Friday, August 18, 2017

Food for Thought

I said I had a lot of recipes that needed posting.  The recipes below will give you some idea how long I've been holding on to these.  At least they're 2017's!

If you're looking for meal ideas, then these could make your planning go a little faster.

You know, I know I made these the weekend of the 4th, but for the life of me can't recall if it was a big thing, or just Parent Dinner Friday (we have been hosting my parents, along with the in-laws, since my mother had shoulder surgery back in April(?)  So these 4th of July Cookie Bars were really soft and vanilla-y, but I'm sorry, I couldn't make myself add the blue food coloring.  I showed my patriotic with sprinkles.

These Quick Southern-Style Backed Beans are a Pioneer Woman recipe and they were as good as any of her recipes.  They were thick and rich and savory.  Great for a cook-out.

We love tacos, burritos, anything southwest/mexican-ish.  So Southwestern Baked Burritos were a must try.  I really liked the filling - it was hearty and well spiced.  As with most things that are baked instead of fried, you don't really get that satisfying crunch, but it wasn't too bad.  I do bake on parchment, instead of foil or just the pan, and I did spray them, but I flipped them more than once to get a good browning and a semi-crunchy outside.  Still, they were good.

Salads, while a great no-heat meal, I don't do often, but am trying to do more.  I can get a lot in a salad some people in my house may pick over if served any other way.  So I liked this Chopped Asian Salad for those reasons, but I like it more once it was served.  Lots of great Asian flavors in a light dressing, crunching, filling and best of all, super easy.  I did not use chow mein noodles, but I might chop peanuts for next time instead.  It held up well for a couple days worth of lunches.

Hubby has been using his smoker a lot.  It's been awesome.  The only downside is that smoked meats can feel heavy - or at least they feel that way to me.  Not so much in the stomach heavy, but on the palate heavy.  When I saw this Grilled Cajun Chicken with Avocado Corn Salsa, it sounded fresh and light and it was.  The freshness of the salsa and the zing of the seasoning on the chicken was just right.  It made me think, maybe, every now and then, we need something fresh to top the smoked meats - a salsa or chimichurri; something bright and fresh.

I've made several sheet pan meals and I love them.  The set up, the clean up. It's all good.  I've been using various leftover meats (remember hubby's been smoking a lot) to make several variations on sheet pan nachos, just like this Sheet Pan Taco Nachos.  They are simple.  They are easy.  Everyone eats and, yes, the oven's on, but for 5 minutes.  I can deal.  Usually, I make up two sheet pans if everyone's home, set 'em on the table and we dig in.  Because the nachos are loaded, I don't generally serve anything further.  Works for us, and people leave full.

I've tried to stop buying dressings.  Most of the time I can make up dressings at home with what I have on hand.  When I needed a Balsamic Vinaigrette, I just looked it up.  This is a good, tangy, well balanced version.  It's going on a recipe card.

Before we got into the monsoon season, we had the odd cool day and this Greek Turkey Rice Skillet sounded good.  It was - the salty bite of olives and feta, and the lemon freshened everything up.  Because we're at altitude I need to adjust the cook time and liquid called for, or I get slightly undercooked rice.

We now have two high school grads.  One in college and one taking a semester off.  We also have one in private school.  So we're cutting back on our Saturday night eat out tradition.  In that vein I needed something to come home to after church if we were going to stick to the cutting back.  These Crock Pot Sweet Honey BBQ Hotdogs seemed easy enough.  The short cook time meant I could dump it all in on my way out the door and it would be ready when we got home.  Worked like a charm.  There was quite a bit of sauce, so either more hot dogs, or better yet, larger sausages.  

Happy Friday,


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

We Are

Is it wrong to want to be dancing the back-to-school dance?  All day long?

I've picked up most school supplies - need a tub/tote thing for the fourth grader.  The high schooler has his basic supplies and a new backpack.  It remains to be seen if his teachers will require anything specific.  

I've ordered a couple new pieces of the fourth grader's uniform.  I'll order more items when the weather turns cooler.  The high schooler has several new pairs of shorts.  Like his younger brother, cool weather shopping will wait a few months.  The college girl takes care of her own supplies and books, and clothes for that matter.  And the 18 y.o. is working for now.

  • We do seem to spend a lot of time in the meat sections of grocery stores.
  • Breakfast of champions for a girlie and her friend.
  • She waited a long time to finally be rid of the dinosaur
  • When your Uncle, who also loves a good climb, comes out to visit. . .
  • . . .you plan another fourteener - this time Mt. Bierstadt
  • A throw-back arcade.  Legit from the 80's.  The only difference, you play a flat fee and play all you want.  Same cramped hand.
  • A little back-to-school party for the 8 y.o. 
  • What's a gathering of kids, in the summer, without water balloons?
  • Up at 5 am (which isn't a big deal to these guys, all their jobs require early rising) to head to Kansas City and a Cold Play concert
  • Keep the humidity, but I'll take the greenery
  • When one of your Kroo can't go and it's not the same, so you bring him along anyway
  • Concert time
  • Cold Play - Kansas City, KS
Happy Wednesday,


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

We Are

School starts next Friday (seriously??? Starting school on a FRIDAY???) for my high school Junior.  The following Monday for my fourth grader and college Junior.  My recent high school graduate is taking a semester off to contemplate a couple different paths, and working while doing so.

Outside of a couple weekend jaunts hubby and various combinations of children took, my two oldest were the ones rocking their summer vacations by getting out, going up and "immersing" themselves in all that Colorado outdoors offer.

  • The 18 y.o. works at Sock (yes, that's all they sell.) He seems to enjoy picking a very eclectic selection of music during his shifts.
  • Apparently pens (and gloves) have far more value when you work in the healthcare industry
  • Neighborhood Watching is way more enjoyable when done from the comforts of your bed
  • The 18 y.o. and friends took a trip up to Vail, for hiking, biking and river drifting. . . 
  •  . . . and some very questionable food choices
  • The 18 y.o. attempted to summit Mt. Elbert, one of Colorado's fourteeners, but only made it to about 13,000 feet before weather intervened and they turned back.
  • My 8 y.o. is obsessed with Mustangs - the car - and while on one of our weekend treks to the southern portion of the state, we came across this street.  He was so excited.
  • This is the face you get when you're leaving for the day. . .
  • . . .and this follow-up when you're still gone an hour later.
  • When you're surrounded
  • The 18 y.o. and his girlfriend do a Color Glow Run
  • His first fourteener. . .
  • and his second.  Both on the same day.
  • My daughter, and her Kroo, ready for adventure . . .
  • . . . and the white water of Clear Creek (no so much a creek.)
  • She's in the middle on the right. . .how come the dudes are looking at the camera, but the girls, not so much?
  • Sometimes the best views are found taking the back roads.
  • Thoughts on gym workouts
  • When your and your sister's jobs have something in common - even though you deal in socks and she deals in memory care patients.  #whoknew
  • When you just weren't meant to take that bike ride
  • I specifically asked him not to slide on the turf during his game. . .last week's was worse, hence the request
  • Beauty. . .it's not for the faint of heart.
Happy Wednesday,


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Food For Thought

Several weeks ago I started a long needed project - sorting through my binder of printed Pinterest recipes.  Binder is a loose term meaning a two inch, 3-ring binder that had been blown out to over six inches by my shoving anything into it that I've printed and cooked from Pinterest.  Some needed to be made into recipe cards, because I use the recipes frequently.  Some needed to be moved to my "I Cooked That" board and then posted here.  Some needed to be deleted and thrown away.  The long list that follows was the initial tip of the iceberg.

So if you need some ideas for your coming week's menu . . .

I really suck when it comes to side dishes. I'm just not imaginative, but I'm trying to work on it.  That's where these Cheesy Ranch Potatoes come in.  First it's potatoes and cheese.  YUM.  Second, it's super easy.  And they were super delicious.  I use this homemade dry Ranch seasoning.

I've made these Buttermilk Drop Biscuits in the past.  My usual go-to are these Butter Dip Biscuits (which have been made into a recipe card.)  But when a light, fluffy, stand-alone biscuit is what you want, these will fit the bill.  These are also great as a shortcake base.

I made these Angel Food Cake Trifles with Cheesecake Topping and Blueberry Sauce for a gathering of some sort.  The "what for" escapes me at the moment, but they were great!  This would work as a large Triffle, as well as individuals.  The number you get will depend on the number of layers and how big your cups are.  I got servings for 10 and each serving was plenty.

We made this Grilled Stuffed Braciole for the same special gather that I made the above desserts.  I made, or set up, the beef and filling, while hubby did the cooking honors.  It was really good - moist and well seasoned and the filling was delicious.  However, next time I'll use shredded cheese - the middle slices didn't melt as well, and probably use less of, and spread thinner, the remaining stuffing, to make it easier to slice.  The hardest thing was filleting the steak and trying to roll the whole thing up - hence the changes I'll make.

Rice is kind of a "duh" side dish, but sometimes it's just right.  So is this Coconut Rice Take 2.  It's just right.

It's summer, so anything I can do to not turn on the oven or stove and I'm happy to try it out.  Such is the way we came to have this Crock Pot Cherry Delight for dessert.  Cherries, yummy cake-iness.  No oven.  It was all good.

This Oreo Cheesecake Brownie Trifle was also made for a gathering.  Another one I don't remember; we've hosted quite a few this summer.  It was really good.  Creamy and cool and Oreo-y.  The brownie base alone is worth it.  If memory serves, there was nothing left over.

I've made this Crispy Potato Pancake for a number of sides.  It's great for breakfast.  It's great with tomato soup.  It's great as a side to steak, with a dollop of sour cream.

To tell you how long I've had this Chocolate, Cranberry & Oat Bars sitting around, I'd have to tell you that I make them during the school year for on-the-go breakfasts.  So we'll just cut to the chase and say they are great for on-the-go mornings.  Chewy, chocolatey with that bit of cranberry (I've also used dried cherries, but you could substitute any dried fruit) and filling because of the oats.

I love Pretzel Buns - there's just something about the soft, dense dough.  So when I found out how easy they were - well, there are a few steps, but they are all easy - I had to try them at home.  These Pretzle Hot Dog Buns I won't do on a hot summer afternoon, but cool mornings and definitely in the fall and winter they're made all the time.  They are great as is or toasted.  Shape them to fit sandwiches or sausages.

These Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Cookies are a quick, delicious and easy dessert - even if the kitchen is already hot.

Hubby made a run to the liquor store for this Cherry Chiller drink.  My husband loved it.  Me . . . eh.  I didn't like the earthy flavor of the Reposado tequila, though the rest of the drink was bright.  I'd try it with a different tequila next time.

Happy Saturday (aka Menu Planning)