, those little extras (already purchased by the way, so it is no extra cost to use them - I'm just sayin!) make that serving seem as delicious as that mac and magic cheese could possibly be!

How about you, how do you prevent food waste? Do you have a special way to encore in your household. I have some ideas that I hope to share, so stay tuned. This could get good!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by.
I appreciate your time and your comments!

This post is shared with:

Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life

Monday, February 7, 2011

Serendipity Creole Chicken



an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

good fortune; luck: ie:  the serendipity of getting the first job applied for.

A funny thing happened on the way to dinner the other night. I did not know how it was going to turn out, but as luck would have it, it was serendipity. I had noticed a wing recipe at What's cookin' Italian Style Cuisine and wanted to try it. Originally I had wanted to make it for my Sunday Cafe dinner in January. As I have been known to do, I over planned the menu and this jewel did not get made. But the name alone said yum to me, Italian Sauce Wings with Mushrooms Chickpeas and Peppers. 
Lets get back to making this wonderful dish. When I went to the market, wings were not available. Something about a super bowl or some such occasion that seemed fairly important to a lot of folks. What to do, what to do. So I bought chicken legs, knowing that they will not be as cute to eat as a little drumette wing piece is. But hey chicken is chicken so lets get cooking, I said to myself at the market. 
When I got home, I realized I also forgot the mushrooms. Hmmm, lets check this score sheet, no wings and now no mushrooms. Yet when I checked my task list, dinner still needed to be made. So I got busy. 
Chicken Serendipity Creole
inspired by: Claudia @ What's Cookin' Italian Cuisine

6-8 chicken legs or 6 thighs or combination your family prefers
2 large green peppers - cut lengthwise into 1 inch strips
1 can chickpeas - drained
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
1 c red wine 
garlic salt and pepper
1 - 2 tsp creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's) 
generous 1/4 t oregano leaves
olive oil

Fresh cooked rice 

Heat olive oil in large skillet with a lid, add chicken sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper, brown well, turn, repeat seasoning with garlic salt and pepper, brown.  

Scatter peppers and chickpeas over browned chicken. Pour tomato sauce and wine over, then sprinkle with the creole seasoning and oregano. 
Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour. Remove cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes for mixture to thicken slightly.

Serve chicken and the tomato broth in flat soup bowl over a scoop of rice. Delicious!

Serves 4 - 6

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

As always thanks for stopping by,
I appreciate your visits and comments.

This post will be shared with:

Hearth n Soul @ a moderate life

Tuesday Night Supper Club @ Fudge Ripple 

Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Brownies with a little bit more!

In past years I have made the brownies from the Hershey's cocoa tin. They are always good, but today I am cooking Bittman. His brownies are straightforward and chocolate-y! I will be adding a little something to his recipe though, a touch of leavening. With the added moisture from the fruit, I am concerned the brownies will be too fudge-y and not as good. He also gives suggestions at the bottom for a few variations. Combine that with the cranberries and orange zest waiting in the refrigerator and you have something a bit different, but I think will be totally delicious. And besides, my frugal heart will not allow me to toss those spent berries and zest.

These are some good brownies!
Honey had a piece for his lunch break, and I just had a small bite with coffee, and Bittman done good!

Brownies with Cranberry and Orange Zest
from:  How to cook everything
by, Mark Bittman

350 degree oven

1 stick butter
3 squares chocolate, chopped coarse

1 c sugar
2 eggs
1/4 t vanilla

1/2 c flour plus 1 T flour
pinch or dash of salt
1/4 t baking powder

Cranberries and zest from the Cranberry Liqueur
1/2 c walnuts - optional

Chop the chocolate, set aside.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate, turn off the burner and allow chocolate to melt, stir as needed. Let cool until comfortable warm to the touch.

Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl, whisk to combine. Whisk into the chocolate mixture, whisk until smooth.

Fold in the cranberries.

Turn out into a 9 inch prepared ( butter and dust with cocoa power) spring form pan.

Cover top with chopped walnuts.


Bake 22-25 minutes or until middle is firm and tests (almost) done.

Let rest 15 minutes, carefully run a thin spatula around the inside edge of pan. Remove ring and allow to cool completely.

Serve in wedges with ice cream or whipped cream.

Recipe rating:  It's Ok. (tasty but not special)

This post is shared with:

Cookbook Sunday @ Brenda's Canadian Kitchen

Tackling Bittman @ a moderate life