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The pics are crap, don’t look at me like that y’all. This is what happens when we get busy with playing video games and don’t notice that we haven’t eaten in forever. On the good side, that proved how fast and easy these are. While D bravely battled mobs in WoW, I ran back and forth between the kitchen and healing him with my nifty priestly powers. Ok, walked since the kitchen is right there.

As y’all can easilly tell, I changed the ingrediants a little. There’s cucumbers and avocados, but D can’t eat any peppers at all so I left those out and threw some tomatoes in instead. There’s some feta in there too, I won’t lie and if you’re thinking there ain’t any cilantro you’re right. That herb and me get along like cilantro and cats (which makes sense only if you know you can keep most cats off the furniture by spraying a mist of cilantro and water). CB picked this week’s Craving Ellie In My Belly, and I’m kissing her butt for it.

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“That don’t look like a taco Miss Lemon” y’all are saying! Your grammar was much better of course, but you’re right no matter how you swing it. D grabbed the burrito sized tortillas from the grocery store, and there was no way that was making a cute little taco so I rolled it up and sliced it.

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It was love. D and me agreed that we need this a lot, and y’all really need to try it with some feta. The next day I sent him to work with some lemon pepper deli chicken in a roll up with the salsa, and eating the same thing for lunch myself we liked it almost as much. Almost because when you’re talking a garlic broiled steak or some chicken we all know the steak wins.

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Steak Tacos with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs top sirloin steaks (about 1 1/4 inches thich)
Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas
3 cups shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges
Cucumber-Avocado Salsa (recipe follows)

Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and preheat it over medium-high heat.

Combine the spices in a small bowl and then rub the mixture into both sides of the steaks.

Broil the steaks for about 5 minutes per side, turning once, for medium rare or to your desired taste. (Prepare the salsa below while the steak is broiling). Remove and allow to sit and rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin slices.

Warm the tortillas by placing them on a hot skillet or grill for about 30 seconds, turning once, or you can place 6 tortillas at a time between two moist paper towels and microwave for about 45 seconds. Wrap them in a cloth napkin to keep warm.

Top tortillas with cabbage, steak, salsa (recipe below) and a squeeze of lime juice and sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro and serve.

Cucumber-Avocado Salsa
1 medium English cucumber, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium firm-ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
Salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently to combine. Serve within an hour of preparing.

 Craving Ellie In My Belly!

I love Ellie. I love meatloaf. More importantly for this pick, D loves meatloaf. He likes desserts, and even really enjoys a handful that I make… but regular food makes him much happier on a usual basis. For the first pick, I politely asked (waved the book in his face until he stopped trying to watch tv) what he’d enjoy most as the first Ellie recipe. After a few false starts (you can’t eat that honey, that weird name is a hot pepper and your stomach would try to kill me) he triumphantly pointed to that most exotic of foods, the meatloaf. Because apparently the large amounts of turkey meatloaf I already make him eat on an almost weekly basis ain’t enough. You’d be startled at what I can do with leftover meatloaf at this point, including but not limited to subbing it out for toast for creamed eggs and using it crumbled up in spaghetti sauce. In truth, the spaghetti sauce is worth making a whole meatloaf for but that’s not the point.

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You’d think at 34 I would’ve learned basic reading skills by now, but you would be very wrong. Somehow I missed the instructions she gave for how big to make the meatloaf until now when I was sticking the recipe up here. 2 inches tall? The meatloaf I made towered above the loaf pan like some post apocalyptic tribute to home cooking, it’s lion’s mane of ketchup a bright flag in a dark wor… ahem, got a little carried away there. It was big. It cooked for a little over two hours, suffering some rather ugly holes in the middle because my meat thermometer broke and I had to use a candy thermometer. Stop laughing!!! That’s it, I’m not talking to y’all right now.

Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients

3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 medium onion, peeled
2 lbs ground turkey breast (used a little over 2 lbs.)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (didn’t use this, D doesn’t deal with them well)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1-8 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
(Used some liquid smoke like I always do in meatloaf)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk and allow to soak while you get the rest of the ingredients together, at least 3 minutes.

Thinly slice one-quarter of the onion into rings and set aside. Finely chop the rest of the onion. (didn’t do this, put the whole onion in my meatloaf)

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, oatmeal mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160 F, about 1 hour. (2 hours if your meatloaf was like mine)

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Y’all, consider this my official declaration of my love for pies. The problem has always been that I love pie so much, I get afraid of trying to make it! It’s easy to be a coward when nobody is noticing, but when an event comes around like You Want Pies With That you have to step and try.  Making it about pies wasn’t enough, there had to be a theme and I’m a total sucker for a theme. This month it’s all about the movies, and challenging us to come up with a pie based on a movie of our choice.

The Movie : National Treasure

The Explanation : Cherry pie in honour of George Washington and the movie’s focus on American history, with dark chocolate chip swirled into the filling as the secret treasure.

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It’s a very simple pie, the week of sneezing and coughing with the annual fall cold ain’t been encouraging for complicated food. Go ahead and chuckle, but I used Comstock Country Cherry Pie filling! There’s no shame in licking the can is there? The crust is home made, a new (to me that is) pie crust recipe from Betty Crocker’s original picture cook cook. To go with the pie, I took a few pics of my own favourite treasures that I own.

Every girl needs it…

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A little extra treasure…

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Lip gloss counts as a treasure! 

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This is one of my favourite pics, I love these close ups of the cherry filling bubbling through the crust.

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The Crust :

2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. shortening

Sift the flour and salt together, cut half of the shortening in to make a fine meal consistency and then the other half to make a lumpy consistency like large peas. Sprinkle with a few teaspoons of water at a time until the dough comes together in a ball when squeezed.

The Filling :

2 cans Comstock Country Cherry Pie Filling
3 handfulls Ghiradelli Bittersweet chocolate chips

Bake pie at 425 for 15 minutes. turn heat to 325 and bake for 30 minutes.Brush top with cream and sugar during the second baking time and sprinkle with sugar.

Y’all who know me at all know I’m a slacker. It’s sadly true, and try as I might I tend to be unorganized. The very flexible rules on GWW for example make that clear, and although it often feels good it really ain’t that great for me. It’s easier to do things that are easy, and often I find myself falling into that pattern. So with the help of the beloved CB, I’m trying to break out of that a little by hosting an event that makes me be more organized and healthier in my eating habits.

Any of y’all wanna cook with me? The book is so frigging good, and I’ve been loving it so far. CB decided she wanted to cook from it too, so here were are! Craving Ellie In My Belly. It’s your standard weekly event, choosing recipes from the book Foods You Crave. If y’all feel like giving it a try, send me an email at lemontartlet(at)yahoo.com and let me know. There’s plenty of room, and we’re friendly enough as long as you keep us fed!

Fancy cooking has always taunted me. This is embarrassing to admit, uncomfortable even but I’ve struggled a lot with feeling like I needed to cook more impressive dishes. New combinations of flavours, exotic cuisines made me feel like I would never be a real grown up unless I liked them and could serve them up at fashionable dinner parties. For years I’ve been trying so hard to be a chic foodie, and y’all stop laughing!

It don’t work. Simple food is what I crave, uncomplicated recipes that don’t even need to be written down. Hours of slow cooking, cheap meats and fresh veggies with more than enough to go around. There ain’t no denying my palette is unsophisticated, but I’ll always prefer meatloaf to a glazed comfit of whatsit that costs more than the pickup truck’s monthly payment. Done with fancy food, if y’all are looking for new and different ya ain’t finding it here.

Chicken thighs and legs. Cheap, and cheaper on sale. The skin and fat is cut off, and the outside is coated in crushed saltine crackers with salt and pepper and chili powder. The chicken is cooked at 350 F for a good hour and half covered in foil, then broiled with a few tomato slices from my garden on top.

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The beans are navy beans. Cooked up a big bag of dried beans with chicken stock and celery and onions, and frozen in portions of 2 cups each. To cook them for supper, sauteed some onions in butter and thawed the beans in the microwave then put them in the pan with the onions. A few prigs of thyme from the garden went in the pan, with some more tomatoes from the garden and some salt and pepper. Collard greens on the side are D’s request if he’s given the choice.

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There’s no getting around it, I wussed out this week. Ain’t really a picky eater, but there are some combinations that make my taste buds start threatening guerrilla warfare and screaming cliche revolution slogans. Nobody wants that. Add to that a budget that was giving me dirty looks at the mere mention of buying ingredients we don’t usually use, and it wasn’t happening this week.

Dorie has got me addicted to her though, and I needed to bake something by her! A quick chat with Laurie (ok, so none of my chats are ever quick) and Chocolate Chip Cookies were on the table! Y’all, let me be the first to say that I’m stubborn when it comes to recipes I love. The chocolate chip cookie recipe I’e used for years was my fav and nothing could compete… Oh Dorie, how you’ve humbled me!

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They’re everything a chocolate chip cookie should be. A little crunchy, a little chewy and soft. Buttery and easy to work with, they didn’t spread too much on the pan and they turned the right colour. Easy means easy, I made the dough before the oven could even preheat while fighting a fever and playing a video game with D! They weren’t greasy in the slightest, they formed into little scoops and snuggled on to the parchment paper with a cheerfullness you don’t usually find in a baked good.

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Ain’t it sad that I couldn’t get through taking a pic without biting one?

Y’all should follow the recipe to be sure, but let me tell you how easy these handled. The things I didn’t do were : Mix the dry ingrediants together first, beat for 1 minute between eggs, add the dry ingrediants together in thirds, cool the sheet between batches, rotate the baking sheets midway, bake them to brown (they were golden on the edges and paler in the middle because I prefer them softer), or let them get to room temperature before eating one. To be honest, I dumped the eggs in all at once and did the same with the dry ingrediants. The cookies were very happy to be treated so callously. They like it rough cutie.

“My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies”

2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 c. store-bought chocolate chips or chunks (I used dark chocolate chips)
1 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans (I didn’t use them)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each eggs oes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingrediants in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and the nuts. (The dough can be covered and refridgerated for up to 3 days or frozen. If you’d like, you can freeze rounded tablespoons of cough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when theyre solid. There’s no need to defrost the dough before baking – just add another minute or two to the baking time.)

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfulls onto the baking sheets leaving about two inches between spoonfulls.

Bake the cookies – one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point – for 10 – 12 minutes or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute then carefully, usuaing a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

 

It ain’t a surprise that I was looking forward to this one, it’s my name! Y’all are free to throw in the extraordinary part when talking to me all ya want. There was even prancing as I went to get the lemons and grate the zest from them like I’ve gotten good at!

Photobucket Y’all quit staring at the lemons, they’re nekkid!

The recipe was easy, lemons and sugar and eggs and all I had to do was stir!

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Ok, this is downright silly. For all the sweating (standing over a steaming pot and hot cream in Florida when it’s humid and sticky allready ain’t fun) and effort, it never got up to 180 F. Mind you, I ended up getting up to 100.2 F, but that’s a different story and why I’m writing this from on the couch grumbling.

Photobucket Y’all don’t even want to know what kind of contortions I had to go through to get pics of the stirring while at the same times never stopping the motion. The cat now thinks I’m weird, which is saying something.

 Yeah. here they are, little lemon cream tarts. Everybody who reads my blog knows I ain’t never one to not speak my mind when it comes to my opinion on desserts, and this is no different. The results were silky and creamy and smooth… and boring. Utterly boring. While there ain’t a doubt in my mind that the chef who created this is a genuis, it was like licking a lemon flavoured butter stick to me. Loved the lemon mixture before the butter went it, afterwards it tasted like nothing but lemon flavoured butter to me and that’s with leaving out the 5 tbls. past the two sticks! The tart dough was bland, like a piece of kind cheap shortbread without any oomph.

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The whole thing reminded me of something that might get served to a very unadventerous bridge club after a nice day of getting their hair tinged blue and powdering the poodle. Love the pic of the side I took though, it looks like it’s a golden tart!

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There are mornings when I don’t want to eat any of the things I should. Oatmeal sounds icky, whole grains are annoying me and I don’t want any sugar. Bleh! Usually this happens when I ain’t snoozed well and I’m grumpy. Why anybody wouldn’t snooze easily with two cop cars flashing their lights outside the bedroom window and a police helicopter flying through your neighborhood on a man hunt at 2:00 a.m. I don’t know, what a picky girl I am. Mornings like today I end up making what my mom used to call concoctions. As a little girl, they were unspeakable but as I got older I started making things like this.

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It doesn’t look nice in any kind of presentation way, and it doesn’t come from any recipe. It’s always a grumpy, muttering cooking session with as little effort as possible and whatever is on hand thrown in if I get the craving for it. Today’s was very easy. grabbed a little whole grain couscous and tossed that in a sauce pan with some boiling water. From the freezer I grabbed some shredded pork tenderloin that I roasted up and put back a few days ago, breaking off some frozen pieces into the pot. There were some canned turnip greens in the pantry to throw in, a little olive oil and sea salt ended up in there too. A few shakes of curry powder and a lime pepper mix perked it up, and a pinch of cinnamon made it all a little interesting.

It wouldn’t win any beauty contests and it ain’t gourmet. There ain’t a crumb left of it.

Half the week I was limping, the other half I had a tummy bug. Yes y’all, wussed out and didn’t blog at all which only made me feel worse. Feel free to yell at me next time I do that. To make it up to y’all, I offer this recipe that I came up with when I got to feeling good. It’s delicious, easy as anything and really healthy! That ain’t bad for a simple supper. The curry powder is optional, D doesn’t eat spicy so I leave it off his and use it in mine after it’s ready.

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Chicken And Wild Rice

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbls. olive oil
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 c. wild rice mix
3 c. chicken stock
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 tbls. corn starch
Sea salt
Pepper

Cook the rice according to the directions on your wild rice mix, about 50 minutes with the two c. of chicken stock.

Flatten the chicken breasts and cut into small pieces. Put 1 tbls. of olive oil into a large skillet, and throw in diced garlic and the chicken. Saute the chicken for a few minutes on each side, until it’s cooked all the way and browning slightly. Put the chicken on a plate, and throw the celery and onions and carrot into the skillet to soften a bit. Put the spices and the chicken back in the skillet and let them cook for a few, stirring a lot for 10 minutes. The rice goes on the plate in a round pat, and the chicken an veggies are put on top. While the pan is hot, pour in 1 c. of the chicken stock and the cornstarch (dissolved in a little water), and whisk constantly so it thickens up. Pour over the chicken and serve. For two or three people as a meal.

Yum!

The best way to start this post off is by saying Julia Child is a genius. Not that it needs to be said, y’all knew that already. There ain’t nobody who can teach you how to put on your fancy France Pants and shake it in the kitchen like her! Therein lies the problem with me though, I ain’t French enough. Not even a little really, heavy butter and cream makes me run the other way and I ain’t fond of… to be honest… more crust than crumb. Y’all can tell this is going in a good direction already.

Making the bread was a good experience as far as the company goes! Anytime I get to do something with CB and Nikkiis the absolute best, and we found ourselves happily clucking away in a little hen’s nest Breadchick had pulled together to all do our thing at the same time. The Belles Of The Bread Ball were very helpfully, and there was much chatting, bad joke telling, and general nonsense as we tried to type with floury, oiled up hands.

The bread… y’all, I don’t like fussy recipes. French bread for me is usually a three hour affair and a simple shaping. This bread was very long, and my poor yeast seemed to be tired of the whole thing by the time I was because the third rising resembled my family after Thanksgiving. Kinda bloated and just laying there. The batard was making a half butted attempt to rise, but the first slash with a knife that I know to be razor sharp made it give up again and the poor thing deflated. It was, in my opinion, a rather wussy dough. Mind you, I’m used to doughs that are developed to be just fine with several toddlers hanging off your pants leg. Doughs that might punch you back when you punch them down and call you names.

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The shaping directions and me didn’t get along at all, and that’s my fault. Y’all who can translate written words into spatially valid directions have my admiration, I gotta see and feel it to make it work. Long directions like that ain’t for us tactile learners. Somehow, it got rolled into a relatively oblong shape, and this is what happened to it afterwards. Hah!

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These were epi rolls. Hush. Stop laughing, I can hear y’all from over here. They were really pretty before they kinda rose! Baking made them… y’all can tell from the pics.
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This one was braided and covered with garlic and herbs. It wasn’t bad, as this failed attempt went. Ain’t got any pictures of the little round rolls, we ate those too quickly. The oven got pissy on me and they bottoms for some of the bread burned, which didn’t improve anything. In short, this recipe was too much crust and not enough bread for us. The French apparently like their bread this way. (crusty, not burnt) A round loaf was made too, and it came out the very best. It was overly salty to me, and got dry too quickly but it was edible. Then it gave us heartburn, as a little insult to injury. This house ain’t French. If y’all are, get the recipe here. Go look at the pics from people who had a success.