“I make it a rule always to believe compliments implicitly for five minutes, and to simmer gently for twenty more.” ~ Alice James

The cold is back.

Luckily, we will not be having the horrible weather expected in the Northeast but nonetheless, you have no idea how ready I am for spring to get here.

But since that is still quite a ways off, I might as well enjoy one of the things that comes with cold weather.

A nice warm stew. One that cooks all day and makes the house smell wonderful!

Today, I have nothing on the calendar so I will luckily stay in my comfy knit pants and sweatshirt, go outside only to get the mail,  do some laundry and start this stew.

My kind of day.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

  • 1 lb stew meat or beef tips
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cans (15 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can greens beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen Lima beans
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ frozen diced potatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Season beef with salt and pepper, brown on all sides in large pot. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent.

Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, beans, bouillon, broth and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 1-2 hours. After it has simmered for at least an hour, add in potatoes and cook for another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Best served with cornbread!

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-abp

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“As long as there’s a few farmers out there, we’ll keep fighting for them.” ~ Willie Nelson

One of the things I love about the spring and summer is the River Market Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning!

It’s a fabulous way to start your Saturday morning! There is just something about it that makes me happy. 🙂

Growing up on a farm with a huge garden will pretty much spoil you to any other kind of vegetables. Unfortunately, for years I had to do without such fresh homegrown vegetables but with the new interest in fresh homegrown food – I am now able to get a little bit of my childhood back.

I love to just look around a grab a few things for the rest of the week but today I had several things on my list that I had to have for tonight’s dinner and they did not disappoint.

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Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables

  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Cook pasta according to directions and preheat oven to 400º.

Sauté squash, zucchini and onion in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic for 3-5 more minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (minus the cooking spray).

Then add cheese mixture to vegetable mixture and pour into an 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown.

 

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“I was a sloppy kid, wanted to be just wild.” ~Etta James

Since I only made one appetizer for the Super Bowl, I had to make a meal to go with it.

I wanted to stick with the “Super Bowl” themed food but I didn’t feel like making wings and it’s just to cold out to grill burgers so I decided to make homemade Sloppy Joes.

These are so much better than the canned kind!  It’s so good, I could eat it by itself with a spoon.  I’m trying to come up with another way to use it besides in between two buns.

It’s super easy to make and can also be doubled for a crowd. I once did that and took to a tailgate party.

(I actually halved this because there was only 3 of us)

Homemade Sloppy Joes

(adapted from Chef In Training)

  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 hamburger buns

Brown meat and onions, drain.

Add tomato sauce and stir until meat is coated. Mix in remaining ingredients (minus buns).

Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes or until thickened.

Serve on toasted, buttered buns with a couple pickles.

Homemade Sloppy Joes |Poore Amy-abp

“Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.” ~ Andy Goldsworthy

Bracing for the cold again.  You know I really wouldn’t mind the cold if we could get a little snow with it every now and then.

The weird thing is – the beach might be getting snow!!!

How crazy is that?  I’m used to the northern part of the state getting snow when we do not but the southern side?

Oh well. 51 days until spring.

One of my favorite things about spring is being able to eat outside at my favorite restaurants. One of those being a local Mexican restaurant – chips, salsa, cheese dip, margaritas, and fajitas all out on a covered patio.

Unfortunately, I do not have the sunny and 75 but I do have the fajitas.

Simple ones at that.

Simple Chicken Fajitas

  • 1 lb chicken breast cutlets, cut into strips
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt (I used Lawry’s)
  • 1 can Rotel (mild)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ green red pepper, cut into strips

Mix together spices. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with spices, making sure to coat evenly.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken on all sides.

Add in onion and peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

Pour in rotel and cook on medium/high heat until liquid is cook down and onion and peppers are soft. (about 15-20 minutes)

Serve with warm tortillas and any of your favorite fajita toppings.

photo-24This fajitas were crazy good and crazy easy!

-abp

“Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January.” ~ Hal Borland

I’m over January. It’s my least favorite month of the year.

I’m sure most would agree with me on that.

It’s cold, there is the big let down after Christmas, college football is over, etc. There’s just not a whole lot to get excited about…..

On the other hand, I’m glad the down time has gotten me back in the kitchen!

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 4 (6- to 8-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops (1 to 1 1/4 inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, thinly sliced (root end intact)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 8 small fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 450°.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Cook in hot oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet.

Add apples and onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, 8-9 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet.

Add broth to skillet, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Whisk together cream and mustard; add to skillet, and cook, stirring constantly, 3-4 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove skillet from heat, and stir in bourbon. Add pork, turning to coat, and top with apples, onions, and thyme.
Bake at 450° for 15-17 minutes. Let stand in skillet 5 minutes before serving.

photophonto-abp

“You knew when you married me I’m more Coco Chanel than coq au vin” ~ Carrie Bradshaw

My stupid, stupid cold is back. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I have no idea why this year has been so bad.  The DH is threatening to take me to the doctor to see if they will take my tonsils out…….I believe this is mainly because he’s a big ol’ chicken about catching it from me. Although – if it will help me feel better on a regular basis – I’m all for it! I’ll just think about all the gelato I would have to eat while I recuperated.

I’d like to make my own gelato – does anyone have one of those electric counter-top ice cream/yogurt/gelato makers? I think I want one…….

Oh well, hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow. On to brighter topics…….

DINNER!

On the menu tonight is the less fussy Coq au vin. Everybody loves a good Coq au Vin but is not always up for the work it can sometimes require.  So I say this is Coq au Vin’s country cousin.

Country Style Coq Au Vin

  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, diced
  • 1.5 – 2 lb. chicken breast, cut up
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound small white mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen small white onions, thawed
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

First you brown your bacon and remove to slow cooker with slotted spoon.

Next reserve a tablespoon of bacon grease and brown your chicked (seasoned with salt and pepper) on all sides. Then remove to slow cooker.

Add mushrooms and onions on top of chicken.

De-glaze your pan with the white wine and add the garlic and rosemary for 1-2 minutes to release flavor.

Pour over vegetables, chicken and bacon.

Stir all together and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.

After the allotted cooking time, remove vegetables, chicken and bacon to bowl and keep warm.

Pour pan juice into small sauce pan and mix cornstarch and water in a bowl.

Slowly pour cornstarch mixture into sauce pan with juice and bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened.

Pour thickened sauce into bowl and mix.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

This is a wonderful dinner for a cool fall night! There were no leftovers!

Granted, this is not the prettiest dish you have ever seen but do not let that discourage you! It’s very good!

You could also serve this in a bowl over rice a la gumbo style. I think that’s what I will do next time.

Happy Fall Y’all!!!

abp