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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Meat Loaf - no tomatoes

Approximately 16 to 20 ounces of the best hamburger you can afford    

cooked vegetable medlee (onions, carrots, and celery)
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 or 3 eggs

Turn on oven to 350 degrees.  choose your pan - a nice round skillet is good - or a loaf pan.  I like to line it with parchment paper.

1.  Put 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal in a small cup - and 6 tablespoons of very warm water - stir and set aside

The veggie medlee is the most time consuming part of this meal
I sometimes make enough for several meat loafs and freeze amounts appropriate for the next time I make meatloaf
one onion - chopped
3 medium carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
 In a medium skillet add a little oil and then saute veggies until reduced in size by about 2/3.  You can also microwave them if you don't actually want to spend the time cooking them in a skillet.

Put your hamburger meat in a bowl
add salt and pepper to taste - and any other spices you might like
stir in your flaxseed mixture
stir in eggs - add an extra egg or two if you have plenty of eggs - or if you like you meatloaf very firm
stir in veggie medlee

dump it in the pan you have ready and stick it in the oven.

Cook until it is bubbling at least a little in the middle.
This is about 45 minutes - a loaf takes a little longer - a bigger pan takes a little less time

If you want to add baked potatoes to this meal I usually get the potatoes clean - and microwave them until about half done.  Then wrap in foil with a little bit of butter and salt.  Here's a hint - small potatoes cook faster than big potatoes.  Test to see if they are done by squeezing  both end of the potato toward the middle.

Meatloaf makes a very good sandwich.
Left over meatloaf makes a very good Shepherd's pie.

Regarding the veggies - If you family is prone to pick out veggies - mush them up to the point they blend in with the meatloaf and are basically impossible to pick out.  If they like veggies you can leave them in bigger lumps.  Remember - it is always about cooking what works for you and your family.  Never be afraid of changing a recipe to suit yourself - or adjusting a recipe according to the ingredients you have on hand.

Seven Minute Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Seven Minute Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

If you are wondering how to fling a meal in the oven less in less than then ten minutes you will probably find this recipe interesting.  It takes five ingredients.  Cook time is longer than seven minutes – but actually getting it into the oven is really seven minutes or less. 

Here is what you need.

1.  12 or 14 oz can of chicken or turkey – don’t drain it
2.   4 oz can of diced green chilies
3.  3 to 6 ounces of cheese – sliced or shredded
4.  8 oz sour cream   - plus or minus – depending how much you actually have on hand
5.  5 8 in corn tortillas  This is a gluten free meal – you can use wheat flour tortillas if you like them – but this is a good recipe for anyone who eating gluten free or is at least trying to cut back on wheat. 

8 inch skillet or pan
Oil to grease the pan

Step number one
Turn on the oven to 400 degrees
Put a dab of coconut oil or oil of your choice in the pan and stick it in the oven – it will warm up while you are mixing up the meal.  Being warm when you put in the meal helps keep sticking to a minimum.

Open the chicken and chilies – dump them in a medium size bowl – don’t drain anything.
Dump in the sour cream – just estimate the amount by the size of the container – for instance – if you have a 16 oz container – put in around half.  Fling it in the pan cooks don’t usually measure much of anything because it takes too long and messes up to many pans. 
Stir it all up
Take you skillet out of the oven and put one corn tortilla in the bottom of the pan.
Spoon approximately ¼ of your chicken mixture on the tortilla and spread it around.
Put about ¼ of your cheese on top of that.
Put your next tortilla, repeat
And repeat
The fifth tortilla is the top.  It needs to cut in several pieces to keep it from curling up.  Lightly spray with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt.
Put in the oven – and bake approximately 30 minutes.

Everything is already cooked – so all you have to do is get it hot enough to melt the cheese. 
If you are short on tortillas – or don’t have any at all – a variation of the recipe is to use crushed tortilla chips in place of the tortillas.  The assembly is the same – a lay of crushed chips – layer the chicken and cheese – another layer of crushed chips – and repeat until everything is in the skillet and nothing is left in your mixing bowl.  Actually –I sometimes put a layer of crushed chips on as the top layer anyway – because it looks nice and tastes good. 

While the meal is cooking – you can either rest – or get another chore done around the house.

This recipe is easily doubled and baked in two pans.

Everything except the sour cream can easily be stored in your pantry – so stock piling ingredients for this meal is a good idea providing your family actually likes it.  Remember a working pantry contains food supplies that you and your family will actually eat.

I have found that one recipe makes 3 meal size portions.  I don’t serve it with anything else.  My husband may add some chips to go with his.  It could be served to four people as the main dish providing you added a side dish or two. 

In addition to being affordable, quick, easy, and tasty – the prep for this meal only messes up one bowl and one spoon so clean up is easy too.

And remember as with any recipe – don’t be afraid to personalize it.  I sometimes cut up  some fresh cilantro and stir that in with the chicken.  It gives is noticeably different taste.

Fling it in the pan cooking is my personal style of cooking – I love to have something that tastes good on the table in a remarkably short amount of time.  I love recipes that have few ingredients, with most of those ingredients being easily stored in the pantry.  If you too are a fling it in the pan cook – please share your easiest and quickest recipes

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Salmon Croquette or Salmon Patties or Fish Cakes

This is a recipe for
Salmon Croquette - if you like words that are hard to spell
Salmon Patties - sort of like hamburger patties but made with salmon
Fish Cakes if you are a fling it in the pan sort of cook.

I start with 2 large cans of Salmon (14 oz)
When buying your salmon get the best you can afford.  It does make a difference.  I have found that the red salmon currently makes by far the best fish cakes.  I use Bumble Bee or Chicken of the Sea - which is basically what is available in the stores here.  I gut the one that is cheapest.  (I could say 'the one that costs less - but I think 'cheapest' is just a much better word for people like me who want to get the best tasting meal for the least amount of money.)  Anyway - start with two cans of some sort of salmon.

Open the cans and dump them into a bowl.  I usually drain off about 20% of the juice just because I don't want to have the mixture so runny that it turns into salmon pancakes.

I add 3 eggs.  You can go with just two if you want too.
I add 4 heaping tablespoons of oat flour (that's the big spoon) to that. (Use wheat flour if that is what you have - it won't make any difference)
A tad of salt for the eggs and flour. 
Pepper to taste.
You can add a few other things like a tablespoon of dried parsley flakes if you happen to have some on hand. 
Or use some sort of your favorite seafood seasoning instead of salt.

Heat your skillet to medium hot. 
Put enough coconut oil in the skillet to cover the bottom about 1/8 deep. (I always use coconut oil for medium hot frying.  Peanut oil, or olive oil, or whatever you have will work fine.) Put your salmon mixture in the skillet by heaped up tablespoons.  Sort of flatten them down with the spoon to about the thickness that you like your hamburger patties.

Fry then until they are brown on one side.  Flip them over and cook until they are done.  I cook about 5 or 6 minutes per side.  You want to be sure they are done in the middle because you want the eggs fully cooked. 

Some people deep fry them, and that makes them cook a lot faster.  Of course that adds a lot more calories.

We eat them with wild rice or quinoa, and usually sweet potatoes.  Cornbread is good with them as well.

You can also make the patties the size of a normal hamburger patty and serve them on a bun with chips.  That makes a really easy meal.

I usually cook enough rice or quinoa for two meals.  If it is quinoa, that usually means stuffed peppers the next day.  If it is rice, that usually means something like baked chicken with rice stuffing, or some sort of quiche with rice mashed into a crust and pre-baked.  Either way, I have a start to the next day's meal.

You can serve it with tarter sauce or ketchup  whatever you normally have with fish.
This is a really good way to add fish to your diet without much trouble, and without breaking the bank.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pan Fried Sliced Boneless Pork Roast

One boneless pork roast or loin
about 2 pounds is what I used  - but adjust that to the size of your family or the number of people you are feeding
flour (I used oat flour)

cooking oil  (I use peanut oil)

First, you go to the store, and you buy meat that looks good at the best price you can find.  Then you take it home and figure out how to cook it.

Of course you can roast a pork roast, or a pork loin, or even a flounder if you want to.  Sometimes though roasted meat just doesn't sound good.  If you have been on one of those low fat diets you may be wanting something fried.  If you have that craving more than a couple of days, you better go ahead and eat something fried, or you may find your self with a glass of Penzoil on ice.....but that is a different story for a different blog.

Anyway, a pork roast or a pork loin will fry up nicely.  Take the meat and slice it about 3/4 of inch thick 
Salt and pepper to taste.  I like to sprinkle on some seasoning salt if I have it.  Currently I have a couple of jars of seasoning salt from Cabela's.  One is for wild game - but it tastes good on anything.  The other one is general seasoning salt - and it also tastes good on anything  It looks pretty nice on pork because it has some colorful items in it, and pork being light meat, the seasoning shows up nicely.  It makes it look like you spent a lot of time getting your spices together when all you really did was just open the jar and shake a little on the meat,

Then lightly flour the meat.  Don't over do because you are not deep frying, and you don't want the flour to soak up too much oil.  I used to always use wheat flour, but since our youngest grandson is allergic to wheat now, I have branched out.  I have found that oat flour browns up nicely and works for a lot of stuff.  So, that is what I used for this.  But of course wheat flour will work fine.

I use peanut oil for frying because it seems like that oil doesn;t smoke if I let it get a little hotter than I meant to.  It doesn't seem to soak into the meat quite a much as other oils do.

Pour a scant half inch of oil in the skilelt. Heat the oil to medium heat or maybe just a tad hotter..  Stand back so you won't get burned by grease if it splashes, and carefull put the sliced, seasoned, floured pork into the skillet.  Watch the edges of the meat.  It will probably take about 5 minutes until you can see the edges beginning to brown.  Turn the meat with a spatula.  I use a metal spatula because that works better to get any meat loose that sticks to the bottom of the pan   It is usually around ten minutes per skillet.  Take the meat up as it is done.  Put more meat into the skillet, and keep on cooking until all the meat is fried.  This is pan fried, not deep fried, so the calories are not as bad, and the crust is not as thick. 

Now, if you happen to like gravy, there will some nice brown crust left in the pan.  It will make very good gravy.

Mashed potatoes goes very well with this meal of course  And if there is gravy, then it is really good on bread.

OR, if you have sliced a pork loin, you have some nice sized pieces of meat.  In fact, they are nice and round like a hamburger patty or a chicken fried steak.  The pan fried pork works great in a hamburger bun served with a bag of chips,

Basically, this is a very tasty meal with not a lot of effort involved. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie - tasty and easy

1 1/2 pounds of very lean ground beef
1 can corn
1 can green peas
3 cups mashed potatoes (approximately)
tad of butter
garlic powder
onion powder
dried basil

Shepherds pie is really a meal in the middle of 3 meals at our house.
First I cook a meal that has mashed potatoes as a side dish - being certain to cook enough potatoes to go on the Shepherd's Pies the next day.
When I cook the Shepherds Pie, I cook enough hamburger meat for a meal of spaghetti or chili the next day.

Here is the way to cook the Shepherds Pie

Brown approximately 1 1/2 pounds of the best hamburger that you can afford.  If you use very lean, you won't have to drain off the fat. I use 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger meat for the Shepherds Pie.  If you are cooking extra meat for chili or spaghetti the next day, then you need to double that amount.  When it is done, just refrigerate about half of the meat for the meal the next day.  Then put the rest in the oven safe pan for the Shepherd's Pie.

I start by browning about 1 teaspoon of butter in the skillet.  I add my salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried basil to the butter as it browns. There is no set amount of spices.  You just add about what you normally add  If you are new at cooking, use about half a teaspoon of salt and several shakes of everything else.  If you don't have all the spices, just leave them out.  Salt is really the only thing that is hard to leave out. I personally. like the smell of it butter browning.  If you don't have time - skip that step and just fling the hamburger in the skillet and start it frying.  Add the spices and salt while it is cooking.

When the meat is done, move it over to an oven safe pan.  The pan I used in the photo is about 9 inches square and 4 inches deep.  You just want a pan that everything will fit into.

Add one more teaspoon of butter to the skillet in which you fried the meat.  As it is browning, open and drain your corn and peas and stir into browned butter.  That adds a nice taste and very few calories to the entire dish.  However, if you don't want the added butter, or if you don't want to take the time to brown the vegetables, just drain them well and put them on top of the hamburger meat.  Then spread your potatoes on top of the peas and corn.   Try to get the potatoes spread out to the edge of the pan to help hold in moisture.

I sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the potatoes - but that is optional.  It smells nice baking, and gives a nice brown to the top of the potatoes.

Put in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour - depending on how brown you want the top of the potatoes and how soon everyone is going to expect supper on the table.  Everything in the meal is already cooked so it really just needs to be warm all the way through.  I like it to cook about an hour just so all the flavors have time to sort of blend together.

While the meal is cooking, you have an hour or so to do something else.  If you are able to goof off  that is great, but you can also get another chore or two done if you feel that you must.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Drumsticks in the Oven

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

ten to twelve drumsticks - with our without skins
garlic powder

Spray skillet with cooking spray.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder over chicken.
Paprika is optional. It adds a bright color to the chicken, and is reported to be very high in vitamin c. I like how it looks, and tastes, so I use it.

Arrange drumsticks in the skillet, cover with lid, and put in oven.

Bake for approximately one hour.
I sometimes set the oven at 325 if I want them to cook a little slower. You can also fling an appropriate number of foil covered potatoes in the oven to bake along with the chicken if that sounds good. They may take a little longer to cook than the chicken. If they are not done when the chicken is done, Remove the chicken from the oven and turn it up to about 425 degrees. To check to see if the potatoes are done you can either fork them; or, (using a pot holder) squeeze the potatoe from both ends and see if the middle seems soft.

This is the main dish for a meal.
It is also good to take to any sort of potluck.
It is an affordable and tasty.

I serve it with rice, or quinoa, or potatoes, or potato salad, or a green leafy salad. It really depends on what is on hand at the time.

The bright color of yellor corn or green peas looks nice with chicken cooked this way.

I try to get the chicken on sale and freeze it in portions that will make a meal for the family. It works nicely with chicken thighs as well as drumsticks. I usually leave the skin on. I am careful to drain off any fat that is the bottom of the skillet. You can skin the meat first if you like. The chicken is more likely to cook a little on the dry side without the skin, but then the seasoning is right on the meat. It is good either way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Skillet Fried Potatoes

Skillet Fried Potatoes

I love fried potatoes. I personally prefer them to be fried in bacon grease, but that isn’t the way I actually fry them. What you want to look for in good fried potatoes is nice crisp brown potatoes, but no potatoes that are not cooked tender. All the potatoes won’t be brown, but they should all be tender.

Start with about six potatoes. You can peel them, or not. I try to buy potatoes that are very clean to begin with, and that have thin skins. I prefer red potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes because the skins are thinner. I don’t peel them unless the skins are hard.

I use an iron skillet. The one in the photo is my grandmother’s square grill cheese skillet. She said she could fit square bread in it better than in a round skillet.

First, spray the skillet with no stick cooking spray. Heat it fairly hot. Then add your oil.
I use about ¼ cup of coconut oil. You can use olive oil if you prefer. Peanut oil works nicely also. Sprinkle salt on the potatoes about like you would on your French fries.

The tricky part is that you want to brown the potatoes without them sticking. If they start sticking, then all the brown winds up stuck to the bottom of the skillet and you just get mushy potatoes.

Fry on medium heat. If you are using coconut oil remember that it cannot get too hot. If you are using olive oil or peanut oil, you can fry them a little faster, but you will have to watch them more carefully. Do not turn them over until they are nice and brown on the bottom. I always use a metal spatula for turning the potatoes and peeking to see if they are brown enough to turn. A metal spatula is best to get loose any errant potatoes that may decide to stick to the pan. You will have to turn them several times before they are done. You can leave them unattended briefly, but you do have to watch them fairly closely.

If your potatoes start to stick, you can add a little more oil.

I like to fry them without a lid because I like the brown ones to be crisp. However, if someone in your family needs them to be softer, then you can put a lid on them when they are as brown as you like. They will soften up fairly quickly. If you leave the lid on the skillet all the time, the potatoes will be more likely to stick.

Sometimes my mom will fry a few slices of bacon, chop them up finely and add that to the potatoes.

If you think, ‘Oh my – fried potatoes are to fattening for me.’ consider the last time you had French fries when you were eating out somewhere. Pan fried potatoes are much less fattening that that. Also, coconut oil is supposed to be good for you. If you are curious, you can read about it at this web site.

Enjoying life does include enjoying at least some of your food.

Have a love day and eat well.