Archive for January, 2008

Shameless Cheating

So my weekly menu told me I was supposed to make chicken pot pie for dinner tonight.  Crap.

I had a bad day.  I woke up late, with a headache, and the first phone call of the morning was the teacher I work with telling me she wouldn’t be at school today.  Great.

Upon arriving home after my hellacious day, I really wasn’t looking forward to putting together a pot pie.  The very thought of putting together a white sauce and cooking chicken breasts made me want to curl up in the fetal position.  But then I remembered….. I CAN CHEAT!  So I did.

I had some leftover pork roast with veggies in the fridge.  I took out 2 store-bought pie crusts.  I mixed the leftover roast and veggies with (I can’t believe I’m telling you this…) a can of cream of mushroom soup, a little sour cream, a few glugs of white wine, a shot of worcestershire sauce, some hot sauce and salt/pepper.  I put one of the crusts on the bottom of my square pyrex brownie dish, dumped in the filling and put the other crust on the top.   I am fixing to throw it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  I’ll take a pic when it comes out of the oven.  I hope it doesn’t suck.

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I have been thinking a lot lately about this food blogging business.  I really enjoy writing the posts and taking the pics, so I decided to be more serious about it.  I read an embarassing number of food blogs everyday, trying to pick up recipe ideas and blog ideas.

S0…….one of my favorite blogs is www.accidentalhedonist.com.  I read it everyday.   So the author of this blog has over 12,000 faithful readers.  She decided to help some of the newer bloggers get a leg up, and added a mini-blog feature to her blog.  I signed up for one, and as my first post, I asked for some help tweaking my mom’s cream cheese poundcake for high altitude baking….

I get home from school today and, as always, log on to read my favorite blog- and GUESS WHAT??? She picked my post and about 4 others to post on THE FRONT FREAKIN PAGE OF HER BLOG!!!!!  I’m serious…you should go check it out.  Of course, no one has offered any advice about mom’s poundcake, but it was so cool to see my entry on her blog.   I know I still basically suck at this, but maybe this will give me the kick in the pants I need to get better at it!

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Sushi Rice, Revisited

Well, rolling the sushi is the fun part.  Unfortunately, when I moved, I lost my partner in crime!!!  You could make the rice, then fedex it to me…….

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Sushi Rice

Sushi 002

Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

Proof that Mimi CAN roll sushi – if someone else (ahem) makes the rice!

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I have decided that I am tired of being afraid to make sushi at home.  Sushi is one of my most favorite foods, and unless I figure out how to make it myself (or move) I will not be able to have it on a regular basis.

This coming weekend being Superbowl Weekend, I am going to attempt sushi to have during the game.

My real fear about sushi isn’t really the rolling- it’s the rice.  The texture of the rice has to be perfect.  So I’ve been researching the rice and methods of cooking.  During the course of this research, I stumbled upon a great cooking resource called www.imcooked.com.  Using the search feature, I found numerous videos on how to prepare sushi. This one I found particularly entertaining and 80s-rific. 

I highly recommend visiting the site and spending some time bumming around in the archive!  I have tried numerous times to embed the video, but it just ain’t workin for me. So you will have to go to the site and do a search for sushi. I highly recommend the “Average Betty” postings.

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Originally uploaded by lyricalmezzo

I think now, this being the 3rd time through, that I have mastered the crock pot goulash recipe so…here it is:

In saute pan put 2 tbls of olive oil and 2 tbls of butter;

add one chopped onion or approx. 5 shallots.

Cube chicken (about 1 1/2 lbs) coat with flour, salt, pepper and paprika; throw in with the onion and shallot mixture and cook for about 4 minutes.

In the crockpot put in one small can of tomato paste, a can of chopped tomatos, 3/4 cup of red wine, 1 can of chicken of veggie stock, 1 tbls of paprika, 1 tlbs of chopped rosemary – add onion and chicken mixture to crock-pot. My crock pot doesn’t have temperature controls so I cook it on high for one hour and then switch it to low for 2 hours. If you have temp controls – set it for 350 degrees and it should be great.

About 10-12 minutes before the goulash is done, add a cup of sour cream or plain yogurt to the crock pot. At about this time – boil water and cook egg noodles. Spoon goulash over the noodles and enjoy. I had the same red wine as added to the mix and some beer bread from the other night. YUM! Not only do we enjoy it, but my sister’s cats go out of their minds for the stuff.

Traditional goulash is made with beef tips – you can use the same recipe but use beef tips – should be great. I am just not a beef eater.


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Day One Under My Belt


So far so good with the menu thing.  I cooked the brats in a mixture of beer, leftover chicken broth and sliced onions.  I served them with sauteed peppers and onions (leftovers to be used later in the week).  The potatoes were roasted and the quinoa salad was leftover from last week.

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Menu for the week

I am going back to menus.  It seems to be the only way to make sure I eat better and save money at the grocery store.  Maybe if I publish them here, I’ll stick to them…….


Breakfast- Breakfast pockets with sausage, egg and cheese

Lunch- Leftover pizza and salad

Dinner- Roasted chicken quarters with risotto alla Milanese


Breakfast- buttermilk pancakes

Lunch- grilled cheese with quinoa salad

Dinner- brats with olive oil potatoes


Breakfast- leftover pancakes

Lunch- leftovers

Dinner- Chicken Pot Pie


Breakfast- Breakfast pockets with sausage, egg and cheese

Lunch- leftovers

Dinner- American Chop Suey


Breakfast- Cereal

Lunch- leftovers

Dinner- Pork tamales with black bean salad


Breakfast- oatmeal

Lunch- leftovers

Dinner- out (Dev has class til 8:30)


Breakfast- Bacon/Cheddar quiche

Lunch- leftovers

Dinner- Deep Dish Pizza

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Roberta’s Quiche

Here is a pretty dirn good quiche recipe.  You can change up the flavors however you want, but the basic filling recipe is wonderful.  I usually cheat and use store-bought refrigerated pie crust- but when I have time I make it myself.

1 9inch unbaked pie crust

8 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1 cup grated swiss cheese

Put the crust in a pie pan.  Crumble the bacon and put in the bottom, then sprinkle the cheese over that.

In the blender, put 4 eggs, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt and 2 cups heavy cream.  Process for a few seconds and pour into pie crust.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven to 300 and bake for an hour.  I usually cover the edges of the crust with foil until the last 20 minutes or so.

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So Dev has gone to the college to judge a middle school history fair.  I was supposed to go, but I played dead. 

I’m sitting here, freshly showered, looking for some culinary trouble to get into.  But I’m limited to what’s in the pantry.  With those parameters set, I set out to figure out exactly what I have in the pantry.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.

My pantry is crammed full of stuff.  I couldn’t tell you what all is in there.  In some respects, I’m a good pantry shopper.  For example- you will never catch me without canned tomatoes, a jar of pesto, pasta, bread crumbs, some kind of chicken parts and some ground turkey or beef. These are the things I consistently use to put dinner on the table during the week.  But I am also an impulse shopper at the grocery store, so I tend to accumulate mismatched items.  In my mind, I can hear Diane reciting the line from the movie “Friday,” something about none of my food matching…”you got peanut butter, but no jelly”….. that kinda thing.  I’m sure if she reads this post, she’ll comment and leave the whole quote.  Anyway- she has me pegged.  My pantry is an international explosion.  I have various Asian ingredients, southwestern spices and potions, and of course, many Italian inspired ingredients.  I just don’t have anything that’s complete.  I always end up needing ONE MORE THING to be able to make an actual meal.  Plus- being an aspiring foodie, when I buy things for a recipe, I hardly ever use the whole package.  That leads to pieces and parts of things laying around for decades.

After rummaging through the contents of my pantry and organizing things a bit I have made a pact with myself.  For the foreseeable (horrible spelling) future, I will make meals that contain at least one item from my pantry.  As soon as we’ve eaten it down considerably, I will undertake the project of re-stocking it more intelligently.

And now for something completely different….

While re-arranging things and trying to figure out what the heck some of these things in my pantry were, I stumbled upon a pile of recipes.  These are recipes I use all the time.  Some of them are actually methods for prep than can be used with almost any combination of ingredients (basic risotto recipe, basic quiche filling recipe).

I think I will post entries on some of these things.  They might be useful to someone.  And I can honestly say they’ve been taste-tested over and over again and they always make the cut.

I also have my mother’s cream cheese pound cake recipe, which I am in the process of tweaking for high altitude baking.  As soon as I get it to work, I’ll post it here as well.  I am embarassed to say that after saying what a good pantry shopper I am, I don’t seem to have enough AP flour to do this recipe.   Sigh.

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