Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 7, Cheese Enchiladas

First off, before anything else is typed here, I just want to scream out the fact that if you're going to make enchiladas, BORROW AN ELECTRIC CHEESE GRADER!!!!!! unless of course you already own one--or simply by pre-graded cheese. twitch, twitch.

Otherwise, hand grading 2 lbs of cheese is NOT fun. NOT NOT NOT

okay (takes deep breath and smiles) Welcome! I got tonight's dinner from one of my mother-in-law's famous and house-hold favorite dishes.

Yes, I am insane. I will confess my tightened nerves as my husband requested this dish over the phone. I've had this for dinner at his parents' home multiple times. It's delicious! Too good. Especially when it will soon be compared to my cooking attempt.

But, i rolled up the sleeves and got to work.

It wasn't that hard to be honest. Minus the cheese grading. (grumble grumble) The hand-grader loves me just about as much as my nunchaku do (similar to the pic) which happened to break a blood-vessel on my hand last night, i might add. LOL i think i may have mentioned my eternal rival with the grader once before. I promise it won't be the last.

Anyways, it turned out simple enough after the cheese was ready. And, lucky for me, it only took 20 minutes to cook! sweet. Only differences in the recipe that i did was i didn't use quite so much cheese. Not only did i just not have it, but i was DONE GRADING IT. So, i used enough to fill the rolls and just a touch on top. Turned out just fine :) Here's what you do:

Mom Inman’s Enchiladas
What you will need:

Corn Tortillas—1 ½ to 3 dozen
Cheese (Chedar, Jack, or Colby, or whatever you have)—2 lbs grated
Reserve ¼ or a little less to put on top.
One 28oz. can Red Enchilada Sauce
2 small cans Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1lb or less of hamburger, Ground turkey can substitute


To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees

Sauce Prep.
-Brown Hamburger in a 2 Qt Sauce Pan.
-Drain as much grease after meat is browned.
-To the hamburger add the enchilada sauce and 2 cans of Cream of mushroom
(if your kids don’t like the Mushrooms you can put the cream of mushroom soup
in a blender with enough enchilada sauce to thin then add to the meat with the
rest of the enchilada sauce)
-Heat the Sauce, no need to boil or cook the sauce.

Prep a 9 x 13 pan, by spraying lightly with cooking spray.
-Add 2 or 3 ladle full of Sauce to the pan. You don’t need a lot just enough to cover the bottom lightly.

-Grate the cheese.
-Cook tortillas in a pan of hot oil, 1 to 5 second on each side, just enough to soften the tortillas. (Optional)
-Roll about 2 table spoons of cheese into each Corn Tortilla and place in pan in rows.
(Normally, you can fit 1 to 1 ½ dozen in a 9 x 13 pan, depending on how tight you roll them.)

-When the pan is full, cover with sauce, make sure all the edges are wet or they will get very crispy and chewy.
-Cover with cheese, it doesn’t have to be thick, it is OK to see sauce underneath.

Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Let enchiladas cool for 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving as they will be hot.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 6, Ravioli

I didn't post last monday! Woooops. Here's what we missed:

I must confess, I needed something super fast and easy today. My schedule was packed from 10 am till 4pm and dinner had to be on the table at 4:30.

So? an old personal favorite of mine, stolen from my usual cooking days out of a package.

Cheese Ravioli.

Recipe is easy.
1 package frozen Rav from Winco :)
1 can of 5-cheese Tomato sauce. I did add some extra cheese, onion and garlic powders, and Italian seasoning, just to make me feel like i was actually cooking something.
and some cheese on top

Five minutes later and we were done! Vuala
Now, onto tonight's actual dish :)


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 5, Thumbs up AND down! Chicken and Sweet potatoes

Last night's dinner was all from a book. I found a super easy chicken meal--seemingly fast to prepare--so i decided to add a side-dish to it! Ooooo Getting fancy. I know :)

The chicken was easy. It was called Mozzarella Chicken

I lined a baking pan with my boneless chicken breasts (nasty things to touch when they are thawed and raw) though the book said i could have left them frozen too. And i topped them all with Cream of Chicken, cheese (didn't have mozarella, so i used colby-jack), and bread-crumbs :) oh, and some little butter chunks too. Kindof fun to make.

Since i didn't have official store-bought bread-crumbs, i toasted up 4 pieces of bread and then crumbled it. Seemed logical enough a replacement, right? And then in the oven it went!

VERY yummy dish. Cooking it with the Cream-Soup helped the chicken stay super moist too (which is good, cuz i'm not very talented at that on my own). 40 minutes on the timer.

And, ironically enough, my side-dish also wanted 40 minutes at the same temperature! So, the goal was to put them in at the same time and they'd be done together! Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way.

The side-dish was a Sweet Potato Souffle'. The big picture right next to it looked yummy, and the prep seemed simple enough, so i had at it.

I used 2 huge yams and a bunch of other normal kitchen stuff: salt, sugar, flour, eggs, milk, butter... oh and sum nuts to make it cool :)

Well,i ran into a problem with the brown-sugar. Mine was SOOOOOO hard that even a sharp knife and a ticked off black-belt couldn't get through the brick chunks. It took me a good twenty minutes before i finally gave up. I called around and found out that i can use white-sugar just the same and it should still turn out. maybe. One glance at the mocking chunks of brown-sugar staring up at me from the trash convinced me to give it a try though.

So, it ended up taking the entire 40 minutes (while the chicken was already in the oven) just to get the darn Sweet Potatoes ready. Which sucked cuz i was trying to time everything for when james got home. See, last week i was too anxious about it and the food was prepared too early and would get cold. LOL Now i timed things better, but about pulled out my hair trying to get it done. Need a better balance in this. !!!!

So, dinner on the table. Served it all with some rice too. The funny thing is that both the dishes ended up looking similiar. LOL Was unintentional.

Four thumbs WAY WAY up for the chicken. Yum. But, for the S-Potatoes? AAAAAAAK They were extremely sugary. Extremely! I couldn't finish the ones on my plate, so they got thumbs down from me. James gave them one thumb partially up, but even he only ate a tiny tiny portion.

I checked the recipe again today, and i did everything right. For only having 4.5 cups of potatoes, it asked for a cumulative total of 3.5 cups of sugar! Now that i think about it, that's like literally half sugar! GAG It should have been listed under the death-by-dessert section, and not the side-dishes.

to give you an idea of exactly how sugary this thing was? I took 2 bites of the stuff and then ate my entire piece of chicken instead. On the last bite of my chicken, i was STILL tasting the sugar! It totally over-powered the flavor of everything else.

I'd like to try the dish again sometime, because i think it "could" be really yummy. But with at LEAST half the sugar. !!! So, now what do i do with an entire dish full of left-over sugar loaf? :)

anxiety level last night: higher than it needed.

experience so far: I asked james last night if there was any dishes he wanted repeated during this next pay-day cycle, or if he just wanted me to keep finding new ones. His request? Although everything is a total repeat (minus the s-potatoes from tonight), he asked for the Fried-Bread!

Question: Does anyone know the rules of posting recipes here from a cook-book? How much of the process am i allowed to share?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A miss!

Appologies to everyone for my missed blog last night. But nature calls and I was one sick puppy. I called james up before he came home and suggested he grab a pizza along the way cuz the couch had my body and wasn't giving it back.

But we keep trucking and I'm back on track. Now to figure out exactly what will be for dinner :) See you tomorrow night!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 3, Stuffed Potatoes & More!

Tonight's dinner is a double-hitter of donated recipes! This is awesome. Both came with simple, easy to follow and easy to make directions.

So, first off, the main dish. Donated by Tristi Pinkston, a great friend of mine:

Cheese and Tomato Stuffed Potatoes

as you can tell from the pic, I may have gotten a little carried away tonight. And it may not be as "pretty" as when Tristi makes them, but dang they tasted great!

this dish had an immediate appeal to me. It reminded me of home. Although we never had baked potatoes quite like this before, I always had a job in the house when potatoes were cooked (so, in other words, i was actually familiar with making the first step of this recepi, which is to actually bake the potatoes LOL) My job was to wash the spuds and then stab them with a fork before baking them.

I had a good laugh today while i was gently pricking the sides of the potatoes. Lots of memories in that simple movement. See--back then, I was the kid who interpreted the instructions quite literally. I would STAB, probably a good half inch deep (or more) into the raw potatoes. It ticked me off to no end to try and pull the fork back out. It usually whacked me in the face. Only to then have to shove the thing back into the potato just as deep. I stabbed my thumb several times--and with that velocity, it was quite painful. In my defense, I was very concerned! Mom said that if we didn't stab the potato enough, it would explode in the microwave!! It sounded horrifying, and so i was going to make darn sure that they were ready. :) Either way, the memories provided several minutes of chuckling.

I must admit, although i was very excited about this recipe, I was slightly concerned if my husband would. See, he doesn't like sour cream. But, i was gonna try it anyways.

With her permission, here's what you do:

bake 3 large 'baking potatoes' (i think mine were a little small, so i did 4)
1 C. cheddar cheese, shredded (mine was colby-jack :)
3/4 C green onions, diced (i still have no onions in the house LOL)
1 C sour cream
3/4 C chopped Tomatoes (mine were fresh from the garden too. Mmmmmmm)
1/8 t pepper (or more, to taste)

So, i baked up my potatoes in the oven. mine took an hour at 425 deg, but i remember doing them in the microwave all the time growing up.

When they were done, I followed the directions, scooping out the innards of the potatoes into a dish (leaving a bit around their shell, cuz we end up using it like little bowls. really cute). Mush them up and dump everything else in the dish too :) mix it all up.

For james, i added a bit less sour creme and a little extra potato, secretively hoping he wouldn't even notice. LOL Then i scooped that all back into the potatoe shells. I put three shells per bowl and kept stacking till i had used everything up. Um... which is probably why they look completely dumped on. (blush) tehehehe And, cuz i'm cookin for a meat lover, I topped it all with bits of our left over turkey and bacon pieces. :)

And, may i say right now, that my cheese-grader and i do NOT get along. Never have. Any of them. Doesn't matter what age I was, we just agree to hate each other. 'Nuff said.

I watched James carefully as he sat down, had prayers, and he took his first bite. His exact response was:

" good!"

He ate over half the bowl before he finally asked me what else was in the mix. He obviously noted the tomatoes and cheese, but said the potatoes were really nice and creamy. i finally had to admit that it was Sour Cream. He said that even though he doesn't prefer the stuff, that he really couldn't tell in this dish. AWESOME. Two thumbs WAY WAY UP for Tristi! WOOT

Now, i told you this was a double-hitter. Yup, there's more.
Dessert: Peanut Butter Cookies (james' favorite)

This recipe was donated by james' sister, Kim. Easy-peasy ingredients.

1c Peanut Butter
1c Sugar
1 egg

That's it. mix it all up. ball them up on a cookie-sheet, then criss cross them flat with a fork (i sprinkled sugar on top after that too, cuz i couldn't get the sugar to stick to my fork like suggested) Bake it for 7-9 mins at 350

Fair warning to all, as it was also given to me, serve them warm! they do tend to crumble a little. But it's easy, fast, and oh so yummy :)

He took 2/3rds of them with him on the way to class. One stuffed in his mouth and the others to share with his brother.

Thanks guys for donating such easy and delicious recipes! These are total repeats!! They were both so warm and comforting on a chilly and rainy day. Couldn't have been more pleased :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 2, Meatballs

But not just ANY meatballs.

Have you ever been to IKEA? It's a store here in Utah. Chances are, if you live anywhere else, you may not have. I don't know how many IKEAs are out there, but they've got these meatballs that are sooooooooooo good. My husband drools for them.

Well, i hadn't the faintest clue how to make them from scratch (although, i have bought them frozen before and done them up at home). But when i flipped past this massive picture in my cookbook today of big beautiful meatballs, it gave me the idea. And yes, for any of my vegetarian friends, i do apologize--my husband loves his meat.

If you want the recipe for the detailed meatballs, I found it in the "World Wide Ward Cookbook" that i bought from Walmart. That's the 'happy cookbook' that i keep mentioning. :) In that book, it's called Sweet and Sour Meatballs. But that's not what i actually made. I ended up with a few changes to the recipe and a completely different sauce (that you have GOT to try!), so it's not exactly as printed. So, does that mean since i changed it enough, i can share it here now??

the recipe called for stuff like ground beef, oats, onion, eggs, milk, this soy-sauce stuff that i won't even attempt to spell (the one that starts with a 'W'?), ect...

First off, i had no ground beef. We had ground turkey though. So, there was replacement number one. Why not? Right?

Second, no onions. But I had onion powder? My buddy said to put in 1 TBS instead of the amount of chopped onions it asked for. Happy for it anyways... i don't really care for onions. Or chopping them.

Issue number three? I really didn't care for the sauce. It called for mustard and vineger, two things that my husband and i both agree to detest. Greatly. but, i didn't have the ingredients for the sauce that i wanted to make--and the recipe wanted the meatballs cooked IN the sauce. (shrug) So i cooked them dry instead. 30 minutes in the oven at 350. By this point I was starting to wonder exactly why i chose this recipe to cook?? especially as i didn't have everything it actually asked for.

So, what did i do next? Emailed my husband and warned him that dinner may not be editable and i hoped he didn't starve.

:) He wrote back saying that he would gobble the whole thing up anyways.

Brave soul.

Meanwhile, I had rice cooking. The brown short-grain stuff that gets nice and sticky. See, i bought these triangle molds the other day at the chinese shop and i stuffed the rice down in it, squished the lid on, and then popped up these perfect and cute triangle rice thingys! (they're in the pic i posted up top) THAT part was a load of fun to make. (grin!) They looked just like the rice balls that the japanese-anime characters are always munching on.

Meatballs finished cooking, James came home with my shopping list, and i went straight to work on the sauce.

Now, this one i have to thank both my older sister for the recipe AND my mom for actually having a copy of the recipe. It made the whole dish! SO GOOD.

And shockingly simple.

One bottle of bullseye BBQ sauce
One small jar of Grape Jelly.

Mix the two in a pot until the jelly melts and the sauce is nice and hot. And that's it! "Are you sure, mom? That's it?" Yup--that was it.

Served it up along side some green-beans and home-grown zucchini. drink was an orange-mango-peach juice. Such a nice combo.

Served it up. James LOVES IT! Really really.
He kept saying "I can't believe that's just BBQ and Jelly. I would have never guessed." Which is SUCH a compliment coming from the Chef!

he also asked me... "so, how'd you get the rice like that?" which made me smirk.

Only drawback to the entire experience this time? My meatballs weren't exactly 'round', persay. They looked more like meat-cookies. LOL


Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 1, Fried Bread

I must admit, when i first opened my new cook book today (smiling at all the pretty birds and colorful swirls on the pages) my goal was simple: Find an EASY recipe. At least something i recognized, right?

It's amazing how much anxiety one can have by simply flipping the pages of a book. I saw meals listed in there that i had no clue how to pronounce or whether it was suppose to be a soup or steak or casserole?? To make it worse, my best friend was on the line with me and was trying her best to interpret everything for me. I say 'worse' because it confirmed what i had already dreaded. i really don't know anything about cooking. Not really.So, i kept flipping. Finally I saw something familiar.

Indian Fried Bread!

I had this growing up all the time. I use to watch my mom make the scones, and i use to beg her to have them again and again. That was the one! I sure wasn't about to risk james' very first impression of my full-on cooking with something i didn't even recognize.

There was only one problem. There was no recipe included for the actual scone bread! ?!?!?!? I mean, what kind of cookbook offers a meal without the full directions? I was rather irritated. The cute birds and flowers had failed me on the first go!

Well, my friend on the line had a recepi and sent it over. But it wasn't dummy-proof. It left a lot of work up to experience. Like, I had to KNOW what balled doe looked like and how it different with stiff doe... no exact times on setting, chilling, raising, ect. (I warned you that i didn't know how to cook!)

So, i went to my next best friend. Google. Jackpot. Found a recipe with only two steps! Mix it all together and shove it in the fridge. I can do that!

3 C Flour
1 tbs Baking Powder (which gave me a heck of a time trying to find it in the kitchen)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c Warm water.

Easy peasy. Link to printable Recipe Card

While it was chilling, i went to work cutting and getting all the toppings for it. That part was a snap for me, since I had it all the time growing up. I readied some beans, turkey bits (as james cooked one for me yesterday), dark green lettuce, tomatoes from the garden, green-beans (james tends to like those more than me), cheese, and almond slices.

Frying the bread proved easier than i feared. An inch of oil in the bottom of the pan and put on med-high. I flattened balls of doe and pocked a hole in the middle of them (according to the directions) and fried them up. Not too hard at all. :)

And, the best part? They actually tasted really good! Totally a keeper. James came home and his eyes got a little big at the table set-out. He ate two, sprinkled cin-sugar on a 3rd and took it with him to class.

It was a lot of fun! As a matter of fact, i decided to start my own cook book of recipes gone good :) We will definitely have this one again.

Day one accomplished.
Anxiety attack during preparation? Pretty high. LOL