Wow! Life has really gotten away from me! It has been a busy couple of weeks. Jeremy’s Granny passed away just two weeks ago. The girls and I went with him to Hamilton, Texas for a few days to be with family and help with the funeral. When we returned there were preparations for my grandmother to come visit and then Thanksgiving at our house! Needless to say, I didn’t find a lot of time to sit and blog. However, I did manage to cook a lot of food and even get some reading and crafting done! I’m looking forward to sharing.
For now, here’s a recipe I tried while we were in Hamilton. we stayed at a little ‘vacation’ house rental so I brought all my groceries for that week and cooked while there. The first night I made this Classic Meatloaf. Very easy and it was pretty good. I think it’s hard to mess up meatloaf. I actually made a killer batch of mashed potatoes to go with it but no recipe since I just winged it! I give this recipe 4 stars, however I think there are a lot of good meatloaf recipes out there. This one is on the healthier side though!
If you want to make beef stew this is the way to do it! It is sooooo easy! Just throw it all in the crock pot and then near the end add the thickening agent and you are done! For real, it was so easy! Anyway, I made this last Thursday night and it turned out great! The only change I made was that I couldn’t find a rutabaga at the store so I just added some extra potatoes and carrots. Jeremy added more salt after it finished cooking too.
5 out of 5 stars!
Last week I made Cooking Light’s recipe for Beer-Braised Brisket. I give this recipe 3 out of 5 stars. It was fine, not super exciting. I had hoped that after cooking for 5 hours that it would be a little more tender. It was falling apart but it was kind of stringy. It tasted good, homey but mostly just like your typical run of the mill pot roast with gravy. I guess I just had high expectations for this. It was pretty simple to make if you don’t mind your oven being on most of the day. And it is a one-pot meal which is always nice. Good but not as good as I had hoped it would be.
Monday night I made Cooking Light’s Pan-Grilled Flank Steak with Soy-Mustard Sauce. I was pleasantly surprised with how good this turned out. We don’t eat a lot of beef but I decided to throw some into our menu this week. I’m always hesitant to cook steak on a pan like this and I was pretty concerned as I was cooking it. I think mine cooked a little more than I would have liked but probably safest since I’m pregnant right now and try to cook my meat a little more than I normally would and Jeremy didn’t complain. Mine turned out a little salty but I didn’t measure the salt so I’m pretty sure that was my own fault! I really loved the sauce that went with this! It is so simple but it was super yummy. The only change I made was that I used half and half instead of heavy cream because that’s what I had. We had ours with asparagus and roasted potato wedges. Jeremy really liked this – 4 out of 5 stars.
On Saturday I wanted to make us something kind of fun for lunch so I made Cooking Light’s Philly Cheesteak. We love Philly cheesteak’s and this was a great lighter version! We both really enjoyed them and they made great leftovers too (that we ate as fajitas!) I didn’t make a lot of changes to this recipe. I used mozzarella instead of provolone and we use wheat sub rolls instead of hoagies (not that I have anything against hoagies – but they didn’t have any at HEB and I was trying to be a little more healthy). What a great way to make a cheese sauce – flour and milk and then adding the cheese! We will definitely be making this again. 5 out of 5 stars!
On Sunday night I made this month’s Cooking Light’s All-American Meat Loaf. I’ve never really been a meat loaf fan. In fact, I don’t remember ever eating it as a kid. However, in the last couple of years I’ve tried some meat loaf that I liked and Jeremy loves it so when I saw this recipe I thought I would give it a shot. It was super easy and pretty inexpensive. Jeremy and I both really liked it. I think the only thing I did differently was use shredded cheese since I already had it on hand. Jeremy did think there were too many onions, but I didn’t really notice. This recipe is a keeper. 4 out of 5 stars!
Ok, I can definitely make friends with my slow cooker for this Chipotle Beef Taco recipe! This was super easy and I really liked it. I used all 3 tablespoons of chipotle peppers (maybe a little more because I was eyeing it) and it made my lips burn a little bit…so you might want to go easy on the peppers if you don’t like spicy food – luckily I do! I could have done without the slaw. I think I should have cut my cabbage more thinly and used more cilantro but I think it would have been good with just some cilantro and sour cream and maybe some pickled onions…
Jeremy thought this recipe would be good with pork or chicken too. I can see chicken but am not sure about the pork, but in my mind, beef was the right choice for this recipe.
I was going to give this one 4 stars but then I started dipping crusty bread into the sauce while I was cleaning up the kitchen and decided to give it 5 stars – very yummy!
I was sick over the weekend, but Jeremy and I are attempting to eat out less, so when he got home from church we made this Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash and Scallion Couscous together. Neither of us love couscous but it seemed to go with this dish. I thought the meat was a little tough, but Jeremy thought it was fine. I used stew meat that had already been cut up instead of buying a roast and it seemed to work fine – less expensive and less work. We both like butternut squash although someone cut the pieces a little large I thought the spices gave the beef a nice flavor. We also used a vegetable stock instead of chicken. It was fast and cozy, I think I would try it again.
Amazing but true – it’s only been a week and I have managed to make another one of my Gourmet Today menus!
So about a month ago I remembered my Gourmet Today cookbook and decided I wanted to start trying out some of the seasonal menus listed in the back. Tonight I made my third one. Here are the other two:
Winter Menu #1
Winter Menu #2
So, far Menu #1 was my favorite and menu #2 was my least favorite, making #3 come in right in the middle.
What was Winter Menu #3?
Blade Steaks with Mushrooms, featured in Gourmet Magazine, October 2003
I really liked these. I had never had blade steaks before – essentially they are like a flank steak but the cut is different. They were very tender and very inexpensive. They are inexpensive because they have a thin line of cartilage that runs down the center, but this really didn’t bother us. I had to ask for them at the meat counter and they were a little surprised but they cut them for me it all worked out. This recipe only took 25 minutes. The steaks cook in about 4 and I loved the mushrooms, shallots, and sauce. However, despite not using sauce, using low-sodium stock, and low-sodium soy sauce, it was still a little salty. I poured the sauce on my potatoes and beans as well! This recipe definitely felt like winter to me (ironically, living in Texas in January, the high today was 75!)
Salt-Baked Potatoes, featured in Gourmet Magazine, October 2004
These really turned out great. May be the new way I bake potatoes! They were all crunchy on the outside and all soft and perfect on the inside. I put a little sour cream and the sauce from the steaks on it and it was delightful!
Boiled Green Beans
No recipe necessary for this. Just boiled up some green beans but it was nice to have a green veggie in there with this meal.
I’d say this menu was a success and I think I will make it again next winter!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I decided I need to use my Gourmet Today cookbook more. However, the cookbook is a bit overwhelming – so many recipes! But in the back of the book there are menus categorized by seasons, holidays, and special occasions! So tonight I made Winter Menu #1… Wiener Schnitzel, Steamed small boiling potatoes and Cucumber, Mustard, and Dill Salad.
I couldn’t find the Wiener Schnitzel recipe online. I cut the recipe in half, used a little less butter and I didn’t use veal (I don’t eat veal). I used a really thin cut of top round beef – the same stuff that you use for milanesa (which Wiener Schnitzel is a lot like Mexican milanesa). This recipe also had a lemon, butter, caper sauce that went over the meat and that was super good! For the potatoes I just steamed them and tossed them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Not a super exciting side, but it worked since the other two items were so flavorful. Finally the salad – I really liked this salad. Jeremy doesn’t eat cucumbers but he tried the dressing and said it was very flavorful. Overall the menu was a huge success! Yumm! I can’t wait to try the next menu!