Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Squash & Carrot Saute

I want quick cooking on a Friday night. The last thing I want to do is spend the evening cooking. If it weren’t for us working toward a goal (one that requires a lot of money) believe you me we would be out and dining somewhere, anywhere, other than at my house on a friday night. This recipe is a wonderful side dish for a quick steak not to mention that it is just plain old wonderful.

It's buttery and the carrots are tender crisp. I'll be making this more often. Much more often.

By the way, Baby Cakes does not like squash at all, funny because he ate almost the entire dish of it. lol.

Squash & Carrot Saute
adapted from Simple & Delicious February/March 2011, p28

2 medium carrots, sliced
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 yellow summer squash, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, saute carrots in oil and butter until crisp-tender. Add the remaining ingredients; saute 10-15 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Smothered Hamburger Steak

Every once in a while Baby Cakes will order hamburger steak at a local icehouse/restaurant we have down the road from us and although I grew up eating it occasionally I hadn’t ever made it. Tonight that changes.

I remember my Mom making this only she used chicken fried steak meat. I had thawed hamburger meat so this recipe is a combination of the both of us.

Baby Cakes loved it. I loved it. You’ll love it. Yum-O.

Smothered Hamburger Steak

1 lb. hamburger, seasoned and formed into 3 or 4 oblong patties
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 packet brown gravy
1 cup cold water

Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the tablespoon of olive oil. Place the hamburger patties in the skillet and cook until almost done over medium heat. Transfer the patties to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions and sauté until caramelized.

Whisk together the gravy mix into the water and pour into the skillet with the onions.

Turn up the heat to medium high and thicken the gravy, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low and add the meat back to the skillet. Warm through.

You can serve this with mashed potatoes or buttered rice.

Seriously you guys how have I not made this before? It is wonderful. Baby Cakes ate two patties in one sitting.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strawberry Brown Rice Pudding

The other day my father in law asked me if I had ever had rice with milk and sugar. I hadn’t, but that question conjured up memories of my Mother making rice pudding when I was a child. I refused to ever try it. It’s funny to me how closed minded I was towards food as a kid. So I decided that I would reintroduce some of the food items that I avoided at all costs back then only I would put my own spin on them. This is my spin on one of those foods.

I love this! I would love this even without strawberries but I must say that they certainly make it a summery dessert. Hint? I think it has to do a lot with the vanilla extract. Use a good one. Just in case you’re wondering what kind I use I thought I would share…

Baby Cakes took a bite out of my bowl and really liked it. He prefers his rice pudding cold so it looks like he'll be enjoying a bowl tomorrow.

Strawberry Brown Rice Pudding

Stewed Strawberries

2 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
1 pint sliced strawberries

In a large saucepan combine the ingredients and over low heat cook down until the strawberries cook down and create a thick syrup.

Brown Rice Pudding

3 cups cooked brown rice
3 cups milk
¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Stir all of the ingredients, except the vanilla extract together and simmer over medium low heat for 25 minutes.

Stir in the stewed strawberries and vanilla extract. Continue simmering until desired thickness, about 10 more minutes.

Wonderful warm and I’ll let you know what I think of it when it’s cold.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cabbage and Sausage Garden Tomato Soup

I know that this recipe seems a bit out of place, more of a fall or winter recipe but when you’re a soup lover, and I am, it is a welcomed bowl full of goodness. That being said, let’s get on with it.

Growing up I was never a fan of just plain old tomato soup. Yes, I would dunk my grilled cheese in until it was soggy but that was the extent of what came out of the bowl. Everyone else in our house loved it, my Mom, a done deal; she even orders it at restaurants. But me, I will eat it if that is my only choice but never order it. Let me tell you, I would order this!

We love cabbage in our house, we have a freezer full of sausage thanks to my hunting huggy and I always have chicken stock on hand. Combine those things with an array of veggies, hence the garden in the name, and you get this. A wonderful, flavorful tomato based soup.

Cabbage and Sausage Garden Tomato Soup

2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small head cabbage, sliced
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken paste
1 can tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb. ground pork or venison sausage

Put the olive oil and butter into a dutch oven or large pot and set over medium low heat. Sauté the sausage until browned, using a spoon to break up the large pieces. Transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the heated oil and butter and cook until just beginning to soften. Stir in the cabbage, put the lid on, and cook until it begins to wilt, about 5 minutes.

Wisk in the broth, water, chicken paste, and tomato paste; add in all the spices but the sugar, stirring to combine.

Bring to a boil, stir in the sausage and sugar and turn down the heat to medium/low. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with good crusty bread for dipping.

I cannot wait to make this again in the fall. I also can’t wait to package this up and send it out with Baby Cakes to deer camp. It is wonderfully warming and if the aroma isn’t enough to draw people to the kitchen just serve it alongside a grilled cheese sandwich. Perfection.

P.S. Momma- when can I expect you for supper? Wink.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poke a Pig in a Pot

The thing that initially caught my attention about this recipe was the name. I mean come on, Poke a Pig in a Pot, how cute is that? Second thing I noticed is the fact that it’s a crock pot recipe. Done deal. You had me at crock pot.

A funny story about this recipe: I intended on making it yesterday morning on my way out the door for work but I neglected to read the directions (once again) and realized that I didn’t have time for so much prep work when I only allotted myself 15 minutes to throw it all in the crock pot. The silver lining out of the situation is that I had today off so I happily spent some time this morning mincing garlic and searing the meat.

If I had known how freakin' good this would be I would have gotten up an hour early just to have had it in my mouth yesterday. A staple for cooler weather but I will gladly eat it anyday (like today, while it's 98 degrees outside). Amazing.

Baby Cakes loved it too. He only likes sweet carrots and at first said "It looks great but just one suggestion, I like my carrots with brown sugar." Then he took a bite. Yeah, the Mountain Dew makes them slightly sweet.

Poke a Pig in a Pot
recipe adapted from Beth’s Favorite Recipes

3 pound pork roast
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons seasoning blend, if desired
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/3 cups (1 liter) Mountain Dew soda
1 cup water
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons chicken paste
1 pound bag of baby carrots

Season the roast with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and seasoning blend, if desired.

Place the olive oil and butter in a pot and heat over medium to medium/high heat. Sear the roast on all sides to a golden brown. Turn off heat. Transfer the roast to the crock pot dish and set aside.

Add the water to the searing pan and deglaze. Transfer the water, along with the pan juices, to the crock pot as well.

Now add the Mountain Dew, onion, bouillon, minced garlic and carrots.

Cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on high setting.

While I'm at it I'll share the chicken paste I use exclusivly in my kitchen. The only place I've found it so far is at Sam's Warehouse Club.

This is my hands down favorite pork roast recipe ever! Seriously, I ate so much of this that I can't even get off the couch to clean the kitchen. Hint, hint Baby Cakes. (Grin.)


Thursday, July 7, 2011

French Fry Hash Browns

Growing up my Daddy was the official cook in our house. I might have mentioned this once or twice before (grin), what can I say I am a proud daughter. After all, he did pass his love of cooking onto me. Anyhow, every weekend on either Saturday or Sunday my Dad would make his version of what we called “big breakfast”. This consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits or toast, hash browns, and sausage gravy. I don’t feel the need to share his recipe for sausage gravy, although I probably will at some point but I will be sharing his hash browns recipe with you today.

You guys, as kids we fought over who got to have seconds of these, not because he didn’t make enough (with 6 kids I don’t know that enough was ever enough) but because they are just so good.

Head up, this is not a diet food (and I am only posting the half recipe). I come by my curvy figure naturally. Grin.

French Fry Hash Browns

1 stick butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, large dice
4-6 tablespoons seasoning blend, your choice
½ a bag crinkle cut French fries

In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent. When the onions are soft stir the seasoning blend into them.

Add the frozen French fries and stir to combine, let the fries soak up all the seasoned butter. Let them brown stirring occasionally.

Don’t worry if some of the fries start breaking down, they are supposed to.

Confession time, growing up my sister and I ate ours smothered in syrup. However, as an adult I like them ketchup. It is amazing to me how unrefined my childhood taste buds were, not that ketchup could be classified as refined. I do still eat syrup on corned beef hash though, shrug, some things never change.

I am going to try to start sharing ingredients that I used in my recipes with everyone because sometimes that ingredient can make or break the recipe. Speaking of ingredients this is the seasoning blend that we use at our casa. It's my favorite blend. My Mom and Dad use it, my Mom's Parents used it. Heck, even my best friend uses it. It's the bees knees here at Sweet Tea.

This is an easy recipe to throw together on a weekend along with some eggs and sausage. We happen to have it about once a month for supper.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crock Pot Pork Tacos

I cannot say enough about this pork. It was perfect. It had wonderful flavor and it didn’t overpower everything else. Seriously, probably my favorite kind of tacos now, never again will I make hamburger taco meat over the stove. Okay, well maybe. Never say never right?

Baby Cakes was thrilled with them. He hummed and moaned with every bite, as did I. I can’t really think of anything outside of how great they are to even talk about on this post. They’ve left me dumb.

I came across them while searching for the last pork dish I made on this here blog (no, I do not actually talk like that). And having a very small pork loin in the deep freeze, well, why not? That reminds me of something I could probably tell. The blog I found this on used a large pork roast and although I was initially nervous about using so much in the way of seasonings I am so glad that I did. As I stressed above, these are magnificent!

Crock Pot Pork Tacos
recipe from Shamrock and Shenanigans

1 lb. pork shoulder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
taco shells or tortillas

In a bowl combine the paprika, garlic powder, salt, chili powder and cumin; mix well.
Sprinkle the spice mixture all over the pork, on both sides, and set it in the refrigerator to rest overnight.

In the morning place the pork in the Crock Pot without any liquids and set for 6-8 hours on low heat.

Before serving take two forks and shred the meat.

Serve as you would taco meat.

I served ours on crunchy taco shells with some homemade salsa, sour cream and cheese. Yum!

Make these for supper tonight,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sautéed Steak with Onions

A few weeks ago my local grocery store offered a $3 off coupon off of their store brand of meat. To take advantage of that coupon I found the cheapest cut of meat I could and ended up getting it incredibly close to free. Only after I got it home did I realize that I have no idea what to make with it. I could make chicken fried steak but I don’t fry, not a single thing, ever. (Let me elaborate...)

Once upon a time while babysitting my youngest sister, she’s 11 years younger than I am essentially making me the responsible one in this scenario, I was cooking and talking on the phone and tipped a scolding hot dish of gravy over on top of her little baby head. That was 16 years ago and although she is fine, more than fine, it scared the crap out of me, and although it wasn’t grease it was gravy it still makes me shy away from all things scorching. I won’t even take anything out of the oven unless there isn’t anyone around to do it for me. Sad I know, but just one of those things that makes me into me.

Needless to say I needed a non-frying recipe so I found this. And it is great! I told Babycakes that I'll be making this more often and he is told me that he is down with that.

Sautéed Steak with Onions
recipe adapted from Chef2Chef.com

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, sliced
1 lb. bottom round steak, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar

Melt butter in skillet over med heat. Add onions, cook until just starting to brown, about 5 min. Remove onions; set aside.

Increase heat to high. Add steak to skillet; cook until med rare, 3-5 min per side. Transfer to carving board; cover to keep warm.

Return onions to pan. Stir in broth, vinegar, ketchup, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring up the browned bits from the pan, until slightly thickened, about 1 min.

Slice steak; transfer to serving platter. Pour sauce over steak and serve.

Like I said above I love it. I love love love it.


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