Category Archives: Cooking

A-hole Chicken

No, I’m not mad at one of the hens… more than usual, anyway.

I bought a roasting hen at Trader Joe’s ($1.99/lb) and decided I wanted to maximize the yummy, crispy, delicious skin. I began my hunt for a vertical chicken roaster. (I was tired of trying to find an attractive selfie match on Google Art and Culture and needed to get started being productive).

No,  seriously,  I’m being productive. 

Aha, I said to myself, why waste time? Use Google to see who has one? (I didn’t want to make beer can chicken, just vertical). After yelling at my phone a few times I got a list.

Lowe’s was the nearest place. Excellent! I zipped over and found a folding beer can chicken grilling thinggummy. Not what I wanted. Apparently I didn’t look closely enough and the one I was looking at was only available online.

Alrighty, then. Tried to go to my favorite specialty cooking shop I never make it to because I’d have to sell a kidney to afford anything bigger than an egg cup. They were no longer there. So I drove further down the road.

Bed, Bath and Beyond. As per usual in my experience, they didn’t have what the interwebz said. They had the same type as Lowe’s. Also, this location was closing so it was more of a madhouse than normal. As a cranky, irritable person I intensely dislike going there. I love all the stuff, oh yes, but not the actual place.

Fine. I tried Wal-Mart next, on the way back towards home. Surely they’d have one. After cruising half the store and not even scoring ONE POINT running over anyone, a worker told me the grilling section was in the Garden Center. Duh. Grills and charcoal. Nothing else. Not even the can kind.

At this point I was considering going to get some beer for the excuse of having the damn can. And the alcohol. A gallon size can and some wire coat hangers. That’s it…

Went to pick up my child at school and regaled my friend with the blow-by-blow. She told me the little specialty shop moved OUT BY THE BED BATH AND BEYOND.

Ok, fine. Of course I love driving back and forth on the same road. Especially with the great drivers we (don’t) have.

Made it, child in tow, to Now We’re Cooking. I love this place, like I said. The very friendly saleswoman helped me find…. the same type everyone else had!!! I did see an angel food cake pan with insert that’d probably do the trick but my kidneys didn’t feel like paying $25.99 for it.

This is not the rack you were looking for. Move along.

The Target is right by our house so I went there before I gave up and ordered from the Internet Overlords. I knew I wasn’t going to find the kind I was looking for so I went for the angel food cake pan idea.

When I got home I realised the pan I bought was all one piece. GARGH!! The sides of the pan – or the alternative, bundt pan – are too high, interfering with the browning I’m looking for. I’ll be returning it tomorrow.

Cake pan

In the end, so to speak, I decided to use a tall canning jar, the kind you’d use for asparagus or long beans.

I set it in a round cake pan for the drippings. We use the drippings for latkes.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. Hold my beer. On second thought….

Seasoned with salt and poultry blend. Cooked at 350° until dark golden and meat thermometer read 170° or so. I cranked it up to 400° for 15 min at the end to get it really crispy and thermometer said “done” in the poultry range. I’ll just give it longer next time.

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Rabbit Root Vegetable Stew

We raise our own rabbits and I’ve cooked them several different ways. I think this has turned out to be the best recipe so far.

1 bay leaf

Oregano to taste, maybe a tsp

A couple shakes of salt, a couple twists from the pepper grinder

1 cube Dorot frozen basil

2 cubes Dorot frozen garlic

.25 cup white onion, roughly chopped

.25 cup chopped celery

2tsp bacon fat

A 1lb bag of frozen Root Vegetable Medley from Costco (beets, parsnip, carrots, sweet potato)

About a quarter cup frozen chopped spinach

A handful of cherry tomatoes from our garden out front that were languishing on the counter

About a pound of rabbit, picked off from a rabbit I pressure – cooked, with the liquid from the cooker

I just added some water to cover to an 8qt pot and cooked it on low for couple of hours since the rabbit was already cooked.

Tastes so sweet!

Having Turkey Post Election

Brussels sprouts fresh off the stalk, coated in olive oil, tossed with salt, cooked in the bottom of the roasting pan covered in foil for about an hour at 350°.

Warmed up leftover turkey breast. That thing was 17 oz so I figured it would feed the 3 adults and 1 kiddo here.

I baked the potatoes coated in olive oil and salt, wrapped together in foil for about an hour and ten minutes – at the same time as the sprouts.

It’s not the turkey I want to roast, post-election, buuuut…. Oh well!

Baked Tilapia

I’ve been using the Food Planner app and it’s been great! I find recipes (or write my own – ha) online and import them to the app to plan meals and grocery shop. The inventory and pricing features on the app are less useful because most of my shopping is at Trader Joe’s and none of their products show up.

Tonight I made baked tilapia (we like tilapia) from a recipe from Paleo Grubs.

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I made a romaine, arugula and baby spinach salad with pears, jicama and avocado sides.

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I made a batch of Trader Joe’s gluten free cornbread as mini muffins. I’ll be serving more of the batch on another night and saving the rest in the freezer for lunches or breakfasts. They have sugar in them, unfortunately, so Linnae loves them.

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I also made a terrific riced cauliflower dish with garlic, olive oil and basil from another paleo website recipe. Linnae didn’t like the crunchiness but we adults did. I’m eating the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow topped with an egg and red chile.

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All together it made a great meal. I think sliced tomatoes would have been tasty but I am constitutionally opposed to unripe out-of-season tomatoes…

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Chicken broccoli quinoa skillet

It isn’t photogenic but Linnae ate every bite! This is a tremendous victory as sh e is incredibly picky and usually is highly displeased with Foods That Touch Each Other.

I get frozen organic broccoli from Costco, frozen chicken thigh meat from Trader Joe’s (I know, I know, but it was convenient), a packet of that weird garlicky quinoa brown rice blend Costco sells (for garlic lovers only, let me tell ya) and three beaten eggs.

Oil in skillet. Cook eggs and stir in cut up chicken. Get impatient and stir in thawed broccoli (I thawed it while cutting up the chicken to save a bit of time, obviously you don’t have to). Stir in quinoa and reminisce about that one guy in the National Guard who took garlic pills for his heart. Look at clock and realize dinner might be ready before husband is home. Turn heat down and ask child to set the table….

The cool thing is that SHE DIDN’T NOTICE THE EGGS! (Insert mom fist pump here)…

The leftovers will be great for lunches and SHE ATE EGGS!!

I served it with organic spring mix from Costco and cut up avocado.

Hope your dinner worked out well, too!

(She ate the eggs!)

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Shrimp

One gigantor bag of raw peeled shrimp from Costco and a container of pre-chopped “healthy mixed vegetables” (yes, I’m that lazy) later and we had a nice dinner. I used taco shells from Trader Joe’s and Pace salsa from Costco. I seriously live in those two stores.

I stir-fried the vegetable mix in avocado oil in my large cast iron skillet. Not sure if stir-fried is the correct term, there, but you aren’t reading this because I’m a cook, you’re reading this because you 1) are related to me 2) are bored or 3) just want ideas of what to make for %&/! dinner…

I cut the thawed shrimp into quarters and added it to the skillet. I seasoned with garlic powder, oregano and lemon juice. Aha! I bought the lemon juice at Smith’s! It was on sale for 10 for $10. They don’t sell it at TJ’s. I don’t like the stuff at Costco and it spoils before I finish it. Plus who can resist those cute little lemon squeezee bottles? I have no idea why I was skulking around Smith’s…

I will note here that this made enough for probably 15 tacos. We ate five tacos and will eat the rest on salad greens tomorrow. I should have used HALF the ingredients. What can I say, I was hungry.

*I* enjoyed these shrimp tacos immensely. I would have enjoyed them more had I remembered to serve them with avocado like I intended. Le sigh.

Linnae did not approve of the shrimp. I forgot she had decided she disliked the texture of shrimp now. Cutting it up so small seemed to help, since she actually ate it rather than dramatically gagging and faking her own demise at the dinner table.

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Baked Tilapia

I’ve been using the Food Planner app and it’s been great! I find recipes (or write my own – ha, I hate measuring) online and import them to the app to plan meals and grocery shop. The inventory and pricing features on the app are less useful because most of my shopping is at Trader Joe’s and none of their products show up. Also, the pricing setup requires YOU to figure out the price per unit. That makes it harder to price compare. I will probably continue my price tracking in Evernote to make sure I am still making wise choices.

Because I planned ahead and got things ready in bits and pieces, I got to plan a bigger meal than normal. I think a person could do all this in an hour, easy, I just puttered at it half the afternoon.

The muffins took 25 minutes to bake, the tilapia 15, and since I used pre-riced cauliflower I think I only spent about fifteen minutes sauteeing that.  The salad was easy, I get a lot of things pre-prepped at Trader Joe’s, if there isn’t a less expensive and more labor intensive option possible. I totally figured the riced cauliflower was worth it after the last time I tried ricing my own. That stuff is like styrofoam and gives me about the same heebeejeebees. Shudder. Also, it gives me a reliable amount to work with. I used some as a salad topping last night and cooked the remainder today.

I made baked tilapia (we like tilapia, and we like it often since it is wayyyy less expensive than salmon) from a recipe from Taste of Home. I didn’t have lemon juice so I substituted balsamic vinegar. Do not do that. Yuck. It didn’t ruin it but *I* could taste it. Blech.

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I made a romaine, arugula and baby spinach salad with diced pears, diced jicama and avocado slices.

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I made a batch of Trader Joe’s gluten free cornbread as mini muffins. I’ll be serving more of the batch on another night and saving the rest in the freezer for lunches or breakfasts (a third of the batch suits the three of us for one meal – about four mini muffins each).

They have sugar in them, unfortunately, so Linnae loves them. I had to substitute unsweetened soy milk for the milk because of our dairy issues. And yes, yes, I know corn and all that isn’t Paleo but there’s only so into it we’re gonna get.

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I also made a terrific riced cauliflower dish with crushed garlic, a frozen basil cube, olive oil, salt, onion powder, dried onion, some dried chives and dried basil for good measure from a Primal Palate recipe. Obviously I am not good at following recipes to a tee ;).

Linnae didn’t like the crunchiness and pantomimed dying at the table but we adults enjoyed it. The home theatre not so much .

I’m eating the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow topped with an egg and red chile. I do not ordinarily care for cauliflower at all, so I’m enthused.

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All together it made a great meal. I think sliced tomatoes would have been tasty as well, but I am constitutionally opposed to unripe out-of-season tomatoes…

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What’s for dinner in YOUR house? Have any tips on these recipes?

Hash, Heavenly or not?

Well, since I have a headache today that is making all food sound disgusting, I wanted to make an easy supper. Dinner. Evening meal. Whatever you call it in your neck of the woods… This dish is all about using leftovers. I think of it as Midwestern cooking, as my grandmother who made this all the time was from Kansas. It is a wonderful comfort food on a cold day.

I used a quart of homemade beef broth; a pound of ground beef, browned; about five russet potatoes, bite size; a couple handfuls of thin green beans from the freezer, snapped into smaller pieces; frozen broccoli; a can of corn; some dried onion because I forgot to get fresh at the store; garlic powder; dried parsley; salt; pepper; thyme; Worcestershire sauce. Simmer till the potatoes are soft and starting to “cook down” where the broth is no longer clear. Most people do not want *mush* but that tastes good, too.

I only used the broccoli because it was there. I normally would add a chopped carrot but really only for form’s sake, none of us like cooked carrots.

My grandmother would make it with leftover potatoes and carrots from making a beef roast. If she had leftover roast she would use that and add a can of peas and corn or maybe green beans and boy, was it good. She used ground beef if there wasn’t leftover roast. She was the best roast-maker ever and was good at making hash, too. Most of our vegetables at her house were out of cans, preferably Del Monte or Libby. That was spoiling us, good quality canned vegetables ;).  Having tasted generic vegetables later in life, I appreciate it!

My other grandmother always had fresh vegetables, right from her garden, so the contrast was striking. Mom used both, veered more towards the healthy fresh and frozen side…

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What are YOU having for dinner? What do you cook when you have a headache?

‘Mexican’ Shrimp

Tonight’s low-carb yummy dinner was red Argentinean shrimp sauteed in my big cast iron skillet (in bacon grease) with zucchini, tri color peppers, a smidge of onion, a cube of Dorot frozen garlic, ditto of basil, a dash of oregano, cumin, salt. You could add spicier stuff, lemon or lime, but this is ‘mykidissopicky’ friendly 🙂

I smashed an avocado with a couple cut up campari tomatoes and added a dash of lemon juice (yes, my tongue hurts) and a liberal dash of homemade tex-mex chili spice blend. Served with unsalted corn tortilla chips of which I stalwartly only ate five.

I think I bought all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s, no surprise there.

My dinner was 333 calories! 18g of carbs! I’m trying to be more strictly Paleo, reading the Whole30 book, “It Starts With Food.” Low carb was good for me with gestational diabetes, Paleo has been great for us as a family with food sensitivities, Whole30 is still a bit out of reach. Getting closer.The dietary slips, trips and falls of the school year and normal life has derailed us. I am heavier than ever, we both have sleep issues, and the Dotterling isn’t feeling tip top with all those prepackaged gluten free “treats”… Not sure why they have to celebrate every darn birthday, holiday, etc at school with cupcakes and gross popcorn, but they do.

I put the brakes on our decline last week. Here’s to keeping it going longer this round.

What I’ve noticed taking out nearly all carbs all day (we use the free MyFitnessPal to track) is that it’s really hard to eat more than 400 calories in a sitting. Part of the cheat with the chips was that I am supposed to eat 1200 calories a day and it’s proving difficult. I’m eating fruit and veggies galore and making sure I get protein and fat, but without grains, legumes and sugars, it’s super difficult. I’ll get there. I’ve got to get used to this…