Sunday, March 13, 2011

crazy times

As if Charlie Sheen's rants aren't enough craziness, (does he seriously expect us to believe he's not using? The guy looks like a skeleton and talks like a lunatic! If he's not on drugs, he'd better get a cat scan because something is seriously wrong.) one of the biggest earthquakes on record shook Japan and sent flood waters across the region.  Watching that water stampede across, trampling everything in it's path, carrying cars, houses, boat and other debris, sends shocks of wonder, disbelief, awe and horror to the person who is safely sitting in their living room, watching the television or the computer.

We live in Cleveland and, yesterday, as we were driving by the airport and the Ford Plant that looks like it is its own city, I could imagine water gushing over it all taking everything in it's path.  It was humbling and a huge reminder to not take life for granted.  Nothing is really promised, is it?  When water spills over the land, rushes over houses, cars and boats and takes everything in it's path, human life is more delicate than any of us would ever like to admit.  4 trains are missing.  Doesn't that seem impossible?  How could 4 trains go missing.  Water swept them away the way the wind blows a leaf off of the front porch.

Anyway, it doesn't seem like I've been cooking much lately.  I did take a lesson from Rachael's cookbook and made a fast dinner but it really isn't one of her recipes.  She's turned me on to McCormick's Montreal Grill Seasoning mix.  It's peppery and savory and I love it!  I put it on some chicken breasts, grilled them while I had some pre-packaged waffle fries in the oven.  And, then I made my standard which I've told you about before - peppers and onions sauteed with a bit of olive oil on high heat until they start to brown, then add a dash of balsamic vinegar.  We had a salad and I steamed some broccoli.  Other than that, another night, I grilled some steaks and had baked potatoes - used the McCormick's on that too.  Anyway, I've been on my own a bit this week.  

Yesterday night, my daughter was home with a friend while my husband and I were at the game and they tried to make something from the cookbook but they didn't have the ingredients so they tried to improvise.  Well, neither one really has the skill to do that just yet and they didn't like what they made.  But, I remember that age as a cook!  You think, "Why can't I do this?"  then you do it and it's awful and you think, "Oh, that's why."

I am hoping you are well.  Safe.  Warm.  Dry.  I am a religious and spirtual  person and I will go ahead and say it - God Bless You.

Bon Jour!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Edible Arrangements

It was a banner day at the Fruit Stand as we like to call it.  Our store did about 23 arrangements today when we usually do about 10-15.  I had to cut about 5 more pineapple into shapes and there were all of these scraps so I brought them home.  There is a recipe in Rachael's cookbook for Pineapple Chicken - it calls for a whole pineapple that is cored and peeled - no sweat!

I used that McCormick's grilling seasoning on the chicken to season it before grilling it in the fry pan (is that the right technical terms?)  Then, slice up the cooked chicken, put it back into the skillet and put the pineapple sauce on top.  Also, I didn't have any spiced rum so I used coconut rum.  This recipe was a big hit with my husband.  And, there's still some of the sauce left over.  Love leftovers!  They make the best lunches.  I'll cook some more chicken and it will be great for lunch tomorrow.

With the rest of the pineapple scraps, I chunked them up and put them in a blender with six or seven frozen strawberries, the juice from the scraps and about three quarters of a cup of the coconut rum plus a little white rum just for effect and blended - daquiri anyone?  Those were quite tasty too.

Meanwhile, my son has Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  We keep asking ourselves questions like, "How did he move that thousand pound rock by himself?" Oh well.  It's a movie right?

My husband just complimented me again on the dinner.  It was a hit!

Bonne nuit!

Walking taco

Have you ever made a walking taco?  It is so easy and it's actually something I learned how to do at the high school where I substitute teach while I'm pursuing my license.  What you do is brown some hamburger or ground turkey, add taco seasoning mix and let it simmer for ten minutes.  In the meantime, pick out your favorite tortilla or corn chips - Fritos or Doritios or Tostitos in single serving bags.  Crush the chips just a little, scoop on some of the taco meat, put some shredded cheddar, some thinly sliced lettuce, some salsa, some sour cream, grab a fork and chow.  School groups do this a fund raiser.  They charge $2, make a huge roasting pan full of the beef, have boxed of single size chips and usually sell out before the last lunch period is over because everyone loves it so much.

Why am I telling you this?  Because it is what I made for dinner last night.  Ellen had a game she had to cheer for, my husband was with her so it was just the three of us - Audrey, Brandon and me.  I wanted something uber-simple and fun.  We watched Eat Pray Love for the four hundreth time.  Audrey and I worked on giving ourselves pedicures and Brandon talked to us about philosophical ideas like a story from Dante about which sin was the worst: gluttony, adultery or murder.  Deep kid.

I work 12-5 at Edibles today and will have time to make something.  I don't know what just yet.  I actually have to get into the shower so I'll be ready on time to leave.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chinese food

I have not been cooking.
I have had Chinese take out for dinner, lunch and dinner for the past two days.  Do you think all that MSG could be the buzzing in my head?  I'm not really kidding about that. I have eaten probably a pound and half of spicy green beans.  They are so good, I can't stop!  But, I bet they have a lot of salt on them.

Well, in our world, Senate Bill 5 just passed the Senate.  What I don't have the full scoop on but all the teachers were talking about today is how someone on the committee who planned on voting no was replaced with someone who voted yes and that won the vote 17-16.

What I can't understand is how anyone can justify attacking teachers, police and firemen.  The people that help raise our kids, protect us from the bad guys and come to our rescue when our houses are on fire or someone we love is having a heart attack - who could say any of these guys are overpaid, over-benefitted, over-compensated?  Are you kidding??  Now, they have it set that a teacher with 10 years experience and a Master degree will make, are you ready?  Wait for it.... $31,500 per year.  Now, remember that a teaching degree is a FIVE year degree and then an average masters degree costs over $15,000.  The school system does not pay for this.  It's crazy and it's making me rethink this plan to get my teaching degree.  I have a business degree but wanted to do something more for my fellow man.  But, not at the expense of my family.

Tomorrow is Friday night. I'm not sure yet what our plans are - there are two basketball games that we will probably go to.  It will probably be chicken.

Bonne nuit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yet another night

Well, I have not cooked much lately.  It's Tuesday night and I last cooked last Thursday night?  Is that right?  No.  Sunday night.  Last Thursday night, the girls made dinner again.  I remember it was good and chicken but I don't remember what it was.  Hmmm.  Sunday, I made lemon crusted chicken with smashed red potatoes.  The potatoes were not part of the recipe but I've got to say, I am totally into these taters.  I put some lemon juice into the mashers with some garlic butter and sour cream.  Who wouldn't be in to that??

Last night, I worked until 7:15, still had to hit Target so the hubby talked me ( you can guess how hard he had to try!) into Applebees.  I love that 2 for $20 menu!  I always get the sirloin, and while it adds some cost, I have them put the parmesan shrimp on top.  It is so good.  And, I got smashed red potatoes - told you I was into them!  Plus, even though they totally aren't good for you and have about a million calories and are a total guy food, I love buffalo chicken bites.  I use that word a lot - Love - but what else can I call it?

So, I haven't been cooking much because, over the weekend, my daughter's high school cheer team competed in the State competition.  So, we had pizza on Friday night before we headed out of town and went out to dinner on Saturday night while we were still out of town.  Then ate Applebees last night.  Love eating out!!

The reason I started this  project is because I hate those periods of indecision of what to make for dinner. Tonight, I was flipping through the book, really not feeling it.  So, I went to an old stand by with a bit of Rachael Ray thrown in.  Okay, ready for the recipe?  You need around 5 boneless chicken breasts (I'm feeding five), slice them into strips or tenders and put two tablespoons of your favorite Caeser salad dressing over the chicken to coat.  Heat a skillet with two tablespoons of butter.  Heat a pot of water to boil.Slice an onion and red pepper. Once the butter is browning, throw in the chicken, wait a minute, turn the chicken and add onion and red pepper.  Add 3-4 cloves of minced or crushed garlic.  Add a pound of pasta (I used farfalle or bowties) to the boiling water and salt it. Stir chicken mixture to keep it from sticking and to help it cook evenly. In the last five minutes of the pasta, add two cups of fresh broccoli to the boiling pot.  To the chicken mixture, add a cup of baby spinach, 10 leaves of fresh basil and a 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper.  Add one jar of your favorite alfredo sauce (cheating, I know, but it is so good!) to the chicken mixture to heat it through.  Drain the pasta.  Put some pasta into a bowl and top with the chicken alfredo.  Serve with some crusty bread and a Pinot Grigio.  It was really good, I gotta say!

Daughter needs the computer so I've got to go.  I will try to keep up a little better.
Bonne nuit!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

spicy salmon

Tonight, it was Salmon with lime and black bean and corn salad.  The salmon was just so so.  It needed more flavor added to it but the salad was fabulous.  It was onion, pepper, lime, cumin, cilantro and spinach and it was fabulous.  I could eat tons and tons of that.  I usually love salmon but this needed something else but I'm not sure what.  Perhaps there were so many flavors that the salmon got lost.  I ate a bite of salmon with a bite of the salad to try to pep it up but it still needed something more.  Maybe teryaki?  I don't know.

Last night's dinner was good but not great.  It was apple cider chicken.  It had carmelized onions with it that were delicious but it was just a bit too much vinegar for my taste.

Okay, one of the things I like to add to this is my own recipes just because maybe you'll read it if you get something more than just a review.  My son does not like salmon.  A lot of kids don't and he is no exception to this.  So, I made him a chicken breast on the George Forman.  I like to coat it with Ranch dressing before grilling it.  Because we were having kind of a Mexican flavored meal, I added about a half teaspoon of chili powder to the ranch dressing before coating the chicken.  It adds just a bit of southwest flavor and gives it a good flavor.  My friend, Audria, gave me that ranch idea years ago and it is so good on the grill.  Coat the chicken, throw it on the grill and I even add a wooden stick to the grill to get a wood-smoked taste.  It's one of our favorites with perogies and salad.  It's a very fast meal and so good.

Tomorrow night, I still don't know.  Maybe Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Have a great night,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ice storm

Well, as the title implies, we had an ice storm yesterday which knocked out our phone, cable and internet.  We're back up and running today and are privy to an absolutely beautiful show.  The trees look like they have been dipped in silver or are made of cut glass.  The sun was out, the sky was blue and the trees shone like angel's wings.  Gorgeous!

So, about cooking.  Saturday night, as I said before, we had Brandon's birthday party and we just had pizza.  Sunday night, I made Schnitzel.  Yes, there is a recipe for schnitzel in the Rachael Ray cookbook, which appears to be a type of fried chicken cutlet with nutmeg.  Who knew? I did not, however, have it with noodles even though I danced around my house singing "My Favorite Things" over and over again at the total embarrassment of my three teenage children! (After all, one of the joys of being a parent of teenage children is watching their eyes roll with embarrassment! I have to admit though, that my kids are so used to my antics that it takes more and more to get them to do it.)

I did not cook last night, Monday night, as I worked until 7:00 and my daughter had a game so my husband fed again!  Oh, well.  It just makes them appreciate Mommy more.  Even if she does dance around the kitchen singing the same song over and over again! They like pizza but they are not the pizza-all-the-time kind of kids so they probably would have preferred something else if I were home.  Tonight, my husband is away on business and I have no idea what to make.  Usually, this is our take night.  Ken is not gone very often but I do tend to lose my motivation to cook when he isn't here.  And, if it wasn't so cold out, I think I would be tempted.  But, my kids, like the pizza example, aren't really that normal when it comes to eating.  They don't really like McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's.  And, since Taco Bell has grossed out everyone, they really don't want that either.  There's a KFC close but my daughter read that they mistreat their chickens so that's out too.  Chinese food is good but too far away.  So.  I have to go to Rachael Ray, which, honestly, is why I started this whole thing to begin with.  That and I like to write about nothing...  ;)

Okay, I'm off to peruse the cookbook.  I'm thinking chicken.  Mostly because we have chicken.

bonne nuit!