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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Basics Part 1

This blog post is for my friend at work who is just starting to learn to cook.
There are three basic sauces you need to learn to make about anything.

White Sauce:2 servings

2 Tablespoons butter (BUTTER not fake anything)
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Cup liquid
Salt and Pepper to taste
For a basic sauce here is how you start. You can add whatever veggies, meat, spices, and pasta to this basic sauce and create what you want.

Melt the butter over medium heat; add vegetables at this point (onions, mushrooms or whatever you want).
Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds CONTINUALLY. Then add liquid and salt/pepper. For cream sauce use milk. Cook until thick. Add more liquid to thin out sauce.
Macaroni and Cheese: Add cheese after it thickens. Then add pasta and any veggie you want such as peas.

Chicken casserole:  Add chicken broth instead of milk and spices with pasta and chicken.

Tuna Noodle: Add tuna and chicken broth seasonings then noodles.
For all of these casseroles you bake them covered in tin foil @ 375 degrees until you see the bottom bubbling, about 40 minutes. Take the foil off and bake until you get a golden top.

You can just make this cream sauce and add garlic, pasta, parmesan cheese, and some peas for a good side dish.

Or Mac and Cheese

The object is to just use this sauce and add things you like. Maybe some Cajun spices and shrimp or shrimp and garlic. This is just a base for any good invention.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Massive BBQ cookoff

Since we have very little time to cook during the week we try to BBQ or cook for the week.
Buffalo Hot Dogs from Whole foods, Hamburger, Salmon from Trader Joe's, and Turkey Breast all went on the grill. Make sure you put a thumb mark in the middle of the burgers so they don't puff up in the middle. I try to make mine big because they will cook up smaller.  Life will be easy this week.


Well, at least they all fit. The salmon filet went firs then burgers and dogs. The turkey took another 1/2 hour on lower heat.
Last night we had Salmon Caesar Salad with parmesan cheese and homemade Caesar Salad Dressing. Usually I have croutons, but I forgot to make them from our homemade bread.

The salad dressing is a fairly easy recipe. I use all the anchovies in the small tin plus the juice. I just chop up the anchovies, add 3 large cloves of minced garlic and 1/3 C mayo. I use my immersion blender then add a bit of milk to thin it out. We like our dressing spicy hot so we use a lot of garlic. You can start out with a clove and add more after it ages. It is better to make your dressing the day before.
Tonight we had Buffalo Dogs and veggie chili from Trader Joe's. Of course, we topped it with shredded raw milk white cheddar cheese also from Trader Joe's.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tuna Steak with Noodle Side Dish

Tuna Steaks....they are so amazing and easy to grill. They literally take under 10 minutes to cook.
We use wood chunks for grilling. We gave up charcoal and have never used propane for grilling. It has to many chemicals. The problem with wood chunks is they burn faster so you have to plan ahead.
Grill the tuna's first side good then flip it over only for a few minutes. It should not be solid when done, but have a bit of spring-back. (I have been watching Bobby Flay's cooking to much)
Before you even get the Tuna steaks on the grill you should make the noodle dish first.

Glass dishes tonight. It just didn't seem right to put this meal on paper plates.

Dinner for Two
Cook thin spaghetti noodles and set aside. Don't wash them off. The starch on the noodles gives the sauce something to stick to.
As the noodles are cooking saute:
1/4 chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic from a jar or 1/2 chopped small garlic clove
We added 3 left over mushrooms (optional)
Cook for about 3 minutes. Add: 1 Tablespoon flour and stir. Cook for at least 30 seconds.
Add: 1/2 C of milk or cream. The sauce will thicken.
I added frozen peas and then noodles.
Top with parmesan cheese and stir.

Remove from heat and cover....meanwhile put the Tuna Steaks on. Timing is the real key. We take the steaks off and cover loosely with foil.

The noodle dish was fast. I put our deionized water on to boil before I jumped in the shower and it was just about boiling by the time I came out. Yep, multi-tasking.

Two Tuna Steaks from Trader Joe's @ $8.99/pound
The Tuna Steaks are so big we cut them in half saving the second half for a salad topping the next night.

Made in our iron clad cookware. I don't use a pan coated with anything.

This is a hearty dish. I think I got carried away with the noodles. (Of course our parrot screamed until he got his cut of noodles) This noodle recipe can be changed to fit what you have left over in your frig. You could add zucchini, peppers,  hot or sweet, carrots, and whatever. We love frozen peas and corn.

We also have a nice glass of red wine from Trader Joe's with dinner.

Tonight we are grilling the entire week’s meat: Turkey breast, (grill both sides on high heat to get the grill marks then over low heat until done) four burgers, four bison dogs from Whole Food, and salmon from Trader Joe's. We don't have a lot of time after work so this works best for us. Some of the turkey will be used in my pasta-bean-turkey salad for lunches. Tonight will be Salmon Caesar Salad.

I will take pics of our meals this week. Seems I don't blog much. Hubby and I now commute to work. I have to wait 1 hour after we get there before I work and he waits 1.5 hours after his work before I get out of work. Fortunately, we work across the street from each other. We are saving for a trip to the west coast around Christmas to see our kids and grandkids. We are living a bit frugal the next few months. We only go out once a week for a meal and no more weekend drives in the Texas country dreaming of an area to live. Hunker down and save is our motto.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Dark Chocolate

A few years ago I came across a doctor who wrote a book called "Eat Right For Your Blood Type".
My blood type is "B" and on the DO NOT EAT list is milk chocolate. Each time I have any milk chocolate I get bad indigestion. Lately we have been buying Dark Chocolate at Trader Joe's. I have no problem with this chocolate at all. Below I will give you the ingredients for Trader Joe's organic chocolate bar and a popular chocolate bar.

Hershey Chocolate Bar:

Vanillin: compound obtained from vanilla: a white aldehyde obtained from vanilla or prepared synthetically.

 PGPR: It is a long definition so I just gave you a link.

The rest you should know.

Now for Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Bar;

Organic dark chocolate, (cocoa mass, cane sugar, cocoa butter) roasted almonds, dry cocoa solids 73% minimum.

We have a small square with our Trader Joe's wine. We don't pay over $7 for a bottle red wine blends. Lots of good good wine there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Info on my "Green Chili Tortillas" or "White Enchiladas"

As I was getting my flour tortillas out to make this dish again I found that the tortillas had dots of mold. I of course took them out as there weren't really that many. 
I bought these large flour tortillas from Trader Joe's.  I forgot that these tortillas don't have preservatives. If you buy these make sure you EAT THEM WITHIN A WEEK. Actually, any bread product. 
I decided to get the ingredients from a popular flour tortilla and compare it with Trader Joe's.

Mission Flour Tortillas:

Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), contains 2% or less of each of the following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Distilled Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Wheat Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Antioxidants (Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid), Cellulose Gum, Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite), Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid).

Trader Joe's Flour Tortillas:

CONTAINS WHEAT AND SOY. Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Water, Liquid Soy Oil, Salt, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate). 

Sodium Aluminum Sulfate
Calcium Sulfate
Calcium Carbonate
Ascorbic Acid
Sodium Metabisulfite
Calcium Propionate
Sorbic Acid

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Non packaged Mac and Cheese

I havent used a packaged mac and cheese for 30 years. My grandson ate my homemade mac and cheese and now he doesn't like packaged mac and cheese.

White sauce is real easy to make.

In medium pot add 4 tbls butter, add onions if you put onions in your mac and cheese. When melted add 4 tbls flour and stir. It gets real pasty. Add 2C milk. Stir until thickened. If it is still two thick add more milk. If it needs thickening combine a tablespoon butter and tablespoon flour and add to mixture. This way it won't lump. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add 1C grated cheese of your choice. More if you like with more cheese.
Grease 9x11x glass baking dish or any dish it will fit in.
Cook @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes with foil on top. Take foil off and cook for 10 minutes more if you like the top crunchy.

Turkey Pasta Salad

I had some left over roasted chicken from a restaurant we stopped at last week. Pasta salad is like goulash. Add what you have in your frig. It's a good way to clean the frig out at the end of the week.

Here is what I put in mine:

Left over chicken
Cooked pasta (any type)
Chopped celery
Chopped red onion
Can of pinto beans ( I use Trader Joe's beans because they have  no GMO's)
Newman's Italian salad dressing