Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I have been putting together menus for months now but just never posted them. I'd like to record what I am making so I can rotate my meals better and also share ideas with others. Visit the link below for more menu ideas:

: Spaghetti, Corn and Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Curry Chicken over Basmati Rice with Peas

Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans (recipe to come)

Thursday: Dinner Party with Wildtree Food

Friday: Salmon Cakes (recipe to come) with Jasmati Rice and Broccoli

Sat/Sun: Leftovers

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hot Bacon Dressing

I haven't had bacon in ages, and lately got a taste for it. I had bought a bunch of fresh spinach and needed to find a way to prepare it so I decided to make a nice salad and add bacon with hot bacon dressing. YUM! This recipe is real easy.

I'm just going to write you the info below in a loose format.

First you cook your bacon and save the grease.
With the bacon grease still hot, add some sugar, salt and white vinegar to taste.
Crumble the bacon over the spinach.
Pour on the dressing and ENJOY!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hoppin' John

There was a time after J was born that I was not doing well at all. We were living at our pastor's house and they were helping me recuperate. Tina and Andy love down home Southern cooking and are from there so we enjoyed a lot of great meals she made. One of the meals we liked was called Hoppin' John. I had never heard of it before, but even though it had an odd name it was really good. It's just a basic dish with black-eyed peas and rice with a few other ingredients thrown in. One morning this past week, I woke up having dreams about Hoppin John so I got my friend's recipe. This is something you can keep the ingredients in your pantry and have when you want something quick but nutritious, and tasty.

2 cups rice
2 cans Black Eyed Peas (look for "seasoned with bacon" on the can)
1 green pepper
1 T minced garlic
Few splashes olive oil or grease from bacon
1/4 cup vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Several stalks of celery
Shredded cheddar or your preferred cheese
Few slices of Bacon (optional)

  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat (you can use your bacon grease instead of the olive oil if you are using bacon in your recipe).
  • Add green pepper, celery and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  • Drain and stir in black-eyed peas, broth, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Season with anything you prefer like garlic salt and a splash of hot sauce
  • Cook rice. Spoon pea mixture over rice and sprinkle with cheese.

My friend enjoys serving this with some corn bread on the side.

Picture credit to Vegan Planet.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just My Mac-n-Cheese

So Brandie responded to my "fancy mac-n-cheese" recipe wanting to know the recipe for my "basic" mac-n-cheese that I usually make all the time for my family. It's funny because I don't really have any measurements (until today). So I mentioned earlier that my husband just loves mac-n-cheese. I used to just make it using Velveeta and shredded cheddar but then my sister told me she always used flour and water in addition to her cheese. So I've played around with this dish many times and here's the best I can do at estimating how I make it. This is still my favorite way to make it, by the way.

1 box macaroni
1/4 to 1/2 jar cheese whiz (it's up to you)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
A few tablespoons of flour or more
1/2 cup water (to start)

  • Prepare macaroni according to package directions.
  • In medium skillet, add cheese whiz and shredded cheddar. Over medium heat, stir until cheese is melted. Be very careful not to let it burn! (I learned from experience when I had it too high and got distracted doing something else, and it burned.)
  • Add a few tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup water. Stir until well-blended. (Note: Sometimes I have to stir it a while slowly until this all really blends together and the water "becomes" part of the cheese and isn't separated.) Add another tablespoon of flour and 1/4 cup water. You can repeat this procedure a third time until you get the consistency you want. If it seems too thick, you can also just add 1 or 2 T of water.
  • Add the melted cheese mixture to the macaroni and stir until mixed well.
  • You can eat as is or pop into the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees for a crispier dish. Sometimes I add a pound of hamburger too if I am using this as my main dish.

(Picture credit goes to free Microsoft Clip Art)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fancy Mac-N-Cheese

My husband absolutely loves mac-n-cheese, and my son and I like it too. This time, I wanted to do something a little different and I found this one at The Pioneer Woman. I made a bunch of modifications including a lot less bacon and I used Sargento's 6-cheese mix instead of the specialty cheeses she used (Gruyere, Fontina, Chevre). I'm not sure this turned out "better" than our traditional mac-n-cheese where I use flour, shredded cheddar and cheese whiz, but it was a nice change of pace.

4 cups macaroni
4 T butter
4 slices bacon
leftover bacon grease
1/4 cups flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 egg yolks, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups Sargento 6 cheese Italian blend

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook macaroni for half of the time specified on the box directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Fry bacon until slightly crispy. Place on paper towel. Once cooled, cut up into small pieces with kitchen scissors. Save grease.
  • Melt 4 T butter in a pot. Add bacon grease and flour. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in milk, half-and-half and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low.
  • Separate egg yolks and beat with fork. Drizzle 1/4 cup of hot milk mixture into yolks stirring constantly. Pour egg mixture into sauce and cook for another minute.
  • Add cheese and stir until melted. Add bacon and stir.
  • Taste for seasoning - add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add cooked macaroni and stir until coated.
  • Pour into baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until sizzling and hot.