Saturday, February 27, 2010

"She bought some ber-ra-ccoli"

Is it Steroganoff, or some sort of Alfredo? More importantly, does it matter as long as they eat it? I "invented" this when DH was in Tech school after Basic and I was pregnant with DS#1. Funds were limited, and I couldn't be on my feet too much because of complications. It's another go to meal for when I'm in a hurry or just can't think of anything else everyone will enjoy. It also carries nicely for DH to reheat.

I made this Thursday, but I forgot it was in the camera (I need to stop doing that).

The kids were so tired of soup I thought they were going to mutiny if I pointed out the bowl of perfectly edible (and tasty) leftover soup in the fridge. So I thawed a pound of ground beef, cooked it with the usual (S&P, garlic, and onion powder) tossed in a bag of broccoli florets, a can of mushrooms and a jar of Alfredo sauce . I cooked some fancy giant twirly pasta (DD#2 loves to slurp them up and wiggle them around, it's probably not a good idea to let a 1yr old's style of food play dictate your pasta purchases, but hey, they're only 1 for a short time right? and she does eat it eventually) that I can never remember the name of let alone pronounce. Once drained I tossed it with some EVOO and some grated Parmesan Cheese (and yes you always need cheese).

It's not too pretty, but it gets the job done, and it's mighty tasty. The flavor lies somewhere between Steak and Alfredo that you get at a Italian place (cause of the ground beef, but on a much leaner budget) and strogunoff because of the mushrooms and the pan drippings/de-glazing that happens (since I use 93% lean beef there's not anything in the way of fat in the pan when the meat cooks just the you know little brown bits of goodness down there that the sauce brings up).

I've also done this with chunked chicken breast and even ground sausage or plain pork with varied results (depending on who's eating it with me!).

Domo Arigato MrRoboto

Tonight I made Yakisoba, for my friend Tany from over on the TB forums. I showed her a pic of this dish and promised a blog about how to make it.

This can be made with any kind of meat you like (chicken, pork, shrimp, etc) I like to make it out of Sukiyaki (it's a beef cut that you find over here a lot, they start with a Sirloin tip roast and slice it THIN) I use about 1.5lbs and cut it into strips, season with garlic and onion powder and about 3Tbs soy sauce.

Next chop your veggies, again you can use what ever kind you like (or what's in season) there are a couple must haves, cabbage and carrots, and onion have to be in it, but other than that feel free to just go with your gut or taste buds. I like to add zucchini or eggplant, broccoli is good, boc choi (Chinese cabbage), bell peppers, the sky's the limit. In ours tonight were a small head of regular cabbage, and some boc choi, 8 small zucchini, 2 large carrots, 1 large red bell pepper,and 1 large red onion.

You will also need some fresh Soba noodles (most stores are carrying a larger variety of these things now). The kind I use also come with a little flavor packet (kinda like Ramen noodles does). We use 2 bags that have 3 packets (noodles and seasoning) each. If you just can't find Soba noodles you can use THICK spaghetti noodles boiled and drained (and the seasoning packets from either pork or beef Ramen noodles, it won't be exactly the same, but it'll be close enough).

I cook all this in an electric Wok, cause DH's grandma gave it to me years ago. If you don't have a Wok I suggest doing this in a LARGE pan in several batches and putting the cooked items in a bowl to be combined at the end.

Cook the meat first (use a little oil so it doesn't stick, but you're not frying or even sauteing). Then add in the onion and carrots and then the other veggies from hardest to softest with the cabbage on top put the lid on let it simmer/steam for about 5ish minutes. Remove lid and toss. Sprinkle the seasoning packets (should be 6 total and if you're using spaghetti noodles I think 2 lbs of pasta) then layer the already cooked noodles (the soba is FRESH so it's ready to go, just needs heating) replace the lid let steam/heat another 5 min. Remove the lid and toss again. If you had to do this in several batches in a skillet, then just cook the meat and veggies and place them in a bowl, then sprinkle the seasonings on them and add the pasta and cover well (foil/lid) let stand (the heat coming off the meat and the veggies should heat the pasta) and then toss.

Follow this link for all the pics from making tonight's supper (I went pic crazy for Tany too! LOL)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

What do you feed kids that can't taste anything cause their noses are all stuffed up? Well, mostly anything they want, cause they're also running fevers and not that interested in food to begin with.

Luckily they're MY kids and this means they want, Fried eggs, Cottage cheese and Apricots for supper. There's only a couple of things wrong with this plan, I'm mildly lactose intolerant, and eggs make my mouth itch. But the kids are happy, and their bellies full. Hopefully the fevers will be gone, or at least less tomorrow.

There are steaming showers in their future tonight, and there are no clocks upstairs so no one will notice when I put them in bed a half hour early.

Monday, February 22, 2010

she called the doctor, woke him up


The Snot Fairy has come to visit my house again, and she brought fevers with her. How generous!
The baby had a runny nose over the weekend, which I attributed to a budding new tooth, and had a very low grade fever. Didn't even break my stride, got out the bulb suction, and baby fever reducer, marched on.

DD#1 woke up with a little bit of a sore throat, and a little sniffle, but it's been raining off and on since, oh, Christmas. Off she went to school. And upon her return she announced how bad she felt and came to give me a hug, where I discovered that she was ON FIRE! Drugged her up, slathered her down with Vapor Rub, handed her a steaming cup of Hot Apple Cider.

It's a good thing that earlier I asked DS#2 what he wanted for supper and he loudly proclaimed "Veggie's Soup, with chicken bits". He dragged over his stool to pick out the frozen bags from the freezer, here's what made last night's cut. 1 lb Lima beans, 1 lb Peas and carrots mix (the kind where the carrots are lil cubes), 1 lb corn, 2 cans Garlic and Onion stewed tomatoes, 20 oz diced chicken breast, half a gallon of water and 3 packets of Saz`on Goya (Coriander & annatto) (found I'm assuming in the Hispanic section, I'm assuming because I get mine from my neighbor, who gets hers from her dad in NY via the mail, and he's from Panama originally) and 1 lb of Lentils. I think this soup would have been better over rice instead of adding the lentils to the pot, live and learn tho. Just bring everything to a boil and let it simmer for an hr or so, turn it down as low as you can and let it hang out till supper. Alternately you could do this in a Crock Pot and start it out on high and then turn it to low, but I didn't think of that till just now.

DD#1 was thrilled to hear the news about soup for supper, said I was a genius and sang my praises all through the meal. Till I sent her to bed a full hour early. Cause what was I thinking right? Sick kid in bed early resting?

Now, back to that Snot Fariy, she was here again last night cause both boys woke up with fevers and snot. So I passed out more drugs, which I'm grateful for, don't get me wrong. I'm glad I live in an age where I don't have to worry about my children dieing from common colds. But there is something to be said about how GOOD the meds make them feel. Ever try telling a house full of children (that still have snot running down their faces) that just because their fever is gone because of the medicine, that they're not really better all the way, and then have to console them in a few hrs when said medicine wears off and they're wiped out again? I'm not sure if the solution is half doses or a dose (to stave off the worst of the fever) or a dose and a lil extra (to encourage a nap)?

I hope don't catch this new bug, because I'm still not 100% from the last batch of goodies the Snot Fairy left for us. And if the baby is still running a fever tomorrow I'm going to see if I can get a Dr apt for her cause 4 days of (even a low grade) fever and snot is enough.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tiny Bubbles

Steak, Peppers, and Tiny Potatoes.

While at the Commissary DS#2 was helping to pick out the frozen veggies and was interested in the tiny red potatoes (you can NEVER find them fresh here on island). We used 2 1lb bags, halved ,and sprinkled them with Kosher salt, Garlic and Onion powder and cooked them on the griddle that had a light coating (about a tsp or so) or bacon drippings (from this morning's brunch). Just lay the potatoes cut side down on med heat and let them hang out till they are a nice golden color.

DH was nice enough to cut the Rib Eye's up for me. I used 2 steaks (1.25 lbs worth) cut into bite sized chunks and trimmed of large pieces of fat. You could use another cut of beef if you like but we like the tenderness of a rib eye and the flavor that the slight marbling gives. I salt and peppered the meat and just tossed it in the pan with half a thinly sliced onion and a bag of frozen pepper slices, and 1 can of drained mushrooms.

Just cause I was craving them (and cause they're my favorite veggie) I steamed some green peas in the microwave.

I over did and couldn't breath by the time it was done, so I guess we'll be back to a dishes that require a little less back and forth, chopping and stirring for the remainder of this wretched cold. DH liked supper, and various children liked and didn't like (that's the part they made sure to talk about the loudest and most often tonight) various parts of the meal.

Oh and on Friday we had Mac and Cheese (the kind with spiral noodles) with cherry tomatoes (DD#1 halved them) and a can of green chilies added in (there might have been some seasonings added to this as well but I forget) and Hot Dogs. You don't need a pic of that. The kids love when we add things to Mac and Cheese, and DS#2 loves Hot Dogs so every one was happy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Magic Cabbages Live and Grow

Tonight we had Cabbage soup, with beef gravy?

I'm not sure how else to describe this meal and there are no pics, mostly because I forgot the camera on the desk before we ate it. There are however plenty of left overs and so I shall take a pic of it later, when it's not in large plastic containers.

I think this meal proves that I have the strangest group of people eating in one house ever.

I started with a rather large head of cabbage, DH grew up eating boiled cabbage sometimes at his grandma's house (I think) it's usually done with some sort of pork product in it, but as I've mentioned odd Southern pork products are hard to come by here in Okinawa Japan. Chop up the cabbage and add it to a LARGE pot. Then thinly slice about 6 short carrots and add them to the pot, and a gallon of water, and 3 packets of Ham flavor by Goya. Let it boil till Cabbage and carrots are tender (cabbage more so than carrots). Scrub 4 potatoes and then chop and cook in the microwave (much like you were going to make mashed potatoes) when fork tender, drain and add to pot. Check for Salt and add a heafty amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Dice and trim a 2.75 lb Chuck Beef Roast into (kid) bite size pieces, season with about 2 Tbs Mc Cormick Gourmet Burger seasoning mix and Garlic, small dice one half a small onion. Brown in a large cast iron skillet with a coating of olive oil. De-glaze the pan with water and then make a corn starch slurry to thicken, bring to a boil. Check for Salt.

We ate ours with the meat gravy over the soup, but you could drain the cabbage, carrot, potato meadly and then put the meat gravy over, or put the meat on the side or serve the 2 dishes separately all together. The kids are pretty big fans of soup, and will slurp even cabbage broth. The baby thought the carrot discs were fun to scoot around her tray and bite into. I'm not sure how DH will feel about the combo but luckily he eats his meals the day after and at work!

With DH"S work schedule this week I only had time to get half the grocery shopping done today, so I"ll have to go back tomorrow and finish up. At least I don't have to go down half the aisle's tomorrow, but I still have to go :( if there were only a person I could train to do this one task for me. It's not the act of getting the food itself that bothers me, it's the supermarketness of it. Why are there no longer butchers, and bakers, and so forth? I'd MUCH prefer that, even if it took me longer, at least I'd feel less like cattle being herded through a maze. And I'd know the people from whom I'm purchasing such things from, and I'd be able to make better choices, and judgments about the food I'm bringing home instead of basing my decisions on my pocketboook alone. I think the real solution is for when I grow up to have enough land to grow some of my own produce and raise my own cow?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

dusty books of pictures on the floor

While uploading my pic for my last post I found pics for the last few meals leading up to the my cold (back when I was still cooking but lacking the energy to blog about it).

I shall do my best to recall how I prepared these meals from Feb 5, 6 and 7.

First up was some chicken and shell pasta stuff: dice some chicken breasts, season with S&P , garlic and onion, saute with a little olive oil, then add some rough chopped tomatoes and half a bag of frozen spinach and a can of olives, and about 2 Tbs basil, and about 1lb cooked shell pasta. It was quick and easy and made the perfect meal to eat while watching "Nanny McPhee". The kids liked it enough to want the left overs the next day for lunch.

Next up herb poached Talapia, glazed carrots, steamed peas, and mashed potatoes. I know it sounds like a lot but it goes fast. If you have everything ready that is, and can multi task. I like to make my mashed potatoes with the aid of my trusty microwave. First Scrub them clean, then chop them and put them in a large bowl with an inch or two of water and cover with a plate, use the baked potato setting on your microwave for the appropriate number of potatoes, add 1/2 to 1 stick of butter, milk to thin (you just have to eye ball this) Salt and garlic powder to taste and a nice dollop of sour cream at the end. I also use my stick (immersion) blender to do the mashing/creaming in the same bowl they were cooked in. While the potatoes were cooking in a small pot combine your carrots and a lil butter (maybe a Tbs?) a heavy dash of ground ginger, and several heafty sprinkles of dark brown sugar, and and inch or so of water for steaming. Put a lid on this and let the carrots cook till tender. I also steam the peas in the microwave when the potatoes come out, just put them in a microwave steamer or a bowl with a lil water in the bottom for a few min if thawed or up to 5 if frozen. Now for the most complicated part of the meal. In a large pan on Med-low heat fill about 1/2 way with veg oil and add what ever herbs you like (I added Marjoram, thyme, oregano, garlic and pepper) to flavor the oil. When the oil is hot you can poach the fish (just like when you poach an egg in water. This is rather delicate work and you will have to babysit the fish (which is why most everything else tonight was done in the microwave). When the fish is flaky pull out of oil and place on a towel to drain.

Last on the list of forgotten in the camera dishes is Chicken strips, saute`d mushrooms with rice and some failed fried tomatoes and spinach. I'll start with the failure and work my way up to well there really was no up for me in this meal. By this night my cough was pretty bad, supplies low, and I was pretty light headed and out of breath. DH and the kids will want to interject here with how much they like the food that came out at the end of this, but when you're wanting one thing and end up with, well MUSH it's not good. Start by slicing tomatoes that have just turned red (because you missed your window for fried green tomatoes by hours) and coat them in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, garlic, onion, a dash of cyan) then attempt to fry them, watch them dissolve in the pan, and try to scoop them out. Repeat, because the kids think this will "taste just fine mom, it smells wonderful". Dredge chicken breast strips in same flour and fry in oil. They turn out just fine. Heat up some frozen spinach with that Ham flavor (that stuff never fails, thank goodness for small favors). Saute mushrooms in a tsp of bacon drippings from the fridge (cause you're out of butter), turns out that this actually tastes better! Steam rice in rice cooker (this was actually step one, but it does it's thing on it's own). At the last second remember that Spinach and Tomatoes taste good together and hope that when you add them together (even with the seasoned flour mush stuck onto the dissolved tomato bits) it will be edible. Put mushrooms on top of rice, slop the veg onto plat (it actually makes that kind of sound, *shudder*) and add on the chicken. Now if you don't look at it, it's not bad, with your eyes closed.

OK that's it, I feel caught up, so with that and the random finger food and take out, that's how you get through a cold at my house. Now it's off to the store for me. I hate the store, a lot. Which prolly means take out or some sort of something easy for supper tonight since I will hate my kitchen and all of it's contents in about 5 hrs.

It takes Two Baby, Me and You

I cooked last night! There was much rejoicing and exclaiming of mom returning!

What actually happened was I went to the Dr and he gave me an inhaler so that when I am up and moving around or have coughing fit I can use it and my lungs will open up and I can catch my breath! Who knew how much a little air could help!!!

So after my Dr apt I stopped by the grocery SUPER fast because DH had to get to work, I picked up 1lb Angel Hair pasta, 1lb 93% lean grd beef, 1pkg kielbasa sausage,and some Parmesan cheese to add to the tomatoes and basil I had at home.

Combine the grd beef with about 3/4 cup each Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoned bread crumbs and form into ping-pong ball sized meat balls, then brown in a skillet. Rough chop the kielbasa and add to pan till brown. I had about 8 orange cherry tomatoes that I halved and about 4 regular tomatoes that I rough chopped and tossed in as well, 2 cans each (drained) black olives and mushrooms, 2 Tbs dried basil (no fresh to be had) some salt and pepper to taste, and some garlic and onion powder.

I don't know what possessed me to add meat balls to the "dirty spaghetti" I think it's because I've not cooked or eaten much with this blasted cold, and really dirty spaghetti is easy and throw together. It was over kill, I knew it when I was cooking it, but overkill in the most lovely way, where every bite is indulgent. I could not eat what was on my plate, but the kids attacked theirs with fervor, and then eyed the left overs. I had to hide the plate in the fridge that I set aside for DH's lunch today.

As soon as I was done cooking I sat on the couch and took a hit off my magic inhaler. Today that baby and I are going to the commissary for some real grocery shopping, cause Mother-Hubbard's Cupboards are indeed bare.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tell me how I'm supposed to breathe with no air

The last thing in the freezer is: Salmon fillets

In the fridge there is an assortment of fresh produce picked up while out in town randomly out to lunch with my quilting group. I will use: the green beans and mushrooms.

From the pantry I will use: Calrose Rice, steamed in a rice cooker (really it's the best under $20 gadget you will get for the kitchen, or more $ if you need a larger one), the remains of the Honey (just a few table spoons) and equal amounts of Soy sauce.

Spices for the day: Garlic and Onion powder , Kosher salt, Fresh ground black pepper, cyan pepper, and 1 1/2 tbs butter.

Steam the fresh green beans until tender, then drain and saute with butter, and mushrooms and a dash of soy.

Season the fish with garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and grill either outside or in a grill pan. In a small bowl combine the honey and equal parts soy sauce and cyan pepper and then pour over the grilled fish.

Layer all of the fish and green beans with mushrooms over rice. Sit down and catch your breath, because you should not have been up and moving around the kitchen for that long while trying not to cough on the food. Finally, enjoy, until, that is, your DH tells you the meal is flavor less. Then continue to fuss at the kids (who 5 min ago were telling you how starved they were) to finish their food, then once you have figured they are done eating, scrape the sticky rice off of the baby's sleeves and shirt front.

Now you are ready to take every one out to a family amusement part right? Sorry no pic.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gotta have a Montage

Been sick again/still so I've not had the energy to do much cooking or grocery shopping. Meals have been rather low key around here or just plain take out (which I'm not proud of).

In the past few nights we've had Tuna salad wrapped in lettuce leaves, halved cherry tomatoes with S&P, and Ritz Flips Cheddar and Pretzel Crackers. Grilled Cheese and canned fruit cocktail. Pizza. Cleaned out the various left overs from the fridge. Burger King.

Not the highest point in my cooking career, but when you're coughing so hard you loose your breath, or when unloading the dishwasher/walking up the flight of stairs in your home makes you winded you do what you can to keep bellies full. And then hope no one has a melt down on your watch.

There's some Salmon Fillets in the fridge thawing and some fresh green beans and mushrooms I picked up at a farmers market I happened across while on an errand this week that I'd like to saute` and have with some rice. We shall see how I feel later tho. DH is home, maybe he'll give me a hand in the kitchen, if I promise we don't have to eat take out?

I go back to the Dr tomorrow, I am hoping that they can do something other than dope me up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"another brick in the wall"

SO, Report card day, or Progress Report day. Or the day where they sugar coat your child's inadequacies while at the same time telling you your children haven't been in school long enough to have been evaluated.

Pick ONE people. Either my children have been in school long enough for you to have evaluated them or not, you cannot have it both ways. Also, when I took my kids to school (because they wanted to go, we've been home schooling for the past 2.5 yrs) and I tell you up front what my kids will do when they are bored, and then they do it, how is this my/my child's fault? Yes, I've told my kids that they should not talk when in class and they should be working, and they know they're supposed to keep their hands off of people (horse play not bullying). And if you (who went to college, as your chosen profession, to be a teacher) doesn't know how to get my child to relax during a test (because we both know she is smart and does the work well, as long as it's not a test) how am I supposed to get her to test better? Ok rant over.

That was just to put you in the mind set for how I approached supper tonight, stressed out.

Combine 1lb ground beef with 1/3 block shredded Clolby/Jack 2 Tbs Gourmet Burger Seasoning and a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce, form into tiny patties and cook in skillet (think tiny burger with cheese mixed in, instead of on top)

Steamed rice with Nori Fumi Furikake Rice Seasoning sprinkled on top (found in the Ethnic Aisle with the Asian food it's in a little glass jar with chop sticks holding rice with some green flecks and sesame sprinkle stuff on top of the rice picture on the front of the jar). The children (and adults too) like this, as it is reminiscent of the flavors that you get in a sushi shop with the nori (seaweed) wrapping, and the slightly sweet, and vinegar flavor in their rice.

Steamed green peas, and sliced cucumbers that were salt and peppered. Again, I took a pic but will come back and edit it in when I get them off the camera, tomorrow perhaps.

It was all pretty kid friendly and just shy of being finger food (unless your 2 weeks shy of being 1, and then everything is finger food). ONLY 2 weeks and my baby will be 1!!! :( I am so not ready for that. Dang kids and their not listening when I tell them to stop growing.

"Cause we were never being boring"

Roasting this particular chicken was a bit tricky. I shall break it down into days for you; feel free to edit with a liberal hand.

Saturday (Day 1): Lay out chicken for thawing. Go garden all day. Be thorough enough to make yourself both dirty and sore from head to toe. Place chicken in fridge on plate. Tell DH he's taking you out to supper.

Sunday (Day 2): Do some indoor gardening in the morning while it's raining, and then make lunch. Then, Since it's cleared up outside, load everyone up in the car to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival, only to be rained out. Eat random baked goods at Japanese mall. Drive home in a storm, in the dark, in heavy traffic. Fight off the start of a migraine. Thankfully that's as far as it gets.

Monday (Day 3):Plan to start supper early so that you don't have to rush about later, and so that your husband can take it with him to work instead of eating it as leftovers the next day. But, on your way to the kitchen notice a bookshelf in dire need of tidying and spend an hour or so doing that. Afterward, in a small dish (bowl, mug) combine some 2 tsp garlic, onion powder, ground marjoram, 2 tbs Kosher salt, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, 2 tsp poultry seasoning. Loosen the skin from the chicken and place the seasoning mixture under the skin on the meat (this is the best way to flavor the meat) stuff 1/2 a red grapefruit into the chicken (this keeps it moist and add a mildly citrus flavor). Chop 5-6 med new potatoes and place them around the chicken in the roasting pan. Add about 1-1 1/2 inches of water. In another pan, chop 6-7 carrots (orange) and 6-7 carrots (yellow) 1 lb bag frozen green beans, 2 bunches of radishes (I didn't have any red onion and used these a substitute). Lightly coat with olive oil and salt and pepper . Roast at 300 for 2 hours and the broil for 15 min till chicken is crisp.

The chicken was a hit, as were the potatoes and all the roasted veg; except for the radishes that is, they have almost no flavor when roasted, they were disappointing.

Now no freaking out about roasting a chicken, you can have a beautifully roasted chicken in about 45 min if you butterfly the chicken (see my post "the best laid plans") I just occasionally like to roast them whole. You know, mix it up a little.

I just realized, this is my 24 post, and this is the first time I've posted a dish (roasted chicken) twice! Are there any other mom's out there that are cooking such varied menus? I never realized before that there was so much time between repeats in our menu. I know we eat a lot of the same things, tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, rice, pasta, etc. but actual dishes? I know I get bored eating the same thing too often.

Add to that I'm a post behind and it's Tuesday already, and so I've already got to post for today!
I did take a pic but I'll have to come back and edit this post to add it in.