Monday, January 31, 2011

Rachael vs Rachel

Finally figured out how to edit the title so I've spelled Rachael correctly! Yay!!

Jan 31, 2011

I don't remember what day I am on the 365 days - I think it may be day 7 or 8 and I am realizing that I am going to have to get my act together and make some grocery lists so that I can make some of the things in this cookbook.

Also, I said I could only have three days off...that was wishful thinking. I need to count up how many recipes that we will never ever in a million years make. Recipes with portabello mushrooms as the main course for instance. Or veal - we just don't eat veal. I can't eat a baby cow. Sorry. Lamb may be a problem but we'll give it a try at least once. And, I just saw a recipe for mussels. Hmm. Not so in to mussels. Maybe I can swap some shrimp for that one. Anyway, there are some recipes that just don't fit our family, so I need to count those up and go from there.

Oh, I got my paper done. Went to bed after midnight, got up at 6 this morning, painted with my friend then worked at Edible Arrangements until 7:20. Came home and made a chicken and super mashers. Basically, it was stir fried chicken with onions and peppers served over mashed potatoes. It was good. But, I do need to go to the store so we aren't just eating the same foods over and over again because that's all I have in the fridge. Gotta be just a wee bit more organized.

So, as this is sort of like a journal for me - no readers so far - hopefully that will change but I won't be holding my breath - I thought I would talk a little about what is going on in the world. Egypt is going crazy. The people are revolting against the president and are demanding democracy. Will that work in an Islamic state? The media is speculating that an extremist Islamic regime may take over. I doubt it. If the people are revolting on the strictness of this regime, it seems doubtful to me that an even stricter regime could take over. It's history in the making.

In other news, we are supposed to get a snow storm that should turn to ice tomorrow. Nice. I'm supposed to work at Edibles from 12-4 tomorrow. We'll see how this goes.

Bonne nuit mes lecteurs
( just used Google says good night my readers but I just realized that I was using the wrong form of bon all this time. Right up there with misspelling Rachael Ray's name and using her cookbook for a blog. Huh. One of these days I'll get my act together.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Had the Smokey Turkey Shepherd's Pie tonight - quite good. I have a paper due tomorrow morning and it's after 9 pm so this will be very short. My kids loved it. I did a one and a half times of the recipe because the package of ground turkey I had was 3 lbs and the recipe called for 2.

Bon nuit....I gotta get cracking on this thing...It's on Sojourner Truth - fascinating person - google her!


Last night, as I was by myself, I watched "Eat Pray Love." In a scene, a rather chubby Italian man says that Amercians don't know how to experience pleasure, that we sit in our pajamas and watch t.v. on the weekends and talked about how Italians have 'the sweetness of doing nothing.'

Well, there I was, not in jammies but close, watching t.v. How about the sweetness of doing nothing combined with worry, worry, worry? Do Italians do that? It was, "Oh, I hope the boys are warm enough camping!" and "That boyfriend that I know so little about, he better be nice to my daughter at the dance! He better be safe when he's driving her home! He better not try any funny business!" and for the daughter who didn't go to the dance " I hope she's okay and not disappointed that she didn't ask anyone to go. I hope she's having fun with her friend and they aren't sitting there commiserating." That's how I spent my evening. Watching someone else go to Italy, India and Bali while on my couch thinking about my family who was not there and worrying about them. Sounds pathetic doesn't it?

But, I'm trying to find the gratitude in my life, so let's turn this thing around. I have a couch. I have a t.v. I have a house that keeps me warm. And I have someone to miss and love and worry about. Those are blessings indeed.

The boys come home today (my husband and son.) I can't wait. I'll make pancakes for breakfast. Which the only kind of pancakes you can have in this house are made with Bisquick. If you make pancakes with some box of crap that you only have to add water to it, throw it out and go get some Bisquick. Seriously. You add a half cup of milk and one egg to every cup of Bisquick. It's very easy and they make the best pancakes out there. Even better than the Betty Crocker recipe where you make them from scratch. Seriously! And then, if the mood strikes, you can make biscuits or waffles some time.

I'll write later when I have figured out what to make tonight. It's got to be something with either chicken, ground turkey or ground pork because that's what I've have in the freezer!

Bon jour! Off to make 3 cups of bisquick, 1 and half cups of milk and three eggs.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday night is a night for leftovers

I am by myself tonight. Ken and son are camping, one daughter is at the school dance with her boyfriend, other daughter is at a friend's house. So, I had said that I would only give myself three days to not make a Rachael Ray 365-No Repeats dinner. Well, there is a porkchop that is leftover that's calling my name so I'll heat that up, have a glass of Pinot Grigio and call it a night.

It's strange to be in the house by myself. Is this what it will be like in a couple of years when they've all left? Not my husband of course - at least I hope not! But, it's so quiet. Empty nest syndrome, I guess.

Well, off to heat up that pork chop. Bon nuit!

Friday, January 28, 2011

day 7 which means recipe 6

Okay, so this is an awkward night. My husband is away with our son camping and my 16 year old daughter has her boyfriend over. I've met him maybe 3 times and well, I can't say much about him other than it's awkward having him here. Do you know what I mean? He doesn't like to wear shoes and wears flip flops in the snow. That's about the extent of what I know about him. He's kind of short. A little chunky. And, my daughter is this really petite, cute freakin' cheerleader! Shouldn't she be dating some amazing hunky guy? I don't know. I've hardly heard him talk. The girls (my twin daughters who, amazingly, are both 16) say he's funny. I haven't heard it but that doesn't mean he isn't. It's just awkward.

So what do you make when you're having an awkward night? I made the chicken in mustard sauce with a box of Chicken Rice a Roni and canned green beans. And, he had just eaten so he didn't have any so I don't even know what his eating habits are. Is he picky? I don't know. He made jokes about watching us eat but we ate while we watched t.v. to make it very casual. Is that okay?

The chicken was quite tasty and I only changed the recipe a smidge. I have all this flat leaf parsley and no fresh tyme so I used the parsely and I added a bit of white wine to the sauce. What can I say? I like white wine with dijon mustard. It was delish and I liked the parsely added to it.

Now, you're wondering what they are doing as I type, right? My twin girls are watching Toy Story 3 with this guy. I'm in the kitchen. They're in the family room. Oiy. How do I get him to leave after the movie? How long is he allowed to stay? I have to work early in the morning...I don't think I can go to bed while he's here! Maybe I should put some big, fat curlers in my hair, put on my jammies and a nice green mask on my face and tell him goodnight. That should turn his stomach enough that he won't want anything more from my daughter than a little peck on the cheek! Maybe I'll try that.

Good night Readers!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fancy Pants Bangers 'n' Mash

As I was making dinner tonight, realizing that I don't have any red wine because we drank the last bottle last night, and as I was improvising once again - I don't think I have made a single recipe exactly as it's written, I wondered what would Rachael Ray say about that?

So, no red wine and I needed it for a sauce with onions and sausage. In cooking the sausage, I wasn't getting any fat coming out, which I would need to cook the onions and garlic. So, I had a brilliant, beyond brilliant idea. I threw in 3 slices of bacon into the skillet with the sausage and used that fat for the onions and added sweet peppers and green beans (this is a favorite of mine.) In the mashed red potatoes, I put in the 3 slices of bacon!! Oh, how awesome was that! So delish.

My peppers, onions and green beans recipe is super easy. Just slice the peppers and onions. Heat some EVOO on high heat in a non-stick frying pan and throw in the peppers and onions. After about 5 minutes, put in the frozen green beans. Let everything brown just a bit (almost like they're grilled) and then drizzle about two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over everything. Love this with zucchini too. Tonight, the recipe called for chicken stock so I put some of that in as it tames the spicyness of the balsamic vinegar. It was quite good.

I loaded the pasta bowls with the red-skinned mashed potatoes, put some of the veggie mix on one side and the sausages on top. It was quite good.

Tomorrow, we're having some salmon. We tend to center our dinners around the meat and I love how many different options I've been able to do.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 5

Tonight, it was London Broil with Mushroom Vinaigrette. If you've read my first post, you know that mushrooms are a no no in my house. And, when I went to the store for shoulder/london broil, I had no luck. Wierd, I know, but that's the way it goes. So, I bought some sirloin instead.

This recipe didn't have any kind of starch (bread, pasta, etc.) and it was suggested to be served with spinach salad. Hmmm. Not great for kids, so I made my own recipe which my kids love, love, love and it's so simple, we actually make this when we are camping. Pull out your electric skillet, turn it to 350, put 2 tablespoons of butter in and let it start to brown. Add one sliced or diced onion and take 4 -5 potatoes, peel them or not, and use your mandolin to slice them very thinly directly into the pan. If you don't have a mandolin, you have my sympathies....put it on your Christmas list because, trust me, you will love it and it will make your life so much easier. Slice the potatoes as thinly as you can if you are mandolin-less. Put the lid on, flip them every 5 minutes or so, let them brown and they're done when they're done. Oh, salt and pepper the potatoes after they have all gone in. So easy and yet so good.

As for Rachael's recipe... I didn't put the mushrooms in so maybe that would have added liquid, I don't know, but it needed more liquid so I put a bit of half and half in that I bought for another recipe. And, I added a tablespoon of prepared horseradish because I thought I would like it. It was quite tasty but the sauce looked kind of icky. My kids tried some, agreed it was flavorful, which it really was, but were discouraged by all the green parsely floating in this lumpy (from the onion and chopped garlic) sauce. It reminded me of a much stronger-flavored bearnaise sauce. It was tasty and a little went a long way.

That's what I'm finding so far - lots of flavor in these recipes. Tomorrow night is a busy night for me. Pick up my girls, go to class, come home and make dinner around 7 pm. So, with that in mind, and the sausage that I bought for my son's birthday breakfast that needs eaten, it's Fancy-Pants Bangers n Mash! See you then!

Bon noir!
(Okay, the family on my father's and my mother's side has heavy French influences. Plus, as a sub, I taught French for about 7 weeks last year. So, it's in my blood and my life. Not trying to be pretentious....just fun!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

day 4

Tonight, it was the Balsamic glazed pork chops with arugula rice pilaf. I had a different kind of boxed rice mix and I must say, I needed two boxes to serve 5 people. And, no arugula....I used baby spinach...not quite the same but you know, close enough. My kids liked it and my husband said, "Why is it that when you cook it, it tastes so much better?" Ummmm. Cause I can cook, Honey! Love him but if it's not spaghetti, well, yeah. Chances are it's not going to be so good.

I had planned on something else -something about Thick Thighs and that being a Compliment- but my husband brought home pork chops which is quite unusual for him. He made a point this morning about asking if everyone would be home for dinner and that, since we all would be, that we would eat around the table instead of heading into the t.v. room for an episode of Wipeout. (Which, truth be told, is quite dangerous to watch while you're eating because of the choking hazard! You take a big bite, someone takes a digger into the lake, and spinach ends up your nose from laughing so hard!) So, he dropped by the grocery to pick up some dinner items. Wasn't that sweet? And, he brought home crusty bread! Score!!

So, dinner was a hit. And I made a list to get me through Sunday. I will grocery shop tomorrow and then be good to go for the rest of the week.

Bon noir! (Good night in French - story about that later.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 2 or 3 depending on how you look at it!

Dear Reader,

Tonight, it's Chicken, Black Bean and Corn Stoup. Sounds good for a day that started at 4 degrees, doesn't it? So far, it's not smelling that good but I haven't added the lime or cilantro yet. Got you with that, didn't I? Who doesn't love lime and cilantro??

It's been another crazy day. First, let me tell you a little bit about what I mean by freakishly busy. I'm going back to school to get my teaching degree. (I have a business degree but I love kids and want to teach!) I substitute teach in two school districts, work at Edible Arrangements part time and today, I painted with my friend who has a painting business. On top of this, I have three kids - identical twin girls who will be 16 in March and my son, who just turned 13 yesterday. Today, I painted until 3:30, picked up my girls from school, took one of them to tumbling, came home, made phone calls because my daughter needs a flu shot for an intership she wants to do, ate a little something, got back in the car, picked up my daughter, picked up a prescription, dropped off bb's for my friend's son's science project, got the flu shot for the daughter and then came home to make dinner. You see why I need this crazy book?? Can you imagine trying to figure out what's for dinner after all that?? Oiy.

Okay, so we finished the soup. It was a little spicy but I did alter the recipe a bit. I have some fresh jalepenos that I'm trying to use up so I put one in along with a small chipotle pepper - no hot sauce needed. We had a good chunk of bread to go with it and we were good to go with two lunch leftovers. Love that!

Now, I have to go study. Bon noir!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 2 part 2

So, I made the Scramblewiches - recipe number 1. It says that it serves four...well, I cut the bread into eight pieces instead of four and, with five of us eating, there are three left and we all were full. I served it with some chips and fast and dirty caesar salad. (Basically, baby spinach with some Caesar dressing on it. Not exactly the real thing but it's tasty and gets our veggies in.)

Scramblewiches are a baguette (mine was good sized) with scrambled eggs, meat (I used deli ham) and cheese. It called for slices of cheese but I had shredded cheddar in both sharp and mild and I used some of each. The spice was hot sauce...I wonder what it would taste like with some dijon mustard smeared on the bread before the eggs, ham and cheese went in. I think I would like that. Hmmm. Maybe next time.

It was fast which was good because the husband, Ken, brought one daughter home from a competition and had to take the other daughter to her basketball game. My son, basketball playing daughter and I went to church and then Costco for free samples (not really but my husband kids us that the only reason we go.) and had just gotten home. Completion time for Scramblewiches - about 10 minutes from start to finish.

I'll have to see what I'll pick for tomorrow. See you then!

Okay, so day 2 and I realized that I misspelled Rachael...well, there goes any t.v. appearances! No matter. That's not really the reason I started this project and, it may protect me from trademark infringement...maybe? I don't know why anyone would be bothered by this but then I can't believe some woman sued McDonald's because her kids are fat!

I started it because I like to cook but I am so freakishly busy that I thought this would be a good way to avoid the nightly, "what do I want to make for dinner?" I hate that! Standing at the freezer thinking, "we have nothing." Yes we do! But, I am out of ideas.

So, today, for the first day, I will make recipe number 1 called Scramblewiches. I'm making this for lunch as my husband talks to me, kids run around and a couple of them have to leave in a few minutes. It's supposed to serve 4 but it will have to serve 5 today.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Getting Started

Hi Readers!

So, I had this idea to buy the Rachel Ray cook book with 365 recipes and use one recipe for each day for a year. Yes, I know. It's a little Julie/Julia, isn't it? Yes. It is. But, look - if I end up meeting Rachel Ray, that could be fun, right? A little t.v. time would be cool. We all secretly wish we could be on t.v. just once in our lives. Wonder where she tapes her show....hmmm. As it's about 17 degrees here tonight, some place warm seems preferable.

But, that's getting way ahead of myself. Because, let's face it - this won't be as easy as it sounds. 365 days includes Christmas, Easter, birthdays...Am I seriously going to make a Rachel Ray 30 minute recipe on those days?? I would like to try. There is a section for fancier food so I will peruse that.

I guess some rules should be put into place:
1. I have to make one meal from the cookbook per day but I will give myself 3 days to fudge it. Meaning, if I'm throwing up with a 24 hour flu bug, okay, maybe it's best not to make anything from the book that day. But, that also means that if Christmas rolls around and I still have a day, I can take it then. Think of it as 3 sick/personal days.
2. Only make each thing once. Once it's checked off, it's done. UNLESS! I make something new that day as well. I have recipe number 1 in mind for this. I don't have the book right next to me - I think it's like the scrambler sandwich would sounds like a good breakfast food as well. So, if that becomes breakfast of champions, I can make something else for dinner.
3. I will post something every day so that on January 23rd, 2012, I will have fulfilled my purpose and have 366 postings.
4. I will try to do my best to use the ingredients as listed. I have mushrooms in mind here - YUCK! I have serious fungus issues - can't eat that! No one in my family likes mushrooms so I may be skipping those. Oh, God...I bet there's a portabello sandwich recipe or something like that in there. Oiy. I will try it....maybe.

Okay, that's it so far. I will start tomorrow. Why tomorrow? It's my youngest son's (my only son but not my only child) 13th birthday! January 23rd. Maybe I'll tell his birth story tomorrow. He'll love that!

Good night readers! Love ya!