Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Yesterday's menu was supposed to be BBQ chicken, caprese salad and potatoes but Matt was cravying green bean casserole and bisquits so the menu, except for the BBQ chicken, got tossed and we went with what sounded good. Matt did a fabulous job grilling the chicken leg quarters that he'd separated. Before Matt told me he was cravying green bean casserole I'd thought to make bacon wrapped balsalmic aspargus but unfortunately the aspargus tips had started to go bad so they had to be tossed.

My oldest daughter stopped over last night and raided the leftover stash so today for lunch I brought what was left of Monday night's roast, carrots and mashed potatoes to get them used before they went bad.

Yesterday I found a pattern for a tunisian baby blanket that I wanted to make for one of the female soldiers I work with that is expecting next month. I know, I'm getting a really late start on this. I found downloadable pattern books on Annie's Attic website. Went to Joann's last night to get some yarn and could not believe the horrible selection of baby yarns. I found a couple I was okay with but then discovered they didn't have either of them in pink. Seriously - no pink. That's like a standardized color for babies isn't it? I ended up purchasing a yarn that I wasn't happy with - which teaches me not to wait so long to start.

Well being that I was in a hurry to get this started, I didn't think to pay attention to the tunisian classification. Its crochet, but not crochet, and I've never done it before. Tunisian crochet is also referred to as afghan stitch or afghan crochet. It uses a crochet looking hook but its about the length of a knitting needle. I apparently at some point had thought about learning to do it because I actually had the specialized afghan crochet hooks in my stash - good thing as Joann's had one size and it wasn't the size I needed. Well it's a bit more complicated then I thought it would be to learn so the pattern I wanted to use is on hold, maybe for Matt's niece's baby due in October, and I'm just using the basic tunisian stitch for the entire blanket to perfect my skills at it before branching off into more complicated patterns and I'll but the cute border on it that the pattern used. Life's adventures in crafting land.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Sunday our use the leftovers in the frig continued. We had a leftover premade pizza crust (generic), 1/2 jar of pizza sauce, a partial log of mozzarella and a ton of basil I'd chopped to cut back the basil plants so Matt suggested margharita pizza. A typical margharita is fresh slice tomatoes instead of pizza sauce for the base but as I'm allergic to the raw version we'll stick with a cooked pizza sauce. Top the pizza sauce with thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (or shredded if you don't have fresh), and then sprinkle chopped or whole basil over the cheese. Bake and enjoy. I liked the taste - nice, simple and light. The premade pizza crusts are definitely not a hit with me. I think they taste like cardboard. Next time I'll make some fresh pizza dough to use. To round out this tasty pizza we served a Greek salad.


A pressure cooker is a cook's best friend. Sunday I totally forgot to take the roast out of the freezer to put into the crockpot on Monday. I realized my mistake Monday morning. To the rescue - my trusty pressure cooker - able to do a frozen roast in 45 minutes to perfect tenderness. Its one of the awesome things about pressure cookers is that you can put a slab of frozen meat in and it will be cooked and tender in under and hour.

I added a quartered onion and carrots along with a jar of au ju gravy, a packet of au ju gravy mix (didn't have brown gravy), 2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of Italian dressing (or you could use a packet of dry), and a can of cream of mushroom soup to the roast. I would have typically have added mushrooms to the roast also but Matt doesn't like mushrooms so I'm preparing them less and I didn't have any in the house anyway. The gravy mix on top of the roast and the side of mashed potatoes that Matt whipped up to perfection were delicious after I got home from yoga last night.

For those that fear pressure cookers because of stories they've heard I can assure you the new ones have tons of safety features built in and I maintain are a cook's best friend. The new digital pressure cookers are fool proof and absolutely safe. There are several good yahoo groups for recipes. My first pressure cooker was a stovetop version that I still use. My digital lasted about a year and then died - buy a known brand would be my word of caution when getting a digital. I really miss my digital as I could set it to start later or turn to warm when finished.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Use of leftovers is an extremely helpful way of helping with the food budget. Last week I picked up a package of chicken tenders on manager's special for a little over $5 for a large package. My first thought was to make satay chicken with peanut sauce as I've been wanting to try that recipe. I fixed the satay chicken on Thursday night with great results but with a fair amount of leftover chicken. Friday night Matt made me grilled lamb chops with several pieces left over from that. Neither was really enough for an entire meal for us but by using them in another way we were able to pull 2 lunches out of them.

Saturday for lunch we took and chopped up the chicken and lamb to make pitas with. We also make a homemade cucumber sauce with greek yogurt (yum) - also another first time recipe for us. We heated the pitas up and then heated the chicken and lamb up together. On the pitas we spread the cucumber sauce, added the meat mixture, and then added lettuce, banana pepper slices, and I added pickles and then rolled them up. We actually had enough of the meat mixture left over that I was able to make these pitas again Sunday for lunch we liked them so much.

Another option would have been to use them in a chicken ceaser salad, crunchy asian salad with chicken, chicken salad, etc.... Don't limit yourself to only using your leftovers in the way they were originally cooked. Sometimes they can be stretched much further by being used in a totally different recipe.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

With the temps soaring here the last thing I want to do is cook most days. On days like these I try to utilize kitchen appliances that do the work for me. For my BBQ chicken I put 4 split chicken breasts with a bunch of freshly chopped thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano into the crockpot and let it cook on high all afternoon. After about 6 or so hours I took the chicken out and put it on the chopping board to cool. After it cooled but was still warm I pulled the chicken off the bones and then added a bottle of BBQ sauce. Served these on some nice buns with sesame seeds on top along with some fresh salsa and chips.

I also served limeade with this that was extremely tasty. I used a can of frozen limeade and added 4 cans of water (they call for 3 cans). I used part of a leftover lime from my salsa making and slided it up and up that into the pitcher along with a lemon and some fresh cut peppermint stalks. Yummy and refreshing.
Okay, now back to the job of blogging.

This weeks menues:

bbq chicken sandwiches
salsa and chips


grilled chicken quarters
pasta salad
caprese salad

mac & cheese (homemade)
green beans

Skillet steaks
roasted potatoes with rosemary and thyme