Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rice Pudding

This is one of my favorite uses for leftovers. I had made a big pot of rice, intending to use the leftovers for fried rice. That didn't happen, and so the pot of rice was staring at me in the fridge. Ah, rice pudding!!

This is so easy it's almost embarrassing. First, you dump the rice in a big, heavy pot.

Add a can of condensed milk. I always have this stuff in my pantry. I don't even remember buying it. It's just there, like the walls and lights.

When you first put it all together, it looks like it will never work. But, heat slowly, over low heat. And magically, it'll all come together very easily.

Serve in a pretty glass, and you have one of every one's favorite homey desserts!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meal Plan

Last weekend, our area saw 4 inches of snow. Crazy exciting around here! It stayed cold all weekend, and it's been a cold week. I'm looking forward to some warm weather next weekend, though.

So, this is the week for cozy, comforting food (mostly). I love winter menus for that reason. So warm and filling. Don't get me wrong. Along about May, I'll be dying for salads and tomato sandwiches. But, for right now, soups and stews sound perfect.

Friday: everyone's favorite, tacos!
Saturday: our Valentine's date night at home--spaghetti, cookies
Sunday: Chinese chicken salad (in honor of Chinese New Year)
Monday: spinach lasagna
Tuesday: leftovers (I have a cooking class)
Wednesday: balsamic pork chops, wild rice, green bean casserole
Thursday: meatloaf, mashed cauliflower, salad (my low-carb inlaws are coming to town)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cajun Pasta

You know how sometimes a recipe just pops out at you, and you Well, last week, I was reading Pioneer Woman, and this cajun pasta was just the recipe. I had to have it! I figured it was appropriate for the night after the Saints won the Super Bowl. And, it didn't disappoint. I had to fight my 18 month old for the leftovers this morning for breakfast!

Cajun Chicken Pasta
adapted from the Pioneer Woman

2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
1 pound spaghetti noodles
2 Tablespoons canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 bell peppers, Seeded And Sliced (I used red and yellow)
1 Onion, Sliced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
3 medium tomatoes, diced (I used some frozen from the summer)
1 cup water
½ cups White Wine
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Salt To Taste

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet. Brown chicken, sprinkling with cajun seasoning in the pan. Remove chicken from pan. Add more oil and butter, if needed. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Remove all vegetables from the pan.

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add water to pan, then reduce the sauce to about half. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Add tomatoes to mixture and allow the tomatoes to cook down for a couple of minutes.

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained pasta and toss to combine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Food!

We're not the most social people. Especially on a school night. And especially around an event like the Super Bowl, which I embarassingly only watch for the commercials.


I couldn't let an opportunity for party food pass us by! So, we had a party with the four of us, and we thoroughly enjoyed our Super Bowl food, while watching commercials. *grin*

No party is complete without salsa, of course. This time of year, I used canned tomatoes. Sometimes I roast tomatoes myself, but this was a Sunday afternoon, people. That's my lazy day of the week, and I took the easy way out. This is my favorite mixture, which is one can fire roasted, mixed with one can Rotel. Very similar to Pioneer Woman's salsa.

A thing of beauty!
Guacamole, to go with our salsa and chips. We like a dash of cumin in the guacamole.

Not such a thing of beauty. But, delicious nonetheless.

These pigs in a blanket were declared "the best food ever, Mama!" by my 3 year old. Yes, we have very discriminating palates in my house.

And, this, my dear readers is queso. The ever popular Velveeta and Rotel. I've had it before, but never made it. It was one of those things that I just *needed* desperately. But, by the time I made it, it wasn't so appealing. Chalk that one up to pregnancy hormones. Oh, well. I lived.

1 can fire roasted tomatoes...on sale (Kroger last week)...$0.25
1 can Rotel....rocking coupon deal (Publix)....$0.04
1 jalapeno, seeded....$0.20
1/4 bunch cilantro....$0.13
1/2 onion....$0.15
juice of 1/2 lime...half of $0.25
chips (Aldi)..$1

2 avocadoes...(Aldi)...$0.69 x 2
juice of 1/2 lime...half of $0.25
dash cumin

Pigs in a blanket
little smokies...on sale...$2
crescent rolls (Aldi)...$1.79

velveeta...on sale...$1.85
1 can Rotel...$0.04

Total cost for our party for 4 (with enough leftovers for lunch today).....$9.08

Not too shabby for an occasional making memories type meal. Hope y'all had a great Super Bowl Sunday!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Date Night

This pregnancy has been all about some Squirt. Such an odd drink, but soo good. I know exactly which stores carry the 12 packs, which stores have the 20 ounce drinks, and I'm a bit of a junkie. I don't drink them every day, but when the need hits, the need hits, you know? Crazy pregnancy hormones.

I was doing some digging for date night, and I discovered that Squirt can turn into a fancy cocktail. Add lime juice, salt the rim of your glass, and you have a Paloma!

It was a cold day here, so gumbo was perfect. And, this one turned out so well. I was patient (not always the case!), and I let the roux get chocolate colored. It definitely makes a difference, so maybe I'll be patient enough next time, too.

Another date night with my favorite guy!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Bread is, and always has been, my nemesis. I just can't seem to get it to work. I end up buying sandwich bread, making due with frozen biscuits, and I even buy frozen dumplings!! I'm telling you, I've had some scary experiments with bread.

But, last year, I decided that 2009 was the year of the biscuit. By george, I was going to learn to make them. My mother makes good biscuits (though it's been years since she really made one; she prefers the ease of frozen these days), and my great-grandmother made heavenly biscuits that exist only in my memory. It didn't seem right that I, a lifelong Georgia girl, couldn't make biscuits!

So, over the last year, I've spent a lot of time working on them. Thank goodness for Mike's patience! Some of the batches were okay, some were not so okay. But, I powered on. Then, last week, I attended the King Arthur flour baking demonstration, and I had an "aha!" moment. When she made pie crust, she left the butter chunks really large. As in, the size of large marbles large. No cornmeal looking flour there.

I thought it might work for biscuits, too. So, I tried it. And....sweet success!!! My first bite caused me to let out a bit of a yelp in happiness. Ah, another item crossed off the bucket list. Now on to saving the world...