Beautiful Disasters

Sometimes the best meals come to you when you’re not even thinking about … A few days ago I was getting excited about football season beginning this weekend and in the mix of things I quickly missed Pittsburgh and all of my yinzer friends. Lightbulb, peiorgies and kielbasa! Let’s pay homage to a wonderful city, beautiful friends and family, by eating a yummy meal that can be served with a side of fabulous memories. We love pierogies. LOVE. My husband will think this is silly but when we first started dating, he cooked pierogies a few times and it was ‘his thing’, no one was allowed to help. He’d be so proud of how perfectly they were cooked and would brag all night about dinner, that’s just sort of how he is but I loved watching him cook.

Another bonus for this meal, I can make a double batch and freeze them for a friend who is expecting a baby annnnnny day now (hurry up little one!!). Not all delivered meals have to be casseroles, spaghetti, or lasagna. I mean can you imagine? 5+ nights in a row of essentially the same thing. God Bless people who volunteer to bring meals over (whether there was a loss in the family, a birth, major surgery, etc.) but it’s okay to turn those offers down … I know the meals are meant to be quick and easy to reheat but real meals would be nice. Anyway, who wouldn’t love homemade pierogies and kielbasa?! I know my friend will as she’s a fellow yinzer friend, friends with benefits, HA 😉 !

Let’s take a look at some meals from the last few weeks … I had leftovers *whhhhaaaaat?!* but made sure to revamp them. There is a ‘3 hour tour’ pasta salad, it’s entertaining, just wait. My husband also made a request and over of course I couldn’t pass it up. ENJOY!

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A simple meal, smoked sausages (Oscar Mayer, they are so yummy … and better for you!), green bean salad, and roasted potato wedges.

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Chicken and spinach quesadilla and a corn/grape tomato/lettuce salad with Dijon vinaigrette.

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This was one of my revamped leftover dishes.  I made a slow cooker lasagna the previous week and had plenty leftover, I used it as a side dish and baked a quick chicken Parmesan.

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Here is the original dish – Lasagna Soup … which wasn’t soupy at all … so yeah, don’t let the name freak you out. Oh, I couldn’t find a single bottle of V8, small bottles came in 6 packs and we don’t drink that stuff so I used a can of plain tomato sauce.

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We love our pork chops! This version: honey & Dijon ‘sauce’ is the key component to pretty much everything on the plate. I coated the chop in a nice layer of the sauce, let it sit for an hour. While that was going on I pan-cooked mushrooms, bacon (already baked in the oven), and onions – drizzled more of that sauce and just let it simmer for 20 minutes until the onions were really soft. I added the chop into the pan and cooked everything for another 10 minutes, cover the pan so it steams, less splatter and faster cook time! On to the baked sweet potato which took 2 hours to bake. Really. I let my husband pick them out and of course he picked the most gigantic potatoes. As I sliced them open I went to the fridge and realized we were out of butter. Oops. No biggie, we had cream cheese and honey! Oh it was so good… think about it, what do you add to a sweet potato casserole? Usually cream cheese and brown sugar; we had brown sugar but I didn’t want the grittiness opting for honey instead.

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This is how I do corn when the husband isn’t home to man the grill. Salt, pepper, Old Bay (if you’re not from the East Coast you are truly missing out), and 3 blobs of butter. Loosely wrap each ear of corn in foil and bake for 40 minutes … I think I put the oven to 350.

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Another revamped leftover, quinoa stuffed peppers.  I served the corn with it, usually I cook Spanish rice … so just by changing up the side it appears to be a new meal. So if I didn’t tell you I used quinoa it may look like ground meat; I’ve made this one other time with white quinoa and it’s totally an image thing – using red quinoa made the meal look better, closer to using meat, it’s okay to trick the brain. The color really does help! Back story on the quinoa: we got a cute ‘thank you’ bag from a friend after keeping watch on her house while she and the kiddos were out of town and the red quinoa was included. I mean talk about a thoughtful gift, I’d say she knows us pretty well!

A few other cute items that were included was a Parmesan seasoning, add olive oil and it’s ready for bread to be dipped in it. Oh man it was sooooo good!  This shot glass was hiding as well …
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How fun is that? I’ve used it a few times already … so much easier than measuring spoons. I didn’t have to worry about spilling or pouring too much as I measured. It’s now best friends with my wine glass measuring ‘cup’. Greatly appreciated gifts! There are a few other things that I still need to use but I’m sure they will be yummy and fun!

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This was my husbands request … breakfast for dinner! I jokingly suggested chicken and waffles and husband loved the idea, so there that is.
Here’s the waffle recipe

Beer Waffles

2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
1 egg
1 1/2 cups regular or nonalcoholic beer (12 oz)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

The beer made the waffles so light and fluffy – usually 1 waffle fills us up but being lighter we scarfed down 2 waffles each! Please don’t judge. You couldn’t really taste the beer, we used Dos Equis which is a very light beer. For the chicken, I covered tenders in panko seasoned with cayenne pepper, not too much though, just enough for a tiny kick of flavor.  DRENCH in your favorite syrup and dinner’s ready!  Not exactly a diabetic friendly dinner but we’re allowed to cheat every now and then. I’m considering this meal for when my husband’s family visits next month, I see this being a crowd-pleaser.

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Tell me this doesn’t look yummy.  It’s a cucumber salsa. Healthy and delish. Easy to prep and even easier to enjoy.  Keep this in your back pocket for game days; nasty, greasy food is typically served up along a riveting football game. Opt for something like this! It looks like avocados but when it hits your taste buds it’ll be light and tangy.  I can’t remember what I served this with, I used it as a side for dinner one night. Yes it’s okay to use a ‘dip’ as a side.

AS PROMISED, the tale of the ‘3 hour tour’ pasta salad.

Friends invited us to their lake house for Labor Day weekend (the same friend who is STILL pregnant 😉 ) … I offered to bring a pasta salad. This wasn’t just any pasta salad, it was inspired by an Italian hoagie. We’re talking red onion, pepperoni, sausage, olives, red wine vinaigrette … the works. After making an early trip to the grocery store I slave over the counter slicing and dicing and boiling 8 cups of pasta:
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I combine everything and let it chill in the fridge:

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Beautiful, right? This is only a half serving, for photo purposes only, lol; aluminum tins don’t look pretty in pictures.

Back to the story, after everything was wrapped and ready to go, the salad was on the corner counter; my husband told me to get the lake house address … I went off to text my friend (my purse was in the car because we were pretty much ready to leave). I send the text and my husband gets in the car, we leave. Surely you know what’s about to happen. 45 minutes later we arrive at the lake house, I start walking to the house and my husband asks “aren’t you going to get the food?” OH SH*T. It was still sitting on the counter!  I got sidetracked, thought my husband would have seen the 10lbs of pasta salad to bring to the car.  Well that’s not what happened at all. He then asked if I wanted him to go back and get the salad, I said “yes” without hesitation, lol! I offered to do it since I forgot it but he’s the best and began his journey to save the salad.  Friends at the house asked if anything would go back in the salad, my response: the cheese, meat, onions …everything that made the salad cost $40. That’s right, I spent $40 on a pasta salad. D’oh. It’s not like we left behind a bag of chips. So he made the 45 min drive home and 45 min drive back to the lake house, hence the newly named ‘3 hour tour’ pasta salad. It was a beautiful ALMOST disaster of the night which is okay because it was delish and all of it went. Well thank goodness … I mean, if it were out of pity then only some of it would have been consumed but not 1 noodle was left.  In the end, I’m glad he went back for the pasta and thankful I have such an awesome husband. LOVE YOU BABE!

 

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back to life, back to reality …

You’re welcome if you’ve got En Vogue stuck in your head now. Oh, you didn’t before but now you do? My job is done.

I’m finally back on track! I haven’t spent my usual $80-90 for a week’s worth of groceries in a LOOOOOONG time. That’s what the holiday’s will do to ya! My cooking routine is normal once again as well because as I tried to eat Kraft Man n’ Cheese on Sunday night, my tummy gave me a big “F YOU” and probably the middle finger. Proof that I need to stick to healthy eating.

I can’t believe that I used to be able to eat an entire box of mac n’ cheese; the other night I got through 1 bowl and felt so incredibly sick. I guess the rest of those boxes are going to the food bank. I had purchased a 12 pack at Sam’s Club BEFORE we found out about the Diabetes; I donated 6 to a food drive a few months ago but I held on to the rest for an emergency snack situation. The new emergency was how my stomach was feeling. HA!

This week has an amazing line up – Monday was a German inspired pork chop with a side of brown rice/mushrooms; last night we had feta/spinach sausages and a baked sweet potato.

You have to know by now that we love pork chops – they are so cheap! Buy them already butterflied to make cooking time faster, plus it’ll look like you’re eating a huge piece of meat when in fact you’re not.  Recall that saying “you eat with your eyes”? Totally true! Even my husband was shocked at how big the chops were and I informed him they were just butterflied … a healthy deception.

This recipe is simple but  you’ll need some time to slice everything, get out your mandolin to help.  For 2 people, I used half a large jar of sauerkraut, 1 apple, 1 medium onion, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 table of caraway seeds. We have a small storage containers worth left over but it is so good served cold, making extra is okay 🙂 .

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Those of you who follow a Diabetic diet would know apples are a huge no-no with the natural sugars they contain. Yes, if you eat an apple by itself your sugars will spike however mixing them with protein and other veggies, it ends up balancing out.  I went easy with the brown sugar because well, it’s sugar! I put just enough in to cut through the bitterness of the sauerkraut – my husband didn’t even taste the sugar which is what I was going for, he only noticed the sauerkraut wasn’t so’ sauer’ 😉 .

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Simple side dish, you don’t need a formal recipe to make this. Boil a small box of chicken stock and 1 cup of water – pour in rice (I used just over 1 cup … the rice absorbed the stock so quickly, which is what the extra water is for), let it cook for 5 minutes – add sliced mushrooms – bring back to a boil – now simmer/cover for 15ish minutes. Done. You’ll need salt … or any kind of seasoning you’d put on steamed veggies (lemon/herb … garlic salt … whatever!).

So yeah, that was Monday. Now on to last night.

A slight cheat… I bought prepackaged feta and spinach stuffed sausages, added a delish baked potato, and a fun ‘hint of spring’ salad.  No “real” cooking occurred but that’s okay, it’s still better than that drive through line!  For you grillers out there, yes the sausages should have been grilled but the wind was like a tornado and actually knocked ours over. Yes, very windy. So onto the stove they went.

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For the sweet potatoes (Again, you don’t need a formal recipe! Just start cooking!) – poke ’em with a fork, spread EVOO all over, cover in salt, and let sit.  OMG these were the BEST ones I’ve made! They sat the entire day, just soaking in the EVOO and salt. My husband was in charge of cooking these since he got home before me, so I had to include instructions. It’s the teacher side of me, I can’t help it. What teacher doesn’t love stickies?!

 

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The sausages took 20 minutes on the stove (put in a pan of water, submerging half of the sausage), cover and cook on medium/high. Easy. Okay the ‘hint of spring’ salad: orange wedges! That’s it 😉 I mean, yes to lettuce, sliced carrots, and cucumbers … but the simple addition of oranges was a nice treat. My husband and I split 1 orange as to not send him into a sugar coma (those are real, stop laughing! 😉 ). A different topping choice for the sweet potatoes was cinnamon honey pecan cream cheese. You put those things in a typical casserole right? Why not a baked potato? Shoot, it was so yummy! Of course I picked up ranch salad dressing from my new favorite brand, Bolthouse. I’ll be using it again tomorrow on a pizza. I actually don’t like ranch but this one was goooooooood.  It wasn’t sweet or thick because it doesn’t use buttermilk; yogurt is the base. Plus only 45 calories per serving.

And to continue the trend of my snooping dogs …. bingo: sausages were opened. They came running.

 

pork chops, steaks, and a ‘little nugget’

What happens when you forget to buy a primary ingredient for dinner? Improvise!  That was my Wednesday evening, as I’m prepping dinner I go the ‘dairy drawer’ in my fridge and frantically search for smoked gouda. NO WHERE TO BE FOUND and then it dawned on me, I forgot to buy it; womp womp womp.  No worries, I wouldn’t let that stop me from making some tasty stuffed pork chops. Yes, we had pork chops last week but they are inexpensive and a great source of protein, so why not. I had smoked gouda and spinach stuffed chops in mind but that quickly changed to …. caramelized onions and sauteed apples stuffed chops.  Even though apples are not wise for a diabetic to eat, we just remember “everything in moderation”.  Again, with the high protein in pork + a side salad of dark greens – apples wouldn’t actually do much to Josh’s sugar level.

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You can also see the instant “mashed” potatoes … I added a decent scoop of garlic to these and a large spoonful of sour cream.  I will say it again, there’s nothing wrong with buying these “cheat” items but do something with them, make them your own. Plain instant potatoes are kind of gross – a soggy lump of mush and lack flavor.  Adding butter alone is pretty standard, go a step further and think of toppings you’d put on a baked potato; dice them up and throw in the pot. Good to go!

P.S. is anyone else a fan of those mini corns? They were my favorite topping at a salad bar and I had no clue (until a few months ago) that you could find them in the canned veggie aisle. Want to make a boring salad interesting? Take the same approach as you would to those instant potatoes.  Olives, mini corn, dried cranberries, croutons, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes, diced red/green peppers, cucumbers … we mix up the toppings every month or so because salads can and will get dull!  Remember, go for the dark green lettuce for a healthier choice.  While iceburg lettuce looks the least like a ‘weed’ it doesn’t contain a lot of nutrients.  If it looks like you could have picked it from your backyard, that’s the bag you want to grab or get spinach; looks like a normal leaf and is really good for you.

We ended the week with steaks and sweet potatoes.  It was perfect grilling weather, 75 degrees… no complaints here for a mid-December evening! Our steaks get minimal cooking time, we’re talking 4 minutes on each side. I will not eat a steak if it doesn’t ‘moo’ on my plate 😉  The sweet potatoes took about an hour so plan accordingly.  Ain’t nothin’ simpler than that guys!

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I have graduated from dipping my steaks in Ketchup; my dad would be proud.  I can’t eat it completely naked even though we used some tasty seasoning; I reached for A1 instead. Please, hold your applause 🙂  Yes yes, a salad again. It’s the best side in my opinion; I like making them and Josh always requests one.  So that is usually our veggie helping.

Real quick before I sign off, it’s my little nugget’s 5th birthday this month. She’s so fat it’s appalling but we love her anyway. She eats healthy and gets exercise, we don’t indulge in doggy treats or human food either. It’s just who she is.

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I know you haven’t read much about my sous chefs lately … well with a bigger kitchen and two levels for the dogs to frolic, they don’t get in my way anymore.  They are at my feet when they hear me say ‘dinner’s ready’; they aren’t dumb… they come around hoping to trip me while I’m serving food.  Gotta love ’em!

To give thanks … part 2

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Phew-wee! It couldn’t have been easier, honestly. May I suggest frying a turkey for anyone reading this blog.  My dad is cringing as he reads this, he is the ultimate grill master. I never recall a Thanksgiving where the turkey was indoors. In fact, most meats were grilled… mom was in charge of sides and dad took care of the protein.

Anyway, we set the turkey to brine on Wednesday night and just let it sit for 16 hours (Thank you, Alton Brown). DONE. Washed it off at 3pm (the next day), let it get to room temp & then off it went to the oil. 40 minutes and it was done. What? No 8 hour cooking time in my oven so I can’t cook anything else? Not this year! It was the best thing EVER!!!

You’ve already read “part 1” of this blog so you know what I cooked up.  Here’s the order it all went down.

Bake the sweet potatoes at 9am, cooled and then prepped as the recipe called for.  I opted to not do the twice baked part; I turned it into a regular casserole. I was having issues not tearing the skin while scooping the “meat” out. Hey, last minute changes are okay.

Start the green beans at 11am, cook the beans and mushrooms and prep entire casserole.  Let it cool then into the fridge it goes, it’s ready!

My only ‘last second’ dish was the grits/mushroom/cheese casserole … for fear the grits would get soggy if prepped ahead of time.

Chelsea had the mac n’ cheese already done upon arrival. She whipped up her famous crab dip for an appetizer (took 20 minutes: 5 minute prep & 15 minutes to cook, easy & yummy!!!).  Stuffing would be made right before dinner and O.M.G. was it delish!

Two cooks in this kitchen was no issue at all and having my oven turkey free, it made for a calm afternoon. As the turkey took an oil bath we started the oven for reheating.  Since the turkey would only take 40 minutes we had to add in “cool down” time, another 20-30 minutes. You must let meat sit before cutting or carving so the juices don’t run out. No one likes dry meat.  We put all the sides in the oven at 300 for almost an hour. Yes, my oven was able to hold 5 large casserole dishes. I could literally hear the heavens above singing in glory.

What do I hear you chanting…. <we want pictures, we want pictures>  HERE THEY ARE!

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(yes I carved the turkey… after all, I sat at home watching many MANY episodes on the Food Channel as to how to carve a turkey.  I did pretty good!)

I actually forgot about another appetizer that Chelsea made and it dawned on me why … we ate it so fast that our brains didn’t have time to process the info but our taste buds sure loved it.  Melon wrapped prosciutto, is there anything easier than that? Take a cheat, buy pre-cut melon and this can get made in about 5 minutes (which is what Chelsea did). No one will shake their finger at you for not buying a whole melon and if they do, then ban them from the dish 😉

Also for dessert I bought pecan tarts and sugar free vanilla ice cream. Walmart had sugar free sweet potato pies and that’s about it, made for a sad shopping trip. So I opted for personal tarts which were 36g of carbs; again personal portions means no over indulging.

Overall it was a successful holiday … minus Hines Ward saying he was thankful for the Macy’s day parade (I’ll chalk that up to him getting hit a few too many times).  I hope you had a fantastic and stress-free Thanksgiving. As tradition for me at least, I started my day with the Thanksgiving Day Parade followed by the dog show. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

lesson learned

Tuesday: I had good intentions for a steak and sweep potato dinner. Those good intentions quickly went up in smoke. Literally.  I don’t know why I thought broiling everything was a brilliant idea. We have been holding out on refilling the (grill) propane tank with our move fast approaching.  We can move it ourselves but our new home has a gas line out to the patio so our thought process was ‘why pay for propane when we’ll be paying for a gas line to be installed’ … of course the close date has been pushed back 2x already. As I hang my head in shame, I managed to burn perfectly good steaks and sweet potatoes.

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Sure, the potatoes look ok – we scrapped the charred layer off which was almost impossible. I just had to add more spices before mixing them with the butter.  That steak photo was taken the 1st time they came out of the oven.  I cut in to my steak and it was more than moo-ing. Now, I love a medium rare steak but this was TOO RARE. Back in the oven they go … womp womp womp.  Josh noticed smoke billowing from the oven door and barely saved the steaks. They weren’t completely burned but they had gone past the medium rare state. Ugh. The smoke was due to the juices from the steak I cut in to.  It’s fair to say, if something it supposed to be grilled … DO IT. Go refill your propane tank and cook things properly. Lesson learned.

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Fortunately the other dinners for the week turned out GREAT.

Monday: Kielbasa & glazed carrots

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Due to the diabetes in our house, I used ‘fake’ butter and Stevia instead of real sugar.

Sass up your salad: add craisins, croutons, and blue cheese crumbles (left over from my Carl’s Jr creation!)

Saturday: make your own chicken tenders, sweet p fries, and sweet corn/pepper combo

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Tenders & fries are free foods for Josh so I picked up this new frozen corn product (corn: bad food!). It was actually pretty good; the peppers added a fresh flavor to cut through the sweet corn.

There’s nothing wrong with purchasing frozen. If it’s what you have time for, some type of veggie is better than none at all.  If you’re health conscious, check the back label to make sure the product fits into your lifestyle.  I’m not buying the cheese covered broccoli anymore or slimy sauce covered noddles (sorry Lipton… we used to be BFF’s!); that’s the nasty stuff.  There are diabetics out there that will continue to eat those things and just take more insulin to compensate. WRONG. 1 small spoonful is all Josh could eat of those Lipton noodles. Who eats 1 spoonful of them? They’re addictive!   Just change your diet, it’s so much easier to cook “healthy” than have to calculate how many units of insulin you’ll need to cancel out the sugars.

cooking with friends: a must.

THIS is the post I’ve been looking forward to … shenanigans commenced in the kitchen with this girl in town & I loved it!

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Listen, Josh and I have fun when we cook together but there’s something about cooking with a girlfriend.  We’re a little too old to be having sleep overs where we paint nails & braid hair; drinking wine, catching up on life, and cooking just sounds so much better anyway 😉 . Oh plus that meant Josh got to sit back and watch football. I’m pretty sure he had no complaints.

Let’s see, overall prep for the shrimp burgers wasn’t difficult but there were quite a few steps with the many ingredients.  I have a ton of photo collages because with Miss Chelsea in the kitchen with me, I had a rock star picture-taker; she just snapped away at pretty much everything and I had so many pictures to choose from. I’d say she’s hired to come back any time 😉 .

IMG_3576 FYI: pulsing the shrimp in the food processor was nasty. It stank and the “meat” was sticky and slimy. It made for handling things a little tricky. (Notice the Scentsy warmer … it did its job and covered the smell. Not just mix cinnamon and seafood; it totally erased the seafood stink! I HIGHLY recommend this product!)

\/ that’s me realizing there isn’t enough Dijon mustard … 2 curse words

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On to making the cream sauce and peach salsa. The recipe calls for chipotle sauce (whatever that is … couldn’t find it after 3 stores); we had Chilula so I stuck with it however it’s not as spicy as what I’d think chipotle sauce to taste like so we kept dumping more and more Chilula into the sour cream. Way more than 2 TBSP; use whatever sauce you like though, taste as you go to make sure you like it.

The peach salsa was delish! A great topping for any burger really, even a salad topping. Peeling peaches isn’t the most exciting task, it’s a pain. Peaches are slimy and impossible to handle once most of the skin is off, so be prepared to possibly drop them. Speaking from experience … I dropped half of one down that black hole between the counter top and fridge… 3 curse words.

Whichever topping called for coconut, I left it out. Blah. I really dislike coconut. It’s so chewy and almost rubbery.

IMG_3579 We did have an injury. Whoopsie-bears. One must be careful how much wine has been consumed when using incredibly sharp knives. Chelsea turned to help me with something and I turned towards her with a knife in my hand. And then they met. Fortunately it wasn’t a deep cut and a band-aid saved the day.  Ok, on to slicing the avocado, it was perfectly ripe. Bottom picture is our side item, sweet potatoes. Those little nuggets took forever, but we planned on that happening. We have the WORST luck with baked potatoes.  So in they went at 400 for 1 1/2 hours. HOLY MOLY. They were tasty though; a famers market purchase from earlier in the day, along with the Poteet Wine.

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Look at those crazy sous chefs, Geno has a huge crush on Chelsea (she’s the first house guest he’s been around since we adopted him). That piece actually sat when she told him to. Jerk. We’ve been working on “SIT” since June and while he does it when he wants to, he did it on command for her. WTF. That’s it, she’s living with us.  As for Ella, well she had no clue why there was so much commotion in the kitchen.

PS Strawberry wine is fantastic. It’s like juice. Yummy. Lots of yummy!

Oh yeah, back to the burgers… form them just like regular burgers, there’s no secret to it (they won’t shrink though: no fat! So make them the size you want). I let the bowl mixture sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up, it was a good idea since the meat is so sticky. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, set up the toppings station, and voila – dinner’s ready! Josh began the clean up process, love him.  My daily “after dinner” routine is sticking Josh’s Chillow in the fridge. I hate that thing. It takes up an entire shelf. We literally have a shelf dedicated to the Chillow. Which means one less shelf for my groceries. I can’t wait until we move to the new house and have 2 fridges.
(I told you Chelsea snapped pictures of everything! I love it!)

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FINISHED PRODUCT. Oh man, it was so good. I wasn’t sure what the texture would be like, it wasn’t gooey or rubbery. It reminded me of salmon burgers.  Everyone had CPC (clean plate club; I’m astonished at how many people didn’t have that club when they were younger. It was a big deal in my house!); the sweet potatoes turned out perfectly (sorry, no picture – it’s a potato) … so yeah, it’s a keeper for sure. Even the leftover patty was still good; 1 minute in the microwave and you’d think it was freshly cooked. Usually seafood turns to shoe leather if reheated. Josh plans on using the sour cream sauce for his sandwiches and the peach salsa for salads. Leftovers don’t have to be used for their original intention. Be creative and don’t waste perfectly good food.

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Follow me on instagram …mrsdlh50 … I’ll be posting nightly photos from dinner.  That should hold you over until I get time to blog. Chelsea introduced me to this gem of an app and I’m obsessed now!  I’ll use the tags #foodporn and #kitchentails but also whatever the main ingredient is.  I’m trying to keep up with technology!

Redemption!

By now I’ve got about 15 new recipes under my belt… it’s time to start repeating our favorites (reuse your ingredients before they go bad!!!!).  It’s nice to ask Josh, “Hey, do you want ham and swiss Hawaiian rolls for dinner?” and he knows what I’m talking about!  I used to ask “what do you want for dinner?” and his answer “whatever”.  Surely he doesn’t mean “whatever” but honestly if I served up a bowl of cereal, he’d be content.  Boys are creatures of habit and I have finally figured out that no matter what I cook, he will eat it or else he’ll be in the pantry for cereal.

Last night was a repeat and it was even better than the first time! I make sure to write down improvements or things I didn’t care for on each recipe.  If you tweak a recipe so much from the original and it still isn’t what you expected, I’d say it’s time to toss that recipe. Third time’s the charm, right?  Back to the turkey burgers we devoured last night, I made them about a month ago and felt it was time to bring it back and make it better.   Once again Martha Stewart has a winner *SHOCK!*; Dijon mustard, Swiss cheese (my substitute for Gruyere cheese), breadcrumbs, and scallions.

Yeah so, the two grocery stores near my house do not have Gruyere… it’s a little too fancy for this area and I haven’t been able to find it at the commissary either.  I’m sure Whole Foods has it but that’s a 20ish minute drive- just for cheese, LOL.  I looked up substitutes and I’d have to say those cheese lovers out there were passionate about what you could actually use as a sub for Gruyere cheese.  I committed a sin by using Swiss (by their terms) but anything they suggested, womp womp womp, the stores didn’t have those as well!  One guy suggested Swiss cheese and he got chewed out! NO! How dare you insult the flavor of Gruyere by using Swiss! CONDEM YOU TO EATING FAST FOOD FOR LIFE!  I went with the guy who got yelled at and decided “I’ve got your back, bro”, let’s try Swiss cheese. Needless to say, the burger didn’t poof up in flames for using such a low class cheese… the burger was super duper

Here are a few pictures from last night’s dinner
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1) veggie medley: green peppers, red onions, yellow squash, zucchini & any marinade of your choice! Lawry’s has a herb and lemon sauce, so good! I’ve also used the Kraft Anything dressings, roasted red pepper is our favorite. Stick in the oven on 400 for about 30 min (cover is you notice the veggies starting to brown on the edges). I prepped this dish in the morning before I started my day, use your newly purchased mandolin… it took me maybe 5 minutes. Plus they got to marinate alllllllllll day in yummy goodness.
2) sweet potato fries: admit it, everyone loves a good french fry every once in a while.  These are obviously the healthier option over regular fries. Pop these in for the last 15 minutes of the veggies.
3) turkey burger: you know it, had to stick in the oven with Josh working late. I’m still scared to use the grill.  I put these and the fries in the oven together, when the veggies & fries were done, I switched on the broiler (HI) for maybe 5 minutes just to brown the meat. The turkey was cooked to perfection, nice and juicy!  How to make it better (IMO): add more shredded cheese and mustard. As much as I hate mustard, I love cheese.  The two flavors balance each other out and who doesn’t love EXTRA cheese?!

Since everything was in the oven at the same time, Josh decided that we should two-step around the kitchen… rather, in a small circle which led to me becoming dizzy.  A few circles, a spin, and a dip… ok back to dinner.  He’s so cute with his WBS (white boy syndrome), has to concentrate on the steps and counting. I give him a “A” for effort. My music skills are starting to rub off on him.

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1) want to cut calories? Use the 100 calorie bread, you won’t feel gross after eating this burger; you’ll want to actually eat the veggies and fries.
2) toppings! I had some leftover red onion from my veggie medley, pickles (FREE FOOD CHOICE: NO CARBS!!), and Swiss cheese. Don’t forget your ketchup and mustard!

A delish dinner for the start of the week, redemption from that beef flavored spaghetti on Friday. Tonight I’ll be making the ham and Swiss rolls as mentioned earlier…. You’ve got the recipe, now try it! They are very messy, FYI. I will be adding toothpicks to hold them together while being served (learned that the hard way the first time around).

TURKEY BURGER RECIPE
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