Monday Rambles ~ 8 October 2012

Big sigh of relief…Autumn weather is finally making an appearance here in Reno. I’m glad the summer heat is waning.

I even greeted the cooler weather with making a pan of lasagna yesterday! I’ve been wanting to try a sauce recipe that I saw on Jennifer’s blog THE MUDDY KITCHEN…Make Sauce like a Sicilian. Holy Moly…was that a simple yet tasty sauce! I followed the directions to the t…except I added pine nuts to the garlic and olive oil stage.

Sicilian Sauce

I had enough for two pans of lasagna (froze one for another dinner)…that yummy sauce with Italian turkey sausage, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, crookneck squash, fresh spinach, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and shaved parmesan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A while ago I bought a book off of Amazon ~ Making Wire & Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques by Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley. All I can say is WOW! I’ve never seen a how-to book with so many awesome photographs to help you along.

I tried a pair of copper paddle drop earrings for my first project.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I made ear wires in sterling silver, like the copper ones, for April’s earrings…they are off in the mail to her.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday was the return trip of Union Pacific’s steam engine #844…she’s on her way back to Cheyenne for maintenance before heading to Texas to show off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday we drove down to Carson City and visited the Greenhouse Project at Carson City High School. What a cool place! And great project! We toured the greenhouse, raised beds and a hoop house that a student was working on for his senior project. We watched as the manager showed how to propagate herbs from cuttings…took some oregano and sage home with us.

~~~~~~~~~~~

We found an great bamboo chair (rocks and swivels) for our balcony at the SPCA thrift store in town for $15…on the lookout for another one.

Irish Creme Brownies

I made up some brownies for a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon, thought I’d share the recipe. This recipe makes 16 brownies.

Irish Creme Brownies

Ingredients:

4 oz semisweet chocolate (I used one Ghiradelli baking bar)
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-3/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup Irish Creme (plus some for the glaze)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (for glaze)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray an 8″x8″ square baking dish with cooking oil spray.

In a medium or large bowl melt chocolate and butter (make-shift double boiler) over medium-high heat.

Once all melted, take off heat, stir in sugar and let it cool down a bit.

In a measuring cup or small bowl beat eggs senseless. Stir in Irish cream and beat again. In another measuring cup/bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Once your chocolate mixture has cooled a bit add the egg/creme mixture and then beat in the flour mixture until well blended.

Pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool then slice.

Place your brownies onto a serving dish and then mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with enough Irish cream to make a drizzle…take a spoon and drizzle away! Add green sprinkles.

New Recipe to try ~ Stuffed chicken rolls with mushrooms and onions

Ok…originally it was Stuffed VEAL, but I don’t eat veal so I switched to chicken. Pork would be great too! 🙂

The Sunday’s issue of the Reno Gazette Journal has an insert on What’s For Dinner Tonight? Last Sunday, March 4th, had a yummy looking recipe for Stuffed Veal Rolls with mushrooms and onions. But as I said above, I don’t eat veal so changed it to chicken and next time I’ll try pork chops.

First I’ll give the original recipe and then my substitutions.

Ingredients:

4 thin veal cutlets, about 2 ounces each
1 slice of bread, diced small
2 TBSP freshly grated Parmesan
2 TBSP chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil or oregano (optional)
1 tsp coarsely ground Italian seasoning
1/2 TBSP butter
1/2 Cup chopped red onion
1 Cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 TBSP olive oil

Place veal between sheets of waxed paper and pound to 1/8-inch thickness. Mix crumbled bread, Parmesan and herbs in a medium bowl. Sprinkle mixture on each cutlet, then roll and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with italian seasoning. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Move vegetables to the sides. Pour oil in skillet and let heat for about 30 seconds, cook veal rolls, turning often, about 12 minutes or until all sides are evenly browned and rolls register 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Serves 4.

MY VERSION ~

I used 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts…cut filet style then SMASH SMASH SMASH with a hammer. 🙂 Boy that really feels good.
1 slice of whole wheat bread, crumbled
1/4-1/3 Cup shredded Italian cheese mix (had in frig so used it)
1 tsp EACH of dried oregano, thyme, and Italian flat-leaf parsley (dried from my garden)
1/2 Cup red onion and 1/2 Cup yellow onion
1-1/2 Cup of sliced mushrooms
1/4 Cup plain panko crumbs, plus some for sprinkling over the chicken rolls as they go into the skillet.

I smashed the chicken pieces and then peppered them. In a small bowl I mixed the whole wheat bread, dried herbs, cheese and 1/4 cup panko crumbs…then placed on chicken and rolled, secured.

The rest is the same…only I used 1 TBSP of butter with the veggies as I used more and 1 TBSP olive oil. I cooked the veggies a little longer as I like them caramelized. 🙂 The chicken didn’t take long to cook.

This comes together really fast! Enjoy with a salad or whatever else floats your boat!

Two New Recipes to Try ~

I love trying new recipes…or, just throwing stuff together from the pantry/frig.

Am going to share two of them, one from our local newspaper on 29 January 2012 ~ Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs. I’ll give you their ingredients and then my extras that I added.

1 small (1.5 pounds) spaghetti squash
1/2 cup water
6 ounces lean ground turkey
1 slice whole wheat bread
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups marinana sauce
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh oregano

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place cut side down in microwave safe dish with lid. Add water and seal the lid. Cook on high 8 minutes. Meanwhile, chop bread into tiny dice. In a large bowl, combine turkey, bread crumbs, egg and seasoning. Use your hands to mix well and shape into 2 inch balls. Remove squash from microwave and set aside to cool. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add meatballs and cook, turning often, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add sauce and reduce heat to low. When squash is cool enough to handle, remove and discard seeds, then use a fork to scrape out the stringy flesh. Add 3 cups squash to the pan with sauce and meatballs, toss well. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and oregano.

(NO PICTURES – sorry…we dug in and ate it all before I realized I didn’t get any pictures)

MY VERSION of above ~

My squash was pretty dang big. Probably 10″ in length so I cut in quarters, put them flesh down into a pie tin with some water and stuck it in the oven at 450F for 30 minutes. (Not big with microwave)

I mixed 20-oz package of ground turkey with 2 eggs, 1 cup of brown rice (had in the frig from another meal), 3 pieces of Milton’s Multi-grained bread, 1 tsp each of dried oregano, thyme, Italian parsley (from my garden). My mixture made up 20 2″ meatballs…I put them on parchment paper/cookie tin and stuck them in the frig until the squash was done. Scoop the squash into a bowl once cooked.

In a large fry pan I heated up 1 TBSP olive oil and cooked all 20 meatballs (covered)…definitely took longer than 7 minutes. 🙂 Once browned and cooked through I put them on a paper plate and added 1/2 of the spaghetti squash (freeze the other half). Then I made a ring and put 8 meatballs (I froze the rest to use later…even 8 was too many for two of us) into the middle of the squash and poured about 1 cup of my own tomato-basil based sauce over the meatballs, covered to let heat throughout.

Serve with a nice salad…with shaved parmesan over it ALL. 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thai Chicken Pizza (at least my version of it)

I use Pioneer Woman’s basic pizza dough…1/2 teaspoon of yeast over 3/4 cup warm water (in a measuring cup). Mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Pour in water/yeast and mix. Put in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest for 1-3 hours (if you don’t use it that day it can be kept in the frig for 3 days)

I cut up 2 chicken breasts and put them in a fry pan with a couple of teaspoons of peanut oil and a few splashes of sesame oil…with some fresh ground pepper. Once cooked through I put chicken in a bowl and added about 1/4 cup of Peanut Satay Sauce, set aside.

I shredded 2 carrots, sliced 3 green onions, sliced about 1/2 cup of mushrooms, 1/4 cup of red pepper.

Chopped up about 4 TBSP of unsalted peanuts.

Shredded 1 cup of Pepper Jack cheese and 1 cup Mozzarella.

Heat oven to 500F. Spray a large cookie tin with oil (unless you have a pizza stone)…roll out the dough nice and thin and plop on the cookie tin.

Spread out the rest of the jar of Peanut sauce, then add 1/2 of cheese. Next layer on the chicken, veggies, rest of cheese and top with peanuts.

Stick in oven for 10-15 minutes, slice and serve. I like to shake on crushed red peppers.

Thanksgiving Quiche and Winter Squash Bisque Recipes

I’m in a group of twelve women, at work, that meet once a month for a potluck lunch. It was my turn as the ring-leader today. I did some searching online to find a few different items that I could make to add with a salad, rolls and dessert. I found a Thanksgiving Quiche from Hillbilly Housewife (is that a cool name or what?) that uses stuffing for the crust of the Quiche! It was a HUGE hit! Also great for all those leftovers from Thanksgiving.

I pretty much followed her recipe and used the following:

3 cups cornbread stuffing with one egg for crust
layered 1 cup of chopped cooked turkey breast
1.5 cups of shredded swiss, cheddar and Monterrey cheese
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup of sliced green onions
then mixed up 4 eggs with 1 cup of non-fat half and half

I wanted to make a soup/bisque to add with the Quiche. Couldn’t really find one that sounded “great” so I combined a few recipes with some ingredients I had on-hand. This recipe served 16 people with small bowls…so if you have nice size bowls at home, 8-10 people would be a good guess.

Winter Squash Bisque

1 Butternut squash, quartered and seeded
1 Acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 large Sweet Potato, halved and wrapped in foil
4 large carrots, chopped (leave skin on)

Place squash upside down in a roasting pan with water in it…throw in the potato and carrots too. Roast in a 425F oven for 45 minutes.

In a stock pot saute, in 1/4-1/2 cup of butter, the following:

2-3 green apples, peeled cored and chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4-5 stocks celery, chopped
Fresh Ginger, shredded (I used one the size of my thumb…2″ long?)

Add scooped out squash meat, carrots and sweet potato. Cover with 6+ cups of either veggie or chicken stock. Bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

I don’t have a large food processor nor an immersion blender…so the whole kit n’ kaboodle went into my blender, which took me a bit longer to smash everything together. Once I got it all smooth I added my spices:

1-2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
LOTS of Fresh ground pepper

It all goes back into the pot to simmer until it’s time to eat. You can add more stock until it’s as thin or thick as you want it to be. This is pretty creamy without cream or milk…but you could add some Almond Milk if you’d like.

One Less Gift

The last few years, in November, my church hands out a flyer regarding a concept called “One Less” (last year it was Advent Conspiracy).

Stressmas
Impersonalmas
Checklistmas
Consumermas
Trafficjamas
Gotta-buy-everyone-a-gift-even-though-I-can’t-afford-it-mas.

This year, let’s try

[Less spending.]
[More relational giving.]
[More resources to help those who need it most.]

They have four suggestions, but also encourage everyone to be as creative as one can be!

** Angel Tree for a child of a prisoner here in Nevada.
** Pick up an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.
** Help buy a clean water well with Living Water
** Give to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada

Other charities you may want to support:

Samaritan’s Purse
World Vision
Compassion International

A few of the ones I like:

Nevada Humane Society.
Veteran’s Guest House in Reno, NV.
Kids Kottage.

Gift Ideas for Relational Giving.

A fun certificate for the gift of your time:

* bring popcorn, gourmet root beer and a classic DVD for a movie night with a friend.
* host a Monday Night Football and make homemade pizzas.
* wrap two copies of a classic book to read together.
* bundle up and take a walk through the Christmas-lit streets.

Your gift of creatively serving:

* babysit for your worn-out sister-in-law.
* yard work for an elderly person.
* road trip for an out-of-town adventure with your child.
* change the oil in a neighbor’s car.
* help your friend build their shed, clean their garage or closets, etc.

A day together doing something someone else cares about:

* take a trip to the batting cages.
* go on a hike, with your camera and your photographer friend, you bring lunch.
* volunteer at their favorite charity.

A gift you made with your kids:

* simple scrapbook of time you’ve spent with the person you’re giving it to.
* photo album of your kids for a far-away family member.
* home-published story, written and illustrated by your kids. The time spent creating it is priceless to the recipient as well as the kids.

Ask “What do they like to do?” and make time to do it with them.

******

Jalapeno Popper Egg Rolls

At Wooster High School’s all-class reunion earlier this month I had a jalapeno popper in wonton skins…they were delish! Didn’t have any wonton skins at home, but I did have egg roll wraps, jalapenos and Neufchatel cheese.

First I roasted the peppers under the broiler, skinned, de-ribbed and seed, then diced them. Mix the peppers with one package of Neufchatel cheese.

Take a spoonful of the mixture and put it in the center of the skin, fold up and tug snug, then flip over the two sides. Add water or egg to the top part and roll up.

Put them on a a cookie tin lined with parchment paper…stick them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to set up.

Brush lightly with olive oil and place in a 400F oven for 10 minutes. Or you can fry them.

I used 9 big ole fat jalapenos…me thinks I should have used two packages of cheese with all of those peppers! Mouth is a bit warm. 🙂